Comics of September 18, 2017

This post is later than usual because I’m currently on vacation in my nation’s capital, Ottawa. As such, there won’t be full reviews this week. Instead, here’s a slightly more detailed first impressions post than usual. It’s been nice so far, with a great walk in a national park this afternoon, a visit to the National History museum, and a fairly nice two-bedroom hotel room with fantastic croissants for breakfast. But anyway, let’s get to it.

The comics I picked up this week include Captain Phasma 4, Generation X 7, Cable 150, The Mighty Thor 700, Super Sons 9 and Superman 33.

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X-Men Movies 6 – X-Men: First Class

X-MenFirstClassMoviePoster

After the disaster that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which followed the very mixed reception towards X-Men: The Last Stand, 20th Century Fox decided to give the series a soft reboot. The initial idea of an X-Men origin story was conceived by X2 producer Lauren Shuler Donner (Also Richard Donner’s wife).  Brian Singer, director of the first two X-Men movies, also produced X-Men: First Class. They later chose to write a loose adaptation of the X-Men: First Class comic series. It also overtook the Magneto Origins movie that Fox planned before Wolverine’s first solo movie was received so poorly.

The basic idea behind the movie is a shared origin story for Magneto, Charles Xavier and the X-Men as a whole. When you focus on those aspects of the movie, it worked brilliantly. James McAvoy is a lot of fun as a younger, more rambunctious Charles Xavier. Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of a grief stricken, vengeful young Magneto is captivating. Nicholas Hoult convincingly portrays an enthusiastic scientist Beast who feels insecure about his unusually large feet. And as much as a lot of people don’t like Mystiques portrayal as more of a hero than her comic book counterpart, Jennifer Lawrence acts the part well.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, First Class has a very strong 60’s groove to it, all the way to the background soundtrack to even the cinematography. It expertly ties in real historic events into the movie’s narrative, while simultaneously giving the mutants a bit of an in-universe coming out party. Probably not the best coming out party, but it could have been worse. The action in the series is the best of the series as of its release.

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X-Men Movies 5 – X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Like him or not, Wolverine is undoubtable the most popular X-Men character. That was true decades before the movies came out. Hugh Jackman’s performance as the clawed Canadian mutant introduced him to the general public, and it was only a matter of time before he’d get his own movie the same way he was the first X-Man character to get his own ongoing solo series. Enter X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The movie itself might have had potential when it was first conceived, but it’s now pretty much universally considered the worst X-Men movie.

My own personal history with this movie is fairly short. I saw it at a friend’s house not long after it released on DVD. I thought it was kind of fun, but when I tried to watch it a second time, I just couldn’t finish it. That was more than 2 years before I got into comics. I could already tell it wasn’t good back then.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s production problems aren’t a huge secret. Director Gavin Hood had regular disputes with the 20th Century Fox executives. The movie began production with an incomplete script by Skip Woods, who would later write It’s A Good Day To Die Hard and Hitman: Agent 47. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. There were several production delays due to problematic weather and Jackman’s other commitments. And an unfinished work print of the movie even leaked online a month before the movie’s release. This was also Hood’s first action movie, having mostly directed dramas before then. It shows.

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X-Men Movies 4 – X-Men: The Last Stand

Opinions on X-Men: The Last Stand are fairly mixed, with only a 58% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 5.9/10. Audiences were divided on the movie as well, but from what I’ve seen, people are generally more likely to enjoy it if they don’t read the comics. That’s certainly true for me at least.

I first saw The Last Stand in one of the auditoriums in college, when I probably should have been in class instead. I eventually dropped out of that program (computer programming), but still. Back then I was disappointed by the movie, but I still enjoyed it for what it essentially is – a mindless action movie. Since I got into comics in early 2011 though, I’ve learned to really not like this movie. It’s not quite hate mind you, but it’s a strong dislike.

Before we get into what went wrong, let’s look into The Last Stand’s complex history. Bryan Singer, the director for the first two X-Men movies, started pre-production for the third not long after X2 released. However, he didn’t have a clear picture in his mind for the movie yet, and left the project to work on Superman Returns instead. At the time, he only created a partial story treatment along with the two X2 writers, Dan Harris and Michael Doughery, who also left with him to make Superman Returns. If I ever do a Superman/Batman blogathon, we’ll look at that one too.

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X-Men Movies 3 – X2: X-Men United

Usually when I wrote these posts about Disney movies I’d seen before, I talked about my first time viewing it. Yet I didn’t do that with 2000’s X-Men. Why? Because I actually saw X2 first, and then watched X-Men after I bought both movies in a DVD 2-pack. I still have that physical 2-pack in its shiny blue box.

X2: X-Men United introduced me to the X-Men franchise, and there’s a chance I wouldn’t be an X-Men fan without it. I remember first seeing it the second night of an all-weekend kids event I was helping out with. Back when I was a kid there, we’d usually take way too long to get to sleep at night, often frustrating the leaders. At some point between me being in a group of 30 boys in sleeping bags in one big room and becoming one of the helpers, someone came up with the brilliant idea of showing a movie to help the kids calm down. One of the movies they played was X2: X-Men United. I enjoyed it a lot and bought the two pack as soon as I could.

X2: X-Men United released in May of 2003. It was a massive success for the time, earning $407 million on a $110 million budget. At the time of its release, it was the second highest grossing Marvel based movie of all-time, behind only the previous year’s Spider-Man. Most critics agreed that it improved on the first movie in every way, and how the performances in general were better than normal for a superhero movie.

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Supergirl 14 review

In the previous story arc, Supergirl was hit by some sort of energy weapon that sent her powers out of control. She moved so fast that she shattered windows. An attempt at a precise heat vision beam tore apart the streets. It made her more powerful, and it would eventually overload and kill her. Although she got her powers under control so that they wouldn’t kill her, she’s still more powerful than she should be. This is a one-off story about trying to solve that problem.

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Action Comics 989 review

In Action Comics 987, Oz revealed himself to be Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian father. In 988, he talked about how he survived the destruction of Krypton, and how he was shown humanity’s dark side for years, whether witnessing innocent civilians being killed right in front of him, or watching all of humanity’s horrors while stuck in an interdimensional prison. Just like how Clark grew up on a farm with very kind parents helped shape his heroic nature, Jor-El’s experienced shaped his own view of humanity.

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