House of X #2: Recap and Review

To say I’m loving this is an understatement. I’ve never been a comic book enthusiasts, but I think House of X is going to mark the moment I became one. This issues centers on Moira MacTaggart. When I was a child she was featured in the X-Men animated series, but she was the non-mutant scientist ex girlfriend of Charles Xavier. Hickman has retcon her backstory. If past history is any indication, many fans will hate this. Comic book fans tend to hate it when writers retcon anything that was well established in the past. However, I think Hickman has what it takes to make it work. Besides he’s is trying to restart the X-Men.

Moira joins Apocalypse

If you read Powers of X #1, you know that MacTaggart meets Xavier but he’s doesn’t seem to know her. However, she knows him. When Xavier reads her mind he understands. This moment is confusing, but House of X #2 clarifies it. Hickman makes Moira into a mutant with the ability of reincarnation. After dying she retains all her memories from her previous life. She isn’t reincarnated into a new body and she’s not born into the present moment when she died. Meaning every time she’s dies, she returns to the day her life started the first time. This allows her to change the future, as she is aware of her past and can make different choices.

Each resurrection results in Moira becomes more and more radical. In her third life she decides to “cure” mutants, thinking that she has a disease like cancer. However, she doesn’t get a chance to as Mystique and Destiny intervene. Her beliefs regarding mutants are changed by this encounter with Destiny, who can see the future. She tells Moira that “she not immortal” and only has 10 or 11 lives to live. Destiny makes it clear that she will hunt down and kill Moira, if she doesn’t change. Moira views shift to protecting her fellow mutants. Moira is negatively influence by her experiences, eventually become evil, teaming up with Magneto and then Apocalypse.


House of X #1 Review


In her tenth and maybe final life, she plans on doing something. After allowing Xavier to read her mind, he becomes radicalize as well. This leans to the change in him that we have been witnessing. House of X focuses on her tenth life. By giving Charles the knowledge she had collected over the years give him the advantage of knowing what went wrong. Of course in Powers of X #1, we know that they fail again. Regardless, Hickman’s House of X, is exciting and new X-Men story that I can’t wait to finish.

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30 Day DC Challenge -Day 11: Favorite DC Live Action Movie

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight was a directed, co-produced and co-written by Christopher Nolan. It’s the second installment in Nolan’s Batman trilogy. In the film, Batman, Lieutenant Gordon and DA Harvey Dent attempt to stop organised crime in Gotham. The Joker has teamed up with the Mob in order to cause chaos. Nolan was inspired by the graphic novel The Killing Joke (1988) and limited series The Long Halloween (1996). The movie was very well received. Many film critics considered The Dark Knight to be one of the greatest superhero films of all time. It became the highest grossing film of 2008 with over a billion worldwide. It received 8 Academy Awards nominations, winning Best Sound Editing and Best Supporting Actor (Ledger).

It is this performance by Ledger that made The Dark Knight the best. Generally, acting in superhero movies doesn’t matter that much. Are you believable enough as the superhero your portraying is largely the standard. Ledger’s performance as the Joker was amazing. His physical movements and voice were perfect. Instead of having skin that was the result of chemical bleaching, Ledger’s Joker wore makeup. His Joker had a now trademark Glasgow smile. The makeup appears to have been put on chaotically, which accurately represents the Joker’s mental state. Ledger stated that he had used A Clockwork Orange‘s Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and Sid Vicious as inspiration for the Joker. He also used Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke and Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.

In Heath Ledger’s diary he wrote of the Joker, “inside. He’s laughing red and black and red and black till there’s nothing left to laugh. Until, almost tenderly, he turns inside out through his mouth.” If you have read this challenge you know that the Joker is my favorite villain. This performance was masterfully crafted and it shows. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it (you can stream it on Netflix), while I think this performance of the Joker is the reason this is the best, the rest of the movie is good.

Dr. Stone Episode 5, Recap and Review

Senku “death”

Stone World The Beginning

Dr. Stone is a series that plays with our expectation. Initially, characters are placed in archetypal positions. Senku, the cold hearted genius, Taiju the dumb brute, Yuzuriha the damsel and Tsukasa the villain. However, all four types have been challenged. While they behave as their typing suggest, there are moments when the deviate from expectation. When Senku “sacrifices” himself for Yuzuriha, he proves that he isn’t so cold hearted. Taiju uses his intellect to devise a plan that requires him to assume a bias that Tsukasa has, regarding the dynamic between, Yuzuriha and Taiju. Tsukasa is very much the villain, however, he’s not nearly as simple as that role suggests.

Senku breaks free

His intellect rivals Senku (even if the later is still smarter) and he’s not without compassion. Finally, there’s Yuzuriha, who I was afraid would be relegated as simple the “damsel in distress.” In this episode she takes a small step towards being more relevant. She figures out that Senku wanted to provoke Tsukasa into hitting him in the neck. Together she and Taiju are able to deduce that Senku isn’t dead, but used some petrification on his neck. They heal him with revival fluid. This proves that not only are they not useless without Senku’s intellect, but as a trio they are formidable. Each with have their strengths. The trio is strongest when they work together.

Senku building a home

The later half of the episode shows how Senku was freed from the stone and how he survived. Senku spends a great deal of time trying to acquire fire. While under the watchful eye of three condescending monkeys that think he’s stupid. The montage is informative and funny. Time will tell how long it takes for Tsukasa to learn that Senku survived, but it would be in the best interests for the trio to lay low for now. They have to find the other survivors and determine if they’re friends or foe. I’m still not certain that Tsukasa will remain the main villain though. I think they might have to join forces against some other threat.

Shonen Manga Round Up – August 6, 2019

Samurai 8 #13 – Seeing Courage

Ata states that Hachimaru has “potential,” but lacks “strength and ability.” Hachimaru calls Hayatarou to help. They create a second arm to strike Ata, who is impressed by the communication between Hachimaru and Hayatarou. Ata says that Hachimaru “wasn’t suppose to exists.” Regardless, Ata tries to finish Hachimaru off. Master Daruma finally returns. Daruma acknowledges that Hachimaru “has courage.” Daruma attacks Ata with Vajrayaksa Style Dog Paddle, then Vajrayaksa Atmospheric Blade.

This results in a devastating attack that appears to defeat Ata. While Hachimaru’s father is stable, he’s likely to die. It turns out that Ata wasn’t actually present, he sent a replica of himself. I don’t know how I feel about that. It feels like a cop out. As my usual complaints about this series, is the fighting system. The final attack by Daruma was impressive, but how did he do it. He was wet afterward, is it a water based attack, does it matter? The final surprise is that Hachimaru has “brothers.” That has really pique my interest regarding the series.


My Hero Academia #238 – Liberation

Tomura Shigaraki decides that he no longer needs the hands of his family. This symbolizes his growth as a character. He has accepted that he killed his family and the fact that he wanted their death. Re-Destro tries to end his conflict with Tomura by using 100 % of his “Stress” ability. However, Tomura easily disintegrates Re-Destro’s ability. In doing so he almost destroys Deika City. Desperate, Re-Destro summons his “support item” to increase his quirk ability. Now his power is increase to 150%, but Tomura doesn’t seem to care. Compress and Daruma get into a conflict over how the organization functions.

Gigantomachia destroys the city, as Geten heads towards Re-Destro. When Gigantomachia finally reaches Tomura, he stops as he witnesses Tomura embracing evil. Tomura releases a his power creating a devastating attack. The Meta Liberation Army is likely to lose to the League of Villains at this point. They have served their purpose, by having other villains to fight and kill is different from killing heroes. The MLA are new characters that we don’t have any attachment to. If anything we are attached to the League. Tomura is becoming a truly powerful villain, I wonder how Midoriya will respond.


One Piece #951 – Rampage

One Piece is transitioning or I should say building up to the fight between the Strawhat, allies and Kiado’s crew. The Flower capital is on lockdown, as the alliance become wanted criminals. Shinobu and Sanji discuss the situation on a nearby rooftop. Nami comes into contact with Law’s crewmates, Bepo, Shachi and Penguin. It’s revealed that they were freed in exchanged for Law. He makes it clear to them that they’re not to tell Luffy that he’s been captured. Kanjuro intents to give Yasuie a proper burial, while, Ashura Doji show Kin’emon and Inuarashi the ships that they can use. Finally, on Onigashima, the Beast Pirates rush to make sweets for Big Mom. King is criticized for failing to kill Big Mom at the waterfall.

She asks King to join her crew, as he’s one of three races she doesn’t yet have. He quickly refuses. Big Mom demands that her cuff be removed. Kiado arrives and tells them to unchain her. She uses Napoleon, as she and Kiado clash. Like the previous conflict between Yonko, they spite the sky. I won’t be getting my hopes for Big Mom vs Kiado, as it will most likely happen off screen. However, the effects of the battle could handicap Kiado for any battle with Luffy. There seems to be too much going on for the battle that’s suppose to take place in a few days. This leads me to assume that many characters probably won’t participate, like Usopp or Nami. Instead they will do smaller things like freeing Law from prison.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 10: Favorite Civilian Character

Alfred Pennyworth

Universe: Prime Earth
Creators: Don Cameron · Bob Kane
First App: Detective Comics Vol 2 #1 (Nov, 2011)


Alfred Pennyworth is the fiction butler of Bruce Wayne. In many ways he’s as iconic as Batman is. Alfred is more than just a butler. He’s his best friend, aid in battle, and he been a surrogate father for Bruce Wayne. Alfred has many abilities outside of house keeping. He’s a classically trainer actor and a former Special Operations Executive. He been called “Batman’s batman.” He runs Wayne Manor and maintains the Batcave as well. He has impersonated Bruce on the phone, can provide tactical support when needed, is able to perform advance medical procedures.

As a close member of a superhero, Alfred has been kidnapped often. If you count comics outside if DCU continuity, he’s been kidnapped 27 times. He’s always managed to use his skills to escape. Due to Alfred’s age, he’s more likely to use a firearm (unlike other members of the Batman family). In more recent comics, Alfred is suggested to have mastered, several fields like rose breeding, computer programming, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, nanotechnology and biotechnology. He credited with having built the Bat-computer. Overall, I think that Alfred Pennyworth is probably the most useful and important civilian in comics.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 18: Recap & Review

Shinobu arrives to save Zenitsu

Episode 18, A Forged Bond

I predicted that the Daughter of the Spider Demon family was the one of the twelve, however, I’m not so convinced anymore. She remains a somewhat sweet and timid young girl. I’m now predicting that she will save Tanjiro, based on what happen in this episode. Giyu and Shinobu arrive at Mount Natangumo, witnessing the massacre that occurred. Not really friendly, they decide to split up. Meanwhile, Tanjiro and Inosuke face off against Father. His skin is so tough that neither can cut his arm off. Tanjiro cuts a tree down crushing Father under the water. He attempts to decapitate Father with Water Breathing, Form Ten. However, Father gets up knocking Tanjiro far into the woods. As he flies away, he begs Inosuke “not to die.”

Rui’s powers

As Zenitsu begins to suffer from the effects of the poison, Shinobu arrives. Meanwhile, Tanjiro manages to land safely and witnesses Rui torturing his sister. Tanjiro chastises him for mistreating his sister, but Rui doesn’t seem to care. One of the fellow demon slayers arrive and challenges Rui. He’s quickly kill, as Rui cuts him to pieces. The demon slayer was obviously only there to display the powers of Rui. Meanwhile, Father chases after Inosuke, who then turns around after realizing that he’s “acting like Tanjiro.” He attacks Father, this time with both his swords. He finally manages to cut through his arm, resulting in Father running away. Inosuke isn’t analytical like Tanjiro, but despite how he sees himself he does think his plans through, just at the last minute.

Giyu kills Father

Inosuke find Father hiding in a tree. Just when you think he’s afraid of Inosuke, he molts becoming larger and stronger. His new presence makes Inosuke quit, if only for a few seconds. Father is faster and stronger now. Inosuke attempts to cut Fathers head off, resulting in his swords breaking in half. Father then picks Inosuke up by the head and begins to crush the skull of Inosuke. When Inosuke begins to spit up blood, Giyu arrives and cuts Father’s arm off. Father quickly regrows his arm. However, this doesn’t matter because, Giyu quickly dispatches Father.

Tanjiro is in danger

Finally, Tanjiro feels more confident fighting Rui. He attacks him head on, however, his sword is cut in half as we cut to the credits. Obviously, Tanjiro will survive, but there no reasonable way he can avoid getting sliced. Considering how the Rui power cut the demon slayer into pieces earlier, Tanjiro could lose an arm. That said I get the impression that Shinobu has some healing abilities and probably will fix it right up.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 9: Least Favorite Villain

Sleez

Universe: Prime Earth
Creators: John Byrne
First App: New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #20 (April, 2018)

To be honest the villains in DC comics can be underwhelming. Sure they great ones like, The Joker, Darkseid, Lex Luther or Doomsday. However, they are many ridiculous villains in the DC Universe, like, Double Down, a former gambler with playing cards sealed to his skin. There’s Orca, a villain that once Grace Balin, a marine biologists. She was paralyzed in a car accident, experimented with Orca tissue. She transformed into a whale like human (with human-whale breasts to boot). She wasn’t even a great villain, as her biggest crime was stealing a diamond to fund projects for the poor. She was killed by another part human, part animal villain, Killer Croc.

However, none of these villain can hold a candle to Sleez. Not a often utilize villain, he was first introduced in Action Comics Vol. 1 #592, A Walk on the Darkside!(1987). In the issue he encounters and kidnaps Big Barda. He forces her to dance for him while he films it. Created by John Byrne, Sleez is an alien from Apokolips. He’s an empath that feeds on the ” baser emotions of the average person and use that energy to bolster his own life force.” He also has the ability to inflame desires. He was so depraved that even Darkseid was disgusted by him and banished him to Earth.

After capturing Superman and Big Barda, he tries to force them into making a sex tape. The only thing that prevents it is Superman’s high morality and intervention from Barda’s husband, Mister Miracle. His hope is to generate enough money to build an army to defeat Darkseid. He makes a return in New Super-Man and the Justice League of China Vol 1 #20 (2018). He attacks Wonder Woman, asking “what’s your deepest darkest desire, baby.” He able to “taste” her sexual desire for Batman. He refers to himself as “uncle Sleez,” and his ability to manipulate results in Superman and the Flash (a female version) kissing. I know that sometimes you run out of ideas, but a perverted villain that forces people into sexual situations is not a good idea.

Enen no Shouboutai Episode 4: Recap and Review

Princess Hibana

Episode 4, the Hero and the Princess

The ashes that Joker used in his fight are analyzed. There main component are Infernal ashes. Shinra hasn’t informed Company 8 of Jokers claim that his brother, Sho, remains alive. Maki sends Arthur and Shinra to rescue a dog out of a tree. We learn that the Fire Force isn’t a replacement for the fire fighters, but they exist in the world together. Apparently, the Fire Force are often mistaken for firefighters. Turns out that the “dog” is the mascot, Mamoru. A group of high school students tossed him up into the tree. Mamoru explains that since the murder spree of serial killer, Miyamoto, the image of the firefighters and Fire Force have taken a “hit.” The result is that they’re sometimes picked on by the public.

Arthur vs Miyamoto

The serial killer’s verdict will be announced today, he’s expected to be found insane. Setsuo Miyamoto is found not guilty, he gloats, while the audience is outraged. Then he begins combustion, becoming an Infernal. He tells everyone that he will kill them all. Everyone, except the judge manages to escape. Arthur, Shinra and the rest of Company 8 arrive at the courthouse. Arthur and Shinra immediately begin to fight Miyamoto. Unlike the other Infernals, he’s self aware. If your will is strong enough you can keep your personality after transforming. He escapes, and Shinra is sent to stop him. Shinra dominates Miyamoto, as Company 5 watches. Princess Hibana orders her company to capture Miyamoto. They arrive and capture him, when Shinra tries to question her authority she uses an ability on him. He collapses to the ground and she orders her company to hold him down.

Miyamoto captured by Company 5

Shinra prepares to fight the entire 5th Company, but is stopped by Obi. We meet another new character from Company 5, Second Class Fire Soldier, Third Gen., Toru Kishiri. He calls Captain Obi a “no-talent nobody.” As Arthur and Shinra argue with him, Maki sucker punches him in the stomach. It’s a funny moment that Toru earned, even the uptight Hinawa approves. Anyway, Company 5 leaves with Miyamoto, I doubt that they will share what they discover. While, I find Princess Hibana’s abilities to be intriguing, she yet another fanservice character. I can tolerate fanservice as long as it’s occasional. We’ll see, it early. I wonder how far these companies will go in terms of morality. Company 5 are rude (they knocked a little boy over) and appear unethical, but are they evil? I expect that some of them are, but wonder if any of them will be “good.”

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 8: Least Favorite Hero

Superman

Universe: Prime Earth
Creators: Jerry Siegel · Joe Shuster
First App: Flashpoint Vol 2 #5 (October, 2011)

My least favorite hero is probably Superman. Sure there are most likely more terrible superheroes in DC, but he is by far my least favorite of the ones I know. He’s kinda like DC’s Cyclops to me (but more powerful and less terrible). This is not to suggest of course that he’s not one of, if not the most important superhero in comics. Regardless, If you know why I like Batman, then you can guess why I don’t like Superman.

Dumb Secret Identity

I know that in comic books you should suspend disbelief, but I always found his Clark Kent “secret identity” to be hard to tolerate even by comic standards. It’s not the nerdy clumsiness, but the glasses. Or the fact that those glasses ARE the disguise the makes his secret identity. Sure you would look different with or without glasses, but you wouldn’t look like a completely human being. It has spawned the term, Clark Kenting. It’s defined as “the process by which a Secret Identity and/or cover story is maintained over a long period of time by asking the audience to go along with a paper thin disguise.” Several heroes have commented on his weak disguise, Barry Allen states “I still don’t get why you don’t do more to protect your identity. This new Lantern? Kyle? His mask covers most of his face. Smart kid.”

Art by Alex Ross

Too powerful

I generally don’t mind powerful characters, but Superman has been portrayed as so uber powerful that he deliberately has to limit himself. This often suggests that he chooses not to end fights quickly. Sure, the story would suffer if he did. However, you could just limit his power or make the villains stronger, right? I’ll admit that on the few occasions that he let’s loose it has been epic, but I have seen situations get out of hand wondering when he was going to increase his power. This is a limitation that happens with a lot of comic book characters, but with Superman it’s his choice (in the comic universe) to hold back. In other comics it necessary to keep the story interesting. He also is considered to be highly intelligence, but because he’s too powerful he doesn’t use his intellect. Instead he has to focus on only using his fists to fight.

Too good

Is being too good really a bad thing? Yes. Or at least when you trying to make an interesting comic book hero. Superman is a goody good (except in alternate realities), and that makes him boring. He’s also profoundly judgmental of other heroes (although sometimes he’s right). Superman believes that there’s good in EVERYONE, which make him profoundly naive. He’s considered the moral center of the DC Universe. He is also considered by some to be THE nicest character in DC. This often results in the stories told about Superman being dull and uneventful. There never any question about his morals, which means there’s no complexity. Superman’s purity makes him simply uninteresting.

Art by Alex Ross

While its necessary for someone to be the “moral fiber” it can come at a cost. This makes him a dull character. Many writers have attempted to make him more intriguing, by making him into a secret authoritarian. Who secretly believes he better than humanity and that’s why they need him to save them. The truth is that Superman is suppose to represent an ideal that humanity will never reach. However, Superman seems to believe that this is a possibility. This isn’t to say that there has never been an interesting story about Superman. However, most of them require drastically changing his personality or motivations (when they don’t make him outright evil). When Superman has shown a darker side it hasn’t been pretty.

So what do you think. Too unfair? Got any Superman comics that prove me wrong? Who’s your least favorite comic book characters?

Powers of X #1: Recap and Review

Powers of X #1

Story By: Jonathan Hickman

Art By: R.B. Silva

Colors By: Marte Gracia

Publisher: Marvel Comics

This week was the debut of Power of X #1 (X is pronounced 10), the sister series of the House of X. The first thing you learn is the reason that it’s pronounced “Powers of Ten.” The first page of the series reveals that four time periods will be the focus. There are referred by exponents. X⁰ is Year Zero, the period when Professor X created the X-Men. Followed by, X¹ as Year 10, the present time in X-Men depicted in House of X. Then, X² is 100 years later. And finally, X³ is 1,000 years after that.

Hence, the Power of Ten. Make sense?

I think it can feel overwhelming at first but after re-reading it, I got it. Powers of X #1, primarily focuses on the period 100 years in the future. During this period, Mutants are engaged in a war against the alliance between humans and Sentinel robots. Hickman includes the explainers like in House of X, helping us ease into this new information. At some point between X⁰ and X², Mr. Sinister was permitted to create the “Sinister breeding pits of Mars.” Similar to the Sentinel HOUND program, this program would breed mutants that had powers with “aggressive, militaristic traits.”

Why anyone would trust Mr. Sinister is beyond me. Regardless, Sinister created a “Chimera” class of mutants. The first generation had a “singular DNA source,” the second one had “DNA composed of two separate X-genes,” the third produced mutants that had a “amalgamated DNA featuring up to five X-genes.” Sinister created a fourth generation that resulted in “systemic failure,” the “destruction of 40 percent of the mutant population,” the “fall of Krakoa,” and “mass suicide.” One fourth generation mutant that survived was Rasputin.


Review of House of X #1


She was given DNA and powers from, Quentin Quire (telepathy), Colossus (Metal skin), Unus (force-field shield), Kitty Pride (Intangibility) and Laura Kinney (Healing Factor). Of course, Mr. Sinister betrays mutant-kind, and defects to the Man-Machine side. They publicly executed him. The mutant population has been decimated to merely ten thousand that mostly live out their lives as refugees and soldiers in the Shi’ar Empire. Some of the older X-Men remain alive like, Wolverine, Magneto, Xorn and Black Tom Cassidy (he looks like Groot). Meanwhile it’s revealed that Nimrod and Omega Sentinel Karima Shapandar are running the Man-Machine Supremacy on Earth.

While I prefer House of X, Power of X is really interesting. There’s a lot to grasp here but like House of X the explainers help. I also prefer the art style of Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva is pretty good as well. Power of X does spoil what happens to the mutant nation of Krakoa. I’m not bother by this, but it does make the revelations in House of X feel worthless or at least knowing it will all be destroyed undermines it significance. On a side note I am interested in the Empress of the Shi’ar Empire, Xandra. It was indicated that she was interested in taking over the Sol system. Also she’s the “daughter” of Charles Xavier and Lilandra.

Overall, Powers of X #1, manages to include old characters with some new ones, while introducing interesting events. Future timelines in comics an become problems, but Power of X may get them right.

Sources: Marvel fandom