wolverine and the x-men

 

Heroclix:

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It’s been a crazy week in Heroclix news, they announced the new ‘Game Ruining’ mechanic for the next set. Now unless you’re very familiar with Heroclix game play and ‘meta’ (The atmosphere of a game’s competition) then you might be confused to hell and back with some of this stuff. That’s ok. Now let me say this, I like the strategy of things.

Building up an amount of information about the forces at yours and your opponent’s disposal.

Strategically selecting your resources to use against your opponent to best suit your strategic style.

Fielding these forces within the constructs of the gaming environment against the opponent’s forces.

Success or failure will grant you a greater intuition of the practice of the game itself in it’s entirety.

It’s a fulfilling and complex process for sure.

Now here’s a brilliant encapsulation of my feelings on the situation that Heroclix is in right now.

Now as brilliant and hilarious as that video was at capturing my opinion was, let my be the first to say I think what makes her most ‘broken’

is that she basically completely eliminates most the strategy of the game, which is movement, pacing your units, and the battlefield terrain.

Now you can just mitigate those things with this single figure, just setup the portal and put your team through cutting apart the opponents team like so much fish in a barrel. And this is all in comparison to the fiasco that was Team Bases, which in my humble opinion was the best example of the game designers going ham on making something that just blows everything else out of the water. But now, just like the “Great” Will.I.Am. who has often come to the apex of singularly terrible music and a lack of shame, has some how outdone himself with making the worst song in the world only to time and time again make an even worse song. So Spiral is that, for Heroclix. If you thought Team Bases were stupid? Wait till you have to play against this B-Word.

Wolverine and the X-men:

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The hot new Heroclix set out on the block and despite that ONE BAD EGG the set actually turned out to be quite want-able for non-x-man-fans like myself. I like X-mens but they’ve never been high on my list of reads or pulls, that said there’s actually plenty of X-mandoes that I’m into, like the differently superabled team from across the pond EXCALIBUR, or the parody cult sensations the Great Lakes Avengers. The set has a bit of everything which is also what made the Amazing Spider-Man set work, put a bunch of unclixed figures in with a few of your favorites and toss in a few much needed updates and you have a perfectly stable set. Now that I’ve praised this set a bit it’s time to take it down a few pegs. The Set is titled Wolverine and The X-Men, which happens to be one of the few X-men comics that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and when I heard that it was getting it’s own set I was really psyched to see all my favorites from the comic, Like Deathbird, Kid Gladiator, Broo, Idie, Kid Omega, the Bamfs, and that Blob kid! It was going to be great! Maybe even they’d put in the Kid Hellfire Club.
So How many people from the WatX comic make it onto the clix set? 3? 3 if you count Wolvie and Kitty, 1 if you only count people who aren’t major X-men, it’s Kid Omega and that’s….UUUUUGH! Raging for sure. The could have just called the set something else and not used the same logo as the comic? As I haven’t been able to pick up any packs of W-X-men. I am pretty excited to fill out my GLA and the fact that half the commons and uncommons have the Excalibur keyword excites me greatly. Next Week I think I’m going to be changing the formula of the Fix a bit, but you’ll have to wait until then.

June 2013 Solicits

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We discuss the comics coming to stores in June 2013, what we think about many Marvel and DC titles, and Marvel Now vs. The New 52. We also look at some of the quotes Marvel is using to promote their books. They are so boring! Stuff like, “I Love This Book” – IGN. Seriously…you can do better.

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

iTunes listeners: HELP US OUT!

Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Wolverine and The X-Men was one of the most consistently enjoyable books of 2012.  It brought some much needed fun and levity to the X-Franchise while still telling the sort of deceptively meaty stories we expect from someone like Jason Aaron.

It’s been a tumultuous year for the students at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.  They’ve been attacked by the newly formed Hellfire Club, dealt with the events of AvX dividing the staff and nearly shuttering the school, and everyone’s favorite Broodling, Broo, not only had his heart broken by Idie but got shot in the face by Kade Kilgore for his troubles.  Oh, and most recently the kids had to rescue the X-Men from the clutches of Frankenstein’s Murder Circus (yes, that is indeed a thing and it’s as awesome as it sounds).  Oh, and the school is now the home of the X-men…from the 1960′s.  So, that Jean Grey School for Higher Learning…it’s a fun place.

Issue #24 is a bit of a breather, a needed transition not unlike issue #17 (the absolutely nerdtastic Doop issue.)  This issue doesn’t quite reach the stunning heights of #17, but, hey that issue had all Dopp, all the time.

This one is really more a series of vignettes chronicling the various romantic, or possibly romantic, tanglings amongst the staff and students.  Some hilarious (Wolverine and Storm), some poignant (Idie and Broo), some profoundly disturbing (I’m looking at you, Quentin Quire.  Keep your hands and your telepathic perv-mind to yourself, kiddo).

So, how’s the whole thing work overall.  It’s a bit hit and miss, but ultimately makes for a fun read and I think that’s really all it’s going for.

The issue opens with an intriguing intro starring the perpetually-absent-Headmaster, Wolverine, and his ongoing attempts to avoid actually being at the school (his perpetual absence is to be expected, have you seen how busy that guy is…).  This is also the first sighting of a great running gag involving Rachel Grey and astral projections and yelling.  Good stuff, Mr. Aaron, good stuff.  There are some nice visual touches by artist, David Lopez, here as well.  In particular the ripped outfit and arrow sticking out of Wolverine’s shoulder for most of the issue.  I found it oddly hilarious that Wolverine apparently didn’t notice or care about said arrow.

The remainder of the issue jumps around giving us highlights of the various date night pairings: Agent Brand and really-weird-new-mutation Beast, Bobby Drake and Kitty Pride, and the really well written Broo and Idie bit.  Aaron does a great job making us feel the emotions surrounding this particularly odd pairing.  Obviously Broo is a big fan favorite and I think it’s  safe to assume that everyone is rooting for Broo and Idie, and Broo’s return.  Jason Aaron is always at his best when he’s not pulling back and playing with reader’s expectations.  The setup leads to a true gut punch of an ending.  Touche, Jason Aaron, Touche.

All in all, another solid entry in a great series.  I’m not at all sure how I feel about Beast’s new look and I’m not really feeling the Iceman-Kitty angle, but these are pretty minor squabbles in an otherwise enjoyable entry in a great series.

7.5/10

The Most Important Boxie!

year end comic book boxiesHere at Short Box, we cover lots of different geek mediums. That said, we favor our favorite medium the most…comic books! We freely admit to reading much more super hero comics than other genre because…it’s what we like. That’s not to say we don’t read a good amount of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy but Super Heroes dominate our pull lists. This year was a year of change in the comic book industry. From the first full year of DC’s New 52 to the start of Marvel Now, the Big 2 made big moves (including stepping up the importance of digital comics). Our favorite comics this year are a mix of books from Marvel, DC, and Image. In fact, we picked two from each publisher.

The Boxie goes to:

  • Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

The other nominees:

  • Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo/Nick Bradshaw/Ramon Perez
  • Daredevil by Mark Waid & Paolo Manuel Rivera/Marcos Martin
  • The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
  • Animal Man by Jeff Lemire & Travel Foreman

Let’s get into our top pick first and a little bit about the others after.

Batman

Snew 52 snyder court of owlsnyder and Capullo’s Batman relaunch had four issues released in 2011 with all the rest appearing in 2012. Adam and I had the chance to interview Scott Snyder on the Pittsburgh Comic Podcast after issue four came out and then again after issue five. This is significant because with issue four we were already blown away but he told us the best was still yet to come. Boy was he right! The introduction of the Court of Owls, Gotham City’s further personification, and the twist at the end of the first successful crossover in the New 52, “The Night of the Owls”…2012 was a big year for the Bat.

scott snyder new 52 dc comicsGreg Capullo’s art work has evolved through the year into one of the most memorable depictions of Batman in years. The emotions Bruce goes through and decent into sheer madness in his dealings with The Court of Owls were eerily drafted by Capullo. His previous Spawn work has been combined with a style almost Bruce Timm-like that has made this book look like nothing else he has done before.

This collaboration continued later in the year for what is already one of the most memorable Joker stories ever. Waiting to bring the Joker in this way makes his appearance feel like a true event. Snyder’s twisting of the Joker’s motivation is something that hasn’t been done with the character before and sets him apart from other super villains as something totally different. There’s still so much to come but the Joker’s return in Batman #14 is one of the most memorable appearances of the character’s long history.dc comics new 52

The issue where I knew something was really different was issue #5. Snyder knew this as well when we talked with him a couple of weeks before it came out. He said he needed to talk with us again after that issue dropped because he felt like it would blow our minds. Well…he was right! Even the formatting of book was up for grabs in this book that made the reader feel, at times, claustrophobic, freaked out, and angry thanks to Capullo’s layouts. We went through this maze with Bruce and we came out knowing that this new threat was one that would forever change the Dark Knight. This team is creating stories that could only be told like this in the comic book medium with a character who already has thousands of stories told about him. Here’s hoping to AT LEAST another year of this team on the book!

The Walking Dead

The number one best selling single issue of a comic book this year was The Walking Dead #100…a book published by Image Comics. That’s impressive! The Walking Dead comic has been doing great for years and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The AMC TV series is actually bringing new readers into the comic stores in ways big budget Marvel and DC movies even haven’t. The reason? Strong characterization, risk taking, and big moments that matter. Unlike your popular super hero comics, you really don’t know what’s going to happen in this book.

Pretty much anyone could die or be changed in lasting ways at any point. In fact, some characters die in ways not nearly as grand as you would expect. The reason for that is…that’s life. We don’t all get to die a hero. This year escalated the danger and brought in a new villain who rivals the Governor. This isn’t REALLY a horror comic…it’s a survival comic. I hope it survives for years to come!

Daredevil

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Daredevil’s success comes from Mark Waid knowing that the book needed to go in a different direction than was obvious. By taking Daredevil out of the Noir of Frank Miller and Brian Michael Bendis, the book could be judged against a totally different light. Here’s an action/adventure book that is a little more super heroic than year’s past. Through strong characterization of the supporting cast, mixture of new takes on villains, and shorter more succinct stories, this run is one of the most loved books out there today. The chemistry between Waid and Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin (as well as Mike Allred) have created some of the most fun and beautiful books Marvel has produced in years.

Saga

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This is how the Image comics solicit for Saga sold us this book: STAR WARS meets ROMEO AND JULIET meets GAME OF THRONES. Umm…YES?! So much has already been said about this book in the few months since it’s initial release because this is something totally different from anything out there right now. Somewhere between Science Fiction and Fantasy, this is a story destined to be told in other mediums. One of Brian K. Vaughns greatest talents is pairing himself with an artist who really puts a definitive stamp on the book. His collaborators are often known primarily for their work with him from that point on. I feel like that will be the case for Fiona Staples with this book. That fact that you become so invested in these characters so quickly is only overshadowed by how fascinated you can become in this new universe of the book. BKV always does a great job of telling stories with definitive beginnings, middles, and ends. Here’s hoping the end doesn’t come to quick for this book.

Animal Man

It was between Animal Man and Swamp Thing for the best breakout hit from DC’s New 52. In my opinion, Animal Man has the slight advantage over Swamp Thing because of his cast. Swamp Thing’s cast is cool but there’s not much in the way of supporting characters. Animal Man, however, has a whole family of characters who are central to the very straight forward plots. The fact that Animal Man and Swamp Thing are both two sides of a war against the third is why they are often compared and why they are crossing over in one of the best storylines of 2012, Rotworld. One difference between Animal Man and Swamp Thing that a lot of readers don’t care for is the rotating artists. To me, each one has brought something different to the table while still being in a similar dark style. I think it’s what ties this book to it’s super hero roots.

dc new 52

Animal Man is not a super hero book but it has a super hero past. I think this is something that makes it feel like a hybrid DC/Vertigo Book. His past adventures as a super hero make for some cool vignettes but the further we unravel his true purpose the more we find out that it was just ruse put on by his creators. Between his family dynamic, his role as a substitute the true chosen one (his daughter), and never knowing what is going to come next, this book has proved itself worthy of comparisons to the book’s most famous run by Grant Morrison. Easy to pick up and get hooked on by non-comic book readers, Animal Man is all the things we were promised with the New 52 and the ultimate answer to the critics of the reboot.

Wolverine and the X-Men

This comic has it ALL! Each issue is jammed with tons of characters both new and old in a celebration of all eras of the X-Men. The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning is even crazier than Hogwarts! The new characters in this book instantly make you want to read more about them. Characters like Kid Omega, Broo, Kid Omega, Indra, and Genesis make you want more stories to feature them as opposed to the already well known and liked members of the X-Men. No easy task. The plotlines in this book are so weird and executed so well that these comics need to be immediately read again in order to believe what you are seeing. Some examples are Krakoa as the living security system/school grounds, fighting microscopic brood inside Kitty’s body, Toad and Husk’s romance, Angel’s new personality, and Wolverine and Kid Omega going to a space casino in order to get money to pay their debts.

wolverine broo kid omega

One single issue should be enough to tell you anything can happen in this book. That issue is #17 which stars Doop. Easily the weirdest character in the X-Men universe, Doop’s role is explained here in this packed issue without taking anything away from his mystery. A true test of how great this book is how it crosses over with the mandatory involvement with AvX. What often derails books actually worked beautifully in Wolverine and the X-Men. The last date between Colossus and Kitty is gut-wrenching and possible unforgivable. Professor X’s goodbye was so strong that it felt inevitable he was going to soon die. Everything said, this book is the densest most fun super comic on the market.

Best Bets August 2012

We want to apologize right off the bat for Nick’s sound quality. His Skype connection gave him a cyborg-like tone to his voice. That said, we get to talk about some of our favorite comics of August 2012 in this episode.

The intro and outro song you hear is the theme song for Superman The Animated Series.

Green Lantern Annual #1 – Rise of the Third Army starts here.

The cover is suppose to remind you of Superman #75′s Death of Superman.

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This is what the soldiers of the Third Army looks like.

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Justice League #12

This is the controversial cover that got major media attention.

Short Box Podcast Comic Book Review Jim Lee

This kiss heard ’round the world:

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Here’s the lineup of the new Justice League of America book that we mentioned:

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Wolverine and the X-Men #15

Iron Man and Broo become quick friends!

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The last page of Wolverine and the X-Men #15. Reminiscent of the original X-Men.

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Batman Beyond #7

Here’s the cover from the image which shows this different version of the Batman Beyond costume.

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Batman Inc. #3

This issue was put on hold for over a month because of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. This is the scene that held the book back.

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This is what Batman looks like as Matches Malone.

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Here’s the fist look at Damian’s new “Red Bird” costume. Nick called him “Red Wing” by mistake.

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Damian as Red Bird looks to be teaming up with the as yet to be revealed Wingman (as seen on this upcoming cover):

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No one knows who Wingman is except Batman. It’s someone who knows who Bruce is and has a reputation to salvage. Jason Todd? Jean Paul Valley? We’ll find out!

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Alan Napier (1960′s Batman) as Alfred doned the Batsuit as a way to protect Bruce’s identity.

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Batcow is back!

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Animal Man in Grant Morrison’s run is a vegetarian. At one point during his run, Animal Man actually confronts Morrison himself who reveals himself as a comic book writer who control’s Buddy Baker’s life. This is what he had to say about him being a vegetarian:

DC Vertigo Comic Books Short Box

Buddy Tells his wife he is a vegetarian and his whole family will be now too:

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After looking into it further, it seems like Poison Ivy gets her sustenance from the sun…like a plant.

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Next up is our question from Shortbot. You can send your questions to him at @TheShortBot on Twitter.

Here’s a great link to alternative versions of Superman. Many of these are based on different people, other than the Kents, finding the baby Kal-El and raising him.

The story of Superman being raised by the Waynes is called Superman: Speeding Bullets. It’s was an Elseworld story written J.M. DeMatteis and the artwork of Eduardo Barreto in 1993. Here’s the cover:

elseworlds 90s comic books reviews

His Kryptonian powers manifest the first time while his parents are murdered leaving him to use heat vision to kill Joe Chill. Later he discovers the Batcave and decides he too is a bat!

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Martha Kent from Superman For All Seasons.

martha kent comic books reviews

Here is the actual nail from: Justice League The Nail, that stopped the Kents in this reality from finding Kal-El and adopting him.

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Dont forget to leave your question for Shortbot!

Best Comics of August

Nick and Adam discuss their favorite stories of August.

Justice Legaue 12 Superman Wonder Woman

They discuss:

  • Green Lantern Annual #1 – The beginning of “The Third Army”
  • Justice League #12 – The controversial Superman / Wonder Woman romance
  • Wolverine & the X-Men #15 – AvX tie-in
  • Batman Beyond Unlimited 7
  • Batman Inc. #3

Remember, you can check them out on iTunes here or listen to the file here:

Listen to the episode directly here.

iTunes listeners, do us a huge favor and rate, review, and subscribe. It helps us a lot in the iTunes rankings.

Short Box Podcast Reviews Comic BooksA Welcome Pause In Action

AvX is once again suffering from summer crossover fatigue. There is a point in the last few line-wide crossovers (around the beginning of the last third of the story) where the follow-up to the crossover has been announced and with a little intuition you can figure out how the story will end based on future solicits. This is where AvX is right now in the beginning of September. Sure, I don’t know which mandatory death is coming but I can cross off quite a few from the list after seeing upcoming art.

What I am getting at is that AvX went on longer than I wanted and I’m burnt out. Thank goodness for this issue of Wolverine and the X-Men! This has been one of my favorite X-Titles since it first appeared a year ago because it still has heart and great character moments. Jason Aaron understand the X-Men formula and I’m glad he’s steering this ship. In fact, it’s the only X-Men book that feels like a true X-Book to me. Sure, I love X-Force (also one of my favorites) but I like if for different reasons. What I am looking for in an X-Men story is equal parts internal drama as well as high stakes action. What this issue lacks in action (which there is plenty of mindless variations of this running in the other AvX tie-ins) it MORE than makes up in character moments. Other issues of this title dish out action in big ways too so there’s something for everyone.

This issue feels very much like a state of the union for the reasonable members of what was once Xavier’s team. Let’s touch on a few of these character moments:

Wolverine & Hope - They take a second to talk before what will probably be the final battle of AvX. They’ve had some real ups and downs but I think they are both on the same page now. This conversation happens in the X-Men’s graveyard. It’s a bad sign when your super hero team has their own graveyard. It’s worse when the biggest memorial is also for a redhead who took on the Phoenix. Hope should be scared.

Beast, Iron Man, Agent Brand, Broo, & Iron Fist - Only this book would have this collection of Avengers and X-Men working on the end game to take out the Phoenix. What makes this book so good is moments like this. In probably the best interaction in this comic, Broo and Iron Man become quick friends through an exchange that proves Broo is ready for the big leagues. The students of the Jean Grey School are the reason I look forward to this book so much.

short box comic book reviews

Quentin Quire, Rachel Grey, & Professor X - This is a quick exchange but it was VERY important. Quentin calls Xavier out on no longer being relevant and spending all his time on the sidelines. This is something that fans have been rumbling about for a few years now. Ever since Cyclops kicked Professor X out of his mansion a few years ago, he has barley been an important character in the Marvel Universe. Xavier’s retort proves that he is the foremost educator and knows better than anyone on how to deal with an unruly student. His ability to play mind games are more than just his telepathy. These two pages alone were worth the price of admission for any X-Men fan.

Husk & Toad - This new relationship comes out of nowhere but should make sense because both characters have become marginalized at the school to different extents. I think Toad has paid his penance and deserves some happiness. I hope this goes somewhere.

Kitty Pryde & Iceman - This couple seemed to come out of nowhere but, through Kitty’s aggressive behavior, it seems to be moving faster. It makes Colossus’s decesion to become the Juggernaut and then a Phoenix that much more tragic. They always seemed fated to be together but his recent changes have alienated himself from Kitty completely.

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Kid Gladiator, Gladiator, Warbird - These Shi’ar characters story comes to a conclusion. I really came to enjoy Kid Gladiator and I really hope this is just the beginning of a new direction for this character. He fit in this school because he was a VERY powerful character who could just as easily become a villain as a hero. Warbird’s story, however, will probably continue more in Astonishing X-Men than this book.

Wolverine & Iceman - The status of their relationship is strengthen through their recent disagreement. I will say, however, that I believe Wolverine is just placating Bobby.

Idie & Hope - These two friends have a nice quiet moment before the inevitable storm. These two were a big part of the Schism and it’s nice to see them taking a breath before what could be the biggest battle of Hope’s life.

Other quick moments that mattered:

  • Angel graduates. The odd story of Warren’s new life continues.
  • Beast realizes how far they have come since his original X-Men days (foreshadowing “The All New X-Men”)
  • Integration of the other younger mutants from Utopia. Will they stay at the school after AvX?
  • Martha finds Evan cute and even stranger…Krakoa is attracted to Dust?
  • Professor X promises to save Cyclops
  • This version of the first class but with Wolverine in the role of Cylops and Rachel standing in for Jean.

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All this happened in one book that featured no fighting but kept my attention and excitement more than any book this week. If you loved the X-Men of the 80s and 90s…this should be your book.