Sunday, April 30, 2006

My X - Men Team or All I wanna do is zoom zoom on your boom boom, Boom Boom

Over at DAVE`S LONGBOX X-Men week has gone into overtime and has now reached the topic everybody knew was coming sooner or later. You can´t have X - Men week without selecting your favorite X - Men team.

While I can´t argue with Dave´s selection for the all-star team I tried to come up with my own team of the Un - X - pected X - Men. Now if I could select a team of X - Men seven members would not be enough for me. So I decided to bend the rules here to include two more members but it´s for a good reason. To make up for this I applied the " no Wolverine allowed " rule which means he would only appear in every third issue of the series.

So first there are the two special members : Nightcrawler and Gambit. Now if you know me you might say : But SUBZERO, you hate Gambit. Why do you want to have him in your team ? The answer is simple. To kill him off in the most painful and spectacular way I can think of in the first three pages of every issue. Isn´t that the best way to start an issue ?

You´re on page three and Gambit´s already dead - now the real fun can begin. And Nightcrawler would be the team leader but not on the missions because .... come on, he´s german and we germans are always good F├╝hrers aren´t we ? This way he would at least speak proper german ( but only when swearing ) and he would be still around whenever I want him to be without the need to be always in the spotlight of the story.

 Now to the regular seven team members. The boys were very easy.

First of all comes Morph from the Age of Apocalypse. I still haven´t read the EXILES issues but I just have to include him because he´s the coolest, the funniest, he has the biggest heart and always has a funny line.

You just have to have one funny character and it helps that he can take on every size, shape or form. He can look like anybody and is therefore the ultimate spy. It always pays off to have someone with his skills on a team.

So Morph, you´re in.

Number two is Doug Ramsey, Cypher. As an old New Mutants fan ( which was by the way the BEST young hero team book ever written by Marvel ) I just have to include Doug but not the actual comic version but how the character should have been written from the start. I could now go on at length what a great team member he would be but somebody at Dave´s Longbox already put it into words and in a much better way than I would ever be able. So I´m shamelessly quoting now : I would put Doug Ramsey on my team any day. Seriously. I don't think the writers every fully utilized his abilities. A character who could understand ANY language would be a natural born leader.

Think about it. He would automatically know what his team would need to hear to inspire and command them. He would instinctively know what buttons to push to cajole or intimidate, without the icky intrusiveness of mind reading. He would be a human lie detector or know when to attack by reading an opponent's body language. He would be the ultimate lady's man, because he would know exactly what words to say, and what or where to touch to make them drawers come flyin' off! Doug Ramsey could stop a riot without raising a finger, walk into Kabul and find Osama Bin Laden by sitting down and having a nice chat over tea, or persuade Galactus to become a vegetarian without raising his voice. Doug Ramsey would be a no-nonsense, plain-spoken, lovin', fightin' machine, because he wouldn't have the time or inclination to deal with BS. Don't deny it, baby, 'cause you know it's true!

Couldn´t have said it better. But he would not be the team leader.

Cypher, you´re in.

Cannonball is number three but not the dressman version who was full of self doubts and all starstruck when he became a member of the X - Men. My team would have the earlier version with the big ears and the ultimate leader skills. The one whom Xavier called in EXECUTIONER´S SONG one of the most dangerous mutants on the planet because not only did he learn from Xavier himself he was combat trained by Magneto AND Cable.

He knows all the tricks and is a master tactician. He is invulnerable and he even knocked out Gladiator. So he would be my team leader and since he had kind of a " surrogate father / son " relationship going on with Wolverine this would also be good for the issues when Wolverine guest stars. They could go on a few ultrasecret missions deemed too hardcore for the other X - Men. Something like a cross between Ultimates and Authority on acid. And he has history with Cypher who would therefore have no problems following his orders. So Cannonball, you´re in.

Like I said, the guys were easy. For the women I needed a little more time since there are so many I like : Storm, Rogue, etc. But I can´t take em all because then it would be an all - women team. So I decided to take one female from the all - stars and take the other three from the b - list.

Girl number one is Blink. Like Morph she was in Age of Apocalypse where she just made the transformation from shy character to cool kick - ass ├╝berbabe. She´s one of my favorite X - girls and she can teleport.

So I don´t need Nightcrawler on the actual missions because you don´t need two teleporters. And she and Morph really mesh. You see ? It all makes sense. Blink, you´re in.

Psylocke is the female member from the all - star team who fills the role of super sexy ninja babe as good as the position of team telepath.

Because you just need a telepath on the X - Men. That´s a rule. Somebody has to relay Cannonball´s orders to the rest of the team and keep in contact with Xavier and the other team members.

Also, she´s a seasoned pro who has faced everything from Sentinels to the adversary. And she has come back from the dead twice already which has to count for something.

So Psylocke, you are in, mamacita.

The third girl is the " what the f - word ? " surprise member you would never have guessed in a million years : Namorita. That´s right.

It has been revealed that Namor was the first mutant of the Marvel Universe and since Namorita turned out to not be his cousin but kind of a clone that´s good enough for the " mutant by association " rule. Hey, if Hawkeye is a mutant now than why can´t Namorita be one ? Not only is she one of the hottest woman in the Marvel Universe she is also superstrong, can breathe underwater ( no wonder with that set of lungs ) and flies. And someone has to carry Doug Ramsey or Psylocke. She looks ultrahot in a swimsuit  although if it was my choice she would wear this.

And before you call " foul " or call me a pervert or something worse the guys at Marvel put her in this costume, not me. The Bronze Age rules !

Okay, technically speaking she only wears this on the cover of this issue but you ca see her in her full metal - bikini glory ( two years BEFORE the slave Leia outfit took over our collective minds ) in the very next issue.

As Doctor Andy notes in his post on the issue Namorita is not wearing this when Tiger Shark kidnapped her, so it´s very possible that some serious sexual harassment happened here.What I wonder is if Namorita did not have it on her did it come from Tiger Shark´s own private collection ?

Namorita also sported her Follet Tortuga bra in MARVEL TWO - IN - ONE 2.

She has a similar metal bikini / harem girl outfit in SUPER VILLAIN TEAM UP  9 and AVENGERS 155 . Doctor Doom approved of her court attire.

They later made her skin blue and did some other weird stuff to her but she looks hot any which way so : Namorita Prentis .... you´re in.

With that we come to the final member of my handpicked X - Men team.

Now I have really saved the best for last because the number one girl on my X-Men team is also a supersexy blonde with two special attributes.

Now THAT´S really a dynamic duo. Tabitha Smith, a.k.a. Boom Boom is the Power Girl of the New Mutants ( and later X-Force ) and I´m sure the guys on the team suggested her codename when she hit puberty and her mutant powers were not the only things that developed tremendously.

I can just picture her thinking : " I wonder why all the boys just call me Boom Boom even when I´m not in costume. Maybe Tabitha really IS difficult to remember. " I don´t think any of her teammates digressed.

You just have to love a girl with the name of a stripper who also happens to have the booming body ( and sometimes the wardrobe ) to go with it.

It´s all about the boom booms. Even the insufferable Deadpool said the only reason there were cameras in every room of X-Force´s headquarters was that Cable was getting off on watching Tabitha putting her uncovered giant boom booms on the glass in the shower. And who could blame him ?

She was Cannonball´s girlfriend so the two could get re-aquainted in the danger room´s x-rated marathon midnight olympics sessions. Although the name would then have to be changed to " do not disturb room " .

Boom Boom ( her name subsequently changed to Boomer and later to Timebomb and Meltdown when Marvel realized that women could find superheroines who wear stripper names a tad bit insulting ) can make timebombs which is always good because blowing stuff up kicks ass.

Of course she could use her boom booms to distract bad guys provided she wears the right outfit. So Boom Boom ... you are most definitely in.

I have just realized one thing : Blink, Morph, a Doug Ramsey who is alive and has greater control of his mutant power, Cannonball with the big ears, Psylocke, Namorita and Boom Boom on my team ? I´m not writing X-Men I´m writing EXILES. I guess if that is the case I should go all the way and take an alternate sex version of Boom Boom who is built like Power Girl.

With three guys and four gals my X - Men team is really balanced but you can´t forget to count in Nightcrawler as supervisor . And with Gambit - who dies a horrific death in every single issue - I even have some room in the team roster for guest starring sexy super heroines now and then. You know, Rogue would be a good addition to the team since her ability to absorb powers, memories or any kind of information would make her a perfect candidate for stealth missions. Is it too late to include her ?

So this is my selection for a perfect X - Men team, or at least a team I would like to write or read about and you can let me know your picks. 

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

I pulled Dan Slott´s THING !!!

Friday was a very busy day which began with my contact person at the job agency calling me on the phone and throwing me out of bed at high noon. Now I know what you are thinking : Oh, that´s so typical all this unemployed slackers stay in bed the whole day. Which in my case is the result of a ton of difficulties I had with the job agency because they didn´t want to pay me and they were always basical-ly treatening me like some kind of criminal.

Now if you have a lot of problems that is not really good for your sleep be-cause you lie awake for hours phanta-sizing about blowing up the job agency and killing every single employee in the most painful way ( or maybe that´s just me ) and when you finally get to sleep it is very late. Since I almost always had troubles with the job agency my body has now fallen into a sleeping pattern that requires that I am absolutely exhausted before I go to bed which is one of the reasons why I write this blog so late at night ( or early in the morning depending how you see it ). I tried to break this routine four times already by staying awake one whole day and going to bed at a normal time. But after a few days the old sleeping pattern emerged again. All I achieved was being extra tired for three days because I lost 8 hours of sleep and had to regain them through the week.

So my job person had called and told me that one of the 1 EURO jobs I had ap-plied for and which was already occupied at that time was free again. If you are from America you may not know what an 1 EURO job is. Think slave labor that is support-ed by the state. Basically it is an easy way for politicians to fake the unemploy-ment statistics. Not that I´m against the idea of people who have no job at the moment doing something useful with their time. But why not give them real jobs ? This way politicians are only creating a new kind of cheap slaves and before long they will start to replace real jobs.

I mean who will hire a normal worker if he can get somebody to do the same work for 1 EURO an hour ? No, I think this is just one stupid idea in a long line of stupid ideas. This way the pressure on workers and the job market will only grow. I mean it will not be long before you will always have a little voice in your head that says : Somebody is willing to do your job for far less.

Anyway, on Friday I had to go to the bank, renew the lottery ticket, buy two new folders, make some photo copies for my ap-plications, complete my applications, go to the post office to send the applica-tions, buy eucalyp-tus drops for my cough, get money from the bank, drop by the comic shop.....and if all that is not enough to search the whole town of Ludwigs-burg to find the Christian Believecenter ( I know that´s not a very good translation but I didn´t name it and Faithcenter doesn´t sound much better ).

On the map it looked like it was just near the station but I found out that in reality it is at the outskirts of another part of town. What looked like a nice stroll through my home town turned quickly into one of the most grueling marches in the history of mankind leaving me physically and mentally near the point of breakdown. Of course there were no signs which was the reason why I not only had to follow the three longest streets of Ludwigsburg I also overshoot my destination for about 1 kilometer and had to double back. That was also the reason why I finally found it because it is only visible from a far distance when you are coming from the opposit direction. So I had to walk for two hours only to find out that, no, there was no open job. All the suffering for nothing. I only wanted to go home. And that´s the reason that I´m writing this the following day.

Like I said I was at the comicshop and I got some comics from my pull list :

FIN FANG FOUR 1 There´s just one reason I bought this issue : Roger Langridge. I discovered his work in Paradox Press BIG BOOK OF URBAN LEGENDS where he drew my favorite story ( which even was an in an episode of X-FACTOR the tv series where they said it was a true story - even Hollywood can fall victim to urban legends ). Almost any comic from him is worth the money except this strange one where he also wrote the stories. Don´t remember the name ( maybe it was ZOOT ) but it was like watching a train wreck. Fing Fang Four on the other hand is a really nice story. Not the comic of the century but an entertaining read for all fans of Roger.

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  • THE THING 1 - 4 Okay, I´ve been writing about it a few times now I finally did it. I pulled Dan Slott´s THING ! Man, that should be a t-shirt. For the last three months every time I was at the comic shop I´ve been flipping through the pages and thinking about buying the issues. And now I finally decided to take a chance with this series. Because dammit, I want to read issue 8 which is the big poker game issue ! And if I expect others to buy it I have to lead by example, right ? I have already read the first two issues and so far it is really good. The character-isation is spot on ( not like in She Hulk ) and while Dan Slott had problems with depicting the Great Lake Avengers as cool guys in their own series that´s not the case with good ol Benji. Everybody knows he´s a big star just oozing of coolness. The art by Andrea Di Vito is brilliant as usual.

    Issue 1 / Issue 3 / Issue 4

    RED SONJA 8 + 9 I´m still struggling with this series. I´m not a big fan of this new " from pencils directly to color " trend which can be good like in ORIGIN but normally it just looks to me like they didn´t have time to finish the comic. That was one of the reasons why I stopped buying the new CONAN series from Dark Horse and it may be this series final nail in the coffin. The variant covers are nice and all but it´s not that big of a plus if you don´t get the ones you like best. And I´m still not over the fact that Marvel HAD to change her origin to make her more of a stereotype. It wasn´t good enough to have a woman who is so good with a blade that she would only sleep with somebody who had bested her in combat because otherwise he wouldn´t be worthy of her. No, they have to give her a dramatic and " realistic " background and turn her into yet another woman motivated by rape. And the new origin doesn´t even make sense. Why should a female deity give her special powers because she was raped on the condition that IF a man bests her in combat she looses her powers ? Is that not destined to bring her into a position were she will get raped again ? I don´t think that goddess really likes Red Sonja. Maybe she was just fed up with all the prayers and said : " I know how to shut you up, bitch. I´m giving you powers but you always have to prove you deserve them. And on the one bad day when you really need me I´m going to desert you and make sure you get raped all over again. And all I´m going to do is watch. " So for now the series is on the chopping block if the stories don´t improve a lot.

    TAROT WITCH OF THE RED ROSE 36 + 37 While I was no big fan of Jim Balent´s work on Catwoman I really like TAROT. My brother initially read the series and when he thought about cancelling it I read the issues. And I really liked the mix of gothic horror, comedy, porn, female empowering magic and action. So I transfered it to my pull list. I´m not sure if I have read the issue before these two issues ( I´m sure I studied the pictures ). I know, it´s not the right cover but I don´t have any other.

    100 BULLETS 71 Always a good read. One of the few comic books by Vertigo with good art. Check it out for yourself !

  • Issue 65
  • / Issue 66 / Issue 67 / Issue 68 / Issue 69 / Issue 70 / Issue 71

    STRANGERS IN PARADISE 81 ( 9 to final issue ) I just hate it when good series end. Especially when I have followed the series for a few years and have the feeling to know the main character intimately like on Alan Davis´EXCALIBUR ( which would have ten times as much if the title had been X-CALIBUR ). So it is a bittersweet read.

    CAPTAIN AMERICA 17 So far the story with the Red Skull´s daughter is interesting especially the part AIM plays in it. I wonder what it is they need Cap´s help with. Hmmm.

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  • SQUADRON SUPREME 2 Officially back on the pull list. No slips in quality so far to the old series. Only time will tell if it stays that way.

    EXILES 79 ( Paul Pelletier is back !!! ) Finally....the Paul has come EXILES !!! Don´t you just love the Rock´s catch phrases ? This is the first issue by regular artist Paul Pelletier so I can finally start to read the series. I´m exited to see if I wasted the money I´ve invested so far or if the series is as good as I expect after NEGATION.

    That was this installation of my pull list. Next topic : the secret conspiracy of the gay community for world domination.

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  • Thursday, April 27, 2006

    Am I my brother´s comickeeper ?

    I´m writing on this particular entry of my comicblog for one week now.

    I started to write it one week ago because I stumbled upon some pictures about STREET FIGHTER II which is a series my brother used to read ( and I read his issues ) but it vanished mysteriously from his pull list. He´s been meaning to put it on his pull list again and get the issues he missed. And every time I remind him of that ( or the fact that he is still missing issue 4 of THE SENTRY ) I ask myself : Why do I always have to remind him of this stuff ?

    Anyway, that was the initial thought that got me started but every time I wanted to post it some other topics crept into the foreground like the death of comics or CASE CLOSED. Or I had to do other stuff like changing the tires on the car because it´s now summer. Which of course I had to do because my older brother uses the car more often then me but he´s completely useless when it comes to fixing the car. And I´m the one who learned the business of car mechanic anyway so it is my duty to do it. We put on the tires for summer ( which means I did it and my brother watched ) and when we were finished we found out that one of the tires was flat. So I had to change it again. Anyway, I don´t want to complain too much because my brother went to the garage to have it fixed the next day alone and even paid for it. And he cleaned the whole apartement last week. Okay, that was only because he expected a visit from a friend but he did it nonetheless. All that stuff has nothing to do with the original post which got sidetracked too often. But now I´m finally going to post it. I mean it.

    As to the title : yes, in my case I am my brother´s comickeeper because he´s just as useless in this area as the other one is with fixing cars. I´m always praying nothing happens to him while he´s driving with the car since he can´t even change the wiper. Well, nothing too serious at least.

    My younger brother has tons of comics but he just keeps them on stacks along with all his game magazines, anime DVDs, console games, CDs and whatnot all over his room on every table or other surface. He likes to buy the comics and read them but that´s it. He doesn´t like to put them in order and since I do and have a little more free time it usually is my job to wade through all the issues floating around and put them into chronological order, put them into nice boxes and thus prevent them to get destroyed. Because he never thinks about what happens to them after he reads them. They could get mangled and he wouldn´t notice. Of course I´m not only doing this out of the goodness of my heart. It´s sometimes the only way to find the issues I´m looking for so I´m mostly doing it for myself. The other day I was sorting through them and I found some issues I wanted to read but didn´t find earlier. So it is sometimes like a small treasure hunt for me. Which doesn´t mean I won´t use it as leverage. So now we come to the part I initially wrote :

    Why is there so much violence in the world ? Someone said : All men are brothers ( not like " in the hood " brothers more like " all in tha family " brothers ) and I think that the answer is right there. Who ever thought all men being brothers is a good idea never had a brother. Kain killed his brother Abel and you better get with the programm if you want to survieve the experience ( a little Claremontism in honor of X-Men week ). No war is fought as ferociously as the war between brothers. But really, there is one thing brothers are good for : swapping comics. Since my brother is also reading comics we try to ensure we don´t have the same comics on our pull lists which is not always easy but usually we manage somehow. This way we get to read twice as much comics. So from my brother´s pull list I read this week :

    ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN 92 This title was on both our pull lists but with issue 50 I decided that it was time to reduce the titles on my pull list. It´s enough if one of us buys the title and since my brother had the first Spider-Man run with Mark Bagley in his collection he stayed with the title. What gave me the opportunity to keep one of my titles. Issue 92 is the second part of the Deadpool storyline. I´m always anxious to see the ultimized versions of the 616 characters and although there were some weak issues I haven´t read a bad one yet.

    WARLORD 2 I´ve been reading comics for over 20 years now which means I remember the previous series. The one with the good art by Mike Grell. Although only nine or twelve issues were ever translated to german the series is still one of my alltime favorite comic series and I always hope to find some issues on the Stuttgarter comic fair or in Erlangen. So it´s especially painful for me to read the new series done by Bart Sears who in my mind is still the guy who did some spectacular art on X-O MANOWAR from VALIANT comics and who still draws the best version of Power Girl. I guess I will keep reading out of curiosity to see what happens next since I don´t have to pay for it.

    Issue 1 / Issue 2

    BLUE BEETLE 1 There is not much I can say about the series at this point. To my taste the idea of " young unexperienced hero has to learn the ropes " has already been done with Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern or far superior with INVINCIBLE at Image. So far the book looks promising and intriguing.

    SPIDERGIRL 97 This is one of the series I´m jealous of being on my brother´s pull list. I just love Spidergirl. This is THE best Spider series. Better than ultimate, amazing or whatever. And to think that I practically had to bend his arm to put it on his pull list ( which I would have done without hesitation ). Of course it will be canceled at issue 100. Well, this just helps to make one of this old, cranky and bitter comic guys out of me you see at conventions going : " Comics used to be much better in my youth. " Which actually is true.

    Issue 84 / Issue 85 / Issue 86 / Issue 88 / Issue 89 / Issue 90 / Issue 91 / Issue 92 / Issue 93 / Issue 94 / Issue 95

    ANT 5 This is one of the rare success stories that happen in the comic industry once in a while. One guy has an original idea, manages to publish it against all odds and everybody loves it. The series gets published by a bigger company and has bigger success. If you don´t know ant you probably live under a rock in a desolate desert on some post apocalyptic alternate earth with no comicshops anyway. It is one of the most original takes on a superhero of the last years and the main character is a hot chick. Which never hurts.

    THE SENTRY 7 Only one issue left to the end of the series. At first I was afraid it would be just a rerun of the original series only with better art by John Romita Jr. But in this series we get much deeper into the mystery behind the most powerful superhero nobody knows. I don´t want to spoil anything but right now I can´t wait to see how it turns out.

    Issue 1 / Issue 2 / Issue 3 / Issue 4 / Issue 5 / Issue 7

    MOON KNIGHT 1 I was never that big of a Moon Knight reader. I read some of the Siencewicz issues ( don´t crucify me if I spelled the name wrong...please ? ) when they were released in Spain but apart from that most of the golden days of the comic was before my time. I read the issues done by some guy inked by Tom Palmer and stayed till the end of James´Fry issues ( who I was a big fan of back in the day because his style really stood out ) . And then I also read the mini series by Mark Texeira which confused me a little. But that was basically it. So far the new Moon Knight is really interesting because it seems that Mark Spector can´t get any lower. Of course the art by David Finch is excellent and in itself worth the price of admission. A series that almost ended on my own pull list.

  • Issue 1

  • PLANETARY 25 No need for comments on this one ( Yes, I know that´s not the actual cover ). Everybody knows it, everybody loves it. Everybody is sad to see it end with issue 27. But that´s how it is. The Sentry ends, Spidergirl ends, Strangers in Paradies ends and the Thing is already in danger. But there are always new and interesting comics coming out so I don´t think I have to worry. But if you want to support the Thing series and participate in the PULL MY THING movement go to your comic dealer and put it on your pull list. And even if it is only to read the big poker game issue.

    Tomorrow it´s time for another visit to the comic shop so the next topic will probably be the continuation of my pull list. Wow, I finally finished this post. So till then, always remember : With great power comes great responsibility !

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