Greetings, welcome, and salutations to Yezra and ice princess deluxe's brand new column here at W&J! We've aptly titled it "In Their Royal Opinion" because, if you know us, we *are* royalty ::snicker:: Well... we like to think we are, anyway. And because of that, we generally act like it, too. Like all good royal people, that means we like to examine, reflect and form opinions on whatever comes our way. Every piece of media has its critics, and we were sitting around one day going "Hey, we love comics, right? Why don't *we* give our reviews and opinions about them?" And so our column was born. Every comic we review will have a short synopsis of the plot before it. So, at the very least, even if you don't agree with us, you can at least read up on a comic that you may not be able to get! And you never know which one will strike our fancy and get reviewed... So, without further adieu, here we go!
And to start out our reviews on a Wolverine-involved comic, what better than the newest issue of Origin? This one is part five out of the six part series and it's titled ・evelation'.
We start out with Rose reciting William Blake's poem with scenes of Logan running through the forests with a pack of wolves. By this time, it looks as if a few years have passed since the last installment. Rose is portrayed as a much older and mature young woman, and it looks as if Smitty, the dig's main man is interested in her. Logan comes in and breaks up whatever romantic moment there might have been between the two in a trademark Wolverine way: gruff and grumpy. Smitty says that he has a new job for Logan at the quarry. The next day the two men go off and Smitty shows Logan how to handle the explosives. This shows that he has a considerable amount of trust for the young man. A bond forms between them, and many of the men notice it. The next few pages show several men playing cards with Cookie, that fat cook that intimidated and kicked the snot out of Logan when he was younger. The men start talking about Logan, comparing his working skills to that of the animal named Wolverine. Could be a hint as to where he got his codename. Cookie tries to insult Logan and get a few laughs out of the men with him, but it backfires and leaves him alone.
The next page is in "Rose Diary Dialogue" explaining how much Logan is fitting in with the rest of the men at camp. She goes on to say how sometimes Logan goes up in the mountains and looses himself there. She is speculating that's where he goes to get in touch with his animal side. It's confirmed with the picture of him running with the wolf pack again.
Cookie is fed up with the attention Logan is getting and decides to put an end to it. Going to the hut that houses the dynamite, he cuts the fuse of one stick, knowing that Logan is the only one manning the explosives. The fuse originally allowed for one minute to clear the area, but now that time is cut in half. The next scene shows Smitty and Rose going over the books, Smitty pays Rose a compliment, and again it looks as if there's going to be a tender scene between the two. Unfortunately for them it is broken up when one of the workers storms in and announces that there was a cave-in at the rock face. Men are already trying to pry boulders out of the way when Smitty and Rose arrive. Things look pretty bleak, but then some of the men hear an almost animal-like cry coming out from under an overturned wheelbarrow. The thing is lifted and there is Logan, using his body to protect a small boy.
Smitty thanks Logan for saving the little boy's life and hands him some reading material to pass the time with while Logan recovers from his injuries. Smitty explains that the manuscript is about Samurai fighters. He goes on and says that the Samurai say it takes a strong person to follow his own path, and that Smitty sees that strength in Logan. He whispers that he doesn't know how Logan survived, that for all accounts he should have been dead, but tells him that whatever he is, it doesn't make any difference to him. Then he asks Rose to walk out with him for a while. Logan watches from the window with slumped shoulders.
Five men died in the cave-in and Cookie is going through their personal possessions like a vulture. Logan catches him and finally stands up for himself, threatening to kill Cookie if he ever shows his face in came ever again. Proud of his victory, Logan runs back to his and Rose's cabin, only to see her kissing Smitty. A look of disbelief flashes on his face as he runs into the forest, the animal inside him coming out and violently striking out in anger. The next thing he knows, the Alpha Male wolf in the pack shows up, hackles raised. In one trademark feral snarl, Logan's telling him that if he wants a fight, he's going to get it. In the end, Logan defeats the male wolf and assumes the role of Alpha Male in the pack, the old wolf is left to fend for himself.
The scenery changes and comes back to the Howlett estate where the grandfather is now old and by the looks of it, dying. He is talking to someone the reader can't see just yet, telling them just how sorry he was that he had pushed his grandson James away in the first place. He begs whoever is in the room to go out and find him, and to bring him back. In the last page, we see that it is the now adult Dog standing tall beside the old man's bed that agrees to go out and look for James, or in his words, "Hunt him to the ends of the Earth. Like a dog."
Ice: Okay, first impressions on the book. WOW! I was blown away as usual by Kubert's pencils and Isanove's digital painting. The depth of it is beautiful and really adds to Jenkins' brilliant writing. Yez?
Yez: One thing I have loved about Origin is the consistency of the art. Miniseries may not last, and you may be sad to see them go, but chances are the writers and the artists are the same throughout, and that always adds to a good book! And how 'bout that Jean getting all romantic with team leader Scott ... errr, wait a minute! I mean, Rose all lovey-dovey with head miner Smitty? *cough* never saw that coming *cough*・
Ice: Oh no・i>never saw that one coming. Kind of gives us readers a reason Logan has a thing for redheads. Speaking of Smitty, how about some of the things he said to Logan? He called him "Son" at one point, and he's the first man that the writers have shown to be an actual friend/father figure to the young Logan. Makes the whole Rose issue even more poignant. But what got me was that very last page. Goosebumps there. Can I venture to say that Dog is actually a young Victor Creed? Look at him: big guy, blond hair・eason to hate James. He did kill his father and scar up his face after all.
Yez: Yeah, Dog grew up real pretty. And HUGE. It does make you wonder if the writers are going to go that route or not, of having a series of events in his past that are remarkably similar to the life Logan is leading now. One thing I am really enjoying about that approach to the story is the subtle remarks various characters have made that have obviously become a part Logan's everyday language; 'bleedin', 'kid', 'runt', and Logan even used 'bub' in this issue. That was great!
Ice: I totally agree with you as to how pretty Dog turned out! Then again, if we're going with the theory that he's Sabretooth, I've always been partial to Victor as well. Okay, here's my theory on how the last installment (sob! I don't want this to end!) will turn out. Dog will wind up finding Logan, there'll be some big confrontation/fight between them which will end up with either Smitty or Rose getting hurt or killed. If the writers are going Dog equals Creed, we'll be seeing some major bad blood brewing between the two. Maybe even a revelation as to how they are or are not related. Dog sure didn't look like he was the poor gardener's son in that last shot, I'm thinking Old Man Howlett claimed him finally as his grandson or something to that nature. Then it'll all end with Logan running off to the woods or someplace to lick his wounds, maybe a fast forward to the first hints as to how he got involved with Weapon X in the first place, or something to tie this series all together with what we "think" we know about Logan's past.
Yez: But we've seen that happen to Logan already. I'm more in favor of Dog going after Logan, Smitty defending him and getting killed in the process, Dog running off to lick his wounds, and Rose coming to her bleedin' senses! wouldn't it be nice to have a little bit of happiness in his past? then he can get caught by Weapon X and tortured. this way, at least one of the redheads in his life didn't refuse him. Okay, i'll rate it. This book was good, but out of the Origin books, it was pretty much the weakest. The art was consistent with all the issues that have come before (big plus) but there was no money shot to drool over in this one (and yes, I do expect a $ shot per issue when I critique). The plot advanced well, we learned a lot of key items, but nothing major happened other than Cookie getting decked and Rose making with the kisses on Smitty. I'll say 7 out of 10. ice?
Ice: Okay, here's where I gotta argue with ya Yez. No money shot? I thought the one of Dog was pretty darn good for me. And what about the feral snarling Logan was doing? That got my attention! And then there was the shot of Logan shielding that little kid under the wheelbarrow that tugged at my heartstrings. Sure, there wasn't much revealing action like in the second book, which I think was the strongest so far, but I think it still went pretty good. In all, I've gotta rate this one at least an 8 out of 10. I've still got a hunch at least ONE of Logan's new pals is gonna kick the bucket, and the two biggest ones are Rose an' Smitty. Can't wait for next issue!
And now onto our second comic, X-Treme X-Men #11.
Synopsis: The story picks up with the large, angry alien called Shaitan, and some of Khan's soldiers, who have just invaded Earth by way of Remy LeBeau's powers creating a portal with the jewels known as The Madripoor Set. The aliens are screaming and angry that their leader has been captured. They have amassed on Madripoor and are looking not just for conquest, but now for revenge as well. Remy is still hooked up to the jewels and providing the portal for the aliens to invade us. He is in obvious pain, but he is still spitting in the face of the enemy, telling them they will lose.
The president and the folks on Capitol Hill are scrambling to figure out what the beam is. Iron Man and the Avengers get on the phone to Washington and tell them that the beam is essentially a "giant building", slowly becoming more tangible, and it is being used to transport the aliens. The base of the tower is Madripoor Island itself, and the whole thing is protected by a field.
A military chopper with a news reporter on board begins reporting from the sight, and is engaged by alien aircraft, they are hit, they lose control, and the chopper flies straight into the pylon. The transmission is abruptly stopped - these aliens obviously mean business.
Bishop is watching the whole thing and he has a bead on the alien aircraft. Storm orders him to "clean up my sky". The X-Men engage the enemy, blow their crafts away, take some alien prisoners, and save the reporter and the flight crew from one of the damaged choppers as well. The captured enemy soldiers share startled, then hushed looks with Khan that make Sage wonder (the X-Men already know they have an important prisoner, but they don・ know why he is important). Storm covers much of Madripoor in a dense fog, greatly impressing Khan. As in, smitten impressed. A sniper starts shooting at them, it turns out to be Viper shooting at the aliens. Madripoor is her country and she wants to "take no prisoners". She murders all of the soldiers, and Storm pushes Khan out of the way of a stream of bullets to save him. Totally pissed, Storm decks Viper. They all argue over how to handle the situation.
The enemy is coming, so they move to another location. The aliens examine their dead, and come to the conclusion they were executed, further angering them. Madripoorian troops attack them in an ambush, then Shaitan shows up and slaughters the Madripoorian troops.
The X-Men hole up in the upstairs of a Casino, obviously one of Viper's places. They are discussing the situation. They are unsure the 'needle' can be penetrated, let alone destroyed. Storm tells Khan she knows he is "far more than the simple soldier you pretend to be", and asks him to put a stop to this war. Then the wall explodes and Shaitan is on them. A fight ensues. He's pounding them. Storm realizes it's Khan they really want, and she moves to take Khan with her, telling Bishop he is in charge until they rendezvous. But Viper has other ideas. She slashes Storm with her poison fingers, and Storm takes a nasty fall. Viper attacks Khan - who breaks through his shackles like butter, surprise! He knocks Viper all over the place. Shaitan returns to Khan's side. The two of them retrieve Storm, who is badly hurt. Kahn is carrying her like treasure. Kahn insists that their medics meet them as they go back to their people. His intention is to heal Storm, and, "she will be my Queen!"
Yez: Man, I love this comic! Where Uncanny seems to be flailing for a foothold, and New X-Men is good but really weird, X-Treme is what I read a continuing X-Men comic for - beautiful art and good, meaty arcs. The art has been gorgeous and consistent, issue to issue. I apologize to those who appreciate the shake-things-up-visually school, but I'm happy at least one of the X-Titles is not flitting from style to style with every arc - and sometimes every issue!
Ice: You know, aren't we supposed to argue a point here and there? I absolutely adore this comic! the artwork is fantastic as is the writing, I just can't wait to see where this arc goes. I'm happy that there's a place for Storm to be much more than the icy Weather Goddess that she's been portrayed in several other X-Books over the years. I think Claremont and Larroca have written her as a much more down-to-earth character than other writers, and it's good to se her using contractions now and then. I was like "Yes!" when she decked Viper, that psycho chick deserved it, and more. Just another tip of my hat to the writers: they've made the characters believable. The reader feels some sort of emotional reaction to the situations that they're put into, such as Remy being tortured as he is and when 'Ro got attacked with Viper's poison claws. This is the best characterization I've seen in a long time.
Yez: I hate to say it's classic X, but that's the feeling I get. And Uncanny and New are so far away from that now, I find myself missing it. X-Treme filled that void! The only thing X-Treme has disappointed me with since it began is Psylocke's death. I'll never forgive Marvel for that one・I mean, when was the funeral? Did I miss something?! But, the X-Treme story line has still been far more rewarding than the Uncanny one. One thing I have loved about this particular arc is the way they are showing both sides of the conflict. We've seen just as much of the aliens discussing strategy and victory as the X-Men and the humans. That personalizes it for both 'our' side and 'their' side, and that makes for a better story.
Ice: Yeah, Psylocke's death was cruddy, but it introduced two new characters to take the place of Betsy and Henry. I think they could have done it without killing off or seriously injuring beloved characters though. But now they're spotlighting Storm! Go 'Ro! I smell an intergalactic romance shuffling around once she gets back on her feet, with some protests on behalf of Bishop and the new kid Slipstream. And what about Slip? A regular human who Sage turned into a mutant by triggering his dormant X-gene! What if, like Rogue pondered herself, Sage could turn off that gene as well? Could be the answer our favorite Southern Belle has been looking for!
Yez: Oooooh, what a dream that would be! Remy would have no excuses anymore! And Poor Remy! I mean, seeing him in those short shorts is very nice, but I'd rather see him in them as he is just climbing out of bed, not as the Remy LeBeau Portal Express. All I know is, they had better get Remy out of that thing, and fast. Storm's new hairdo was a wonderful surprise - she looks marvelous - but now she's got a new boyfriend! He's purple, he's built, he's got major pull, and he's got a crush on our weather goddess! I love it! You have to admit, given that great money shot on the last panel there, they'd make a ravishing couple.
Ice: Sigh...Remy an' Roguey. They love each other, but they can't do a thing about it! One of the most bittersweet romances in Marvel history. And Remy's declaration in last issue! Just what he told Bishop to tell her made me break out in tears. I am not happy about how they're making him suffer. I dunno about Storm's new hairdo. I kinda liked her old one. I guess it's just that it went with the headpiece she has (a slight different take on her original one), but the look is growing on me. Yeah, her an' Khan would make a cute couple, but. There's always a but in these things. I don't see her having a relationship with him for long. Maybe a little tentative one, but then it'll get all political alien vs. humanity and not work out. Knowing 'Ro's character, she'll try her hardest to stay detached, but it will get to her hard on a personal level.
Yez: I agree - that's Storm to a "T". Well, that's enough gushing about this issue! I'll give it a 9 out of 10; it met most of my 'good issue' requirements - gorgeous art, exciting story, revealing plot points and a cliffhanger ending! Plus no Jean Grey! The only thing I could have asked for more of was Remy's situation being explained some. Marvel better not off him. ice?
Ice: They had better not! It will be a sad day in Ice's World when or if they do something like that to the Rajun Cajun. I agree with having his situation explained a little more. Why was he collecting the Madripoor Set in the first place? Why did 'Ro have one of the stones? How did Remy know Vargas had one? I give this a 9 out of 10 too. Wonderful story that's got my interest, beautiful artwork, and like I said, wonderful writing! If ya haven't gone out to get this one yet, what are ya waiting for?
Okay, folks! That's all for this time! We'll see you next time with two more new comics!
- Ice Princess Deluxe & Queen Yezra