Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pull List Review: For Better...

First, I'm still looking for suggestions on how to do future Pull List Reviews  Click the link and comment with your thoughts.

Now, here's another chunk of my most recent Pull List. Seeing as how I hope to hit up Joker's Child (which is where my Pull List lives) on Sunday, I should probably get cracking on these last two posts...

This will be the remaining issues I enjoyed, while my next post will be those that hit the mark a bit.

All-New X-Men #1
Beast is changing (again) and this time he knows his body won't handle it. Mutantkind is in turmoil and he isn't going to be there to help fix things. Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, and Magik are seen recruiting new, powerful mutants to their cause -- even if they have to harm humans in the process. The other X-Men are at a loss as to what to do -- they don't agree with Scott's new views and know they need to stop him, they're just not sure how.

Beast thinks he knows. He travels back to the time of the original X-men: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Angel and Beast himself. Future Beast tells the startled young Cyclops, "I need you to stop yourself from committing mutant genocide."

A lot of events happen back to back in this issue and I even feel that Beast's reasoning makes a sort of sense -- he's dying and desperate and just wants things to be how they were. Also, the interaction between the younger team and present Beast is done very well, the art is great, and I'm really interested to see what comes next. This issue is a 9/10 for me.
All-New X-Men #2
Shadowcat and Iceman are wondering what's taking Beast so long (heh), so they decide to search his lab. The notice some odd things relating to Beast's physiology, but can't make much sense out of it. Next they fail at hacking his computer. Beast is trying to convince the X-Men of the past that he is who he says he is and why he needs them.

This becomes interesting when he starts spoiling things -- such as Marvel Girl eventually developing telepathic powers (in addition to her telekinetic ones). Or, you know, that Scott killed Professor X. The Hank v. Hank conversations are great, and Past Hank trying to figure out what could possibly drive Present Hank to come to them is actually fairly moving.

The young X-Men are eventually convinced and they arrive at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Because that won't be awkward for Past Jean... Wolverine, in the middle of teaching class, smells (Past) Scott and charges out in a beserker rage, stopped from killing Scott by Jean's telekinesis. This draws the attention of some of the other current X-Men (leading to Iceman meeting himself). They present folks being yelling at Beast, who promptly falls into a coma.

The two teams of X-Men are trying to aid the ailing Beast. Logan calls the past X-Men out and begins to tell them he's sending them back ASAP. Jean, realizing she DOES have telepathic powers, is able to cause Logan to falls asleep. This is odd because Logan is usually immune (or at least very strong) to mental attacks. Possibly screwing with the time line will have some more adverse effects.

At this point, Jean knows she's dead and Scott knows he's gone renegade. They steal a Blackbird and go to confront him -- they know Present Scott is hunting new mutants, so they plan on getting there first.

The final panel is Logan saying, "It was her. It was really her. Jeannie." I wonder how Present Scott will react. Also how Present Emma will...

I loved this issue, though it was a touch slower than the last. Still, solid art, story, and I'm loving the reactions we're given so far -- they're a bit too abrupt to sink in for long; we'll see how long that lasts. This is another 9/10 for me.
All-New X-Men #3
This issue starts ten days before events last issue. Scott, Magneto, and Magik are overlooking their new base -- the old, abandoned Weapon X facility. Two days later, they are seen attacking a convoy, only something goes wrong -- Magneto is having problems controlling magnetism and Scott can't control the power of his optic blasts (which looks pretty badass). They eventually succeed in freeing Emma Frost, who has no interest of seeing Scott; she blames him for turning on her when they were the Phoenix Force. Scott says that it wasn't him, it was the Phoenix.

Then Emma reveals that her powers have changed since the Phoenix as well. Magneto says that doesn't make sense, but Emma reminds him that Cyclops blasted him with a full dose of Phoenix exposure. Scott is determined to make things right, though Emma isn't interested. They do leave together, however, when the authorities arrive at the site of the convoy wreckage.

We then pan to a college peace rally. We see a student find they are a mutant when the begin to morph into whomever they're speaking to.

Back to Scott, we see him blasting away with his massive optics blast, repeating the word "No" over and over again. Mags comes to knock some sense into him, at the same time as threatening him if his powers, the only thing that made him important, weren't returned. Magik pops up and tells them that her powers have only gotten better, giving her access to the Limbo dimension. Emma joins the club and points them to the changeling mutant we saw moments before. They teleport to the mutants location, only to be intercepted by the young X-Men. Shit will hit the fan next issue, and I for one can't wait.

This issue, being focused on the renegades, wasn't as interesting for me and moved a bit slower than I would have liked. I'm still not sure where present Scott is coming from with his New World Order idea, so I'd like to see that more. Most of all, however, I want to see the showdown next issues. This was an 8/10 for me.
Cable and X-Force #1
Cable, Domino, Colossus, and Dr. Nemesis are seen murdering unarmed civilians in some sort of industrial plant. The Uncanny Avengers show up and Havok tries to reason with Cable to understand what's going on. In response, Cable and Co. teleport away, leaving Havok looking like a biased schmuck.

Then, as Marvel loves to do lately, we're taken to "days earlier". Hope is complaining about being in public school while Cable stalker-watches her. He then goes back to his secret base (an airplane graveyard) and talks to Forge. He gets a new arm and then starts having pains in his head, which have apparently been a thing as of late.

Next up, we see Domino breaking into an A.I.M. facility, only to be beaten to the punch by Hope, who recruits her to find Cable. Cable is busy recruiting Dr. Nemesis to fix his head. Back at base, Hope confronts Cable, complaining about him leaving her (I didn't know that Cable was her father, that's interesting). He tells her he missed her and they hug. Cable gets another headache, causing Hope to catch some kind of vision of disaster. The end of the issue is the vision of disaster appearing on the TV.

I'm interested. I don't know much about the characters, but the might just keep it interesting. This issue was an 8/10 for art and interest at the very least, and I'll add this as a recurring issue to the pull list.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #14
Superman shows up at Starfire's spaceship, knocking to be let in. Instead of answering, the Outlaws teleport to Starfire's crashed ship (back on Earth). Red Hood is immediately on the defense, expecting Supes to catch up. He does, of course, and the gang throws down. Superman... Well, let's just say that not a single shit was given that day. Red's civilian friend cuts through the nonsense and tells the group to hear Superman speak.

Superman explains that a powerful alien entity, Helspont, approached him with a job offer. Starfire admits she was similarly asked. Turns out other aliens on Earth are getting the same "join or die" speech and Superman wants to make sure that, when the time comes, that they'll band together against the cause. He says he wants to drag the Outlaws back to the states to pay for their crimes, but Batman has vouched for them (woot woot).

The end of the issue is Red spending some private time with his lady friend. He takes a shower and comes up to her, almost dead on the floor (via some sort of drug overdoes). This mirror's Red's mother's death. The television ends up revealing the Joker, who is back in action and has set Jason up, which we'll see next issue.

My favorite part of this issue is that Superman gets so much shit and is basically looked upon like a tyrant, which is SO unusual from normal perception. The lack of any real story progress does hurt the issue, though. Still, dumping on Supes is worth another arbitrary point, so the issue lands at an 8/10.
Age of Apocalypse #9
This issue starts out with Jean being discovered and reported by Daredevil, while the X-terminated are busy learning from Doom's DNA. They are able to develop a weapon, which the promise to give to Penance, as long as she sets aside a refuge (Australia) for humanity once she takes over Weapon X's energy.

Jean and Graydon go on a fancy date. It ends poorly when she brings up Sabertooth one too many times. Then they are attacked by Weapon X's forces and they know their cover is blown. Jean flees into the sewers while her allies cover her. Flash to Prophet releasing Sabertooth to go help. Flash to Weapon X saying he's getting into the hunt.

This issue is only a 6/10 for me, but the next one brings it up a bit. I still dislike the art and characters, but the story spikes here and there with being interesting.
Age of Apocalypse #10
Jean is on the run. The weapon, a pill, is created to remove Weapon X's Celestial given power. Jean fights off some random tunnel dwelling mutants. Some maneuvering goes down at the Hellfire club so the X-terminated can find the Shadow King (in an effort to get to Jean, supposedly). Jean meets Logan, but is interrupted by Sabertooth. Jean escapes while Sabertooth gets his ass kicked and blows himself up with a grenade.

This is actually a pretty cool moment; Logan says "If it makes you feel better, bub." They both know it won't actually hurt him. And it shows that Logan is still somewhere back there, or at least his personality hasn't been obliterated. I don't feel like looking it up, but wasn't this the Sabertooth in Exiles? Pretty big deal that he'd dead then, even though he's been useless (and wasted) this entire series).

Jean is learning that the pill is the weapon and it has to be ingested. Also, she learns that she was being groomed to take over for Prophet (should anything happen_, but now she was conveniently the only one to possibly get close enough to administer the pill.

The issue ends with the Shadow King getting surprise visit from Quentin Quire (I assume some kind of clone, because he blew his brains out in an awkward plot filling issue a while back).

The pace is ramping up for some big stuff next issue and I'm looking forward to things coming to a close. I'm not sure how much life this series has left in it, but I feel this particular book hasn't been able to keep enough interest and will be wrapping up soon. Or maybe I just hope so.

This issue barely scrapes by getting into this post by scoring at 7/10. I'm really hoping the following issue is an interesting climax.

If it wasn't obvious, my favorite series this Pull List (and with Marvel NOW! in general) was All-New X-Men. The past X-men can really stir things up in today's world without ever jeapordizing that past -- if they DO get planted back where the belong, which seems inevitable, Professor X can always wipe their minds (they alluded to as much already). I know the focus is supposed to be some Scott on Scott action, but I'm really hoping Jean Grey finds some way to stick around or at least stir things up. I miss her as Marvel Girl, even though it would be pretty hard to go back to that (you know, besides re-reading some First Class).

I will do a post ASAP on the remaining issues from this month, seeing as how I've already picked up another pull list, which will have some doozies... I'm going to go ahead and switch up the PLR (Pull List Review, let's try and make this stick...) a bit after next post. If you hate it, let me know.

For now, have a good one!

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