Sunday, January 15, 2017

This is Post 290: Year of Anniversaries!

It's 2017 everybody & it's the Year of Anniversaries! Get Hyped!

*throws handfuls of confetti & glitter everywhere*

I bet 2 questions:
1. What is the Year of Anniversaries?
2. Why is is starting on the 15th of January?

I'll answer Question 2 first & the answer is: Because!

The answer to Question 1 is that there is a number of different things that all have anniversaries this year that are near & dear to my heart. There are 4 main things that are having anniversaries this year. I say 4 main ones because I keep finding out about more & more things that reach milestones this year that I'm not sure if i'll cover.

The Main Reason 25 years ago in 1992 I started to read Comic Books. I'll be turning 34 this year so there is a greater chunk of my life that I've devoted some engird to reading comic to then I have not. That is a lot of time. So... over the course of the rest of this year there will be a bunch of special posts (read as: there will actually be posts here on the blog) that will be devoted to things I've read over the last 25 years. Along with a bunch of new topics, I'll be revisiting a few older topics I've covered here on the Blog. I have not run out things to talk about in relation to Age of Ultron & Zero Hour!

The next 2 reasons are related to that first reason because without that first reason I wouldn't care about one of the other reasons & one reason wouldn't exist. 10 years ago, I started a blog. This blog in fact. Almost 300 post, a handful of them actually good & worth reading! What am I going to do for Post 300? I don't know, it's coming up really soon.

Reason 3? 20 years ago was 1997. That my dear readers was an awesome year for comics. Most people have a favorite time period of comics. a favorite age of comics: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Platinum, Dark, Other! But I've managed to pinpoint it down to about a year (I sometimes lump in the years on either side of it) & one company. I really like DC Comics circa 1997. Why? You'll have to wait for that post to find out why!

What is the fourth reason?   This a thing I've never talked about here on the blog: VHS. The year I started my blog is also the year that VHS died. At least the home video market died & I really liked VHS so to mark the 10th anniversary of it's passing I'm going to be talking about some of favorite tapes from my collection. A collection I started in 2009.

So... once again: it's the Year of Anniversaries! Get Hyped! Be back here later this month for the fist official post in this year long event!

Until then: Stay Jazzy Everybody!

- Brian

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This is Entry 289: The Coming (and Going) of Equinox!

As many may know I like the 1994 event comic from DC known as Zero Hour. In my many reading of the series there was always something that left a question: What’s the deal with Power Girl & her baby? 

She does not appear in the first issue of the series but appears in the every other issue of the series. She is not involved in any of main part of the action but she’s a subplot. A multi-year subplot as I’ve found out. Her baby even provides a nice little cold at the end of the series: within all this death there is new life!

Before we get back to Zero Hour we have to go back to 1986 to help set up our stage a bit. With the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the world where Power Girl was from Earth-2 was destroyed. She with a few other characters were brought over to Earth-1 to live. Along with that her history was drastically altered because DC wanted to make Superman the sole survivor of the Planet Krypton. No Krypto the Superdog, no Beppo the Supermonkey, no Phantom Zone prisoners, no Bottle City of Kandor, no Supergirl & definitely no Supergirl from another dimension!  Power Girl was ok to exist as a character,  just not one from Krypton. What did DC do? Where did Power Girl come from? 

The most logical of places: Atlantis! Power Girl’s backstory was a defendant of the Atlantean sorcerer Arion, a character who lived in Atlantis before it was sunk. How did Power Girl get to present day, mid 80’s DC: suspended animation. There was also something about her memories of being from Krypton were implanted. Why bring this up? It’ll be important later.

My search for what’s the deal with Power Girl’s baby started with her wikipedia entry & this 1 line:

During the 1994 Zero Hour event, Power Girl experiences a mystical pregnancy and gives birth to a son (supposedly named Equinox), who age rabidly. Finally disappears, and has never been mentioned again in the DCU.

For one thing she was pregnant before the events of Zero Hour, she becomes pregnant in Justice League International #52 which came out in July 1993, one year before Zero Hour came out. The only part of the pregnancy that happens in Zero Hour it’s self is she gives birth to the child in the final issue of Zero Hour. Everything else happened after Zero Hour was over.

So... do you want to see Power Girl get pregnant? Here you go!

Oh my! I'm suddenly mystically pregnant!
This is as close as I can tell where it happens from the issue where she first says she’s pregnant. So Sexy!

Now I have not read all of the bits & pieces involving the child so some of the info I have is a bit spotty in places. If you notice in the the line from the wikipedia entry about the child “supposedly named Equinox” that’s because Power Girl never names the child in the comics I’ve read.  She even makes mention that she could not name it for mysterious reasons. The child does not even get a name until it’s final & only cover appearance. 

Justice League America #108 from February 1996. Yes, the child was around for about 3 years.



The child is the blonde hippie looking guy on the cover. Who is he fighting? Scarabus, who kind of looks like an off model version of Tim Curry’s Devil character from the movie Legend. He is a demon from Atlantis! He wants to kill the baby. Why? Because it’s been fated that the baby will grow up to stop him from doing stuff. Bad Stuff!

He is also the “father” to Power Girl’s baby. How? Many Millenia ago, Arion & a bunch of other mages got together to hatch (no pun intended) a plan. One that would combine the power of light & darkness to create ultimate champion! Not sure what you have to combine to get the Ultimate Warrior. So… the mages took some genetic material from Scarabus & implanted it into the baby Power Girl to one day give birth to the baby. I don’t think it is ever said how the mages got Scarabus’ genes. There is one big problem with this? Power Girl isn’t Atlantean & never was. It was revealed in 2005 that she was never one & Arion (who was still alive millennia later) lied to her. BUT they (the readers, the writers & characters) that at the moment so he was a atlantean that gave birth to a magic rabidly baby.

For a few issues before 108, Power Girl is trying to protect her baby from Scarabus.  At the end of 107, Power Girl is unable to fight & that’s where the baby goes from toddler to full grown hippie looking adult. He ages up & appears fully dressed.

So they have a fight. Scarabus is all Darth Vader about this. The whole “Give into your dark side. Join me & we can rule side by side” thing. Equinox knows that fighting his father hand to hand will not work.

Equinox goes off & does some mediation. He recenters himself & then comes back to fight his father. His father runs at him. He notices that his son is not fighting him & he thinks the fight will be over soon with his being the winner. He is wrong. Equinox waves his staff/walking stick at his father which then turns Scarabus into flower petals. Fight over!

Florality! Equinox Wins!


Right after this happens, the next panel is a confused looking Wonder Woman (the Justice League is there. They don’t do much since Scarabus is too much for them). I think Wonder Woman’s expression is one that expresses how the reader feels also.

Equinox goes over to his mother & says that’s it’s time for her to get up. He thanks her for being his mom & the role she played in great circle of life. He says stuff that doesn’t make much sense (Destiny had come & you rose to it!) Power Girl, much like the reader, has no idea what is going on. He says some more cryptic things & then disappears. Literally. He fades into nothingness & is never seen ever again. He never even mention in any other comic ever. 


I'm outie 5000! Also, never speak of me ever again!
Do I feel better knowing what is the deal with Power Girl’s baby? Yes. No. Maybe.

That's it for tis installment of Comics are Weird! Until next time: Stay Jazzy everybody!

Monday, October 19, 2015

This is Entry 288: Batman Knightfail or The Audio Book is Better


A Look at Batman Knightfall

3 volumes. 1,932 pages. 30 dollars each.



That’s what you’ll be getting & spending (if you spend full price) on the “collected” editions of Batman: Knightfall series that DC put out in 2012, just in time for The Dark Knight Rises. A movie prominently featuring an altered version of main villain from Knightfall. Hmm… I wonder why they did that? 

Now one would assume that since this is being released by said company to originally produced the individual issues that everything would be included in said “collected” edition of the series. Right?

Right?

Right?

NOPE! The collection that is out there currently is the not worth the 90 dollars (depending on where you buy it). It’s really not. Volume 1, which is over 600 pages is missing 1 thing. 1 MAJOR thing: Jean-Paul Valley, the man who would become Batman. He does not feature at all in the 600 pages of this storyline. Well.. that’s not true. Jean-Paul does show up. I think he’s on page 76. The guy I think is Jean-Paul is doing the same thing (working out) I know is Jean-Paul is doing on page 192 (He stated by name on that page). He is next in the background of a panel on Page 347.  He is on page 353. Is seen for the first time in this volume in a costume in page 354 & 355. That costume is not his most recognizable costume & you don’t find out until over 50 pages later that Robin made him that costume. Jean-Paul shows up again in costume on pages 361 & 362. Jean-Paul is on Page 411 & 412. He’s on page 419. On page 421, is when Jean Paul assumes the male of the Batman & becomes Batman. He is in the majority of the rest of the series.

Now if you were just reading this collection without any other knowledge of who Jean-Paul is, I’d be wondering why this background character that just kind of shows up one day & continues to just hang around gets to be Batman.  This “collected” edition of the story is missing most of the Jean-Paul’s backstory. Where is that happening? That is being told in a book that is/was happening concurrent to the main Batman book at the time, in his own book: Batman Sword of Azrael! Before becoming Batman, Jean-Paul was another capped crusader Azrael. Jean-Paul is/was the latest in a long line of Azraels, who are “avenging angels” who works for the Order of St. Dumas. They got a fiery sword, looking all bad ass. Azrael is cool. The Order of St. Dumas has some cool fashion sense for the Avenging Angels’. The Jean-Paul version of Batman (which many people have referred to as the AzBats) shows up for the last 200 pages but you can see why I’d think that Jean-Paul really isn’t “in” volume one. When he actually “shows up”, the book is half the way over.

There might also be a reason why The Sword of Azrael is not including in the “collection”. Almost every issue has the Knightfall banner on the top that has a number associated with it. That’s so you know what order the issues fall in. That’s all find & dandy. The extra numbers on comics to tell you what order to read them in is such a 90’s DC thing. Superman did it too!  BUT…. that doesn’t explain why the seemingly pointless Catwoman interlude in Volume 3. There are few seemingly pointless interludes in the 1,932.

Now comes the point in the review where I explain what the second part of the title means…

As has been stated her on this blog in the past (see my Zero Hour retrospective) I started to read comics in 1991. I had gotten into Super Hero comics by 1993, which is the timeframe for Batman: Knightfall.  I always chuckle a bit at the part in Zero Hour when Batman & Superman met up & have a moment that’s basically “It’s a been a weird few years for us. You were dead & then came back, I had a back broken & the Batman identity was taken over for awhile by a nut job. Good thing we got all that taken care before this whole crisis in time thing happened.

What is even more funny is Knightfall ended just shy of Zero Hour. The final issues of Knightfall were coming out at the same time as Zero Hour. Yes, Bruce Wayne was back as Batman but if Zero Hour been moved up a few months or there was a few months delay with Knightfall, The Jean-Paul Valley armored up AzBats could have been part of Zero Hour & would have then thrown off the whole “Zero Month” thing DC was doing.

But as made mention in the Zero Hour retrospective, I didn’t read Zero Hour at the time & I did not read Knightfall until I had gotten the “collected” edition for Christmas a few years back (yeah… this post has been a long time coming). I do have fond childhood memories of Knightfall. How can this be?

2 words: Audio Book!

In 1994, BBC Radio 1 (of all people) broadcast a full cast adaptation of the series. This “radio play” was later released on 2 audio cassettes that then later made it way to my local library. I don’t remember what year I first found the “radio play” or as the box proclaimed as an “audio drama”, but it was still when I was in elementary school. It was still during the 90’s.  Not sure what caused me to one day wander over to the audio book section of the library but I did & the world was better for it. Why? the audio book is Awesome!’

The cover to the "Audio
Book" collection I had as
a Kid.
The audiobook is fully in grained into my mind. There are characters that when I think about them or when I read comics with those character in them: they “sound” like how they do in the audio book. The way I want to pronounce the name “Shondra” comes from the way Bob Session as Bruce Wayne says in this audio book. This all comes from checking out of my local library for years on end. During the 90’s, my family had the habit of during the summer to go on road trips around the country. There needs to be something to pass the time. Your in luck, Young Brian: the audio book is 3 & half hours long! Armed with your handy dandy yellow “sports” Walkman, you’d listen to Batman as the hours past by in the back of the family Suburban. You didn’t need to read the comics, You had the audio book!

I wanna take a moment to talk about the voice cast. When people talk about actors who have played Batman over the years, I’m a bit saddened that Bob Sessions, who as far as I know only played the roles twice, is an awesome Batman/Bruce Wayne! I’ll put him up with there with Kevin Conroy as “people who have voiced Batman & are awesome at it”. Pretty much everyone in the cast is awesome! They got Michael Gough, Alfred from the Movies, to reprise his role. Kerry Shale does a great Joker. Shale also does the voice for Jean-Paul Valley & unless I told that, I wouldn’t have guessed that. Same goes for James Goode, who voices both Nightwing & Scarecrow but those voices don’t sound like they come from the same person. The sound design is also top notch! It’s everything young me wanted in an audio book.
Cover to the CD collection I have as an Adult

Eventually, when I’d go back to the library to look for Batman, he wasn’t there. This was most likely due to the fact that audio tapes were being phased out for CD’s. Years past but I never forgot about Knightfall. About 10 years ago, the “audio drama” was released on CD & It’s still awesome. It’s something I’ve listened to a few times on short car trips, which might because in my mind that’s where you listen to it: in the car, driving somewhere.

Now getting back to the book, what did I finally get out of reading the comics all these years later? I got to finally see what some of these characters only seen in 90’s Batman comics I had heard many times in my head looked like (Amygdala!). BUT that’s about it.  I felt let down by the rest. I felt like the story was lacking parts.  It does not include any of the Azrael backstory from Sword of Azrael (like the audio book does). Also in researching the book, the “collected” edition doesn’t not include a whole section of the Knightfall story.

There are 4 parts: Part 1 is Knightfall, which has 2 parts called Broken Bat & Who Rules the Night. Part 2 is Knightquest which has 2 parts called The Crusade & The Search. Part 3 is called KnightsEnd. Every trade paperback edition has left out the The Search part of Knightquest for some reason (The audio book included it). The “collected” edition does collection the 1st half of the Knightfall Aftermath called Prodigal, but does not include the 2nd part called Troika (The audio book does not include any of the aftermath). There is also a bunch of other comics that vaguely tie into the Knightfall but are not included.

so…. my final verdict is... well… I said It in the subtitle but thanks for reading the post. The Audio Book is Better. But that might just be nostalgia talking.

Until next time: Stay Jazzy Everybody!

- Brian

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

This is Entry 287: Brian on the Aisle #14

That Other Age of Uh:
A "Review" of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.


Welcome to another installment of Brian on the Aisle, where I take a look at a movie that most everyone else has months after people have. The Movie this time is one that I think most people saw coming. It’s Avengers 2: Age of Ultron!

Before I get to my "review" of the movie I'll say this: what you are about  to read is in no way a full review of the movie just my feelings & there might be spoilers if you haven't seen the movie yet. But I think the movie came out a few months ago so the movie has already been spoiled awhile ago but I just thought I'd put that warning out there.

Onto my talking about the movie! Now it’s not like I haven’t spent a few dozen posts talking about Age of Ultron. But this isn’t that Age of Ultron, this is a different. I knew it was going to be different going in. There was no way they were going even attempt to do the comic on the silver screen.

Now, is different good or bad? Both. My feelings towards the Avengers movies are not all that great. If I were to rank the Marvel Studios films, The Avengers is either near the bottom or at the bottom. What’s at the top? The Captain America movies with probably Guardians of the Galaxy next on the list.  This film did one thing better then it’s predecessor: it did not lag in the middle. I felt first film did way too much set up to then lag along in the middle before slamming into a over long fight scene for an ending.  There might be too much & not enough going on at the same time in this movie (one thing it it shares with the unrelated comic of the same name). I did like parts of the film, but these are small parts. A line here, a line there. A small interaction there, a small scene over there.

Of the new characters: Scarlet Witch comes off the best. Her official Avengers costume looks stupid. Quicksilver has a pointless death (he can move a truck quick enough to protect Hawkeye & Child but he couldn’t move behind the truck himself?) My choice for Quicksilver’s on the silver screen is the one from X-Men: Days of Future Past. He could have had move screen time then he got. Just one mission to break out his maybe dad? He can’t go with Xavier & friends to stop Mystique from killing the president? No? oh… ok. If you say so, Movie.

I guess my biggest problem with the movie is how connected it all was. No, I don’t mean the various cameos from characters from other Marvel movies. I’m talking how everything was too damn connected. Of course Hydra had Loki’s staff & had a bunch of half built robots laying around that Ultron could use later. Of course Iron Man had built his own mini army of robots that Ultron could use quite easily later. Of course he already had the idea & name for an super duper mega cool robot. They don’t explain where the name Ultron came from. Banner & Stark just know the name. Ultron just excepts it. 

Yup. That’s my name. I hate everything else about Stark but I’ll still call myself the name he gave me. I might not call myself that BUT I will respond to it when people call me it.

Another thing: WHY DID STARK HAVE TO MAKE ULTRON? Why make such a big alteration to the comics. Hank Pym has 3 things he’s known for in the comics. The movies already wrote him out a founding Avenger. Why not take the most interesting of things away from him, too!

My List goes as follows:
1. Created Ultron.
2. Founding member of the Avengers.
3. Is Ant-Man/Giant-Man.

They could have brought him in.

Hey! This staff thingy Loki was using seems to have a computer in it. I need to call in someone who knows a lot of about this stuff. No, not Banner. Jarvis?

Yes?

Get me Hank Pym!

Yes. Right away.

There you go. Pym is added in to your already overstuffed movie & he partly keeps his place in Marvel history. BUT NO: Banner & Stark have to be Ultron’s baby daddy. Ultron doesn’t even create The Vision. He has to get a only established in this film character to help him. WHY WOULD ULTRON HAVE A HUMAN HELP HIM CREATE HIS NEW BODY/VISION? ULTRON HATES ALL HUMAN LIFE! I DON’T CARE THAT SHE HAD SOMETHING HE NEEDED. ULTRON HATES HUMANS! HE’S HATED THEM FOR DECADES! ULTRON DOES NOT WORK WITH HUMAN FILTH!

I’m fine with Jarvis becoming the basis of The Vision, much more then I’m with Jarvis being an automated assistant & not a real person.

The cool, worked for decades backstories for Ultron & The Vision were tossed out in favor of… I don’t know what. Something less cool. Yeah… to do it right would have taken more time. But they could have at least attempted to do it. The Avengers movies have a timeline that stretches back to the 1940’s. They couldn’t have pulled something out of their collective butts & given them proper, not so connected origins.

One thing I noticed thing was how much James Spader, the voice of Ultron, sounds like Robert Downey Jr? That’s some good casting if they had thought that when he was chosen. One thing I disliked: Ultron being so chatty, I guess he gets that from Stark.  But it’s something I really disliked. It seemed to be off-putting to me. I don’t need my robotic death machine to be all jokey. Seems like a very Human thing to be doing. You know the thing you hate & want to kill off?

There is also so much heavy handed hinting at “Hey! Gotta make everyone hate each other! There has to be some sort of conflict! We are doing Civil War next time!” Might as well just called the movie Avengers 2: Prelude to Civil War co-starring Ultron. That makes more sense.

I can’t trust anyone! I gotta do things behind your backs! I gotta protect the world with an Iron Sheild!” 

Trying to stop wars that have not even happened have always started more wars!

Another thing why can’t Black Widow & Banner just be friends? Close Friends? Why do you gotta hint that they are in a sexual relationship? “Don’t be playing hide the pickle!” Smooth move, Iron Man! Way to demeaning the possible relationship two of your fellow teammates might be having. Speking of relationships: Not sure about Hawkeye’s family. They seem an odd addition to the movie. They didn’t really add much to the movie. I did like seeing Linda Cardellini. She did her small part well.

I have 1 question: Why does Captain America keep taking off his helmet while out on missions? Helmets are there for a reason! They are there to protect you! Wearing them save lives! Your life maybe? WEAR YOUR HELMET! We know it's you, Chris Evans! You don't need to keep showing us your face!

The Thanos during credits cameo makes no sense being there. He didn’t play any part in the movie I just saw. Why are you there, Thanos?

If I can compare this movie to the unrelated comic for a moment: Way better ending to their story. Didn’t tell me that everything I had just seen didn’t actually happen due to some Deus Ex Machina BS.

That’s all I got at the moment. I might come up with more & if i do I’m make another post.

Until then: Stay Jazzy Everybody!





Sunday, September 6, 2015

This is Entry 286: Return of the Age of Uh...




You thought I was done with the Age of Ultron? No. If Marvel keeps putting this stuff, I'll continue to talk about it. What are we talking about today? The recently concluded 4 issue Secret Wars tie-in mini-series Age of Ultron VS. Marvel Zombies.


First things first: I am not going to try & explain what is going in the current Secret Wars to you all. If you wanna know: look elsewhere. For our purposes: There is a planet called Battleworld on this planet there are various "countries" that are pretty much all based off of previous comics. If this sounds like what DC did during Convergence? It is but Marvel has done a whole lot better.

In Battleworld's southern hemisphere there are two countries that border each other: The Deadlands, where the Marvel Zombies reside & Perfection, the land of Ultron. What does Perfection have to do with Age of Ultron? ALMOST NOTHING AT ALL!

The "Age of Ultron" in the title is only there to help sell the book. I guess Battleworld: Robots VS. Zombies doesn't work as a title. But then the two groups don't really face off against each other. In fact they team up together in the book to fight a third group that broke off from the Ultron group which is lead by Wonder Man, The Vision & Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch from the 1940's. I am not going to give an issue by issue break down of the series because: A. I don't feel like it & B. It's not that great of a story.

It's an ok mini-series with an kind of cool premise. I'd say it's mid range of the tie-in books I have read as part of the current Secret Wars. If you are looking for a book involving the Marvel Zombies, I would check out their self titled series. It's pretty good. I wasn't planning on reading it but I picked up issue 1 & liked it enough to read the rest of the series.

If the series is not that great, why am I talking about? They do one thing that the original series did not do & it's a major thing. At least for me. It's something I kept on bringing up in my original review of Age of Ultron. Age of Ultron VS. Marvel Zombies explains how & why the land of Perfection exists. In Issue 1, on Pages 8-14.

7 Pages of a 21 page (minus ads) book! That's a third of the book!

Now, 4 of those pages are splash pages but that is a lot more pages then the original series ever got to explaining why their "age" exists. I am all for not having every little detail explained to me in a comic BUT there are somethings that need to be explained so I buy into your story.  Age of Ultron had an inconsistent timeline, at least to my reading of the book. I was never really sure when the Age started, or how long it had been going on. The altered timeline that Wolverine created when he went mucking around by ignoring the butterfly effect has a more consistent timeline then the "original" timeline we were presented. They can easily do this. They relate it to the reader in a text box, a few line of dialogue between characters. Something. BUT NO! I got nothing. A big old steaming pile of nothing!

Here in Age of Ultron VS. Marvel Zombies I get a 7 page flashback to how Ultron set up his land known as Perfection. How did he do that? Shortly after, Ultron is created & what does he do? Kill Hank Pym! This is another thing this mini-series does that the original didn't: It tells us if Hank Pym is dead or not.

Further on in the flashback, after updating himself a bit Ultron's lead Master of Evil straight up murder most of the The Avengers which then leads to an Ultron which was a combined version of updates 5 & 6 to go about killing all the rest of those pesky Super heroes with the help of his Ultron Drones. Then in a text box, it says that 14 months later he created "Perfection". You are to read that as "All none robotic live has been killed".  In 7 pages, one of my biggest problems with the original series has been explained & is further elaborated in a short 13 word text box. Also in those 7 pages another problem I had with the series was explained away in 1 panel.

Now would the original series be saved by explaining away these two problems? NO! There are tons of other things wrong with it. But they would have two less things that were wrong with it!

Is Age of Ultron VS. Marvel Zombie on the whole better then Age of Ultron? Yes. Neither are all that great, they both have good points & have a number of problems with them. This mini-series continues the theme of "anything called Age of Ultron will be better the series that originally bared that name."

And with that said we bid adieu to the Age of Ultron for now because I know we'll be back sometime. Until then: Stay Jazzy everybody!

- Brian


Friday, August 14, 2015

This is Entry 285: The Non-Review of Superior Spider-Man!

This started out differently but I’m trying something else. To be mememetic for a moment: I can’t. I just can’t.

Recently I got the idea in my head to read Superior Spider-Man to see what it was all about. Was it bad as I had heard? So… I picked up the first trade paperback. Before reading it I also picked up the last trade paperback for Amazing Spider-Man, just to see how they closed out that chapter of the Spider-Man mythos before going into the “bold, exciting new direction” with the character. I read them.



I formed some thoughts, started to write out a “review” similar to the style I used for my look at Age of Ultron. Got a few paragraphs into it & then left alone for a few days. This was only after writing for a half hour or so. I went on to other things but kept it in my thoughts. This is why I’m doing this instead of that. My thought eventually end up with this: Why am I doing this? What does it matter? and Who cares?

As I have stated in the past: I don’t much care for Spider-Man. I find him boring for the most part. I went & counted how many comics I actually own that star the webcrawler & I barely got past over a 100 issues. For a character that has been around for over 50 years that’s basically nothing. Looking over the issues, most of those issues were either because of guest stars in appearing that month or who he’s facing off against. I have a few milestone/anniversary issues because I’m a sucker for those things, especially if I can find them cheap. I could easily get to 150, maybe a bit past that if I included all my Spider-Man adjacent books BUT a number of those don’t star Spider-Man himself.

Also, there isn’t all that much to say about the issues I read. Yeah, there are a bunch of things to nit pick about & was going to do in the original form of this post. There were a few paragraphs devoted to just the text on that back of trade paperback of Amazing Spider-Man trade. I came with a few jokes that I could have made. I’m sure as I went back over the issues as I doing the review I would have come up with a few more.  But what’s the point?

I really don’t see much to give a flying flip about in the comic. I don’t care about Spider-Man so why should I care about what is going in the book? Yes, there is some stuff that was kind of interesting presented to me but was just it: it was “kind of interesting”. Not good, not great, just kind of interesting. If what I was reading was horrible, rage inducing, down right bad: then I would have something to write about. Maybe it is? I just don’t know but that’s because as I’ve said: I don’t care about Spider-Man.

I don’t mind trudging through issue upon issue of “bad” comics. I read all of Brightest Day: 26 issues long & only about every 7 issues of that series did something kind of interesting happen. I read all of Futures End, that was 48 issues long! Most of it was not good. It had “good” bits but could have been so much better. Why was I willing to push on through those series but I can’t get through 8 issues of Spider-Man. Might be 9 issues, one issue was Issue 700, so it had some more content then the other issues. I guess it’s because I cared about Brightest Day & Futures End where as I don’t about Spider-Man. All three aren’t that great of books but I at least cared for BD & FE in some small way. Superior Spider-Man? not so much.

To answer my questions:

Why am I doing this? I thought I'd try something new. Try out a series I hadn’t read before & see for myself if I’d like it or not. I came out ambivalent on it. There were thinks to dislike about it but not enough for me to actively devote time & energy to.

What does it matter? It matters, just not to me. In reading those issues there were things that I could easily see that were “wrong” with it.

Who cares? This was more about my posting of my review of the book.I could have easily let this pass on by, as I have let other books I could have reviewed. But I did announce elsewhere online that I was going to be “reviewing” the series & I felt that I at least owned those interested a post of some kind. It’s not much of a post but a post none the less.


One last thing: I might not care for Spider-Man, Superior or otherwise. But I would suggest to search out The Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spenser & Steve Lieber. It’s not very long, only 17 issues but well worth your time. It was one of the better Marvel books I was reading when it was coming out. It almost alway near the top of my “good comics I read this month”. It also doesn’t feature Spider-Man in it, just Villains doing villain things! If you want a fun team book, Superior Foes is a good choice! I’ve also met artist Steve Lieber a few times, nice guy.

Until next Stay Jazzy everybody!

- Brian

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This is Entry 284: Ultron Five-Ever


A Brief look at "Ultron Forever"

Once again I'll be looking at a mini-series from Marvel that has the Ultron in the title that includes a time travel element to it. Is this series as bad as Age of Ultron?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: No. It's actually kind of fun. It's only 3 issues long & doesn't overstay it's welcome. There really isn't much to the plot of the story so I'm not sure if it would worked in a longer format. You have a form beginning middle & end. There are some twist & turns. You do get some nicer cliffhangers at the end of 1st & 2nd issues.

This story is a semi sequel to 1998's Avengers Forever at least in concept: Avengers from a few different points in the team's history are pulled together to do something. Both books ever have the 2 different versions of the same character where AF had 2 versions of Hank Pym (a at the present 1998 version of Giant Man & a past version of himself during his original run as Yellowjackets), UF has "sometime in the near future" female Thor & male Thor from the 1980's.

The other members of the group are 60's era Hulk, James Rhodes during his run as being Iron Man during the 1980's. Present Day Vision & Black Widow. The only *new* character from the book is the Captain America they use. She is from the future & is Danielle Cage, the daughter of Luke Cage & Jessica Jones. Danielle has grown up & taken on the mantle of the Captain. At the end of Issue 3, we get to see the version of the Avenger is a member of. Not sure we'll see her or her team in the anything else.

The group has been drawn together by "Doctor Doom". I put that in quote since you find out in Issue 3 that it is Doctor Doom but isn't at the same time. I'm just going to leave it at that. Doom has drawn these Avengers together when in THE FUTURE where Ultron has taken over the world. He has turned the world populous into mindless drones & has "converted" the Avengers of 2420 into his own personal group of enforcers. This reminds me partly of Futures End but these converted heroes look a whole lot better. 

This mini series has elements of Age of Ultron, Futures End & Avengers Forever. It take some of the better parts of the first 2 & some similar elements of the third to make their story. 

Another big selling point of this mini series is the art. I don't think I've found an book by Alan Davis that was disappointed by. The art is consistant through out & doesn't change midway like some other Ultron mini series did.

Only 1 thing that I found confusing was the titling of the books. Instead of just calling each issue Ultron Forever. They are titled: Ultron Forever: Avengers #1, Ultron Forever: The New Avengers #1 & Ultron Forever: Uncanny Avengers #1. The story doesn't change because the title did. Since they are all listed #1, it can be hard to know where to start. Once you open the book, it says which it is but until you do or if you skip of that page, you might be lost since you could be coming into the story mid way or end up reading the issues out of order.

Some of the elements of the story rely on knowledge of the Avengers history but they do attempt to explain why things are how they are (especially with The Hulk & what happens to him).

Over all a fun little mini-series. Not required reading by any means, just some fun fluff. Check it out if you liked Avengers Forever, team up stories or just want a fun easy read.

Until next time: Stay Jazzy!

-Brian


Friday, May 1, 2015

This is Entry 283: Age of Uh FINALE, part 2


Oh… Age of Ultron, what are we doing to do with you?

Welcome back to the final part of the chapter to my review of the “Age of Ultron” comic. It’s been a long time coming but we made it. Not as originally planned but we are here. The end of an Age.

Issue 10

The cover: Various characters we have not seen for a few issue fight a weird looking Ultron. Not sure what it is about this cover but it looks weird. I thinks it’s Ultron himself. He looks weird. Not looking the look of his body. His head looks odd but then his head has always looked weird. I've looked at the cover a dozen or more times & I'm still not sure who's head that is at the bottom.

The Short Review of the Issue: WHAT THE HELL?

Longer Review of the Issue:

We start “some Months ago”  which may or may not be the “months ago” as mentioned & seen in Issue 5. We are in Hank Pym’s lab. He’s doing science stuff. A message pops on his screen telling to “follow the white rabbit”. No… He’s told open his door. He thinks it’s Janet, his wife. Might be ex-wife, depending on when this happened. But really it couldn’t have been Janet since if this was really a few months before Issue 1 had come out, Janet had been dead for awhile. So… Hank thinking it’s his dead wife playing a joke on him is a bit strange.

He open the door to find no one but a package. Down the hallway a bit is Sue Richards in Invisible mode. Hank closes the door to find a tablet computer with a note that reads “play me” on it. He presses play to find a message for himself!

*DUN DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNNNN*

1 Question: Did they have tablet computer in the 1970’s when He most likely made that message for himself? That could be explained away as Sue put the message on the tablet. Another question: Did he have a “home video camera” to make the video?

Another thing I noticed: Video Hank looks like he’s dressed in the latest fashions of the 1980’s. And yes I’m off on yet another tangent: that’s what this comic make me do. I have spent so much time reading, re-reading, looking it over that I can’t help be question it all!

The Message basically goes like this:

Hi Hank! It’s Hank! You don’t remember making this video & that’s because that’s how it happened to be BUT if your seeing this it means that we still got a chance to stop Ultron from doing a massive no no. We have scrwed up a lot of things so let’s not screw this one up!

We flip the page to see reused art! I didn’t notice when the book first came & hadn’t in the few times I had looked through the issue BUT today I did. It was all because I happened to look at another related book. One that I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before.  In May 2012, for Free Comic Book Day, Marvel came out with a book, Avengers: Age of Ultron! It’s the prequel that I had forgotten about until I go to this point in my first reading of the book. There was a little over a 1 year in between books (the FCBD book & Issue 1). My forgetting of the book might because it didn’t seem all that memorable of a book (it’s still not).

I guess that’s ok since everthing you need to know about the old comic is ok with it since Marvel pretty REPRINTS 8 PAGES from the original FCBD comic as is in Issue 10. Those 8 pages are the later half of the FCBD book. The only changes in Age of Ultron #10 are a few speech & text bubbles. The rest is EXACTLY THE SAME!

What happens in both books:  A group of Avengers all rush into a secret base run by the Intelligencia (a group of “super smart” super villains). They had kidnapped Spider-Woman as she was checking out something in a jungle somewhere (the earlier book doesn't say where so let's just say The Savage Lands). The thing that is found was a Space Knight (from the 80’s comic ROM Space Knight). You remember them from earlier in Age of Ultron, don't you? Of course you do! They aren't reference ANYWHERE by name but there is one vaguely Space Knight looking guy on Nick Fury's wall of photos back in Issue 2!

Back to the reprinted pages: The Bad Guy want it & didn’t want the Good Guys to have it so they kidnapped her which of course means the Good Guys are going to go to rescue her. Yeah... real smart!

We have a multi-page fight scene. The Bad Guys give up but not before finding a way to turn back on the Space Knight (some are robots, most are cyborgs). But OH NO! This Space Knight is holding a secret, It transforms & is really ULTRON! Ultron had been out in space the past few years so that wasn't that much of a stretch.

Thor decides to do something stupid by hitting Ultron in the chest with his hammer, BIG EXPLOSION happens. This is the point where the 2 comics change. In the FCBD comic, lots of destruction. Bad Guys look like they are dead & the heroes try to regroup. They think about tracking Ultron down BUT Iron Man says that pointless since “He has seen the Future” & it’s crappy. That’s where the FCBD comic ends. A year long cliff hanger!

Where it changes in Issue 10, just before Thor does the stupid thing, Iron Man gets a call from Hank. Iron Man takes the call but tries to brush him off since “He’s busy” But Hank continues to talk & is “sending” Iron Man something. Maybe it’s an E-Mail? tonystark@IMsuit.org! Hank has sent Iron Man “Highly Evolved Calculations” & Iron Man isn’t sure they’ll work but Hank says they will. Iron Man “launches the code” over Wi-Fi i guess since Iron Man never touches Ultron or get near him. Is the Iron Man suit Wi-Fi enabled? If not then how did Hank send Iron Man the stuff? All while Hank is chatting with Iron Man to do the thing, Thor hits Ultron with his hammer. BIG EXPLOSION!

And what happens? It still destroys the Intelligencia’s hideout but after the explosion, Ultron isn’t gone & he’s confused. The “kill code” as Hank calls it which “is very specific to a backdoor code portal program” that is in the “deepest recesses of his program”. 

All while Ultron is confused, the Avengers attack. Ultra says that they are “adding buffering code to my infrastructure”. He wonders how they were prepared. He suspects Iron Man & his “father” Hank Pym. Thor zaps Ultron with a bolt of lightning. The fight between the Avengers & Ultron is all distraction so Hank can completely uploading the “kill code” to Ultron. 

Fight! Fight! Fight!
Load! Load! Load!

Ultron starts to crackle with energy. The program loads, Ultron shuts down & once more Thor smacks Ultron with his hammer. Pieces fly everywhere!

Iron Man ask exactly what happened. Hank replies:

We sent him what looked like an average backdoor trojan horse code, but the trick of it was — When Ultron tired to defend himself and re-code it an shut it down… It triggered a self replicating virus that was implanted in at his creation. By the time he could process what was happening… There was nothing left of him.

Iron Man asks a very good question: Why didn’t we try this before? Hank Replied: I didn’t have it before.

Before we got into the ending. Let’s chat about the “kill code” for a bit. I'm crying all kinds of BULL SHIT on that working. That’s some “access port on the Death Star” Deus Ex Machina level of tying up a loose end that they didn't bother having in the main book. It has been clearly stated that Ultron had upgraded, updated, recreated himself dozen of times since he was created. To me it would seems rather stupid of the robot to not close up a fatal back door in his programing. WHY LEAVE IT OPEN LIKE THAT? Sure, He might of thought “no one could get into my programing that far in for that to be a problem?” If that’s so, why leave it open? WHY?

With Ultron defeated you know what? The past 9 issues & the 8 tie-in issues NEVER HAPPENED! THE AGE OF ULTRON NEVER HAPPENED! They also never told us how Ultron got from blowing up a building to taking over the whole world! Or how long it took for him to do that? Those are 2 questions I have been asking since Issue 1 & they still aren’t answered or even hinted at. Also, we never find out what happened to the Future Group! They simply drop out of the series at issue 6! But what does it matter what they did or even if they ever accomplished anything since THE AGE OF ULTRON NEVER HAPPENED! They had no need to go to the future to stop Ultron from taking over the world since he never did! Also, they say that Ultron was controlling the world from THE FUTURE! But how did he get there? He was there in the present, blew up & then waited years of time to get to the future so he could change the past? But if he did that wouldn’t that cause a time paradox?

TOO MANY QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANY ANSWERS!

Now on to the ending of the series. Wolverine & Sue fly away from somewhere (maybe Pym’s lab). They land on a roof top & say their goodbyes. Then time literally breaks.


Then we see the Earth in a black void for a panel & then it’s back out in space with the sun, moon & stars. Tony Stark, The Beast & a blonde guy (might be Captain America) are looking at a holographic monitor. They ask what happens & the answers straight from the book is “Wolverine repeatedly abused the space-time continuum” and They broke it.

The group says they’ve time traveled before this time might of been one time too many. The last 8 pages of the book are all preview bits showing some of the breaks: Galactus has crossed over to the Ultimate Universe & Angela (originally an Image Comics character) is now in the main universe.

That’s it. That’s the end.

There were 7 artist on this book. Bryan Hitch (the artist for the 1st half of the series) get credited for his reused art from the FCBD book. The Angela pages were done by Joe Quesada. The Parts with Sue, Wolverine & the breaking of time look to be by Carlos Pacheco. The other artist from the past issues (Brandon Peterson) is back.

This issue is a mismash of things. The Last 9 pages are just “ads” for other books. There is the reused 8 pages of art from a past book. That’s half of the book. There is 5 pages of the breaking of time. That's 22 pages. Most comics are that long! The amount of pages that aren't ads for other comics, reused art or breakage is 11 pages (minus all the ads). 11 pages that finish up the series but then this issue throws out the first 9 issues to tie up the plot threads from the Free Comic Book Day comics (which on sale for money under a different name).

——————

There was an epilogue book: Age of Ultron #10 A.I. which was to be a bridging point between Age of Ultron & Avengers A.I. It’s a good book. It’s written by Mark Waid & is devoted to Hank Pym. It gives you an overview of his early life & career leading up to the events of the series. I read Avengers A.I., it was an enjoyable series. Neither Avengers A.I. or this epilogue have much to do with the main series. I’d more call this issue Avengers A.I. #0 then Age of Ultron #10 A.I.

There was also a 5 issue “What If” mini series revolving around Age of Ultron vaguely. It’s also pretty good.

And that’s it. The Age is over. We can all now move on with our lives!


But what about the Movie? Or the Age of Ultron related book that’s coming out as part of this summer’s Secret Wars?

Then I guess I'm not done. *sigh* Well... you can all now move on with your lives.

This is Entry 282: Age of Uh FINALE, Part 1


Welcome back to the Age of Uh! The on again, but mostly off again review of the “Age of Ultron” comic book series. I now have to say it’s the comic series & not the movie. I can say this: the movie will mostly be better then the series. It seems everything that bares the name of “Age of Ultron” that is not the main series is better then the main series. This will be the final part of my review of the series. So… Let’s finish this thing!

———

Last Time in the Age of Ultron: I made a whole recap post of the 1st 5 issues of the series last March. I also made a post about the Age of Ultron tie-in issues for Superior Spider-Man & The Fantastic Four last March. Now that we have that out of the way, Let’s briefly talk about the rest of the tie-in books!

If it had the word “Avengers” in the title it was a good tie-in book (Avengers Assemble #14AU, Avengers Assemble #15AU & Uncanny Avengers #8AU). It seems that Uncanny Avengers actually tied into both series (it’s own series & Age of Ultron).This probably due to the fact that Kang was there in the issue. And of course Kang would be aware of a change in timelines because Kang is cool like that! The Ultron one shot (which does not have Ultron in it) dealt with his biological son, Victor Mancha & how he got involved in this Age.  It didn’t tie into the main events of the series all that much. I’m guessing it was just there to remind people that Victor existed & the prep them for Avengers A.I. The last 2 tie in Issues (Wolverine and The X-Men #27AU & Fearless Defenders #4AU) I’ll get to when they tie into the main series.

On to the series…

ISSUE 6

They fight floating Ultron heads in a blue void on the cover. That is a theme with a number of the covers. Issue 4, 5, 6, 7 & 10 all have a solid color as the background. Issue #2 & 9 almost has a solid color for the background but has minimal detail laid over a single color.

Brief Recap: In Issue 5, 2 plans where suggested on how to deal with a problem like Ultron. Plan A: Go TO THE FUTURE to stop Ultron from doing stuff. Plan B (suggested by Wolverine): Go back to the past & stop Hank Pym from creating Ultron. And by “stop” he means “kill”. At the end of Issue 5, the group went with Plan A & most of group headed off to the future. Wolverine stayed behind & asks any of those left if they know how to use the time machine.

We start Issue 6 Wolverine having already traveled TO THE PAST! The comic says “years ago” & they are right. It’s the 1970’s! But due to the sliding scale that super hero comic use they can’t say that since most super heroes have only been active for a “few years”. Normally 5 to 10 years. Wolverine sniffs out that he was followed. How? Neither of the 2 people had showered “in at least a week at least”. That is another vague reference to this Age’s timeline. Wolverine could be referring to the time that it took to travel to the Savage Land (which took a week) or he could be referring to the Age it’s self. It’s the first reason that still make me angry. How did Ultron take over the world in few days? If it was even a few days, there is never any firm established timeline to when Ultron took over the world or even if he did. Large parts of the world were unmentioned in the series.

The person who followed him is Sue Richards, The Invisible Woman. She came along to keep an eye on him. Shortly there after, Wolverine has her cloak both of them since younger Nick Fury shows up in one of SHEILD’s flying cars. He gets out his car & walks into the cave. There is mention why Fury was there, it wasn’t to set of the cave bunker. We clearly see it already made later on. He also doesn’t stay long since we flip the page, Fury comes out of the cave to see the car is gone! Wolverine & Sue have stolen it! OMG!

We now join the future party in THE FUTURE! Ultron still hasn’t taken over the Savage Land apparently.  I guess he’ll let organic life remain alive just as long as it’s in a jungle in the Antarctic. The Future Party then realize that Sue isn’t with them (she was to go with them but decided to go with Wolverine because of “the look in his eye”). So… without Sue to keep them invisible they still decide to go ahead with the Mission. Quicksilver is to run ahead of them really, really fast so he’s “invisible”. I still think the plan to go to the future is stupid. Ultron is in the future & somehow figured out a way to control the past (their present) from there. Ultra could easily have known that the Future Party was coming & could have easily set a trap for them. But we never find that out since after this issue, we never check in to see what is going on with the Future Party due to stuff Wolverine will do at the end of this issue.

Another thing, Issue 6 marks the 1st issue with new artists. Brandon Peterson takes over for Bryan Hitch in the “Present” which I guess is for the group that went to the Future & Carlos Pacheco does the art for Wolverine & Sue in the Past.

Wolverine flies back to New York. They land Wolverine goes to talk to Hank Pam & he knows where he is because he can smell him!  Hank is in his lab & is examining a dead/unconscious/turned off Dragon Man, which is an “Artificial Intelligence”. Dragon Man looks like giant purple half dragon, half man creature but is a robot of some sort. Hank is thinking out loud. His speak balloons are a taupe colors which I guess to give the look of “paper” old comics were printed on. Hank rambles on about robots that can think for themselves. How he hasn’t made anything meaningful since The Pym Particle. (How to do create a particle? I always assumed he just discovered it, named it after himself & not created it.) As he looks at the creature, he says the next breakthrough in AI should be his! This is where Wolverine (with white speech balloons) comes in. 

Basically it goes like this…

“I’m here to stop you from screwing over the world!”
“Who are you?”
“A guy from the future! The future you screwed over by creating a robot!”
“You picked the wrong place to break into!”
“I don’t care! Don’t do the thing I know your thinking of doing!”
“Who are you?”
“I’m from the future! Don’t do the thing!”
“Do you know who I am?”
*Wolverine pops his claws out*
“yeah. Don’t do the thing!”
FIGHT SCENE!

Back to the Future & the Future Group has arrived in Ultron control New York.  It’s a lot more brightly colored then in past issues. What we saw on the cover (a fight with Ultron heads) happens. There are a lot more heads & more then 3 people in this fight.

We cut back to the past fight. Sue comes out to try & reason with Wolverine.

“Don’t do the thing your thinking of doing!”
“I gotta! it’s the only way!”

In between that, we cut back & forth between the past & the future. 

“Don’t do the thing your thinking of doing!”
“I gotta! it’s the only way!”
“Don’t!”
“He allowed your family to die! He allowed all of your friends to die!”
“Don’t do it!”
*Sue starts to cry*
*STAB*

And Hank is dead with a crying Sue just standing by. She turns away so she doesn’t see him die but she still let’s it happen. She asks what happens now. Wolverine walks away & says they go home back to “whatever is waiting’ for us… Hell, we know it’s got to be better than what we left.”  Let’s flashback to issue 5 to when Sue said that traveling back in time & doing Wolverine’s plan might “completely obliterate the space-time continuum”. The tie-in Issue for Wolverine and The X-Men #27AU takes place after stealing the SHEILD car & before they get to New York. it’s a skippable story. Doesn’t truly add anything to the over all story. None of the tie-in books do really, some of are just better side stories then others.

ISSUE 7

The cover is once more in a blue void, We see a group of heroes & the results of Wolverine’s trip back in time. 

Starting here in Issue 7 & going to Issue 9 (along with 1 tie in book: Fearless Defenders #4AU) is the “good” part of the series. At least for me. It’s was something I enjoyed reading. It is sadly buried here in the later half of the series & is under developed. Too bad they spent the first half doing much of nothing!  Wolverine & Sue fly back to the Savage Land. They talk about what has been done. I just noticed the flying car vaguely resembles a Delorean. They land & Wolverine pushes the car into a bush. Why? They’ll need it IN THE FUTURE! Because no one is going to look under that bush that has tire tracks leading into it for the next 30 some odd years! They then fight a T-Rex. After fighting it off, they head back to the cave. Wolverine notes that the young Nick Fury has left. How? they don’t say. Maybe in this altered timeline, he was never there. BUT he was since Wolverine still smells him. Maybe Wolverine is smelling Fury’s scent from before Wolverine altered the timeline? There many, many, many, many, many, times in my reading & rereading that I could easily spends minutes (over)thinking of what is going on in the series. Most times I come up with no answers, only more questions.

Sue & Wolverine go into the bunker in the cave, use the time platform to travel BACK TO THE FUTURE!

*cue the Huey Lewis*

They exit the cave & the Savage land is now ittered with a bunch of junk. Looks like a Airplane graveyard. Sue even says “looks like the Savage Land is now an Alien Spacecraft junkyard” when they get closer to the junk. They find a Skrull skull. Wolverine comments the Secret Invasion must of ended differently. Sue brings up that there are Kree ships there & she says The Kree/Skrull War (an Avengers storyline from the 70’s) must of ended differently.  They go invisible as a trio Starkguards come by.  This is the second sign that Wolverine done screwed up real good! They go back to the cave, amazingly the car is still there & it still works after sitting there for years! 

They fly back to New York. The car must be really fast since the 1st trip from New York to the Savage Land in Antartica took 8 days. This was without the help of any flying machine because Ultron could sense their usage of a airplane FROM THE FUTURE!  With them using a flying car it’s apparently no big thing to just pop on down to the Savage Land. The Manhattan skyline is surrounded by 6 mini SHEILD Hellicarriers. Sue starts to freak out a bit. Wolverine basically tells her to “calm your tits. The world is still here. It might be one that I totally screwed up & might be a different kind of bad then what he left but at least people are alive!”

The car is then hit by a laser which make them bail out. As they touch down, they are meet up by The Defenders! They are Doctor Strange, Captain America (who has an eye patch), The Thing, The Hulk, Cyclops (sporting a visor like the one from Age of Apocalypse), Starlord, Wolverine & someone who could be Captain Marvel (who we find out on the next page is Janet Van Dyne but isn’t called The Wasp).  Some of the Defenders think that Wolverine & Sue are Skrulls. But The Thing thinks that it might be the real sue (who is “back” from somewhere) & the Defenders verion of Wolverine says other Wolverine smells like him. There is a lot about Wolverine being able to smell stuff in this series. Brian Micheal Bendis does know that Wolverine has other powers, right? 

Original recipe Wolverine & Sue get way but not for long because smells. Doc Strange using his powers to disrupt Sue’s powers during a fight. OG Wolverine throws a trash can lib at Doc Strange which cause him to stop spell casting. More fighting is going on. The Wolverine’s fight each other. It looks like Wolverine might of killed himself (and that won’t be the last time he’ll do that in this series). Actual Wolverine is taken down by a punch by The Thing. We find out on the next page, Wolverine did not kill himself. We end the issue on a cool image of what Iron Man looks like in his altered timeline. Or more altered timeline. I still not sure if the 1st 6 issues take place in an altered present timeline or in the future. Also, according to this page: the Mini-Hellicarriers belong to Iron Man. He also has his own Iron Man drones but they don’t look exactly like he does as Ultron does/did.

ISSUE 8

On the cover, Wolverine & Sue are in an alley way. Iron Man is hovering before them.

We open on Iron Man, which I don’t think he’s called that in this timeline. He’s just Tony Stark & I doubt he can take off his suit. He has taken the captured Wolverine & Sue. He has also gained access to to their memories somehow. Images are floating all around him. 2 Images are covers from past comics (Age of Ultron #1 & Secret Wars #1). Another is the image of Scarlet Witch’s face breaking apart into puzzle pieces from House of M.

In the room with him is Emma Frost & Charles Xavier. They are discussing if what they are seeing is true. Emma & Charles confirm that those 2 are who they say they are, just the versions from their timeline. It is brought of that in this timeline, it’s not Captain America. He’s come up in the world & is Colonel America!

Tony says “We’re saying these two lunatics have broken the timeline. They went back in time and broke it."

Yes, Tony. That’s what they are saying & what I’ve continued to say since this series has come out.

Tony goes to interrogate Wolverine.

What we find out:
1. Tony can’t leave his suit. He is the suit. He doesn’t have a lower body. He lost it in the “Latveria/Asgard War”. He tried to stop Morgana Le Fey from taking over Europe & the World.
2. It seems like Jarvis is a computer program. Keeps talking to a Jarvis but a Jarvis is heard & never actually seen.
2. Hank Lab’s has a security camera in it (something Wolverine didn’t think was in place at the time).
3. The Skrulls had been blamed for Hank’s Death & The Avengers had broken up shortly after that.
4. They were abandoned by Asgard. Doesn’t say who exactly “they” are (The Avengers or Earth in general) or if it was before or after the war.
5. The “Mini-Hellicarriers” are called Starkguard Carriers which I guess makes Starkguard the SHEILD of that timeline.

I want a book, 10 issues, of this timeline. There is a lot of cool sounding/looking things in it! Where is my Latveria/Asgard war book?
During the Interrogation, The Defenders are just hanging out awaiting further word on the dopplegangers. Frost & Xavier tell them to go away & leave Stark to his business. They says “Screw that!” and a fight breaks out.

Alt-Tony brings up one possible way Wolverine could have gone about solving the Ultron problem: Have Pym create Ultron but have him install something hidden in the programing. Let time run it’s course. Before Tony can finish off his thought, he’s told their is a security breach. It’s the Defenders!  Before Tony goes off to deal with it, Wolverine says it’s a nice theory (it’s more then a theory in a few issues).

The Thing, Cyclops & Alt-Wolverine get to Sue’s cell & open it. She’s gone. Or she turned invisible & when they opened the door, she ran out. She is found by Tony who can “see all spectrums”. The Starkguard carrier is then attacked by Morgan Le Fey & her army. She flies in a fire breathing flying creature. Her army flies in with her wearing very Doctor Doom looking armor (the Doom/Le Fey connection is gone into a bit more detail in the Fearless Defenders tie-in).

MULTI-PAGE FIGHT SCENE!

The issue ends with at least 2 of the 6 Starkgaurd Carrier’s crashing down onto New York.


ISSUE 9
Wolverine stabs Wolverine in a void composed of speed lines on the cover.

Issue 9 picked up where Issue 8 left off with a massive 2 page EXPLOSION! We then get another 2 page spread, this time showing the destruction. Still not as worse looking as the OG timeline. But there are more dead bodies scattered about NYC then in the OG timeline. Wolverine climbs out of the destruction. He’s missing his leg below the knee, only his bones remain. Tries to walk on it, can’t. Lays there on the ground for 5 days (according to the comic) as the leg regenerates. Shortly after it, He is attacked by one of Le Fey’s Doomesque army guys. Fight Scene! Wolverine wins.

Wolverine walks off, finds Stark laying on the ground trapped under some rubble. Stark talks about how one man (Hank Pym) could make such a difference. Stark knows that Wolverine will try & go back & fix things. He says that Wolverine can’t do that because “Time is an Organism” & every time someone travels through it Time rips & tears. The more you travel through it, the more you hurt it & actually kill time. Stark begs Wolverine to no do the thing he’s thinking of. That’s a theme of this later of the book: asking Wolverine to no do stuff but he does it anyways.

I think the book implies that Stark dies (the lights of Stark’s armor have turned off) & Wolverine walks on. We flip the page & Wolverine is once more in Pym’s lab in the 1970’s. But this is “flashback” to 1st trip back in time. Wolverine tries to reason with Pym, doesn’t go all that well & a fight scene break out.

We cut to Sue Richards waiting by the flying car. She is approached by someone, says “are you done so quickly?” The mystery person knocks her out. We cut back into fight & another Wolverine has appeared on the scene in 1970’s appropriate costume. The fight stops.

The reason 2nd Wolverine is wearing the costume is that “it’s all Fury had in his secret bunker”. Not only Fury paranoid but he’s also a kleptomanic. There is a discussion between the 3. Mainly between the 2 Wolverines’. Newer Wolverine proves he is Wolverine. They have to move on to “Plan B”! I thought stabbing Pym was Plan B, Plan A being talking to him. We are technically on Plan C. Pym just sits there amazed at what he’s seeing (2 people at different times in their life? Time travel? How does that work?)

The “Plan B” they are going with is the plan that Alt-Tony brought up last issue. Wolverine says that *he* can’t do it, Pym has to do it. Pym says he doesn’t make robots, he’s just been “tinkering” around with some A.I. stuff. The newer Wolverine says that it’ll be Ultron, Pym says he won’t make it. BUT Wolverine says he has too. Everything has to go as it once did before he came back & killed him. Wolverine only wants to avoid the last part where Ultron takes over THE WORLD!

Pym isn’t sure how to do that, New Wolverine explains about implanting a virus or a code into Ultron so that “when the thing is about to go full-blown — it just can’t”. Yes, “The Thing”! That’s how Ultron takes over the world! He uses The Thing! Why not use The Stuff? I hear it’s twice as powerful!

Pym brings up a good point: If he creates Ultron & the world has to go on as it did, what is to stop him from using this fail safe the 1st time Ultron becomes to much of threat? How could he let Ultron do what he did/will do known that he has the “kill switch”?

Future Sue comes in to say that Pym has to forget that he put in the kill code. Pym is still unsure about all that he is asked to do:

“So all I have to do is create an artificial intelligence that doesn’t exist yet… Put a time release program inside of it that doesn’t exist yet… Make my self forget about it and go about my life… How do I do this exactly?”

Good question, Dr. Pym. He don’t get an answer since we flip the page & are in the Savage Land. Sue asks what they are going to do with 2 Wolverines. Newer Wolverine asks for a minute alone with his other self. They walk off & talk about which one is not going back. Newer Wolverine says he is not since “he saw stuff”. Original timeline Wolverine pops his claws, We turn the page & Wolverine has blood on his claws. He killed himself: is that homicide or suicide?

This is intercut with flashbacks to Pym in his lab in the 70’s, he’s working on something. We turn the page to see the creation of ULTRON! Last page of issue 9 & it’s the 1st time he’s been seen in the whole series! That is if you don’t count anytime he is seen on the covers of the series.

This is it! 1 More issue to go & this is where it all goes off the rails.

Next Time: Issue 10!