Tag Archives: X-men

6 Really Good Reasons You Should Buy The New ‘Storm’ Comic

A spontaneous pre-ship day trip to the comic shop this Tuesday met me with the sad disappointment of seeing SO many issues of  the brand spankin’ new Storm #1 still left on the shelves. After the shock wore off, I hunted down the clerk to make sure it wasn’t just a reorder. Alas… There are so many great reasons to pick up this comic right there on the cover — storm-1-cover-674x1024 –the pretty by line boasts the inimitable Greg Pak who does good story… that stunning artwork that caught your eye, that’s the badass Victor Ibanez (and obviously dope colorist Ruth Redmond), who’s got mad cred for his work on Constantine, Ghost, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman… And of course, there’s STORM! — And once you get past the cover, the comic itself is pretty gosh dern amazing too. But hey if that’s not enough to get you to bust out that $3.99, maybe some of these reasons will give you the nudge.

1. Storm #1 is literally the only mainstream solo comics series led by a Black Female Superhero right now.

The 25 Best Things About The '90s "X-Men" Cartoon Isn’t that crazy?! Though Marvel has stepped up with a bunch of female solo comics and female-led series, few of them are led by superhero women of color. Storm is pretty much the most popular Black Female Superhero in comics, and supporting the Storm series means supporting a more diverse comic shop shelf!

2. Storm is roughly 100 ba-gillion times cooler than Halle Berry.

Just in case you missed the much cooler Storm of the 80’s or happened to not exist yet or blacked out for the 90’s animated X-Men TV series… just understand that Halle Berry (and/or whatever behind-the-scenes human is responsible for the criminally dry/boring/pathetic/kitschy misuse of the Storm character in the X-Men movies) fundamentally failed to grasp the very real awesomeness that is the Storm as portrayed in the comics. As for you who already know how much Halle Berry (et al.) has failed this character… Imagine an entire generation growing up on the Storm that appears in the X-Men films… With that kind of miserable reputation, the character will fade into oblivion faster than a “toad when it’s struck by lightning” … It’d be a sad demise for an omega-level mutant (seriously, what baffoon thought a badass powerful mutant’s “big” scene should be fighting a human toad?)

3. This is her first ongoing solo title!

The 25 Best Things About The '90s "X-Men" Cartoon Aside from two 4-issue miniseries in 1996 and 2005 respectively, Storm has led the X-Men team many a time, but has never had her own ongoing solo title. Yes, yes, neither have a lot of the X-Men, but Cyclops, Wolverine, Bishop, Cable, even Sabertooth(!) and a few others, all had their own solo titles at one time or another.  And as one of the most popular characters and the frequent leader of the X-Men, Storm’s time is way overdue.

4. She is one of the oldest and most popular Black female superheroes in comics.

Don’t even look up the stats, just go ask anyone to name as many Black female superheroes as they can, ten bucks 90% of those lists start (and many (sadly) end) with Storm.

5. She has a really really really cool backstory

And it’s about time we got the chance to dive into more of that. The daughter of an American photojournalist and a Kenyan princess of a witch-priestess tribe… growing up in Harlem and Egypt, where her parents eventually die in the Suez Crises…Surviving as a street urchin and thief on the streets of Egypt…Worshipped as a goddess in the Serengeti… Shacking up with Black Panther… The woman has had one seriously interesting life and Greg Pak is sure to draw on that rich history to do the woman justice. Storm #1 already has her evaluating the was she has changed since she’s joined the X-Men, which may hint at a potential back-to-the-roots direction for the comic*. In Pak’s interview with CBR, he proved he knows his Storm history: “Storm’s been a street thief and a goddess and a persecuted mutant and a queen. She’s seen it all, from every level, and isn’t always necessarily going to side with mutants first and foremost. So there’s the potential for some rich drama and conflict right there.” Can’t wait to see how it plays out!

6. Greg Pak is the best man for the job

A middle-class, half-Korean guy from Texas, Pak might not have much in common with the hero, but as he said in an interview with USA Today, ” Storm’s difference resonated with me — just by existing, she represented the idea that anyone could be a superhero, even me.” Pak has indicated a few times over the years how much he’s wanted to write a Storm solo comic, and who better to make it good than a geeky worshiper of Her Weathery-ness? Plus, holdin’ it down for the marginalized geekiness, he’s clearly an outsider geek:

Now go get the damn comic.

 
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Corrected:  We previously mentioned that Storm #1 saw Storm go back to her home continent. Thanks to the awesome Victor Ibanez, we can correct that, as the setting was actually Santo Marco in the Caribbean, not Africa.

Bros Before Rogues: Is the X-Men Franchise Getting Worse at Representing X-Women?

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-banner

by Nicholas DiSabatino (guest contributor)

When Bryan Singer announced back in December that Anna Paquin’s scenes as Rogue in the forthcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past were cut, I was devastated. It’s hard when your favorite character is taken out of a movie (even if it was probably only one scene).  When the new issue of Empire Magazine came out last month featuring Rogue on one of the limited edition covers, Singer had to clarify that “it does not mean that we won’t see her in the film.”  A part of me gets it. This story is more focused on the First Class actors and not necessarily the original franchise actors. But then, I wonder, why even announce to the public they’re appearing in the film and include them in the promotional materials (including the first trailer), if they’re to be cut out during the editing process?

Over the weekend, rumors about Halle Berry’s Storm being reduced to just one scene flooded the internet. It was reported by the NY Daily News, so take that with a grain of salt. I’m not necessarily convinced, but if it does turn out to be true that will mean that X-Men: Days of Future Past will have cut two of the only five women characters out of a film with sixteen male characters in it.

That’s insane…

We already know that Kitty Pryde (the focal point of the Days of Future Past storyline in the comics) is being replaced by Wolverine. And while the writers have already explained that it wouldn’t make sense for Kitty to time travel to the 1970’s because she wouldn’t have been born yet, it still reeks of yet another X-Men movie where Wolverine has to take the reins from the other characters. Blink, while a nice addition to the series, probably won’t have much screen time or lines for that matter, leaving only Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique as the only female lead in a movie truly filled with X-Men.

This entire situation has led me to reexamine the representation of the X-Women in the X-Men movies, and it turns out, it isn’t pretty. Let’s break it down film by film.

X-Men (2000)

The first baby in the franchise that started it all. Anna Paquin’s Rogue definitely has the most screen time and is a crucial part of the story. And while fans have complained that her Rogue is really just a hodgepodge of Jubilee and Kitty Pryde, I do believe that Paquin brought a great sense of vulnerability to the role. Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey probably has the next amount of screen time, followed by Halle Berry’s Storm. Rebecca Romijn has one line in the film, yet gets a variety of eye-candy fight scenes (why is she naked exactly?).

We also see a very small cameo by Kitty Pryde. This film shows a lot of promise and room for growth in the ladies and their characterizations.

X2: X-Men United (2003)

 We see shades of that growth in Mystique and Jean Grey in this next movie. Mystique tells Nightcrawler that mutants shouldn’t have to hide when he asks her why she just wouldn’t always stay in disguise. The writers still don’t know what to do with Storm and she spends the majority of the film piloting the Blackbird with her large white eyes commanding the weather as opposed to actually getting out in the sky and flying. Rogue’s still the damsel in distress and only gets to use her powers twice throughout the whole film (one time is only kissing Ice Man for god’s sake). Jean sacrifices herself to save the team at Alkali Lake giving us the promise of the Phoenix in the third film. This time we have more cameos from Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, and Siryn. Lady Deathstrike fills the role Mystique had in the first movie, with an epic fight scene with Wolverine, and again, only one line.

X-Men : The Last Stand (2006)

This movie had maybe the most female characters, yet didn’t seem to know what the hell to do with them.  Kitty Pryde was finally given the chance to become a part of the team with the excellent casting of Ellen Page, yet her storyline revolved around a love triangle between her, Ice Man, and Rogue. Paquin’s Rogue was relegated to the background and given the ridiculous storyline of taking the mutant cure because boo woo she can’t kiss her boyfriend? She displays her powers only once (Colossus saves her in the Danger Room from getting crushed by some falling debris)—making Rogue the perennial victim of the X-Men franchise, despite Paquin’s best efforts to give the character some depth, the writers clearly didn’t know what to do with her. Storm becomes the reluctant leader of the X-Men after the deaths of Xavier and Cyclops and finally gets to fly, yet somehow, it still feels like Wolverine’s in charge. (The wigs for Berry just keep getting worse.)

Jean Grey’s Dark Phoenix storyline had so much potential and then was wasted away with a pointless death of not only her, but of Xavier and Cyclops as well.  While in the comics, Jean Grey is the central player in the Dark Phoenix storyline, in the third film, she just stands in the background and scowls a lot. We have throwaway cameos from the likes of Psylocke, Arclight, and poorly-designed bit representation of Calisto.

Meanwhile, Brian Wood's X-Men has Storm and Rogue as its leading X-ladies
Meanwhile, Brian Wood’s X-Men has Storm and Rogue as its leading X-ladies

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Do I really have to comment on this? We have Silver Fox (the love interest) and a throwaway Emma Frost (her sister?). The continuity of the movies and its characters begins to unravel dramatically. This film represents the worst in female representation in the X-films in my mind.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

We have more eye candy in the forms of January Jones’s Emma Frost and Zoe Kravitz’s Angel. Rose Byrne’s Moira MacTaggert gives a wonderfully-constructed performance, but only has a chance to shine briefly in the beginning. Jennifer Lawrence adds the necessary depth so lacking in Rebecca Romijn’s previous incarnations.

The Wolverine (2013)

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Rila Fukushima’s Yukio kicks butt. Tao Okamoto’s Mariko isn’t a simple damsel in distress. Svetlana Khodchenkova’s Viper (while she gets a ridiculous ending), does have a decent amount of screen time. Famke Janssen serves as Wolverine’s eye candy in a dream fantasy. Of all the X-films, The Wolverine ironically has the best representation of female characters, while giving them strong characterizations and enough screen time to match Hugh Jackman.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

We have young Mystique. Blink. Kitty Pryde. Perhaps Storm. And maybe the tiniest chances of Rogue making an appearance.  That’s it kids!

X-Men: Apocalypse  (2016)

Singer says this film will be set in the 1980’s and we might see some familiar faces as their younger selves. Could we dare hope for Lupita Nyong’o as a young Storm with a mohawk?  Or how about a perky Emma Stone as a young Jean Grey? Or maybe add in some new characters like Polaris, Dazzler, Psylocke?  Or will they add ten more new male character instead?

X-Force (?)

Hopefully we’ll see either Domino or Psylocke in this one. Or preferably both.

There’s a part of me that thinks the easiest thing to do would be to start from scratch and reboot the franchise, yet I still hold out hope that future X-films will give the women a chance to shine. I understand that not every character is going to get the same amount of screen time, yet it’s ridiculous that the X-Men films (with source material featuring some of the most fully developed and powerful female characters in probably comics’ history) has relegated them to either damsels in distress, eye candy, or background noise. There have been some signs of progress (James Marigold’s The Wolverine), but these recent developments with Bryan Singer’s movies still prove to me that we live in a Hollywood where comic book movies are still for “the boys” and are written and directed by men. Lauren Shuler Donner, get it together, girl! I think you need to hire the talents of Marjorie M. Liu, Gail Simone, and Louise Simonson to take a shot at the next script. There’s excellent source material available. All it needs is a woman’s touch.

But the men can do it too. Screenwriters, take a gander at Brian Wood’s first storyline in X-Men, or maybe even some of the classic Chris Claremont stories for inspiration. I think you need it.

Meanwhile, Brian Wood's X-Men knows what's up, featuring Storm & Rogue as leads in his comic series

A Very Storm-y Halloween! *Best* Storm Halloween Cosplay

Halloween isn’t just for the wicked, it’s basically a holiday for geeks and cosplayers to get their geek on with full approval and even celebration. And this Halloween, some classic Storm is out in full force!  And who can blame ’em, a Storm costume is the perfect way to get geeky and stay classy.

These classy and sassy Storms would make the lightning goddess have a little chat with her designer….

In Singer/model/director Greg Serebuoh‘s hands Storm goes natural diva:

In Singer/model/director Greg Serebuoh's hands Storm goes natural diva
In Singer/model/director Greg Serebuoh‘s hands Storm goes natural diva

Nailed it.

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And Fashion blogger The Seventh Sphinx goes Storm mod:

Peep more shots at The Seventh Sphinx.

Happy Geek-o-ween  y’all!

Rogue Touch: A Review

by Nicholas DiSabatino

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 When Marvel announced back in February that it was launching two new prose novels starring She-Hulk and Rogue, of course, I was intrigued. The idea of targeting women readers who may prefer the novel format over the traditional comic book layout is interesting, and there have been scores of X-Men novelizations outside of the traditional X-Men universe (some great ones from the 90s include the trilogy Mutant Empire by Christopher Golden, Prisoner X by Ann Nocenti, and Smoke and Mirrors by Eluki Bes Shahar). Unfortunately, Rogue Touch by Christine Woodward (the pseudonym for writer Nina de Gramont) sadly lacks the heart and passion integral to the character of Rogue with a weak plot and a forced romance.

According to an interview with Woodward on Examiner.com, Hyperion didn’t want her to retread any existing storylines and instead create a reimagining of Rogue’s past before she discovered the X-Men or even knew what a mutant was.  Unfortunately, this version of Rogue comes off as a weird hodgepodge with traces of the bizarre origin story Marvel commissioned from writer Robert Rodi in 2004, the physical goth style of her X-Men Evolution days, and a Stephenie Meyer heroine.

The story starts off promising with young Anna Marie suffering from her first kiss with Cody Robbins, where she discovers her absorption powers for the first time, and puts him in a coma. She’s left her home life in Caldecott County, Mississippi with her Aunt Carrie and has taken a job at a bakery in Jackson. Woodward excels in these early scenes where she describes in rich detail the life Rogue led before she discovered her powers, including a touching scene where Rogue keeps trying to write a letter to the Robbins and apologize for what she’s done to their son. Then of course because this is a romance novel, the mysterious stranger has to show up.

James, whose code name is ironically “Touch,” initially annoys Rogue, as he’s seen watching her from a distance outside the bakery, but then of course intrigues her, and the two go on the run together after Rogue accidentally touches her boss and puts her in a coma. But Touch is on the run as well, and after some prodding from Rogue, he tells her that he’s an “alien.” Around this time, I literally said, “oh man, really?” and thought of that horrible novel about a human/alien romance The Host.

Touch’s alien cohorts are after him and it’s up to Rogue to protect him. Other reviews of the novel claim that Touch felt like a cheap imitation of Gambit, but this is grossly inaccurate as Touch lacks both Gambit’s charisma and magnetism. Weirdly, throughout the novel, Rogue only uses her powers about 3-4 times, and one of these times,  she literally absorbs a Native American cave drawing (I kid you not). It’s a shame that Hyperion asked Woodward not to include the concept of mutants because without that Rogue simply views herself as some freak of nature whose power lies in sinfulness.

The novel struggles from a sluggish storyline with Rogue and Touch going across the country, getting into trouble, and inadvertently falling in love. Woodward interestingly has Rogue and Touch “touch” each other over clothing and kiss each other through a heavy ski mask. In the comics, I doubt Rogue would have ever been so brazen with her sexuality. Her experience with Cody affected her so deeply that I don’t think she would have ever taken sex or the act of touching so carelessly.

The “twist” that comes half way through the novel is unoriginal and does a disservice to Rogue’s characterization. Woodward’s Rogue is a deeply lonely, but impulsive girl who yearns for a boyfriend (essentially her entire characterization in the 1990s). This is fine, but left me wanting more. It would have been interesting to take the novel in a direction that either introduced her to Mystique and her experience with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and her eventual fight with Ms. Marvel or at least with the X-Men, but as is, in this universe, Rogue doesn’t learn about her powers or find a real home where she belongs. She is sadly reduced to a carbon copy of the original, feisty woman I’ve come to know and love from the comics.

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Nicholas DiSabatino has an MA from Emerson College, and has been previously published in Blast Magazine. He has previously shown his admiration for Rogue at Geek Outsider.

 

With The Slightest Touch: Why Rogue Matters to Me as A Gay Man

by Nicholas DiSabatino

With the recent release of Brian Wood and Oliver Copiel’s  X-Men #1 with an all-female cast (featuring Storm, Kitty Pryde (aka Shadowcat), Rogue, Rachel Grey, Psylocke, and Jubilee), I’m reminded of how relatable some of these women are to me. Like many children of the 90s I was drawn to the X-Men through Fox’s animated TV show. But if I could pick one member of the X-Men who resonated with me the most it would have to be Rogue.

It wasn’t just because she had an awesome power set (flight, super strength, invulnerability) or that she said ridiculous things like “You look as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs” in that cool Blanche Dubois-like drawl provided by the great voice actress Lenore Zann, it was because Rogue suffered not just as an outsider, but because of her inability to touch someone without irrevocable damage. This fear of intimacy and its repercussions is something many gay men, myself included, have struggled with our entire lives.

Rogue’s (traumatizing) first kiss

Created in 1981 by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden, Rogue started off as a villain working with her stepmothers Mystique and Destiny to make Carol Danvers’s (aka Ms. Marvel) life a living hell and then single-handedly trashed the Avengers and the X-Men on more than one occasion, before begging Professor X and the other X-Men to take her in to help her control her powers. She wasn’t met with approval. All of the X-Men threatened to quit and it was only till she threw herself in the line of fire and saved Wolverine and his fiancée that they even began to give her a chance.rogue mystique

Rogue’s gone through various incarnations throughout the years in both comics and visual media from the headstrong tomboy type of the Chris Claremont years to the Goth girl in X-Men Evolution to Anna Paquin’s fragile, timid rendition in the X-Men movies, to the endless soap opera romance with Gambit in the 1990s, to the recent power-controlled, independent woman of Mike Carey’s X-Men: Legacy, and now as the angry, brash member Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers.

Yet every incarnation is based off of one character trait—her desperate need to be loved, to be touched, and to be approved of. It’s something I could relate to growing up as a young gay man in Ohio.

rogue xmen

Like Rogue, I felt like an outsider in my small hometown, going to a Catholic high school during the Bush years, without any other gay people to talk to. Resorting to the sordid world of internet dating, I made countless bad choices just in the name of finding some kind of physical and emotional intimacy. Like Rogue, I hungered to be touched, yet also had to wade in the potential risks of STI’s and HIV, both possible scary consequences from having multiple partners. Rogue’s power is unique because while she gains something from physical contact (either in the form of abilities, powers, memories), she could also possibly put someone into a coma, or even death from too prolonged contact.

This idea that death is a possible side effect from intimacy is all too common knowledge in the gay world (and was especially prevalent in the 1980s with the onslaught of AIDS), but one we risk from having unprotected sex.  In Rogue’s early days before she joined the X-Men, she felt an almost insatiable need to touch someone—to absorb their powers, to feel anything outside of a gloved hand, and I could relate with this when I first became aware of my sexuality and acted on it.

Like Rogue, I needed to learn control and to value myself enough to resist instant gratification and wait for something more substantial.  It wasn’t an overnight process and I still made mistakes along the road. However, a lesson I needed to learn (and one I think all gay men could benefit from) is that the power of touch shouldn’t be taken for granted—it carries with it both physical and emotional ramifications.

Rogue finally has control of her powers, and yet instead of jumping into a relationship with her either of her two off-again, on-again boyfriends Magneto or Gambit, she decided to make the refreshing choice of being alone. Rogue is a resilient character, who has grown over the years into a more self-assured woman, who calls on intimacy on her own terms. It’s something I think we can all aspire to, sugah.

Rogue in Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel’s X-men #1

 

Nicholas DiSabatino has an MA from Emerson College, and has been previously published in Blast Magazine. As the publicity assistant to Beacon Press, he always brings his own sassy Rogue-like charm to the workplace. 

Top 5 Supervillains of Color in Comics [Unleash The Fanboy]

We often talk about the dearth of superheroes of color in comics, but with DC Comics‘ big Villain Takeover announcement, villainy is on the mind.  Sure people of color are often villainized in all media, but I don’t mean racially stereotyped street thugs, purse-snatchers, and terrorists here. I mean Supervillains. As in, those big time baddies who give the heroes a serious run for their money. The big guns.  The arch-nemeses. After all what’s a hero without a villain? So where are the supervillains of color who can contend with the smarts of a Lex Luthor, the universe-shaking scale of a Thanos, or the seriously horrifying crazy of a Joker? Well, here are a few candidates who are or could be, if given a little more panel space, all-stars on the evil-doer honor roll (or rather, dishonor roll.. ba dum!): (*mind the Spoilers)

Lady Deathstrike (Yuriko Oyama)

LADY DEATHSTRIKEDespite her negligible role in the 2003 X-men 2: X-men United movie, Lady Deathstrike has actually had a much larger presence in the Marvel universe. Daughter of Lord Dark Wind who created the process that gave Wolverine his adamantium claws, she rocks her own adamantium weaponry. She’s taken on big guns like Captain AmericaRogue, and Sabertooth, and she’s the one responsible for Sunfire losing his legs. Her main beef is with Wolverine, and she gives him plenty of trouble and often. She’s even allied with other big baddies like Doctor Octopus and obviously William Stryker

Continue reading at UnleashTheFanboy.com!