Comic Review: All New X-Factor Volume 1

X Factor volume 1

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Peter David

Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

All New X-Factor Volume 1: Not Brand X, this volume brings about a big change to the classic X-Factor, a team that had been linked to the X-Men rather closely, but now we are finding that the name is being linked to a group of mutants who normally wouldn’t really be around each other, if they could help it.

A group of hero’s are being brought together by a company; Serval Industries; who are sponsoring a group of hero’s to make society better; but can this new team trust their new boss?

The first comic starts off strongly, we see Gambit and Polaris interact with each other, we find what is meant to be going on – although who can take things at face value? Particularly when it’s part of the Marvel Universe.  We then have Quicksilver join the team, although Polaris has reservations about it.  It was good to see the trio interact with each other, they wouldn’t normally be around each other under usual circumstances if they remained in their own teams; although Polaris not being on a team would barely have seen the light of day.

When we begin to meet the other character’s it gets bit, iffy.  Instead of having the narration being in third person throughout the comic, we get Gambit talking to us.  Which wouldn’t be too bad if the writer switched it up for every comic to make different character’s be a central point and have their thoughts highlighted and it would make more sense if this was more Gambit focused, but it wasn’t, it was only the first comic, in the other’s it had Polaris, Quicksilver and the other’s as more central characters and even then it would have worked better as a narration done by third person instead of a central character.

The art style of All New X-Factor is unusual and it works for this kind of comic, it suits the mood of what is going on, although the team is a heroic group, it’s not being good because they want to be, it’s because they want the world to be a better place; the art style reflection this.

All-New_X-Factor_2658

The art work is basic, it’s not over done, there isn’t a lot of details with the outfits, but it still works.

This first volume is a brilliant starting point for the comic, it’s good to see Quicksilver and Polaris get together and have some kind of sibling bonding, something that we comic readers haven’t really seen before, it’s always been Quicksilver and the Scarlett Witch; mainly because that is his twin sister, but it’s new and fresh to see him be with his younger sister.

It’s also refreshing to see a band of hero’s who aren’t really in the A-Team, these character’s aren’t going to pull lots of people in solely on their own, but the story will sell it and this is an interesting story to read.

This is a perfect read for those who are new to comics and would like to know a little bit more about these characters, in this comic it gives them plenty of room to shine.

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Book Review: Scotland’s Jesus by Frankie Boyle

Scotland's Jesus

Scotland’s Jesus: The Only Officially Non-racist Comedian – the latter part is due to the Daily Mail who released an article that was untrue about Boyle, who sued to prove that he was anti-racist – by Frankie Boyle is everything that you expect from a very sharp and blunt comedian from Scotland.

It’s hard to really describe the book, considering that Boyle’s flare of comedic enhancements makes some parts of the book rather uncomfortable to read; to the extent that I did actually just vaguely read it and began to read in earnest again when that section finished.

Frankie Boyle is well known from his work on Mock the Week, although his jokes were usually filtered down for the masses he was one of the most popular comedian’s on the show.  His own TV show that aired on Channel 4 caused controversy and was never picked up again after all the drama.  However Frankie has been doing well for himself, he’s a popular comedian in the UK, he now has 3 books and sell out shows.  He might be blunt and he definitely takes no prisoners in his shows, he does make many good points particularly in this book.

To many who try to read the first two chapters of the book will just see it as Boyle being crass, his usually shocking self; but in a book, in written medium he can actually give out far more information to the reader than he can in his shows.  People pay to see him live to be funny, to be sharp and witty, to rip into people or things or ideas; a book however? A book gives Boyle the ground in which to bring out his jokes and humour, but it also let’s him speak to the public, thus the reader, in a basic way.

He sheds light on racism, in a way that I doubt many people have managed; although yes it is after another of his crass jokes, but it doesn’t take away from the message he is giving out; because you expect Boyle to have crass and blunt jokes, but you don’t expect him to talk about things like Africa or the murders happening over in America.

To many Boyle is a bully, he rips into people with his blunt humour, he shouldn’t be thought of as being good.  Yet he is, in his book he talks about racism, the differences between the rich and poor and many other subjects that most people wouldn’t imagine him talking about in general; but it’s all carefully crafted in his book so that his well know humour is still in tact.

It’s not a book for everyone, but if you enjoy his humour on TV and see him in his shows, this is a pretty good book to read.

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Book Review: How To Be A Heroine by Samantha Ellis

How To Be a Heroine

How To Be A Heroine is a kind of vague biography of the author, showing her from the beginning of self-discovery of who her heroine’s are, should have been or could have looked up to.

To begin with Ellis is on a walking trip with her friend, they are walking towards the house that became the inspiration for the well known book Heathcliff.  It is during this trip, when Ellis and her friend are taking a break, that they discuss Cathy, the leading woman in the book and how Ellis adores her while her friend doesn’t see any redeeming value in Cathy at all and prefers Jane Erye.

This conversation makes Ellis ponder and she decides to re-read both books and compare the heroines inside them.

To her surprise she learns something about each heroine, how she had been quick to judge Jane and not take into account certain things that she did, while she realised she had also been wrong about Cathy and essentially ignored her flaws.  With this in mind she decided to re-read the books of her childhood, the books that had women in them that she looked up to and that moulded her into who she was.

The reason why I call this a vague biography of the author is because it’s all about the author, she talks about her own childhood, she talks of her family and how they have been through so much and yet she hasn’t because when she was born they were living in the UK; although when she was a child she wished that she could have been on the adventure that her mother had been on.

Every heroine is intertwined with her past, every heroine holds a special place in Ellis’ heart, all of them remind her of her past, of her childhood, of lost loves and essentially making her into a woman that she is now.

Not to say that it didn’t have draw backs, there was many heroines that Ellis looks back on and she regrets having not fully understood them.

We go into Little Woman – which I have read and also seen the movie – Ellis has too, she re-reads the book and realises; they are boring.  The one who has the most character is Jo and by the end of the book, or indeed the whole series, Jo is a mild woman who has lost her spark.

She also goes into The Little Mermaid, Gone With The Wind, Anne of the Green Gables ect.  All of these books have impact in her past and all of them are looked at with new eyes now.  New eyes that realise that certain character’s aren’t one’s she should have been looking up to and then character’s that she should have looked up to.

The good news with this book is, even if you have not read any of the books that are mentioned in detail, it doesn’t matter.  Ellis explains the book and the premise that it is supposed to get across, she gets across the characters and what their roles are in the book, their struggles – because I have no real passion to read Gone With The Wind – and she also discusses other books that are more ‘hip’ like Twilight, and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It should be warned though, that this book does contain spoilers for the books and even the TV series (Buffy).

In the long run though, the book is interesting to read, just keep in mind that this is the author’s own personal thoughts of these character’s she is criticising; although maybe it means that the readers should also re-read books from their own childhood and see if the character’s manage to keep a hold despite the hand of time.

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Comic Review: Spider-Woman #1

Spider-woman variant Cover

Spider-Woman is on a mission to protect new spider called Silk from being attacked and killed by a family of alternative dimension travelling vampires, who are out for all the Spider-Men, Spider-Girls and Spider-Women.  Unfortunately if you are hoping for a Spider-Woman comic that is solely dedicated to Spider-Woman with a few look-ins from Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Spider-Men, at this moment in it’s not a full on solo run for Spider-Woman just yet.

The comic is connected to the Spider-Verse that is currently going on through the Amazing Spider-Man comics; since the whole Axis crisis didn’t affect him we can guess that Marvel wanted him to have his own drama, and it’s a big one.

Silk is Spider-Man, she is a woman who has the exact same powers as Spider-Man, they were both bitten by the same spider.  If you haven’t read Spider-Verse then this would be slightly confusing for you, considering there is many Spider-Men and Spider-girls in this comic.  The important thing is that Spider-Woman is protecting Silk, Silk is the one these vampires appear to be hunting after and Jessica Drew is the best person Spider-Man could think of to protect her.

The only problem for Jessica Drew is that Silk doesn’t appear to know boundaries, she doesn’t know that she shouldn’t be causing a scene and protecting people when her own life is on the line.

The disappointment many readers will have is that this is a tie-in to another comic book, this isn’t just about readers learning more about Jessica Drew, or Spider-Woman, this isn’t us learning about how she trains her protege or if the other spiders need to be part of the comic, at least have her interact with them more than just Silk.

The art work is a bit bland, the character’s are good to look at but the expressions don’t seem to match their moods.  The places they have been, New York having purple sand and gold buildings aren’t really shown, that would have been something the artists could have revelled in considering it was something completely different and is unlikely to be seen again.

It is a comic that could become more interesting as time goes on, there is still things to learn about Spider-Woman, hopefully how she works with a team of other spiders is one of them, as well as working with Gwen Stacey.

Hopefully this will become something more, but right now it doesn’t seem like it has a lot going for it apart from being a tie-in to something else.

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Comic Review: Loki: Agent of Asgard #8

marvel-loki-agent-of-asgard-issue-8

From the last issue of Loki: Agent of Asgard we saw Loki join up with Magneto to stop the Red Skull, he along with the Enchantress were the only two from Asgard who aided Magneto with his quest to stop Red Skull.  It appeared to work, the only problem? It’s inverted who they are.  Loki is no long the mischievous godling that we new in the past seven issues, instead he becomes a hero, a literal hero, the first few pages are him protecting the people of Midgard from a robbery.

This issue is back to the original creators Al Ewing and artist Lee Garbett, so the art work is back on form again and it feels right.  The only problem with this?

Loki being a hero.

Loki has been working hard to be a good guy, to redeem himself for his sins; ‘I am a crime that will not be forgiven.’  His sins of the past though aren’t so easy to wash away, he was well aware of that fact, in fact he was so aware that he knows there will be trouble should anyone else know what he did in the past to darken himself, to make him want to be worthy and a hero.

Loki is the god of mischief, it’s his title and that isn’t something that will easily go away, a god of mischief doesn’t mean evil, in fact nothing Loki has done recently has been anything evil or devious.  Sly and cunning yes, he has been that in the past, both as Kid Loki and as Nerdki; that is what makes him the character he is.

The trouble with Loki being a hero is that it simply doesn’t fit who he is as a character, the writer is well aware of that fact and his dialogue for the comic has been… cringe-worthy to say the least, embarrassing to say the worst.  This is due to Loki being linked in the Axis, the end is coming for Loki as we know him currently, something is going to happen that will alter him.

It does seem though that Loki is aware that him being a hero isn’t a good fit he questions it to Amora The Enchantress who has also become a hero;

‘If the evil in us has become good… you don’t suppose the good in us has…’

Amora interrupts him to say that the good has just become better, pushing away his thoughts of doubt.

The more interesting character in this has to be the mortal, the only mortal in the whole Loki of Asgard series really, Verity.  Loki has in the past two issues seen Verity as his friend, although he had been learning how to be a good friend he was trying and Verity believed he had good in him; the plus was her being able to see lies, so any lie Loki told her, unless it wasn’t the whole truth, she would see right through.

Verity, out of the trio who hear Loki and Amora speak, is the one who is hurt the most from it.  She doesn’t love Loki, she sees him as her friend; whether this is true or not is hard to tell, but I would believe it is true, since she can see through other’s lies, how can she lie to herself?

Loki’s new outfit is interesting, his new head-gear appears to be harking back to the days of Walt Simonson’s design, it’s not the exact same, but you can see the general idea that it was based off of.

Loki Walt Simonson

It’s an interesting read, although many fan’s are probably waiting for Loki to return to how he was before Axis.  It won’t be an easy read for new readers of the comic, if they haven’t done any research about certain characters such as Amora, her sister Loriel or Verity.  If a reader does go into this issue armed with the knowledge of who these characters are they should be fine, Loki does a brief explaination of the whole Axis saga – which is currently on-going and probably won’t be over until December 2014.

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Comic Review: The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1

The Wicked and the Divine volume 1

The Wicked + The Divine is the brilliant new comic from Kieron Gillen – writer of Young Avengers – and the art work from Jamie McKelvie – artist of Young Avengers – together they have created this piece of work that many comic fans will enjoy.

The story focuses on twelve people who are part of ‘The Pantheon’, all twelve of the members had been normal before they gained superhuman powers; once they have these powers though they will not live past two years and the cycle will begin again in ninety years time.

The narrative focuses on a group of people with superhuman powers known as “The Pantheon”. Each member of The Pantheon was at one point a normal person before gaining their powers. It is said in the comics that The Pantheon will not live past two years from the start of the series, and that every 90 years the Pantheon is reincarnated.

The comic begins in the past, ninety years ago, where we are in a house, with four members of the current ‘Pantheon’.  These members are now at the end of their lives and they all react to that fact differently.

Wicked + the Divine

The count up is an important part, along with the clicking.  Although we know these are gods, we aren’t told which gods they are, apart from one or two saying each other’s names, the other two are nameless.  There is also the fact that the other eight gods are actually missing from this moment is significant.

Moving back to current times, we meet up with the Ultimate fan girl called Laura, she’s 17 years old and ever since the god’s appeared she has been following them around, going to all the gigs that they have in London.  When we first meet Laura she is at a gig for the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu and the crowd that is there love her.

the-wicked-the-divine-volume-1-page-3

This is also the gig where Laura meets Lucifer, or Luci as she likes to be called.  This is only the start for Laura in meeting ‘The Pantheon’, meeting all twelve gods and it’s due to Luci that she gets the chance.

It’s not the best reasons for it though, Luci is sent to jail for the murder of a judge and two other people, a crime that she claims she didn’t commit – she also claims she didn’t kill the two other people either, otherwise it would mean that the court would announce her as a god!

Things spiral out of control and Laura in the one who believe in her new friend, she believes what Luci has said, that she didn’t do it; and so she goes off to find the one who did do it.

This Volume has all 5 issues inside, along with the pictures of the variant covers and some little extra panels that were never included into the final product.

The Wicked + The Divine is a different take on comics, with it being centred about a girl, who is essentially the readers viewer, we are Laura, we would react in the same way as she is reacting in these situations.  ‘The Patheneon’ though are gods who are the ultmate pop stars and the ultimate pop stars are gods.

When you meet each god, you see certain apsects that will remind you of certain musician’s, Luci is loosely based off David Bowie; Baal is based off Kanye West, but although that appears to be the main base for the gods, they still have their layers, they are all interesting characters in their own right and not been ripped off from a real person.

The art work is bold, there is no minor details to look at here, but it’s colourful and bold which is how you want the comic to be, the story its self keeps the reading going, the art work, although beautiful and crisp shouldn’t take too much away from that story.  Even with it being bold and lacking in small details, it still tackled emotions well, you can see the worry and fear, joy, humour on the character’s faces, it’s clear for all to see what they are feeling in that moment.

The Wicked + the Divine is a brilliant read, this one is a perfect volume for comic readers who know they will enjoy it, but don’t want to get the individual comic or who can’t find issue 1 and would like to read all the issues.

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Comic Review: Elektra #7

Elektra 7

I used to read Elektra back in the day, when the Marvel Knights comics were out and Elektra was trying to redeem herself or something and found that she was being attacked by a man who wanted revenge, a man who lost everything and it was Elektra’s fault.  It had been a decent read, the art had been good, although the comic covers were always questionable, half naked Elektra on issue 13 is always going to make people wonder what is going on? http://www.comicvine.com/elektra-13/4000-457485/

However this is the newest line of getting Elektra popular – no Elektra isn’t a popular character, not when you compare her to Ms Marvel or Captain Marvel; but that is probably because Elektra like Black Widow is a questionable person.  She kills, she kills and she gets paid for it, that’s her job and her livelihood, it’s what she does and she’s good at it.

It’s probably also the reason why her movie didn’t do as well as many had hoped it would, Elektra in that movie was bland, she had no real personality; you could see that she was skilled and got flash backs of her training, but it never showed what a questionable motive she has, that she kills for money and she doesn’t get close to her targets.

A better movie would have Elektra be an anti-hero, she would kill and yet she would save lives, however I have gone off on a tangent and shall return to this review.

This is only issue 7 of this series, I haven”t read Elektra in years, literally, so I came back to read this one as it caught my eye and the art work inside looked pretty decent.

Elektra is trying to protect another assassin from being killed by the Guild of Assassins, a large organisation who have place a bounty on his head and also her’s.  The only way for them to break free is to fight and find a safe house for Crow and his son.

This issue sees Elektra fight Lady Bullseye who has been given enhancements to make her superior in a fight against Elektra.  She can now turn to vapor, so any of Elektra’s hits will always go through her.

The fight scenes are very well done, there is one moment that you could tell that someone wasn’t exactly right… but at the same time it also made sense to why Elektra did it.

The rest of the comic was nicely done, Elektra is a bloody comic, if you don’t want to see blood this isn’t for you, however it doesn’t show it in graphic detail like some other comics out there.

This issue brings to the end of the two part series that began in the last issue, with the next issue showing Elektra hunting down the head of the Assassins Guild and end the hunt on her once and for all.

It’s an enjoyable read, Elektra is one of the few Marvel characters out there who relies solely on her skill and not with any enhancement or mutant powers; it puts her on par with Black Widow in that too, both have been trained when they were young and both are killers.

The difference? Black Widow joined S.H.I.E.L.D and Elektra continued onwards by herself.

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