Tag: x-men

Logan – No Post Credit Scene (No Spoilers)

When the superhero genre is filled with over the top special effects and relies on the powers of its cast, Logan is a quiet movie focusing instead on the story of a man out-of-place and past his prime. When you’re a soldier without a war, and what you do best is kill, what does the world have left for you?

I’m not a fan of Wolverine in the comics. Much like Superman, his powers have been seen in a capacity that makes him Godlike and we lose the potential to fear for the character. Torn in half, decimated by a nuke, even the lost of his razor claws have done little more than slow him. Logan however quickly grounds us, bringing us into a world not far off in the future and with a character who is past his prime and barely surviving.

The story is loosely adapted from Old Man Logan, and fans of the series knew it would be altered due to property licensing. What we were given is story about a washed up mutant, trying to protect the one man who has always supported him. When a woman appears in his life claiming he has a daughter, Xavier, ever the headmaster, wants to see the child to safety. Logan on the other hand, he is an old man stuck in his ways, seeing the possibility for loss, tries to stick to his loner ways.

Tucked away in an abandoned mining silo, Patrick Stewart’s Xavier spends time caught between a man losing his mind and the sagely professor. Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman have a bond throughout this film that reminds us their lives have been interconnected for the last seventeen years. In heartfelt speeches and moments of tenderness between them, we see Logan’s regard and respect for the only man who has ever been a father to him. The movie goes to the extent of having them join another family for dinner to drive home the point. Sitting around a dinner table telling stories of their adventures in thinly veiled disguises, we see people, not heroes.

Similar to barn scene in Avengers 2, where we meet Hawkeye’s family, the characters are given a moment to be human. The scene is interrupted, as is the life of a superhero, but for a good long time, we are left with thought-provoking questions, something the genre is not known for giving us. What lengths would I go to protect my family? Could I be a father? Would I find commonalities with those different than me? What if my child was “different?” How does the most powerful mind feel about the fragility of his body? Will the world remember me when I’m gone?

While the movie features Hugh Jackman’s title character, a role he has grown and expanded to new layers of complexity, it is Patrick Stewart who steals every scene. Having killed hundreds of people with his telepathy as a seizure erupted and he lost control, we’re given a man whose strongest attribute is slowly failing him. Having already lost the use of his legs, we’ve always found comfort in him being able to step outside his body and move freely with his telepathy. Wrapped in self-doubt, grief, and blame for the atrocities he has caused, we see a man with no legacy, a man who tried to change the world and failed. His own mind has turned against him, and we understand his frailty. And while this sounds gut wrenching, we find ourselves often laughing at his old crotchety nature and the sharp jabs he gives to Logan. The playful Patrick Stewart we’ve grown to love, the one wearing matching outfits with Sir Ian McKellen also has a strong presence. I find myself frequently wondering where the role ended and where the actor began?

I should also include Dafne Keen for her role as Laura. X-23 is a complicated character because she simply does not understand who or what she is. Manufactured for war, she is the biological daughter of Wolverine, but has never known a father. While Logan’s mythos is wrapped in mystery from the fateful day within WeaponX, Laura has been bred for war. Watching her fight is amazing, probably the best choreographing I’ve seen in years, but it’s the moments in which she lets down her guard and becomes a child that we connect with her.  She matches Logan in intensity, rage, fighting, and even comical moments, the pair together were magnificent in being reflections of one another, a true father/daughter dynamic.

I can continue to gush, and remind people that in the 70 years of comics we’ve read, we’ve grown to love the people more than the powers. We see momentary glimpses to the young cigar smoking Canuck, but more than that, we see the story of a man who is ready to say goodbye.

Since 2000, I have had the opportunity to watch my passion play out in front of me. For good or for bad, I have been along for the ride. Seventeen years I’ve watched Hugh Jackman play my angry uncle and Patrick Stewart play my second father. While I am sad to see them leave, they are giving the characters the farewells they deserve.

Now, we wait for the Next Generation.

<SPOILER>
As the title says, there is no post credit scene. I spent a good chunk of the movie trying to figure out where the next movie (even if not starring Hugh Jackman) would come into play? Would X-23 assume the mantle and have a movie of her own? Do we see the potential of the New Mutants? When the screen remained blank, I felt cheated. It took me time to process this, but overall, I’m content that there is no continuance. Fox set out to say farewell to the characters and the moment I realized they were gone, I came to grips with what type of story this was. No “to be continued,” simply a story of a man’s last actions.

Comic Characters Who Need Their Own Movie

Over the past decade, comics have made the big transition from the printed page to the silver screen. It hasn’t been a flawless leap, and there are a few productions that I think we as a people wish had never seen the light of day [cough, Fantastic Four, cough]. Truly, it’s a great time to be a nerd, when one of the cornerstones of geek subculture has now become part of the mainstream, and it’s a little less cool to say that you know who Wolverine is.

But here’s the problem: Wolverine’s one of the few we know. In an industry with a dearth of possible stories, we’ve seen five Spider-Man movies, six starring the X-Men, and countless Avengers titles. While more are planned, it doesn’t look like the theatrical roster is going to expand by too much. So, I decided to throw my two cents and comprise a list of characters, some from Marvel and others from different companies, that I think deserve their own movie.

Darkhawk
Regarded as a C-List hero that gets to occasionally team up with the big boys, Darkhawk has in fact saved the entire world and gone toe-to-toe with some of the heavy-hitters of the Marvel Universe [the guy was part of the Infinity Crusade, I think that at least moves him to B+ List]. His back story starts out like many heroes—as a kid, Chris Powell basically fell into his powers, after he used an alien amulet to transform into an android powerhouse.

Unlike many, his course to heroism was somewhat erratic. His mentors include Venom and The Punisher, folks whose idea of due process is a deciding whether to skin the bad guys alive or just cave in their skulls. It’s no surprise that he’s questioned the wisdom of leaving the bad guys in one piece.

Now, let’s talk powers—Darkhawk has enough for two characters. Super strength, an energy shield, a force blast, flight, even some kind of nightmare face that terrifies anyone he looks at. Yeah, his outfit makes him look like a cyberpunk Power Ranger, but he makes it work.

Multiple Man
Jamie Madrox’s own powers have tried to kill him. There, I think that’s all I need to say.

What? I need to do more. Fine, fine….

Madrox is a mutant with the power to create a duplicate of himself through physical impact. Basically, you punch him and get two to fight with. Have fun with that. He’s a member of X-Factor, a government -run mutant team because sure, the government has always had the best interests of mutants at heart.

Despite some questionably judgment in allegiences, Madrox has proven himself a hero time and again. The guy can make as many duplicates as he needs, and as far as I know, there’s no limit to this ability. He’s basically a one-man army. More than that, he can see, hear, and experience anything his copies do. Send one to infiltrate a Hydra base, but he gets killed? No worries, Madrox Prime [as he’s sometimes referred to] saw everything he needs to stop their fiendish plan.

But that’s not all! He can learn anything his copies learn just by absorbing them back into his body. He once sent a copy to spend years learning martial arts, then gained all the skills in a moment. If he gets hurt in battle, drawing the copies back into himself can heal his wounds. It’s actually a wonder that he bothers being part of a team.

Mice Templar
OK, this would be likely be multiple films, but the premise is amazing: infusing Celtic and Norse legends to tell a tale of destiny, revenge, and war. On the surface this seems like standard Disney fare: an army of mice taking on the evil rat empire, but the similarity ends very quickly. And very, very bloody

While this certainly has the potential to be a good animated series, let’s just say the parental warning would be high for this one. It’s about as gory as the movie Braveheart, and has a complex, ever-evolving story that follows a young mouse named Karic, someone who wants absolutely nothing to do with the destiny thrust upon him as a great savior, only agreeing once he sees that he’s the only thing saving his kind from complete annihilation. So, no pressure, right?

Ink
A lesser-known member of the second incarnation of the New Mutants, Tattoo isn’t actually a mutant, and has no powers that are his and his alone. Instead, he employs a mutant tattoo artist, whose gift allows him to make any ink he draws a power. Draw the biohazard sign on your hand: congrats, you can now broadcast the plague to anyone around you. A set of wings on your heels: heads up, you can fly. Hell, the guy even gave himself the powers of the Phoenix. Yeah, the same one that decimates worlds for fun. That Phoenix.

To be fair, Tattoo isn’t a real hero, and only gives himself these powers for his own gain, but when the chips are down, he steps up and does the right thing, even when that “right thing” puts him in a coma.


Max Bowen founded Citywide Blackout five years ago to support and promote Boston’s music scene. The show has grown significantly over the years, with many different co-hosts bringing their distinct personalities, experience, and expertise to the table. This show wouldn’t exist if not for their hard work.

Today, Citywide Blackout airs on WEMF every Thursday at 9 p.m. with co-hosts Matt Zappa and Tom Crossman. The show shines the spotlight on musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers, and much more.

In addition, Max is a regular contributor to The Noise Magazine, which covers the Boston music scene through live show and CD reviews and in-depth articles. He has worked as a journalist for Gatehouse Media for the last 10 years. Today, he’s the editor of the Westwood Press and Medfield Press newspapers.

X-tinction Agenda, An Arc to End All Arcs

X-tinction Agenda is a story arc from the 1990s that encompasses three mutant superhero teams: the X-Men, X-Factor, and the New Mutants. It was produced in the halcyon days before certain film depictions hopelessly mangled beloved storylines (I’m looking at you, The Last Stand).

The storyline begins in Uncanny X-Men #270, when a strike group from Genosha is ordered by its leader, Cameron Hodge, is sent to the X-Mansion to kidnap Storm and the New Mutants Wolfsbane, Rictor, Boom Boom, and Warlock. Hodge is aided by the X-Man Havok, who had a frm of amnesia at the time.

So, what is Genosha, and why did said Genoshans go around kidnapping mutants? Genosha is an island off the east coast of Africa, close to Madagascar. It operated as a free state and was a very rich country, with its wealth and prosperity a direct result of its mutant slaves. Yep, you read that correctly, all the mutants on Genosha were brainwashed government slaves.

Genoshans began testing their children for mutant genes early on. If a child tested positive their free will was stripped, and they became mutates. They could be further mutated to fill certain labor shortages on the island, ensuring that the mutants toiled away while the rich got richer. The island ended up with certain labor shortages, and this gave Hodge the supremely bad idea of kidnapping some X-Men. That did not end well for him, most of the mutants, or Genosha in general.

The arc has a bittersweet ending, rather than a happily ever after. Warlock sacrifices himself to save his teammates, and the brainwashing leaves Wolfsbane stuck in wolf form and psychically bonded to Havok. Storm, whose body had been devolved to that of a child, regains her adult form and full use of her powers. The X-Men also get their first look at the “new” Psylocke, since these events take place right after she was rescued by Jubilee and Wolverine (that’s the Lady Mandarin storyline, another excellent arc well worth your time). X-Tinction Agenda is also when everyone’s favorite Cajun, Gambit, becomes an official X-Man.

Genosha’s story is still relevant today. Political agendas around the globe tout reduced rights and/or access for certain groups of people, be it based on race, religion, or lifestyle issues. (Yes, I realize that “lifestyle issues” is a huge umbrella to stick things under, but this isn’t a political blog. Y’all catch my meaning, amiright?) In the US, the current president-elect has openly stated he’d like to have all Muslims register with the state, an act eerily reminiscent of what happened in Europe in the days leading up to World War II. You’d think these world leaders would kick back and read a few comics, and realize that holding one group apart from the general population based on differences beyond anyone’s control never, ever ends well.

Maybe Chris Claremont will run for president in 2020. Him, I’d vote for.

X-tinction Agenda spans nine issues, and has been collected into a trade paperback. It was written by Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson, and drawn by Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, and Jon Bogdanove. There’s a lot of character growth packed into these issues, and it’s definitely worth your time.


Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library.) An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Connect with Jennifer online at www.authorjenniferallisprovost.com

Bibliography
Copper Girl – Urban Fantasy
Chronicles of Parthalan – Fantasy Romance

The Folly of Subcultural Gatekeeping, or WWXD?

 

My favorite superhero comic property has always been The X-Men. Their powers were varied and interesting, the individual heroes had deep backstories and complex relationships with each other, so much of what they did was just so incredibly cool. But what I loved about the X-Men most of all was what they stood for: these heroes were mutants. They were different, shunned by society, told they were dangerous and shouldn’t exist and yet with all the hate thrown
their way they chose to use their powers to try to make the world a better place. The followers of Professor Charles Xavier put their lives on the line to protect the same people who would just as soon see them dead. What could be more heroic than that?

Obviously I’m not alone in my adoration of the X-Men. There have been 10 blockbuster movies, 3 animated television shows, and thousands (and counting) of individual comic issues. People love the X-Men and many people relate to them. Super-powered mutants on the embattled fringes of society work as metaphorical stand-ins for anyone who is off the mainstream; from racial and ethnic minorities to LGBTQ people to your garden-variety outcast or nerd (that last one would be me – hi!) Many people who love the X-Men do so in part because they know what it’s like to feel like they don’t fit in with the rest of the world, but that they still want to make a positive impact on it.

So I really have to say – it confuses the hell out of me when fellow geeks try to exclude people.

Let me just pause here and explain what I’m talking about: there’s this thing that some nerds sometimes do where they try to test and see if you’re a “Real Nerd™”. They may casually throw some quiz questions into their conversation with you, or make an obscure reference to see if you catch it, or suddenly quote something to see if you provide the next line. If for whatever reason you fail these tests then you have proved yourself not a “Real Nerd™” and will therefore get the cold shoulder or some snickering remark about how you probably never read any of the comics anyway. It doesn’t just happen with nerds trying to see who belongs in the clubhouse, it happens in all sorts of subcultures, professions, and social circles. People do it because they think for some reason (usually superficial) that the person they are dealing with doesn’t belong in the same group they do. It’s an insecure, childish behavior and it has a name: Gatekeeping. At the lowest levels, Gatekeeping is people telling others that they can’t be “Real Nerds™” or “Real Fans” or whatever and giving them the brush off in a social setting. At the highest levels, Gatekeeping shuts people out of careers, neighborhoods, countries, entire parts of their lives. Pretty shitty, huh?

To be fair, I say that it confuses me when geeks (those typically shunned and shut out for as superficial a reason as being slightly awkward and liking nerdy things) engage in this behavior, I can extrapolate why people do it. Sometimes it’s a feeling of ownership: comics are “their” thing and other people could not possibly share their deep personal connection to them. Sometimes it’s a feeling of vulnerability and mistrust: the person that they are eyeing suspiciously reminds them of people who would normally ridicule them for liking comics so they must only be feigning interest to gain a hurtful new advantage over them. Sometimes it’s a certain element of snobbery: they have spent countless hours dedicated to learning all about these comics, this casual interloper has no place among the Hard Core Fans like them!

My rebuttal to all of this is basically, grow up.

Comics, superheroes, nerdy stuff in general is not just for you. Unless you are a wealthy Renaissance patron you probably don’t have an entire stable of artists and writers creating content for you, personally. Comics creators create their work hoping that as many people as possible will enjoy it since you know, that’s how they make their living.

No adult is going to spend their precious free time and money going to crowded comic conventions or digging through longboxes in the local comic shop just so they can find your weakness and get some zinger in at you. As disappointing as it may be, we live in the real world, not a middle-school made-for-TV special where mustache-twirling villains scheme to hurt your feelings.

I take special umbrage with the “Real Nerd™” snobbery of being a more casual, or just less experienced, fan. Not having the hundreds of hours (and thousands of dollars) investment into a fandom doesn’t mean you are any less sincere or enthusiastic. It is often just a question of access. I grew up in rural Maine, you know what my local “comic shop” was? Rite Aid. Yeah, the pharmacy. They carried maybe 4 different superhero comic titles on their magazine rack (plus Archie, of course!) On top of that my parents didn’t “believe in” allowance (yeah, I don’t know either) so I almost never even had pocket money to purchase those comics with until I was old enough to drive myself to a part time job. By the time I left home for college I had only ever read maybe a hundred out of literally thousands of X-Men comics. There was no way I was going to catch up and become a “Real Nerd™” before I started my freshman semester! I would be forever shamed!

Because I was going to college to get my degree in comics.

You see, despite not being able to find, purchase, and therefore read many comic books, I always loved them. I was drawing comics before I knew what comics were. I had always loved to draw, I had always loved to write, so I did the two together my entire life until I realized that it was really the only thing I wanted to do and skipped off down to the Savannah College of Art and Design to maybe learn how to actually do it well. Along that winding path there were so many people, “Real Hard Core Nerd™” people, who saw my enthusiasm and drive and welcomed me in and helped me along. From the English teacher who first suggested I look into SCAD, to the Comic’s Lit Book Club organizer who shoved Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” into my hands after the first meeting I attended, to all my college professors, to friends I made over conversations that started with, “oh, you haven’t read that? You should totally check out this…”

I would never have gotten this far in my amazing comic-creating journey without those people, the ones who saw someone who maybe didn’t quite fit their notion of “belonging” but welcomed them anyway. I have definitely encountered my fair share of Gatekeeping trolls – occasionally to my social or professional detriment – but I am eternally grateful for all the people who decided to embody the inclusive spirit of the X-Men and help me on my way instead. It may not be fighting Apocalypse to restore the timeline, but they put themselves out there in small ways to make the world a better place for people that may not have been just like them.

That’s the thing, really: you can’t tell from a quick look or nerd-password-test who you’re really talking to, who could end up being a great friend, or even a creator of some of your favorite comics some day. So the next time you think you’ve encountered a casual comics’ fan, someone who’s only into superheroes because of the CW, or any other less-than-fully-vetted nerd, and are tempted to quiz and cold-shoulder them, just take a moment and ask yourself, “What would Xavier do?”


Amanda Kahl is a comic artist and writer and the creator of the fantasy webcomic “Age of Night.” She also illustrates for the tabletop gaming industry and likes to play games, hang out with her kids, and read. Check out some of her comics at www.ageofnight.com!

X-Men Adventures Giveaway Pack

The 90’s were filled with some amazing cartoons, but one of the best was X-Men Adventures. It introduced us to some amazing mutants and for five seasons, we got to go along on a wild ride with the Children of the Atom. The contest is International and runs from January 4th 12:00AM to January 18th at 7:00PM. I’ll announce the winner via the blog and Facebook so keep checking back!

Included in the giveaway:

  • X-Men Adventures #1
  • Animated X-Men Adventures (Disc 1 – 4)
  • Generation X Jubilee Action Figure
  • Nighthawks Logo T-Shirt
  • Nighthawks Dogtags

a Rafflecopter giveaway