A Review from Stephen Clark
When I was a kid, after 9PM or so, the Disney channel would switch from cartoons and live action preteen programming over to airing old black and white TV series, feel good family sitcoms and a few older movies. My favorite among these would be the old black and white Zorro episodes. Because of that, when my grandma and I went to go see ‘The Rugrats Movie’ and they were sold out, 9 year old Stephen suggested we watch ‘The Mask of Zorro’ instead. We did and my Mom was none too happy about it.
This comic, similar to the movie then, Mom wouldn’t have approved of a 9 year old reading. But not for any of the reasons I’d have seen coming.
Camp and avoiding the generic.
On the cover of the comic, it touts the 100 year anniversary of the character Zorro. He’s a product of his time in storytelling style and the world that those stories will be presented in. While reading the comic, the dialogue was one of the first things that stuck out. It came off…formal? Initially, this felt like possibly bad writing but I quickly began reading it like the black and white serial episodes from my childhood. I enjoyed it for the campy formulaic story that I remembered.
That is, until it departed from that in a BIG way. A nine foot tall eldritch monster kind of way.
This isn’t a bad thing. We’ve seen a bit of re-framing and fun happen around a lot of classic properties like the Archie comic crossovers with the Predator a couple years back. The monster in this Zorro comic was a jarring change, to be certain, but wasn’t for the worse. Again, stories are a product of their time, and monsters and the casual treatment of gore are certainly one of the defining characteristics of media in the last couple decades.
Storytelling through tropes
One of the first characters we meet in the comic is Mathias, a man with long white/blonde hair. He and his half brother are the leaders of a band of criminals who clearly have a lot more going on with their past and their different parentage is pointed in such a way that we know it’ll be a focus going forward.
The trope of the possibly supernatural sibling who looks really different from the rest of their family is one that fits well into this new supernatural Zorro world for me and I’m curious to see where that goes.
Art and presentation
The interior art of the comic suffers a bit from same-face-different-outfit qualities but doesn’t detract from the storytelling. The colors stand out as one of the best portions of the art on the page often, though I do think they could better incorporate shading present in the line work in some specific instances.
What started as a read that I had to find the enjoyment in, surprised me and subverted my expectation of what a Zorro comic could be. For a first issue, they sow good seeds that are sure to pay off later.
The character of Zorro inserted into a story that the original creator would have never written and does so without being a bad thing. A hard feat to achieve!
Overall Score: C+
Positives: An interesting take on an old character that still maintains itself well in that universe.
Negatives: A turn that won’t be for everyone and art that, at times, took away from the portrayal of the story.
A review copy of this issue was provided by the publisher American Mythology Productions find out more about this series at www.americanmythology.net
A Review From Christopher Franey
Ok we’re back after a crazy hectic week and I’m here to talk with you about Uncanny X-Men issue 16, part 6 of “This is Forever.” So I missed issue 15 which had some wild dynamics, reunions, and also some damages…mainly like Cyclops being shot in the eye by Hope. So I’m wondering how that will be resolved since Dark Beast did operate on Scott, plus he also helped the infected X-Men lose the Transmode Virus. So is Dark Beast a member of the team? Has he done something to Scott? Guess we will find out at a later time.So the issue opens up with “This began when someone I cared about died. And it began to end when someone else I cared about did, too. All I can think is how each step we take toward our end never gets us any closer. It always comes out of nowhere…” So I wonder who this narrator is; my first thought was Cyclops since the text box is in red, but with this latest entry I am wondering if by chance it might be one of the New Mutants. Who could the first death be and who was the second? Are they deaths that are part of this arc? Maybe it was the death of Blindfold (Ruth) and this issue’s death…(SPOILER) Wolfsbane (Rahne).
That was a hard revelation to see in this issue especially after Rahne asked if she could stop and just live a normal life. That was a nice moment and something that makes sense, sometimes people are just tired of fighting, especially since she has been doing this since she was a kid; I’ll be honest I was hoping that she would have the happy ending but it wasn’t in the script for her.
So we see right off the bat that Cyclops is turning over Samurai, Dragoness, Forearm, and Strobe to Captain America so they can be properly placed into custody. Scott admits he doesn’t like this and really doesn’t trust Cap, he even hides the fact that he still has Hope, Banshee, and Dark Beast. What I found interesting in the conversation between the two was that Scott doesn’t see the USA as his country anymore, which is sad but understandable as he says, “I’m a Mutant, Steve. Any country I ever had has been taken from me long ago.” Hmmm…maybe a return for Utopia? Before that scene ends we see Cap give a note to Scott, so I wonder how that will play out later. Havok has a moment where he expresses that he is tired of not being in Scott’s council and the lying to Captain America. Alex doesn’t like the fact that Scott is getting more advice from Logan and not evening hearing out his own brother. Scott simply tells him:
Which I find interesting as we do tend to blind ourselves and judgements for those we care about. The next scene sets us up for some X-Men action. As we see a “Magneto” led Brotherhood attack Connallon Air Force Base in Eastern Transia; the scary part of this Brotherhood is they have a Juggernaut. We then shift back to Harry’s Hideaway and the decision is set who will lead the X-Men, Scott tells the group as of now he is no longer the De Facto Leader. They come to a consensus that most of the team members are leaders, so actions will be put to a vote. Illyana calls up the first vote and it looks like that is to add Hope and Banshee to the team, so this group goes into action against the Brotherhood.
Looking good! What was interesting was the line all sins are forgiven, so this might help to launch this team forward instead of some of the past drama holding them back. In this fight we see Cyclops flashback to Rhane which is crazy as they are in battle and his mind wandered. They have a struggle with the Brotherhood but in the end they manage to get to “Magneto” and discover that he is actually Joseph, which puts Juggernaut in an awkward position. Joseph explains why he is doing what he is doing and seems to try and recruit was is left of the X-Men to his side. Yet in the end it doesn’t matter as Juggy says:
Juggernaut seems to not want any problems with the X-Men and he tells them that he wants to help the Mutants out. Joseph knows he is defeated and then continues with Villainous Monologue until we see a “swssh” across his neck and then his head fall off, so goodbye Joseph, hello Kwannon aka Nothing.
I enjoyed the issue and I felt it did move the arc along a little faster than the previous issues. It has set up a lot of questions and I hope we get to find the answer soon as we are six issues deep into this. I enjoy the fact that it doesn’t really play off as Bad Guy vs Good Guy with the Brotherhood and X-men, but that both sides have expressed why they are doing their actions. For once I can see the Brotherhood being right, I mean who wouldn’t fight this hard in the given situation. When they were in the millions they had a hard enough time now that there is a handful of them they are really backed to the wall. I can’t wait to see how this arc continues/concludes and next issue will definitely have lots to deal with from this fallout. I give this issue 5 out of 5 Juggernauts and highly recommend this arc. As always read on and Excelsior!
The “Tommy Oliver Variety Hour” Coming To Comic Stands Near You!
An Editorial From Rafael Encinas
The “Tommy Oliver Variety Hour” Coming To Comic Stands Near You!
BOOM! Studios has done such a wonderful job at bringing the Power Rangers lore to new heights. I have been a devout Power Rangers fan for many years, and specifically, these past couple of years have truly been a blessing because of the talent, excitement, and respect that the comic book medium has brought to the franchise. I have been reading these amazing stories since they have come out in January of 2016, and I now have a reason again to buy single issues and to collect variant covers again without waiting, like I normally do, for the trade graphic novel. Moreover, I have especially liked the attention to detail and maturity that Kyle Higgins’ has given us in his stories and in his characterizations of the cast. Whether it be Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Go Go Power Rangers, or Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink, I have loved the new adventures and situations that these teenagers with attitude have gotten into.
However, with all good things, there is always room for improvement, and unfortunately, sometimes there is a growing frustration. At Wondercon this past weekend, the BOOM! Studios panel revealed that starting with issue #21, the Go Go Power Rangers ongoing series would finally be introducing Tommy Oliver to the team; this in turn would begin the “Green with Evil” plot we have seen in the television program. The incorporation of Tommy into this series will coincide with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ issue #40 kicking off the new “Necessary Evil” storyline with a returning White Ranger Tommy.
So, basically, we are getting a whole lot of Tommy Oliver! This is great and exciting news if you are a Tommy fan, but Power Rangers is so much more than one single ranger.
Now, I do not mean to sound like a complainer. I mean, we have gotten some truly amazing stories these past couple of years. However, as many fans have pointed out on twitter and reddit threads, the love and focus on a certain Green Power Ranger has been at the forefront for these comics for some time now. Afterall, this past year we have seen Tommy’s evil future doppleganger take the spotlight during the “Shattered Grid” storyline, and we even got “Saban’s Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon” one-off graphic novel. Now, we are getting two heaping helpings of Saban’s Favorite Ranger in both the green and white variety. And honestly, this isn’t the color palette I’ve been craving.
Though I recognize the appeal for the Tommy character, after all, he is a foundation to what made Mighty Morphin Power Rangers so popular! However, I have always loved the power rangers for their team dynamics. The television show managed to change from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: teenagers with attitude in colorful spandex to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Tommy Oliver variety hour. I understand that Tommy was the cool Green Ranger, which I 100% loved as a kid; however, the shows got too focused on Jason David Frank’s character and the show was less about team dynamics and more about how many flavors of the Rainbow can Tommy fit into. Jason David Frank has probably done more for the franchise than any other ranger in the series, but at this point it is too much.
I am hoping that these stories will prove to be some powerful and engaging story arcs, after all, BOOM!Studios hasn’t failed me yet. However, it is disheartening when you see the spotlight on the same character over and over again, especially when there is such a rich history of so many awesome Power Rangers characters. But again, only the future will tell how we see these stories in tandem with their respective visions. I hope to see more Ranger variety in future stories.
The Boys Are Back in Town: A Return to Form in Uncanny X-Men #11 (2019)
A review from Rafael Encinas
When you think of iconic partnerships in comic books, what comes to mind? For me, personally, I’ve always been partial to the dynamic of the Cyclops/Wolverine relationship. Two leaders; two heroes; two generals of a dying species. There are few as iconic as these two X-Men; two characters with so much rich history. This is why it is unfortunate that so many casual fans only think about the Scott, Logan, Jean love triangle, especially when there is so much more to these characters.
For the past forty-plus years, we have had some wild events with these two at the epicenter. Moments of apocalypse, onslaughts, and decimations, these two have had some incredible highs. But unfortunately, their complex bromance hit some lows, especially with an all-time low with the forced “Schism” event in 2011, and then they both died… eventually.
But with the release of yesterday’s Uncanny X-Men #11 (2019), consider me hype for a new chapter in their rocky relationship. Hold onto your hats because THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN! And they are not messing around.
It is hard to put into words the amount of nuanced emotion and complexity in the return of the Last Two X-Men. If you haven’t been reading Uncanny X-Men… the recently resurrected Cyclops and Wolverine have come back to a world in where all the X-Men are gone. Mutants are on the verge of extinction once again. Please check out Chris’ Comic Book Corner for additional details about issue 11.
But basically, Cyclops is back facing a hostile world where all his allies are nowhere to be found. As he searches for his fallen comrades and dispersed people, the issue culminates into a big confrontation between Cyclops and the who’s who of mutant hate groups.
This scene plays out with a heightened sense of intensity because you know the fight is about to go down. But it is one man, Scott Summers, who we all know if no slouch when it comes to confrontation or impossible odds, but it still feels tense, and you feel the danger and peril for Cyclops mounting. We get a wise crack from Reaver commander, Donald Pierce who basically laments at the death of all mutants and mockingly states, “What’s it like knowing your friends all died, the world doesn’t care, and that you’re going to die all alone?”
These are powerful words. And the tension is palpable. Cyclops was about to go down in a blaze of glory, and if only there was someone to help him. And then the greatest moment in recent comic book history occurs:
There are no words to express my feelings of elation to see Wolverine come back from the dead and to join forces with Cyclops once again after so many years of mutant politics and hostile estrangement. After the conflict of the mutant schism and the disaster of the Avenger/Mutant conflict, and the heightened tensions over Cyclops’ Mutant Revolution, we see the personal strife, turmoil, and anger these two X-men had for one another come to a head in an act of mutual understanding and Mutant cooperation. They realize there is something more important than their petty ideologies and imagined slights. We see two titans come together for the greater good. A reunion. A return to form. Best Friends Once Again! Reunited And It Feels So Good!
And this is the power of comics. Moments like these that make you feel emotional payoff and impact that comes from years of reading these fictional allegories to very real issues and narratives. This reunion made me nostalgic for all the moments Cyclops and Wolverine fought side by side. And this is important because I am not the only one to feel this way. Comics transcend one’s own thoughts and opinions. It becomes a medium for people to connect and realize their shared love and joy for fictional characters.
In reading Uncanny X-Men #11, it was in this moment that I remembered a comment I saw on Reddit a while back from user bigkr88. The reddit user talked about the bond that both Scott and Logan shared; a bond of brotherhood, and the gravity that that title holds for both men. More so than any other pair of heroes, I would argue these two have the strongest brotherly bond out of most Marvel Comic Book characters. I mean they fought together, side by side, for decades in a world that did not thank them and wanted them dead.
At the end of the day, Scott and Logan were brothers. The term “friends” does not do their complex relationship justice. I mean, brothers fight. Brothers argue. Brothers hate each other. Brothers stop talking to one another, but when it really counts and things go down, brothers will come together no matter how far they have drifted apart. The relationship between these two icons is more than just a simple friendship. Dealing with the end of the world and the end of their species on a day to day basis really puts things into perspective. And doing this together for so many years is meaningful.
And this isn’t just fan conjecture. We can see similar lamentations in the pages of the comics themselves.
Wolverine himself contemplates in X-Men: Prelude to Schism #4: “I’ve been to the end of the universe with you. Been your rival. Been Your friend. We’ve seen some rough times and had a few good ones.”
Cyclops reciprocates these feelings when he thinks back in the Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan #1: “Despite our differences over the years, we share one thing in common: We were there… for all of it. We lost friends. Buried sons. But we never stopped… until I broke things.”
Though these two iconic X-Men would be too proud to say these word out loud to one another, which can be frustrating (JUST HUG EACH OTHER ALREADY), one can see the mutual respect they have for one another that is earned on the battlefield. I mean these two faced so many extinction level events for the safety of their people. Fellow redditer bigkr88 really puts this into powerful words:
“They fought, they suffered the same losses, they watched the same friends and loved ones die sometimes repeatedly, and in the end, it was always these two standing there on the remains of the battlefield. They’re brothers in arms in a way that the word “friend” doesn’t BEGIN to describe what they were, and quite frankly after one died, it was only a matter of time before the other did. Wolverine was just a hypocritical killing machine without Cyclops to measure his morality against, and Cyclops was just an authoritarian rebel with a dying cause without Wolverine to show him what the dark side of their conflict could become.”
Ultimately, both characters are at their best when they are together, fighting the monsters that want to see them dead. Therefore, to have them come back together and not miss a beat; to take on the oppressors that systematically eliminated their people feels good. It feels right. And they would think so too. We are witnessing comic greatness at its finest. We are witnessing a significant moment in the mutant and marvel ethos. Cyclops and Wolverine are back. They are not pulling punches. They are back with a vengeance to remind the world that the mutant species will not go out with a whimper, but with a bang.
A review from Chris Franey
Ok so to start, Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp are hitting this series out of the ball park! Issues 1 and 2 were just amazing on their own and for long time fans there were great love letters to Hal’s roots in the Sliver Age…now don’t think that means you have to know all your back issues in order to fully enjoy; Grant and Liam have crafted their own tale that you can dive into and enjoy. For example if you liked All Star Superman then this could be the All Star version for GL, but what is great is that it also has all the little gems and cameos from Hal and the GLC’s history just like Grant did with Batman (remember Zur-En-Arrh?).
For your eyes Liam Sharp brings his finest. You don’t just see the page, you have to look at it, there is so much eye candy here it is fantastic, he makes the galaxy fit on a page (or 2). I like the way he has rendered his Hal Jordan and also various members of the GLC, they do feel alien. The colors and layouts are very bold and really pop which just awesome and very poster worthy.
In this third installment, “Slave Lords of the Stars” (nice sliver age touch) we see the GLC find an illegal sale of planets by long time JLA villain Kanjar Ro is the auctioneer selling planets, offering various supervillains (make sure to have your who’s who and secret files handy) a chance to have their own followers or be a GOD. Which works out perfectly as an Old Testament version of appears to buy planet Earth. Hal takes this personally and wants to handle it himself, which causes the GLC to take on the Black Stars (meaner version of the Dark Stars). I like the name dropping that Grant does for other heroes/characters…I’m very glad to finally see Tom Kalmaku back in Hal’s life and their interaction was great.
So after the Earth is sold to “God” everyone gets superpowers but the Earth itself is in chaos. Hal tries to get the “God” to give up the Earth, but the people are ok with what is happening, so Hal has to get them to think about what the repercussions would be to their new arrangement with “God.” I really like how Liam Sharp illustrates Hal using his GL ring. By the near end of this issue we see Hal start to become a bad cop and with his history (Parallax) we should be very worried. Overall I would rate this issue 5 out of 5 Power Batteries as it has great dialogues and fantastic illustrations, the series so far is doing great and I would recommend you getting the first two issues as well. So let’s see what happens to Hal, Earth, and the GLC next issue, as always Read on and Excelsior!