We’re back… on iTunes!

With everything sorted out, we’re back on iTunes! So if you have an AppleID, why not head into your Podcasts and swing by and give us some returning love! Leave a comment about how much you love us, and drop a rating down for us (maximum stars, obviously, because you love us so much!)

Maico and I hope to get to recording a new episode soon, because we have a lot of things to cover – from movies, to TV shows, to comics themselves!

So hang tight, while we wait for the ripples of life to calm down a little, and your favorite dynamic duo will be back, filling your audio orifices with comic knowledge!

Much love,
– Tawmis

 

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Why aren’t we on iTunes suddenly?

You may (or may not) have noticed that for some folks, we’re no longer showing up on iTunes. Don’t worry – we’ll be back! This was a result of a plugin that we were using requiring a little extra help to work; so rather than tinker with it, I found another way to submit the podcasts to iTunes. Now, I am not sure if it’s going to pick up the old episodes again, once it validates in the next 24 hours, or if it’s just going to be new episodes going forward. (The suspense is killing you, isn’t it?)

I just wanted to let everyone know, you haven’t gotten rid of us just yet (even though, it’s been quite a bit since Maico and I did an episode together; since I had to have my wife fill in for him at Free Comic Book Day – which, if you haven’t – you should give that episode a listen – either on the site, or on iTunes when it appears there!)

Much love,
Tawmis

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Retro Review: Deathlok.

Welcome back to another Retro Review! This time, I am covering Deathlok. Deathlok first appeared in Astonishing Tales #25 (which I don’t have – my run of Deathlok begins with the following issues, because his first appearance fetches a pretty good price). Now, I came to the Deathlok scene a little late to the game. As I said, he debuted in Astonishing Tales #25, which came out in 1974. I had seen Deathlok around, but it wasn’t until Captain America #286-288, where I really got interested in the character. So I had gone back and collected the previous issues of Astonishing Tales that I could find (and afford, which – to date, was all of them, except his first appearance in Astonishing Tales #25). Like all my Retro Reviews, I enjoy going back and re-reading comics that I collected, because I enjoyed the series back then – and want to see how those same stories hold up today, to my older, more mature (well, that’s debatable) self.

So I just finished reading all the issues of Astonishing Tales (except issue #25, which still eludes me), the Deathlok 4 issue limited series, and then the Deathlok series that ran in the 1990’s – and now I’m here to share my thoughts!

Now the Deathlok stories that ran in Astonishing Tales featured Luther Manning, a soldier who became Deathlok. The stories had their weak moments, to be certain (for example, Ryker – who was the main villain behind the series, seemed way over the top and entirely too difficult to believe) – and he had some pretty lame villains (all created by Ryker, like War-Wolf, and a super tank) – but over all the Astonishing Tales run over Deathlok remained a somewhat enjoyable read. I would not drop the title down as a must read for anyone; but if anyone had some time to kill and wanted to read a mostly entertaining series, I’d recommend it then.

Marvel would eventually want a pitch for a new Deathlok series, and so Michael Collins, a pacifist and a scientist, would be tricked (and mostly forced) into becoming the newest version of Deathlok. Now, it’s a little odd that this version of Deathlok, despite being a new person, looks almost exactly (as Deathlok) as the Luther Manning version of Deathlok. With the same side of the face being metal, having the cybernetic eye, same color scheme and everything. Even the facial traits are similar, despite the fact that Luther Manning was white, and Michael Collins was African American. The only notable difference is the fact that Michael Collins as Deathlok doesn’t wear the American Flag on the armor, over his heart. Now all of that aside, the four issue limited series that introduces Michael Collins and how he becomes Deathlok, and the mental anguish he endures in regards to his family, makes this four issue limited series an excellent read. All four issues weave into one another very nicely; there’s a lot of character development throughout.

Then came the Deathlok series in 1990, featuring Michael Collins, continuing his role as Deathlok. The series started strong and interesting; but as it progressed, it became a roller-coaster of a ride; and not the fun kind; but the kind where “X” amount of issues would be really good, but then the next few issues would have absolutely no direction at all, and feel like fillers. Then there was a change in artists after awhile, where you could see the significant change – and usually not for the better. The starting art seemed fine; but later (it may have even been the same artist; I’d need to look again – it could have been the inker) – the art became very dark, where 90% of the issue was shaded in black (included Deathlok). It began to remind me a lot of Jae Lee’s artistic style (and don’t get me wrong, Jae Lee is an amazing artist; but it’s not an artistic style I enjoy). As a matter of fact, Jae Lee did a guest cover art or two in the series (probably because the art inside was similar to Jae Lee’s art). The art would even go on to become the “cliche, bad 90’s art style” where everyone has long hair and wearing sunglasses, and looks way over the top. This inconsistency made it difficult to enjoy the series.

Where the series also fell short was it’s villains. Deathlok never had a villain to call his own, that pestered him throughout the series. And the unique villains he had were less than… lame? For example, there was the villain, Biohazard… who… I can’t even put into words. Was a brain that was experimented on (of a former Deathlok initiate, who perished – John Kelly), that gained its own sentience, consumed whatever it could, trying to rebuild it’s memories and make sense of itself. I can’t put into words just how much I disliked the entire story, concept, art, even the look of Biohazard. There was just nothing to the villain. We did get to see Moses Magnum, who seemed like he was going to be doing something big – but then, he pretty much falls off the pages of the book until much later in the series, as if the writer suddenly remembered that he had put Moses Magnum in the book earlier as a potential villain for Deathlok to face off again. They say that a hero is only as good as his villains; and because of that, I feel like this Deathlok series suffered, now that I re-read it. (I am sure my teenage self thought that a living brain out to consume Deathlok was a “totally radical idea”).

I feel like the series knew they were in trouble, and needed to make the book stand out; because for no reason at all, Deathlok #19 features a foil cover. Even now, I can’t figure out why, other than they were desperate to catch the reader’s attention. There’s nothing special about this issue. Foil, trick, covers, were usually reserved for special issues, or issue #25, #50, etc – like land mark issues. However, issue #19, has nothing special to the story. It’s not the first issue of the CyberWar story; it’s the third issue (out of 5). There’s literally no reason for a foil cover and a hiked up price cover, because of the foil cover, for this issue. As a matter of fact, this CyberWar story introduces a character named Siege; who, like Deathlok is part human, part Cyborg. Now sometimes, things like this work out – when you introduce a “villain” who is, in many ways, much like our beloved hero. The most famous (in regards of Marvel), I would think is the comparison of Wolverine and Sabretooth. However, Siege, like the rest of the villains that were introduced in this series, simply fell flat.

As I said, early in the series, Moses Magnum was shown as a potential villain for Deathlok, before seemingly being forgotten – before resurfacing for issue #25 (look, another foil cover!) By this time in the series, it’s included guest stars such as Forge, of the X-Men in issue #2 (though, really, even though they have him on the cover, he’s in it for like 2 pages), Misty Knight, also issue #2, Doctor Doom, Thing, Mister Fantastic, Reed Richards, and Wolverine in issue #5, Punisher in issue #6, Ghost Rider in issue #9 and #10, Infinity War crossover in issue #16, Silver Sable in issue #18, and then Black Panther in issues #22-25. The story arc introduces Killjoy as a potential villain; who has an adamantium sword (really? Adamantium? How common is that, these days? Why couldn’t it just be really sharp vibranium, you know, since they’re in Wakanda during this storyline? But, I digress…) – however, once Killjoy is defeated, he literally turns into a whimpering, cowering, loser. So… the potential, killed in two issues. Anyway, with issue #25, Moses Magnum makes his plans known and attacks Wakanda, and Deathlok wants no part of the war, until he sees a young boy killed, thinking it’s his son; he realizes he has to take part, and Moses Magnum is defeated. The Wakanda story is an interesting one, and one that could have been much better, had they not ruined Killjoy as a potential reoccurring villain for Deathlok.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, between the random foil cover for issue #19, and the insane amount of guest stars throughout the series; it definitely felt like they were trying to keep the book afloat, through those guest appearances. And normally there’s nothing wrong with that – all those character cameos were characters that were quite popular in the 90’s – so it’s a natural tactic to have someone pick up a new book to read it because a character they enjoy happens to be on the cover and in a few issues. But the problem comes from that the book seemed to rely on those guest appearances rather than making them organic. Each time someone guest appeared, it seemed to be just for that quick story arc; and then when it was over, the next issue didn’t feel like it connected to the previous one smoothly. So it was more about having those guest appearances, than making a story that seemed to flow. As the series was approaching end of life, it crossed over into the Infinity Crusade where “The Goddess” appeared and told Michael Collins (as Deathlok) that she had kept an eye on him; and then realized, “No wait, you’re not the right one. You’re not worthy after all.” Which sends Michael Collins into this deep thinking issue of why he (and Siege, who was with him) were not worthy and what they had done that was so wrong. Then, Luther Manning (of the current time) begins dreaming that he’s Deathlok and becomes Deathlok, eventually. That’s when Timestream (an ongoing villain for Deathlok, who talks like Yoda – and no, I am not even kidding – shows up and rants about how he will rule the time lines, or something).

That’s when they bring in Luther Manning as Deathlok in the ongoing; but that’s when Timestream makes a third version of Deathlok; so that there’s literally three of them running around in the final story line that involves an overly convoluted and senseless plan revolving the time paradox, and it even involves the Time Police (wish I was kidding here; reminded me of New Gods, meets Judge Dredd, meets the Sylvester Stallone version of the Judge Dredd movie). Essentially, Luther Manning dies, Michael Collins and the Timestream Deathlok version team up; stop and kill the future Timestream, and save the current version of Timestream, who will go on to fulfill (and repeat, I assume?) his destiny. And the Time Police (actually called – Time Variance Authority (or TVA)) are thankful for the timeline being set right, and send Deathlok and Timestream’s version of Deathlok back to their proper time lines. The two Deathloks think about how Luther Manning saved everyone, and the time line, and thank him for his service.

Over all, I’d give the series a “C-.” It’s just below average. It has it’s really good moments, but it’s out weighed by, what I feel is a lack of pacing and artistic problems (for myself, others may utterly disagree with me)!

Let’s hear your thoughts! Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!
– Tawmis

 

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New Mutants Movie.

So they’ve now confirmed that Michael Fassbender will not be in the upcoming New Mutants movie … and James McAvoy won’t be in the movie either… so if it won’t be Professor Xavier or Magneto leading (or bringing) the team together… one wonders, what will bring this rather oddball team of young, new mutants together?

We know that Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Split – where, ironically she shared the screen with James McAvoy) will be playing Wolfsbane and Magik, respectively. Along for the ride is Moonstar, Cannonball, Sunspot and Warlock. Aside from the fact these characters are coming from different areas (Wolfsbane – Scotland, Magik – Russia, Moonstar – Native American, Cannonball – Kentucky, Sunspot – Brazil and the most unusual of them all is Warlock who comes from… well, outer space!)

I seriously doubt we will be seeing Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen will be returning as Professor Xavier and/or Magneto for this. So, while I don’t want to begin worrying… I am already beginning to worry… I am not seeing how this team can come together without a leader. Could it be that we will be seeing Josh Brolin (who will be playing Cable in Deadpool 2) as the one who is pulling this team together? A variation of when Cable lead the New Mutants, before forming the X-Force team that he was most widely known for leading? If that’s the route they go, I would certainly be okay with Cable being the leader; and with Cable’s time jumping, an advanced weapons and equipment (that we can assume is somehow going to work smoothly in Deadpool 2) would certainly allow for him having, or at least, making some connection to Warlock.

  • Tawmis

 

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Comic Relief Podcast – Issue #26 – Free Comic Book Day 2017!

We’re back! We – wait, no – I – was back at Southern California Comics for Free Comic Book Day! #FCBD Unfortunately, my partner in crime, Mighty Maico Moreno was off traveling the world. So I recruited my amazing wife, Astonishing Amiee Logue, to come co-host the podcast with me! We discuss Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and our thoughts, some Iron Fist, talk to Ryan, Adrian, Christina, and Dexter about everything from comics, TV shows, movie, and Dexter breaks down some Robotech news.

It’s a lengthy podcast – standing at an hour and a half! Because the co-host being Amiee Logue, there’s a bit of silliness in there (I mean, who here wants to know about Southern Charmed or The Challenge – because, guess what, that gets mentioned to!) This is what happens when you’re married to the special co-host for 20 years. The plus side is, we can disagree – and we do – about things about Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Iron Fist. But let me shut up, and let you download the podcast! Enjoy the witty banter between my wife and I – while you listen to the podcast – stuck in traffic or where ever it is that you subject yourself to this dose of awesome!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

If you love us so much, that you want to put it on your favorite audio player on repeat, you can download the MP3 also.

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The Generations and the Legacy.

Awhile ago, Marvel teased that it was working on something called Generations. Now, the details have been released. Marvel announced that it was essentially going to be 10 issue series featuring 10 different “generation team ups” between original Marvel Universe characters and their Legacy counterparts. Some of it seems unusual – because, one of them is Captain Marvel (as in Mar-Vell) teaming up with Captain Marvel (Carol). Mar-Vell is still currently dead. Same goes for Bruce Banner (Hulk) and Totally Awesome Hulk, as Bruce Banner (Hulk) is also currently dead. I doubt this means that we have some resurrections on the horizon. I suspect that it’s going to be more how these characters related; so we will see a story with Captain (Mar-Vell), and how it may have impacted Cpatain Marvel (Carol), or how some villains or something are crossing from original to their Legacy counterparts.

Naturally, Marvel is hyping the Generations book quite a bit. For example, Marvel Editor in Chief, Aexl Alonso said: “Marvel’s greatest icons return to the page this August, paired with the next generation of the Marvel Universe! However, do all our heroes emerge from Generations as they entered, or become something greater? If you want to know where Marvel is headed in the future, you don’t want to miss Generations.”

So naturally there’s the pitch of – if you want to be in the know – you’ve got to pick up these books and see what it’s all about. Time and time and time and time again, Marvel always talks about “This event is going to rock the Marvel world – so brace yourself for the future of Marvel Comics!” Only to find said event isn’t as big as they made it out to be, or said event is eventually undone within a year or so.

Here are some of the books and creative teams behind these Generations book:

  • Generations: The Best
    • Starring Wolverine and All-New Wolverine
      • Written by Tom Taylor
      • Art by Ramon Rosanas
  • Generations: The Americas
    • Starring Steve Rogers: Captain America and Sam Wilson: Captain America
      • Written by Nick Spencer
      • Art by Paul Renaud
  • Generations: The Bravest
    • Starring Captain Mar-Vell and Captain Marvel
      • Written by Margie Stohl
      • Art by Brent Schoonover
  • Generations: The Thunder
    • Starring The Mighty Thor and The Unworthy Thor
      • Written by Jason Aaron
      • Art by Mahmud Asrar
  • Generations: The Strongest
    • Starring Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho, the Totally Awesome Hulk
      • Written by Greg Pak
  • Generations: The Archers
    • Starring Hawkeyes, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop
      • Written by Kelly Thompson
  • Generations: The Iron
    • Starring Iron Man and Ironheart
      • Written by Brian Michael Bendis
      • Art by Marco Rudy
  • Generations: The Marvels
    • Starring Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel
      • Written by G. Willow Wilson
  • Generations: The Spiders
    • Starring Peter Parker: Spider-Man and Miles Morales: Spider-Man
      • Written by Brian Michael Bendis
      • Art by Ramon Perez
  • Generations: The Phoenix
    • Starring The Phoenix and Jean Grey
      • Written by Cullen Bunn

So on top of this – Marvel is also releasing something called Legacy.

So there’s not a lot of details about Legacy just yet – but the one thing we have learned that the creative team from Thor: God of Thunder (Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic) will be behing a single, one shot, 50 page comic. Jason Aaron spoke about it saying, “We get a peek into the very distant past here, so we go back to the prehistoric days of the Marvel Universe!  That adventure will have major ramifications for the Marvel Universe going forward.”

Notice that? Once again – not only are they talking about Generations having an impact (like every other event) – but now Aaron is saying it’s going to have major ramifications for the Marvel Universe.

Why does everything have to have major ramifications – why can’t we just get normal, issue to issue, month to month, stories?

Anyway – Legacy will see long running titles revert to their original numbering (so that means, books like Uncanny X-Men and Avengers, will probably resume their numbers, since these are the only two “long running” books I can even think of that have their same title). And from what I have read, apparently it will feature story lines with “easy access” or “jump on” points.

And… wasn’t the logo of “The world outside your window” the logo for the New Universe pitch back in the day… just saying…

Gruenwald elaborated (back in 1998) –

There was a big misunderstanding among all of the creators, myself included, that we should keep the New Universe the world outside your window — that it should never change too much, or else we’d lose reader identification or something. We missed the point of having a virgin universe, uncluttered by known super-beings, aliens, other dimensions, hidden civilizations, and all that. The point is enabling the reader to experience the first time the weird stuff starts happening — and, more importantly, letting the weird stuff actually affect the status quo of the world

  • Tawmis

 

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The Dark Phoenix Movie.

Let me forewarn you – the read ahead is pretty long, and it’s mostly because I am extremely passionate about my classic X-Men comics – and one of my all time favorite stories is the Dark Phoenix saga… and with news once again, that Fox’s next X-Men movie is called “Dark Phoenix”… I figured I’d take some time to share some thoughts…

THE DARK PHOENIX IN X-MEN MOVIES

Listen. We’ve seen it before. And we’re about to see it again. Jean Grey – unleashing the Phoenix Force… and Jean Grey losing control of the Phoenix Force. You might thing I am talking about the second X-Men movie where we see Jean Grey, played by Famke Janssen… and then how she loses control of the Phoenix Force in the third X-Men movie… that’s what you might be thinking right?

Well, how about the time, where the X-Men movie “rebooted” and then it was Jean Grey, portrayed by Sophie Turner, and during the battle against Apocalypse, we see a much more obvious release of the Phoenix Force (rather than the hint in Famke’s eyes, in the other X-Men movie). You might be saying, “But Tawmis, we don’t know that she loses control of the Phoenix Force!” And, I am here to say – but we do. Fox has officially named the next X-Men movie “Dark Phoenix.” So that should be a clear indication that it will revolve (once again) around Jean losing control of the Phoenix Force.

WHAT IS THE PHOENIX FORCE AND STORY OF JEAN GREY (IN COMICS?)

Is it that I hate the Dark Phoenix story? That’s actually the furthest from the truth. As a matter of fact, the entire build up to the story that leads to the shocking conclusion of the Dark Phoenix story is perhaps one of my all time favorite comic book stories ever.

So then, what’s my problem? Shouldn’t I be happy to see the Dark Phoenix – you know, again – on the big screen? You’re right. I should be happy. Should being the key word. So why am I not happy? Because both movies have gotten one very core thing wrong. (And maybe someone might say I am being too much of a “Comic Book Nerd” – but the one thing they got wrong would be like if they had changed the Ring in the Lord of the Rings movie into a necklace and called it Lord of the Necklace or something). Small, trivial changes, I don’t mind. They made tons of them in Lord of the Rings (and I loved the movie, and those books are sacred to me – don’t get me started on what they did with The Hobbit though… that is another story entirely…)

So what is that one nagging thing that has bothered me about both of these “Phoenix” stories that we’ve seen so far? It’s the fact, that for whatever reason, both times they have had Jean Grey being born with the Phoenix Force, and just explaining it away as some part of her mutant power rather than going into it being a cosmic being that entered Jean’s body (as originally written; many, many, many years later, they’d decide Phoenix took her place and put Jean in a cocoon at the bottom of the ocean in suspended animation – hey, it’s comics!) So originally – for those that don’t know – the story takes place where the X-Men are returning from space and their plane is falling apart; Jean is the only one who can hold it together with her telekinetic powers; after much fighting, the rest go back in the secure area. Jean successfully lands the plane into the bay, and while the rest of the X-Men surface, Jean seems to be missing, and finally surfaces.

This would result in Jean Grey leaving the X-Men (as a team member, but still in the book occasionally) for awhile until making her dramatic return in Uncanny X-Men #125. There isn’t too much here, other than the X-Men begin to notice a change in her.

It’s actually not until a little later when the X-Men begin to encounter a new group of villains that have dubbed themselves The Hellfire Club, with the Inner Circle being composed of mutants who sought to influence the world and dressed in 18th Century period clothing. One such member, who had the name of Jason Wyngarde, was an old X-Men villain named Mastermind who had used his own mutant powers of illusion control, to manipulate his own appearance. Jason Wyngarde took an interest in taking over and manipulating Jean Grey to turn on the X-Men, and ideally become his lover, and improve his ranking among the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. Unfortunately, what Jason Wyngarde did not know is that it wasn’t just Jean Grey’s mind; it was that of the Phoenix Force which had bonded with Jean Grey.

This led to a battle with the X-Men fighting the Inner Circle and being soundly beaten; with only Wolverine managing to “escape” (and that’s only because Leland used his gravity manipulating to increase Wolverine’s density, crashing him through the floor and down into the sewers, where the Hellfire Club assumed that Wolverine had perished from being crushed to death).

Wolverine would, as noted, survive the encounter and immediately come back after the Hellfire Club with a vengeance, and in the process recusing his fellow X-Men members; but not before Mastermind had successfully manipulated Jean Grey enough to seize control of her mind.

The Phoenix Force seized control of Jean Grey, now twisted by Mastermind’s evil intentions and became the legendary Dark Phoenix in Uncanny X-Men #135. Now the X-Men found themselves fighting one of their own members; one of the original X-Men. One of the sweetest, kindest X-Men to have ever existed – Jean Grey. Storm referred to her as “Sister”, Wolverine had feelings for Jean Grey, Cyclops had been Jean’s main love interest from the very start, Nightcrawler was a devote Catholic, and Colossus had the gentle heart of a writer/painter. Going after Jean Grey, and trying to stop her by any means possible was something the X-Men were simply not equipped to do because their own feelings for the teammate superseded the consequences of letting the Dark Phoenix lose control.

The X-Men would call on their former member, Beast, to help them try and stop Dark Phoenix/Jean Grey. Beast had created a headband that should have nullified the Phoenix power; but not understanding the source of the power or the infinite power that the Phoenix contained; Jean Grey easily destroyed the device. We see Jean’s human side pop up from time to time, when she leaves and visits the home of her parents, and sees photos of them (and her sister). It’s Cyclops who comes to her – no longer attacking, but tries to appeal to Jean’s human side; and just as it seems like she is about to regain control, Professor Xavier arrives and attacks her mentally, which makes Jean lose control again. Professor Xavier and Jean lock into mental combat, and Professor Xavier is able to subdue and lock away the Phoenix Persona deep into Jean Grey’s mind. Though the X-Men are happy to see Jean back, it’s not long before they’re teleported away by the Shi’ar Empire and abducted.

The Shi’ar that the Phoenix Force is a massive power that can’t be contained, it’s destructive, etc – and in the end, it boils down to “Jean Grey must die.” Professor Xavier and the X-Men challenge the Shi’ar to a battle for Jean Grey’s life. So the X-Men are paired off against various members of the Shi’ar powerful force known as the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. While the X-Men fight valiantly for Jean Grey’s life, in the end, Jean Grey realizes that the Phoenix Force is still inside her, and that at any time, it could potentially break free and release the Dark Phoenix once again. Jean Grey sacrifices herself and dies, so that the Dark Phoenix will never be a problem again. (Well, that was a good plan, but many years later, Jean Grey, and the Phoenix Force would return countless times, to the point it’s nearly become a parody of the whole ‘The Phoenix will rise again!’ – but hey, it’s comics!)

HOW WOULD I DO THE DARK PHOENIX MOVIE?

All of that said – just how would I do the Dark Phoenix movie? I’d treat it as “the big movie” event. Similar to how the Disney/Marvel movies are building up to The Infinity War, I would begin building up The Dark Phoenix as the big movie that several movies lead up to.

First, if I had my way – and I was going to do this from scratch, I would introduce the first movie as The Starjammers. And you’re probably thinking, “Who the Hell are the Starjammers?” or if you know who they are, you might be thinking, “Who the Hell would watch a movie about the Starjammers?”

And those are very reasonable questions and concerns. But my counter argument to that is – before the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie came out, how many people were screaming, “Finally! A Guardians of the Galaxy movie!” As a matter of fact, most people – including many comic book readers were either saying, “Who the heck are the Guardians of the Galaxy?” and older fans might have been saying, “Those aren’t my versions of the Guardians of the Galaxy!

WHY THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY MOVIE MATTERS…

That’s right – the Guardians of the Galaxy you see in the movie aren’t even close to the (previously) traditional Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s right – that over there, to the left – that was the Guardians of the Galaxy. Over the years from their first appearance, they would modernize their looks and add a few members to the roster – but even still, none of those characters that they added were members in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie – not a single one. The comic book version of the Guardians of the Galaxy came into existence in 1969. This version of the Guardians of the Galaxy entered the “regular Earth” though they were from a future/alternate reality. This version of the team would eventually go on to get their own series which ran for 62 issues.

The series brought about a lot of change and updates to the roster, with members coming and going; and still, not a single one of those members was from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. In 2008, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (pretty much one of the greatest teams to work together), reworked the Guardians of the Galaxy concept – creating a team of misfits, that would go on to be the core of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie that we all know and love, with members such as Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Drax, Gamora, and of course, Groot. Yondu would appear in the movie (though as a “villain” … “anti-hero”…?), and he was the only character from the original Guardians of the Galaxy book (though not a member; though the second movie seems to have changed that from the looks of things).

Originally, Star-Lord was not the charming “space pirate” that we all know and love when he first appeared in 1976. Nor did he have the snazzy, red leather, trench coat that we all know and love to see him dance in. Nor did he have his cool mask that has become the iconic symbol that represents Star-Lord (as much, I dare say, as Captain America’s shield represents Cap, or that Mjölnir represents Thor!). Once again, this was through the creative process when Dan & Andy were doing the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy – thoughupdated Star-Lord’s look, it wasn’t that what we see in the movie. And Rocket Racoon? Yeah, he shot guns; but he certainly wasn’t the fun, charming, hilarious, bomb-making Racoon we all know and love when he first appeared in 1976. As a matter of fact, when he first appeared his name was “Rocky.”

One of the most surprising and drastic changes came in the form of Groot. Groot – when he first appeared was this… giant… plant thing… from a place called “Planet X”… and he could actually talk (not just limited to “I am Groot” or “We are Groot”)… and he didn’t look anywhere near as cute and fun as we all know him from the movie. This was, once again, the creative works of Dan & Andy working on revamping the Guardians of the Galaxy and taking all of these misfit – and for the most part – very, very, very obscure characters from everywhere – and making them into what they are now.

 

LET’S MEET THE STARJAMMERS…

The Starjammers are, essentially, what the Guardians of the Galaxy comic became when Dan & Andy recreated the Guardians of the Galaxy book. You have Corsair, who is literally, the human space pirate, with his wit and charm  – and was abducted and enslaved b the Shi’ar (much like Star-Lord was abducted in the movie). Then you have Hepzibah, who is the female bad ass (much like Gamora). You have Ch’od, the big green, hulking mass of muscle (much like Drax). You have Cr+eee (the white creature on Ch’od’s shoulder) who speaks in a squeaky language only Ch’od seems to understand (similar to the Groot/Rocket thing) and then there’s Raza (with the patch and long flowing hair), who is wise, speaks with using “Old English” (thee and thy), and reminds me of what they are going to make Mantis out to be in the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie. So the Starjammers are literally what the Guardians of the Galaxy became. And with a good writer for a script (I’m available Marvel, if you’re reading this!), Fox Studios could potentially land a successful movie that’s up there with Guardians of the Galaxy. (Now, more than ever would be the best time to try and pull this off; because with the recent success of Guardians of the Galaxy and the resurgence of Star Wars movies; space dramas are shoe in for success, if done right!)

LET’S BEGIN MAKING THE DARK PHOENIX TRILOGY…

So, after explaining all that (I am extremely passionate about my X-Men, especially when it comes to the Dark Phoenix!) – I would begin the movie with the Starjammers as the first movie. This is the movie that sets everything up. I’d possibly start it with the Starjammers have stolen something from the Shi’ar Empire. (I could get really long winded about how great the Shi’ar Empire is – but to sum it up, they’re one of the most powerful space fairing races out there, with a massive empire, ruling over a great majority of planets out there!) So the Shi’ar Empire is chasing down the Starjammers to recover this “relic” that the Starjammers have acquired. Do a few scenes where the Starjammers are trying to pawn off the relic, but the Shi’ar keep arriving (possibly showing off some of the members of the Imperial Guard – who are the Shi’ar’s version of ‘super heroes’ loyal to the throne of the Shi’ar Empire). The Shi’ar keep applying too much pressure, so by the end of the Starjammers movie Corsair says he knows the perfect, backwards planet to hide the relic on; Earth (his home planet).

The second movie would be called something like X-Men: Rise of the Phoenix. It would essentially deal with the X-Men going to investigate the unusual UFO sighting (which is actually the Starjammers). The Starjammers and X-Men would fight it out initially (the Starjammers possibly mistaking the powered X-Men as members of the Imperial Guard, since when Corsair was abducted from Earth, there were no known mutants to exist; while Professor Xavier and Magneto were both mutants with powers by this time; this was not widely known to the general public). The X-Men and Starjammers would continue the fight until the arrival of the Shi’ar and their Imperial Guard; when the Starjammers realize the X-Men are not members of the Imperial Guard. Teaming up against the massive force of the Imperial Guard; Jean Grey scans the mind of one of the Imperial Guard or even perhaps D’Ken, leader of the Shi’ar Empire at the time), and learns that the relic that the Starjammers stole holds incredible power. Jean locates the relic, and realizing that they have no hope of defeating the Imperial Guard opens the relic, unleashing the Phoenix Force which bonds with her and gives the X-Men the upper hand. The movie ends with the defeat of the Imperial Guard, due to Jean Grey merging with the Phoenix!

The third movie would be called X-Men: Birth of the Dark Phoenix or simply X-Men: Dark Phoenix. This is where things hit the fan. The Shi’ar call down on the rest of the Imperial Guard, including Gladiator. The Starjammers and X-Men try to fight them, but they’re hopelessly out numbered, out gunned, and over powered. The X-Men and Starjammers must admit defeat. D’Ken claims that Jean Grey must die, because the Phoenix Force can not be contained in a mortal without eventually corrupting them; having proof before and showing the X-Men what happened the last time the Phoenix Force took on a mortal’s form and all the trouble they had capturing it into the relic. The X-Men challenge the Shi’ar Imperial Guard to a challenge (similar to what we see in Uncanny X-Men #137) in order to save Jean Grey’s life. The Starjammers also agree to join in the fight; and so – they do the individual fights, and despite the heroes looking like they’re going to win, in the end, Jean Grey sacrifices herself – seemingly destroying herself which allows the Shi’ar to recapture the Phoenix Force back into the relic. Movie ends with the X-Men burying Jean Grey on Earth.

So while, not even my version of the Dark Phoenix saga is completely true to what happens in the comic; I realize there’s a lot of comic book history that that simply can’t be shoved into a movie; so I would truncate it down to the parts I thought were important; and that is, simply acknowledging and explaining that the Phoenix Force is a cosmic being – not simply Jean Grey’s “mutant ability” as it has been portrayed in the previous versions of the X-Men movies. I think starting the movie with the Starjammers is a very reasonable idea. I think the introduction of the Shi’ar Empire is also reasonable. Fox Studios seems to have a problem with just wanting to go straight for the payload, rather than giving us some foreplay to build up to the story that most X-Men fans love and adore and hail, one of the best X-Men story arcs – if not one of the best comic book story arcs.

And naturally, with Jean having bonded with the Phoenix Force, they could even go on to make other movies, that deal with Jean being resurrected by the residue of the Phoenix Force (the Phoenix always rises from the ashes) – and then, maybe at that point, explain that Jean’s powers are now enhanced; her mind opened by the cosmic being to the true potential of her telepathy and telekinesis.

So there you have it. How, if given the chance, I would have done the Dark Phoenix Saga.

  • Tawmis

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Podcasters Apprehended!

Our last issue we did (Issue #25, in February 2017) was more than a month ago, and we’re aware! Unfortunately, real life has been stepping in front of us time and time again. We’ve had several things we’ve wanted to cover (Iron Fist on NetFlix, the X-Men ResurreXion line, the Legion television series, the New Warriors and the Cloak & Dagger TV series, both coming to Freeform TV). We’ve also got a few folks we have wanted to bring onto our podcast to talk about their comics, but because of Life – we’ve not had that chance. I will be doing a podcast during Free Comic Book Day at Southern California Comics (like we’ve done the last few years now!), but it will just be me. Maico will not be available. We would try for one sooner, but I have a 20th Anniversary coming up (yes, somehow, some reason, my wife has put up with me and all the Dazzler love I give her for the last 20 years!), then I am off to Ordain my best friend’s daughter’s wedding. Then Maico is off to a business trip that takes him out of the states. And literally, the day he comes back, I take off for two weeks for the same business trip he just got back from. So look for Issue #26 to cover Free Comic Book Day, but since Maico is typically the interview guy; I am going to try to fill those shoes since he will be absent – so I can’t promise anything good! Then, when life calms down (ideally), we will probably resume the podcast in June of 2017. Until then, Maico and I will be running from the Sentinels of Busy Life, until we can safely podcast again! But hang in there – I promise we will be back (and we will have much more to talk about Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Thor: Ragnorok!)

  • Tawmis

 

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Carrie Fisher Memorial Video.

(Bring A Tissue! You’re Going To Need It! Or Yell “Who Is Cutting Onions!” Before Viewing)…

Shawn Richter posted this – and Colleen, of Wyng’d Lyon Creations, was sitting with me when I decided to watch this. To prove Carrie Fisher still had an impacted – both Colleen and I had shed some tears, by the time we reached the end of this video. I remember posting the Happy Birthday, Carrie Fisher post – and rambling about how, as a young kid, she had impacted me. Then, with The Force Awakens which continued the Star Wars Saga, Carrie Fisher was in the movie – and it was wonderful to see her. But life – fate – can be cruel. In a tragic turn, we would lose Carrie Fisher, and so many of us had to say farewell. But this video proves that she may be gone – but her impact and her memory – carries on in our hearts. Whoever did this memorial video did an amazing job at capturing Carrie in such wonderful moments.

This smile will forever be one of my favorites…

  • Love,
    Tawmis
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Final Day for X-Men: The Animated Series Fan Questions.

Today will be the last day for the submission of X-Men: The Animated Series fan questions. Want to get in some questions today before the weekend gets here? Don’t worry! Officially Saturday morning is going to be the last of the questions I will be submitting to get answered by Eric & Julia sometime in the near future. If you want to grab all the details, be sure to check out our previous post how you can submit questions for Eric & Julia to answer. They promise to make an effort to get everything answered; but in some cases, they may not know, or even remember the answer to your questions (so don’t be offended, after it has been 25 years since the show aired, and if you don’t hear your question asked; it probably means it got cut from the podcast because of that reason!) Both Maico and I have business travel coming up, that’s going to keep us extremely busy, so there might be a delay on when this episode will get done.

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