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X-Men: Manifest Destiny

X-Men: Manifest Destiny

By Arion in Blog on October 28, 2012

Humberto RamosI grew up reading comic book anthologies: 2000AD, Zona 84, Cimoc, Creepy, etc. Reuniting a group of writers and artists in the same book is not a common practice in the US market, but there is something almost magical about the diversity of talents and the variety of stories you can find in these compilations.However there is something else that makes anthologies special. A limited page count is a magnificent creative challenge for the authors. In 2000AD, brilliant creators such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan or John Wagner were perfectly capable of writing astonishing and unforgettable tales in a couple of pages. In the case of Zona 84, Cimoc and Creepy the situation was even better, since these editions included a selection of the best European writers and artists: Enrique Sánchez Abulí, Esteban Maroto, Carlos Giménez, Alfonso Font, Josep María Beá, Carlos Trillo, Horacio Altuna, Moebius, Eleuteri Serpieri, Antonio Segura, José Ortiz, Sergio Toppi, F de Felipe, Vicente Segrelles, Manfred Sommer, Patrick Cothias, André Juillard, François Bourgeon, Milo Manara, Hugo Pratt, François Boucq, Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz Rosinski, Vittorio Giardino, Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mézières, Tanino Liberatore, Hermann and dozens more that I’m surely forgetting. So for me, an anthology done well should be always better than a regular comic book. With a more totalizing perspective, the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts. So I celebrate Marvel’s decision for publishing an X-Men anthology that, indeed, was much better than the usual single-author six-issue arc of any of the regular X-Men titles. “X-Men: Manifest Destiny” proves the high level of quality that Marvel writers and artists can achieve when they’re not forced to write stories that always last 132 pages and that fit in nicely in a hardcover or trade paperback. Because, although people don’t often see it that way, the six-issue arc euphoria is limiting the inventiveness of the writers in the same way that it would seriously constraint the imagination of any novelist if they were forced to stick to 132 pages, especially when the story they want to tell would fit better in less pages.There are 11 stories in this 5-issue miniseries from 2008. So, I’ll talk about all of them in no particular order. The largest story is “Kill or Cure”, written by Mike Carey, with pencils by Michael Ryan and inks by Victor Olazaba, which revolves around the unhealthy relationship between Ice Man and Mystique. With her shape-shifting abilities, the villainess has posed as Bobby Drake’s girlfriend and has tried to poison the mutant with a substance that will kill him; unless he learns how to make his powers evolve fast enough to cure himself. With a very interesting scientific background, Carey writes a story that makes us feel interested in the only founding member of the X-Men that hasn’t experienced any life-altering events or any relevant epiphanies. Of course, not all characters are as famous as Ice Man, others are slightly more obscure such as Tabitha Smith (AKA Boom-Boom, AKA Meltdown) courtesy of James Asmus and Chris Burnham or Mercury (by C.B. Cebulski and Andre Coelho); others are old villains like Avalanche, the protagonist of “Nick’s”, a story written by Frank Tieri and drawn by Ben Oliver. In some cases we get to see heroes that are not as famous as they used to be or that have lost all their fame, at least in the ever demanding eyes of the reader. I wonder who remembers Karma, from the original New Mutants (which, by the way, I reviewed here), or the ordeals she went through such as her depression and her morbid obesity. Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski writes an extraordinary story, illustrated by David Yardin, about Karma, about a woman that has fought against all her enemies and triumphed only to be defeated by her own state of mind; unable to regain control over her life, she must learn an important lesson from Emma Frost (White Queen). Michael RyanSkottie Young, famous for drawing baby versions of the Marvel heroes, writes a very amusing story about Juggernaut. It would have been great to see his art, but penciler / inker Dan Panosian does quite a good job in showing us a hesitant Juggernaut. In a paltry bar, in the outskirts of a small town, Juggernaut ponders the advantages of either joining the X-Men or remain as their enemy. With very witty dialogues and funny situations, Skottie Young proves why the unstoppable Juggernaut is “Good with the Bad”. I’ve been talking about the fascinating evolution of Emma Frost (White Queen) here; from a cruel and cold woman to a very complex and alluring adventuress in recent times. In “Flaw” by Chris Yost and Paco Diaz we see Emma Frost like we’ve never seen here before: insecure, worried and with a guilty conscience. After the disappearance of Kitty Pride at the end of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men, everything has changed for the mutant team. White Queen is as perfect as a diamond, but it’s said that every diamond has a fundamental flaw. Yost manages to make Frost’s worries and doubts as real as the pages we’re holding.   Chris Yost also writes “Uncheerable”, a very introspective tale about Colossus’s grieving process. Now that Kitty Pride is gone, life for Colossus is devoid of meaning and purpose. Depressed and tired, the Russian hero can’t be cheered up by Wolverine and Nightcrawler who do their best to make him feel better (they go out and end up watching a movie about a man who sees his girlfriend die in front of him, they throw a party for him in San Francisco which is attended mainly by gay man into ‘colossal’ fetishes, Ice Man suggests him to hire a prostitute and ‘have fun’ and so on). Finally, in the last page Yost surprises the reader with a really emotive and melancholic scene, which is only enhanced by the cartoonish art of Humberto Ramos. Perhaps, equally sad is “Work It Out”, a story in which Nightcrawler must come to terms with the loss of Kitty Pride, his best friend and confidant. After years of knowing each other (the two mutants met in an X-Men comic published in 1979), Nightcrawler feels sorry for not being there when Kitty needed him the most. James Asmus and Takeshi Miyazawa are responsible for this very intense story. “Dazzler: Solo” is also strangely melancholic. When Dazzler first appeared in the X-Men comics in the late 70s, disco music was still popular. Thirty years later, the disco queen finds herself lost in today’s world, unable to adapt to the new music scene. She was famous in the past, and now she has lost all fame and money. She’s desperate, and in only a handful of pages, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Sara Pichelli prove that even in the darkest hours, hope can still shine through. David YardinCharles Xavier's mansion is located on Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center (Westchester County, New York). The Graymalkin name has been attached to Salem for generations, but there is a story about the Graymalkin family that has never been printed in books or newspapers. All the secrets are revealed in Abomination by Marc Guggenheim (script), Yanick Paquette (pencils) and Serge Lapointe & Nathan Fairbairn (inks). “Manifest Destiny” was an ideological term coined in the 19th century, in an era in which prosperity was the ultimate goal. So it’s only fitting that this story should take place in the 21st century with constant flashbacks to the 19th century. Here, Beast (Hank McCoy) finds out that Graymalkin, a young mutant that hasn’t been in Xavier’s school for long, was buried alive; since his mutant powers are activated in the absence of light, he was able to survive for decades until a skirmish with the sentinels destroyed his tomb, thus setting him free. Beast wonders what could possibly be the cause of this entombment… certainly, as a 16-year-old boy, Graymalkin was still a normal teenager, at least on the surface. With great subtlety, Guggenheim describes another kind of prejudice and hatred. The abomination did not refer to mutant genes but rather sexual orientation. Graymalkin was having an intimate moment with another boy when his father runs into him. Enraged, the old man beats the kid until he’s nearly dead and then buries him. Graymalkin confesses this traumatic experience to Anole, another gay student and former member of the Young X-Men. The word homosexual or gay is never pronounced but there’s no need for it. We all understand what the story is about, and seeing the two teenagers sitting together and looking at San Francisco’s Bay is a tremendously tender and moving image. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Crecí leyendo antologías de cómics: 2000AD, Zona 84, Cimoc, Creepy, etc. Reunir a un grupo de escritores y artistas en el mismo título no es una práctica común en el mercado norteamericano, pero hay algo casi mágico en la diversidad de talentos y la variedad de historias que pueden encontrarse en estas compilaciones. Paco DiazSin embargo hay algo más que hace que una antología sea especial. Contar con pocas páginas es un magnífico reto creativo para los autores. En 2000AD, creadores brillantes como Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan o John Wagner eran más que capaces de escribir relatos asombrosos e inolvidables en un par de páginas. En el caso de Zona 84, Cimoc y Creepy la situación era incluso mejor, ya que estas ediciones incluían una selección de los mejores escritores y artistas europeos: Enrique Sánchez Abulí, Esteban Maroto, Carlos Giménez, Alfonso Font, Josep María Beá, Carlos Trillo, Horacio Altuna, Moebius, Eleuteri Serpieri, Antonio Segura, José Ortiz, Sergio Toppi, F de Felipe, Vicente Segrelles, Manfred Sommer, Patrick Cothias, André Juillard, François Bourgeon, Milo Manara, Hugo Pratt, François Boucq, Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz Rosinski, Vittorio Giardino, Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mézières, Tanino Liberatore, Hermann y docenas más que seguramente estoy olvidando.  Yanick PaquetteAsí que para mí, una antología bien hecha debería ser siempre mejor que un cómic común y corriente. Con una perspectiva más abarcadora, el todo debería ser superior que la suma de sus partes. Así que celebro la decisión de Marvel de publicar una antología de X-Men que, de hecho, fue mucho mejor que los típicos arcos argumentales de seis números de las colecciones habituales.“X-Men: destino manifiesto” demuestra el alto nivel de calidad que pueden alcanzar los escritores y dibujantes de Marvel cuando no están obligados a escribir historias que siempre duran 132 páginas y que encajan muy bien en los tomos de tapa dura o tapa blanda. Porque aunque la gente no lo vea así, la euforia del arco argumental de seis partes está limitando la inventiva de los escritores del mismo modo que constreñiría seriamente la imaginación de cualquier novelista obligado a trabajar con 132 páginas, especialmente cuando la historia que quisieran contar funcionaría mejor con menos páginas.Hay 11 historias en esta miniserie de 5 números del 2008. Así que hablare sobre ellas sin ningún orden en particular. La historia más larga es "Matar o curar", escrita por  Mike Carey, con lápices de Michael Ryan y tintas de Victor Olazaba, que gira en torno a la enfermiza relación entre Ice Man y Mystique. Con su habilidad de cambiar de forma, la villana ha fingido ser la enamorada de Bobby Drake y ha intentado envenenar al mutante con una substancia que lo matará; a menos que él aprenda cómo hacer que sus poderes evolucionen para poder curarse a sí mismo. Con un interesante enfoque científico, Carey escribe una historia que nos hace sentir interesados en el único miembro fundador de los X-Men que no ha experimentado eventos que alteren su vida ni epifanías relevantes. Yanick PaquettePor supuesto, no todos los personajes son tan famosos como Ice Man, otros son ligeramente más oscuros como Tabitha Smith (Boom-Boom y/o Meltdown), cortesía de James Asmus y Chris Burnham o Mercury (de C.B. Cebulski y Andre Coelho); otros son viejos villanos como Avalanche, el protagonista de “Nick’s”, una historia escrita por Frank Tieri y dibujada por Ben Oliver. En algunos casos vemos héroes que no son tan famosos como solían ser o que han perdido toda su fama al menos para los ojos de los lectores demandantes. Me pregunto quién recuerda a Karma, de los Nuevos Mutantes originales (que, por cierto, comenté hace poco aquí), o las tribulaciones que afrontó, como su depresión o su obesidad mórbida. El editor de Marvel C.B. Cebulski escribe una historia extraordinaria, ilustrada por David Yardin sobre Karma, una mujer que ha luchado contra todos sus enemigos y ha triunfado, sólo para ser derrotada por su propio estado mental; incapaz de recuperar el control sobre su vida, ella debe aprender una importante lección de Emma Frost (White Queen).Skottie Young, famoso por dibujar versiones bebé de los héroes Marvel, escribe una muy entretenida historia sobre Juggernaut. El dibujante Dan Panosian hace un trabajo bastante bueno al mostrarnos a un Juggernaut dubitativo. En un pequeño bar, en las afueras de un pueblito insignificante, Juggernaut sopesa las ventajas de unirse a los X-Men o seguir siendo su enemigo. Con diálogos muy ingeniosos y situaciones divertidas, Skottie Young demuestra por qué el imparable Juggernaut es "Bueno siendo malo". He estado hablando sobre la fascinante evolución de Emma Frost (White Queen) aquí; de una mujer cruel y fría a una aventurera compleja y atrayente en la actualidad. En "Defecto", de Chris Yost y Paco Diaz vemos a Emma Frost como nunca antes: insegura, preocupada y con una conciencia culposa. Luego de la desaparición de Kitty Pride al final de Astonishing X-Men de Joss Whedon y John Cassaday, todo ha cambiado en el equipo mutante. White Queen es tan perfecta como un diamante, pero todos los diamantes tienen una falla fundamental. Yost se las arregla para hacer que las preocupaciones y dudas de Frost sean tan reales como la página que estamos sujetando. Takeshi MiyazawaChris Yost también escribe "Inanimable" una historia muy introspectiva sobre el proceso de duelo de Colossus. Ahora que Kitty Pride ya no está, la vida de Colossus está desprovista de significado y propósito. Deprimido y cansado, el héroe ruso no puede ser animado por Wolverine y Nightcrawler quienes hacen lo posible para hacerlo sentir mejor (se van al cine y terminan viendo una película en la que un hombre ve morir a su enamorada, hacen una fiesta para él en San Francisco y van sobre todo gays interesados en fetiches 'colosales', Ice Man le sugiere contratar una prostituta para divertirse, etc.). Finalmente, en la última página Yost sorprende al lector con una escena realmente emotiva y melancólica, que es mejorada por el arte caricaturesco de Humberto Ramos. Tal vez, igualmente triste sería "Arréglalo", una historia en la que Nightcrawler debe lidiar con la pérdida de Kitty Pride, su confidente y mejor amiga (ambos personajes se conocieron en la colección de X-Men en 1979), Nightcrawler se lamenta no haber podido ayudar a Kitty cuando ella más lo necesitaba. James Asmus y Takeshi Miyazawa son responsables de esta intensa historia. “Dazzler: Solo” es también extrañamente melancólica. Cuando Dazzler apareció por primera vez a fines de los 70, la música disco todavía era popular. Treinta años después, la reina del disco se encuentra perdida en el mundo, incapaz de adaptarse a la actual escena musical. Ella era famosa en el pasado, y ahora ha perdido toda su fama y todo su dinero. Está desesperada, y en un puñado de páginas, el escritor Kieron Gillen y la artista Sara Pichelli demuestran que incluso en las horas más oscuras, la esperanza todavía puede brillar.La mansión de Charles Xavier está localizada en Graymalkin Lane, en Salem Center (condado de Westchester, New York). El nombre de los Graymalkin ha estado asociado a Salem por generaciones, pero hay una historia oculta sobre la familia Graymalkin. Todos los secretos son revelados en "Abominación" de Marc Guggenheim (guión), Yanick Paquette (lápices) y Serge Lapointe y Nathan Fairbairn (tintas). El "destino manifiesto" era un término ideológico acuñado en el siglo XIX, en una era en la que la prosperidad era la meta definitiva. Así que tiene sentido que esta historia transcurra en el siglo XXI con constantes flashbacks al siglo XIX. Aquí, Beast (Hank McCoy) descubre que Graymalkin, un joven mutante que ha llegado hace poco a la escuela de Xavier, fue enterrado vivo; como sus poderes mutantes se activan en la ausencia de luz, fue capaz de sobrevivir por décadas hasta que una refriega con los centinelas destruyó su tumba, liberándolo. Beast se pregunta por qué fue enterrado... ciertamente, a los 16 años, Graymalkin todavía era un adolescente normal, al menos en la superficie. Con gran sutileza, Guggenheim describe otro tipo de prejuicio y odio. La abominación no se refiere a los genes mutantes sino más bien a la orientación sexual. Cuando Graymalkin comparte un momento íntimo con otro muchacho, su padre lo sorprende. Enfurecido, el viejo golpea al chiquillo hasta dejarlo casi muerto, y luego lo entierra. Graymalkin le confiesa esta traumática experiencia a Anole, otro estudiante gay y ex integrante de los Jóvenes X-Men. La palabra homosexual o gay nunca es pronunciada y tampoco hace falta. Todos entendemos de qué se trata la historia, y ver juntos a los dos adolescentes que observan la bahía de San Francisco es una imagen tremendamente tierna y conmovedora.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/x-men-manifest-destiny.html

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Volume 2

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Volume 2

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 28, 2012

Cover Kitty Pride seems to to pregnant. How did this happen and will she be brave enough to tell Peter about it?The funding for the school runs out after just a couple of weeks after opening the doors. How did this came to be and what will the Headmaster do to solve the problem.Beast is shrinking kids and taking them for a joy ride in somebody's well... body. Don't ask.And what does the Hellfire Club do to piss off the Beast?All this and more in this second volume.How good is it?Before getting into to the review itself, if you didn't read Wolverine and The X-Men Volume 1 and Wolverine and The X-Men Omega (review coming soon) then you might find spoilers in the paragraphs that follow.Unlike the first volume, in this book Jason Aaron opted to write 5 or 6 concurrent stories that are spread out throw this second volume. These stories intercept and lead to each other in very interesting ways, almost Sin City style but at a smaller scale. Aaron did a great job telling theses tales, never forcing them to intertwine or rushing things.My favorite is the last one, when he manages to tick the Beast off IN SPACEEEEEEE. Seeing the blue fuzzy  loosing it was quite the moment. But the star of the book is Kitty's pregnancy. Kitty goes from zero to ready to give birth in two days. Of course this isn't normal. She knows that there's no way the pregnancy is normal. She didn't do the nasty.[spoiler]Have you ever seen Fantastic Voyage? Well basically that's how the Kitty situation is solved. While its becoming a cliche, Aaron does it in a masterful way.[/ spoiler]The Beast takes the class on the strangest, yet greatest, biology lesson, well ever. Its basically setup for another plot point, but is great fun reading that adventure.Aaron does a little spotlight on Broo, the smart Broodling, cute little guy that wants nothing more than to learn. I love his character and am fearful for his future. Aaron planted the seed for a Broo story that might take him through a path from where there is no return.The other big story is about the school's funding. Well it ends. To try to solve this problem Wolverine takes Quentin Quire on an intergalactic adventure. This is a fun, but inconsequential, story that will put Logan in a position I didn't imagine him in. Then again I never imagine him as a headmaster either. Getting the money the school needs Art wise it keeps with the same artistic line as the previous volume, but the first pages seem to be somewhat off the standard. From the middle on it pics up and the last pages are pure genius  Those shoots of the Beast in space are very very good.Overhaul, this volume does a great job following the previous one and planting new plot seed for the next one. Don't get Broo angry Don't get the Beast angry either Would I recommend it?This one is, without a doubt, a buy. Its a cool book that keeps throwing the Universe and other dimensions of trouble in our heroes way.  On top of the great plot this book is supported by good art.However, if you have not read the previous volume, then go read it first.Wolverine and the X-men is very entertaining, this volume keep it up, and shows great promise for the foreseeable future. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-wolverine-and-x-men-volume-2.html

Aluminación - Luitpol Ruiz (Dédalo)

Aluminación - Luitpol Ruiz (Dédalo)

By Arion in Blog on October 26, 2012

Beautiful Thing (1996)Directed by Hettie Macdonald How far should one travel in order to find love? Sometimes, it seems, only a few steps would be necessary. That's what happens in "Beautiful Thing" (based on Jonathan Harvey's play) when Jamie and his neighbor Ste get romantically involved.Only a few decades ago, a number of theories tried to explain the origin of homosexuality. Which is only baffling as one might wonder, why didn't they try to explain heterosexuality? But alas, the heterosexual domain is what constitutes the symbolic order, and thus all other forms of sexuality are bluntly banned or at least discarded.Freud's followers tried to explain homosexuality in the most contrived ways. For example, the absence of a fatherly figure would dangerously wreak havoc in a child's psyche, thus neutralizing the normal course of the Oedipus complex (since there is no father to rival against for the love of the mother, the whole structure falls apart). This sort of theory could be easily applied to someone like Jamie, who has no father and lives with his strong-willed, almost masculine mother that symbolically castrates her temporary male partners.But what happens with Ste? His homosexuality cannot be explained by a textbook approach like the one that so easily fits into Jamie's background. Nor does it need to. And this is what should be considered one of the most important things about this movie. You don't need to explain homosexuality any more than you need to explain heterosexuality. One is just as natural and beautiful as the other. Can gay and straight people coexist? Or there will be constant struggle and friction? Hettie Macdonald's film elicits a possible answer that will only provide the viewer with hope. After all, if an infraction of the Lacanian symbolic order is committed, id est, the homosexual relationship, then it's only logical to deconstruct that symbolic order. Deconstruction does not mean destruction, deconstruction focus in the fissures present in every structure and takes advantage of them in order to rearticulate the symbolic order (society, any given society, is first and foremost a symbolic order, that would constantly readapt and modify depending on the individuals that are part of that society). my drawing / mi dibujoJamie and Ste achieve that task admirably. It's a long way, though, from simple friendship, to the first hazed and rushed sexual exploration, to the difficulty in assuming their roles and true sexuality, to the stable relationship they solidify with time and patience.Perhaps the fullest, most powerful, affirmation of the deconstruction of the previous symbolic order is the final scene. I won't spoil it to those who haven't seen it yet, suffice to say rather than a "beautiful thing" it is a very beautiful moment. Usually I don't like films about hope, as I am rather devoid of such virtue, but I found the end both touching and immensely reaffirming. Sometimes, I guess, it's not to so bad to dream of a world where gays and straight people can, indeed, coexist peacefully. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ayer en la noche se inauguró la muestra “Aluminación” de Luitpol Ruiz en Dédalo. El artista, en un derroche de imaginación, ha creado diversos objetos hechos con aluminio; desde autos con una cierta línea art deco ensamblados a partir de botellas de vodka Danzka hasta encantadores robots con cajas de aluminio de Jack Daniel’s. En esta ocasión, hubo una barra de vodka Danzka así que aproveché para pedirme un vodka con jugo de naranja, otro con jugo de cranberry y otro con agua tónica. Justo andaba en esas cuando me encontré con Pedro Casusol, encargado de prensa de Dédalo. Nos quedamos conversando un par de horas sobre libros, cómics y películas, y me regaló generosamente un ejemplar de su novela breve “Coca, keta y marihuana”. Durante el transcurso de la noche saludé a Eduardo Lores, a Isabelle Decencière y a Hugo Alegre. También conversé un poco con Fernando Carvallo, Sebastián Lores y María Elena Fernández (y de hecho me tomaron un par de fotos con ella). Y finalmente acompañé a Carmen Alegre hasta su casa. Sin duda un evento sumamente entretenido.Los dejo con un cuadro de Michele del Campo y un dibujo mío. La versión original la pueden encontrar aquí.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/aluminacion-luitpol-ruiz-dedalo.html

Review: Joe the Barbarian

Review: Joe the Barbarian

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 25, 2012

CoverJoe the Barbarian is all about Joe, a 15 year old diabetic boy that suffers a diabetic shock while home alone. To survive Joe has to journey from his room to the kitchen in search of a soda to fix his blood sugar. In the way Joe finds himself in the middle of a war between the Kingdom and King Death.The Kingdom is generated by Joe's hallucination and is populated by all the toys, pets and all sort of aspects of Joe's daily life. Its a rich environment with a geography that mimics Joe's house and is filled with all sort of perils and a vast array of inhabitants.Its a fantasy story with more to it than it seems at first glance.How good is it?Grant Morrison is a great writer, but some of his work drink from the metaphysical pool a bit too much. As such many readers have gained antibodies to his writing. Luckily this in Joe the Barbarian Morrison brought his A game. The story is very straight forward, of course there are still some metaphysical aspects for the reader to explore, but all very simple to follow.Joe is a diabetic 15 year old boy that suffers a diabetic shock and tries to make his way to the kitchen in order to drink a soda and fix his blood sugar. That's it. The narrative is born from that and grows into an epic quest  to stop King Death and bring light back to the Kingdom. While this is a obvious metaphor for Joe's situation you'll find out that its much more than that.Morrison explores many aspects of Joe's life, such as his relationship with is dead father, the family life after the death of his father or the isolation and Joe feels. He does this very well, never feeling forced or hammered in, but natural and fluid. The best part of Morrison's approach to Joe the Barbarian is that the hallucination is just that. Joe has a strong hallucination because he suffers a diabetic shock. The enjoyment the reader takes is of the journey Joe has to undertake and what it means for himself and for his family.Talking about that will spoil the story, but one thing is sure, you wont get a cliche ending of the kind "this was all a dream", and it is very rewarding. What is not a spoiler is that you'll get a good journey story, some medieval type action and great dialogue between Joe and his pet mouse.On a side note, Joe the Barbarian is not Joe the main character. Its actually a very sweet little note Morrison throws in the story.The writing is very good indeed, but where this book excels is in the department. Its hard to put to words how much Sean Murphy's art adds to Joe's story. The dynamic of the panels, the detailed character and backgrounds design, the two universes (regular and hallucination) and most of all, the clarity of the art itself.In highly details artwork its common for it to become gorgeous as a still image but difficult to look at as sequential art but Sean Murphy does have a masterful control of his craft and offers the reader a truly rewarding visual experience. In other words, awesome eye-candy. Everyone to Joe's rescue The mightiest of PetsWould I recommend it?This is a great book. Sure its is by Morrison and as such is a bit insane at times, but he keeps it under tight restraints. The art is just phenomenal. The story is simple, but every time you read it you get something extra from it.Joe the Barbarian is a must have for any comic book reader. I highly recommend it. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-joe-barbarian.html

Review: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

Review: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 24, 2012

Cover We all know the story of Dorothy and her journey to find the mighty Wizard of Oz. The faithful pooch Toto, the brave Cowardly Lion, the smart Scarecrow and the gentile Tin Woodman will be Dorothy's party has she walks the lands of Oz in search of the mighty Wizard that can lead her home.From Kansas to the Emerald City,through the yellow brick road and back again, Dorothy adventures through the land of Oz in the hope she'll be able to return no Kansas.In 2009 Marvel started to publish Eric Shanower's adaptation of  L. Frank Baum's Oz books to comic book format. Logically this was the first.How good is it?There isn't much point in talking about the story itself. Its been with us for generations. Its a very good children story that can be enjoyed by anyone, any age.Eric Shanower decided to adapt L. Frank Baum's Oz books to comic book format, and he made an excellent job with this one. The dialogue and the narration is masterfully adapted, its not hard to forget that this was not written for this format.The love Shanower has for Baum's work is evident and it helps to make this book as good as it is. I doesn't matter if you've read the story before, you will enjoy reading it again and rooting for Dorothy to be able to get back to her uncles in Kansas.Art wise, this book is majestic. Skottie Young's art is absolutely glorious. The cartoonish feel Young brings to this book is exactly the right tone, precisely the right color and just the right amount of sweetness. All the characters are extremely expressive.The coloring is amazing. The difference between Kansas, the Emerald city, the flashbacks and all the other locations / situations makes them imminently identifiable be the color of the background alone.The backgrounds are very detailed. The yellow brick road alone there in all its yellow glory.Young's art is reason enough to buy this book. Monkeys, monkeys everywhere I have the hardcover edition and it has many extras. The usual but very enjoyable cover gallery, some page sketches and a introduction by Eric Shanower. I usually don't talk about extras because most are not worth the notice, but in this case you should read the introduction. Its a heartfelt love letter from Shanower to  Baum's work, and it puts you in the right mood for reading this book. Is the wicked witch home? Big Lion scares easily Would I recommend it?This is a great book. I imagine L. Frank Baum would be proud when reading his most famous story in comic book format. This is truly a labor of love by Shanower and accompanied masterfully by Young's art.If you're searching an all ages book, or even if you're not, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of the correct choices.The story is undeniably good, the art alone is a reason to buy this book. It his highly recommended to have this on your shelf. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-wonderful-wizard-of-oz.html

Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography - James D. Hudnall Eduardo Barreto

Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography - James D. Hudnall Eduardo Barreto

By Arion in Blog on October 24, 2012

Eric Peterson (cover / portada)“Money is what makes the world spin around”. How often have we heard that phrase? And more importantly, do we consider that to be true? Lex Luthor would surely think so. After all, he is one of the world’s wealthiest men. But how did it all begin? How did this man make billions of dollars in less than a decade? Peter Sands, a washed-up journalist, an alcoholic, a loser, needs to desperately find an answer to these questions if he wants to salvage his reputation.In Sands “Unauthorized Biography” we discover Luthor’s secrets, but we also understand his motivations. Before John Byrne revamped the Superman universe, Lex Luthor had been portrayed as the typical crazy scientist ready to attack the Man of Steel with a killing robot or with a 500 megaton nuclear device. After Byrne’s renovation of the Superman mythos, Luthor was transformed into a complex character, a successful businessman that preferred more subtle tactics to destroy Superman’s life instead of the predictable direct confrontation that was common in earlier incarnations of the character. More cerebral than ever, Superman’s nemesis also became the embodiment of perversion. When Luthor hires expensive prostitutes and makes them wear exotic lingerie he turns them into objects. But, as we delve into his past, we learn that as a high school boy he used to mistreat girls and as an adult he would torture his girlfriends. Peter SandsEveryone in Metropolis, perhaps everyone in the United States, regards Luthor as a benefactor, as a philanthropist, as the motor behind economic and employment growth. As a pervert he can be a pillar of society, perfectly well adapted, cherished even. His transgression of moral laws is not subversive, on the contrary, as far as Luthor is concerned, the conflict between desire and law is resolved by making desire the law of his acts.In the mind of the pervert, there is no such thing as a repressed desire; desire is, in fact, the law. Luthor embraces the reverse side of morals in the form of the demand: “Enjoy! Thou shalt covet thy neighbor's wife”. Lex Luthor will fulfill his wishes elegantly in society, “there is a time and a place for everything”, and this wealthy man knows how to keep certain actions in secret and how to be charming in public. Peter Sands begins his investigation under one auspicious premise: all rich men have skeletons in their closet. Nevertheless, he cannot fathom the horrors he will uncover. As he visits the Suicide Slum -Metropolis equivalent to Hell’s Kitchen- he finds all the missing pieces of the puzzle. As a teenager, Lex Luthor murdered both his parents and cashed the insurance policy he himself had set up. His talent and his genius mind were enough to turn that money into one successful entrepreneur venture after another; eventually, he would be the funder and CEO of Lexcorp, one of the world’s largest and most powerful companies.After Peter Sands interviews a former Luthor operative, he witnesses the man’s demise. And at that moment he understands he might just as well signed a death warrant for all the men and women he has interviewed so far, and what is worse, he has unwillingly committed suicide. Indeed, Luthor’s men are looking for him. Desperate, Peter Sands contacts Clark Kent, and begs him to get Superman’s help. Although Superman intends to help, a massive earthquake in Japan distracts him. In the meantime, Peter Sands is murdered by Luthor’s henchmen.Since Clark Kent was the last one to see Peter Sands alive he’s taken into interrogation and is considered a homicide suspect. This is one of those rare cases, very rare cases, in which the villain in a superhero comic book actually wins. Luthor eliminates all the evidence that Sands had found, thus forever erasing his brutal past. Killing Sands and incriminating Kent is also a brilliant move. At the end, even if he’s Superman, Clark Kent has no other choice but to accept the help of a Lexcorp’s attorney, who advices Kent to collaborate with the Metropolis tycoon in future endeavors.  Suicide Slum / Barrio SuicidaI consider this one of the best Superman stories, or rather one of the best Lex Luthor stories since the creation of the character. After half a century of mindless fights between a superpowered man from Krypton and a bald scientist, it took the talent of writer James D. Hudnall to create a truly terrifying story about Lex Luthor. In recent years, most authors have confused wealth with softness, and Luthor has turned into the kind of villain most people tend not to pay attention to. Although James D. Hudnall isn’t as prolific as other authors, his work is of extraordinary quality (“Red Glass” or “The Psycho” are also powerful and intense stories that everyone should read). “Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography” was published as a graphic novel in prestige format in 1989. With high production values this one-shot required a great artistic team. Eduardo Barreto, a wonderful Uruguayan artist, penciled and inked these pages, which were colored by Adam Kubert. I’m including a page in which we get to see Peter Sands surrounded by liquor and vomiting in his bathroom; in the following page we can observe the ugly side of Metropolis as Sands walks around the Suicide Slum (prostitution and drug-addiction are very common in this miserable urban area); in subsequent pages we have a flashback that shows us Lex Luthor’s childhood and adolescence; the composition of the final page is especially striking, first we have the silhouette of Lex Luthor smoking a cigar, in an elegant game of shadows; with a great contrast, Barreto reinforces the sinister aspect of the business man. Throughout the comic book, Eduardo Barreto includes very interesting details, in some cases they are of a more ornamental nature (such as the delinquents we get to see in the Suicide Slum), in other cases the details reveal information about the author, for instance, as Peter Sands rings the bell in an apartment building we get to see the names of several tenants who, in real life, are the artists that inspired Barreto: Alex Toth, Alex Raymond, Harold Foster and Russ Manning. I’ve often tried to include similar ‘Easter eggs’ on my own comic books. Eduardo Barreto passed away in December 2011. I wanted to write something about him but for some reason I didn’t have the chance to do so. I feel like I owed a debt to an artist that had illustrated one of my favorite Lex Luthor stories (as well as several issues of “Atari Force” and “Legion of Super-Heroes” which I tremendously enjoyed as a child) and so today, finally, I pay homage to his work.__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________"El dinero es lo que hace que el mundo siga girando". ¿Qué tan a menudo hemos escuchado esta frase? Y, más importante aún, ¿consideramos que es cierta? Seguramente, para Lex Luthor sí lo sería. Después de todo, él es uno de los hombres más acaudalados del mundo. Pero ¿cómo empezó todo? ¿Cómo este hombre logró amasar billones de dólares en menos de una década? Peter Sands, un periodista fracasado, un alcohólico, un perdedor, necesita desesperadamente encontrar una respuesta a estas preguntas si es que quiere salvar su reputación. Researching Luthor's childhood / investigando la infancia de LuthorEn la "Biografía no autorizada" de Sands, descubrimos los secretos de Luthor, pero también entendemos sus motivaciones. Antes que John Byrne renovara el universo de Superman, Lex Luthor había sido retratado como el típico científico loco listo para atacar al Hombre de Acero con un robot asesino o un artefacto nuclear de 500 megatones. Luego de la renovación de Byrne, Luthor se transformó en un personaje complejo, un hombre de negocios exitoso que prefería tácticas más sutiles para destruir la vida de Superman en lugar de las predecibles confrontaciones directas que eran comunes en la versión antigua del personaje.Más cerebral que nunca, el némesis de Superman también se convirtió en la encarnación de la perversión. Cuando Luthor contrata a costosas prostitutas y las hace usar lencería exótica, las convierte en objetos. Pero, al hurgar en su pasado nos damos cuenta que cuando era un estudiante también maltrataba a las chicas y como adulto torturaba a sus enamoradas.Todos en Metrópolis, tal vez todos en Estados Unidos, admiran a Luthor como un benefactor, un filántropo, como el motor detrás del crecimiento de la economía y del empleo. Como perverso, él puede ser un pilar de la sociedad, perfectamente bien adaptado, incluso apreciado. Su trasgresión de las leyes morales no es subversiva, al contrario, en lo que respecta a Luthor, el conflicto entre el deseo y la ley se resuelve convirtiendo su deseo en ley.En la mente del perverso, no existe el deseo reprimido; el deseo es, de hecho, la norma. Luthor abrasa el reverso de la moral en forma de demanda: "Goza. Codicia a la mujer del prójimo". Lex Luthor cumplirá sus deseos elegantemente en sociedad "hay un momento y un lugar para todas las cosas", y este billonario sabe cómo mantener ciertos actos en secreto y cómo ser encantador en público.Peter Sands comienza su investigación bajo una auspiciosa premisa: todos los ricos tienen un pasado turbio. No obstante, él no puede imaginar los horrores que está por descubrir. Cuando visita el Barrio Suicida -el equivalente en Metrópolis a la Cocina del Infierno- encuentra las piezas claves del rompecabezas. Cuando era un adolescente, Lex Luthor asesinó a sus padres y cobró la póliza del seguro que él mismo había preparado. Su talento y su mente de genio fueron suficientes para convertir ese dinero en una empresa exitosa tras otra; eventualmente, sería el dueño y fundador de Lexcorp, una de las compañías más grandes y poderosas del mundo. Luthor remembering the past / Luthor recordando el pasadoDespués que Peter Sands entrevista a un ex-empleado de Luthor, es testigo del asesinato de este hombre. Y en ese momento entiende que en la práctica ha firmado una sentencia de muerte para todos los hombres y mujeres que ha entrevistado hasta ese momento y, lo que es peor, ha cometido un suicidio involuntario. De hecho, los hombres de Luthor lo están buscando. Desesperado, Peter Sands contacta con Clark Kent, y le ruega que consiga ayuda de parte de Superman. Aunque la intención de Superman es ayudar, un gran terremoto en Japón lo distrae. En ese momento, Peter Sands es asesinado por los secuaces de Luthor.Clark Kent fue la última persona que vio a Peter Sands con vida así es que es sometido a una interrogación y es considerado como sospechoso de homicidio. Este es uno de esos raros casos, muy raros casos, en los que el villano de un cómic de súper-héroes gana de verdad. Luthor elimina toda la evidencia que Sands había encontrado, borrando para siempre su brutal pasado. Matar a Sands e incriminar a Kent es también una jugada brillante. Al final, incluso si él es Superman, Clark Kent no tiene otra opción que aceptar la ayuda de una abogada de Lexcorp; ella le recomienda a Kent que colabore con el magnate de Metrópolis en futuras ocasiones.Considero que esta es una de las mejores historias de Superman, o más bien una de las mejores historias de Lex Luthor desde la creación del personaje. Después de medio siglo de peleas tontas entre un superhombre de Krypton y un científico calvo, sólo el talento del escritor James D. Hudnall podía crear una historia verdaderamente escalofriante sobre Lex Luthor. En años recientes, la mayoría de autores ha confundido el dinero de Luthor con una debilidad, y Luthor se ha convertido en un villano al que pocos le prestan atención. Aunque James D. Hudnall no es tan prolífico como otros autores, su trabajo es de una calidad extraordinaria (“Vidrio Rojo” o “El psicópata” también son historias poderosas e intensas que todos deberían leer). “Lex Luthor: la biografía no autorizada” se publicó como una novela gráfica en formato prestigio en 1989. Una producción de primer nivel requería un gran equipo artístico. Eduardo Barreto, un maravilloso artista uruguayo, dibujó estas páginas, que fueron coloreadas por Adam Kubert. Estoy incluyendo una página en la que vemos a Peter Sands rodeado de licor y vomitando en el baño; en la página siguiente podemos observar el lado feo de Metrópolis mientras Sands camina por el Barrio Suicida (la prostitución y la drogadicción son comunes en esta miserable área urbana); en páginas subsiguientes tenemos un flashback que nos muestra la infancia y la adolescencia de Lex Luthor; la composición de la página final es especialmente exquisita, primero tenemos la silueta de Lex Luthor fumando un habano, en un elegante juego de sombras; con gran contraste, Barreto refuerza el aspecto siniestro de este hombre de negocios. A lo largo del cómic, Eduardo Barreto incluye detalles muy interesantes, en algunos casos de naturaleza más ornamental (como los delincuentes que vemos en el Barrio Suicida), en otros casos los detalles revelan información sobre el autor, por ejemplo, cuando Peter Sands toca el timbre de un edificio vemos los nombres de varios inquilinos que, en la vida real, son los artistas que inspiraron a Barreto: Alex Toth, Alex Raymond, Harold Foster y Russ Manning. A menudo he intentado incluir este tipo de guiños al lector en mis propios cómics.Eduardo Barreto falleció en diciembre del 2011. Quise escribir algo sobre él pero por alguna razón no tuve la oportunidad de hacerlo. Siento que tenía una deuda con un artista que había ilustrado una de mis historias favoritas de Lex Luthor (así como varios cómics de “Atari Force” y “Legión de Súper-Héroes” que disfruté tremendamente de niño) y así, hoy día, finalmente rindo homenaje a su obra.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/lex-luthor-unauthorized-biography-james.html

Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley

Brilliant # 4 - Bendis Bagley

By Arion in Blog on October 22, 2012

AmadeusI am enjoying Brilliant for reasons that would appear unclear to most readers. There is something special about this creator-owned series. Neither the action nor the violence would suffice to keep me interested. I think what Brian Michael Bendis accomplishes here is an appropriate balance between powers and the real world. He has really thought things through. And in this fourth chapter the narrative unfolds in a most unexpected way.Faithful to the premises of the series, Bendis keeps reminding us that this is the real world. We had already seen Amadeus using his superpowers to rob a bank and then a casino. He thought he had gotten away with it. But money always leaves a trail. And eventually he’s cornered by the FBI. In a couple of great double page spreads, penciler Mark Bagley and inker Joe Rubinstein take us to the heart of the storm. And we see chaos and destruction. el corazón de la tormenta / the heart of the stormAmadeus might personify today’s cynic youth, but he is also the epitome of selfishness. His motivations are wrong, and perhaps his love for money is a way of sublimating his sexual lust and his disrespect for moral codes. After all, as Izzy recalls, Amadeus’s father was a criminal, and wouldn’t it be deliciously Oedipal for the kid to step into his father’s shoes?  Surely Amadeus lacks the spiritual elevation of the conventional hero, and that made of him a very captivating character. naked power / poder al desnudoBefore his untimely demise, Amadeus is stark naked and radiant; his energy glow is almost blinding. It’s a strange thing of beauty and yet something completely lethal. In seconds, he annihilates several police officers. As Slavoj Žižek would explain “cynicism mocks the public Law from the position of its obscene underside”, there is certainly an “inherent obscenity of Power in a most distastefully-enjoyable way”. With his dangling penis and his lethal lightning bolts, Amadeus is both, the erotic side of youth and the grotesque excess of power.  Ultimately, this obscenity must be punished by society. And so it’s an FBI agent who blows his brains off. Amadeus is dead. Which is only logical considering the premises established in the first issue of “Brilliant”. Izzy, Kindred, Albert and Marie knew things would end badly. And as they are interrogated by the FBI, a few questions remain... what will be the repercussions of Amadeus’s death? Who will be the next superpowered kid? How will the FBI approach a threat they are only beginning to understand? And, finally, how will the world change now that being a superhuman is possible?  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Albert and the press / Albert y la prensaEstoy disfrutando "Brilliant" por razones poco comunes. Esta colección de autor tiene algo especial. Ni la acción ni la violencia bastarían para mantenerme interesado. Creo que lo que Brian Michael Bendis logra aquí es balancear de modo apropiado los poderes y el mundo real. Ha pensado en todo. Y en este cuarto capítulo el hilo narrativo se desenvuelve de un modo más que inesperado.Fiel a las premisas de la serie, Bendis nos sigue recordando que este es el mundo real. Ya habíamos visto a Amadeus usando sus súper-poderes para robar un banco y luego un casino. Él pensaba que lo había logrado. Pero el dinero siempre deja un rastro. Y, eventualmente, el FBI lo acorrala. En un par de grandiosas páginas dobles, Mark Bagley (lápices) y Joe Rubinstein (tintas) nos llevan al corazón de la tormenta. Y vemos el caos y la destrucción.Puede que Amadeus personifique a la juventud cínica de hoy, pero también es el epítome del egoísmo. Sus motivaciones son erradas, y tal vez su amor por el dinero sea un modo de sublimar sus ansias sexuales y su falta de respeto por los códigos morales. Después de todo, como recuerda Izzy  el padre de Amadeus era un criminal, ¿y no sería deliciosamente edípico que el muchacho usurpara el lugar del padre? Seguramente, Amadeus carece del espíritu elevado del héroe convencional, y eso hacía de él un personaje muy cautivador. my drawing / mi dibujoAntes de su prematura muerte, Amadeus está totalmente desnudo y radiante; su brillo energético es casi cegador. Es un objeto de extraña belleza y no obstante completamente letal. En segundos, aniquila a varios policías. Tal como explicaría Slavoj Žižek "el cinismo de mofa de la Ley pública desde la posición de su reverso obsceno", hay ciertamente una "obscenidad inherente al poder que se expresa mediante el goce-rechazo". Con su pene colgante y sus letales rayos de energía, Amadeus es ambos, el lado erótico de la juventud y el exceso grotesco del poder.En última instancia, esta obscenidad debe ser castigada por la sociedad. Así que un agente del FBI le hace estallar el cráneo. Amadeus está muerto. Algo lógico si consideramos las premisas establecidas en el primer número de “Brilliant”. Izzy, Kindred, Albert y Marie sabían que las cosas terminarían mal. Y al ser interrogados por el FBI, quedan algunas preguntas... ¿cuáles serán las repercusiones de la muerte de Amadeus? ¿Quién será el próximo chico con súper-poderes? ¿Cómo enfrentará el FBI una amenaza que apenas pueden comprender? Y, finalmente, ¿cómo cambiará el mundo ahora que ser sobrehumano es posible?Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/brilliant-4-bendis-bagley.html

Review: Off Road

Review: Off Road

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 21, 2012

Cover Sean Murphy brings us the story of a group of friends that need to overcome some recent bad luck and personal issues.Trent the art student that's never had much luck in the love department, Greg the rich boy of the group but with a empty life and Brad the tough guy with family problems reunite after Trent is dumped again.When they get together what better way to lift their spirits than to go off-roading in Greg's brand new yellow Jeep?And this will be a day they will never forget.How good is it?Off Road is all about healing emotional wounds, growing up and making friends. Sean Murphy does an excellent job in putting this book together. He tells us a story about these three high school friends that reunite when Trent gets dumped again.Murphy keeps away from the most common plot pits and cliches, and the book profits from that. The story is always fresh and original from the beginning to end. Sure, there are a few predictable events in it, but nothing big and nothing that will take you out of the story.I'm always suspicious of books where the author does everything. Usually we only get one good aspect, but in this case my suspicions were proven unfounded. Sean Murphy did a excellent work on the art department, as could be expected, and on the writing department he did a very good job. The book is very dynamic. The art conveys very well the speed and bumpiness of the off road bits and the dialog is a delight to read.If I had to point out something I didn't enjoy as much, it had to be the backgrounds, or lack of them for the most part. Even for a B&W book they're to lacking, but this is a minor thing, mostly unnoticeable.In the end, you'll enjoy Trent's journey into self-esteem, Brad's leaning to deal with his Dad and Greg's lesson on enjoy life beyond the family money. And they do earn the mud on that yellow Jeep.On a personal note, the last guy that tried to sell me a house was, right to the soul patch, exactly equal to the car salesman that sold Greg his yellow Jeep. But... Who is Larry? Beat your Jeep! Would I recommend it?I highly recommend this graphic novel. There really isn't any truly negative point to this book. I'm not saying its perfect, of course not, but it is very enjoyable on all levels. The plot is a simple, straightforward and engaging story, the art is very good and conveys the story pace very well, and both combined build a great reading experience.Either you're a fan of Sean Murphy, black and white art, simple stories or not, you will find something here to enjoy.Also it will make for a great gift (not for me, I already have one). Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-off-road.html

Supercrooks # 4 - Mark Millar Leinil Francis Yu

Supercrooks # 4 - Mark Millar Leinil Francis Yu

By Arion in Blog on October 20, 2012

Johnny Bolt has a perfect plan to steal 800 million dollars from the world’s richest villain. And he has assembled his old colleagues to perform this ambitious task that no one else dared to imagine. In this double-sized final issue, we get to see, step by step, Johnny’s ingenious stratagems. His formidable team has the necessary abilities to break through the hundreds of deathtraps in the mansion they are about to raid.It has been such a joy to observe the way in which Millar resolves the constant obstacles that hinder the heroes or, in this case, the villains path to success (my favorite scene during the robbery would be the one devoted to the indestructible brothers). Although most fascinating of all is the conversation held with the owner of the fortune they are about to take. As a famous criminal, this man has spent his entire life collecting material objects and money, and now that he has it all, he feels just as miserable as he felt decades ago when he took his first steps towards delinquency.    Perhaps I should highlight theories vis-à-vis regarding the nature of theft; while some might think that the old man is the quintessential villain, others might see in him ambition at its most primal level. Johnny Bolt and his men exemplify how one can work with the most unrestrained individuals, hold them accountable, and do so without compromising the mission. Throughout this action-packed final chapter, Millar graces the tongue of their characters with the dirtiest sex jokes and funniest comments. And the humor continues to the very last page (and that includes Gladiator’s gay parade). In this issue Leinil Francis Yu shows all his skills as a penciler, giving us, for instance, a great sequence in which one of the vault’s door is yanked out of its frames, another one in which the indestructible men get cut to pieces (actually, there are several of those) and, of course, Gladiator’s gay parade. As a bonus material, this final issue includes a preview of “Children of Jupiter”, the next miniseries by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely (which will be published by Image next year); and also the “Milla in Manila”, one of the most fascinating journey chronicles I’ve read in years. With unbeatable humor, Mark Millar tells us about his rather surreal visit to Manila (Philippines). Anyway, in case you missed the previous posts about Supercrooks you can check them out in the following links: Supercrooks # 1, Supercrooks # 2 & Supercrooks # 3____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Johnny Bolt tiene el plan perfecto para robarle al villano más rico del mundo 800 millones de dólares. Y ha reunido a sus viejos colegas para realizar esta ambiciosa tarea que nadie más se atrevería a imaginar. En este número final con doble cantidad de páginas, llegamos a ver, paso a paso, las ingeniosas estratagemas de Johnny. Su formidable equipo tiene las habilidades necesarias para escapar del centenar de trampas mortales de la mansión que están por saquear.Ha sido un tremendo disfrute observar el modo el que Millar resuelve los constantes obstáculos que impide que los héroes o, en este caso, los villanos alcancen el camino al éxito (mi escena favorita durante el robo es la dedicada a los hermanos indestructibles). Aunque lo más fascinante de todo es la conversación que sostiene el dueño de la fortuna que está a punto de ser arrebatada. Al ser un criminal famoso, este hombre ha gastado toda su vida coleccionando objetos materiales y dinero, y ahora que lo tiene todo, se siente tan miserable como se sentía hace décadas cuando dio sus primeros pasos en el mundo de la delincuencia. Tal vez debería resaltar el contraste entre teorías sobre la naturaleza del robo; mientras algunos podrían pensar que este viejo es la quintaesencia del villano, otros podría ver en él la ambición en su nivel más primordial. Johnny Bolt y sus hombres ejemplifican cómo uno puede trabajar con individuos sin restricciones, hacerlos responsables, y lograrlo sin poner en riesgo la misión.En este capítulo final de pura acción, Millar bendice la lengua de sus personajes con las bromas sexuales más sucias y los comentarios más divertidos. Y el humor continúa hasta la última página (y eso incluye el desfile gay de Gladiator). En este número Leinil Francis Yu muestra toda su habilidad como dibujante, dándonos, por ejemplo, una gran secuencia en la que una de las puertas de la bóveda es arrancada de sus goznes, otra en la que los hombres indestructibles son cortados a pedazos (de hecho, son varias escenas) y, desde luego, el desfile gay de Gladiator. my drawing / mi dibujoComo material extra, esta entrega final incluye un adelanto de los "Hijos de Júpiter", la próxima miniserie de Mark Millar y Frank Quitely (que será publicada por Image el próximo año); y también “Milla en Manila”, una de las más fascinantes crónicas de viaje que he leído en años. Con invencible humor, Mark Millar nos cuenta su surrealista visita a  Manila (Filipinas). En fin, en caso que se perdieran los posts anteriores sobre "Supercrooks" pueden encontrarlos en los siguientes links: Supercrooks # 1, Supercrooks # 2 & Supercrooks # 3Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/supercrooks-4-mark-millar-leinil.html

Review: Demon Knights Volume 1 - Seven Against the Dark

Review: Demon Knights Volume 1 - Seven Against the Dark

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 19, 2012

Cover Set in the dark ages, Demon Knights Volume one - Seven Against the Dark is a book about how seven very different characters banded together to fight a evil force bent on destroying everything in its path.A demon bound to a human, a sorcerer  an amazon, a knight, a engineer, a archer and a immortal will come together to overcome a common threat, treason and bash a lot of heads in.And thus the Demon Knights are born.How good is it?Demon Knights Volume one Seven Against the Dark brings us the story of how the Demon Knights came to be together. A young Jason Blood with a hatred for Merlin and Etrigan the demon, an edgier and manipulative Madame Xanadu, a surprisingly cheerful immortal Vandal Savage, the mysterious Shiny Knight, the obscure Horsewoman, Al Jabr the engineer/scientist and Exoristos a Wonder Woman like character are the seven against the dark.Paul Cornell brings us a good fantasy story in a cool setting with fun a interesting characters. The biggest problem is that if you are familiar with DC Universe's previous incarnation continuity its difficult to digest Cornell's Madame Xanadu and Vandal Savage characterization. Its not that they're not interesting characters, they are, but they just aren't the ones I remembered. Savage is a big oaf that solves most of his problems with his fist and with a big smile on his big hairy face, instead of a master planner with all the time in the world that created the super-speed drug. In Demon knights Xanadu is a manipulative powerful sorcerer that lead on Jason Blood and Etrigan to some unknown reason. In the old DC Universe, by this time she was sweet depowered forest nymph.The story itself its a nice little twist of fate that brings all these characters together and unites them against a evil foe that threatens all. There is a little bit of everything. Drama, comedy, lots of action, sorcery, treason and lots of build up for the following book.The part I enjoyed the most are the new characters. Especially Exoristos, The Horsewoman and The Shiny Knight. This last one might not be a new character per se, but this incarnation spiked my interest. Great thing might come from exploring these character's background.On the art department Diogenes Neves does a great job bringing this medieval story to life. His pencils really add something to this book. I especially love the faces. They're really expressive. The panel dynamic is good but nothing groundbreaking. I would buy more books with pencils by Neves. Exoristos showing who's boss Savage preparing dinnerWould I recommend it?While this first volume of Demon Knights isn't brilliant, it is a good fantasy book. If we take the DC old Universe continuity out of the equation its a very enjoyable book. It has a nice plot, vibrating art, good pace and its an adventure story with romance, action and (a little) drama. If the mischaracterization of some characters isn't an issue for you and if fantasy books are your thing, then you should get this. If not then you should spend your money elsewhere. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-demon-knights-volume-1-seven.html

Carlos Bardales - La morada del Rayo y el Amaru (Galería Enlace)

Carlos Bardales - La morada del Rayo y el Amaru (Galería Enlace)

By Arion in Blog on October 19, 2012

The Living End (1992)Directed by Gregg Araki Hugo SalazarGregg Araki is a brilliant director that finds in subversive and polemic subjects a complexity and richness that would pass unnoticed for other filmmakers."The Living End" is a story that deals with death. However, unlike most movies Araki has found a balance between Freudian Eros and Thanatos. The life drive and the death drive are equally as important for Jon and Luke, the protagonists. They alternately assume different roles regarding impeding death. For Jon, at first, is denial when he confronts the fact that he has AIDS. He trusts in his doctor's words when is told that this diagnosis does not equal a death sentence. Not just yet anyway. Luke, on the other hand, has a clear self-destructive tendency; he seems to be wandering off amidst repellent streets and dangerous highways, with no goals and no real desire.They meet. They have sex. But here sex is devoid of the Freudian libido. Sex at first may be a consequence of the life drive but ultimately it's but an act of despair, it's the result of an undeniable lack of hope. And what is hope in the end? Is it an abstract concept or rather the force that prevent us from languishing in a situation in which our success is never guaranteed? I'd venture to say that hope comes down to one element: creation. And it's clear for the viewers that Jon and Luke will never be able to create a life together, their existence has already been forfeit. "Afterlife is just this pathetic notion people cling to in order to avoid confronting their own mortality" explains Jon to Luke. And according to Slavoj Zizek he is absolutely right. In "The Seven Veils of Fantasy" Zizek explains that fantasy gives structure to reality. Fantasy is what allows people to confide in the symbolic order, fantasy is also more powerful than people might expect. Fantasy is the imaginary support upon which we build everything: we don't see human bodies we only see bodies through a certain fantasy; in fact, certain neurosis consist in seeing the body as it is (a disgusting cumulus of fluids, excrement, viscera and blood), and as a result there is a complete rejection of the other, or the constantly paranoid fear that contact with others will bring forth contamination or filthiness. Fantasy also structures desire ("what am I in the eyes of the other?"). Is Luke this rude, gay-macho version of Clint Eastwood or is this irresponsible, childish guy that makes Jon laugh with his nonsense? Is Jon this well-behaved gay, a productive member of society, or is he an absolute desperate person (willing to embark upon a nearly suicidal road trip with his newly found lover) that seeks out an indefinable truth that will give meaning to his remaining days? Fantasy also allows people to understand abstract concepts. What is a nation, for example? Benedict Anderson defines nations as "imagined communities", id est, arbitrary creations upon which people agree on.Nevertheless, the most important conception of fantasy here is that which veils and hides the real. Fantasy secludes oneself from the awful truth. Fantasy nurtures mythological and theological narratives that deal with something that has frightened people since the dawn of time: death. Sometimes, fantasies that veil the horror of death are as clumsy as the nice and tidy instructions and warnings one receives in every flight concerning the possibility of an "accident" (one has but to wonder what use a fastened security belt has when most airplane crushes end up turning people into a pulp, scattered tissue, that prevents even dental records to be obtained from the wreckage), but also as influencing and historically relevant as the heaven versus hell narrative that church still proclaims to this day.What is "The Living End"? It is a glance of what happens once we withdraw from fantasy. Araki's film shows us what happens when death is no longer an abstract concern but a certainty. It demonstrates that a once life-driven Jon can lose all hope thanks to a medical diagnosis and thus embrace a death drive; it demonstrates that for all his bravado, Luke might not be the overtly self-destructive, death-seeking guy we saw in the first scenes. Life drive turns into death drive and vice versa (the extraordinary last scene condenses a powerful eroticism in contrast with an incontestable death wish). But one thing is clear: The veil has been removed and death no longer hides from mortal eyes. It's there, looking Jon and Luke right in the face. And they are looking back with a very fearless and subversive expression. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104745/reviews______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Carlos BardalesEl miércoles en la noche se inauguró la muestra “La morada del Rayo y el Amaru” de Carlos Bardales en la Galería Enlace. Hacía meses que no me asomaba a esta galería ubicada en Pardo y Aliaga; el año pasado creo que iba una vez al mes y este año simplemente dejé de ir. Fue un descuido de mi parte, sin duda, porque había olvidado lo animadas que podían ser las noches sanisidrinas (¿quién dijo que las barranquinas eran las únicas buenas?). Con influencias de la escuela cusqueña y el arte colonial, pero sobre todo con una interesante asimilación de corrientes contemporáneas, el arte de Bardales fluye ante nuestros ojos con un atractivo único y sugerente. Al trabajar con pan de oro o láminas de plata, estos cuadros de gran formato son como inmensas joyas que transmiten un mensaje estético a medio camino entre el clasicismo y el postmodernismo. Ciertamente, quedé encantado con la muestra.En el transcurso de la noche me encontré con varios amigos como Miguel Samamé, José Medina y Carmen Alegre; conversé un rato con Paolo Vigo y me disculpé por no haber ido a su muestra reciente en Sala 58. También hablé brevemente con el gran Roberto Cores, con Julio Garay y con Hugo Salazar (extraordinario artista que expuso en Enlace hace un año; como curiosidad estoy incluyendo una de sus pinturas en este post), me dio mucho gusto verlo (no habíamos coincidido en ninguna muestra desde hacía meses). my drawing / mi dibujoFinalmente, me quedé comentando la nueva temporada de The Walking Dead con mi amigo, el artista Renzo Núñez Melgar Vega, y él me relató los últimos éxitos de la Galería Enlace. Al ser artista de la galería, ‘Reve’ se enteró que hacía poco habían vendido un cuadro de Carlos Cruz Diez a 495,000 dólares. Pensar que un ciudadano limeño (quien por cierto también le había comprado antes un cuadro a mi amigo, aunque por una mínima fracción de la suma mencionada) ha podido gastar esa suma exorbitante en un solo cuadro me dio un poco de dolor de cabeza. El mercado del arte en Lima sin duda está ahora más movido de lo que estaba hace dos décadas, pero aún así, teniendo en cuenta que las obras de Szyszlo, el principal pintor peruano, fluctúan entre 80,000 y 96,000 dólares (y estoy usando como referencia los precios de la misma galería Enlace que tiene un pequeño stock de cuadros de Szyszlo) sigo sin entender cómo alguien como Cruz Diez se ha cotizado tanto (según me enteré, también vendió otros tres o cuatro cuadros ligeramente más caros que los Szyszlo a los que hago referencia). ¿Qué haría la mayoría de la gente con medio millón de dólares? Supongo que comprarse una buena casa, y luego un buen carro, y con lo que les sobre pagar la universidad de sus hijos y punto. En pocas palabras, toda una vida de gastos. Yo, por lo pronto, después de comprarme la casa obviaría el carro y todo lo demás y me dedicaría a adquirir cómics hasta el fin de mis días. ¿Y ustedes?Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/carlos-bardales-la-morada-del-rayo-y-el.html

America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch

America’s Got Powers # 3 - Jonathan Ross Bryan Hitch

By Arion in Blog on October 17, 2012

In a generation of superpowered teens, Tommy Watts had always been a zero: a boy no one would pay attention and also someone without any superpower. Things have changed, and now Tommy could be the most powerful teenager on Earth. Quickly seduced by the offers of America’s Got Powers, the world’s most successful reality show, Tommy will fight in the arena against other kids, thus betraying his former ideals.Nonetheless, Tommy ignores the secrets of the Company behind the television show. Not content with billions of dollars of revenue, these businessmen have been secretly experimenting with the teenagers powers. They have hooked them into a machine to suck the especial energy that makes them superhuman. We have already seen corporate greed and now we’re seeing what Slavoj Žižek refers to as a “consumerist paradise” (in his article “The Matrix or the Two Sides of Perversion”). First, we have the actual consumerism which translates into endless merchandising derived from America’s Got Powers; and on the other hand we have the bodies of young men and women trapped inside a machine the sucks the joy out of them. Is this starting to make sense for you?  Company labs / laboratorios de la CompañíaIn “The Matrix” humans are connected to machines to provide the necessary energy for the mega-computers that rule the Earth. Here, we have countless of underage kids being submitted to a machine that absorbs their vital energies, in narrative terms we might be seeing a simple case of prisoners being tortured and / or neutralized, but the truth is that all these elements are fundamental for the Company’s definitive perverse fantasy. Here, the teenagers are not prisoners, not even victims, they are ultimately instruments of the Other's  jouissance. While they are connected to these machines the youngsters get their life-substance sucked out of them because the Company needs to feed on their jouissance. the machineries of perversion / las maquinarias de la perversiónIn the previous chapters we had seen reality as it would appear on a television screen, but there is also a Lacanian real which is embodied by a ragtag group of superpowered teenagers that have neither respect nor love for the world’s most famous reality show. They see in Tommy their last hope. And they risk their lives to rescue the young boy from the arena.Before the battle in the arena, we also get to meet some of Tommy’s comrades. They are all young, they are all powerful, and they are all scared to death. One of the kids can’t stop vomiting; even Tommy, despite his amazing display of power, is nervous. Dressed as superheroes they are now in the arena. Will they turn into the idols of millions or will they meet a quick and brutal death? Once again, the creative team of Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch hit a homerun. Finally, I would like to mention the extraordinary artistic work of Bryan Hitch, who has some truly gorgeous double page spreads (such as the one in which we see the Company labs and the experimentations that take place there); the design of the machines that suck the boys juice (and jouissance) is outstanding; the pages with Tommy getting ready for the fight and the subsequent large panel in the arena are also top notch. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Tommy before the battle / Tommy antes de la batallaEn una generación de adolescentes con súper-poderes, Tommy Watts siempre ha sido un cero: un muchacho al que nadie prestaba atención y también alguien sin ningún poder. Las cosas han cambiado, y ahora Tommy podría ser el adolescente más poderoso de la Tierra. Rápidamente seducido por las ofertas de "Estados Unidos tiene poderes", el reality más exitoso del mundo, Tommy peleará en la arena contra otros chiquillos, traicionando así sus antiguos ideales.No obstante, Tommy ignora los secretos de la Compañía detrás del show de televisión. No contentos con billones de dólares de ganancias, estos hombres de negocio han estado experimentando en secreto con los poderes de los jóvenes. Los han conectado a una máquina para chuparles la energía especial que los hace sobrehumanos. Ya hemos visto la codicia corporativa y ahora estamos viendo lo que Slavoj Žižek denominaría el "paraíso consumista" (en su artículo "The Matrix o los dos aspectos de la perversión"). Primero, tenemos el consumismo en sí mismo que se traduce en inacabables mercancías derivadas de "Estados Unidos tiene poderes"; y, por otro lado, tenemos los cuerpos juveniles atrapados dentro de una máquina que les chupa el goce. ¿Empieza a tener sentido para ustedes?En “The Matrix” los humanos están conectados a las máquinas para proveer la energía necesaria para las mega-computadoras que dominan la Tierra. Aquí, tenemos a jovencitos menores de edad siendo sometidos a una máquina que absorbe sus energías vitales, en términos narrativos esto podría ser un simple caso de prisioneros siendo torturados y/o neutralizados, pero la verdad es que todos estos elementos son fundamentales para la fantasía perversa definitiva de la Compañía. Aquí los adolescentes no son prisioneros, ni siquiera víctimas, ellos son en última instancia los instrumentos del goce del Otro. Mientras están conectados a estas máquinas, la substancia vital de los muchachos es succionada porque la Compañía necesita alimentarse del goce de ellos. Tommy in the arena / Tommy en la arenaEn capítulos previos habíamos visto la realidad tal como aparecería en la pantalla de un televisor, pero también hay un real Lacaniano que es personificado por un heterogéneo grupo de adolescentes súper-poderosos que no tienen ni respeto ni aprecio por el mayor show del mundo. Ellos ven en Tommy a su última esperanza. Y arriesgan sus vidas para rescatar al chico de la arena.Antes de la batalla en la arena, llegamos a conocer a algunos de los camaradas de Tommy. Todos son jóvenes, todos son poderosos, y todos se mueren de miedo. Uno de los chiquillos no puede dejar de vomitar; incluso Tommy, a pesar de haber demostrado su poder, está nervioso. Vestidos como súper-héroes y de pie en la arena, ¿se convertirán en los ídolos de millones o tendrán una muerte brutal y rápida?Nuevamente, el equipo creativo de Jonathan Ross y Bryan Hitch dan en el blanco. Finalmente, me gustaría mencionar la extraordinaria labor artística de Bryan Hitch, que tiene algunas páginas dobles verdaderamente bellas (por ejemplo, esa en la que vemos los laboratorios de la Compañía y los experimentos que realizan); el diseño de las máquinas que les sacan el jugo (y el goce) a los adolescentes es tremendo; las páginas con Tommy alistándose para la pelea y la viñeta grande subsiguiente en la arena son también de primera.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/americas-got-powers-3-jonathan-ross.html

Review: Orbiter

Review: Orbiter

By Rui Esteves in Blog on October 15, 2012

Cover Look up at the sky, admire the stars and imagine what is out there.NASA's manned space program is but a memory, Mankind has seen better days. Suddenly the lost spaceship Venture returns home after 10 years in outer space. Of the original crew only captain John Cost returned but something is not right.How did the Venture survive for 10 years in outer space? Here did it travel to? HoA team of specialists is gathered to investigate the returning ship and get answers to how did the ship survive 10 years in space, where did it travel to and what happened to the crew. How good is it?Warren Ellis, the mind behind Orbiter, is a master of sci-fi comic books and this is not an exception.Orbiter is a story of a group of people trying to make sense of a situation that seems to be impossible and unexplainable and has a very personal connection with every single one of them. Ellis makes the story turn around a few earthbound persons that have different issues to resolve with the space exploration program, rather than the ship, the returning captain, aliens or any of the usual suspects. Anna Brakmen the psychiatrist that lives the space exploration experience by exploiting the astronauts that she should be helping. Michele Robeson the technician that never got the closure she needed when the shuttle program was shutdown. Terry Marx the propulsion engender that never had the chance to work on the original program.The journey these people will make is very engaging, and as in any good story, you will be glued to the book until the very last chapter when the mystery is revealed. In the end Ellis was kind enough to write in somethHave you ever watched the TV series Farscape? If so, this is story could very well be what would happen if Crichton ever return to earth speaking an alien language. The art on the Orbiter is competent enough. While it won't make you fall in love with it, its easy on the eye and good enough to communicate emotions to the reader. Colleen Doran does a great job with panel backgrounds, the shadows in the interrogation room, the stars and asteroids in the space imagery and the details of the space-shuttle images are very good. Its something about the faces that makes his art come a little bit short of awesome. Pay attention, this is rocket science. Kennedy Space CenterWould I recommend it?Warren Ellis writing usually generates polar reaction. You either love it or hate it. With that in mind, this is typical Ellis sci-fi book. If that excites you, then this is a must have. If you never read anything by Ellis this a good book to try. However if you're not a fan of his writing, then this is not the book tho change your opinion. I for one like it a lot, its in the bottom of my top 10 Warren Ellis books. Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-orbiter.html

Prelude to the Dark Phoenix Saga - Chris Claremont John Byrne

Prelude to the Dark Phoenix Saga - Chris Claremont John Byrne

By Arion in Blog on October 15, 2012

John Byrne & John Romita Jr. (covers / portadas)One of the most brilliant initiatives of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men was to include Emma Frost (The White Queen) as part of the regular X-Men cast, creating a fascinating love triangle between Scott Summers and Jean Grey. In 30 years characters should change and evolve, but it’s always interesting to observe how they were initially conceived. When Claremont and Byrne penned down “God Spare the Child” (Uncanny X-Men # 129, January 1980), they introduced a unique character: Emma Frost, White Queen of the Hellfire Club and one of Earth’s most powerful psychics. Cold, haughty, manipulative and ruthless, Emma was a formidable foe. When the X-Men return from Scotland they find Professor X waiting for them at the mansion, worried about the Phoenix Force, Xavier had decided that it was time for him to go back to Earth. Just like it used to happen on the first X-Men issues, Xavier detects two powerful mutants in his Cerebro machine, and thus he promptly sends two teams to meet these new mutants.Charles Xavier, Colossus, Storm and Wolverine head for the Chicago’s suburbs, while Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler go to New York. It is in Chicago where they first see Emma Frost, disguised as a stuck-up teacher. And it’s also in Chicago where they first meet Kitty Pride, a young 13-year-old girl who immediately feels attracted to the good looks of Colossus (coincidentally, the readers would have to wait almost 30 years to see the physical consummation of that love in Whedon and Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men).John Byrne always had a great sense of humor, and I guess it was his idea to include a most amusing scene that takes place while Storm and Kitty are talking on the Malte Shoppe. As we can see in the last panel of that page, Storm and Kitty are prominently displayed on the foreground, meanwhile, on the background we have Wolverine looking at a pornographic magazine (apparently the Hustler’s centerfold), and Colossus is behind him, absolutely shocked by the pictures of a naked model (let’s keep in mind that Colossus didn’t even know such publications existed, after all, he was raised on an isolated Russian collective farm). Of course, in the next page, nothing changes. Wolverine grabs a Penthouse and keeps looking at porn, eventually, the owner of the place tells him that he’s not running a library, and as Wolverine leaves the Penthouse next to a Playboy the Hellfire Club’s mercenaries make their entrance. Wolverine looking at a porn magazine (last frame) / Wolverine mirando una revista porno (última viñeta)Wolverine, Colossus and Storm defeat the armored men, but the White Queen subdues them with a psychic attack. After undressing them and placing them on cages designed to debilitate them, Emma Frost quickly forgets about Kitty, but it’s precisely this young lady who warns the team in New York about what’s happening. In “Dazzler” (Uncanny X-Men # 130), Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler meet Dazzler (Alison Blaire), a young woman with the ability to convert sound vibrations into light and energy beams. Even with a fraction of the Phoenix power, Jean Grey has no problems in vanquishing her opponents. However, very slowly, Jason Wyngarde has been tapping into Jean Grey’s dark side. He started doing it months ago, and now Jean is almost completely under his control. Wolverine prefers Penthouse over Playboy (frames 2 & 3) / Wolverine prefiere Penthouse en vez de Playboy (viñetas 2 & 3)In “Run For Your Life” (Uncanny X-Men # 131), Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Dazzler find Kitty Pride. Together, they rescue Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Professor X, while Jean Grey fights against the White Queen. For all her power, Emma Frost is only human, and Jean Grey has access to the Phoenix force, something that makes her even more powerful than the gods. In the end, the result can only be one, the defeat of the White Queen. However, due to Jason Wyngarde’s influence, Jean embraces her own viciousness and sadism, and as she tortures the White Queen, the readers can’t help but to feel sorry for the villainess. Finally, in a surprising act of courage, Emma Frost channels all her “remaining power into [a] telepathic psi-bolt”. Her gambit pays off as she barely manages to escape alive. Byrne’s pages are absolutely beautiful. I could stare at them for hours and never get tired. But we shouldn’t forget the work of the rest of the artistic team. As Claremont explains, “inker Terry Austin matched him [Byrne] stroke by stroke, complementing his work in a way that was perfect for this book. Same goes for Glynis [Wein], and for Tom [Orzechowski], whose skills and talents have strangely never received the recognition they have more than amply earned over the course of his career”. Indeed, John Byrne (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Glynis Wein (color) and Tom Orzechowski (letters) did a magnificent job together. It would be fair to affirm that these stories “set the standard for all that followed and defined the book for the following quarter century”. Looking at Grant Morrison’s New X-Men (2001-2004) or Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men (2004-2008), I’d say the Claremont - Byrne legacy is still very much alive.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Caged X-Men / los X-Men enjauladosUna de las más brillantes iniciativas de los "New X-Men" de Grant Morrison fue incluir a Emma Frost (White Queen) como parte del elenco regular de los X-Men, creando un fascinante triángulo amoroso entre Scott Summers y Jean Grey. En 30 años los personajes deberían cambiar y evolucionar, pero siempre es interesante observar cómo fueron concebidos inicialmente.Cuando Claremont y Byrne redactaron "Dios salve al niño" (Uncanny X-Men # 129, enero de 1980), presentaron un personaje único: Emma Frost, la Reina Blanca del Club de Fuego Infernal y una de las psíquicas más poderosas de la Tierra. Fría, arrogante, manipuladora y despiadada, Emma era una enemiga formidable. Cuando los X-Men regresan de Escocia encuentran al Profesor X esperándolos en la mansión, preocupado por la Fuerza Fénix, Xavier había decidido que era el momento de regresar a la Tierra. Tal como solía suceder en los primeros números de X-Men, Xavier detecta dos poderosos mutantes en la máquina Cerebro, y rápidamente envía a dos equipos a contactar con estos nuevos mutantes.  DazzlerCharles Xavier, Colossus, Storm y Wolverine se dirigen a los suburbios de Chicago, mientras que Cyclops, Jean Grey y Nightcrawler van a New York. Es en Chicago donde ven por primera vez a Emma Frost, disfrazada como una antipática profesora. Y es también en Chicago donde ven por primera vez a Kitty Pride, una jovencita de 13 años que inmediatamente se siente atraída por la buena apariencia de Colossus (por cierto, los lectores tendrían que esperar casi 30 años para ver la consumación física de este amor en "Astonishing X-Men" de Whedon y Cassaday). John Byrne siempre tuvo un gran sentido del humor, y supongo que fue su idea incluir una divertidísima escena que ocurre mientras Storm y Kitty están conversando en una cafetería. Como podemos ver en la última viñeta de esa página, Storm y Kitty están prominentemente en un primer plano, mientras tanto, en un segundo plano distinguimos a Wolverine ojeando una revista pornográfica (aparentemente las páginas centrales de Hustler) y, detrás de él, Colossus se escandaliza al ver las fotos de una modelo desnuda (tengamos en mente que Colossus ni siquiera sabía que existían este tipo de publicaciones, después de todo, fue criado en una aislada granja rusa). Por supuesto, en la siguiente página, nada cambia. Wolverine agarra una Penthouse y sigue mirando más porno, eventualmente, el propietario del local le dice que no están en una librería, y cuando Wolverine deja la Penthouse al lado de una Playboy, aparecen los mercenarios del Club de Fuego Infernal.Wolverine, Colossus y Storm derrotan a los hombres con armadura, pero White Queen los somete con un ataque psíquico. Luego de desvestirlos y colocarlos en jaulas especialmente diseñadas para debilitarlos, Emma Frost se olvida rápidamente de Kitty, pero es precisamente esta muchachita quien advierte al equipo de New York sobre lo que está pasando. En “Dazzler” (Uncanny X-Men # 130), Cyclops, Jean Grey y Nightcrawler conocen a Alison Blaire (alias Dazzler), una joven con la habilidad de convertir las vibraciones sonoras en luz y rayos de energía. Incluso con una fracción del poder de Fénix, Jean Grey vence a sus oponentes sin problemas. Sin embargo, muy lentamente, Jason Wyngarde ha estado fortaleciendo el lado oscuro de Jean. Empezó a hacerlo hace meses, y ahora ella está casi completamente bajo su control. Phoenix (Jean Grey) versus White Queen (Emma Frost)En "Corre por tu vida" (Uncanny X-Men # 131), Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler y Dazzler encuentran a Kitty Pride. Juntos rescatan a Wolverine, Storm, Colossus y al Profesor X, mientras que Jean Grey pelea contra White Queen. A pesar de todo su poder, Emma Frost es solamente humana, y Jean Grey tiene acceso a la fuerza Fénix, algo que la hace incluso más poderosa que los dioses. Al final, el resultado sólo puede ser uno, la derrota de White Queen. Sin embargo, a causa de la influencia de Jason Wyngarde, Jean se aferra a su lado vicioso y sádico, y al torturar a White Queen los lectores no pueden evitar compadecer a la villana. Finalmente, en un sorprendente acto de coraje, Emma Frost canaliza todo su "poder psíquico restante en un rayo telepático". Su estratagema rinde frutos y logra escapar con vida a duras penas.Las páginas de Byrne son absolutamente hermosas. Podría contemplarlas por horas sin cansarme. Pero no deberíamos olvidar el trabajo del resto del equipo artístico. Como explica Claremont, el "entintador Terry Austin se mantuvo a la par con Byrne pincelada a pincelada, complementando su trabajo de una manera que era perfecta para este título. Lo mismo va para Glynis Wein y Tom Orzechowski, cuyas habilidades y talentos extrañamente nunca han recibido el reconocimiento que han ganado ampliamente durante el curso de sus carreras". De hecho, John Byrne (lápices), Terry Austin (tintas), Glynis Wein (color) y Tom Orzechowski (rotulado) hicieron juntos un magnífico trabajo. Sería justo afirmar que estas historias "elevaron el standard de todo lo que vino después y definieron la colección para el próximo cuarto de siglo". Al mirar el "New X-Men" de Grant Morrison (2001-2004) o el "Astonishing X-Men" de Joss Whedon y John Cassaday (2004-2008), diría que el legado Claremont - Byrne continúa vivo.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/prelude-to-dark-phoenix-saga-chris.html

The X-Men vs. Proteus - Chris Claremont John Byrne

The X-Men vs. Proteus - Chris Claremont John Byrne

By Arion in Blog on October 13, 2012

Dave Cockrum / John Byrne (covers/portadas)After a terrible battle with Magneto, the X-Men were presumed dead by Jean Grey and Hank McCoy (Beast); when they share this devastating information with Professor X, Charles Xavier decides to abandon Earth, accompanying Lilandra Neramani, Shi’ar Empress, to her homeworld. Grief-stricken, Jean Grey decides to travel around the globe (and is constantly stalked by the mysterious Jason Wyngarde) while the Beast returns to the Avengers.   Nevertheless, all of the X-Men had survived, and as they step foot on Xavier’s mansion they realize the venerable building is completely empty. They think Beast and Jean have died during the conflict with Magneto, until they actually find out that’s not true. Quickly, they take the Blackbird to Scotland, although none of them suspects that “There’s Something Awful on Muir Island!” (Uncanny X-Men # 125, September 1979).In order to understand the limitations of the Phoenix force, Jean Grey has asked geneticist expert Moira McTaggert for help. Moira has one of the best genetic laboratories in the world, and it’s on this facility located on Muir Island that something weird takes place. Proteus, one of the world’s most powerful and dangerous mutants, is at large. In “How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth” (Uncanny X-Men # 126), the X-Men are finally reunited with Jean Grey, and they experiment happiness but also preoccupation, as they must find and defeat Proteus. Jean Grey, Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Storm join forces with Moira McTaggert, Banshee, Polaris, Havoc and Multiple Man. But even this extraordinary assemblage of superheroes may not be enough to stop Proteus.Even with all the action scenes, Claremont and Byrne still find the time to reveal the secret past of Moira McTaggert in “The Quality of Hatred!” (Uncanny X-Men # 127). Long before meeting Charles Xavier, Moira had a relationship with a Scottish officer, an alcoholic that had a tendency for violence. When the two of them were in New York, he savagely beats up Moira McTaggert and then rapes her. She is hospitalized and although her wounds heal, there is a much more serious repercussion: she’s pregnant. She raises her child on Muir Island, until at a tender age the boy starts manifesting an unprecedented level of power matched only by his depravity. Moira had found the way to keep him imprisoned for years but now that he’s free, he kills people without any remorse.     There is an especially intense moment that I’d like to mention. Moira knows that her son will seek out his father to kill him in the most horrendous way imaginable. Moira also hates the man who raped her, but still, she risks her life, travels to Edinburgh and warns him about the arrival of Proteus. Arrogant as ever, the man dismisses Moira’s advices, and in an outburst of rage, she takes a gun and is about to shoot him. There is something quite exquisite in this sort of human contradiction, and Claremont and Byrne knew exactly what to do to bring their characters to life. In “The Action of the Tiger” (Uncanny X-Men # 128), the X-Men have no choice but to kill Proteus in order to save Scotland’s largest city.John Byrne (penciler) and Terry Austin (inker) were the ideal artistic team back in the late 70s and early 80s. I often think that together there is nothing they couldn’t accomplish, and reading these comics now, it’s easy to notice the graphic shortcomings of many of today’s comic books. According to Claremont, Byrne’s “stellar artwork just got better and better with every issue. John could do it all: action and characterization, the most mundane of settings and the most fantastic, presenting with equal facility a couple discussing life and their potential relationship over a cup of coffee to the formal coronation of the Queen of an interstellar and decidedly non-human empire […] He established character so indelibly that the ramification of those debuts have resonances today. He can do drama, he can do humor. He did it all”. Moira McTaggert & Jean GreyObviously, I agree with Mr. Claremont 100%. I’ve often said that I turned into a serious comic book collector thanks to John Byrne’s Superman. And to this day, every time I reread these classic stories from the 70s or 80s I feel just as excited as I felt that very first time, when I realized I could never turn my back on the ninth art. These classic comics have inspired me to write and draw my own, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ the many faces of Jason Wyngarde/ los muchos rostros de Jason WyngardeDespués de una terrible batalla con Magneto, Jean Grey y Hank McCoy (Beast) asumen que los X-Men han muerto; cuando comparten esta devastadora información con el Profesor X, Charles Xavier decide abandonar la Tierra, y acompaña a Lilandra Neramani, la emperatriz Shi’ar, a su mundo. Desolada, Jean Grey decide viajar por el mundo (y es acosada con insistencia por el misterioso Jason Wyngarde) mientras Beast regresa a los Avengers.   No obstante, todos los X-Men habían sobrevivido, y apenas ponen un pie en la mansión de Xavier se dan cuenta que el venerable edificio está completamente vacío. Ellos piensan que Beast y Jean murieron durante el conflicto con Magneto, hasta que descubren que esto no es así. Rápidamente, se suben al Blackbird rumbo a Escocia, aunque ninguno de ellos sospecha que "Hay algo horrible en la isla Muir" (Uncanny X-Men # 125, setiembre de 1979). Storm versus ProteusPara entender las limitaciones de la fuerza Fénix, Jean Grey ha buscado la ayuda de la experta en genética Moira McTaggert. El laboratorio genético de Moira es uno de los mejores del mundo, y es en estas instalaciones ubicadas en la isla Muir en las que algo extraño sucede. Proteus, uno de los mutantes más poderosos y peligrosos del mundo, se ha liberado. En "Más filoso que el diente de una serpiente" (Uncanny X-Men # 126), los X-Men finalmente se reúnen con Jean Grey, y experimentan felicidad pero también preocupación al tener que encontrar y derrotar a Proteus. Jean Grey, Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler y Storm unen fuerzas con Moira McTaggert, Banshee, Polaris, Havoc y Multiple Man. Pero incluso este extraordinario ensamblaje de súper-héroes podría no ser suficiente para detener a Proteus. Jean Grey, Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Banshee, Polaris & Havoc Incluso con todas las escenas de acción, Claremont y Byrne se las arreglan para revelar secretos del pasado de Moira McTaggert en "La calidad del odio" (Uncanny X-Men # 127). Mucho antes de conocer a Charles Xavier, Moira tenía una relación con un oficial escocés, un alcohólico con tendencias violentas. Cuando los dos se encuentran en New York, él golpea salvajemente a Moira McTaggert y la viola. Ella es hospitalizada y aunque sus heridas sanan, hay una repercusión mucho más seria: está embarazada. Cría a su hijo en la isla Muir, hasta que a una tierna edad el chico empieza a manifestar un nivel de poder y de depravación sin precedentes. Moira había encontrado la manera de mantenerlo prisionero por años pero ahora que está libre, mata personas sin ningún remordimiento. Colossus versus ProteusHay un momento muy intenso que me gustaría mencionar. Moira sabe que su hijo buscará a su padre para matarlo de la manera más horrenda que pueda imaginar. Moira también odia al hombre que la violó, pero aun así, arriesga su vida, viaja a Edimburgo y le advierte sobre la llegada de Proteus. Arrogante como siempre, el hombre le hace poco caso a Moira, y en un estallido de ira, ella sujeta una pistola y está a punto de dispararle. Hay algo bastante exquisito en este tipo de contradicción humana, y Claremont y Byrne sabían exactamente qué hacer para darles vida a sus personajes. En "La acción del tigre" (Uncanny X-Men # 128), los X-Men no tienen otra opción más que darle muerte a Proteus para salvar la mayor ciudad de Escocia.John Byrne (lápices) y Terry Austin (tintas) eran el equipo artístico ideal a fines de los 70 y comienzos de los 80. A menudo pienso que juntos no había nada que no pudiesen lograr, y al leer estos cómics ahora es fácil notar los defectos gráficos de muchos de los cómics de hoy. De acuerdo con Claremont, el estelar trabajo de Byrne "continuaba mejorando número a número. John podía hacerlo todo: acción y caracterización, el escenario más mundano y el más fantástico, presentaba con igual facilidad a una pareja discutiendo sobre la vida y su potencial relación mientras tomaban café o la coronación formal de la reina de un imperio interestelar y decididamente no humano [...] Él estableció los personajes tan indeleblemente que las ramificaciones de estos debuts tiene resonancias hoy en día. Puede hacer drama, puede hacer humor. Y lo hizo todo".Obviamente, estoy 100% de acuerdo con Claremont. He afirmado con frecuencia que me convertí en un coleccionista de cómics de verdad gracias al Superman de John Byrne. Y hasta el día de hoy, cada vez que releo estas historias clásicas de los 70s y 80s, me siento tan emocionado como al principio, cuando me di cuenta que no podría darle la espalda al noveno arte. Estos cómics clásicos me han inspirado a escribir y dibujar los míos, y por ello estaré eternamente agradecido.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-x-men-vs-proteus-chris-claremont.html

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