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Ghostgrey51 (Britain)

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X-Men: The Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix
X-Men: The Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix
by Jeph Loeb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back (or Forwards) to where one of legendary themes took root, 19 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Only getting used to the X-men again in 2011 one of the many themes I kept itching to explore was the 1994 arc which gave a back-story to Cable’s earlier years in ‘a future’ (never say ‘the’ future when dealing with the X-Men).

The volume is divided into three:

Firstly the drawing of Scott and Jean 2,000 years into a future by an elder Rachel Summers to ensure the safety of Scott’s son Nathan (Cable) and engage in a downfall of Apocalypse. (And this concludes with them returning back to the past, so the whole book is not truly their adventures, but never mind)
In the second part Nathan as a young man plays his own part in the Askani’battles against Stryfe.
Finally the third which in relation to Parts 1 & 2 is a back story concerning Rachel Summer’s rise to leadership of the Askani and harnessing of a Phoenix Power.
I’ll say no more about the details of the stories as there are many twists and turns and naturally spoilers, suffice it to say they are rich in their structure and telling.
So onto what makes this such an engaging read.

The art is spectacular. Being a newcomer to Cable and his time-lines I am used to wastelands the scattered remains of cities, one of two bunkers and bleakness. Here there is a wealth of background showing a dangerous but vibrant mix of cultures, some human, some mutant, others cyborg and mixes of the whole lot. Constructions rise up in impossible patterns, vast promenades abound with panoramas of complex ancient machines; landscapes vary from deserts through to dark age countryside’s of various hues. Characters’ expressions are explicit and animated, action is set in portraits. All in richness of colour and shading. You could almost forget to read the narrative at time so captivating is the art work.

Characters come with depth. It’s interesting to see Cable as the cocky young rogue, read of the introduction of Blacquesmith as a humble outcaste. Slymm (Scott) & Redd (Jean) are tough resourceful folk. Stryfe’s development into one of the most magnificently unhinged of villains is chilling, although in recent years there has been some re-working, this version reminds me somewhat of John Hurt’s Caligula in the BBC’s ‘I Cladius’. Not all the villainous henchmen do as they are told and have their own agendas or sneaky ambitions which lends an air of suspense. Apocalypse’s lieutenant Ch’vayre’s change of heart and attempt to put a young Stryfe on a straight path is truly poignant and a worthy sub-plot. There are a number of others to read of and this makes for a full and worthwhile read.

Highly recommended for those who are recent to X-men and want to delve into the ‘history’ (which, it bear repeating is of course in the future).
Warning though, as with all histories each answer will only give rise to another couple of questions.

Lost In The Dream
Lost In The Dream
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Majestic, 19 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lost In The Dream (Audio CD)
Having come to War on Drugs through Slave Ambient and thoroughly enjoyed that I was anxious to try the next album.
Now for some quirk initially I was not as impressed; I’m putting that down to having a touch of ‘flu at the time, because these days it’s played at least once a day.

Whether it’s the fast paced uplift of Red Eyes or the haunting reflection of Lost in A Dream, this album has no filler track. There is much texture and melody within each, the music melding something of the old American laments of the 19th Century moving through the thoughtful folk and folk-rock of the 1960s and onto the challenge of Indy/Alternative of these days.

Much has been said about this already, this is only by own small contribution of affirmation for what has the qualities of being one of the top albums of 2015.

When I am ever in a sour or short-fuse mood (not uncommon), this album is played and I feel a whole lot better afterwards.

Rogue Trooper: Tales of Nu-Earth Vol. 1 (2000 Ad)
Rogue Trooper: Tales of Nu-Earth Vol. 1 (2000 Ad)
by Gerry Finley-Day
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Acquainting myself with one of the legends, 19 May 2015
Having started a hiatus from comics/graphics in 1967 and returned in 2011, there is a great deal of catching up to do. One of my friends (a mere 50 something) speaks lovingly of the 2000AD-verse and I am only just getting around to discovering it; of course there is the formidable Judge Dredd, but it’s also interesting to discover some of the others spoken of with much reverence.

This an intriguing read on several levels.
Firstly; forgive my ignorance if these stories were ever printed in colour, but I had no problem with black and white, reminding me of my childhood days of the various pocket sized ‘Commando’ style WWII books of the 1950s. This to me adds to the grim atmosphere of Nu Earth.
Secondly; The stories, starting off with just one-issue but swiftly expanding into multi-issue ones. The themes of course revolved around the horror and carnage of war layered with a gallows humour and being 2000AD style a mix of odd characters. Overall the plots might not be that deep but the constant search by Rogue for the truth behind the massacre of his comrades and the vagueness as to why there is a war make the read compulsive (‘just one more’ I said, then much later than I thought ‘Is that the time!!’
Three: Being new to this series I liked the idea of the multiple of personalities of dead comrades now residing in the equipment and the conversations that take place between the whole mix.

Of course I’m adding nothing new here for old 2000AD readers, but for those who have not read anything of Rogue Trooper, give this a try. If like me you’ve been immersed in Marvel and DC, it’s refreshing in its seeming (stress that word) simplicity of story lines. I will be seeking out Volume 2 to see what happens next.

MICRO Nail Electric Nail Polisher
MICRO Nail Electric Nail Polisher
Price: £19.20

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says, 3 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly: Passed to my wife to use.
There have been a number of worthy reviews already and apologies for repetitions.

When installing batteries make sure the device is facing upwards as the release mechanism is quite enthusiastic and if pointing down can go flying off at an unexpected speed and cover a worthy distance; this is fine on thick carpets but with harder surfaces might lead to a short duration of use.
The english instructions are easy to follow with a combination of numerically labelled diagrams.
Changing the buffing devices needs a bit of care as these are secured quite tightly to ensure the device does its work.

Reports back to me indicate that so far it does what it claims to do quite well, though as other reviewers have said the use per nail should only be restricted to 1-2 seconds (the box claims 1800 revolutions per min, so 30 per second would use up battery power).

This would be one of those reviews which might benefit from up-dates over the course of a year to get a full picture relating to wear & tear, but so far so good.

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy
Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy
by Charles Soule
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aftermaths and Aftershocks. Hard Folk Laid Bare. And a new saga starts, 16 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Consider how far, wide and deep Logan had featured in ‘616’ The Marvelverse it was to be expected that his death was not going to be something turning up as a ‘And Which Hero Dies?’ single issue, nor someone who is then packed away for a couple years with only a few mentions here and there until their traditional return.
Oh no, Logan’s death has to be worth entire story arcs rippling out magnificently in all directions.

Onto this volume.
Normally if I come across an arc where several formidable characters have been captured with seeming ease by a bunch of smirking unknowns then it is not a volume I will be buying as the word ‘Contrived’ leaps out at me.

The majesty of this volume is in the manner of its telling. Whereas it starts off with Sabretooth, X-23, Mystique, Darken and Lady Deathstrike captured the narrative moves so that each are given a separate space which revolves around the effect Logan or his death has had on their lives. This is much magic and depth in the telling. I will try and give a brief outline in the out this conveys the worth; while not giving too much of the individual plots away.

X-23: Starts off with her angry at Logan for dying, for not being invulnerable and then working through her issues through taking on a grade C-bunch. Nice cameo by Kitty Pryde remembering her early days.

Sabretooth: Magnificent ghostly artwork, a panorama of his work with Wolverine in 1990s Mogadishu infused with images of other times. Just the sort of confusion you’d imagine inhabits Sabretooth’s mind.

Lady Deathstrike: This is told in a style of homage to another warrior. Set in Japan Deathstrike venting her fury on gangsters who are daring to auction and haggle over items they have stolen from Logan’s Japanese vault. Heavy on the sense of honour and for once will have you cheering on Deathstrike (bet you’d never thought that would happen)

Darken: Set in Madripoor; Something similar to the Deathstrike tale, only in this case it as sale of remains of Logan, interspersed with Japanese ceremonies revolving around death, and Darken’s past. Something of parts being drawn together into a montage. I found it captivating. Needs very careful re-reading I reckon.

Mystique: Basically rampaging through a S.H.I.E.D location for some secrets on Logan? But interspersed with memories of an earlier episode with Logan, when the lines were more blurred. And one long tear down her face. I would have preferred seeing her more subtle, but some would say ‘this is Mystique-deal with it’, so there you go….Very thoughtful even amongst the mayhem.

Then it’s back to the business of them all being captive. This is not my favourite bit (Spolier……) There are echoes of Weapon-X and experiments on the run, and we have another secret society. It seemed a bit rushed; something to fit onto all the good work. Still to be fair it is the start of another arc The Wolverines, so let’s give it a chance to develop.

Worth it for the individual episodes alone.

Amazing X-Men Vol. 2: World War Wendigo
Amazing X-Men Vol. 2: World War Wendigo
by Kathryn Immonen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars And this week’s potential world-wide disaster is brought to you direct from Canada., 16 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Issues #7-12 of the current colourful Amazing X-men mostly revolves around another of those large-scale disasters Marvel has a current fascination with and in this case although an X-men ‘case’ manages to draw in the Avengers and since its Canada also Alpha Flight….OK more about the ‘scale’ of the event later.

The volume starts off with a quirky tale which involves mostly Firestar, Iceman, Spider Man (Peter Parker) an alien baby and a kidnapped sports team’s mascot goat. There’s lots of banter and screwball humour, which is fine, except I had the feeling I was reading one small chapter of a cross-over event and that extended beyond the narrative to the action which at parts jumps about without explanation- maybe I am missing something and should be reading the current run of Amazing Spiderman. All the same…fun.

The main tale is one involving the Wendigo, well lots of Wendigo actually and you can imagine just how much trouble that will be, particularly as one of the very otherworldly Great Beasts of Canada is intent on taking over the whole world and wiping out humanity (for a change). There’s a great deal of action and crisis driven narrative, which manages to pack in various small personal stories such as Colossus and Nightcrawler bonding again; Northstar saving a young girl and the personal dynamics of Alpha Flight.
No more about the detail of what happens to who or why….too many spoilers

Small Spoiler: The tale follows a traditional formulae: All is calamity, desperate heroics, sacrifices and seemly impossible to stop villainy, but is resolved within the final pages, so there‘s not much of the of the more entertaining see-saw dynamic we are treated to in the current ‘X-Men’ arcs.
Still it is told with verve and zest and some excellent portrayal of action the combination of which holds the reader, you just have to suspend your memory of the other dozen or so world-wide of threatening crisis you’ve read in the Marvel’s volumes these past couple of years.

Soap-Box alert: Still going on about the crisis. Now this is one of these supernatural ones. This threatens to engulf the world. Taking into account those two factors and the current dynamics of Asgard you would have thought there would be more involvement than from that area than just Thor yelling ‘Have At Thee’. In short Marvel are coming up with far too many of these global events for them to be global. It’s getting to the stage of ‘Thanos is on his way. Hmm….must be Tuesday’
Rant over….

As a stand-alone volume this is good entertainment with everyone giving it their all and if you are into all things X-Men is well worth having.

Essential X-Men Volume 1 TPB
Essential X-Men Volume 1 TPB
by Chris Claremont
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential indeed, 16 April 2015
After a brief break of 45 years I returned to comics and Marvel’s X-Men in particular and have built up a fairly reasonable collection, but there was that nagging business that when I left X-men were Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Iceman & Marvel Girl with the Professor of course; so how about the times and circumstances when those other legends Wolverine, Storm Colossus and Nightcrawler appeared?
This volume is the ideal archive. From X-men Giant Size #1 and issues #94-#119. It covers the era when Professor Xavier gathers replacements for Beast, Angel, Iceman Marvel Girl Havoc and Polaris. Into the mix are the now departed Thunderbird, Banshee and Sunfire.

We are introduced to The Savage Land, Banshee’s brother Black Tom, see the start of the Shi’ra involvement in the X-men (Yep! Gladiator was a jackass back then too) and observe. the return of The Sentinels, Juggernaut and Magneto to name but a few.
In mentioning the first too it’s noteworthy how Claremont introduced a sentient element in the Sentinels’ makeup and Juggernaut’s almost poignant loyalty to Black Tom- I can see why long-term readers make much of that era of Claremont’s work.
Then woven into the stories are interludes of the pasts of the then new characters, in particular Storm.
And if you wonder why the X-men are an argumentative and often opinionated bunch, then you can see from here how it started; what a shame Thunderbird was killed off, at times he had even more attitude that Cyclops and Wolverine combined. As for Sunfire, the fellow had arrogance down to an art form.

Of course times changes; this was the era of the inclusion of large narrative boxes on almost every panel and villains chewing scenery with much verve and style. And a time when the folk such as Scott (Cyclops), Hank (Beast) and Jean (Marvel Girl) were not as erudite or precise in their manner of speaking.

Having said that the whole volume is a joy to read and uncover the foundations of the X-men as they are these days, plenty of action and narrative and encompassing 27 separate issues; days of reading!

Being in the Essential range, then these come in ‘pulp’ back & white, so we have to use our imagination for colour; speaking as one whose introduction to American ‘comics’ back in the 1950s was based on this format, I get quite nostalgic.

Unless you have an enviable budget and infinite patience in tracking down original colour versions of these tales this volume is as it says…Essential.

All New X-Men Vol. 6: The Ultimate Adventure
All New X-Men Vol. 6: The Ultimate Adventure
by Brian Michael Bendis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All New X-men in all sorts of places, 30 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This volumes starts where One Down left off with Scott Summer (The Elder)’s team going one way and The All New X-men (minus Scott) off in search of a new mutant whose powers are just about to arise. In this case, Carmen, whose power it transpires is to open portals between other universes.

We have an inclining something powerful is happening on account of the opening pages being set in The Ulitmateverse where Tony Stark and Dr Cho are watching technology created for this purpose inexplicably fail.
The failure being caused by Carmen’s powers breaking out and scattering the team onto the aforementioned’s Earth.
Jean to New York and to initially meet up with Miles Morales/Spiderman.
Warren to the Savage Land and Jimmy Hudson.
Bobby under the earth and Mole Man’s realm.
Laura (X-23) in the middle of an American football game.
Hank into Latveria and of course Doom

Theses individual threads are woven together fairly well (although Warren, Laura and Jimmy Hudson seem to share a common secondary mutant power that have them cover vast distances in short spaces of time!....probably down to pesky portals) are naturally draw in other Ultimatevsere X-men.

Each individual has their moment before linking up into small teams and then one great big team to take down Doom and rescue Carmen who new to her powers has been hopping all over the place and the All-New Team going home.

The narration moves along in a fairly smooth way, peppered with sardonic asides, and it refreshing to have a volume in which two teams of heroes just have initial and understandable tensions instead of starting off by punching each other. The bonding of the two Jean Greys is a nice example, along with another pair of Bobby Drakes who cannot resist the urge to insult each other, while mentioning Iceman 616’s young Bobby Drake is given a fine chance to shine taking on Mole Man and his hordes.

This is a great improvement on the previous volume, although there is Doom his role is secondary to the main theme of the X-men team not just being lost in Time, but now adrift from their own world and being aided by their ‘local’ versions in finding a way back home.

The art works very well, pained expressions at isolation and puzzlement, action exploding out of the page, and panels with scenes of alternative time-lines/universes, sliding in to add the air of chaos, particularly at the end when trying to find their way home.
In the closing pages, without giving too much away, Hank’s comments on his experiences in the Ultimateverse may be giving out an indication as to where this run is leading.

Back on track and highly recommended.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2015 7:52 AM GMT

Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why
Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why
by G. Willow Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping New Jersey safe and entertaining the reader- What's not there to like?, 24 Mar. 2015
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal of this very promising series was centred on establishing the character and background of Kalama, in this later volume we see her getting into the serious business of tackling the Inventor.

The basic narrative is the traditional hero vs villain format. Blows are traded. The villain talks a lot in faux-friendly way, has a number of gadgets and minions. Although the hero gets knocked down, they keep on getting up. Woven into the question as to where and how The Inventor gets his minions from & their role in his scheme, is the topic of how Society views teenagers and how they should see themselves. This is fitted neatly into the dialogue without being too wordy.

As befits a new hero Kalama still learning about her powers, which are defined as the ability to change size of and mass of her body mixed in with a modest healing factor and this makes for some amazing imagery. In her various efforts against The Inventor she encounters both Wolverine and The Inhumans, and the narrative ties in neatly with the their own then current story arcs, Wolverine being without his healing powers and the Inhumans coming to grips with the increase in their own numbers; Wolverine of course is gruff loveable uncle Wolverine giving Kalama the benefit of his experience in particular of having to do serious harm (a very large aggressive croc) and Medusa is more friendly and less imperious than usual passing on to Kalama some insight into being an Inhuman; and talking of members of the Inhuman society and narratives...
What always works? Independent teenage girl plus large, loveable dog of course! Yes Lockjaw turns up to assist Kalama and a great team they make. In addition Bruno the sensible, hardworking friend is now fully incorporated as a source of help and comfort in Kalama's dual roles.

One of the greatly enjoyable features of Ms Marvel is the art and the use of little additions. There is indeed a cartoon style, cartoon in the great tradition of exaggeration for effect both in the telling of the tale and to lighten its overall effect
Panels are sprinkled with little funny and sometimes wacky additions, which themselves are worth looking for. Just a few examples:
Inventor's robot attacks Kalama' high school. In the ruins on an upper floor with his desk teetering on the edge is a class-slacker head back and still fast asleep.
Lockjaw turns up, in the background a girl looks at him, hands clasped in delight while little hearts float about her.
A cop eating a takeaway while watching Ms Marvel battle.
In The Inventor's hideout a picture of a cockatiel with `Mom' written underneath.
In the rubble of the school various hands and legs are shown very much upright and one hand raised in a V-Victory gesture- a nod to the old custom of `No one gets badly hurt here folks'

Ms Marvel then is forging its own niche of mixing the light, the comic, the adventure and a good story line. This series is working at all levels and deserves a long, long run.

Recommended for those who might feel like a break from some of the more heavier of Marvel's recent offerings. Most certainly suitable for younger readers-nothing to worry about here parents and Kalama is an exemplary role model (except when she sneaks out of her room at night, but she is a super-hero, so you have to make allowances). If you have read and enjoyed Volume 1 you will not be disappointed.

Copperhead Volume 1: A New Sheriff in Town (Copperhead Tp)
Copperhead Volume 1: A New Sheriff in Town (Copperhead Tp)
by Jay Faerber
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect blend of Western and SF, 24 Mar. 2015
Review based on reading individual issues #1-5
Jay Faerber wrote Copperhead as a Western in a SF environment; think of Joss Whedon’s Firefly
Set in the 24th Century. Humanity has conducted a war in which it has established hegemony over other races although the details are sketchy we are told this was made possible by the use of an Android Army, chiselled features and hairless now mostly shunned and known as ‘arties’
Against this backdrop is introduced Sheriff Clara Bronson she is a single mother, has a troubled professional past and is looking to make a new start on the backwater planet of Jasper in the remote dusty mining town of Copperhead.
Now sooner has she arrived with her son Zeke than she has to deal with a serious domestic disturbance, this settled the same family suffer a mass murder which forms the basis for the arc.

From here on in the themes common to Westerns come into the story with an ease that is a delight to see. Clara is a tough-minded and straight talking woman; her young son Zeke is bright, fearless and asks awkward questions; her deputy a large bear-like being is quietly resentful of being passed over for the job, but still does his duty; the owner of the mine (and possibly town) is a shady over-weight fellow in an all-white suite (of course!), all the townsfolk (and there are enough varieties to suit a Star Wars film) share a western way of speaking; an artie named Ishmael (always a good name for an outsider) lives in the Badlands and is definitely in the Man With No Name Mould and we have a seedy town doctor who is also the town drunk. It’s joy to each type appear and yet still framed with little touches which make them individuals and not just out of Cliché Central.
For those coming to Westerns from a SF background we have the Natives who live in The Badlands; they look like a cross between the bugs from Starship Trooper and ‘The’ Aliens and have temperaments to match; although there is a reference to them having a culture it seems to involve killing people when they get the chance.

The questions over who carried out the murders and why are answered smoothly enough with tragic and poignant touches to add a feeling of reality.

And with the story must be mentioned the art which embraces the atmosphere of a grim harsh landscape and people who are not really here by choice but have drifted or driven in by circumstance. The outlines are stark, the colouring pale, faces look out with little in the way of joy. There are good action filled panels but it’s the panels with solemn, thoughtful or anguished faces which convey the depth, the family around which the crime revolves are large ugly two legged, four-armed one eyed creatures and yet the pain and suffering of the matriarch Missus Sewell is shown plain for all to see lending her at times a great dignity. In this manner each character is brought out for the reader to see and understand.

Thankfully Clara is no beauty with accentuated curves her features are very angular without being ludicrous given us a picture of a woman who has seen much trouble, but is trying to do her best to do her duty, although to add another layer she is not a paragon of virtue, compassion or tolerance, making her all the more believable. The sort of sheriff you would like to have around, but not one to be crossed or fooled with.

Although the issue of the murder is resolved groundwork is set for further stories, and I was relieved to find the stories of Copperfield are still set to run.

Highly recommended

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