Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Factor X Issue #1 (Age of Apocalypse Part 4)

FACTOR X ISSUE 1





Written by John Francis Moore.
Art by Steve Epting.
Inks Al Milgrom.
Colors by Glynis Oliver.

 
During the Age of Apocalypse alternate timeline  the X-factor title became the Factor-X. In the Original Timeline X-factor was a Government sanctioned Mutant team that helped police Mutants deemed as Terrorists. Now that the world has been turned upside down with Apocalypse ruling the world this team of Mutants are policing Mutants and humans alike for the despot leader Apocalypse. The team answers to Mr. Sinister one of Apocalypse’s right hand men, and Sinister has his own agenda in this world so the intrigue builds with each issue.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Amazing X-men #1 (Age of Apocalypse Part 3)

The Amazing X-men Issue 1



Written by Fabian Nicieza Art by Andy Kubert and Inks by Matt Ryan


 

During the Age of Apocalypse alternate timeline the X-men title became the Amazing X-men. This book continued the story established in X-men Alpha.
 

In the time after Xavier’s death a team of x-men are formed by Magneto to help spread the teaching of Charles Xavier and his hope for coexistence.  The team is comprised of  Quicksilver, Ice-man, Storm, Banshee, dazzler, and Exodus. 
 

The story starts off with a prologue of our new status quo as humans are now fodder, slaves, and a workforce for the Mutants in control of America. We see that mutants under Apocalypse’s new regime continuously spy on the humans. 
 

We then cut to the former Xavier institute where we see Bishop standing on the dock trying to remember his real time line as a Sentinel falls out the sky. Though not destroyed the giant robot gets up to take on the Amazing X-men.

 



 

Which leads into the first plot of the book. The evacuation of humans from America to the last bastion of hope for all humans the Eurasia continent.  We learn that the X-men have been asked to  help with the evacuation and that the giant robots are in fact the humans line of evil mutants and that they can’t be programmed to establish friend from foe in the mutant camps.


 

Plot B is introduced early on about Bishop trying to remember the correct timeline and what he must do to get back what once was.


 This overall story is rather enjoyable to read. Complete with a prologue that leads into the initial hook of the book. What will happen to the humans?

We are launched into the Amazing X-men team.

 

Each member is similar to their original counterpart only more exaggerated. Ice man has a better grasp of his powers as he can change his proportions as well as stretch his body with ice. Quicksilver pushes himself to being the perfect leader in the hopes to win his father's approval.


 The art by Andy Kubert has that great X-men feel. His work is well detailed with the characters and the foreground. His style is definitely one that I enjoy seeing on the x-titles. He gives the characters definition and  style. Not over exaggerated  with body types.  

There are so many great action panels as well as quiet moments in the book that help move the story along.

This book is a 8 out of 10. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Astonishing X-men #1 (Age of Apocalypse Part 2)

Astonishing X-MEN #1 (Age of Apocalypse Part 2a)



Written by Scott Lobdell. 
Art by Joe Madureira. 
Inks Dan Green and Tim Townsend. 
Colors by Steve Buccellato.


During the Age of Apocalypse alternate timeline,  Uncanny X-men title became the Astonishing X-men. This book continued the story established in X-men Alpha.


We open with Magneto facing his X-men in a mission briefing at his base of operations in the “dead zone” that used to be Westchester county New York.  His Astonishing x-men are introduced as Quicksilver, Ice-man, Sabretooth, Morph, Storm, Banshee, and Nightcrawler. Some of these characters were introduced in the Amazing X-men at the same time so some overlap is seen with these two teams.  Magneto contemplates the information he received in X-men Alpha.  As Magneto is about to discuss with the X-men about a mission to reset the universe, a transportal opens, and the X-man “Blink” literally falls out of the sky.




She explains that Sunfire and her were in a firefight with a group of Apocalypse’s enforcers called infinites and had to portal directly in. As and injured Sunfire is being taken care of; a Prelate which is an enforcer for apocalypse, attempts to crossover using Blinks portal.  After a brief schrimidge, the portal is slammed shut on the evil mutant and the X-mens secret base is secret once again.


Sunfire reports to Magneto that the cullings that took place in Seattle that was the opening for X-men alpha was only the being and that more Cullings are taking place across America by Apocalypse’s son Holocaust.




We then cut away to the ruins of Manhattan and we see Apocalypse and how truly nasty he is. As he sits above the pyre of hundreds of thousand human bones.  Where a follower by the name of Rex reports that they are close to pinpointing the X-mens base of operations, thanks to the actions of Blink and her transportal. Apocalypse just smiles as whatever plans he has begin to unfold.

Meanwhile, back at the former mansion of one now dead Charles Xavier. We see Rouge address Sunfire about the information that he found. Which pretty much establishes the main plot for the book, “stopping apocalypse from killing all the humans”.  Gambit makes an appearance again and we see that he still has feelings for Rogue, even though she is married to Magneto. The Suave cajun attempts to make a move on her but is interrupted by the character Blink carrying Charles, Rogue’s son.  In the conversation with Rogue, we learn of another mission that Gambit will be going on and we will later see in his book.

The story then transitions to Magneto walking through the halls of the mansion contemplating his old friend Charles Xavier, when he is interrupted by Nightcrawler. They again have a conversation. So for the count we have had only  one action seen in the beginning of the book and like five conversations to establish the storyline and the character building.  This issue is definitely exposition heavy.  Here in this conversation we learn that Nightcrawler has his own mission, which will be in his own book and that he is under the belief that it is Apocalypse’s doing to separate the X-men so that he can accomplish some grand scheme to eliminate the X-men entirely. Is it true? Only time will tell.

Then we move to another part of the mansion where we see this book's team of X-men getting ready to leave for their mission to stop Apocalypse’s culling of the humans across America. Where we see more interaction with the characters and how their personalities work together.  The X-men then fly off into the next issue.

This issue is definitely the second part in the overall storyline. We get more character establishment, we get to see where the individual books branch off by the different writers. 

 I like this issue as a starting point, but it is clearly missing some action as we get more establishing story and exposition on how the world is built. I am looking forward to the next issue as being more pow, biff, bang in the action.  

The art style is Joe Madureira and to me he is one of the few 90’s artist’s that I think of when I think X-men.  His style is angular, and lots of character detail, his use of shadow’s and facial expressions really help move the story forward.  


My overall score is a 7 out of 10, sort of middling as there is more exposition than action to drive the story.  Perhaps if there was more flashback scenes drawn showing the destruction of north america than the characters mentioning it then I would give it a higher score.




X-MEN ALPHA (AGE OF APOCALYPSE PART 1)

X-men alpha - one shot

 


Written by Scott Lobdell, script by Mark Waid
Art by Roger Cruz w/Steve Epting
Inks by Tim Townsend w/Dan Panosian
Editor is Bob Harras
Editor in Chief is Tom Defalco
The age of Apocalypse, a time of great despair for anyone not born a mutant.  In an alternate timeline created by the death of Charles Xavier by a time traveling mutant known as Legion and who is also the son of Charles Xavier and Moira McTaggerate. Mutants are the people in power led by the great En Sabah Nur or also known as Apocalypse.




X-men Alpha introduces us to the new norm, a dystopian present where humans are killed on site by a police force called the Infinities. We are introduced to this world by a masked stranger who is on a mission in Seattle. The masked stranger runs into a human girl who is being chased by the police force lead by a more wicked version of Unus the untouchable.  We learn that the masked stranger is a mutant as well but seeks to have peace between humans and mutants.  After fighting with the group, he is saved by a group of mutants familiar to us in another timeline. The Amazing X-men.
 
 
A team lead by Magneto,who has taken the Charles Xavier role. They quickly dispatch the enforcers that where persecuting the small child and the masked stranger. As Sabretooth is questioning the masked stranger, his face is revealed to be Bishop from our timeline. After a small confrontation with Magneto, Bishop passes out and the x-men grab him and brings him with them.
 
All of this occurs to set up the world for the coming of the comic series.
The book then continues to show us other Mutants within this new timeline. A version of the beast that is darker than our love able blue genius. He, Cyclops, and Havok work for Mr. Sinister in a warped and twisted x-factor.
The story begins to set up other members of the classic x-teams in the world of the age of apocalypse.


Along setting up the characters it continues the storyline of Bishop and the overall story of taking down Apocalypse as his main goal and resetting the present to what he knows and loves.  


The art for this book is done in the classic 90's style. The cover is done by Joe Madureira, who's style is clean lines square and angular jaws. Characters are clearly defined the style is very action orientated with the characters running into the foreground and ready for action.
The interiors are just as impressive Roger Cruz and Steve Epting convey that this is a broken down world in just the first few pages the characters a clearly defined. The art is similar to the feel of the cover. The storyline works well with the art style, there is a clear direction to the layout and the transitions are smooth from location to location and from page to page.  


All in all this is a great start to an event. We have questions asked, characters revealed, and protagonist established. Which makes one look forward to the next chapter in the story.
Now the direction of the event is rather clever. All the x-titles at the time had a face lift and changed the titles for the main books. So instead of four issues of Uncanny X-men; we get the Amazing x-men. Those giving us a different world feel to the entire story.  
**** Personal note, why can't Marvel do something like this now. Instead of renumbering, just release a special set of books the resume the numbering after the event.  ****
 
This particular issue gets a 9 out of 10.





BIB : The Lid is off, the back issue bin

The first issue of the BACK ISSUE BIN. A BLOG site that reviews Comics from the past. Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Modern age. All time periods will be covered and all publishers are open to review. 

IF you love comics, and want to be reminded of times gone by this is your place.


 
 
 
 
 

Over the next few weeks I'll be reviewing the now Classic Age of Apocalypse Crossover event From Marvel Comics in 1996.  Here is the breakdown of the comics.

  • X-MEN ALPHA
  • ASTONISHING X-MEN
  • AMAZING X-MEN
  • GAMBIT AND THE X-TERNALS
  • FACTOR-X
  • EXCALIBRE
  • WEAPON-X
  • X-MEN OMEGA
 
 
 
THE WORLD OF APOCALYPSE