The LIST – Course Catalog for Xavier’s

Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is the premier place for a young mutant to learn how to used his or her gifts. The courses are designed specifically to cater to the special needs of it’s student population.

Grooming 101 – It’s a special time in a youngster’s life when he or she discovers hair/ feathers/ scales/ bony protuberances growing in new places. This course is designed to teach young mutants how to properly manage this new growth. Topics include: Flea Bath or Sheep dip? Which is best for me?, Molting and Shedding, Man-scaping, and Do I Still need Clothes? Instructor: TBA

Resurrection 740 – An upper level seminar for 6th year students. This course is designed to address special concerns about coming back from the dead. Because of the sensitive and controversial subject matter, parental permission is required. Controlling Zombie Rage, Dealing with Doppelgangers, and Suspended Animation, Somewhat Dead, Mostly Dead and All Dead Where do I stand Legally? are among the seminars presented by Ms. Grey and Mr. Rasputin

Elemental Powers and You 380 – The third in a series of courses intended to assist students with power over fire, water (ice), weather, and earth. By the end of this course, students should be able to demonstrate basics of natural disasters and natural disaster abatement.

Healing 215 – I have a healing factor…Now where do I go???  Learn
what you can and can’t bounce back from, what will kill you, and what
will just piss you off.  Prof. Logan’s course will include guest
lectures by any mutant that’s shown up in the past 20 years.

Advanced Energy Projection 550 – Regardless of how energy leaves your
body, this class will teach you how to manage it.  If hands are your
thing, you’ll learn closed-fist vs finger-pointing methods.  If you
have an embarrassing orifice issue, you’ll learn how to re-route to a
more “acceptable” location.  Learn when a fraction of an inch is too
much or just enough!  Visors and containment suits are strongly
recommended but not required.


Blackbird Maintenance 410 – Learn the ins and outs of keeping your
plane in the air.  Topics include “rebuilding after explosions,”
“psychic shields and heat tiles,” “Stowaways?  Put ’em on the team!,”
and “preventative tire maintenance”.  Required for 4th-year students.
Pre-requisite for pilot courses.  Additional Quinjet credits can be
earned.

Monitor Duty 100 – This course is a requisite for all students entering the school. It will offer methods and tips on how best to use sophisticated computers and media-feeds to monitor global situations. In addition, students will become familiar with mutant and superhuman issues across the globe. This can count as a careers course for those with non-combative (read: useless) powers. Professor Ramsey can also offer counseling for students on off-planet careers as an extra-curricular activity.

Welcome to the X-Men 101 – Incoming students are required to take this
course as an orientation to life at Xavier’s. Procedures and protocol
are covered to aid the new student in a smooth transition into the
school. New students must also enroll in the weekly 2 hour lab: Hope
You Survive the Experience 102.

Team-Ups 510 – You meet, you fight, then…you team up!  Learn what to
do, what not to do, and how to keep your feelings from being hurt when
friend thinks you’re a foe.  Required for Crossovers 520.

Crossovers 520 – You’ve mastered the team-up?  Now what?  Join Prof.
McCoy as he takes you through the ins and outs of crossovers.  Whether
it’s with another team or another you, you’ll learn how to take care
of business and still make it home for 4th period.  Pre-Requisite:
Team-Ups 510.  Inter-Universe/Dimension thesis option available for
additional credit.

Quips 110 – Learn how to use humor to mask feelings of anxiety and
insecurity.  1/2 credit only

Game Tape: short-shorts

There’s not much new to talk about this week. I’ll be brief on the books that sound like I’m repeating myself.

Robinson’s Justice League of America is disjointed and unsure whether it wants to be a JSA or a JLA book. The pacing of the story is off here again too. Character wise, the team still isn’t a team; too many people acting as lone agents. So we’re still waiting for people and things to gel.

A couple of years ago in Charlotte, I got to talk to Jeff Parker, and we had a conversation about the Agents of Atlas characters appearing in an issue of What If…?. We specifically talked about 3-D Man/ Triathlete and his status as a retcon. So basically, “I’m a PC and Atlas #1 was my idea.” It’s a swell start with a good mystery going for it despite having a lack of Atlas members. The issue focuses on the current 3-D Man tracking our kookie gang. Woo and company play a secondary role. The back-up material is good too. The 2nd feature has some nice overtones of “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” And we’ll leave it at that.

On a whim, I picked up Avengers #1. It sets a more positive tone than we’ve seen in the Marvel Universe. It builds directly off of the events in Siege #4. Fences are being mended and people are figuring out their purpose in the world. Before Siege, I probably hadn’t picked up a Bendis book since Powers went on hiatus over at Image. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the sharpness of the story-telling. Will I pick up more of the series? We’ll see. From previews, I’m much more interested in Brubaker’s Secret Avengers. And since when did Spider-Man get such a potty mouth? Damns and $#*&!’s all over the place.

On a side note, it’s early in the game, but this company wide theme of “The Heroic Age” might live up to it’s name more so than any bright days that we’ve been promised.

This week’s GI Joe was a fun read. Muppet Snow White was solid too, but I’m not sold on this particular artist. It’s too cartoony.


Booster Gold — SECRETS!

Before I was part of the "Blue and Gold" team, I was on the "Red and Gold" team. Yup! Me and Ma Hunkle!

Secrets…

You know what's great about living in the past? The fresh, minty smells of the New York subways!

Secrets…

I found Gorilla City once, but when I knocked on the door they pretended they weren't home.

Secrets!

Rip Hunter makes me sleep curled up in a ball under the chair in his time bubble. Like a DOG!

Secrets!

Most people think I'm an unintelligent pinhead, but I'm really an unintelligent pinhead with a heart of gold. Take THAT!

SECRETS!!!

The New Writeness

Matt wrote a great piece on Superman last Tuesday, and how nobody gets what makes him great any more. I agree with almost all of it, but I do think there are a few writers out there who could get him right. Despite a lot of wailing and whining about dull books that shouldn’t be (I’m looking at you, Judd Winick), there are some really talented writers creating some of the most original books on the stands right now…And they’re doing it with superheroes and for the Big 2.  If Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, and James Robinson represent the last generation of great comic writers, here’s the new generation of folks taking comics in their best direction.

  • Jeff ParkerAnyone who’s spent even a few minutes here knows that some days are just odes to Jeff Parker, but there’s a good reason for that.  More than anyone else, Parker is making comics FUN again.  Sure, there’s a time and place for angst and darkness, but comics don’t have to be JUST that.
Places to Start: Agents of Atlas, hands-down the best comic book on the stands right now.
  • Jonathan Hickman From critically-plauded Secret Warriors to the incredible new S.H.I.E.L.D. series, Hickman knows how to take a Big Idea and infuse it with personality.  Even his Dark Reign FF mini-series had heart and personality in what would have otherwise been a typical romp into the Negative Zone.  He gets the most credit here for making Franklin and Valeria actually interesting.

Places to Start: Fantastic Four, where Hickman turned the traditionally-boring First Family of Marvel back into the madcap adventurers they are.

  • Jason Aaron I was surprised as anyone else to find out exactly how good Ghost Rider could be when I read his run on the title last year. Aaron focuses on the darker side of the Marvel U and applies a grindhouse sensibility that works remarkably well.  His book for Vertigo, Scalped, is supposed to be incredible, and is at the top of my list to check out next.

Places to Start: Ghost Rider or Wolverine: Weapon X.  His second arc, with Wolverine in an asylum, was one of the scariest things I’ve ever read.

  • Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak Both of these gentlemen write fantastic books on their own, but their coming together on Incredible Hercules created a two-headed, four-armed monster that writes some of the best (and funniest) action scenes in comics.
Places to Start: The Incredible Hercules, featuring the strongest man alive and his sidekick Amadeus Cho, the 7-th smartest person in the world.
What makes these guys stand out so much?  It definitely starts with the Big Idea.  Whether it’s assembling a new pantheon to the kill Skrull gods or revealing there’s a Ghost Rider out there on a shark, there’s always a new idea that’s FUN, rather than “Batman fights everyone in the Rogue’s Gallery because I want to use them and then he meets up with Superman but they’re friends now”.

It used to be that on a good day, out of smart, funny, and action-packed you might get two out three, but not any more.  And comics is all the better for it.  I just wish I could figure out why these guys are almost exclusively working for Marvel right now and not, say, writing Superman.

Am I missing anyone?  Am I an idiot for not mentioning Rick Remender?  Or Andy Diggle?  Chastise my lack of vision in the comments section…

This Week’s Comics

No intro this week, folks.  Let’s hit the ground running.

  • ATLAS #1 – With its $4 price tag, I hope this isn’t the end of my run with Agents of Atlas, but I do hope they add some extra material to justify the higher price tag.
  • EX MACHINA #49 – This book had been lagging somewhat, but as we continue to make our way to the end (now #50, I believe) it’s picking up steam again.
  • HAUNT #7 – I picked up #6 because I was curious how Greg Capullo would do on the book, but I felt pretty let down.  I’m officially off the bandwagon.
  • JOE THE BARBARIAN #5 – It’s taken me a while to just track down the first 4 issues, but Grant Morrison’s story of a boy flitting between two worlds has been incredible.  Sean Murphy’s art has been amazing, making this a book definitely worth checking out.
  • ZATANNA #1 – It’s because I like Paul Dini, not just because of the girl in a corset and  fishnets.  Sheesh.

In the review arena, I’ve picked up a huge stack of deep-discounted Dark Reign books that I’m slowly making my way through.  Some are hits (The Hood, Hawkeye), some are misses (Young Avengers, Sinister
Spider-Man), but the one that took me completely by surprise was Zodiac, a character I’d never heard of before.  Taking his name (among other things) from the original Zodiac group, he assembles a group of z-list villains and sets about making things difficult for Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R., not wanting to be neutered into being a government-sponsored villain.  It works out very well, with a surprisingly intricate story by Joe Casey and art by Nathan Fox that reminds me of Paul Pope.  The way Zodiac reveals his true plan was fairly forced, but that’s a minor complaint considering how impressed I was by a book I went into with low expectations.

I hadn’t planned on saying anything about Iron Man 2, since anything that could be said almost certainly has been already, but I caught it last night and enjoyed it a lot.  Like everyone else, I didn’t think it was a good as the first, in that it is the standard “continuation of the hero’s journey,” but it was a fun ride  featuring several suits of armor pounding on each other, which is pretty much what you’d want/expect. My only quibbles are Sam Rockwell’s hackneyed Justin Hammer, and the Stark birthday party that  reminded me a little too much of “Dancin’ Peter Parker.”  It’s a strong sequel, though, and it’s great to see the Avengers starting to come together a little bit more.  Don’t forget to stay to the end of the credits.

That’s it for me.  What are YOU looking at?

Your Fuzzy Little Super-List!

Sure, Super-dog is a Super-man’s best friend, but not everyone gets a Krypto (or even a Beppo the Super-Monkey).  And everyone needs a sidekick, even if just a furry one.  Superpets are a Super-Person’s best friend.  Here are some of the ones you don’t often hear about.

  • Supergirl’s pet vole, Diggy the Super-Vole

  • Power Girl’s twin pets, El Efty and Mr. Wright

  • Wonder Woman’s Manx Cat, Suffering Sappho

  • Wolverine’s kitten Felicity

  • Barry Allen’s pet turtle, who was also involved in the freak accident that transformed him into The Flash

  • Badrock’s pet rock, Dolomite

  • Dr. Octopus’s pet squid, Octy

  • Scott Summer’s clownfish, Jeffie

  • Spawn’s schnoodle, Vickie

  • Herbie Popnecker’s pot-bellied elephant and monkey with 4 asses

  • Jeph Loeb’s pet Rob called Rob Liefeld

  • Dr. Doom’s dwarf rabbit, RICHARDS!!!

  • Iron-Man’s pet bottle of Winston Supreme Canadian Whiskey, called Eric


Game Tape

The euphoria of Wednesday books has worn off; now it’s time to review the game tape and see what worked and what didn’t.

Because I love time travel stories and Grant Morrison writing Batman, I picked up Return of Bruce Wayne #1. It’s Caveman Batman. If you’re expecting more than that, if you’re wanting a deep paradigm changing story, let me remind you that it’s CAVEMAN BATMAN. There are cavemen. There’s fighting. There’s Bruce Wayne putting on the hide of a giant bat. If none of these ideas appeal to you, don’t bother picking up the book. You’re going to be sorely disappointed because you’re expecting too much.

I also picked up Transformers: Ironhide #1. I’m biased on this one. Ironhide’s one of my top five favorite Autobots. Some get a little teary when Prime dies in the original Transformers: the Movie; I tear up when Megatron decapitates Ironhide on the Autobot shuttle. So any chance to see the coolest mini-van ever in action is a chance I’m going to take. The book is the start of a mini that focuses on the war on Cybertron. Optimus is new to the game, and Ironhide’s his body guard. In addition, this looks to be a sort of resurrection story in the present. We’re left hanging until next issue for more clues. The art here is also more friendly to those who don’t care for the new style in the on-going. No weird skeleton faces and exposed wiring here. If you like stories about the old Cybertronian days, this is shaping up to be something for you.

Volume 1 of X-Men Forever comes to an end this week with issue #23. The Consortium is finally dealt with, but there are still loose ends. ‘Ro for one. Wolverine is still dead too. There’s a battle in space with sentinels that has parallels to issues 99 – 103 of the original X-Men series from 1976. There are a couple of sacrifices too. We also get a preview of volume 2. I think I’m going to take a pass on this. Looks like it’s going to be Shi’ar heavy. Nothing in the X-Universe is more boring to me than the Shi’ar. It’ll have to pass the flip test for me to pick it up.

If you’re a fan of Bwa-ha-ha, I highly recommend Booster Gold #32 this week. Giffen and DeMatteis take over the book from Jurgens. It’s got that manic feel that they’ve cornered the market on. Fast action mingled with poignant moments and silly potty humor. The arts good too without being Kevin Maguire.

On this happy note, I leave you for another week.