War of Kings is a blog dedicated to my favourite comic books, books, games and movies.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

From the Front - Late for November

This is probably my last 'From the Front' post, because it looks like I'll only be buying trades from now on, and trades are reviewed in 'From the Trenches'. You may be asking yourself what I am doing writing reviews on Christmas Day. I shall explain. My great-grandparents were Danish, and the Danish tradition was that you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. I have no idea if that’s what they actually do in Denmark these days, but that’s how our family does it. So we had all the eating and carolling and opening presents last night, and this morning we went to church, so there isn't really much to do on Christmas day except read our presents (because most of the presents we get seem to be ones that you read). I've been reading the Fantastic Four pocketbook I got. It has the first appearance of the Black Panther and Claw, some weirdness with Prestor John, Johnny Storm and Crystal pining after each other, and a storyline in which Dr Doom steals the Silver Surfer's powers and rides around on his surfboard. Yes, that was in the movie. But the FF pocketbooks are hard to read all in one go, so I'm taking a break. Spoilers abound.

X-Men: Pixies and Demons - Director's Cut
Which is a fancy way of saying 'We're re-publishing the FCBD story, but we need a way to justify it, so it gets a cardstock cover and the script added onto the end'. How can a comic book be a director's cut you ask? Comics don't have directors! Well, the name is justified because the script has directions from the writer to the artist as to haw the page should look. The story itself was ok, and could have easily been put in one of the Divided We Stand anthologies. Like some of those stories, it shows us what happened to one of the kids that got stuck out in the cold when Cyclops closed Xavier's. The kid being, of course, Megan Gwyn or Pixie. She went back to her small hometown in Wales, a town which is, according to all the other children there, very boring. Megan starts to suspect that something is very wrong when people start disappearing, but no one believes her - they think the people have just got fed up an left town. But then Pixie starts seeing demons that no one else can, demons called the N'Gari. I'm sure it would make a whole lot more sense to me if I had read any other stories involving these beings, but I'm not sure where to look for them. As far as I can tell, these beings feed on death. A mining accident which left a whole lot of people dead, including Megan's father, was what allowed them to appear in the town. Now they are abducting people to feed their leader, who is partially manifested at the scene of the mining accident. Poor Pixie is attempting to fight them all by her lonesome, with no idea whether any of her messages have got through to the X-Men. It is a bit too much like the other DWS stories, in that it shows us important things happening to an important character, yet it doesn't do it very well. Yes, Megan is important now. She's a main character in Uncanny. And this is how she got to be there. But there is only one moment that really shines - in the middles of a heated underground battle with the N'Gari, Pixie collapses the mine and teleports all the X-Men out, leaving them all standing around in heroic battle poses with nothing to fight. Nightcrawler is astounded by Pixie's teleportation abilities, and says she makes him feel old, which I assume has something to do with him quitting the X-Men next year. The script at the back is interesting, but it doesn't add anything new to the story.
Verdict: Minor Loss.

X-Factor #37
Yay, the X-Factor I know and love is back! Lots of harsh lighting and shadows, verbal sparring, real sparring, detective work, and evil dupes of Jamie doing nasty things. I hate saying it, but Longshot is proving a pretty good replacement for Layla, with his luck powers giving the team the same sort of edge (or X-Factor if you will) that Layla's precog powers did. And he's a lot less creepy than her. Oh, and now we have a new artist, he actually looks like Longshot, and when M gets luvy duvy with him, it actually makes sense. Anyway, whilst Val Cooper tries to convince Siryn and Rictor that she's only there to protect the baby, Madrox, Guido, M and Longshot arrive at the base of Mr. Manu looking for Darwin. I don't have the last issue, so I'm not entirely sure how found out who Mr Manu was (I'm guessing Longshot's object-memory power) but they manage to find Darwin. A whole lot of him actually. Either Manu has cloned him, or he's managed to give a whole lot of his lackeys adaptation powers. That would have been a pretty good cliffhanger, but the actual cliffhanger is Siryn's water breaking. There isn't a huge amount of storyline taking place here, but sometimes slowing down is good, especially after that sudden timeskip a few issues back. I've felt a bit disconnected from the characters since the timeskip, but this issue seems to give a glimpse at what each of the characters are thinking, and thus I feel a lot more connected to where the characters are. And - is it just me, or does Mr Manu's chin look a bit bumpy?
Verdict: Major Victory!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

War Effort: Picking Up the Pieces

The e-mail I got a while back announcing the closing of Kick Ass Komix also said to pick up all call orders before Saturday the 20th of December. It was my little sister's 21st party on the 19th however, so I phoned up Rudi and asked if I could pick my comics up on the 21st (the date, not the birthday party). Which is today. Also, to confuse matters, it is my sister's actual birthday today. She loves the hardcover copy of Marevl Illustrated: Treasure Island I got for her.

So anyway I went to pick up what is in all likelihood my last lot of comics from KA Komix, getting X-Men: Pixies and Demons (a reprint of the FCBD comic, and incidentally my first comic with a cardstock cover), X-Factor #37 and Guardians #7. I'll try post up reviews of them tomorrow or Tuesday. I also picked up X-Men: Legacy #215 & #216 and the trade of Paul Jenkin's 2000 Sentry miniseries off the shelves. Greg said that this was their last shipment, so I'm missing:
X-Factor #34
X-Factor #36,
She-Hulk's X-Factor tie in (I think it was #35)
Guardians #6,
Uncanny X-Men #204

Now: what to do about next year? The website of the Johannesburg shop isn't very good. There are rumors of a South African website that sells comic books with free shipping. But as I have yet to find said website, it seems that my best option is to buy my comics in trade form from kalahari.net. Of course, that means waiting a bit longer, and as patience is not one of my strong suits, it means I'll probably already know the story's broad outline before I get it. But, hey, trades do go on the shelf nicely and are easy to pull out and re-read. So I'll probably continue with X-Factor, Guardians and Uncanny X-Men trades and forget about the remainder of Civil War: HoM, Manifest Destiny, Solomon Kane and the one shots I was going to get. I can order the trades of X-Infernus and War of Kings when they appear.

Monday, December 8, 2008

War Effort: The Battle Plan

They say things happen in threes. First, I got an e-mail form Kick-Ass Komix saying that they will be closing on the 31st of December. As in forever. This presents me with a large problem, as KAK was the only comic shop in Durban. Their closing means that the closest shop is now eight hours away from me in Jo'burg. I then went down to KAK to pick up my comics, only to find that their shipping orders had got messed up, and out of the whole of October and November, there was only one comic waiting for me. (This is on top of the missing ones from September.) And then my modem broke. Hence the lack of posts for the last couple of weeks, which I apologise for. I don’t even know how Secret Invasion ended. Though, it probably won't matter much seeing as how slim my chances of buying anything with 'Dark Reign' on the cover have suddenly become.

So I am cancelling all regular (hah) posts in order to focus on the Battle Plan:


Find a new way to get comics
A) Being killed by shipping rates or the petrol price
B) Ending up with comics that have been folded or have price tags stuck on their covers.

I'll let you know how I'm doing with posts entitled 'War Effort'. Cause even if I end up never getting War of Kings, I like my blog name.

And now I shall go find out what happened in Secret Invasion.