X-Men: Frost Class

January Jones is icy and sexy as Emma Frost.

Comic book publishers have been peddling film rights, desperately, to Hollywood these past couple years. So much so that the landscape of Summer Blockbusters have changed from cookie cutter comedies to men in spandex flicks. This Summer alone, I counted five comic book film adaptations. What’s even worse is that Hollywood is milking those franchises until blood comes out the teats.

Take the X-Men, for example. 20th Century Fox isn’t content with the original trilogy. So, now, they have a line of X-Men Origins film in the works, and another set of trilogy under the X-Men: First Class franchise. But I’m only explaining, not complaining. Because I’d watch a superhero flick rather than a comedy that involves cute and/or talking animals. Especially when that superhero flick has Emma Frost on it.

Although, I really thought I was done with the X-Men film franchise. Especially after X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But when they announced First Class, and that Emma Frost will be one of the characters, my interest was piqued. I mean, it’s Emma Frost. The lingerie clad villain who was, to most nerdy boys, a gateway to pornography (maybe Wertham was right after all). So, today, I went out to catch the flick and hoped that it wasn’t like the last two X-Men movies.

Fortunately, it wasn’t bad at all. I loved how the film worked in the 60’s setting. The Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, they used that as their background and gave us a spy thriller instead of a superhero film. At some point, it even felt like I was watching a Bond film (Sean Connery’s Bond films), only with super-powered mutants. Especially when Sebastian Shaw, the principal villain, got away in his secret submarine.

Speaking of Shaw, Kevin Bacon did a masterful job in playing him as a cocky, yet cool, megalomaniac. Then there’s January Jones who really captured the ice queen persona of Emma Frost. Fassbender and McAvoy also did pretty well. Fassbender especially who was speaking all sorts of languages. But it was Hugh Jackman who stole the show. I swear, people were laughing for about a minute (I was laughing for about 5 minutes) after his cameo.

X-Men: First Class isn’t faithful to the canon, however. I mean, Moira McTaggart as a CIA agent? Sebastian Shaw can absorb all kinds of energy now? So, you might want to skip this movie if you care about those things. But, if you understand that what works in the comics doesn’t always translate well into film, or if you consider the film as  multiverse, then you go watch this movie because it’s fun, and it really ties well as a prequel to the first trilogy (the “frosting’s” good too).

Score: B

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DCU Reboot: Love or Loathe?

So, last Monday, DC comics announced that they will reboot the entire DC universe, revamping 52 of their titles –including the trinity (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman)– starting this September. Even though I don’t read a lot of DC titles, this news put quite a shock into my system.

This is a pretty ballsy move for DC (and one that could even end them). Some of the DC fans that I know of (which are few, actually) are already ridding their pull list of DC titles. But I understand where DC is coming from. In order to entice new readers, they have to re-invent their decades old characters, make them more modern and accessible. They have to evolve or die.

As for me, I’m still indifferent about DC’s move.

On one hand, I’m excited to see the new DC universe. Like I said earlier, I don’t read a lot of DC titles. That’s because I couldn’t get into them. Unlike Marvel, the DC Universe is not easily accessible to new readers like me. Sure, I know the origins of their characters. But the chasm of what I know between the origin stories and the new stories is too wide and deep for me to jump.

As a case in point, two events were happening during the time I got back into comics: Secret Invasion (Marvel) and Final Crisis (DC). While I have to utilize Wikipedia for some information, I picked up on Secret Invasion fairly quick. Final Crisis, however, was just too convoluted for me to follow, even with the help of wiki and the web, because there were so much I didn’t know about the current state of the DC universe.

The new Justice League of America.

So, the reboot is a chance for DC to clean that dirty slate and start anew. Which will also give new readers a chance to read titles like Green Lantern or the Flash without getting lost and confused.

On the other hand, however, I dread every time I think about this reboot. A lot of DC characters are old, even older than your dad. They have more than 70 years worth of stories. Tales that have changed them and matured them over decades. It’s just a shame that DC is going to wipe it all clean. It seems like a slap in the face to all those who have followed those stories really close throughout those years.

Take the Batman series, for example. While I prefer Bruce Wayne to be the only Batman, I still love what Grant Morrison did to change the mythos. Now, DC is going to discard all those changes. So, Dick Grayson might end up becoming as Robin again, Barbara Gordon will revert back to Batgirl and Damian Wayne will cease to exist. The stories I’ve been following in the last three years will end up going nowhere.

At this point, however, there’s not enough information about this reboot. All we know is that DC will drop 52 #1 issues this September, and none of which I’m interested in besides Batman and Justice League. It remains to be seen if this reboot is good, or if it’s even permanent (nothing in comics stays permanent). But if it’s not to my liking, then my comics pull list will be missing a few DC titles in it.

What about you? What do you think about the DCU reboot? Do you think you’ll love it or loathe it?

Marvel Reading Backlist: Amazing Spider-Man by JMS, Book 1

Cover art of Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 1.

JM Straczynski is widely known as the creator of the epic sci-fi TV show, Babylon 5. But, since I don’t watch TV, I didn’t know of him until I started reading comic books again in 2008. I quickly became a fan of his work, however. Rising Stars, his original creation, and his run on Thor are two of my favorite comics. So, when I started my little back reading project on Spider-Man a few weeks ago, I decided that JM Straczynski’s run on the Amazing Spider-Man would be my jumping point.

Surprisingly, Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 1 really is the perfect jumping point for new Spidey fans. I’ve never read an issue of Spider-Man since the early nineties but I had no problems following the story in this book. It is very accessible, just as long as you have the fundamental knowledge of the Spider-Man mythos (i.e. see the first movie). I never even Google’d a villain’s back story in this book because they’re all newly conceived.

New villains aside, there are also other fresh ideas and changes in this book. Like Peter becoming a science teacher or Aunt May discovering his secret. There are too many to enumerate, actually. But the meat of it all, the most significant change in the book is when JMS put Spidey’s origins under the microscope –an electron microscope– to be closely re-examined and giving it another angle of view. I understand why a lot of Spider-Man fans didn’t like this change a bit. Me, however, I’m curious as to where this new origins will take us in the future.

Overall, I really loved reading this book. Like with Thor, JMS’ writing in here is very graceful, cinematic and saturated with humor. It really captured everything  I loved about Spider-Man, a super hero who has more battles with himself than the villains that are after him. If the Book 2 is as good as this one, then I can’t wait to read it.

Score: A