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Look! First X-Men: Days of Future Past Posters!

The Wolverine isn’t out yet, but we’ve already got the first posters for next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. They’re a massive improvement over the wonderfully dodgy “face in the crotch!” posters that teased the superb X-Men: First Class. It’s a rather wonderful concept, combining the older and young versions of two of the franchise’s most iconic characters. Starring Sir Patrick McAvoy! Sir Ian Fassbender!

Although I’m wary of the incredibly vast cast that Bryan Singer has assembled, I am a giddy X-Men fan, so I’m quite looking forward to the adaptation of the wonderful Chris Claremont and John Byrne story. (I recent did a review of the animated adaptation of the story over at comicbuzz.com, for those wanting a sneak peek at what might be in store.) I really like these posters, and I suspect a trailer might not be too far away.

xmen-daysoffuturepast xmen-daysoffuturepast1
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Stan Lee & Jack Kirby’s X-Men – X-Men Omnibus, Vol. 1 (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Wolverine later in the month, we’re taking a look at some classic X-Men and Wolverine comics every Monday, Wednesday and Friday here. I’m also writing a series of reviews of the classic X-Men television show at comicbuzz every weekday, so feel free to check those out.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are the architects of the shared Marvel Universe. The pair collaborated on titles like The Fantastic Four, The Avengers and Thor – helping reinvent American comic books during the sixties. The comics redefined what superheroes could be, honing in on the changing sensibilities of the era. However, not every series was a run-away success. Not every idea worked from the very first issue.

The X-Men are one of the most iconic bunch of superheroes in existence. They have had everything from blockbuster films to celebrated cartoon shows. However, they had a rocky start. The book limped along through its first years of publication, never quite connecting with its audience. Indeed, the book almost died a quiet death in the early seventies, before writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum revived the team for a relaunched Giant-Sized X-Men. After that, Wein handed the book over to Chris Claremont, who really defined the book and its characters during an extended run on the title.

Reading these early issues, from Lee and Kirby, it’s quite clear that the X-Men aren’t working. There’s a lot of stilted awkwardness to the stories, as Lee and Kirby try to find a compelling hook for the team. They come quite close – it’s surprising how close at times – but it’s easy to see why the premise took so long to catch on.

To me, my X-Men!

To me, my X-Men!

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Looking at it Sideways: 2012, The Year of Unconventional Franchise Narratives…

By now I think we’ve all become quite familiar with the cycle of Hollywood movie franchises. I’m not inherently opposed to the concept – I think that Sturgeon’s Law applies at least as much to original and independent films as it does to big-budget franchise films. The prospect of movie sequels, reboots, prequels and remakes isn’t a new thing, after all. Hollywood has always had a tendency to emulate financially successful movies, finding a way to exploit the movie property to maximise the profit off the back of it. It’s an inherently commercial prospect, but virtually any form of mass media must be in order to be viable. However, I’ve been fascinated with how the Hollywood franchise train seems to be working this year – it seems like we’ve been getting stuff that’s a little different than the conventional reboots, sequels and remakes.

It’s a whole other universe out there…

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X-Men: Mutant Massacre (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

Mutant Massacre represents something of a minor game changer in the world of the X-Men titles that Marvel was producing. Originally proposed by Uncanny X-Men scribe Chris Claremont as a story to be told within that title, editorial seized upon the opportunity to connect their developing line of mutant titles, having each monthly issue of Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor and The New Mutants serve as a single chapter in an expansive storyline. It really was the first X-Men crossover, setting the template for dozens to follow over the coming decades from “thematic” crossovers like Fall of the Mutants to more straight-forward examples like Inferno or X-Tinction Agenda, or even ones that came long after Claremont like Messiah Complex or Second Coming. More than that, though, Mutant Massacre demonstrated the key attributes of Claremont’s rapidly expanding universe, reintroducing a sense of uncertainty and dread into the comics.

Tearing the X-Men to pieces…

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Non-Review Review: X-Men – First Class

X-Men: First Class is easily the best thing to emerge from Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie franchise since X-Men II, all those years ago. Jane Goldman’s smart script and Matthew Vaughn’s confident direction help inject life back into the franchise that stirred up this current superhero blockbuster fad, providing one of the finest examples of the subgenre. Although the movie does occasionally veer a little bit too close to (and, once or twice, right into) camp, it’s also a clever, brave, bold and exciting action adventure, which provides the best characterisation of the series to date.

We've got it covered...

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Now That’s First Class: X-Men – First Class & Superhero Nostalgia

I have to admit that X-Men: First Class is a movie that I find myself in a wild state of flux over. At times, I’m delighted by the sensational casting, the fantastic director and the wonderful artistic design that we’re seeing. However, I am equally curious as to what the point of a prequel is, or why Bryan Singer jumped ship so quickly. At times, it’s one of my most anticipated movies of the coming year, while at others it’s just another film awaiting release. Somewhat lost amid the announcement that Bane and Catwoman would be the villains of The Dark Knight Rises, Fox released a slew of information about their newest X-Men film last week. looking at eth photos, I can’t help wondering whether the superhero movie genre is on the cusp of the nostalgia-fest which has swept their comic book counterparts in recent years.

He always had a magnetic personality...

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Quelling the Prequels…

I’ve always wondered who thought prequels are good ideas. I mean, the ending is a foregone conclusion. It has to end as the other film started. No matter how much danger your leading character is place in, he has to live through it. In fact, the very idea of a prequel is to play out events that you’ve heard about already – so even then you know roughly what’s going to happen and how it’ll turn out before the film is even written. Sure, there are particulars that need to be specified, but it’s an incredibly risky venture – those particulars need to be really awesome in order to justify the film.

No point fighting over the prequels, the third one is the only okay one...

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