X of Swords

My Marvel Unlimited reading is still going strong. I’ve noticed, however, that about half of the current titles I read are X-Men comics. The reason I noticed this is because, for at least the time being, I’ve stopped reading them.

The reason I’ve stopped reading them is because they’re doing a big crossover story that involves all of them called X of Swords. To put it mildly, I’m not a fan of this story. I’ve debated on whether or not to go into detail about what I don’t like about it, but I think I’ll just generalize on the off chance that I’ll spoil it for someone.

Basically, the whole story is the Marvel version of Mortal Kombat. The overall premise is that a certain number of mutants needs to defeat a certain number of bad guys in one-on-one sword fights otherwise the bad guys will destroy Earth. Sure, there’s other little side stories, but that is the main element.

Now, I might be able to deal with a plot that lame if it was a clear, concise story. It’s not. There’s too many characters spaced out between too many different titles. Even if you read them in order, it still seems jumbled and jumps around.

I hope this story ends soon. I’d like to go back to reading good X-Men material.

Oh No. They Died Again.

The first year that I did NanoPoblano, one thing that was a topic of a number of those posts were the comics I was reading with my Marvel Unlimited subscription. I still have my subscription, but this time I also have a complaint. Not about the service. I’ve never had a problem with the that. No, my complaint is about something they do in the stories.

Now, I’m not picking on Marvel here. They’re certainly not the only ones guilty of doing the thing I’m complaining about. I’ve seen it done in every form of storytelling: movies, television, comics, and novels. In fact, I mentioned it in a post that I wrote a few weeks ago. “What is it?” you ask without clicking on the link.

The answer is this: bringing characters back from the dead.

In the past few years of reading things with my Marvel Unlimited subscription, I’ve seen this done a number of times. The more I see it, the more it annoys me. And it seems to annoy me more when done in comics, especially when it’s done with a major character. The death of Superman? Of Wolverine? Was there anyone on Earth who thought either of those would stick when those stories came out?

The newest issue of Uncanny X-Men to upload to Marvel Unlimited had the death of a character in it. Two days later, I saw an article on Marvel’s website about the relaunch of one of their titles. The character who had died in the issue I just read was going to be resurrected and be in this relaunch.


Granted, six months had passed between the time the issue I read was published and it was uploaded to Marvel Unlimited, but still. It’s getting ridiculous. Even the characters themselves are making light of it. I’ve seen a couple of times when someone says to a resurrected character, “Weren’t you dead?” and they’d reply, “It’s not the first time I’ve died,” or “People don’t stay dead around here.”

A character dying should be a big thing. It’s not. They’ve turned it into a gimmick and it’s irritating the heck out of me. It’s hard for me to stay invested in a story when there’s no consequences. “Oh no! Villain X is about to kill Hero Y with his latest weapon! What will he do?

“Oh, yeah. It doesn’t matter. Even if Villain X kills Hero Y they’re just going to bring him back in a few months anyway…”

Maybe I did it in my pre-blog years, but I don’t remember ever bringing any of my characters back from the dead. I’ve taken a few of my dead characters and made them undead, but I don’t recall ever bringing any back to life. Not in any of my serious stories anyway. I think I did it once or twice in my nonsensical ones. Now, there have been a few times when I’ve been tempted to do it, but I have no plans for it any time soon.

On the off chance that I do decide to bring one back someday, it won’t be for a gimmick. No, the only way I’d do it is if doing so would not only make sense in the story, but would also enhance the story.

So far, none of the Marvel resurrections I’ve read recently have met those two criteria.

Looking Back: Moon Knight 

This post gets to be both a Looking Back post and a Marvel Unlimited post. The reason it’s not just a Marvel Unlimited post is that, like my previous Looking Back posts, I now view Moon Knight in a whole new light than I did before I started reading his books on Marvel Unlimited. The other comics I’ve reviewed for Marvel Unlimited are books I still have the same opinion on.

Back then: Moon Knight was cool superhero character.

Now: Why the hell did I ever like this guy?

To be honest, I didn’t ever actually read a Moon Knight comic until a year or so ago. For some reason, before then, I just really liked the character. I don’t know why. I just did. All I really knew about Moon Knight was his origin story.

Marc Spector was a mercenary hired by archaeologists in Egypt to guard their expedition. He was betrayed by his partner Bushman who shot him and left him for dead in one of the dig sites. That particular dig site was actually a temple of the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu. Khonshu resurrected Spector to be his champion on Earth.

Sounds like a cool story so far, right? I certainly thought so. That origin story is all I based my Moon Knight fandom on. A couple of years ago, when I first started at my job, there were other comic book guys there and we would talk about the characters we liked and those we didn’t. They began telling me bits and pieces of what happened after the origin story.

They basically turned him into a Batman wannabe.

Batman’s costume was all black. Moon Knight’s  was all white. Batman had Batarangs shaped like bats. Moon Knight’s were shaped like crescent moons. The Batplane was shaped like a bat. Moon Knight’s Mooncopter was shaped like, you guessed it, a crescent moon. Batman had a European butler, Alfred. Moon Knight had a European pilot, Frenchie.

In order to try to distance him from Batman, Marvel gave him a character trait that was supposed to make them different. They gave Moon Knight Dissociative Identity Disorder, or in other words, multiple personalities. One was Steven Grant, millionaire. He had money saved up from all of his mercenary gigs that allowed him to do this. Another was Jake Lockley, a cab driver, who gathered information on the street.


A millionaire persona and someone who gathers information from the streets. Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, that’s also something Batman does as Bruce Wayne (millionaire) and Matches Malone (street information).

The only difference is, as far as I know, Bruce never had a problem with thinking these were separate identities. Well, that, plus Khonshu was always a voice in Moon Knight’s head.

Now, about a year ago, I stumbled across the Brian Michael Bendis run on Moon Knight from 2011-2012 at the library. In it, Moon Knight had ditched the above personalities and moved to Hollywood to work on a TV show based on his mercenary adventures. Instead, he had the personalities of Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine in his head. He hires a former S.H.I.E.L.D tech to build him gadgets that will allow him to simulate the fighting styles of the three heroes in his head. By the end of the 12 issue run, he had defeated the main bad guy of the series, Count Nefaria (a powerful Thor villain), with the help of these gadgets.

It wasn’t bad, so when I got Marvel Unlimited, I read some of the newer Moon Knight stuff. I was not a fan. The first few issues weren’t bad. It was a continuous story about Moon Knight falling out of Khonshu’s favor and the moon god choosing a new champion. Not a horrible story, but not great. Also, they were now saying that he didn’t have DID. It was brain damage from Khonshu sharing space in his head.

After that, it all went downhill. It was nothing but a bunch of one-shot comics that were just complete crap. One story had him fighting a guy who abused dogs until they went out and stole valuable merchandise for him (No, I’m not making that up). Another had him fighting a guy that could capture ghosts in a special glove that he wore.

I haven’t read any of the current volume of Moon Knight, but from what I’ve heard, it starts off with him waking up in a psychiatric hospital thinking that his entire life as Moon Knight was just a figment of his imagination. Considering he has been a part of at least a couple big crossover events, I don’t see the whole “your Moon Knight adventures are all in your head” thing sticking.

If it were up to me, I’d get him away from all the mental health problems and get him back to mythology side of things that started the character. I actually have a story worked up that would actually usher this in. Now, I understand that nobody at Marvel will ever read this here blog, but it would be cool if I could at least pitch this idea to them. More than likely, I’d be shot down, but I could at least say I tried.

Someday, I may come back and read this new volume of Moon Knight to see if they made him better, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. I’ve got other things I’d rather read now.

Character Renderings

One of my great regrets is that I’m not a better artist. I would love to be able to be at least decent at drawing. There are so many ideas I have for comics that I would be able to see to fruition if I was able to convey the images I see in my head onto paper. I’ve tried so many times and it has yet to come out right.

Recently, I got an idea for a character after having a Facebook conversation with everyone’s favorite dinosaur, Ra. Normally, an idea is as far as it goes, since I am unable to properly draw the character. This time, because Ra is so awesome, I decided to go ahead and try out the drawing thing again. As she is the one who made the picture at the top of this here blog, I even went as far as to try to style my drawings after hers.

In the end, I finished with 3 different images.

Here he is standing in front of a door.


Here he his standing in front of a window.


And, lastly, here he is in his backyard.


Well, there you have it, folks. Those are the first renderings of Tom, the invisible man. What do you think of my pictures? Do they really capture the essence of the character?


Lisa looked out the window and cursed her ex-husband. He had been much more timid and easier to manipulate before he found out about her cheating. Now, instead of cowering before her, he demands paternity tests and says things like, “Lisa being a whore does not, and should not, entitle her to 18 years worth of my money,” in court when he finds out their son isn’t actually his. The worst part was when the judge agreed with him and stopped making him pay child support.

Look at me now, she thought. I’m riding a bus to the grocery store because my sister can’t give me a ride.

In the seat next to her, Jason, her son, giggled. When she turned to ask him what was so funny, she saw that he was staring at the man sitting across the aisle from them. The man was pole thin, wearing clothes that probably stunk and had seen much better days. “Don’t stare,” she scolded her child.
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