I'm trying. Lordy, I'm trying. If any reader cares about the current state of me and not comics (reviews of which will be up sometime, I've hit my first snag), here's a blog to appease you.

I'll get the blog-atross (a big blog issue, a blog albatross....does that make sense?) out of the way. My job is forcing me to figure out what is wrong with my own mental health in a way. Not in a scary "Buffy in that bad season six episode" way, just the way that makes me reexamine my own outlook on life. The main issue, it seems, is that I find it fundamentally hard to relate to/with people at times. I don't know if this stems from my severely awkward elementary days or has a much deeper root, but it's becoming a problem. Basically, I find it physically impossible for my mouth to mutter words that can be construed as small talk. I do not ask how people's weekends are. I do not say hi. I do not say goodbye. In general, I find a conversation that I have to think about the hardest thing to do (no wonder I do improv comedy). For real, if I once plan out any sentence to say to someone upon seeing them, that sentence then becomes the hardest sentence IN THE WORLD. The most recent example being last night when I called Susie to ask if she received and enjoyed her mix CD. I called and did not ask. I waited for her to bring it up. There you go, I can't do it.

Saying goodbye is another problem. I actually fancy myself to be a notorious no-goodbye-sayer, people regaling themselves with tales of my slippery escapes from numerous parties. Truth being, I like slipping away. I like avoiding the fuss, even if such fuss is just saying "goodbye" and other people saying "goodbye." I mean, this makes sense in party-type situations since saying goodbyes can very well take up a half hour. Why this applies to me at work, I don't know. But I do it.

I also have a hatred for small talk which is an old holdover from my teenage years. I'd be surprised if my parents could name a time that they got more out of me than "nothing" or "I had fun" or "something" in response to a simple question. This is still true, sadly. I'd rather talk about a crazy scheme, a theory on Lost, X-Men, why 80s music sucks, how much I hate my hair, anything other than what I did that weekend or what I plan to do tonight. I actually found it nearly physically impossible to say that my comedy stuff is going well at work the other day. The fact that I called it "comedy stuff" is pretty bad in and of itself.

I don't know how to fix these things. Or I mean, I know how to fix these things but every fiber of my being screams to not. Okay, I'll try...or something...but don't expect me to start saying goodbyes at parties. I don't know if I've gotten that rep in New York yet, and it's one I want!

I've gotten back into the habit of watching Late Show every night, which is both great and as...well, you know...as one would expect. On top of that I'm trying to watch the HBO movie Late Shift about the whole Carson/Leno/Letterman debacle of the early 90s (trying being the operative word; Leno looks like the son of Cher in Mask). The primary thought in my head is that all of this is going to happen again next year. NEXT YEAR. Somehow this came up so quickly. My goal, my goal that I decided upon when moving here, was to position myself in such a way to be able to swoop in and get a job at whatever shows are left in the wake of the Leno/Conan/Letterman switcheroo fiasco that's coming up. Now I've been at my job for over a year and I don't know how close I am. My resume didn't get me hired at Late Show last fall (among many other things, number one being that I'm nothing but a giggling optimistic and immature mess when I walk into that building...I am self-loathing) so I don't know...eh, I don't know. The more I watch late night TV and the more work I do in comedy, the more certain I am that that is where I want to be. That's my calling. And I can't figure out a way to get there.

UCB is going well, even though I'm not interning anymore. Bad Data had an awesome show and some even awesomer practices, so we're all pretty happy with that. Hey! We may even be getting sued! Go to www.baddata.net and check out the latest news, you know, after you watch that totes sweet flash intro. I auditioned to be an actor on a UCB official sketch team (a Maude team). It involved me doing 3 minutes of whatever-the-heck I please. That turned out to be three characters, including Fred Schneider. I pretty much just did this bit, and it got a much bigger laugh that I ever expected. I left the audition quite proud, especially since I didn't even plan on auditioning until the weekend before the submissions were due.

My New Year's resolutions and projects are going well. I've managed to do something non-improv related every weekend (including a smashing Lost party) and I've written five pages a week. So far I've written 12 pages of a 30 Rock spec script and, yes, another 10 or so more pages in my X4 script. So....any writing is good writing. The mix CD club I started up is up and running, and a lot of fun. And my Features book is, well, it's going along as quickly as I thought it would. No rush there, though, just glad I got the questionnaires out.

Okay, so that's it. I'm okay. I'm not close to having a four month stretch of time better than Fall 2006, which is another New Year's goal, but it's only January. Don't expect to get a personal blog again for a while. It's all comic books from now on.


What is with kids these days?

Over the last couple days I have been exposed to various Funny Internet Videos of kids being ridiculous. If the generation of kids born after the Friends sipped their first sip from their trendy big coffee mugs has not been named yet, I hereby dub them Generation YouTube (which is a moniker I'm sure a couple million other hip bloggers have used). All I'm saying is that the presidential election of 2028 is going to be full of candidates having to justify their retarded Mac Book or Windows Movie Maker creations to a nation screaming for answers.

Here are some main offenders.

The first four seconds of this video is straight up hilarious. The absurdity of the editing, the immaturity of his chair ettiquette, and the self-importance he feels to 'weigh in' on the death of Heath Ledger, an actor whose big break in 10 Things I Hate About You was released when this kid was learning how to color.

This one is even weirder, just because there's a speed setting issue on the camera that makes him sound like a gay southern chipmunk instead of just, well, a gay southern kid. Once again, why is this on the internet? Why does it have over 3 million views? Is this a joke? I see that the video was posted by a sketch group comprised of three kids aged 14-15. I feel kinda lazy now. And jealous of this group's odd success. Ugh. So many emotions.

Because everyone that sees a movie should critique it online. I would ask how this kid got into see Rambo, but after I saw a six year old girl take a potty break in the middle of Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem, all my preconceived notions of parental discretion went out the window.

I don't care, isn't this the best thing you've ever watched? And I've watched all of it. Multiple times. And not only did he post this one song, he's posted many songs. The guy has a hobby of videotaping himself singing songs in front of his computer. Who needs special effects when you have awesome purple drapes?

All four of these make me so extremely happy that YouTube did not exist when I was in 8th grade. The world does not need to see my homemade "Pretty Fly For A White Guy" and "Closing Time" music videos using various X-Men and Star Wars action figures.

This is on YouTube though, so at least my awkward teenage years are being represented.


X15: Trading Cards 1992

Marvel Masterpieces: Series 1 (1992)
100 Card Set - Sky Box

These cards were guilty of driving my eight year old brain into a tizzy. The idea of painted cards was so revolutionary and the images themselves were pretty phenomenal. Every card was painted by Joe Jusko, who probably got fame painting stuff for Dungeons & Dragons or something (I'm not bothering to check), and they were all hot commodities in the third grade. Along with the other two trading card sets of 1992, these were the ones that made me a superfan. I remember assigning high status to the kids that were cool enough (actually lucky enough) to get their paws on the Wolverine or Sabretooth cards. They were like winning the third grade lottery. These cards also got me into some hot water when my mom saw the Jean Grey and Rogue cards. I guess she didn't like me getting acquainted with the female anatomy by looking at the skin tight suits and big boobs Mr. Jusko painted. The illustrations became even more iconic when they were reprinted in a comic-size format by Marvel and then hung on my wall. Every card had a bio and minimal information on the back (real name, group affiliation, first appearance), the real treat being the picture of the first cover appearance of the character. I've always been a fan of comparing how characters change.

Marvel Universe: Series III (1992)
200 Card Set - Impel

Marvel hasn't made a more comprehensive trading card set since or before this. And this is the set that got me into the Marvel Universe. A 200 card set featuring every member of every current X-Team (except Boom Boom, poor Boom Boom), members from every Marvel team from the Avengers to the Guardians of the Galaxy, origins, team-ups, Milestones, everything. As far as I was concerned, this was the Marvel Bible. I memorized the power ratings (Beast has a strength of 4, those darn cosmic entities are all 7s) and even devised a war-like card game based around them. Aside from the easy to read and, more importantly, cool looking power ratings, every card featured a memorable quote from the character. Nightcrawler's "Mind my flying feet!" has always stuck with me. This is a fascinating set and a must-have for any Marvel Comics fan. Seriously, any set that's so inclusive that it gives Slapstick his own card deserves mad respect. Also, I once got two of the same Necrom cards in one pack and was kinda convinced it marked me for death.

X-Men: Series I (1992)

100 Card Set - Impel

The second batch of X-Men action figures came packaged with these cards, so they'll forever be linked in my memory. My Jean Grey card was ripped in half when I foolishly let someone else open one of my action figures. Ugh, I never made THAT mistake again. Since the cards packaged with the toys had an obvious Toy Biz stamp on them, I knew I'd have to replace them with the real thing eventually. Just like the Marvel Masterpieces set from this year, these cards would later be reprinted by Marvel in comic book format and hung on my wall, except instead of just ripping them out I had my sister take them to her job and enlarge and laminate them. Rogue, Domino and Gambit all went through that process. Every card was drawn by Jim Lee, who was the hottest artist at that time. It's no wonder since most all of these cards are near-iconic images and crackling with early 90s energy. The backs feature power ratings, a lot of stats, a bio, and an X-Tra fact. This is a solid set.



It has been a little over a year since I started blogging it up on blogspot. This is my 170th post and, to celebrate the first year of Digsy Has A Blog!, here are my favorites of the 170 entries. Read them for the first time or again. They are pure magic...or a way to kill time when your boss isn't looking.

I started the blog here as a way to get my writing back on track. I don't know if the blog really helped at all, but it has given me an outlet to share some of the weirder adventures I've had this year (namely testifying in front of a jury and almost becoming homeless). I also used the blog to promote some of my past exercises in creativity, like my college sketch show "Fo' Show" and some hilarious journal entries from my childhood.

Sometimes Digsy Has A Blog! tries to be a way cool music blog, my fingers firmly on the pulse of the active indie rock scene. I mean, have you guys heard the new $$ album? It's so thrash-no, I can't get over it. And screw Annuals, right? Ugh, they might as well be Fergie with how mainstream they've gotten. Okay, I have no fingers near any music pulse, but that didn't stop me from writing entries telling you all about my love for The Features and Oasis. I also used this blog as a concert diary. The two most entertaining concerts I saw in the past year were The Apples in Stereo (where I became totes BFF with the band) and The Decemberists (where I was totes close to going cray-cray on some d-bags). Also, I blogged about how much I hate 80s music, how much I miss my Futureheads button, and how sad it is to see old bands get old-band-itis.

Occasionally I'd find something hilarious on the internet to share. Here they are:
The best American Idol contestant ever.
A family's love for its mummified baby.
Bizarre video mash ups of animal footage and rock/rap songs.
The creepiest friend request ever.

Believe it or not, sometimes Digsy Has A Blog! would talk about comics. I know! On those rare occasions, I defended X-Force, shared stories about my cousins and (in my most insanely detailed blog to date) let you all in on the secret world of the X-Kids.

I also blogged about improv, so here's my trip through 2007's Del Close Marathon.

Lastly, Digsy Has A Blog! had two special love affairs with two special tv series: Lost and Kid Nation. Both were intense television and both smacked me around with a drama stick, leaving me a battered and bruised wreck of a human being...and I loved (and blogged) every second of it. Great television...truly.

Year one of Digsy Has A Blog! has come to an end. I can't guarantee anything for year two. At all. Except more comic books.


Comics: 1-23-08

Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: John Cassaday
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Assistant Editor: Will Panzo
Associate Editor: Nick Lowe
Editor: Axel Alonso
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

And so it ends. Actually, the story isn't ending; the uncalled for Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 is the actual end. But for Joss Whedon and John Cassaday on Astonishing X-Men, this is it. So much promise that led to so little. As a series, Astonishing X-Men has been both consistently great and consistently horrifyingly frustrating. To have two giant talents, maybe the best creative team the x-books have seen in decades, waste their time telling what is essentially four stories over a period of four years is despicable.

The first issues of this series that came out when I was still working at a movie theater (a.k.a. my FIRST JOB EVER, to let you know how long this has taken) got a lot of genuine emotion out of me by referencing and feeling like the simpler days of Chris Claremont's run. Comparing the two was absolutely the wrong thing to do. At the time (2004, remember, that last presidential election?), stories always took 6 issues to tell since the trade paperback fad had just started. This was fine back then, although tedious. It was fine because most of these issues came out monthly. A monthly schedule was never even possible with Astonishing (a book that should have published 45 issues on a monthly schedule). Just look at Chris Claremont and Paul Smith's classic run on Uncanny X-Men in 1983, a run that is referenced on the first page of this series. In 11 issues the X-Men fight the Brood in outer space, the Morlocks in the sewers, Silver Samurai in Japan, and the "resurrection" of the Phoenix herself. In 11 issues. Oh, and there were two single issue stories to boot.

So okay, six issue storylines with glacial storytelling was fine in 2004. But something happened during the four years it took for this story to be told. Comics shifted back the other way. The pace of Marvel quickened so much that the other x-books basically left Astonishing in the dust, reincorporating the books characters into other pages. Great. Astonishing X-Men, a truly great and potentially classic book, is completely outdated by the time it ends. And we do not, by any means, need a giant-sized finish, especially since it takes the creators months on end to finish a normal sized issue. Disappointing.

But on to the issue at hand. I find it hard to review this title every month because it takes forever for an issue to come out. I've forgotten the motivations and happenings of months previous. But this issue is fine. Really great art, nice dialogue, it's all enjoyable. The wit and old school thrills this book usually supplies (and uses to almost make up for the dreadful delays) are absent this month, so I'd actually say this is the weakest issue of the series.

Such high hopes, ending with such a whimper. Time will be kind to this series, since it will forever be read in one sitting in a hardback bound edition. However, I'll forever be one of the thousands that remember what a long four years it has been.

MY SCORE: 8.3/10

"7: Namor --or--The Desperate Hour"
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Barry Kitson
Inker: Jon Sibal & Barry Kitson
Colorist: Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic, Soto & Studio F's Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Artmonkeys Studios
Assistant Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Editor: Warren Simons
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

I love The Order. In seven issues, this series has given us seven well rounded individuals all with fresh takes on being super heroes. It's rare that a series comes along and is this solid from the get go. So, of course, The Order is canceled as of issue #10.

This is another solid installment in the series and I love that the framing device for the first six issues (interview sessions) becomes the main event in this one, as Anthem squares off against Namor. The pacing is brilliant, the flash back splashes done by Kitson are great and tie in wonderfully to the conversation, and the characterization of Namor is the best I've ever read. For a star making event, this one sure does the trick for Anthem and The Order. The art is not so good, which illustrates just how much difference an inker makes. Regular inker Mark Morales is replaced by Jon Sibal and Kitson himself, and neither of them come close to making the pencils look decent. The book has a weird Image feel to it, while also being vaguely recognizable as the strong penciler Kitson is. It's odd.

Another well above average issue. With Marvel producing no other all-new team books right now, they should be proud that The Order has done such a phenomenal job of introducing viable and worthy new additions to their universe. Instead they're being canned until a writer with my opinion resurrects them in a couple years time.

MY SCORE: 8.7/10

SHE-HULK v.2 #25
"The Whole Hero Thing 1"
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Shawn Moll
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Avalon's Rob Ro
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Production: Rich Ginter
Assistant Editor: Thomas Brennan
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

"Beasts of the Field"
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Adriana Melo
Inker: Mariah Benes
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

"What the Hell is Going On With Her Comic Book?"
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Val Seimeiks
Inker: Dave Meikis
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Assistant Editor: Tom Brennan
Editor: Stephen Wacker
The Reason We Did This: Joe Quesada & Dan Buckley

25th issue, 3 stories. The main story starts David's second arc on the title and, finally, we're starting to get a glimpse of the type of She-Hulk stories he wants to tell. Jazinda is becoming multi-dimensional and setting her up as the moral opposite of She-Hulk is quite fascinating, considering they've both basically swapped their ideals. I totally believe that She-Hulk would want to ignore a gamma irradiated alien looking for help, and I think it's a very strong character choice. The issue has some low points (the wink-wink humor of the couple striking down their camp after being attacked by an alien) that really make me miss Dan Slott, but overall David is not ignoring the previous setup and is making his work.

The art is getting worse, though. This issue featured She-Hulk's thong straps sticking out from her low-cut velvet (?) bell bottom pants. No. No no no. There is nothing more gratuitous, unnecessary, and degrading as thong straps sticking out from low-cut velvet (?) bell bottom pants. It's a horrible reminder of super hero comics' disgusting tendency towards idiotic T&A and I hate that it is now in She-Hulk. There was something charming about her old one-piece bathing suit and sneakers outfit, I miss it. I really miss it now that She-Hulk looks like a WWE hooker.

The back-up strips aren't important, the second one being the type of thing I hate at Marvel. I don't know if it's the cynicism of comic book fans nowadays, but I hate all Marvel staff in jokes. It's odd since I think stuff like this done in the 60s (the Merry Marvel Marching Society, Bullpen Bulletins, etc.) was awesome. I guess I hold Stan Lee & co. in much higher regards than Joe Quesada and "what the heck does he do" Dan Buckley.

She-Hulk is getting more interesting. A change in wardrobe would be nice.

MY SCORE: 8.6/10

X-MEN v.2 #207
"Messiah Complex 13 of 13"
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend with Victor Olazaba, Jon Sibal and Al Vey
Colorist: Brian Reber with Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Cory Petit
Assistant Editor: Will Panzo
Editor: Nick Lowe
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

And so it ends. I am so glad that it was Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo that finished this story out. They've been putting out the most consistent x-book since they started their run back in late 2006. I feel that this issue actually wraps up a lot more than just "Messiah Complex." The students now seem to be close to full-fledged X-Men, Cyclops was finally able to overcome the guilt he's felt about what he did by leaving Cable in the future by giving Cable the baby, and Rogue's insane power levels have been brought back down to normal. Oh, and there's a new mutant birth. It's not made clear where the baby came from, if it is or isn't Phoenix (it is a girl with red hair and green eyes, ugh), and whether or not more mutant births will happen. I don't know, in a way I'm okay with those issues not being resolved. This crossover was about the baby and the baby is now safe. And as far as endings go, it doesn't get more definitive than murdering Professor X. For real. This is the first time he's been dead (not in space, in jail, missing, or depowered) since the 60s, unless I'm missing something. The art is great, but I'm a big Bachalo fan so that's to be expected from me.

There are some negatives. While I do believe that Emma Frost would be okay with her students using their powers with deadly accuracy, I don't believe that they would be so eager to go along with it. Yeah, Dust displays some discomfort at seemingly murdering Exodus, if he can even die, but I would think she would straight up disobey that order. The same goes for Pixie who has been portrayed as extremely juvenile and scared, now she's murdering the Malice-possessed Karima (poor Karima by the way, guess no one told Pixie she was an X-Man). I'm also a little bit distraught at what's become of poor Bishop. He went crazy. He lost an arm. He killed Professor X. Bishop has been a fairly important X-Man since he first appeared around 16 years ago and to see this happen to him, it's sad. I'd almost rather him get the embarrassing "eaten by Predator-X" death I thought had befallen him at the beginning of the issue.

As an issue, on the whole, this one is okay. There are some great moments and some solid art, even though a lot of it clearly feels like chess pieces being moved into place. Even though that manipulation feels bad, I do like that all of the solicits in the back of the issue genuinely spring from this event; we're not getting another "Decimation" esque brush off. I like that the x-books finally have a cohesive world to exist in again.

And also, can anyone else explain where Professor X's dead body goes on the next to last page? The last panel shows the X-Men mourning him, but his body has totally disappeared. Bachalo messed up? Isn't that a pretty big mess up?

MY SCORE: 8.7/10


Comics: 1-16-08

"Chapter Three"
Plotters: Joss Whedon & Brian Lynch
Scripter: Brian Lynch
Illustrator: Franco Urru
Colorist: Jason Jensen
Letterer: Robbie Robbins
Editor: Chris Ryall

I'm having a hard time buying this series, both conceptually and justifying spending the $4 a month on it. Issue #2 was an improvement over the first, maybe because the shock of the series had worn off. With #3, I'm starting to get a grasp on the world the comic lives in. It lives in hell. And that's my big problem. Before, Angel was set in what could possibly still be Los Angeles. It was relatable and contained real human character and heart. Now it's set in the most fantastical hell I've seen in a while and is constantly exploiting the medium's whatever-you-can-imagine scope. Angel rides a dragon. Seriously. This is Angel in such a large scale that it almost doesn't feel like Angel. The characters are all there and Lynch captures all their voices very well. It's just depressing seeing all these characters carrying on in this horrid existence when I would much rather picture every single one of them dead fighting for their cause in "Not Fade Away." Even that episode's one definitive casualty, Wesley, is back as a ghost.

This issue is half a fight with Illyria and half setting up the climactic battle with the demon powers of Los Angeles that will probably close off this first arc. The fight with Illyria is done well and part of it hints towards the issues big surprise twist. The challenge proposed by Angel at the end of the issue is a good old Angel moment and I'm really interested to see how it plays out. Angel as L.A.'s king, trying to put the city back together again is so much more interesting than the freedom fighters in hell angle.

The art is still dreadful, though, no matter how solid the story is (and the story is solid, even if it all seems like a bit too much). Urru's art seems sloppy, malformed and unfinished in 70% of his panels. He gets the likenesses down, no problem, but there's an overall lack of detail and a rushed quality to the work that makes the series a huge let down. It might not be his pencils but the fact that he also, apparently, inks his own work. The inks are so thick that they muddy up the pictures. It's not so pleasant and I'd really like to see what another inker or artist could do with this series. A Bryan Hitch or Steve Epting, a dramatic and realistic artist could do wonders with this (but that's just a dream, kinda like Adrian Alphona on Buffy season 8).

MY SCORE: 8.3/10

"Reunion 2 of 2"
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Penciler: Jon Malin
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
Production: Anthony Dial
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

Okay, the actual New Warriors bits are pretty good. Seeing Midnight's Fire again is a nice shout out to the past, even if he isn't identified until the bottom of the fourth page of this story. Also, the possible subplot of Justice and Rage rejoining the team makes me so happy since this story could actually use some characters. Which brings me to my biggest problem with this series...

Who are the New Warriors and why should I care?

I was fine with the secrecy surrounding the roster initially; as a storytelling device it worked well for the first issues of the series. After the revelation that the cast is made up of former Xavier's School students and X-Men, I was hoping we'd finally get character development. That's what these two issues were meant for (I would guess so by the super Kraft cheesy toast they all make) but the utterly disgusting and dreadfully amateurish art makes it all bland and confusing. First of all, look at the women. Do any of them look different? No. They are all anorexic amazons with foot long necks. This is such a horrific throwback to Image art that I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight. At least Liefeld and company had some sorta style. Malin's art is so void of style it's....I don't know. That's the problem. There's nothing to this issue at all because the art is so bland. A thoughtful discussion about whether or not the New Mutants are terrorists is completely undermined by the fact that I have no idea whose opinons are what. It doesn't help that Grevioux is, apparently, depending on the art to fill us in on who is saying what since no names are given.

The art is awful. With that said, I have to wonder what regular artist (I hope) Paco Medina will do with these characters out of costume when he returns. The transformation of Beak (scrawny) and Angel (chunky and short) into David and Victoria Beckham in this issue is flat out mind boggling. Really, how are these two pictures of the same character?

Not only that, how are we supposed to believe that the Junior Guardsmen are an equal threat to the New Warriors when they look about as old as Beak and Angel's KIDS (how they aged so quickly, I'm not even going to get into that)? I know they're supposed to be the same age, actually, since the entire cast of New Warriors is in their mid-to-late teens. Apparently all teenagers are 6'4" with rippling muscles and huge jugs unless you're sponsored by the government, then you look like a kid that Screech could pound on. Great.

New Warriors has serious promise and a solid cast. Beak, Angel, and Redneck were created by Grant Morrison, who gave each one of them very defined personalities which only seem to be half present and character designs which have been completely jettisoned. On top of that, Jubilee and Chamber have been around for 20 and 14 years, respectively, and have actually maintained a fairly consistent personality. Why are they so bland? And really, if any character is easy to write, it should be Stacy X, a former mutant prostitute with a major 'tude. She's mildly saucy here. Mildly. Like I said, I almost hope Justice and Rage come back just so we can maybe see some characters with real emotion, unlike these who aren't being done justice yet.

MY SCORE: 6.6/10

NEW X-MEN v.2 #46
"Messiah Complex 12 of 13"
Writers: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inkers: Carlos Cuevas w/ Dave Meikis
Colorist: Studio F's Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Assistant Editor: Will Panzo
Editor: Nick Lowe
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

New X-Men is bordering on becoming an adult MAX title, right? Last issue, Warpath launched a knife into the head of a Purifier, this issue we get Wolverine getting shot through the noggin, blood spurting out of his eye, and then Scrambler getting both his hands cut off and his intestines opened up on the following page. Yeah, the Marauders are bad news and this battle is horrific, but do we need to see intestines? And since when could we see intestines in a Marvel comic? Later on, Scrambler is stabbed in the shoulder, sending bright red and gooey blood flying, and later Vertigo is bitten almost in half by Predator X. This level of gore takes the action to an almost campy Grindhouse level, which is not the desired effect of what is supposed to be a very serious and dramatic storyline. This was probably the first time that I double checked the rating of an issue and then thought the "T+" rating was too lenient. The coloring is the goriest part, actually. Blood used to always be black to lessen the impact; now it's bright red and all over the place. It's kinda disturbing. And so far, only in New X-Men. The book with the youngest cast is the bloodiest.

The storyline continues merrily on, though, and there are some moments in this issue that truly make me smile. The first lines of the issue are Mystique reflecting on what Muir Island means to her. Destiny died there in Uncanny X-Men #255, she killed Moira MacTaggert there in X-Men #108, and now Rogue is dying there. This touch is welcome, as is any time the X-Books acknowledge any event prior to the year 2002. This does come with a bit of "why didn't they say anything before now"-ness, much like the previous chapter's revelation about Bishop and Cable's knowledge of the mutant messiah. Apparently Mystique has known about this moment since before Destiny died. Okay...sure. Not a big complaint, though.

The other moment I enjoyed came when Gambit realized that he's free of his debt to Sinister. The character's connection to Sinister has been a hindrance ever since it was alluded to in X-Men #45 well over ten years ago. Mr. Sinister may be my favorite X-villain, but if his death means that Gambit is free to be a decent character again, then it's worth it. I don't completely buy that Mr. Sinister could be tackled by Mystique and then killed by Rogue so quickly, unless her power absorption has been upped by her illness (I can't remember). Something else I can't remember, when did Sunfire become such a blood thirsty jerk? Sure he was always a little cold, but now he's downright psychotic and evil, actively trying to murder people that used to be his allies. I know he was manipulated by Apocalypse, but so was Gambit and he seems over it.

As for Rogue, if her death is part of the climax, I'll be of greatly mixed emotions. Rogue has long been one of my favorite characters, moreso because of who she was in the X-Men cartoon and in the years prior to when I started reading. She fell into a horrible rut around the turn of the century and has only become recognizable under Mike Carey's recent run on X-Men. If she is a goner, then I'm glad that she went out as the character she should have always been but I'll also be upset since we'll be robbed of a character who was nearing the top of her game. We'll see.

The art is typical Humberto Ramos, so...well that's it. It tells the story okay, is hard to follow at times but at least it has high energy and an overwhelmingly unique style.

The penultimate chapter of "Messiah Complex" offers much of the same wham-bang action that we've seen before, but it gives us nice character moments with Mystique and Gambit and finally gets that darn Predator X plot thread into the main focus.

MY SCORE: 8.5/10