Monday, January 31, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men: Chapters Eight and Nine


I think…I think I might be bored. These next two chapters didn’t give me anything to be mad at or hate on. Actually, there’s a little added thing in nine that made me go, “Awww.” Other than that, not much.

In chapter eight we have Jean making sure Logan is all settled in for the night. Considering she just gave him a full exam and then had dinner with the guy, it’s really the least she can do. They talk more about the mansion, the professor, and Scott, of course. Logan doesn’t like him and makes no effort to hide this fact, and Jean defends him. They talk about Jean’s ability, and Logan notices the bruises he left on Jean’s neck from earlier.

After he apologizes for imprinting on her, she reaches out to touch him and gets a wicked mental invasion of images and pain. It startles them both, though Jean is a lot more shaken up by it than Logan is. Scott and his perfect timing show up then, and asks if Logan needs Jean to read him a bedtime story. Pretty nice offer, really. Jean leaves, frustrated with Scott, and the two men exchange pretty much the same witty banter we hear in the movie.

Sometime later, Jean shows the professor, Scott, and Ororo the x-rays she took of Logan. All of them are baffled since it looks like every bone in his body is coated with adamantium, even his skull. They’re all sufficiently impressed, if not thoroughly confused as to why someone would do that to another living being. When Scott asks what Magneto would want with Logan, Xavier says he’s not entirely sure it’s Logan Magneto wants. Instead, he alludes to the desire being for the adamantium, and not the mutant.

In chapter nine, we begin with Scott’s jealousy. He doesn’t like Logan and Jean can’t understand why. So, to make him less jealous, she kisses him and makes it all better. No, really.

Out in the hallway, Rogue is trying to be super quiet as she makes her way to Logan’s room. She goes in the find him sleeping, having some sort of nightmare. So instead of waking him or going back to her own room, she curls up in the chair by his bed to try and sleep because his surly presence is comforting. That was my “Aww,” moment.

Next, we find ourselves in Magneto’s lair. Senator Kelly is tied to a metal chair and slowly remembering the blue foot that came down on his face to knock him out. Nearby there is a mutant crouching. This mutant shoots out a super long tongue to catch a bird and eat it whole. Readers, Senator Kelly would like you to know he does not approve of eating live animals. In fact, he would very much like to vomit.

But wait, there’s more!

In strides Magneto, all regal posture and crisp British accent. And Smurfette, who wraps herself around him like a lover. Senator Kelly is not amused, and is torn between wanting to cry like a little girl and rage at this old Brit the entire time Magneto is talking about…a lot of nothing. Really, I don’t even remember what he said without looking back. That’s how unimportant it was.

At some point even Eric tires of the sound of his own voice and goes to stand in this machine-sculpture-thing. There is endless and repetitive description of this thing; how it works, how it moves, how it sounds, how it looks. Seriously, it’s a little too imagery-heavy and I skipped a lot of it.

A light comes emanating from the machine, and we get insight into the senator’s senses when there is a power transfer. I’d quote it, but it’s fairly long. When these odd powers are being taken into his body, he teeters on feeling absolute agony to absolute ecstasy. He remembers every moment of his life, every scent, every touch. He understands how he effects others and how they effect him. It is a moment of complete enlightenment in it’s truest form. And then it’s over.

Now Senator Kelly has the right mind to cry. His skin is now glowing and translucent. Pretty sure that was not a condition he came in with, he looks to Magneto with unadulterated hatred and asks what was done to him.

Magneto’s answer? “Welcome to the future. Brother.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men: Chapter Seven


I have learned a lesson. New scene does not necessarily equal terrible scene.

Xavier has decided to give Logan a tour after telling Logan he only has to stay for 48 hours. My thoughts, since it doesn’t really say why, are that the professor is trying to show Logan all he could be part of if he stays there. Logan is quite impressed, especially with the Blackbird (which they haven’t actually said the real official name yet), but not impressed enough to want to stay.

While they’re in the hangar, Xavier shares a bit about how he came into his powers. Someone tell me if this is comic canon, or if it was just invented for the movie?

“‘When I was fifteen years old,’ the professor said, ‘I began to hear other people’s thoughts. At first I thought I was going mad. One day I read the mind of one of my teachers and saw that he was going to fail me, simply because he didn’t like me.’

‘I bet that pissed you off.’ Logan said.

‘It did at that,’ the professor commented. ‘I was so mad that I put a suggestion in his mind that was was having a heart attack. He nearly died.’”

He then goes on to explain how he met Eric around the time he was feeling alone. It doesn’t say how they met, which is disappointing to me, but that they formed a fast friendship. As the years went by and more mutants came into their power, the world changed and so did Eric. The professor and he no longer saw eye to eye on things, and Eric began calling himself Magneto. As a counter-measure, Xavier opened his school.

Done with the tour, Xavier informs Logan that Jean wants to examine him. To which I have no comment.

We move now to Senator Kelly and his Helicopter of Luxury. It’s so ab fab that he can barely hear the blades slicing through the air just over his head. Ah, how real life would be so much better with one of these.

Being the super important awesome man made of spectacular that he is, Senator Kelly has just gotten off the phone with the president. Of the entire county. That’s right, you should be impressed. Except, why is his aide looking like he wants to punch puppies? He should be glad the president agrees that mutants are a nuisance and should be gathered and…now why is his skin turning bl…why does he have boobs?!

It finally hits Kelly, literally, since Mystique puts a quick smackdown on him, that his aide is not really his aide, but a woman covered in blue scales and weird yellow cateye contacts. The senator calls for help from the pilot, who turns out to be Toad, and realizes he is now aboard the S.S. Failship.

After this sad realization, Mystique stomps on his face and knocks him out.

Somehow I don’t think he’s going to wake up at home, on the couch in his favorite Snuggie.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men: Chapters Five and Six

My apologies, readers, for missing out on posting a chapter review yesterday. Yesterday was not a good day and I did not do much of anything but play Wii. Today promised to be a repeat of yesterday, but I decided not to let it be. So, I have two chapters for you today. Let’s dig in, shall we?

Chapter Five - This chapter was nothing special. I mean there are key plot points, but nothing so rage inducing that I was wanting to tweet about it or post an entry.

We start out in the Super Sekrit Lair of Magneto, also known as SSLoM and get to meet Toad. He’s busy painting Magneto’s Super Sekrit Machine Thing and spares Sabretooth a snide little comment about bringing someone back with him, which Sabes so obviously didn’t. The conversation between Sabes and Mags is just as generic as it is in the movies, then we move on to a new scene and the mansion.

Logan wakes up on a slab to find a beautiful woman (“ZOMG she is the most prettiest face I have ever seen EVAR! And she smells like what I would imagine Edward Cullen to smell like! All sunbeams and honey, and ACK! Why is she putting a needle in my arm?! KILL TIMEZ!”)

Logan freaks, almost strangles Jean, then gets the heck outta there. He finds an elevator and takes it to Floor One: Student Department. He wanders, trying to find a way out, and is drawn by the sound of voices. Peering into one of the rooms, he sees another gorgeous woman with dark skin and snow white hair teaching a class. WTH? Is this a supermodel training camp? Did he die and this is heaven? If this is heaven, why are there so many kids in that room?

Oh, snap! The elevator is dinging! Someone is coming after him. He must flee! And flee he does, right into the professor’s office in the middle of yet another class. Xavier excuses the kids so the big boys can have grown-up talk, and Logan just about craps himself when Kitty runs out through the door. Like, as in the literal sense.

Once they are alone, Xavier explains who he is, tells Logan where he is now, and tells him he thinks Logan will be safe there from Magneto. When Logan asks, “What’s a magneto?” Xavier goes on the explain about his old friend and how he’s uncertain why Erik is after Logan. Then in comes the black supermodel and the (sooooo preeettttyyyyy) Cullen-esque doctor from the basement. With them is some dude with freaky red sunglasses, and Rogue. Xavier introduces them with some funky names, but Logan just wants to nom on jean’s face so he really doesn’t care about anyone else. Except maybe Rogue, who he suddenly feels protective of.

Rogue says she’s staying and Logan’s fine with that. It means he can move on without feeling guilty. So he starts to take off but Cyke tries to stop him and a throwdown begins. It would have been good, too, if Dr. Jean smell-nummy Grey hadn’t stepped in. Logan knows Cyke’s her BF just from the body language, but unless he’s reading her signals wrong, he’s pretty sure she digs him, too.

Xavier asks for 48 hours to figure out what Mags wants with him. In the end, Logan only agrees because there are hot women everywhere.

Chapter Six - This was super short. Like, three pages short. I was a little disappointed.

In Washington D.C., Senator Kelly is gaining supporters and making the always classy thumbs-up his new thing. His aide and the pilot share an odd look which, if I didn’t already know what was really going on, I could easily assume meant, “Let’s just crash this Copter and save everyone a bucket full of trouble.”

Back at the mansion, Rogue is getting used to school again. She was kicked out of her old school for all the trouble she caused by kissing boys and draining them of their very life essence. Go figure. But these cats accept her for who she is. Even better, they don’t really seem all that afraid of her.

John, the boy who sits in front of her, is super cute and he keeps making fireballs to show off. The Iceboy to her right decides to give her an ice rose. Too bad it’s already melting. That is not so impressive.

After class Bobby hangs around to offer a tour and dinner company to Rogue. She forgets all about John (really honey, it’s a wise decision) and agrees, making them both super happy. Well, until Rogue has a little conversation with Storm.

See, poor Marie is under the impression that the professor can cure her. Storm sits her down and tells her how it is, leaving Rogue feeling lonelier than she ever had before.

Tomorrow, just from glancing at the next page, it seems Logan gets a tour from the professor. It also looks like this may be a new scene. Be prepared for the rage, my friends.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men: Chapter Four


When we left our friends yesterday, Logan had been thrown back into the truck through the windshield by Sabretooth, and Rogue was stuck because her seat got jammed so far forward that it pinned her legs under the dash when they hit, and now Logan's eight hundred ton body is on top of her.

Now we turned to Storm and Cyclops. They're sitting in the Blackbird some half-mile away. Storm is watching the small yellow dot on her radar that is Sabretooth, and Cyke is curled up and sleeping in the seat next to hers. Ro mentally rants a little bit about how the professor told them to track Sabes, but didn't tell them why. Then she looks at the snow, thinks, "Ooh, pretty," and goes back to being a happy camper.

The sound of the tree Sabretooth ripped up to throw in front of Logan's truck reaches them and wakes Cyclops. Two more blips appear on the screen and they decide to go check it out.

Storm sees him first, catching up to Sabes just as he's tossing Logan back into the truck. While Cyclops takes Sabretooth out, Storm goes to help Rogue. Rogue freaks and screams "DON'T TOUCH ME!" Seeing that the girl is stuck between a dashboard and a lump of passed out guy, she calls Scott over to get her out before the camper of doom goes all explody.

Thinking quickly, Storm somehow manages to haul Logan's body out of/off of the truck before it all finally blows up. We're left with the three conscious ones watching the fire, and Storm thinking, "If that guy wasn't dead before," meaning Logan, "he's not gonna get up and walk away from my throwing him out into the road like a rag doll."

Oh, Ro. You just don't even know.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men: Chapter Three


Dear Readers,

I am almost at a loss for what to say. This chapter was…accurate. It’s like it came from an alternate universe. There were a few things, little things, that the writers took creative license with, but on a whole it was fairly close to the movie scene.

We have Logan driving away from the cafe-bar fight and smelling Rogue in the back of his camper. He pulls over, gets out to tell her to GO AWAY. When she asks where she’ll go and Logan says he doesn’t know, her reply is exactly the same as it was in the movie. “You don’t know, or you don’t care?” He tells her to pick one, then proceeds to drive away.

As we all know, Logan’s conscience gets the better of him. He pulls over and Rogue gets a free ride.

Now this scene is probably the one with the most difference. She doesn’t ask for food, he doesn’t try to warm her hands with the heater, and she doesn’t ask if it hurts when his claws come out. Instead, we have this little conversation.

“‘How long have you known?’ she asked.

‘Known what?’ he asked back, glancing at her.

‘That you were, you know, like me?’ Rogue had heard that there were others with special powers like hers. Mutants. She just hadn’t believed it.

‘I’m not like you,’ the guy said, blowing a large cloud of smoke between his face and the windshield. She had no idea how he could see the road, but he seemed to be managing just fine.

‘Right,’ Rogue said, laughing. ‘You’re just a normal, every day claw guy.’”

It’s not a huge deal that this scene’s dialogue is different, I just don’t like it because of the line about how his claws hurt every time they come out. In the grand scheme of things and comparing it to the other hugely inaccurate scenes, this is nothing.

After a minute of chatter, OH NOES! A large tree has fallen in their path. They crash, Logan goes flying through the window, and Rogue is pinned inside the truck. She’s pretty sure he’s dead, but then, what? He’s getting up and walking back to the truck.

He asks her if she’s all right, to which she replies, “I’m fine.” Wrong. You’re actually stuck and the cabin of the camper is on fire. Oh, and by the way, that moving snow mound is about to turn your new friend into his favorite new frisbee.

We end the chapter as Logan is thrown back into the windshield and Rogue is freaking.

Dare I hope this is a good turn and that it only gets better from here? Guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men: Chapter Two


So, remember that scene where Rogue wanders into some crapshack of a bar where cage fighting is going on and sees Logan reliving his glory days? Yeah, that didn’t happen in this chapter. In fact, almost nothing that happened when Logan and Rogue met in the movie happened in this chapter.

Is not the point of making a novelization of a movie to add to the scenes already there, not rewrite them and gigglesnort because you got away with completely screwing it up?

In the words of Buffy…

You can’t do that!

There. Now that that’s out of my system, I can proceed.

It starts off with Logan sitting inside a bar-slash-cafe…because there are a lot of those IN REAL LIFE. He’s having steak and coffee. Then he decides to cross over from the cafe side of the place to the bar to have some beers. Okay, there’s a gif I really want to use right now but, the way this book is going, I’m probably going to want to reserve it for later.

I’m pretty sure Logan would have wanted beer with his steak, to be followed by more beer to wash down the taste of beer and steak. Also, what?

In walks scared little Marie being escorted by four fat truck drivers who sit at a table together and make her sit with them. At one point she actually gets up and goes over to Logan to ask him to help her. At which point Logan pretends he’s deaf and can’t smell her terrible no-shower-in-a-year perfume. One of the truckers tries to grab her back like she’s a willful puppy who wants to sniff at strangers, but she puts up a fight, ends up touching him and sends him down to kiss the grimy greasy floor. And apparently when she touched him there was a flash. So, you know, that’s new.

The other truckers decide this is Logan’s fault and go after him instead of Rogue. Deciding he’s bored enough to become a masochist, Logan actually lets two of the guys grab his arms and the one left over get in a few punches. And then this happens.

“Logan doubled over, pretending the guy had actually hurt him. As he was bent over, he clenched his fists and pushed the knuckles of each hand against a leg of one of his captors.

Then he popped his claws.

Nine inches of metal shot from each knuckle.

Eight razor sharp claws stabbed through cloth, skin, and muscle as if it weren’t there.”

Why must this book be so terrible? Why must they take something that already enrages hardcore X-Men fans and make it worse for them? I don’t even…why?

A bar fight then breaks out with the trucker left over, Rogue screams and runs away. In the end, Logan lets the one trucker run away as he, himself, decides he’s had enough beer and coffee. As he drives away he suddenly smells Rogue. He stops because he decides no one is going to hitch a ride with him. Doesn’t matter how old she was or what kind of trouble she is in.

Readers, I am disappoint. That is all I can say.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men: Chapter One

Yay for an actual movie scene! And better writing! Or maybe I was so tired when I read the chapter last night that I just didn't find as many irksome things to make me want to punch puppies. Either way, I didn't hate this chapter.

In one corner we have Senator Kelly. In the other corner, Doctor Jean Gray. This is a battle for mutant rights and mutant registration. There's panic in the streets, CARS ARE BEING MELTED ON THE HIGHWAY. I am not making this up.

I like how this chapter talks about how nervous Jean was going into this public debate. In reflecting over what led them up to this point, the professor remembers how Jean had him go over her speech with her time and time again. This is not a side of Jean we get to see in the movies. What we see is rather, dare I say it? Mary Sueish. I like this nervous Jean, this Jean who gets frustrated enough with Senator Kelly when he starts blatantly ignoring her and talking over her that she inadvertently uses her telekinesis on the folder in his hands.

Yes, in the middle of this debate, Senator Kelly provides some pretty damning evidence against mutants. He's got pictures of this melted car, a girl who can walk through walls! The senator really knows how to work the crowd, and the cameras. And for her part, Jean holds her own pretty well until the senator starts talking to her and over her like a parent with a child. Eventually she gets so frustrated with his not listening to her demands to see this folder that she mentally rips it from his hands without even thinking about it.

Knowing it's all over for them and having spotted his dear old friend, Eric, Xavier leaves the room to wheel out into the hall and try to catch up with the now much older Lehnsherr. The dialogue is much the same here as it is in the movie, but with a rather interesting little twist that shows a slightly darker side of Magneto.

" Eric put a palm against the side of his head, then smiled. 'Are you sneaking around in here, Charles?'

Eric clenched his fist, and the professor's chair pressed inward, as if it had suddenly been gripped by a giant hand. Then the chair seemed to lift ever so slightly off the ground, as if in a subtle warning."

You get the feeling early on that Xavier and Mags are old friends and that, while they do not agree on pretty much any level about the Mutant Registration Act, they have a mutual enough respect for each other than they would not try to harm one another. This little chair squeezing thing? I liked that. Of course, I like me some well played conflict and violence, so there you have it.

All in all, I didn't hate this chapter. I liked getting inside the mind of Xavier a little, seeing that darker edge to Eric, and see a bit of Jean's insecurity.

Up next, it's the Wolverine. Dear writers, don't screw this up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Diana Reads X-Men, A Novelization of the First Movie


While doing research for a certain character in an X-Game that I run over on Insanejournal, I stumbled upon information that was drawn from a novelization of the second X-Men movie, X2 X-Men United. My first though was that these books would be fairly helpful, especially since the game has a movie!verse background. The further I read, however, the more I learned that these books tended to differ from the movies and their continuity somewhat. Thus sparked my interest in these books and my desire to read and share my thoughts on them.

Ordering the first book close to a month ago, I really thought it would have been in my hot little hands by now. Amazon kinda dropped the ball on this one. More accurately, the seller I bought from did and will not have my return business. The book itself is in fair condition, though it does have that old book smell I can remember eminating from boxes of my parents’ old novels. It’s kinda nostalgic in a way.

Yesterday I decided to read the prologue. Or as it says in the book, “Prolog.” No, really. Already I am annoyed. Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith, I am looking at you. If this turns out to be bad fan-fiction, heads will roll.

We start off in Poland, 1944. It is the familiar scene everyone remembers from the movie. A young Eric Lehnsherr (Yes, they spelled it with a C) is standing in the rain with his parents and countless others as they are being separated into different camps during World War II. It was interesting to me how they dive into his attraction to metal right from the start.

“The mass of people scared him, making him want to run away. The guards made him want to cry. But he did neither. Instead he focused on the twisting spirals of barbed wire that covered the tops of the fences in front of and around them. Through the rain the points of wire seemed to sparkle, calling to him.”

As the boy is separated from his parents and shut behind the gate with all the other children, Eric tries to get to his mother and father but the guards hold him back. Again he focuses on the metal, telling himself he has to be sturdy and heavy like the metal. So he plants his feet and starts having a fit. The metal starts to shake, twist and come apart. As his anger and fear get stronger, they turn to the gate itself. Eric will rip that gate down if it’s the last thing he does. Eventually the gate comes down and he gets it in the face with the butt of a gun.

Pretty movie canon. Let’s move onto what happened in Southern California, 1986.

It’s prom night and the theme is “Rhapsody in Blue” for a seventeen-year-old Scott Summers. Everything is blue. The tablecloths, the napkins, the dresses, the eyeshadow, even a lot of the tuxes. It’s blue. In case you missed that.

Scott is a popular guy and is there with, of course, the best looking girl in the whole school. If she’s a witch, it doesn’t matter. She’s really pretty. Apparently this girl, Selena, gets jealous if another girl even breathes around Scott and she’s not happy with him because some little trollop named Bonnie said hello to him and hugged him right in front of her.



She decides to go cry in the bathroom and, to Scott’s credit, he’s had enough of her brand of crazy and wants to talk to her about it badly enough that he’s going to follow her in there. Watch out, ladies! Except Mr. Daniels advises him to go to the men’s room instead. Then suddenly, ZOMG! Scott has a headache straight from Hades. And he’s crying about it.

Oh, Cyke. It only gets worse from here. Better man up quick or you’ll never make it in this crazy world.

His pals are in there smoking, doing drugs, drinking. They get all concerned about his womanly weeping until they realize his eyes are on fire. Scott proceeds to blow a hole through the wall of the bathroom and into the ladies’ room, then through another wall before he realizes, “Hmm, maybe it’s not the thick cloud of pot smoke making my eyes burn.”

Jump to Kenya, 1988. I see where this is going, and…wait. Storm is…twelve? In 1988? And Scott was 17 in 1986. I’m no math major, but wouldn’t that make Scott seven years older than she is? Is that canon in any version? Clue me in here, readers. I make no illusions to the fact that I have never read any of the comics. I always thought Storm was older than Scott. But anyway, whatever. Moving on.

Ororo’s story is actually pretty sad. She’s just a slow little girl with a white streak in a head of black hair. She’s smaller than the other kids her age and can’t keep up when they all play tag with sticks. She’s pretty good at avoiding being marked as “it” but once she does get that branding, it’s all over. Everyone’s makes fun of her and laughs at her tiny, miserable attempts at hitting someone else with a stick. Eventually they surround her and start wailing on her with these tag sticks. Little African children, where are your parents?

Poor widdle Ro just kind of huddles there, crying and getting angry. So angry that she wishes the sky would fall on all of the kids beating her. Oddly enough, it begins to snow. In the middle of the hottest month of the year. But snow isn’t enough. These children need to feel the same pain they were inflicting upon her. So snow turns to sleet, and awed laughter turns to quiet wonder. Sleet turns to hail and quiet wonder turns into screaming. All the while Ororo has remained on the ground in tears and completely untouched by the weather. When she looks up, her hair is snow white and she can feel the earth and all the life forces it contains below her.

Now we arrive to the cryptic “Mississippi - Not Too Distant Future.”

It’s sweet little Southern Marie. She’s got a boy in her room for the first time evar. Her parents are home and the door is open, but it’s still AWESOME because she never even has girls in her room. This makes it super special.

She’s tracing a line down a dusty old map tacked to her wall, telling David…wait. You’ve lost me for the second time. Her boyfriend is supposed to be named Cody. Even I know that. In the movie, unless I am much mistaken, he doesn’t even get a name. He’s listed in the cast as “Rogue’s Boyfriend.” Why would you rename him in the book? Why would you do something…I don’t…we’re not even to chapter one and I want to headdesk.

Moving on.

So Marie tells David she wants to go to all these places and he steps closer. Then she moves closer. Then he moves closer. After an hour of this, they finally kiss and it’s the best thing Marie has ever experienced. But then it all changes. Suddenly she knows what he’s thinking. Worst of all, what he wants to do besides kiss her. And then this paragraph made me stop and reread because…well…look at it for yourselves.

“She knew what he was thinking, knew what he liked, what he hated, what he liked to do with the guys, what he wanted them to do.”

…clarification is a wonderful thing, writers. Who is “them” and why would you not write something like “what he wanted to do with her”?

She tries to pull away from him but finds that he’s literally locked around her. He couldn’t move even if he wanted to, and at that point, I’m pretty sure he really wanted to. She eventually gets him off of her, starts screaming, her parents come in and the paramedics are called.

And that, my friends, is just the beginning.

First impressions: I feel like this is fanfiction, and not even at its finest. Having done X-Men roleplay for as many years as I have, I’ve had players who would have written this better. Scott and Ororo’s parts seemed contrived and forced, maybe because they were original and not from the movie? I don’t know. It just felt like I was reading a narrative written by a mediocre player.

Tomorrow comes chapter one. Here’s hoping it gets much better from here.


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