Book Review – The Three-Body Problem

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Recently I have been reading more science fiction than any other genre. I have always enjoyed sci-fi but I had been for the past couple years more involved in reading fantasy with the odd science fiction story being read between fantasy sagas. However this has changed and now I am really enjoying reading science fiction. After finishing The Broken Earth series by N.K Jemisin, a beautiful saga, I was a bit lost on what to read but my good friend Carol Mateu (follow her twitter @carolmola for awesome nerdy fun and lots of laughter) recommended The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and all I can say is that I have fallen in love with this book.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The novel follows Wang Miao as he struggles to make sense of everything that is happening and how the world is changing.

Reading this book has been an eye opening experience. This was my first contact with a novel written by a Chinese author and I have to say that it was an amazing experience. It was refreshing to read a novel with a different style and it was quite interesting to see how the author presents its characters and the stories in what for me was an unfamiliar method. I found myself enthralled by the storytelling and fascinated by the science presented in the book. This is perhaps the aspect I enjoyed the most, as I was reading this great story, I found myself learning about new theories and new aspects of science that until now had been unknown to me. The author is able to masterfully explain the science being developed the book but does this not at the expense of the story. If anything this makes the story feel more stimulating and entertaining.

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Despite the difference in style, Cixin Liu is still able to create a recognizable science fiction story that contains many of the classic tropes we have come to expect in science fiction, with a new spin to them that keeps the story entertaining. After reading this novel, I can understand quite well why it has had the impact it’s had and why the author has won so many awards. It is a fantastic novel and in my opinion a novel that brings new forms of storytelling to science fiction. It has been a fascinating read and has allowed to me to experience science fiction in a way that I am not used to.  Furthermore it has allowed me an insight into some aspects of Chinese culture and history that were completely unknown to me, especially the several philosophers it mentions and the POV of China in regards to the Cultural Revolution.

Finally I would like to dedicate a paragraph to the wonderful ending of the book. The ending is beautifully written, including many references to a defining moment of the book that happened earlier and sets up the next book in a great manner. The ending of this book has instantly become one of my favourite endings as it is capable to leave you with questions, be astounded (at least in my case) by the wonders of the science explained in it, and full of wonder towards this world created.

I have really enjoyed this book and plan on continuing to read more from Cixin Liu (in fact I have already bought the second book on the series) and more eastern science fiction. I encourage you 100% to pick up The Three Body Problem, you will NOT regret it.

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Review – Wonder Woman Film

Finally, after a long wait, “Wonder Woman” hit theatres in Spain and I quickly went to see it. I have already seen this movie twice and have had time to digest my thoughts and find myself ready to write about them. First of all let me start of all this by commenting on the fact that I was not a big fan of previous entries into the DCEU world. Yet despite my lack of enthusiasm for this film universe I was cautiously optimistic with this one, the trailer had impressed me and everything I had read, heard or seen about this movie was good. I was hoping this would be the film to finally have widespread critical and fan acceptance and to see a film that I would love. So after seeing it twice I can gladly say that I LOVED this film. Before I delve into an in-depth review of the film let me just warn you that there will be plenty of SPOILERS.

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Wonder Woman had everything I wanted on a comic book movie. It was bright and colourful (something with which I have struggled in past DCEU films), it had great action scenes, it was fun, the titular character was amazing and it had a great hopeful message. One of my biggest issues with movies like “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman”, was the dark tone bereft of hope. It is a tone that fits Batman but doesn’t fit Superman. Comic book characters, especially heroes and heroines are meant to inspire us, to show us that despite how hard things get to be, how awful things can get, we can still raise above it. This movie perfectly portrayed this message and I was happy to see it.

Themyscira was beautiful and everything I hoped to see in an adaptation of the comic books. I loved the setting, showing us a paradisiac location where the amazons are able to prepare for their goal. The amazons themselves were amazing portrayed as fair, intelligent women who are also incredible warriors. The battle scene at the beach with the German soldiers was incredible and inspiring, full of amazing set pieces and stunts. Watching that and thinking about the trailer we have seen for Justice League, I for one can’t wait to see the amazons fighting against the parademons.

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The acting was great throughout the movie. I was surprised at seeing Robin Wright play such a physical role but she was splendid in it. She portrayed the toughness and physicality of the character beautifully and added great gravitas to the cast. The supporting characters were great in general and I loved the portrayal of Ares done. However there has to be a special mention for Chris Pine and Gal Gadot who had an amazing chemistry throughout the movie. Chris Pine was great in his role, playing perfectly his character and giving us great moment and Gal Gadot in my opinion owned the character. She was able to perfectly show both the toughness and vulnerability as well as the naiveté and idealism of the character. She has given us a perfect Diana Prince and a perfect Wonder Woman and I can’t wait to see more of it.

Patty Jenkins did an amazing job in shooting this film. Many of the scenes are beautiful and the action is shot perfectly, allowing you to feel the intensity of the moment without missing a beat. I also loved all the nods to the first Superman film (the glasses, the revolving door and the bullet scene in the alleyway) and how she was able to subtlety introduce them. She has done a great film and I hope that this opens the door for more female directors filming comic book movies.

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However the greatest thing about this film was the titular character.The character was amazing and inspiring and very similar to the essence of the character in the comics. She was shown to be as this idealistic warrior who is naïve but full of love and willing to fight for her ideals to the utmost. The message she gives is cheesy, but comic book are and will always be cheesy. I loved that she was fighting to end a war, to stop the violence, and doing so in the name love. I fell in love with the character throughout the film as she fought in a war, but also against gender roles and against an internal struggle. Throughout the film we see the character develop and grow but still remain true to herself. In my humble opinion she is one of the best character adaptations from the comics seen in film.

The already iconic scene in No Man’s Land was great. Seeing a female superhero charge the lines and have this amazing action moments was incredible and inspiring. Both times I have seen that scene I have become emotional and have seen it with a huge grin on my face. This film has finally given us the female superhero we deserved, a strong, feminist women who is able to change the course of history. Scenes like this are awe-inspiring and will be remembered for a long time.

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“Wonder Woman” was a beautiful film. It is not perfect, no film really is, and does have some flaws (the third act is a bit weaker than the rest of the film) but it was a great movie, with an amazing protagonist who I hope becomes the inspiration for many. “Wonder Woman” has certainly inspired me and the message of love in the movie is beautiful. Hopefully this movie, which is killing it at the box office, will be the first of many films with heroine protagonist and action films starring women in active roles. After watching this movie I am a bit more hopeful for the DCEU and I will with a bit of luck be able to see a sequel of this movie as it is more than deserving. “Wonder Woman” stands now in my top 10 comic book movies of all time and I can’t wait to see Justice League so I can see more of this wonderful character.

Wonder Woman: 9/10

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Review – Saga

It has been sometime on this blog since I have talked about anything relating to comics, that is probably due to the fact that I have been lately binge reading fantasy and science fiction. Yet whilst I have not been reading as many comics as I tend to do, I have been reading some of them, kept myself updated with Marvel and DC and have been enjoying a comic that over the past few years has become one of my favourites of all time, Saga. Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. It depicts a husband and wife, Alana and Marko, from long-warring extra-terrestrial races, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their daughter, Hazel, who is born in the beginning of the series and who occasionally narrates the series as an unseen adult.

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Ever since I first picked up the first Saga issue, almost by accident, I have been enthralled by it. The art, because make no mistake the work done by Fiona Staples is art, is sublime. It is able to reflect the world the story is set in perfectly and able to portray the emotions of the characters perfectly. Some of the art seen in the numerous issues of Saga counts amongst my favourite seen in the media and every time a new issue comes out I like to take a moment to just take in the amazing art drawn.

The characters of Saga are complex and draw you in every issue. Despite their alien nature you are able to relate to them and whilst they are in some ways they are similar to other characters seen in both comics and science fiction they are also able to remain in many ways distinctive and unique which I believe is one of the reasons this works so well. They are relatable because in many ways they are familiar but they are also different enough to be intriguing and to grab your attention. All of the characters involved from Prince Robot, to Alana and Hazel, to the multitude of side characters that enrichen the story and make it incredibly fun to read are memorable and important.

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The greatest thing about Saga is without a doubt its storytelling. If I had to describe it, and I must say it is difficult to fully do so, I would say it is a mixture of Star Wars mixed with fantasy epics such as Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire. Throughout the 42 issues we have experienced great emotional moments, fun moments, heart breaking issues and all in all an incredible comprehensive story. It is a story that touches on many issues that are relevant today in our culture such as gender, sexuality or ethnicity and it does so in an incredibly beautiful and respectful manner. It is also a great war comic book, showing us the dark side of wars, all of this based in a science fiction setting. The story has evolved and matured as the comic goes along yet it has not lost that essential aspect of fun and adventure that is so important in a space opera. Brian K. Vaughan has done a wonderful job in combining all of those aspects into a riveting story which is accentuated by the subtle yet delightful dialogue with which he gifts his characters.

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All said if you are not reading Saga you are definitely missing out on a great comic, a comic that I believe is redefining the comic book landscape especially in that genre. It is a smart, funny comic that captures with great characters and a comic with an amazing art that will stun you. Reading Saga is always a thrill and I am always excited when a new issue comes out. I 100% recommend this comic, even if you are not a fan of comics in general, you will probably enjoy Saga.

Whilst I eagerly wait for new issues I will be right here falling more and more in love every day with this comic.

 

Book Review – The Night Angel Trilogy

Recently as part of my binge reading in the past few months I started reading the Night Angel series written by Brent Weeks. The Night Angel trilogy is set in the fictional world of Midcyry and in it we follow the adventures and life of Azoth/Kylar Stern as he struggles to leave behind the difficulties of his life on the streets and become a great wetboy (something akin to an assassin). On his path to greatness he will face harsh training, legends coming to life and a war and struggle for the fate of all the continent in which he will become a key player.

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The world of this trilogy is a gritty dark world. The city of the main characters is run both a king and also by a “shadow king” a figure head that dominates all criminal activities with a tight fist. This makes for a fascinating setting in which the story takes place as Kylar struggles to be part of both world. He struggles with the luxurious, advantageous but ultimately deceitful world of nobles and also struggles with the harsh, cruel and brutal world of criminals where he comes from and of which as a wetboy he is an integral part of. This duality, this struggle, is present throughout the whole trilogy as Kylar struggles to leave behind that in which he was raised. Kylar grows in our eyes and we see him fight an inner conflict in his path to realizing who he truly is and what his role in the world is.

 In this world there is a magic that some users are able to use, however depending on which side of the world you come from, magic is taught differently. In the case of Kylar and his master Durzo, as wetboys, they use magic to primarily enhance their physical skills as well as for stealth reasons. Other are able to use magic in more traditional fantasy ways, such as fire balls. This combination of different magic skills makes for a very intriguing world where most characters are able to fight in an equal footing and in many interesting ways with high stakes.

Durzo, the master of Kylar, is perhaps the most interesting and refreshing character. A character that seems to be the stereotypical hard-ass, mysterious mentor, as the story develops you learn more about him, his motivation, his past and you understand the character. By the end of the saga Durzo has become your favourite character and every scene with him is handled beautifully.

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However whilst the characters and the settings are fascinating without a doubt the best part of this series have to do with some of the themes that this book deals with, especially those of fate, duty and the sacrifices that have to be made in the name of the greater good. The books study this issues in a profound way and allows the reader to reach their own conclusions before we get the resolution and the choices of the characters. Especially in regards to the theme of seeking the greater good the book is able to give us a great study of this theme, with difficult choices, no straight answer and a story that explores new ideas such as having a necessary evil in order to reach an ultimate greater good.

All in all the trilogy is very enjoyable and fun to read. It is a classic fantasy story with some twists on the old tropes that keeps it fresh. The pacing of the story is fast and action-packed, the battle scenes are awe inspiring and it is able to make the reader think carefully about issues in the novels. Brent Weeks hits a homerun in this series and I am looking forward to reading more from him.

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Book Review – United States of Japan

Lately I have been reading a lot and finishing many books and thus find myself having to write several reviews for them. This is a wonderful although stressful “problem” because honestly I am enjoying the books so much that it is hard to take some time off from reading. That said, I recently finished reading United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas, and I loved the book so much that I feel like I needed to write about it. In USJ we have an alternate history science fiction where Japan and Germany won World War II and the West Coast of the USA is now controlled by the Japanese Empire.

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This story has a very interesting concept and right from the get go you are invested in the book as you try to understand how different the world has become to ours. I quickly found myself become fascinated by the world the author has created, a world where honour seems to be the most important aspect of society alongside devotion to the Emperor, yet we slowly discover that not everything is what it seems and the Japanese society is more corrupt than first presented.

The book explores concepts of honour, duty, sacrifice, religion and morality in such a way that despite this concepts being complex we are able to dive into them and question many things. Despite the setting of the story being very different to the one we live in right now, at least in the surface, the issues are similar to those we face today in many ways and this made it very easy for the reader to become fascinated by this world.

The characters in this book, especially the two main characters Benjamin Ishimura and Akiko, are fascinating and every chapter of the book is masterfully written so that the first impressions you had of the characters fade away and you are able to see beneath the façade that they put on towards society. As you read the book you feel like you are peeling an onion as you discover more and more layers to this characters and by the time you have finished the book, there is a great sense of empathy that has developed towards this characters, even to Akiko who at the beginning of the book seems like a stone cold government official. This is without a doubt praise worthy as the author manages to create a compelling world with complex but relatable characters.

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Another aspect that I enjoyed of the book was the rhythm. The book is very easy to read as it has a great pace that never drags and allows you to quickly devour this great book. The pace slowly builds up to an incredible, action packed finale with many surprising twists that will leave you breathless, shocked and with a deep appreciation to the book.

Lastly I have to mention the science fiction aspects of this book. I am a huge science fiction nerd and constantly read books in this genre. In USJ we are given a world with many classical science fiction tropes yet they are not fully developed despite some mentions towards the amazing technology (portical and mechas to name a few). It does follow many of the themes that are classical in science fiction and that makes for a great read. However, despite the fact that it does not delve too deep into sci-fi terrain this does not really hurt the book, if anything the hints the author gives at a larger world makes you want to know more. Another thing I would like to point out is that as someone who really enjoys Japanese culture and someone who has lately been reading a very famous manga, Vagabond, and I loved the nods to Musashi Miyamoto.

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In conclusion United States of Japan is a great fun book. The ending was great, shocking the reader to the core and changing your perspective towards many colours. I finished the book wanting to know more about this world, wanting to learn how Europe is (there are some small hints but nothing definitive) and most importantly, really wanting to see those awesome mechas have more action. I 100% recommend this book and can’t wait for the second one to come out.

Review – Descender

So today I have decided to talk about a comic book that I just recently discovered thanks to my friend Carol or Blondestorm (she has an awesome blog you should read: http://blondestorm.blogspot.com.es/) and has completely stolen my heart and captivated me. I am of course talking of the great series by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, “Descender”. “Descender” tells the story of one young robot’s struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. It is a rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey that pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling space opera similar in some ways to the fantastic “Saga” from Brian K. Vaughn but also very different in many ways.

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The art of “Descender” is beautiful and unique. It somehow manages to express perfectly the feelings of all the characters, even the robots, and that is a very difficult task to do. The use of colours, the palette the artists use is vibrant and makes the settings and the characters come alive. Every issue of this great comic is a work of art and I have loved and enjoyed every single panel of art.

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However what makes this comic book so great is the story and its characters. Even though the story is set in a universe very different to ours, a universe with intelligent robots and with different sentient species, the work of the authors to give us a compelling and relatable story is incredibly well done and throughout the whole comic you feel connected to the characters, you are hooked on the story and you worry about the fate of all those characters throughout every single issue. The story despite having robot and alien protagonist at the heart of it, is really a story about family and about finding your place in life and that is what makes the comic so good. Despite all the advanced technology, all the spaceships, all the paraphernalia, the characters are just trying to find their place, trying to find themselves and find their families. This makes it a great compelling story and in all honesty, an emotional ride that leaves you completely satisfied emotionally every issue, yet still wanting more.

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The characters of this comics are great, and I love the way that slowly we are getting to know the background of every single character, even the robot dog, which allows us to feel connected to them as we are able to understand them. Amongst the many great characters such as Jin Quon, a complex scientist characters who hides the key to the past of the robots, Telsa an alien who is trying to proof herself militarily both to her dad and to herself or Driller, a fun killer robot, there is one that stands out. Tim-21, the robot that drives the story and might hide within himself the key all the riddles they are facing, is an incredible character. His innocence, heart and courage are inspiring and you are able to discover alongside him this world and conflict that he finds himself in. I have rarely connected so emotionally to a character, I suffer with him and also understand him as well as rejoice in his few moments of joy.

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If you have not read Descender, I can’t recommend enough that you drop everything right now and go buy this excellent comic. It is a refreshing take on the space-opera trope, it is a great comic book, a great story and most importantly it has amazing characters. I for one, can’t wait for the next issue to come out and continue enjoying this amazing ride!

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Review – Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

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As posted in a previous blog post fantasy books are my favourite genre to read about. I love reading those kinds of books and visiting new worlds where I can immerse myself and completely forget about everything for a couple of hours. In the past few years Brandon Sanderson has quickly become one of my favourite, if not my favourite, authors and I always eagerly await his new books. My introduction to Sanderson came through the Wheel of Time where he wrote the last 3 books and after reading that I decided to read some of his work and the first one I picked was “The Final Empire” the first of the Mistborn trilogy. Today I will give my impressions on that trilogy as it is a book I remember with great fondness.

Mistborn is set in the fictional world of Scandrial where. One thousand years before the story begins, the ruler of the Final Empire, the Lord Ruler, gained access to a divine power at what is called the “Well of Ascension” where he is rumoured to have defeated the unknown danger called the “Deepness”. With this power, he remade the world and everything in it into its state at the beginning of the first book. In this world there are people who are able to consume metals or use them to gain powerful abilities. In the Mistborn series we follow the adventures of Vin, a street urchin with powerful magic potential as she joins a band of rebels seeking to the Empire that has been running the world for one thousand years.

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Mistborn is an incredible series that captures you basically from the first chapter of the first book. I loved the characters, the setting, the magic… it is a captivating book that is very easy to read. Sanderson is an author that writes books normally with a frenetic pace, and it is very much welcomed. Vin the titular character was for me at the time a refreshing character, I had rarely read such a strong relatable female protagonist on fantasy books and she forever will be one of my favourite characters. This book opened my eyes to the Cosmere and I have been ever since then enthralled by it and devouring all the books.

Perhaps what I enjoyed most about the book was that alongside the evolution of the characters Sanderson was providing us a political revolution in that world, democracy was being considered and the weak were rising against an oppressive state. As a political scientist reading that in fantasy was a breath of fresh air, whilst I do enjoy the old story about someone rising to become a king I have always yearned for a story where they do not follow this trope and where the power goes to the people, all of that in a fantasy setting with magic. This books gave me that (granted not fully but still…) and much more.

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The Mistborn series has quickly become one of my favourites fantasy books and it will always hold a special place in my heart since it let lead me to Brandon Sanderson and his Cosmere, a universe where magic makes sense and has limitations, a universe where heroes are true heroes that provide us with role models, a universe with rich worlds full of histories and traditions and most importantly a universe where I can travel alongside the characters and forget about my trouble for many hours.

The pace of the series is really good and the sequels it has spun have maintained a great level whilst at the same time expanding on the previous books. I hope those who read this post take the chance to read the Mistborn series, I guarantee that it will not disappoint you. Meanwhile I will be at my place dreaming of being an Allomancer, flying through buildings using my powers and hoping that one day I get to spend more time with Vin.

Review – Spider-Man Homecoming Trailer

Another week and another trailer has arrived. Last Saturday we got the all new trailer for the “Justice League” film that hits theatres on November and today a new trailer for the “Spider-Man Homecoming” Trailer has made its way into our screens as the movie gears up for its release on perhaps the best date ever, 07/07/17. Before we go into the trailer I just want to point out that alongside the X-Men, Spider-Man has always been my favourite comic book and Peter Parker is among my favourite characters in comics. Thus it is not a strange thing that I get really excited about Spider-Man movies and as such coming into this trailer I was incredibly excited.

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First let me say that I believe the casting of Tom Holland as the new Spidey is perfect. I believe he really captures the essence of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, capturing the fun and toughness that is Spidey and personally I believe he stole the show on “Captain America: Civil War”. The casting of Michael Keaton as the Vulture is I believe also a great and he will be able to do a great job in portraying this iconic villain. My first thoughts for this movie are that so far it looked great on paper and I had faith that Marvel and Sony would be able to deliver an Amazing Spider-man (pun very much intended) movie.

The trailer I have to say was GREAT. I loved it, I thought it provided us great insight to what promises to be a fantastic fun movie. It seems to have a really good balance of fun and more serious drama. Whilst it could be said that the trailer does show probably a bit too much of the movie I still think that it did a great job in promoting the movie. I do love the fact that they are using Tony Stark as a means to teach Peter Parker about being a hero, which makes sense since in this universe Tony has already gone through his own personal crisis. The suit he wears at the beginning looks great and I also enjoy the metaphor they are establishing of him having to win back the tech suit by learning how to be a hero.

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Teenage Peter Parker has always been a long-time favourite of mine and while I do love the first Spider-man movie and I thought Amazing Spider-Man was pretty good I always thought that it was a shame we did not get to see of the awkwardness of Peter in school and this movie promises to deliver that. That fact combined with what so far seems to be great action (the ship battle scene promises to be action packed and fun) and an amazing villain has me really excited about this movie. No other character or group, beyond the X-Men, can get me this excited for a movie. I have always related to Peter Parker a lot and it is just amazing to see him back on screen on what seems to be a very faithful adaption of the character.

Between the “Justice League” trailer and this one all I can think is that it is a great time indeed for us nerds, for us comic book fans.

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Emma Frost – An Iconic Character

As I recently wrote on a blog post, I was very disappointed in how Marvel has handled Emma Frost in recent times and I especially hated the ending of Inhumans vs X-men where I felt like they destroyed the great work and excellent characterization achieved over the past 20 years for this excellent character. Emma Frost has been over almost the past 20 years a staple of X-Men comics, a leader and one of the most iconic members of the Marvel Universe. As I reminisce over how awesome she has been I have decided that it might be therapeutic to write a post explaining why she is such an iconic character.

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Like many comic characters and several X-Men members, Emma Frost was originally a villain. She was the White Queen in the Hellfire Club and played a big role in making Jean Grey become the Dark Phoenix. For years she was a thorn in the side of the X-Men although as a villain she was full of shades of grey, even taking time to open a school to teach new mutant students. Emma moved to Genosha where was one of the few survivors from the genocide that happened which resulted in the death of 16 million mutants including the students in her classroom. After this traumatic event Emma Frost would join the X-Men, becoming one of the leaders of the team, entering a relationship with Cyclops and with the death of Jean Grey she became the strongest telepath on the team. Since 2001, Emma has, until recently, been one of the figureheads of the group, leading them and guiding them through some of the most difficult times the mutant species has lived through, including House of M and the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn.

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Her character throughout those years became one of the most, if not the most, entertaining ones in the X-Men cast, not a small feat in a series full of amazing characters. She proved that redemption was possible and that no matter your past deeds there was always hope someone could improve. She was a strong woman who became a partner, both romantically and professionally, to the leader of the X-Men; Scott Summers. Her relationship with Cyclops made him become more confident and improved drastically his character. She was a strong feminist characters whose wit, intelligence and prowess made all of us fall in love with her and be invested in her story. To this day her role during Utopia in which the X-Men were able to defeat Norman Osborn at the height of his powers is a personal favourite as it highlighted the intelligence, power and vulnerability behind this well written character. Another favourite moment was during Civil War, when she was able to stand toe to toe with Tony Stark, calling him out for not helping mutants during the Genosha genocide.

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It is those reason and her run since 2001 that made Emma Frost such an iconic character. She followed the tradition in X-Men stories of having strong female characters. She made the stories she was involved better and was a fun, relatable character. Her latest run and her return to being a villain is disappointing to say the least but I remain hopeful that someday the character of Emma Frost will return to what made it one of the best and most iconic characters in all of comics.

Spider-Man – Bring Back Mary Jane Watson!

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Spider-Man has for a very long time been the cornerstone of Marvel, especially in the comic sense. During the 90s when Marvel almost went bankrupt it was the comics of the X-Men and Spider-Man that saved the company. This was partially because of the appeal of the characters but also because of the great stories we were generally given. Peter Parker was presented as the quintessential nerd and as such it was incredibly easy to relate to. As the character grew and became more mature, us the readers grew up with him and in a way we felt his successes were our successes.

Over the past few years Marvel, in order to rejuvenate the character decided to end the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in the much maligned “One More Day” story. This decision was met with much hate by fans around the world. Ever since her first appearance in “The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (Nov. 1966)” in which MJ pronounced her now famous and iconic line; “Face it Tiger… You just hit the jackpot” fans of the web-slinger have been in love with her. For many years she was the perfect foil for Peter, providing a strong backbone for him to come back to. We all rejoiced as their relationship developed, were joyous when we read about the wedding, suffered through their crisis and in general loved their stories. That is why, moving to separate them was met by such vitriol from fans. Peter marrying MJ made us as fans think that we could also find someone like her.

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At the time I hated the decision. I loved the pairing and I felt she added much to the stories. Furthermore, the way it was done by having Peter make a pact with Mephisto went against almost everything the characters stood for. Whilst I hated it, I understood the reasons for doing, an adult married Peter Parker is harder to relate to for younger and newer fans. The stories they produced after this were interesting and it was fun to see Peter dating others and interacting with other love interests. However, all of us wanted the return of the couple and this led to the creating of “Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows” a story set in an Alternate Universe where they remained married and have a daughter. After seeing this great fun story it is high time Marvel brings back the marriage into the official stories.

The time to do so is now. The introduction of Miles Morales into the 616 universe provides an excellent opportunity. Miles Morales can be used as the new Spider-Man to which new and younger readers can relate to, whilst us veteran readers can focus on the original Spider-Man; Peter Parker. By doing this we can once again focus on more adult, mature stories with Peter Parker, stories that we can all relate to as adults. In this stories MJ can be brought back as his love interest and the relationship we all loved can be resumed. The character of MJ is barely being used by Marvel (she is in Iron Man but she barely makes an impact) and for many of us it is weird to see her outside the Spider-Man universe.

After years of not seeing this relationship, of them teasing us with alternate universe stories, it would be a gift to us fans to see this storied relationship back in action. We have all loved them and clearly fans wish to see Peter Parker back with her. After all, Spider-Man might have other relationships, he might date other women, but deep in our hearts we know there is only one woman who is a true match for Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson.   

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