Hey, thanks for the question! I didn’t include them since they didn’t seem to be having a trouble with time manipulation of some sort. However, because they are dimension hopping, it could be related since space and time are so closely related. I’m not sure about the magic angle, but you could be right. A future version of Wiccan shows up in the Battle of the Atom crossover right now and he is wearing Dr Strange’s cloak. That may be a hint as to where they are taking him. I think that Marvel is laying a lot of seeds that will be growing over time.
Five Reasons to Read: Empowered
Time for me to start a semi-regular column here. Whenever I can, I’m going to highlight a comic that I think everyone should be reading. I won’t be talking about those kinds of books that everyone always suggests when someone asks what they should read, like Watchmen or The Dark Knight. I will be talking about more current titles and I’ll be going over why I think you should check them out.
For this first outing, I’m going with the Adam Warren title, Empowered. Why should you read it? Let me give you five reasons.
1. The Art
This is Adam Warren’s passion project. Much like Erik Larsen doing Savage Dragon and Mike Mignola doing Hellboy, this is Adam Warren’s major work. He’s been working on it non-stop since he started it in 2007. Warren’s artwork has always been influenced by Japanese manga and he uses that well in this series. Other than the covers, the artwork is largely in black and white, and while that seems to be incongruous to the superhero genre, it works, given the art style.
2. The Story
Empowered tells the story of Elissa Megan Powers, Emp for short and also known as the superheroine, Empowered. After getting a degree in metahuman studies, Emp gets a superpowered suit through unknown means. The suit, while being very powerful, is super clingy and easily damaged. This doesn’t help Emp’s self-esteem, which is already not very good since she suffers from a negative image of herself and is a low level member of the superhero group she is a part of, The Superhomeys. Much of the story through the series involves Emp’s continued efforts to become a better hero despite the her self image and the malfunctioning of her suit. While the suit has great power, because of the fragility of it, whenever it gets damaged in any way, it loses power. The more damaged it gets, the weaker it gets. This leads to Emp being captured and bound by the villains she encounters often.
3. Sex Sells
The comic plays up the sexiness of it’s main characters and several of the supporting characters. As mentioned, Emp’s costume ends up torn and tattered quite often. She often ends up in compromising positions due to being bound. She and her boyfriend, Thugboy, a former henchman, are often depicted having sex during their downtime. While the book is very salacious in nature, it wouldn’t even make it as an R-rated movie as there has been no nudity and even the bad language is covered in black bars.
4. It’s Very Progressive
While you could easily dismiss Empowered as being just another sexy superhero book if you haven’t read it, the fact is, it’s very progressive in its depictions of sexuality. One of Emp’s main antagonists, who is also her fellow teammate on the Superhomeys, Sistah Spooky, is a lesbian who was involved with one of the other heroes on the team, Mindf**k. Another hero, Maid Man, is a crossdresser, but only as a superhero. He wears a French maid style outfit while fighting crime. The book is very sex positive and the only real disparaging remarks are directed at Emp and her plump rear-end, half by the villains who capture and the other half by herself..
Dark Horse Digital is having a sale on the whole series right now. For a mere $30, you can get every regular issue, which are thick, usually over 100 pages each, and you can get the specials, which are more traditional comic issues. That’s 11 issues, a list price of $118.89, for $30. That’s a helluva deal! Plus, you can get all of that, just in time for the new special which comes out September 25. Jump on this deal now while you have a chance. I’m not sure how long it lasts.
Checking Out Some Cosplayers
The season finale of the Syfy series, Heroes of Cosplay, airs tonight and it felt like the perfect time to mention a few things I’ve liked, and disliked, about the show.
What is Cosplay?
For those that may not know, cosplay is when people dress up to look like characters from comics, tv shows, movies, anime, and video games. Being a comic book fan, I’ve come across it numerous times on the many blogs I frequent. I appreciate the time and energy, not to mention the money, it must take to create such realistic recreations. When I heard of the show, I was interested in the concept enough to give it a watch.
What Do You Mean By Heroes?
The first thing I noticed about the show was the amount of women on it. All of the main cosplayers, save one, is female. Sure, a few of the women have boyfriends or other men that help them out in some capacity, but the overwhelming amount of cosplayers are women. I think that’s fairly true for cosplaying in general though. There are plenty of men out there doing it, but it seems like women outnumber them when it comes to dressing up. So why call it Heroes? I don’t think it should be called Heroines of Cosplay either, since that would exclude the one male of the group, Jesse Lagers. They should have come up with another title that would have been more inclusive to both genders, rather than what they chose.
The cosplayers themselves are an interesting bunch. The only one that I had heard of or seen before the show was Yaya Han. She’s been a cosplayer for a number of years and is regarded as one of the best. She serves more of a mentor role in some episodes or as a judge in some of the contests in others. Yaya seems to come off as a bit of a snob at times. That may be because of her standing in the community, but for someone who’s never encountered this kind of thing before in this way, it just struck me wrong. She talks about everyone being in it to have a good time, but she takes it very seriously. She’s building up a business side to her persona and that may play into the seriousness of it, since she wants it to be taken as not just a hobby and an art, but also as a means of making money.
This seems to be common among most of the cosplayers on the show. Many of them want to use their experiences cosplaying to parlay it into a job as a costume designer. That’s why many of them are wanting to win the contests so badly. They think winning some kind of award will help give them the necessary cred to get where they want to. It just might. I have no idea what it takes to get into the costume designing field. Based on what I’ve seen, some of them should definitely have a chance.
Riki LeCotey, Jesse Lagers, Jessica Merizan, and Holly Conrad are all using their experiences cosplaying to further their ambitions in costuming and fabricating. I don’t doubt that any of them will be able to reach their goals based on what I’ve seen so far.
Overall, the show is enjoyable to watch. As with all reality shows at this point, the reality is scripted to a certain degree and you can see the evidence in every show. Each episode has a group of cosplayers making their costumes to show off at the next convention. The time frame for them to make their costumes seems to be very short and I imagine that under normal circumstances they would have plenty of time to plan and create before a showing. The compressed time frame makes for some of the drama on the show and that heightens the competition aspect. In fact, Victoria Schmidt has failed to complete her costumes in the time needed or has had to adjust them to make the contest in time. She’s talented, but seems to rely on her boyfriend quite a bit for the creation and construction. Even with the two of them working, she has had trouble almost every time.
There’s also a friendly rivalry between all of the cosplayers. They all pretty much get along, but they obviously want to win the contest. They seem to actually care about each other though and support each other during the contests. One cosplayer that seems to go against this a bit is Monika Lee, the youngest of the group, and is a protege of Yaya Han herself. She’s an accomplished cosplayer and that gives her a superior attitude about those who are newer and/or less experienced. It’s not an endearing trait and it’s frustrating to watch her dismiss someone like Becky Young or Chloe Dykstra who are less experienced.
The contests are fun to watch, as the show also lets us see many of the other cosplayers who are at the cons. The costumes on display by everyone are a sight to behold and it’s very fun to watch, especially when they act in character. It’s also nice to see that the contests aren’t rigged so that at least one of the cosplayers featured on the show wins. There have been a couple of times where none of them have even placed at all. The show may have a few things thrown into it to heighten the drama, but there’s a lot of the show that is very much real.
The Final Word
If you’re even remotely interested in cosplay, the creation of cosplay costumes, or attractive women who like to dress up in costumes, you should check out the show. Even though the finale airs tonight, you can catch all the episodes On Demand through Xfinity and the first episode is available on Syfy’s website.
What exactly is going on in the Marvel Universe these days?
In the aftermath of the Age of Ultron event, Marvel has told its readers that the timestream is broken. Presumably something happened during the event to mess it up. (I’m being vague here for anyone who hasn’t read the event yet. Go read it!) However, that’s not the only thing going on right now. In almost every title of the new Marvel NOW! line, there is some instance of time being messed with in some way. Don’t believe me? Let me show you how! (Spoiler Warning! I’ll try to remain as vague as possible, but some details are necessary to explain my theory.)
In the most obvious case, other than in the Age of Ultron, current-era Beast goes back in time, plucks the original five X-Men (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and the younger version of Beast himself), and brings them into the present. This is supposed to serve two purposes: to show the younger crew how far off of Professor Xavier’s dream things have gotten and to shock the current Cyclops into giving himself up in the wake of Avengers vs X-Men. After the initial confrontations happen, the younger X-Men decide to stay in the current time period. The ramifications of that decision are currently being played out in the Battle of the Atom event.
Cable and X-Force
While not quite as high profile as All-New X-Men is, Cable and X-Force have their own time related issues going on. Cable is seeing visions of the future. Deadly visions that he and X-Force are desperately trying to prevent. Meanwhile, Cable’s adopted daughter, Hope, has been taken to the future by Cable’s one-time ally, Blaquesmith. There, Hope meets a future version of Strife and the mystery behind Cable’s visions is explained.
While Deadpool is dealing with anything directly associated to time travel, he does have some past issues to deal with. First up, he has to deal with ghosts of dead presidents wreaking havoc. Then, villains he once confronted in his past resurface in the current day. In his current story arc, Deadpool is now having to deal with his own mysterious past in the Weapon Plus program.
The crew of Storm, Psylocke, and Puck have to handle the reappearance of Bishop, who’s returned from the far future with the Revenant Queen and her Revenant minions hot on his heels.
Another title that doesn’t have any major time travel issues going on, but the title does feature Magik, who’s mutant ability is to teleport between time and space, and Tempus, a girl who can create a localized time field in which she can stop time.She’s also displayed the ability to send people through time via her time bubble.
Another title not dealing with time travel, the all female X-Team deals with the seemingly immortal John Sublime and his equally seemingly immortal sister.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Wolverine’s brother, Dog Logan, uses advanced weapons and time travel to wreak havoc on Wolverine and some of the students while on a field trip to the Savage Land. Dog later returns as a teacher at the new Hellfire Academy.
Battle of the Atom
Rounding up the X-Men’s part of the Marvel U, Battle of the Atom has a team of future X-Men coming to the past to warn the present crew of the dangers of keeping the original five in the present. As usual, chaos ensues.
Over in the Uncanny Avengers, the Apocalypse Twins are using Kang’s technology to create a world just for mutants.
Avengers and New Avengers
There’s no time travel going on in these titles, but there are connections to past events. In the Avengers, the team encounters new versions of New Universe characters Nightmask and Star Brand, who eventually join the team. Along the way, the deal with older villains like the High Evolutionary and Terminus. Over in New Avengers, the Illuminati deal with an incursion of an alternate Earth that is about to destroy the 616 Earth. The Infinity Gems are destroyed during the course of the storyline. All except for the Time Gem, which Thanos is currently hunting for in the Infinity event. Together, the Avengers are dealing with Thanos and the Builders, an eternal race who created much of the universe.
In the span of moments on his Earth, Captain America spent 12 years fighting Arnim Zola in Dimension Z. How the man out of time will deal with it remains to be seen.
Fantastic Four and FF
The Fantatstic Four have been traipsing around the timestream, ostensibly about giving the Richard’s children an educational field trip, but Reed is searching for a cure to the deterioration of the Fantastic Four’s powers. In the FF, a future version of Johnny Storm appears in the current time and assists the temporary team. He’s also shown up in the regular Fantastic Four as well.
While Valkyrie attempts to gather a new group of Shield Maidens, she has to deal with the reemergence of the Doom Maidens, of which she was once a member.
Hulk and Banner, who’s personality has been copied into a floating robot, deal with a bunch of terrorists known as the Chronarchists who are attempting to change the course of history by changing it.The Hulk was also involved in a storyline that involved an earlier version of Thor.
Tony Stark finds out a startling truth behind his own origins. One that changes everything he knew about his past.
In the most current storyline, the Spider-Man of 2099 has come back in time to fix events that have ramifications on his time. A confrontation with the Superior Spider-Man ensues, of course.
The Thor of three eras, one who is young and brash before he was worthy to wield Mjolnir, the current version, and a future version who is the All-Father and the last Asgardian still standing. They join together to fight the God Butcher and his God Bomb.
Carol Danvers has been dealing with what seemed like the return of many of her villains from the past, including Deathbird and the Brood, but it was all a ploy by Yon-Rogg who was thought to have been dead. During the course of this, Carol ends up losing her memory due to a lesion in her Kree enhanced brain.
Where is it all heading?
Instances of time-travel, past secrets revealed, the return of villains thought dead or not having been used in a while, where does it all lead to? Even the branding, Marvel NOW!, seems to hold some kind of clue. Why did they use the word “now” like that? Does it have some significance to the overall story? Is all of this heading towards some time related event?
That’s my theory. All of these time related events have to be leading up to something that the whole Marvel U might have to deal with. That’s what Marvel themselves have been hinting at, but as of yet, there’s nothing announced. We’ll have to wait and see.
All in due time, I guess.