Past Features

Turning Off The TV #22: X-Men

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The film this week is: X-Men.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The X-Men film series is set in an alternate universe, where some people are born with superpowers. These people are known as ‘mutants’, and are often misunderstood and frequently mistrusted by ‘normal’ humans. The films follow the students and teachers of Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Youngsters, founded by Charles Xavier aka Professor X, as well as Professor X’s former friend and now adversary, Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto.

This doesn’t cover one particular film, but the series as a whole. And no, of course I didn’t pick the First Class poster just so I could have a certain Irish-German gentleman on my blog… I’m doing something a little different this time, and recommending my favourite X-Men comics, rather than novels people might enjoy if they liked X-Men. It just feels a bit silly when there are hundreds and hundreds of different storylines and arcs involving our favourite mutants. I just want to emphasise that all Marvel comics I have read have been out of order, and I’ve never had any issues following storylines. So if that’s a worry to you when starting any of these, it shouldn’t be!

Ultimate X-Men: Volume 1 by Mark Millar Geoff Johns

Ultimate X-Men, Volume 1

The Ultimate X-Men series is a modernised re-imagining of the X-Men, and Ultimate X-Men: Volume 1 by Mark Millar collects the first year of these comics. The team consists of Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Iceman, with Storm and Colossus as new additions from the original 1960s line-up. There have been several artists and story writers working on the ‘Ultimate X-Men’ series, which ran for eight years, from 2001-2009. I can only comment on this particular volume but I’d definitely recommend it as a good place to start, especially if you want some more modern-looking art.

Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand by Ed Brubaker & Mike Choi

Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand

The Uncanny X-Men storyline is the longest running arc of the X-Men series (since 1963), and Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand by Ed Brubaker and Mike Choi is one of my favourites of the series so far. It features Cyclops and Emma Frost as the leaders of the Xavier Institute. They’re called to San Francisco by Archangel, who has discovered something very strange – part of the city seems to be stuck in the 1960s! I really loved all the 60s fashion and colours of this one, and it was a pretty fun storyline. There is also a small arc with Nightcrawler (*BAMF!*), Wolverine and Colossus travelling through Russia.

X-Men: Worlds Apart by Christopher Yost & Diogenes Neves

X-Men: Worlds Apart

X-Men: Worlds Apart by Christopher Yost and Diogenes Neves is different from the other X-Men books I’ve read, in that it follows Storm, and Storm only. It’s always fun when characters that don’t normally get their own spin-off books get them, because it allows the reader to learn much more about their personality, origin story etc. Wolverine gets plenty of his own stories and I’m getting a bit bored of him to be honest… I’m not so big on the art style in this one, but I liked the story. Storm is Queen of Wakanda and married to the Black Panther, and sets out to investigate a mysterious murder. It was great to finally meet the Black Panther, who I’d only ever heard about!

Are you a fan of X-Men? Do you have any recommendations to add? Are there any other TV shows or films you’d like me to cover?

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Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: May 2014

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

Books Read May 2014

Last month I read a total of fourteen books: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Midnight Crossroad (Midnight #1) by Charlaine Harris, Fantastic Four: Books of Doom by Ed Brubaker, Ms Marvel: War of the Marvels (Ms Marvel #8) by Brian Reed, Insignia (Insignia #1) by S.J. Kincaid, The Amazing Spider-Man: Book of Ezekiel (Amazing Spider-Man #7) by J. Michael Straczynski, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers (Guardians of the Galaxy #1) by Brian Michael Bendis, New X-Men: E is for Extinction (New X-Men #1) by Grant Morrison, Doctor Who: Keeping Up With The Joneses (Doctor Who Time Trips #3) by Nick Harkaway, Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay #1) by Chris Wooding, Lexicon by Max Barry, The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar, Sabriel by Garth Nix and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia.

I read a lot of graphic novels this month, but I think I’ve read every one I can get my hands on in the county library system… so looks like I’ll have to find them elsewhere from now on. My favourite of the graphic novels was Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers – some great art in there, and I am SO excited for the film! Standout novels included Lexicon, Retribution Falls and Insignia. The latter two are the first books in series, so that’s two more series to continue now…

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read four books towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge – two books towards defeating Bullseye, May’s villain, so I didn’t quite manage to beat him. Next month’s villain has been revealed as Loki, so hopefully I’ll be able to take down the trickster god!
  • Last month I raised my Goodreads goal to seventy-five books. I’m now at seventy-one books, so it looks like I’ll be raising it again soon!
  • I read one book for my USA Challenge, which admittedly I’ve mostly forgotten about…

 

Currently reading:

The Quick by Lauren Owen Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

 

Off the blog:

May has been uneventful… in fact most of the ‘Off the blog’ stuff I shared last month happened in May. Oops! I did go and see X-Men: Days of Future Past on Thursday, and LOVED it. It also reignited my *ahem* ‘interest’ in Michael Fassbender… But apart from that, pretty uneventful! Here’s some stuff from my Instagram:

May Instagram
Left to right: My awesome new Game of Thrones t-shirt from Teefury; scaring myself silly by playing Bioshock in the dark & with headphones; my town has a festival every day and the May bank holiday weekend was just PERFECT for it 🙂
Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: I Have To See These Films!

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Today I want to share with you some recent science fiction film releases that I really want to see – generally films that have come out in the past year or so, or are coming out within the next year. I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to, or missed in the cinema and want to catch up on! Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.
 

“A veteran assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.”

Oblivion – Okay so I barely know anything about this film, but I know that it is about an Earth that is almost empty of resources, so empty in fact that it can no longer support human life. There are still some people left on Earth, whose job it is to find the remaining resources – and Mr. Tom Cruise is one of those people. I really enjoy the science fiction stories that cover isolation and how it affects us, and which delve into more cerebral aspects of the genre. Plus the music to this film is brilliant – thank you very much to Sarah J. Maas who recommended it to me when I met her in October!

Oblivion was released 14th April 2013.

 

“A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.”

 Gravity – I read Empire magazine (movie magazine) every month, yet somehow I completely missed out on this one until it actually came out. Perhaps Empire didn’t cover it whilst it was in production, or perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention, but now that it’s out it is big. The cast members come to a grand total of two: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. It’s had brilliant reviews, a great critical reception and sounds just my sort of thing. As much as I would hate to be in that sort of situation – space in general actually simultaneously fascinates and terrifies me – films like this really appeal to me.

Gravity was released 4th October 2013.

“The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth.”

 Ender’s Game – I loooooooved the book by Orson Scott Card so I was really excited when I heard that there was going to be a film of it. Although I can’t really see them making the whole series into books (the weird chronology/time skips may cause issues), it’s exciting that there’s at least one film based on the series. It’s a shame that the author has some rather extremist and disturbing views, but that doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of the books.

Ender’s Game was released 1st November 2013.

 
 

 “Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – this second installment in the Hunger Games series of films will see Katniss and Peeta going back into the arena, and it will be deadlier than ever. Although generally considered the weakest book of the three, I still enjoyed this one and CANNOT WAIT for the film. It looks amazing, as well as visually stunning – just from the trailer alone it seems as though they’ve worked so much on developing how the Capitol and technology is presented.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be released on 22nd November 2013.

 
 
“As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.”
 
Pacific Rim – I first saw the trailer for this one ages ago, and knew at that moment that I really wanted to watch it. Sadly, when it finally came out, I couldn’t find anyone else who was really interested in it (apart from my dad who doesn’t have much time to go to the cinema). I need more friends who love sci-fi living nearby! Giant mechas? Fighting monster-dinosaur things? Awesome technology? A soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi who did the amazing Game of Thrones music? Count me in!

Pacific Rim was released on 12th July 2013.

 

“The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.”
 
X-Men: Days of Future Past – X-Men: First Class is my favourite of the X-Men films. As awesome as Sirs Patrick and Ian are, I just love the prequel. But no worries, because the cast from BOTH film series will be in this new prequel! Plus Peter Dinklage, perhaps most famous for his role as the brilliant Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, will be playing the villain. I also kind of have a thing for Michael Fassbender. Ahem.

X-Men: Days of Future Past will be released on 23rd May 2014.

 

“Beatrice Prior, a teenager with a special mind, finds her life threatened when an authoritarian leader seeks to exterminate her kind in her effort to seize control of their divided society.”
 
Divergent – the book was a massive hit, and although it wasn’t one of my favourites of last year I still really enjoyed it. From the trailer, the film seems pretty loyal to the book so far. I thought it was coming out this year for some reason but apparently not… If you haven’t heard of this book, you may have heard of Allegiant (the third book in the series), of which there has been a lot of fuss over lately – someone leaked ending spoilers before the book was released in October.

Divergent will be released on 21st March 2014.

 

What science fiction releases are you looking forward to, or what recent films did you miss in the cinema? Feel free to join in with your own post!