Tag Archives: comic books

Orlando’s Comic “Strip”

For comic book enthusiasts, one of the best vacation destinations in the world becomes the land of “so much to do and so little time.” Orlando, Florida is home to, not only internationally known retailers, but home to over a dozen comic book shops all within 30-45 minutes of one another (depending on I-4 traffic). Utilize Google Maps and see that there are definitive “loops” natives and visitors can take in and around Orlando.

The loop for a proposed  “comic shop crawl.” (Photo/Google Maps)

The “fastest” loop in the city could start at the northern most point and work in a “J-configuration” all the way down to Universal Orlando. Or, make a “loopy J” and end up inside a mall that has an upstairs movie theatre. Look at it this way: each of these comic shops are a 15-minute drive from one another. There aren’t many places on Earth where you have as many comic book shops in such close vicinity. Unless this article is about “Planet Comic Books.” Unfortunately, this little piece of information is not because a planet of only comic book shops could only exist inside of Ready Player One. 

Orlando is really close, though.

The “definitive loop” begins in the city of Winter Park, which is one of Hulk’s incredible leaps away from Orlando-proper. A Comic Shop is located at 114 S Semoran Blvd. This narrow retailer provides its customers with the most recent issues of comics and memorabilia. It’s located across the street from Full Sail University and proves to be an excellent retailer for the school’s on-campus students and faculty.

About three miles south is Sci-Fi City. This store focuses more on tabletop gaming and all of the different games’ components. The store also provides customers with new comics as well as a heavy stock of back issues and out-of-print graphic novels.

Geographically, this is where the adventurist must make a crucial decision. Either go back a little way from which the adventurer came, or, head toward downtown Orlando. The latter could possibly be a bit monotonous, or a better word: monopolized. For the sake of making the tightest loop possible, the adventurer takes the road back from which he or she came.

Another two-mile trek from Sci-Fi City rests Hudson’s Comics, located at 200 N Semoran Blvd in Orlando. Here, customers will find new and old comics and toys. This store also specializes in the sale of rare statues from companies like Sideshow Collectibles and Bowen Designs. The store’s best feature is its inventory of Funko Pop vinyl figurines.

Next, a few miles back up Florida State Road 40 is Orlando Fashion Square. Inside is one of six locations for Coliseum of Comics in the central to southwestern region of Florida. (Hence: “monopolized.”) If you’re someone who reads the more recent comics and nothing years before, A Comic Shop is the choice retailer for new readers, and reader of weekly comics. “CoC” is for everyone else. It’s hard to argue that another store in this loop, or in the entire Central Florida area, has more to offer for comic book enthusiasts new and old.

A wall inside Coliseum of Comics (Mall at Millenia) covered in hot-selling, classic comic books. (Photo/Matt de Simone)

Comics, games, models, toys, posters, and t-shirts are just a few of the items that Coliseum of Comics sells. The store inside of Fashion Square Mall features a gaming station in the rear corner of the shop of tabletop gamers. Resting on the tables are massive, intricately designed 3-D maps to give the gamers the most realistic scenarios as possible.

The CoC sitting a couple hundred yards from the Mall at Millenia specializes in their assortment of statues that range from varying degrees of height and detail (and price). This store also displays many classic back issues that are going up in price, or older, lesser-known books that have somehow found a way to climb back up in value—usually due to the book’s story or characters tied to the most recent comic book film.

This brings this loop to somewhat of a close. Orlando also features Living Dead Comics, Mike’s Comics, Epic Comics, Gods & Monsters, and the massive Acme Superstore in Longwood. A comic book fan could spend an entire day driving around Orlando and it’s small, neighboring communities visiting comic shop after comic shop. For comic book enthusiasts visiting Orlando for the first time, be sure to plan ahead. There are comics, shops, and diverse showrooms to be seen.

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MattyLovesPodcast #61 with Aaron Haaland, owner of A Comic Shop

In the latest installment of MLP, Matty travels to A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida to talk to the store’s owner, Aaron Haaland. Usually, MattyLoves provides visitors with content that revolves around the topics of comic books and pro-wrestling. The blogs are mainly dedicated to comics, while episodes of MLP ebb and flow with whatever Matty’s currently wrapped up within.

Over the past year, Matty’s fascination with the sales of comics has increased. In the last ten years, Marvel and DC have presented comic book readers with an overwhelming number of reinventions. Some were successful, while others failed miserably.


The sun sets behind A Comic Shop, located at 114 S Semoran Blvd in Winter Park, FL. (Photo/Matt de Simone)

How does this affect the retailer? Haaland is internationally known. He has a weekly video blog featured on a pop culture news site, Bleeding Cool. If anyone in Matty’s neck of the woods had a finger on the pulse of the comic book business, it’s Aaron Haaland.


From the success of DC Rebirth, to the confusion of Secret WarsMatty asks Haaland about the state of the comic book business for a retailer in 2017. The main question Matty wants answered is how retailers adapt to the relaunches in order to sell comic books to new reader. Also, what do you tell a longtime reader when a series with the same creative team relaunches with a new “#1” as opposed to simply continuing the ongoing series? It’s awesome that Haaland took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Matty and answer his questions. Enjoy this interview with the host of A Comic Show and owner of Matty’s favorite comic shop.

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MattyLovesComics 04.05.2017: “New Comics and Pro-Wrestling Hangovers”

Gang. What is happening? How was your weekend? Mine? Oh, not too shabby. A little CHIKARA Pro weekend that I wasn’t at all excited about.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] You know, at times, the readers can’t sense your sarcasm.

Oh boy, “Ed.” Can I at least say “hello again” for the first time in two weeks? Besides, there were no grammatical errors in my greeting.

[ED:] You wrote “shaggy,” not “shabby.” Fixed that. Technically, your last sentence about CHIKARA is not one. 

You done? I write how I talk. My verbage butchers the English language.

[ED:] It’s “verbiage,” not “verbage.” Please, continue. 

You left that in, didn’t you?

[ED:] Italicized, too. 

c8xlrmguwaaudlUgh. Anyway, I got to attend CHIKARA Pro’s Turn Left and Bad Wolf. Fantastic stuff. I will likely get together with Kevin Ford soon to discuss the awesomeness we both witnessed live. If you live under a rock, Wrestlemania took place Sunday from “The Citrus Bowl” in Orlando, FL. A $15 Uber fare from my home. Getting back from ‘Mania was a different, boring, and sad story of two guys who just should’ve gotten a ride from the other guy who ended up coming back downtown to pick up the stranded duo. But I digress. WWE never disappoints… Okay, let me rephrase that—Wrestlemania 33 was, in my opinion, the best Wrestlemania in maybe ten years. It was great time.

But let’s back it up. The highlight of my weekend came at Friday night’s Turn Left. A while back I bought Debbie Gibson’s 1987 chart-topper, Out of the Blue, on vinyl. For one, spinning it took me back to racing around a roller-rink after a tough day as a 2nd grader. Also: Altered Beastwhich, now that I think about it, is associated with the roller-skating.

The point of the album purchase was for last Friday night. As soon as I walked into the building with Kevin and Heeltown USA’s Jerrelle Hamilton, there stood my target: CHIKARA’s Senior Official (ref), Bryce Remsberg. He and CHIKARA Director of Fun, Mike Quackenbush, host a bi/tri-weekly CHIKARA-centric podcast entitled #DeepBlueSomething. Now, I’d have to go back and listen to the first episodes. Can’t remember how the title came to be. In my brain, the “one-hit wonder” band, Deep Blue Something—responsible for 1995’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”—is where the name of the show came from.

[ED:] Indeed. Listen to the intro.

Well, okay, you’re right, Ed. I originally thought, Pete and Pete?” But now that I think about it, when “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was spinning on the FM radio every 30 minutes in 1995, I thought the song sounded like the theme song to Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete.  

avatars-000234191459-cv9a8a-t500x500So, yeah, #DeepBlueSomething is set by a standard of rules (which I love). In each episode, Mike and Bryce discuss: 1. Something old (about CHIKARA Pro), 2. Something new, 3. Something borrowed, and 4. Something blue—like the things a bride has to have as a part of her wedding ensemble.  In one of the first episodes, Bryce tells a story of his childhood obsession with Debbie Gibson. Out of the Blue was the album that put Gibson on the map. The duo decided early on that “Debbies” is the moniker for the #DeepBlueSomething listeners. As a podcast host myself, it’s one of my favorites. The overall structure and flow makes it easy to listen to. Plus, if you’re fan of CHIKARA Pro—or pro-wrestling in general—it’s worth the spin.

Now let’s get back to entering the arena floor at the OLE. I walked up to Bryce with my album and blue Sharpie. He stood behind a merch table, selling his 8 x 10’s. I asked him if he could sign something for me. Bryce is nice. It’s his thing, so, of course he obliged. I pulled the album out of the parcel in which it was originally delivered. Bryce immediately said that signing Debbie Gibson’s Out of the Blue made his weekend. It was a super-nice thing to say and exactly the reaction I wanted to get out of him at the start of a busy weekend. But, I wanted Mike to sign it as well. Like a Mutant telepath, Bryce asked if I wanted Mike’s autograph before I could. A few minutes later, I was graced with an album cover even more beautiful than it was before. I think both of them got a real kick out it—my favorite referee and one of pro-wrestling’s true superheroes. Last weekend ruled.

What else, what else? Oh yeah, comics! Last week was rather hectic. Not a lot of quiet time to read many titles. I did manage to get through the X-Men Prime one-shot that reset the X-Men (again.)

[ED:] Wait for it. 

No, Ed. I’m not going to take a dump on the story. Reading this book “reset” some of my feelings and analysis.

[ED:] I thought the X-Men were a lost cause? Your favorite heroes were no longer your favorite heroes. Boo hoo. 

Shut your mouth with your mouth. Did you read it?

[ED:] I’m your editor. That’s literally all I do. 

471503-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_2028129Okay, then. Shush it up because the events in this quick story about Kitty Pryde’s return to the X-Men may have a glimmer of hope for the future. Look, you can go back to the past few weeks and read about my feelings on where the X-Men stood within the Marvel Universe during and following Inhumans vs. X-Men. Marc Guggenheim and Collen Bunn may be on their way to slowly but surely making X-titles readable again for long time readers and new ones as well. I emphasize the word “slowly” because that’s the only way to “Rebirth” the X-Men. The aforementioned Kitty Pryde is now “Cyclops.” Storm is now “Professor X.” Old Man Logan is… ugh. I just can’t dig it. Bring back the real one. It’s weird and, I don’t know? Unnecessary, maybe? Oh yeah, and the real Scott Summers should be on his way back soon too (while they’re at it). They don’t elude to that in any way during Prime, but wishful thinking helps.

Spoiler: The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning is now set dead in the middle of Central Park. Magik teleports it from Limbo to New York, but they don’t show it. I’ve been taught to “show, not tell” for so long I want to eat the Sun. I wasn’t a big fan of the reveal, but I like the X-Men back in New York. What I’m curious to see is if editorial explain how the subbasement that stretches for acres teleported inside the ground with grass and the terrain totally unaffected.

[ED:] It’s comic books, you fool. Let it happen. 

This is coming from someone who has never read a comic book.

[ED:] I’ve read your sad attempts. That’s enough, yo-yo boy. 

Ouch. Well, maybe I’m being a little too nitpicky, but I still thought that the final pages of an important new beginning weren’t fully presented to the reader.

Outside of learning of the new X-Men status quo, I didn’t get around to Infamous Iron Man last week, but I am surely catching up soon. The one book that surprised me when I saw it on the shelf was none other than the second volume of Alex Ziritt and Fabian Rangel Jr.’s Space Riders entitled: Galaxy of Brutality. I know this is one of the most kickass titles I’m reading when it names a volume after a Misfits compilation album. The first volume of Space Riders was a fever dream set in outer space. I’m about to run back through the first four issues again before reading the newest volume’s opening chapter. Stoked. 

Let’s take a look at this week’s choice selections, shall we?

gold_customPULL LIST FOR 4/5





Sometimes when I look through the weekly solicits, I fear that highlighting only four issues on my pull list is an error on my part and that Wednesday will hold a surprise or two. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I’ve scaled my weekly pulls way back. It seems that only one or two weeks a month provide me 5+ comic books. I can live with that.

X-Men Gold should prove interesting, if anything. Why Marvel isn’t making this the newest volume of Uncanny X-Menfor years, the main title—beats me in the brain. I will treat it as such, as will Marvel. I think.

Star Wars is so steady-Eddie. We’re picking back up with Luke this week, fresh of traversing the stars with his head buried in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s book of memoirs and tales of Jedi’s past. The Yoda story he/we just read about may end up presenting parallel events Luke is about to face. Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca do work.

paper-girls-2-headerPaper Girls is a title where I am currently four issues behind, all the time. Like, I’ll binge read books like this because so much is happening—a time-displaced adventures such as this. Reading’s easier that way because you have a better sense of “when” you are within the story. Plus, it’s an indie title. Sometimes there can be delays, but Brian K. Vaughn rarely seems to miss a deadline. Cliff Chang provides beautiful art. I first noticed his work on Wonder Woman during Brian Azzarello’s run six years ago.

And, of course, after taking a week off, Superman comics are back for the next four weeks! This week in Superman #20, we come fresh of the hinges of “Superman Reborn,” which reset the Superman continuity. Our Superman now is the same Superman we’ve always known and “New-52 Supes” is also the Superman we’ve always known. They’re one in the same, much like Lois Lane and “New-52 Lois,” and also Jonathan Kent, who has now always been a part of the DC canon. It was well-executed. Super-excited to read the beginning of a new arc.

Well, that’s my time this week. Off to read some comics. Hope everyone has a wonderful week and I’ll catch you later!

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MattyLovesComics 03.22.2017: “Kong and Comics”

Hey, gang! This week’s entry will be a rather short one. It’s been a busy couple of weeks. However, it’s no excuse to not keep up a discipline. I’ve enjoyed my return to the “Blog-o-sphere.” It also serves as a nice companion to my podcast, which is about to drop more pro-wrestling content as the “big week” steadily approaches. Speaking of, I’m looking at a nice, long weekend of cleaning my home as guests start to arrive this Monday for Wrestlemania weekend, next weekend. Good thing I got some needed entertainment out of the way last week. I’m going to be stressed for the next few days.

picture-703037-1489418110I finally watched Kong: Skull Island. To my pleasant surprise–at the film’s core—Kong’s a monster movie. The only reason I was surprised at how much of the film was a monster mash is solely based on previous attempts to reignite the fire of movie monsters. They all kind of sucked respectfully. The unfortunate aspect of KSI that I found similar to the crappy monster movies of years’ past was the A-list cast, working off a script an ambitious, 12-year old cinephile could write in the midst of his or her “monster film phase.” But what do I know? Did it work? Yes. That’s probably the most important thing to take away here. Kong: Skull Island is pretty cool.

The Kong fights are awesome. I’m not spoiling anything by revealing that Kong doesn’t interact with humans often, but when he does, it impacts the story on an emotional level. Oh yeah, and the post-credits scene. I’m sure a lot of people know by now what goes down. Fortunately, I was able to tune out anything “spoiler-rific,” although I had suspicions based on recent rumblings from Legendary Pictures. Not sure about you readers, but I’m not a fan on sitting through a film with a post-credit scene where nothing happens. The only exception: Marvel’s Avengers. If you’ve not yet seen Kong, think of the post-credits scene as the real story at the end of the day. Can you watch the last 30 minutes and figure out what’s happening? Most definitely. The ride is worth it, though. So is John C. Reilly. He’s hilarious.

At the conclusion of Kong, I realized that I’ve still yet to see Logan. Know me better than, you know, you, I don’t think I’m going to frustrate myself. I was totally not into X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It took me a second to remember that The Wolverine was the previous Wolvie picture, not Logan. (Which I didn’t see because of [see: prev link].) The X-Men: Origins franchise-to-be never got off the ground because (I think) the Wolverine movie pissed so many readers (me) and fans (also me) off. X-Men/X2-Wolverine works. I’m not getting into the other X-Men films—not directed by Matthew Vaughn—that have since graced us with their, um, “wonder?” Short answer: I’ve witnessed Wolverine do so much bad ass shit in the comics, I don’t want to see him take another one onscreen. 

c28ecaef6a048f1935dd52f64825ca16Admittedly, kids of my generation that first started reading comics in the late 80’s were enamored with Wolverine. I was eleven when first introduced to Lobo by some older kids at church who read comics. Even then I knew he was a poor man’s Wolvie. They disagreed. If Wolverine, The Punisher, The Comedian, and Rocket Raccoon were thrown in a blender, Lobo would be the gnarly result—by some weird, biological miracle. A “biker gang Superman,” essentially. Of course, I didn’t say that to those kids. Again, I was eleven. Anyway, you go back and read any Chris Claremont stories from the 80’s, “devil-horns” fly. Jason Aaron really got Logan as well. I dig that Wolverine as a character. I love the X-Men. Enjoy the films, readers. I’ll stick to the old stories instead. (Most certainly not the more recent ones.)

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] Oh, please. Not another riff on the apparent travesty that are X-Men comics of the last decade. It’s the same with fans of the Montreal Canadiens. Once, their franchise was unmatched in the NHL, but outside of a few flashes of greatness, they’ve been mediocre bordering on failures since the late 80’s. Sound familiar? 

“Ed,” you just made a sound analogy referencing the National Hockey League. I didn’t know you watched hockey. I thought cricket was your game.

[ED:] Well that was racist. 

I just thought that since you were from “Londonbury,” or “Oxlandshire,” that–

[ED:] You’re an imbecile. This is me taking my leave. Copy-edit your commentary regarding the “funny pages.” What’s on your pull list this week? 

Sometimes it’s just too easy with that guy. Let’s press on, shall we? Last week was a hefty week of reading. It was a good week, but there was a lot of stories to dig through. This week is totally manageable to remain on-track.

action-comics-976-218572PULL LIST FOR 3/22:








As you all know, Superman Reborn is at the top of my weekly stack. That’s pretty much the way it’s been since my first pull list back in 2000. I don’t know if I’ve ever read Superman series during a period of time where they were unquestionably the best comic books in the game. With Action and Superman each coming out every other week, the story has to be tight. I’ve stated before that Peter Tomasi and Dan Jurgens are killing it. I must also give props to Patrick Gleason, the artist on Superman, who is doing an awesome job visually introducing Jonathan Kent and his massive personality. But, yo, the rotation of artists (Patrick Zircher, Stephen Segovia, Jaime Mendoza, and Doug Mahnke) on Action Comics since Rebirth began has been most impressive. All styles work well in secession. You see this not work in some comics that switch artists like musical chairs.

Sort of like Extraordinary X-Men. It would’ve been nice if Humberto Ramos stayed on the title for a lengthy stay similar to Chris Bachalo’s art on Uncanny X-Men Vol. 3. Bachalo didn’t draw every arc, but a majority of the 30 or so issues contained his pencils. As soon as Ramos left the book’s interiors, so did my interest. Besides, as I’ve previously said, this doesn’t read like a Jeff Lemire comic. However, I am a completest. So, here’s to Extraordinary X-Men: another X-series I’ve wasted my money to complete.

4029623-whisperUnworthy Thor is just the opposite. This series could be some of the best money I’ve spent on entertainment in years. Why? Because this companion series to Mighty Thor answers questions that the main ongoing series cannot. Odinson is sick of the notion and rational that he’s no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir. At first, I thought Jason Aaron was just going to have Thor/Odinson accept this and we would see only one Thor in the form of Jane Foster fight the Thor-fights. Oh no. This week, readers discover what it was that the true-blue Nick Fury whispered to Odinson on the moon way back during Original Sin.

That’s going to wrap up this week’s entry. Cannot wait to crack into this week’s stack. Here’s to happy reading, gang! See you next week, hopefully!

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MattyLovesComics 03.15.2017: “BEWARE! The Ides of March/Macho/Mitch Murder Madness!”

I don’t if any of you can tell, but I’ve been pretty busy adding new content to my website like speculative adventures with the X-Men to my latest episode of MattyLovesPodcast with CHIKARAhistorian, Kevin Ford where we discuss the three latest episodes in the “binge-able” batches CHIKARA Pro Wrestling has released on their streaming service, CHIKARAtopia. There are 30 episodes of MLP now available over at iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher. Of course, the full gambit (including the Wrestling with Football Podcast with Grant Sawyer) leading up to episode #52, is still avail in the YouTube archives. There you’ll hear the episodes that were more topical at the time of release. Stay tuned, there are more podcasts one the way.

I can’t tell you where this inspiration to add more content came from. What I do know that my productivity has a soundtrack. Music is very important to me. In my spells of downtrodden points, music has been a fantastic way of dealing with life’s obstacles. I’m sure you can relate. Music also helps me get out of creative funks, dig through my weekly pile of comics, and vacuum. Since the start of 2017, I’ve read a lot of comics. Last year consisted of me building up a stack and then grinding through it every month or so. Sometimes it felt like work. I’ve still needed to catch up a couple of titles because the backlog of a few titles was getting ridiculous. I dug out some collected editions out of the inventory to revisit with an adult brain (Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, Ed Brubaker’s X-Men run). Recently, I’ve been immersed in two genres of music while escaping into the comic book black hole that is my living room.

metallica-band-1986The first jammers aren’t really a genre, or maybe they are depending on who you’re talking to. On July 5th, I’m seeing Metallica at the Citrus Bowl down here in sunny Orlando, FL. I’m totally dialed in. However, ‘Tallica hasn’t been on the comic book-reading playlist, so much as being the stars of my “get ready for work” soundtrack. They’re one of those bands that I couldn’t wait to listen to once Mom thought I was old enough to rock. Metallica became an interest around the time I first started watching pro-wrestling. Older kids were on the school bus talking about …And Justice For All, then “The Black Album,” and then the Live Shit: Binge & Purge box set. I knew a kid up the street who had all that stuff to pique my curiosity eve more. Seeing Metallica live has been a lifelong quest. Sure, I’ve had opportunities, but I can also name all the extenuating circumstances that prevented me from seeing them all four attempts. Needless to say, I’m stoked.

The other genre is the soundtrack to any hero who: 1. Can drive fast vehicles, 2. shoot any gun, 3. karate anyone with expertise, 4. jump off high stuff, and 5. knows zero unattractive people in any aspect of personality or physicality. It’s also a brand of music that makes for fantastic background noise for reading, driving, or whatever. I’m talking about Synthwave music.

My curiosity started at an early age with John Carpenter. Fans of his work know that the score to his films make the film. Halloween, Escape From New York, and Big Trouble in Little China, to name a few, provide a rhythmic experience through the adventures, horrors, and magic of Carpenter’s motion pictures. Over the past few years, Carpenter released two volumes of Lost Themes which bestow upon listeners chances to imagine different stories that transpire during each of the previously unreleased tracks.

More recently, I came across the Synthwave band known as Power Glove. For most of you who know me, there’s no reason to explain my relation to the NES controller released in the late 80’s. Long story short, once I heard the sound, I thought of Kung Fury and Stranger Things. I thought of Miami Vice and Giorgio Moroder. I thought of Michael Knight and K.I.T.T. Synthwave takes me to places I want to be. The sound splits the atoms in my brain and sets off a creative explosion. The mushroom cloud of memory fills my head with nothing but a mission to unlock the “what’s next” and the new discoveries that await me within my own tales and the comics I read every day.

I’ll give you five more Synthwave acts that anyone would dig.

a4181376098_10Mitch MurderHave you ever seen the film Kung Fury? (Link’s above.) The awesome score is done by this dude. I first heard of the Swiss producer following my first six viewings of Fury. It’s got a killer soundtrack.


Robert Parker Another Swiss producer whose sound is a mix of 80’s films and European disco and house beats.


DynatronThis producer out of Denmark says he’s inspired by 80’s action flicks. I’m pretty sure all these producers are inspired by 80’s action flicks.

a3174902089_10The MidnightThis songwriting/producing duo is based out of L.A by way of the southern U.S. and Denmark respectively. They also use a cursive, neon logo. (What’s up with that, by the way? Seems like that’s a thing.)


LazerhawkPossibly my favorite band name out of this set of Synthwave acts. This producer is based out of Austin, TX. I’m definitely keeping an eye out to see if he’s heading to the FL area soon.

So that’s what I’ve been jamming to while I grind it out here in the Mattcave. Moving right along, let’s now get into the comics coming out this week. I want to start off by addressing three characters and their respective titles that lived in my pull list rotation for years. It’s weird to think that characters like Batman, the X-Men, and Invincible will soon be eliminated from my weekly pulls. One thing is for sure, two of the three won’t be awaiting my arrival at A Comic Shop in the near future.

I’ll begin with Batman. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on New 52’s Batman is comparable to Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern leading up to and during the New 52 relaunch. My reasoning is solely based on the conclusions Snyder and Johns set up. After I read N52’s Batman #52 and Green Lantern #20, I thought, “This is it. Like, why even write stories beyond this point. Nothing will ever be this good.” I tried to stay on and get into Tom King’s recent run of “Rebirth Bats,” but much like Robert Vendetti taking over for Johns on GL titles, it’s just not the same. Couple this with Snyder’s newest Batman series, All-Star Batman, and you have me longing for The Court of Owls. I know Snyder and Capullo have a new Bats project on the horizon entitled “Metal,” but if there is any sort of lead-up, I will be in the dark (unless Rob at ComicsExplained breaks down King’s Batman and the remainder of Snyder’s All-Star series).

Then you have the X-Men.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] Another X-Men rant, Matthew? Really?

Oh, there you are, “Ed.” I think I’ve figured out how to catch you, mid-edits.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] Obviously. This completely defeats the purpose of my commentary. You can just write me out.

I can?

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] No. You can’t. And unless you want this to start turning into a Deadpool-type of scenario. Carry on with your gripes about a comic book series that really hasn’t been prevalent in 15 years.]

detail1Look, I’ve made my bones about the travesty that Marvel Comics has made of the X-Men U. It’s awful right now. The X-titles are almost as bad as the scramble before and after House of M. Fortunately, Marvel still had the scribing services of one Chris Claremont to at least make Uncanny X-Men enjoyable. I read recently that Jeff Lemire is leaving Marvel. My high hopes for Extraordinary X-Men were shot once Apocalypse Wars (plural) got underway. In my experience with Lemire’s work, his recent announcement makes sense to why Extraordinary doesn’t “feel” like a Lemire title. I’m not even going to get into Uncanny. I’m sure I’ve asked in previous posts why Marvel’s (supposedly) main X-title consists of all villains. I won’t again. The next event for the X-Men is ResurreXion. Once again, we’ll have TEN X-Men titles that have nothing to do with one another. So stupid. Why don’t we just have Uncanny X-Men and that’s that? How hard would that be to simply build the team back up from a single title? No? You gotta have as much money as possible? I get it. Do your thing, Marvel-money. You won’t see much from my pockets in regards to the X-Men—until they announce the next volume of Uncanny, because, well, I have almost all of them anyway.

My final gripe may be the biggest one of all. No comic book has affected me emotionally as much as Robert Kirkman’s Invincible. I’ve produced podcasts about the series. I’ve gushed about the first 15-20 volumes in past blog posts. For the past two years, the book reads like its been written by a robot programmed by Kirkman to specifically kick out weak stories while Kirkman maintains his duties on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Oliver, Invincible’s half-brother, was recently killed—which is a another “wtf, man” type of tangent I could ignite. If Invicible’s end happened three years ago, I would’ve been wrecked. Due to the fact that the past two years (like, six total issues) of story evoked zero emotions up to the point of—and during—Oliver’s demise, I don’t really care anymore. Now that I know the series ends in ten or so issues, I just want it to be over with. Kirkman, in all intents and purposes, should’ve ended Invincible after issue #100. The past 33 issues have been a waste. Let’s just be real. What a shame. It’s still the best 100 issues I’ve ever read from any story in the super-hero genre. I’ll likely stand by that forever, unless the end is unbearable. Then that would really be a shame.

But enough of the yuck-yuck over comics. There are what they are. Bats, the X-Men, and Invincible will hopefully be back to form one day. Fortunately, there are plenty of titles I’m currently reading that are hitting their strides. Let’s take a look at some examples from my pull list for this week.



killorbekilled_07-1AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 25











I must admit, this is the first hefty week of books in a minute. The Batman and X-Men titles respectively glare back at me. I’m up in the air about All-Star. There is still hope for the finale of Invincible. I probably will flip through Uncanny for the sole purpose that I’ve done so, much like the 500+ issues I’ve purchased before.

I love this mash of comics because the slate is a “time machine” of my favorite things. Let’s start with He-Man, the O.G. within my history of Geek. He-Man/Thundercats is a super-fun, “what if…” crossover where it’s basically the Eternians and Thunderians joining forces to stop Skeletor and Mumm-Ra from destroy everything. It’s a great time.

Superman and Action Comics really rock it out. Last week’s Action revealed that the “DoppelClark” was, in fact, Mr. Mxyzptlk. One really cool thing the folks at DC provided with was a background history of Mr. MITZ-EL-PLIK—oh yeah, and a confirmation that the way I’ve said his name all these years is the correct way. Well, that way, and four others. This week’s chapter will likely be the first book I crack open. The second being the trouble that Jonn-o Kent and Damian Wayne have gotten themselves into.

Warren Ellis’ Wild Storm continues. I dug the first issue where we basically get the introduction to the main cast, which includes Grifter, Zealot, Void, Jacob Marlowe, and Miles Craven. The only character I’m still scratching my head about is Michael Cray. When will be become Deathblow? Did that happen already? I still have a bunch of questions plot-wise.

“The Asgard/Shi’ar War” concludes this week. I’ve said it before (quite a few times, probably), the Shi’ar make things happen. They’re a wonderful combination of personalities and power sets to make themselves formidable—specifically on ground-level combat. You can never sleep on Gladiator. I don’t know if its Jason Aaron’s awesome stories and “Thor-verse” he created, or the insanely talented artists painting the pictures, but Thor-related events and stories for the past five (FIVE!) years have been incredible. Some of the best comic book content I’ve had the pleasure of absorbing in my life as a reader. I mean that. Thor: God of Thunder is a series I would not only recommend to new comic book readers interested in Thor, I would suggest TGoT to anyone who is interested in reading super-hero comic books in general. Jane Foster hasn’t disappointed me in the slightest.

And hey, hey Kill or be Killed is on the list! Again, this is likely going to win my “Best Comic of 2017” when the year is said and done. I’ll do another quick check to see if the series is being optioned as a television series. I haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait, gang. I’m telling you. This series would translate so well to a streaming service like Netflix. Hope you have considered this book to add on your must-read list.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] It is quite good.

See? “Ed” knows. And he’s super-anal when it comes to comics he considers to be palatable much less a form of literature.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] Excuse me, I read the “Archies.”

That’s kind of sad, Ed.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:] And yet here you are clamoring for the next episode of Riverdale which airs Thursday night.


[EDITOR’S NOTE:] Wrap it up, please.


Another reason I think KobK and other titles from Image Comics are so enjoyable is due to the fact that they’re inexpensive. They never stray from a hard $3.99 on monthly books containing zero ads throughout the story. Amazing Spider-Man #25 is “over-sized” and coming off the shelf at a $9.99 clip. Look, AMS holds one of the torches which continues to guide the Marvel through the endless caverns of canon. Dan Slott is one of the best writers in comics and will likely go down in history as one of the five best writers for the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Still though, $10? Really? The book is 96 pages. However, only “40” contain the main story penned by Slott. I don’t know, man. Let’s just hope the corners of the book aren’t torn.

That’s it for this week, gang. Here’s to another excellent week and a rockin’ comic book Wednesday. Have fun! I’ll talk at you soon!

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MattyLovesPodcast #57: “The CHIKARA March to Fern Park”


!!FRESH EPISODE!! Recorded on March 13, 2017

– MLP is excited to have back co-founder of PRO WRESTLING PONDERINGS and operator of THE CHIKARA SPECIAL, “CHIKARAHistorian” KEVIN FORD.

– This episode is the latest CHIKARA Pro update from Matty and Kevin. The duo takes a look at the third “trio” of episodes from CHIKARA’s “secret” Season 17. They also express their excitement for CHIKARA’s visit to sunny Orlando, FL at the end of March.

Enjoy the show and as always, leave a comment and a rating, but most of all, SUBSCRIBE!

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MattyLovesComics: A Speculative Adventure – “The X-Men”

When I was 8-years old, I had an incredible revelation: Comic books are great.

 I wasn’t 14 or 15 before I started to actually read the stories. As a child, the pictures told enough of the story. From the death of Superman to Magneto removing the adamantium that laces Wolverine’s skeleton—these were clear without the necessity of the words to better color the bright and wonderful panels. Out of all the super heroes and villains I grew up following through the pages of comic books, Uncanny X-Men was far and away the easiest brand of comics for me to understand.

uncanny2bx-men2b232622b-2btentaclesIt’s kind of crazy to say that. I jumped on to Uncanny with issue #262 and, of course, I had no idea what the heck was going on. I thought Jean Grey had turned into a demon and was dating Banshee. Peter Nicholas (Colossus) fancied himself an artist who was in a relationship with Callisto. I thought Forge was one of the original X-Men. Little did I know that in X-comics, at that time, the Marvel U considered the X-Men dead following the events during Fall of the Mutants. Lost to me was the knowledge that a chunk of the remaining team stepped into the Siege Perilous only to reemerge spread out throughout the globe as different versions of themselves. Still, despite that, the pages clung to my memory.

Another supporting book that added to my “X-hysteria” was Classic X-Men, or X-Men Classic, depending on the date of release. This series was a reprint of the initial run of Uncanny written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Byrne. It also featured stunning covers from Arthur Adams and Steve Lightle, and then later by Mike Mignola. As a new reader, these stories told me the origins of the X-Men who were now the savvy vets who were featured in the first 1989 editions I flipped through.

Nearly twenty years from when I rifled through my first X-Men comics, I decided that I needed to not own all of Uncanny X-Men, I was going to read it too. The initial, “All-New, All-Different” issues #94-108 are pricey. I own a copy of Giant-Size X-Men #1, but I think my run begins around issue #109 or #110. After issue #144, I have nearly every issue of Uncanny. I still need Days of Future Past Part 1 and maybe a random issue in the 330’s for some reason. Outside of maybe two or three issues, I own over 500 issues of Uncanny X-Men.

The stories told by Claremont between the Dark Phoenix (1980) fallout and Mutant Genesis (1991) are what I consider to be the greatest run in the history of comics. It was from that decade of tales where I analyzed and studied the characters coming to my own conclusion that these books are about unity and accepting ever person on this planet as a human being no different than any other. It’s pretty heavy at 28 once you can peel back the layers enough to see how Claremont plays with the notion of social prejudices’ impact on society, particularly those who look different than the rest.

Some of my favorite arcs were The Mutant Massacre, which literally bled into Fall of the Mutants, then on down to the X-Tinction Agendawhich I feel serves as Claremont’s final comic book masterpiece. It is within this particular era (1986-1990) that I decided to highlight some of the best characters and villains. This is also therapeutic for me because all of the X-Men and Mutants in the current Marvel Universe are void of depth and emotion. (Thanks, FOX Studios/Marvel.) So much has done to twist and turn the origins of so many X-Men that it’s hard now to know where any of them originally came from. In my opinion, Marvel should think about re-releasing an “X-Men Classic” title that gives new readers the true origins of some of these characters. I’m not saying reprint the 80’s stuff. Reprint the origins of characters like Elixir and Prestige. Not many new to the X-universe are going to have any idea who they are.

whale-probe-startrekivSet-Up: Marvel’s finest have no choice but to once again beg the X-Men to save the world from an unknown alien invasion. I want to emphasize the word “unknown.” The Marvel “elite” have satellite proof that something is coming. Let’s say that the Avengers and other heroes vote on a team to check it out. The team gets obliterated aside from, I don’t know, Tony Starkwho’s still alive in my story’s continuity. Stark returns with the rest of his team—Captain Marvel, Simon Williams, Vision, and Johnny Stormin shambles. He didn’t get a good look because of the speed of the attack, but there is an armada, and they’re big. Over the course of the next 24 hours, Stark and his fallen team infect the rest of the Avengers and Fantastic Four on hand with a virus causing them to age at a rapid rate.

The heroes’ memories worsen. The villains run amok in New York and elsewhere. Franklin and Valeria Richards, although infected children, age into adulthood and are powerful enough to fight villainy globally. Reed Richards, if he hasn’t already, suggests the X-Men’s aid. As usual, the X-Men are on the outs with the rest of Marvel’s heroes over something. Based on the amount of high-powered team members, S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D., the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Strikeforce Morituri, and whomever agree to contact the X-Men. I am (you are) playing the role of Professor X assembling the right task forces necessary to carry the brunt of the action.

jim-lee-x-men-11Team-Building: In order for Earth to be well-protected, you have to break up the X-Men into two definitive teams. That’s just what you do. I’m limiting one villain allowed per squad—two squads, six Mutants per team. Only the traditional “dead X-Men” are dead (Jean Grey (Earth-616), Thunderbird, Banshee, the Deadly Genesis crew—which includes Vulcan), but the “loophole-dead” X-Men are available. Maybe some of you readers have a few teams you would chose to defend Earth. Feel free to send away.

48914687cb2b7e04f769bc883c983bddTeam 1 Headquarters: A small, mobile satellite in direct connection to pretty much any sort of digital device. The base is equipped with an array of defense mechanisms. Let’s say that it’s strong enough to withstand the equivalent of a single, blast of low-level energy from Galactus. After that powerful of an attack: evacuate.

Team 1: “The Interplanetary X-Men” – this team will serve as the front line defending Earth’s orbit from whatever is coming. Considering the setting and the atmosphere, hand-to-hand combat experts aren’t going to do you much good here. we need some of the more “exotic” Mutants to defend the Earth’s atmosphere. Oh yeah, range and firepower. To ensure the safety of the planet, you want some hard-hitters manning Earth’s orbit.

nateNate Grey/X-ManTo lead this band of misfits, I need experience. Not to contradict my rules for the roster, I need at least one Omega-level character. Nate is the genetically grown offspring of Scott Summers and Jean Grey. At one point, he was considered to be Marvel’s strongest telepath following the events of the Age of Apocalypse saga. “X-Man,” or “Nate-X,” can literally rip through time like a Hulk Hogan t-shirt via telepathy. He’s strong enough to level entire cities, so, who’s to say this dude can take down an armada of alien warships.

xorn2 XornI mentioned firepower. Kyan-Yin Xorn’s face is a tiny star/mini sun. He can emit any energy that a sun can produce. Thus—Omega-level electromagnetism, blinding light, radioactive force blasts, etc. Look up the Sun, and then study Xorn. Figure out the possibilities. If some super-fast, super-heavy unknown entity is heading to Earth, having Xorn stationed in Earth’s orbit would be beneficial, particularly if we discover the aliens are powered or depowered by the sun’s energy. Plus, he’s Zen AF so you know he’ll try to keep the nerves of this team in check. 

polariscardsPolarisShe’s the lovechild of Magneto with one of the most convoluted pasts of all the “original” X-Men created before 1976. Without taking into account her current status, I’m looking at Lorna Dane from the aspect of being a badass. That she is. Polaris can manipulate magnetic fields on an Omega-level. Meaning: the magnetic pull of Earth around the sun could possibly be breached or manipulated by Polaris. The same goes for an armada of alien warships. No substance can resist her grasp on control on any magnetic field. Polaris is a character often overlooked. She’s just as powerful as Magneto plus she has the ability to absorb energy—which is something Magneto has a little trouble with. If I need someone to deconstruct a ship that doesn’t make it through the Omega-level “blockade,” Polaris will prove useful as the teams plan to take down the aliens.

tumblr_n2m38e3sae1sk6e82o1_500Lila CheneyI tried to go without making too many “selfish” choices. Lila was unavoidable. This X-Man made her Marvel presence known in the late 80’s performing with the Mutant and pop-sensation, Dazzler. Since her stint in New Mutants and Uncanny X-Men/X-Men, Lila hasn’t been around much. A couple of years ago, she had a brief run of appearances during Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel series. Other than that, she’s an untapped resource with amazing potential. Lila is an interstellar teleporter. The difference between she and say, Nightcrawler, is that Lila can teleport from here to Jupiter. Kurt Wagner can only get us from inside a prison cell to outside the prison gates. How would she be important to the team? Depending on the intel this team can gather on these unknown aliens, if we need this intergalactic ragtag bunch to visit these aliens’ homeworld, Lila can get them there, or anywhere in space. She knows the cosmos like a roadmap. 

cypher00CypherOne of the biggest issues we face in society is a lack of communication. In Science Fiction, it seems most alien invasions occur because either: A.) We don’t understand/heed the aliens’ warnings, or, B.) The aliens think whatever signals we’re projecting is considered an act of war. Let’s totally cut that miscommunication angle out of the equation by bringing in Doug Ramsey. Cypher can translate any language. Not just human, verbal language, but also body language, the language of electronics, and most importantly extraterrestrial languages. If this unknown armada is using frequencies to contact Earth, its home world, or whomever else, Cypher will encrypt the language in no time flat. This team needs to individuals who communicate well with other people, and other objects. 

2510035-maddisonMadison JeffriesThe other half of the communication factor for this team. How did the X-Men manage to build a mobile satellite so fast? For that matter, how did the X-Men recently build any sort of vehicle, ship, or base so fast? Jeffries is the guy. While Cypher can understand the language of a machine, Jeffries, or codename: “Box,” can literally “talk” to the machine. His mutant power allows him to basically automatically understand and manipulate mechanics. There’s no reason he can’t come up with the design for the most hard-bodied space station ever assembled because he “knows” the mechanisms involved in the construction. Isn’t that crazy? Jeffries is another underutilized Mutant, but I’m not overlooking him for this particular scenario. He’s the one sitting behind the control desk of the mobile satellite doling out orders to the rest of the team.

While the interplanetary squad awaits the arrival of the unknown entity, a select team of Mutants wait patiently before their services are needed. (Note: all remaining Avengers, FF, X-Men, and whomever are still helping defend the planet from everyday threats.) 

Moving forward. The second line of defense…

tumblr_inline_o5rz9m1i7b1ta0x4i_1280Team 2 Headquarters: The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning – 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center (Westchester County) NY (not Limbo)

Team 2: “The Ground Unit” – this team will be ready and waiting for the remaining forces to break through the barrier set up by the interplanetary “X-defense.” You don’t want to wreck the planet, but you definitely need some planet-wrecking strength in order to preserve civilization as a whole. There would need to be a few puzzle pieces already connected to ensure that the ensuing invasion could get crazy. Like for instance, me combining two of the X-Men’s most formidable characters because: 1. It could happen. And, 2. I’m watching Legion. He’s a dope Mutant.

xmen-legion-cover-674x1024“Proteus-Legion” – What if Kevin MacTaggert met David Haller? That would be neat. This arc would play out before the events of the alien invasion story. Legion could “see” it coming and project it out to the rest of the X-Men—who just subdued Haller and MacTaggert thanks to the help of Nate Grey returning to the fold with his telepathic ridiculousness. That way, as long as Legion can keep Kevin/Proteus in check, we’re looking at what could possibly be the most powerful Mutant ever. This is the scapegoat character that can sway every advantage with a snap of a finger. A “trope-y” individual that could potentially be strong enough to overthrow an entire alien or human culture/society. I also need a wildcard in case I get painted into a creative corner.

3964276-4406674228-elixiElixir – When I was first introduced to Joshua Foley in X-Men comics, I couldn’t get into him. He’s a healer, big deal. It seems like there are so many other heroes and villains that have regenerative abilities. It wasn’t until years later when I discovered how important of a Mutant Elixir really is. Joshua has the ability to restructure his and other physiologies on a molecular level. Basically, he could rebuild you into a completely different person. He can cure cancer is he wanted to or even bring back the dead. The only problem, he can’t control his abilities. Such a common trope with super-powered individuals in comics—and life. With guys like Beast and Xorn around to mentor Elixir, his powers may prove useful if there happen to be casualties or a stray alien that he can dissect.

Hope_Summers_(Earth-616)_and_Phoenix_Force_(Earth-616)_03Hope SummersTake all of the “ground unit” members and understand their power sets. Now take Hope and throw her next to any of them. She more or less presents you with having two Elixirs, two Legions, or two “young Jeans.” Not only is she a living Blue Lantern Ring, but she also can “copy” the abilities of any adjacent Mutant. Pretty nasty. She’s useful if an attack needs to be repelled with an array of offence. Due to the other heavies on this team, she double’s this X-squad’s firepower.

Jean_Grey_(Earth-TRN240)_from_Extraordinary_X-Men_Vol_1_10_002Jean Grey (Earth-TRN220) One simple rule when forming a team of X-Men based around a speculative threat: If Jean Grey is available, use her. That, and if the team member is a redhead, use them. Her ridiculous power level is the main reasons she remained dead for so long. Technically “our” Jean is still dead. However, Beast went back in time three years ago and fished out the original five X-Men from the 60’s, or I guess what would be the 70’s or 80’s depending on Marvel continuity. The biggest “grab” was undoubtedly Jean Grey returning to the current Marvel canon. Although she’s still a teenager, she was hit off with the memories of the veteran X-Men, which fast-forwarded her learning process. So, this Jean is basically an 18-year old with the knowledge of the life ahead of her (X-Men stories of the past 50 years). If your Jeanie, that’s potentially a scary, scary, thing. Like I said, you gotta get past the psychological bend and enlist Jean Grey because she’s the most powerful Mutant in existence.

967867-the_list_x_men_p24NamorHe’s the first Mutant—a fact that often goes unchecked. As a kid, when I first discovered that Namor was a Mutant, I wondered why in the heck he was never an X-Man. Then, Brian Michael Bendis made my dreams come true in many ways with Dark X-Men. Namor was killed during the events of Secret Wars but I still believe he’s around somewhere due to the Squadron Supreme monthly solicitation descriptions. Either way, he’s on my team. For the record, it’s impossible for anyone not to join up once Nate or Jean Grey are convinced to join because, well, mind-powers! Anyway, what makes up 71% of the planet? 61% of the human anatomy? Water. Namor has a pretty solid control over the seas, or at least water. I’m all about writing a Namor that has hydro-manipulation. Why not? It’s my story! If the aliens attack Earth, Namor will have Atlantis and the seas ready to defend.

070e2d3e816bba42b5d5e8eb949ff8adDr. Henry McCoy (Earth-616) Finally rounding out the team is the brain of the bunch. Beast is who I would confer with as I assembled these teams. Plug Hank in the X-Mansion and have him push the buttons and relay the orders. He’s a genius, but he’s also a gentle character with a calming voice. In the X-Men’s darkest hours, there is no other voice I want to hear than Beast’s to ensure them of their safety. He’s another member of this team I picked based on experience alone. Plus, he’s connected to all of the other super-teams within the Marvel U. We need that buffer in case the “s” hits the fan.

IN REVIEW: Unknown aliens are on their way to Earth. Marvel needs the X-Men’s help.

On the super-defensive, mobile satellite, the front lines – X-MAN, XORN, POLARIS, LILA CHENEY, CYPHER, and MADISON JEFFRIES

Inside the X-Mansion, hoping the aliens don’t get through the front lines, but you know some will because it’s comics – a PROTEUS/LEGION hybrid, ELIXIR, HOPE SUMMERS, “Young” JEAN GREY, NAMOR, and BEAST

Now the questions: What will happen? Who are the aliens? How powerful are they? Will the interplanetary squad be able to stave off enough of the warships? If so, will the X-Men team on Earth be enough to quell this invasion? What about the aging? What’s that shit about? Will that plot detail get “WildStorm 98’d” out of the story? And let’s be real, what will Legion—the new vessel for Proteus—put the X-Men and heroes of Earth through while the aliens attack the interplanetary heroes? Is that a story in itself? What in the world is going on here?

roc_4582I’m glad this is merely a speculative story—not a D&D campaign, much less a comic book series. As the guy who just dumped this on my readers, I think it’s a pretty basic crossover story that could’ve been released 1995. It may have already and I’m just not digging into my subconscious far enough. Either way, I would love to hear back from you folks in regards to what teams you would throw in front of our planet to stop and alien invasion. You don’t have to limit yourselves to just the X-Men either. I would ask that you stay within the parameters of the “Set-Up.” Feel free to drop me a line via Twitter or the MLP Facebook page. And if you like these speculative synopses, let me know. I love doing this kind of stuff. While you all do that, I’ll try and figure out the physiology and goal of these invading, unknown aliens.

Thanks for playing!

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