Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday, Movies

Goodreads Monday (12/30/19)–Seven Devils

Happy Monday, bibliophiles, and welcome to…wow, the last Goodreads Monday of 2019…

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Sheesh, this year really sped by…

Anyway, I came across this one over the summer, I think, and I was hooked from the first sentences of the synopsis. It hasn’t come out yet, but without any reviews and only the synopsis, I am BEYOND excited to read this one!

 

Let’s begin, shall we?

 

GOODREADS MONDAY (12/30/19)–SEVEN DEVILS by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

This first book in a feminist space opera duology follows seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire — or die trying.

When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.

Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.

When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.

Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.

 

So why do I want to read this? 

Alright, not gonna lie, I was hooked even before they had a coherent synopsis on Goodreads. Why? Simple: All it had was a release date, and something along the lines of “perfect for fans of Rogue One.”

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Aaaaaaand, you’ve got my attention.

From the sparse reviews I’ve seen, it’s been oft-described as a “feminist, queer space opera”. And honestly? That’s all I ask for in a book. That’s what I want to write, in the first place. Plus, the cover. GORGEOUS. 

Seven Devils doesn’t come out until August 2020, but you can bet that I’ll be anxiously awaiting its release until then. 😉

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Goodreads Monday! Stay tuned for more content later in the week, and though I’ll be posting all throughout the week (or I’ll try, at least), have a Happy New Year!

 

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Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies

The Rise of Skywalker, or “GUESS WHO’S FINALLY BACK FROM THE DEAD…”

[wipes a coat of dust off of computer screen] Oh, hey everybody! I’m officially on winter break now, and I’ve got my finals over with, so I’m back on my normal(ish) schedule for now. I still might be a tad sluggish through next week, what with holiday festivities coming up, but I suppose this post marks the end of my hiatus.

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Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.

Last night, I saw The Rise of Skywalker. Despite some of the reviews, I still came in with my expectations absolutely through the roof (curse you, TFA/TLJ-nostalgic brain…), but I expected nothing that came my way. And quite frankly? I’ll have to watch it again, but The Rise of Skywalker might just be my favorite of the sequels.

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Now, fair warning: DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, AS THIS REVIEW WILL PROBABLY BE CRAWLING WITH SPOILERS. I’m really sorry, I just haven’t quite found a way to write something that adequately expresses my emotions without revealing half the plot. Oops.

 

Let’s start off with the central plot, concerning Rey, Kylo Ren, and…Palpatine. Yep, that’s right, folks, the cryptic trailer laughter wasn’t all for naught.

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The revelation of Rey’s true heritage definitely served to complete her/Kylo’s arc deftly; Now that she knows who she’s truly descended from, she has a complex battle with her own emotions, but eventually realizes that blood does not determine one’s destiny. A beautiful theme, I think, and one that mirrors the original trilogy without being too on-the-nose about it. I also THOROUGHLY enjoyed seeing all of the backstory with Palpatine in hiding on Exogul (Am I spelling that right? It’s the Sith planet, however it’s spelled). I was a bit suspicious when the rumors about his resurrection starting circling, but as I started watching the movie, I realized that it’s exactly the kind of thing that you’d expect Palpatine to do, and, in a way, ties a tiny bit into one of the themes of The Last Jedi: failure.

Palpatine lost everything at the end of Return of the Jedi. Betrayed by his own apprentice (hey, that’s just karma, buddy), his empire destroyed, and all of his efforts in were in vain. And of course, because he couldn’t bear to see his disturbed dreams flushed down the drain, he…stole away to a fabled planet in the unknown regions, brings himself back to life, and tries to get his granddaughter back to his side to resurrect the Sith and the Empire for good. As one does. But the root of that is that he cannot accept his own failure. His refusal to accept failure is, in part, what makes him a crucial antagonist, however over the top, in this film. For learning from failure, as Rey, Luke, and all the rest soon learn, is what truly makes a person a true hero, perhaps.

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And Rey. Oh, Rey…

Ever since I saw The Force Awakens in sixth grade, I’ve looked up to her in so many ways. And to see her complete her beautiful arc, and go against the wretched evil that runs in her blood to become what she knows is right, made me so happy. There’s so much controversy and scorn directed at her from the fandom (I stand by the fact that she is not a Mary Sue, thank you very much…notice how naïve she is in the first two films? That’s a character flaw, if I’ve ever seen one…), but she is, at heart, a role model, and an archetypal, unforgettable hero. So I owe a big thanks to her.

Her, and Finn, Poe, and all the rest. After a few years of bonding, the complex relationships of these characters have finally come into their own, having been through so much. Astounding chemistry, several tear-jerking scenes, and brimming with heart…these characters truly are a big part of what makes these films so unforgettable.

But…but…okay, I’m still pretty bitter that we didn’t get FinnPoe. I mean, COME. ON. Their feelings for each other couldn’t have been more obvious…and yeah, some props to Disney for having a brief lesbian kiss at the end, but they’re probably just doing that to check off a representation box. To be sure, it’s wonderful to see, and I felt kind of warm and fuzzy, but having two characters that are so undeniably in love lacking any sort of romantic resolution is just disappointing. Finn and Poe are a couple. Don’t you dare tell me otherwise. Thank you, goodnight.

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Overall, The Rise of Skywalker was a phenomenal end to the Skywalker saga, beautiful both thematically and visually. But, it certainly wasn’t without its flaws.

Though seeing the arcs of major characters (Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe, etc.) were satisfying, there were some areas where I’d like to have seen a little more backstory. Of course, the movie was nearly 3 hours long already, so we would’ve had Avengers: Endgame 2: Electric Boogaloo if everything was expounded upon. And there’s one character in particular that I would’ve like to have explored more in depth:

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Bill Weasley  General Hux.

After the death of Snoke in The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren rose to power as the Supreme Leader of the First Order. In the beginning of Skywalker, there’s a mention that there’s a mole in the First Order, and we later find out that Hux himself, the cold, ruthless general, is the one who alerted the Resistance to Palpatine’s reawakening. Disappointingly, though, after helping Rey, Finn, Poe, and the others escape, he’s shot, brushed off of the First Order’s shoulder without another word.

The mere fact that the death of Snoke has pushed him this far is absolutely intriguing. We’re now sure of where his loyalties truly lay this whole time: only with Snoke. With him gone and his rival, Kylo Ren,  in power, he seems to have had an extreme internal conflict, questioning who he truly trusts. Such a dramatic change of character was absolutely astounding to see, but I feel that it was an afterthought. As with a few other elements of the film (parts of the path to find the Sith Wayfinder, Finn never telling Rey whatever it is that he so desperately wanted to tell her, etc.), I felt that parts were a bit rushed, and a bit of focus on something other than the grand Palpatine plot could have done the film some necessary service. But, all things considered, The Rise of Skywalker was as unforgettable as its predecessors, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am so grateful to have witnessed. Solid…ooh, 9/10 for me? Maybe more like 8.7, but either way, I WANNA SEE IT AGAIN. 

 

I’ll be back next week with some more content, so stay tuned for more! Have a lovely rest of your day, and I hope you enjoy The Rise of Skywalker as immensely as I did!

 

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Posted in Book Tags, Books, Movies

I Should Have Read That Book Tag

Happy Friday, everyone! If you celebrated, I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving as well!

I saw this on A Little Haze Book Blog not long ago, and I figured that I’d give it a go. I feel like I’m putting the same books in my book tags (I’ll try to fix that), and since this one’s  about TBR books, I’m excited to participate!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post (see above!)
  • Link to the creator’s blog (booksnest.co.uk) in your post
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag 10 others to take part
  • ENJOY THE TAG!

 

The Questions

  • A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read
  • A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up
  • A book in a series you’ve started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing yet
  • A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read
  • A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read
  • A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet
  • A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

 

1. A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read 

Lately, a good friend of mine has started to get into some older sci-fi, and this was her first, vehement recommendation to me: The War of the Worlds.

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It’s not available at the library (woe is me…), but I’m definitely excited to get my hands on this one someday.

 

2. A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up

This one’s been on my TBR since day one…

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Though I’m not a fan of Holly Black, I absolutely adore Ted Naifeh’s work, and the story of The Good Neighbors  seems like a perfect melding of their respective styles.

3. A book in a series you’ve started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing yet

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I read the first book, Mask of Shadowsabout a year ago, and I remember the story being pretty intriguing and fast-paced, not to mention the excellent LGBTQ+ rep. (the main character, Sal, is genderfluid). But…I’ve just neglected to read Ruin of Stars  for no good reason other than my being lazy. Sigh…

 

4. A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read

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I’m putting this one off for a few years, because I’ll have to read it for an AP English class, but Brave New World seems like it would be an interesting read, in the same vein as 1984. 

 

5. A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read

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Somehow, I STILL haven’t gotten around to reading The Hate U Give,  despite several recommendations from friends and librarians alike. It’ll probably be in that constant “all copies in use” limbo at my local library for a few years, due to its immense popularity, but I’d definitely like to give it a try at some point.

 

6. A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet 

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I didn’t realize until the end credits that Jojo Rabbit was based on a book. I’m not sure if I’ll have the stomach to read this one (I’m guessing that Taika Waititi had some comedic liberties while directing Jojo), but I’m sure Caging Skies would be worth a read.

 

7. A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

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I tend to see Furyborn pop up often, and I’ve been meaning to read it for a while. I’ve read a few other books by Claire Legrand (The Year of Shadows, Some Kind of Happinessetc.), and most of them have been decent. Claire Legrand’s obviously prolific, with a wide range of talents, so I’m excited to see how this plays out.

 

I tag…

Weeeelll…I’m not sure if  I know ten people who’d all be interested in doing this tag, so I’ll open it up to anyone who hasn’t done it, and wants to. 🙂

 

Have a lovely rest of your day! I might not be able to get to any more tags this week, but stay tuned for more content!

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Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies

The Phoenix has Risen…and it was Worth the Wait! (Dark Phoenix review)

Let me start off by saying that this was probably the movie that I’ve most anticipated in my entire life.

Since I discovered that it was happening about a year ago, I was absolutely over the moon excited. I counted down the days, I squealed every time I saw the poster by the movie theater, I made my parents take a picture of me next to said movie poster(s), set all my wallpapers to the various posters (which all belong in the MoMA, honestly)…you get the idea. I was a very, very excited little mutant.

As the reviews started pouring in, I got a little worried. I told myself, time and time again, not to listen to the critics. I also tried to tell myself not to expect another First Class or X2, but…I couldn’t really help myself up until the end.

Then, I saw it on Saturday night. I haven’t felt such a surge of joy in a long, long time, not like I did when the “feature presentation” screen finally came up.

And?

It didn’t deserve such hate-filled reviews from the critics. Nor did it deserve as high praise as some of the other films. But even still, an incredible film, and a beautiful ending to a masterful franchise.

*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD–I ADVISE THAT YOU DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN DARK PHOENIX*

 

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“I Want All of These Posters Framed in a Museum” and other stories, part one. This one gives off some wonderfully Stranger Things vibes. 

 

 

Dark Phoenix has always been one of the most revered stories in the whole of the X-Men universe. Full of raw emotion not usually seen in a superhero story (at the time, at least), it was a groundbreaking series that changed the X-Men forever. I doubt any film will ever come close to portraying it perfectly, but Dark Phoenix sure came close. Some alterations were made to the plot, but they made enough sense that they worked with the story. (ex. instead of Jean consuming the mother star of the D’Bari and wiping the entire race out, they nearly went extinct in another way and sought Jean’s Phoenix Force to resurrect what was left of them. A bit cliche, but again, it worked.)

Perfectly paced, stunning FX (especially when it came to Jean), and a plethora of fun Easter Eggs that…yeah, I had a bunch of Chris Pratt-esque, gaping moments in the theater. FOR EXAMPLE…

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–Dazzler. DAAAZZZZZZLEERRRRRR!!! I mean…okay, she’s not my favorite, but it was pretty cool to see her show up briefly after all these X-Men films. Plus, she was originally introduced in the Dark Phoenix Saga, so…nice touch.

 

 

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–GENOSHA. Such a beautiful set. I really liked the approach they took with it–instead of being super high-tech, the structures and buildings were largely made up of scrap parts. Magneto’s house was also really pretty. (I mean, who wouldn’t put it past him to have a matching tea set?)

 

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Another little Easter egg was the addition of Red Lotus (behind Storm) and Selene (in front of Nightcrawler). Though I can see why they were added in, they didn’t have much screen time at all, and seemed almost unneccesary, other than being throwaway allies of Magneto. Selene does look pretty cool, though. I’ll give them that.

 

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What truly made this film, as it did in the comics, was the emotion and the themes of family. Dark Phoenix masterfully captured the raw, unfettered feelings of each of the mutants, showing their conflicts, their sorrow, their anger. Most prominent of all was Jean herself, and her internal struggle with her newfound abilities. I got choked up at the end–no spoilers, but it’s bittersweet, with a heartbreaking loss, followed by something more hopeful. A fitting farewell for the 20th Century Fox X-Men.

 

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And to top it all off, there’s always the classic fun that comes along with watching an X-Men movie. The battle scenes are over-the-top, but in the best way possible. The final one was one of my favorite X-Men battle scenes, period.

No spoilers for this portion, but I’ll tell you one thing–

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The context for that scene is…darkly hilarious.

 

Of course, every movie has it’s flaws. Dark Phoenix was in no way perfect, and I wished we’d had these aspects in it at some point:

 

–Quicksilver never told Magneto that he was his son. It ALMOST happened in Apocalypse, but alas…nada.

–On the subject of estranged relatives, there was a similar problem with Mystique and Nightcrawler. The only hint we get of their mother-son relationship is also in Apocalypse--she gives him some degree of special treatment, but not much beyond the rescue from the mutant fight ring.

–In the other films, there was lots of care taken to make the time period believable. Dark Phoenix is set in 1992, but if we weren’t told that, I’m not sure that I would’ve figured it out. Not even a band shirt or a running soundtrack for Quicksilver. *single tear slides down cheek*

 

But, all in all, Dark Phoenix was worth the long wait. Solid 8.5/10 from me. Go see it, X-Fans–you won’t regret it. Mutant and proud. 😉

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies, Music

Higher, Further, Faster…FANTASTIC! (Captain Marvel review)

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

Bad news–the roads around Black Canyon of the Gunnison were too snowy, so they closed down the park yesterday, when we had planned to go. 😦

VERY good news–I saw Captain Marvel instead!

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My expectations were…slightly above average for this movie. It looked fun, at least–not as great as Black Panther or Infinity War, but not as much of a disappointment as Thor: Ragnarok (Unpopular opinion, I know). But man, my expectations were GREATLY exceeded! A healthy balance of action, heart, and pure fun that made for some much-needed levity in the MCU, especially after Infinity War. Also…first female-led MCU movie? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. COUNT ME IN!

 

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I was a little nervous for how Captain Marvel would turn out. Some of her lines in the trailer were…yes, I’ll admit, they made me cringe. (Namely, her tone of voice when she said “I’m gonna end it.” Oof.) But, lo and behold, overall, Brie Larson did a great job of capturing the ferocity, heart, and independent spirit of the iconic hero. Her chemistry with the other characters (Nick Fury, Maria, the Kree, among others) was obvious and very well-done, and the cast seemed to work very well together as a whole. (Also, no spoilers, but…I’m wholeheartedly shipping Maria and Carol. Couple of the year.) The characters were all very unique, and many of them had pivotal–and sometimes very unexpected–roles in the unfolding of the plot.

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This might have just been me, but I LOVED seeing this suit as well. After seeing it a few times in the comics (and thinking about how AWESOME it looked), I was so happy to see that they pulled it off very well in the movies. Captain Marvel’s Kree suit was also very sleek and well-designed, and–joy of joys–she’s not super scantily clad, either!

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The plot was also very well executed and put-together–unpredictable, detailed, but not so complicated and convoluted that it was difficult to understand. Every little detail had a purpose, many of which factor into the later Avengers films, as well as Endgame, which is coming out…shall I say frighteningly soon. I’m prepared to come out of the theater sobbing again, a la Infinity War…sheeeeeeesh, that was a rough ride.

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Another element that I really loved was the music–both score-wise and soundtrack-wise. The score was very modern and synth-y, reminiscent of the Stranger Things score. It was balanced perfectly, with a fair amount of electronic elements, but not so much that you’d think the movie was an EDM rave. The soundtrack was SPECTACULAR as well; because the movie is set in the 90s, we get to hear everything from Nirvana to No Doubt. I’ll admit that I was bopping my head through some of the fight scenes. 🤘

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And one more thing–can we all take a moment to appreciate this adorable furball that is GOOSE??? What a CUTE KITTY!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! This guy honestly stole the show, and I’m 100% here for it. Also, you’ve probably heard some rumors about what Goose really is…no spoilers, but I’ve got a little hint:

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…just wait for it…

 

Anyway, an INCREDIBLE film, perfect for old and new Marvel fans, or for anyone who’d like a little fun. PLEASE go see it.

Have a great rest of your day–and, in some cases, your Spring Break! Enjoy it while it lasts! 😉

Posted in Art, Book Review Tuesday, Books, Geeky Stuff, Movies

I know the expression is usually the other way around, but this is basically a sheep in wolf’s clothing

Alright. First off, here’s the “wolf” part, if we’re sticking to my pitiful excuse for a flipped metaphor.

As you’ve probably gathered, I forgot to do a Book Review Tuesday yesterday. I got home a little later from a doctor’s appointment, and I was REALLY tired. So, I just spent the rest of the night drawing, re-reading The Hazel Wood, and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. So, sorry about that. I promise I’ll get around to making a review next Tuesday. 😉

Now, for the “sheep”.

Instead of a lame excuse/apology, I’ve got something for you…MORE FAN ARTS! (Because you know I was never going to come up with a creative name for a fan art post anytime soon, riiiiiight?) So, we have one kind of post disguised as another, and a little art dump. Enjoy…?

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Rumor (comic version), Umbrella Academy

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Jubilee (X-Men: Apocalypse)

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Mystique/Raven Darkholme (X-Men)

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Forager (Young Justice: Outsiders)

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Lenny Busker/what my hair kind of looked like in Florida (Legion)

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Halo (Young Justice: Outsiders)

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Number Five (Netflix version) (Umbrella Academy)

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Pogo (Netflix version) (Umbrella Academy)

 

So, I hope this post was a pleasant surprise. Again, I promise I’ll get to another book review next week, if conditions are favorable. Thanks so much for reading, and have a great rest of your day! 🙂

 

Posted in Art, Geeky Stuff, Movies

Fan-Art-Man, Fan-Art-Man, does whatever a…fan art can? (If you couldn’t tell, I’m running out of title ideas.)

Hello, everybody!

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“Kanye’s my main man!” 

Sorry, I had to slip that in somewhere.

 

Alrightly. First of all, happy Martin Luther King Jr day to all! We have so much to thank this incredible man for, and I am eternally grateful for all that he has done to contribute to our society. Thank you.

 

Now…oh, hey! This is the first fan art post of 2019, isn’t it! Niiiiice! Most of these fan arts are technically from December 2018, but we’re just gonna ignore that. WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS LOTS OF MUTANTS.

Enjoy the fan arts!

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Storm, X-Men Apocalypse. Aside from Nightcrawler, she’s my favorite of the X-Men. 🙂

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Talky-Walky, Black Hammer (shown with a blending stump). You guys also really need to read Black Hammer-it’s OUTRAGEOUSLY weird, but you’ll be better for it.

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My first drawing of 2019! Johann (B.P.R.D.) is looking a little blue here. Poor guy.

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Vision in his human clothes. (Captain America: Civil War).

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Rogue, X2: X-Men United. I watched it again about two weeks ago, and I enjoyed myself waaaaay too much. 😉

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Storm, X2: X-Men United. (See above; I enjoyed myself.)

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“Kurt Wagner, but in the Munich Circus, I was known as the Incredible Nightcrawler!” (X2: X-Men United)

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This isn’t really a fan art, per se, but I still figured that I’d show it here. Behold my spidersona. I based her color scheme/costume largely off of the colors of the Peacock spider. 🙂

 

 

Well, thanks so much for reading, and have a wonderful rest of your day! I’ll be back with a book review tomorrow! 🙂