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New Mutants #24 (1985, February)

I worked until 3:30 today, but I hated the idea of only posting once this week. So I’m posting today. By Claremont and Sienkewicz, “The Hollow Heart.”

The Hollow Heart

Kind of a trippy cover.

Moira is about to be attacked by Bobby. She asks him to talk to her, and he says he’s slipping away. He grabs her, and starts to drain her light, then Rahne enters. She changes to Hottie Form, and gives Bobby her light. She manages to put him back to normal. Sam and Dani come in, and Bobby teleports away with Rahne. Xavier, awake again, reads Sam and Dani’s minds to learn what they know of the situation. He’s not sure what might happen to Bobby and Rahne next.

In new York, Tandy and Tyrone – Cloak and Dagger – have left the hospital, to avoid the Mutants finding them again. On Magneto’s island base, Lee is sitting out looking at the ocean, and Magneto steps out to join her. He apologizes for lashing out at her earlier.

Back at a Manhattan Church, Father Michael Brown is cleaning up, with Karma’s kid siblings helping him. Bobby and Rahne teleport in. Ty and Tandy are getting ready to leave, and Ty feels bad. He feels he and Tandy have nothing in common, and that she’s going to leave him. A pimp-looking guy tries to pick them up, but they refuse, so he moves on to a couple other kids. Ty wants to stop him, but Tandy reminds him they no longer have powers.

Back at the church, Bobby feels awful for killing Colossus, but Rahne says he’s still alive, with his essence trapped inside Bobby’s darkness. He becomes the shadow monster again, and she changes to a silver werewolf to enter him. He’s imagining himself in a barren desert where nothing grows. He sees Kitty, and she rushes towards him, with plants sprouting behind her. Then he sees Zsaji, and goes to her, instead, and Kitty dies. So does Zsaji. So he feels awful again. Rahne tries to comfort him, and she gets him out of Bobby. Xavier’s arrived with the other Mutants, and Rogue. Rahne and Bobby revert to normal.

Elsewhere, Tandy wants to help the Mutants. Ty wants to help, too, but he’s terrified of the darkness. She says if he doesn’t help, she’s leaving him.

Back at the church, Xavier mentally chastises Sam for wearing a Lila Cheney t-shirt. This will get a pretty fantastic call back in a while. Illyana hates being in the church – the demon side of her feels uncomfortable in the hallowed ground. Xavier’s having little luck with his psi-scans of the kids, so Dani volunteers to try. Bobby reacts poorly, with the shadow overwhelms everyone but Xavier. Illyana breaks the spell with her Soulsword. Then she takes Bobby and Rahne to Limbo, figuring her magic might be able to help them. Rahne freaks out, not wanting to take part in anything evil. She resists Illyana’s magic, and the exorcised shadow and light both go into Illyana. She’s in agony, but she manages to force it all out of her. And her magic armour is covering more of her. Xavier’s pissed at her, and Ty and Tandy come to volunteer their help.

On a side note, most of the letters in this issue talk about how amazing the Demon Bear Saga was, and rightly so, but one letter, from an anonymous reader, says Sienkewicz was a poor match for the book, and that he and all his friends felt the book was going downhill. These people were wrong. Sienkewicz elevated the book and made it amazing.

This issue’s very good. There’s a lot of pathos with what Bobby and Rahne are going through. You really feel for the kids, and worry about them. Ty and Tandy also get some really nice scenes, and again, are very sympathetic. Claremont does inject a little bit of humour into the issue, with Xavier’s comments about Sam’s clothing. But mostly, this issue’s deeply dramatic.

Sienkewicz’s art is phenomenal, as always. Gorgeous work. He makes the shadows creepy, and he does a great job with everyone’s concern. And Illyana’s attempt at an exorcism is also really cool. There’s an eeriness to it, possibly owing to the lack of backgrounds for the whole scene.

Song of the day: Best Thing I Found by Rabbit!.

X-Men comics for December 17 2014

Comics! And Corner Gas: The Movie is on CTV tonight at 8. Don’t forget it, Canadians!

All-New X-Men #34, by Brian bendis and Mahmud Asrar. Jean and Miles are facing off with the X-Men. Ultimate Iceman notices how similar the two Jeans look, except 616 Jean is hotter. Bendis writes a genuinely funny Iceman. Anyway, the Jeans swap memories. Then they both pass out. In Atlanta, Iceman is fleeing a giant monster. He notices the temperature is 114 degrees, and wonders why anyone would live there on purpose. He does manage to beat the monster, but then the cops show up to arrest him. In Canada, Laura guesses that they’re in the wrong world. She and Angel argue a bit, and Jimmy Hudson has no idea what the hell’s going on. In Latveria, Beast explains his situation to Doom, the result of a truth serum in his food. He also whines a bit about Jean not even looking at him any more. Great issue. Lots of strong comedy, and lots of cool character stuff. There’s a sweet moment where the Jeans feel they need to hug each other. I don’t know why I love that moment, but I really do. Bendis is clearly having fun with this arc. Iceman gets to be pretty badass, and also really funny. I normally don’t give a damn about Iceman, but Bendis manages to make me like him. A real accomplishment. Asrar’s art is solid. The double-page spread of the two Jeans reading each others’ minds was great. The layout is very similar to what Immonen did in some early issues, but Asrar does a good job with it. This is another great issue in a great series.

Storm #6, by Greg Pak and Al Barrionuevo. First off, I do always love Stephanie Hans’ covers. Anyway. Storm is feeling pretty bad, and she blames Yukio. Yukio tries to talk her into staying in Las Vegas a couple more days, but Storm refuses to as long as Yukio is in control of the gangs. She wants to sweep up Yukio in her arms for fun and excitement, but she’s too mad. She gets on a charter plane, where a nurse is excited to see her. She talks about the kidney donor whose kidney she’s delivering. Another woman refuses to fly with a mutant. She’s offered a chance to leave, but stays. The plane flies into some rough weather, and the woman gets terrified, but Storm just pushes it away a bit. The woman seems to appreciate it. Then the plane comes under attack. She gets blamed for it, and even gets kicked in her injured ankle. Her reflexive lightning kills the plane, but she uses wind to keep it in the air while she steps outside. More meh. It finally actually sets up an ongoing plot, which is good. But this is still only an OK book. It’s still largely bland. She gets a good show of her power, but whatever, she’s gotten a few of those in this series already. This book just isn’t good enough to justify its own existence. I’m no longer going to be picking this up. I feel bad about that. I wanted to love this book, I really did. A woman of colour in the lead role, written by another person of colour? I’m a supporter of greater diversity in comics, so I wanted this book to do well. But it’s just not impressing me. So, this book is dropped from my pull list, at least until it picks up and becomes the book it should be.

Weapon X Program #4, by Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta. In Cleveland, Endo’s been found, running at 531kph. Which is very very fast. She reaches her home, and finds its for sale. Her fiance, Taylor, is gone. Instead, she finds a trio of mutants. The rest of Endo’s team tries to figure out where she is. Neuro finds files on her, including her old address. Junk and Skel decide to go after her, Neuro and Sharp don’t. Back at her house, Endo wants to know what happened to Taylor. The mutants say they didn’t do anything to her. They came from Paradise, the same program that created her. One of them is a speedster, and fights her. We do get confirmation that Taylor was a woman. Endo? Not so much. Apparently, she was a he before Cornelius got him. S/He freaks out and throws the mutants out of the house. And we find out who’s in Sharp’s head. So, interesting reveal with Endo. Odd twist. I’m curious if it’ll go anywhere, or if Endo will survive. There’s some decent drama here. But my general apathy regarding Wolverine does drag the comic down a bit for me. And more, I just don’t feel it’s actually all that great. Decent writing, decent art, but nothing exceptional for either.

Axis #8, by Rick Remender and Leinil Yu. Spider-Man’s trying to disarm Apocalypse’s Gene bomb, but he can’t. Carnage comes in to try to help him contain the explosion. Carnage thinks he might be the only one who can do it. Carnage says a Kasady’s never done anything worthwhile, and he also says he wants a giant memorial in his honour. He manages to contain the explosion, and Spider-Man attacks the X-Men in anger. Then the inverted heroes show up to the fight. Loki wakes up Amora, so she can do something heroic to save the day. Thor’s ready to kill Apocalypse, but Absorbing Man interferes. Thor smashes him away, and then gets blasted by the Summers brothers. He’s about to kill them, but Hobgoblin rescues them. So Thor throws his axe at them. Next up is Loki, smacked down with ease. Which actually fits the plan, as Loki has him chase him through a portal to the moon. The fight continues in Manhattan, everyone vs. everyone. In Latveria, Wanda continues to be crazy and vengeful. But she’s interrupted by Brother Voodoo. This issue is another fairly solid one. One thing that’s fairly interesting: Most events kill someone as a big shocking moment. Remender, a writer who enjoys killing characters a bit too much, used Axis to bring back a character. Though not a major character. It’s still only Brother Voodoo. Funny story: I recently read Fred Hembeck Sells the Marvel Universe, which was a collection of comics he did for the Marvel Age magazine back in the day. He had a running gag of making fun of Brother Voodoo. Anyway, Remender is a big fan of the character, so it’s not surprising hes brought him back. Daniel still seems to have a hate-on for the Avengers. Remender also brings back another old bit of continuity from the ’90s, with some armour Captain America wore for a little while. Remender really does seem to love the ’90s. Which might be why his work tends to be so grim’n’gritty. This issue’s fairly serious. Not much humour. Still, pretty good. Nice enough art from Yu.

Axis Revolutions #4. The first story, by John Barber and Guillermo Mogorron, is about Iceman. He’s brooding as he watches an attractive woman. He’s being so totally emo and it’s hilarious. The woman is being stalked by some guy, and Iceman attacks him. He tries to tell the woman not to walk alone at night, and that she needs someone to protect her, but she’s not having any of his mansplaining bullshit. Also, it turns out the guy following her was her friend, trying to bring her the credit card she forgot in the bar. Iceman freaks out. This story makes me laugh. It is so ridiculously over-the-top. I love it. So stupid and goofy. I love that, even inverted, Iceman can’t help but be a huge loser. Except instead of bad jokes, he’s spouting bad melodrama. It’s great. Mogorron’s art is OK. Not my style. A bit too sharp, and maybe a bit too dark and muddy. The second story, by Howard Chaykin, is about Latveria. A narrator is talking about remembering when Latveria was free, as a guy works on a device. It comes from Madripoor, and the woman he’s with is worried about that. He tells her she’s got too much of a sentimental streak, which has gotten in the way of the resistance before. They argue, with him a fanatic, and her more cautious. The pair go to meet with Doom, who knows full well who they are. He tells them he’s stepping down as dictator and declaring Latveria a free state. He also reveals that the dude was actually a traitor to the resistance’s cause. Not a bad story. Not a great one, but not a bad one. I’m not a fan of Chaykin’s art. It’s a bit too . . . off, for my tastes. His writing is OK. It’s kind of a middling story, overall.

And the non-X-stuff.

Spider-Woman #2, by Dennis Hopeless and Greg frigging Land. Spider-Woman is on Loom World, the homeworld of the Inheritors. She seems to be something of a celebrity on the world. A pirate takes her onto his ship to give her first choice of his booty, as per a prior arrangement. Then that world’s Jessica arrives in town. A boy touches her to give her something, and gets smacked down by her guards. Then the two Jessicas meet. Silk, meanwhile, is being chased by the twin Inheritors. Her portal generator isn’t working, so she jumps through theirs, which leads straight to Loom World. Bad Jessica has gotten a servant to bring her some wine, and he’s going to get severely punished for it, but she doesn’t care. She’s told to keep an eye out for Silk, who shows right up. Good Jessica decks Bad Jessica, and gives Silk her watch so Silk can escape. Right to a destroyed world. OK writing, Greg Land on art. At least he seems to have found a couple new photos to reference. But the way Silk changes from one panel to the next is why Greg Land needs to be stopped. Seriously, that is not the sign of a talented artist! Silk’s face changes constantly throughout the issue, because Land is very blatantly tracing different photos. Fuck Greg Land. Hopeless does a good job. It’s an interesting story, well-told. But Greg Land is a giant hack.

Deathlok #3, by Nathan Edmondson and Mike Perkins. In the past, some troops in Afghanistan are debating whether Captain America’s presence would make a difference. Basically, whether it’s the tech or the man that matters. Then they get exploded. In the presence, Hayes is in Germany. He gets literally two speech bubbles before changing to Deathlok. Some terrorists have taken over the offices of an arms manufacturer, and they want the CEO to come so he can give them weapons. Deathlok shows up to deal with the hostage situation. On the Helicarrier, Agent Andrea wants permission to speak to Michael Collins. She’s denied. Deathlok finishes the mission, and then fights through the police on his way out. Another action issue, with Hayes getting basically no characterization. It’s getting very old, at this point. I know Edmondson can do solid character work, because he’s been doing it in Black Widow and Punisher. But with this series, Hayes just isn’t much of a character. Edmondson is focusing way too much on Deathlok, way too much on action. And as a fan of character work, it bores me. I want to know more about Henry Hayes. I want to see more of his relationship with his daughter. Perkins’ art is good. He shows the action well.But this is such a bland book right now.

Ms. Marvel #10, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. The kids she’s trying to rescue don’t want to be rescued. They think their whole generation is harming the planet, and they’re better off being used as batteries. She has Lockjaw take away Knox and Doyle while she tries to figure it all out. Then the building behind them explodes. Some helicopters show up, and she herds the kids away. Right into the Inventor in a giant robot. He jolts her with an electric shock, which causes her to lose her elasticity. Lockjaw distracts him long enough for Ms. Marvel to get her second wind and smash his robot. But he still escapes, taking Lockjaw with him. This is a big mistake, as the kids realize that a guy who’s going to save the world wouldn’t beat up a 16-year-old girl and steal her dog. Another awesome issue. This is such a fun comic. This issue’s all about the superheroics. And it’s great. Wilson’s writing, Alphona’s art. All great.

Captain Marvel #10, which is her 100th solo issue, so it’s a big one. Carol’s got a bunch of letters from home, including one from Kit. Kit! Yay! Kit’s awesome. Her letter says Grace Valentine broke out of jail, using rats she experimented on. Kit and her friends were playing in the Statue of Liberty – Kit apparently knows how to twirl a lasso, which is actually kind of a terrifying thought – when the rates swam across to it. One of the kids, wearing an astronaut costume, wasn’t able to run fast enough, but Kit saves him. Then Spider-Woman takes over the letter, with an art shift that’s pretty fantastic. Seriously, Takara does a fantastic job with it. Jessica apparently hates rats and mice – we get a hilarious flashback to her and Carol hunting a mouse, with Jessica wanting to kill it and Carol refusing, because it’s a mouse and they’re superhumans. Back to the main story, where Jessica starts marshaling resources. That means calling Wendy. Wendy tells her to find the lead rat and get the transistor off its head. Next is “Iron Machine or War Patriot or whatever his name is this week.” It’s Rhodey’s turn. He goes to Carol’s old apartment, and finds Grace Valentine in a Captain Marvel costume. She slaps a bomb on Rhodey, and Wendy tells him to “pull a Carol.” That’s pretty funny. I kinda hope “pull a Carol” catches on, because it’s a funny phrase. Anyway, “pulling a Carol” obviously means flying straight up, as fast and hard as possible. Wendy finishes the letter by talking about Tracy. This is a great issue. It was awesome touching in on all the amazing supporting cast KSD built up in the previous volume. Kit was adorable and awesome. Jessica was hilarious. Rhodey was sweet. Wendy was cutely excitable. The art throughout the issue was great. I especially loved Takara’s pages, as I said. It was cute and fun and just great.

Pull list for December 17 2014

I don’t work tomorrow, so I can do my reviews.

I’ll go to the store for: All-New X-Men #34, by Brian Bendis and Mahmud Asrar; Captain Marvel #10, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez, Marcio Takara and Laura Braga; Ms. Marvel #10, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona; Storm #6, by Greg Pak and Al Barrionuevo.

I’ll also review: Axis #8, by Rick Remender and Leinil Yu; Axis Revolutions #3, by John Barber, Howard Chaykin and Guillermo Mogorron; Weapon X Program #4, by Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta; Deathlok #3, by Nathan Edmondson and Mike Perkins; Spider-Woman #2, by Dennis Hopeless and Greg frigging Land.

I’m most looking forward to the Marvels, of course. Captain and Ms, both. Captain Marvel is celebrating her 100th solo issue, so it’s going to be a special-sized issue, and it should be awesome. Kit will be in it! And Grace Valentine. And Kit! I love KSD’s Captain Marvel, and it’s going to be great touching back in with the amazing supporting cast from the previous volume. And Ms. Marvel’s always great. It’s one of Marvel’s best comics, and they’ve got a shitload of great comics. Meanwhile, Storm is on its last chance to impress me. If this issue doesn’t impress me, I’ll no longer be picking it up at the shop.

Also tomorrow, I’ll be watching Corner Gas: The Movie. Corner Gas was a Canadian sit-com. It ran for 6 seasons, from 2004-2009. It was set in a small town in Saskatchewan. And it was hilarious. During its run, it was one of the most popular Canadian shows. It was great. I’m excited for the movie. It’s on at 8pm. So if you’re Canadian, don’t forget to watch it. It’ll be great.

The Colbert Report ends on Thursday. That’s sad. I doubt he’ll be as good on the Late Show. He’ll have to switch more to one-liners, losing the sharper political satire. I’ll probably watch the first few episodes, but I don’t know how long I’ll both with it. I did enter the raffle for a piece of his set. I donated $10. So I have a very, very low chance of winning. I’m almost certainly not going to. Still, how cool would that be?

I downloaded the Kobo app on my phone, so I can do some reading on my lunch at work. I’m starting with Jane Eyre. After two chapters, I feel it’s meh.

My work schedule this week is 7-3:30 Thursday, 10-6:30 Friday, 8:30-5 Sunday, 12-8:30 Monday, 8-5 Tuesday, 9:30-6 next Wednesday. So many early shifts. Urgh. Ugh. I hate that. I am not a daytime person.

I don’t have much to talk about this week. I think work’s been exhausting me too much.

Uncanny X-Men #190 (1985, February)

Today’s one of the weirder X-Men comics. By Claremont and JRJr, “An Age Undreamed Of.”

An Age Undreamed Of

Ew.

Manhattan has been transformed to a more primitive time. An energy curtain surrounds the city, and anything passing through the curtain is immediately transformed, as well. Kulan Gath rules the city, with the Morlocks as his enforcers. The local superheroes are also affected, except for Spider-Man. Some people at a meeting being run by Val Cooper are angry that she included the X-Men alongside the Avengers. A general at the meeting gets royally pissed off, and says that he remembers liberating Buchenwald when he was 20. Cooper says the fighting’s not helping, and the fate of the world may depend on the mutants.

Storm wakes up, feeling a wrongness, but she can’t figure out what. The Morlocks bust in with a warrant for her arrest. She’s led onto a ship, to have a slave collar slapped on her neck. She resists. She fights, and Callisto cuts her, and the pain awakens her mind. She and Callisto fall into the water, and are swept out through the energy field, to regain their memories.

Kulan Gath is taunting Dr. Strange, while warping Xavier, and merging him with Caliban. He has Xavier summon the New Mutants, who all change, except for Warlock, who’s still himself. Gath changes Rahne, and Warlock is shocked into action, grabbing the rest of the Mutants in an attempt to rescue them. He doesn’t have time, as the other Mutants are changed, too. Warlock flees. Meanwhile, Selene is also unaffected by Gath’s spell, and she rescues Rachel and Amara from some Morlocks. She uses Rachel to send a psi-call to Storm and Callisto, and promises to keep them from becoming Gath’s slaves when they cross back over to Manhattan. Callisto also learns of Storm’s power less, and is angry about it.

Back in Manhattan, Spider-Man is being chased by the Mutants. They manage to grab him, and also see another person Gath wanted captured, a girl. The Avengers stand against them. Nightcrawler and Rogue are also about to join in. Then Colossus and Sunder bust in. In all the madness, Illyana finally springs into action, slicing Colossus with her Soulsword, and freeing him from Gath’s spell. Selene takes out a bunch of Morlocks, and the Mutants retreat with Spider-Man. Then Selene is captured by Gath.

Callisto leads the heroes into a tunnel, warded against Xavier’s seeking. They come up with a plan for fighting back against Gath.

While this is definitely one of the weirder X-Men stories – they don’t normally deal with magic – it’s still a good one. It’s fun. There’s some exciting action, and some good character stuff. The scenes between Storm and Callisto are nice. They’ve got a cool antagonistic friendship, where they respect each other, but can’t quite bring themselves to actually like each other. Storm also gets to show off her leadership in the scene in the tunnels, being the one who rallies the heroes and suggests the approach they need to take. I also like Val Cooper taking a more moderate view of mutants in that early scene. When she was first introduced, she clearly saw mutants as a threat that had to be managed. Now, she’s coming to see them as people who have valid complaints regarding their treatment, and people who deserve to be treated with some respect and even trust. She’s becoming a more sympathetic character.

The art still isn’t my style. I always find JRJr’s work too sharp and pointy. Still, he generally does good work here. The action’s easy to follow and fairly exciting, and there’s some good expressiveness on faces. And a little bit of body horror with Strange and Xavier/Caliban.

For all its weirdness, this is a good comic.

There’s also Marvel Team-Up #150, by Louise Simonson and Greg LaRoque. It’s the final issue of Marvel Team-Up. The Juggernaut jumps out of a plane over Korea. he’s there to get a birthday present for Black Tom. He’s decided on the Ruby of Cyttorak. Meanwhile, the X-Men are working out in the Danger Room, with Colossus and Rogue trying to stop missiles. Rachel calls them up for soup. They see a TV report about Juggernaut grabbing the Ruby, and Rachel thinks that maybe he wants to share the power, as he did in her own timeline. Later on, Juggernaut gets to Black Tom’s birthday party, and gives him the Ruby. Tom grabs it, and starts growing in size. He gets angry, and wants to be put back the way he was, and punches Juggernaut through the wall. Juggernaut climbs back up and smacks him out of the building. They both get mad and brawl, until Tom starts to think about what’s going on. He realizes they each have half the power of Juggernaut. Spider-Man shows up to take pictures of their fight, and they decide to attack him, instead. He does reasonably well, but starts getting his ass kicked, when the X-Men show up. Rachels’ not sure she can attack Tom, because she remembers what he does in her timeline. When Black Tom topples a building, she manages to get over her doubts. Rogue grabs him, and starts absorbing his power. Now she’s as strong as Juggernaut. But her power wears off, and he starts crushing her. He’s distracted when Colossus tears off his helmet, but he’s got a secondary helmet on underneath to protect from psi-attacks. Luckily, Rogue’s able to touch his bare arm, and start absorbing his power. She loses control of herself for a few moments. Juggernaut manages to regain the Ruby, and all his power, and to make sure he keeps it, he throws the Ruby into orbit. Then he escapes with Tom, who says it was a great present, and a great fight, and that he understands Juggernaut a bit better. This is a fun story. It’s oddly sweet. The friendship between Tom and Juggernaut was always great. It’s an endearing friendship. The action was very exciting. Simonson’s writing was good, and LaRoque’s art was solid. Really fun story.

I should maybe also mention that Forge was appearing in Rom, by Bill Mantlo and Steve Ditko, at this time. For January, Rom #62 had him initially refusing to help the US military against the Dire Wraiths, because he still resents his Neutralizer being used on Storm. Rom goes to see him, and while they talk, the Wraiths start attacking people in the streets. Forge agrees to help. #63 has him fighting the Wraiths. He comes up with an idea for beating the Wraiths, and starts building a giant Neutralizer in orbit. The Wraiths attack it, but are defeated. It’s meh. Ditko’s art, by this time, was just bad. It was inferior to his ’60s work, and it just looked terrible compared to a lot of the artists of the ’80s. Mantlo’s writing was melodramatic and meh. Just a weak book.

I guess I’ll also recap the X-Men’s role in Secret Wars #10, by Shooter and Zeck. Magneto and Wolverine argue with Captain America, accusing him of only fighting for humanity, and overlooking the struggles of mutants. Nearly 30 years before AvX, and the same argument was happening. Kind of amusing. Colossus also worries about Zsaji, and gets angry at Human Torch’s lack of concern for her. Meh.

Song of the day: The Beautiful Light by Slow Down Tallahassee.

X-Men comics (December 10 2014)

Here’s Wednesday’s comics.

Uncanny X-Men Annual, by Brian Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino. Eva finds herself in another time. A time where Martians are apparently attacking the Earth, if the tripods are any indication. She’s rescued by Killraven. Then she’s in the Wild West, being licked by a buffalo. She walks into town and asks for help, but she looks weird, and the townsfolk are suspicious. She’s helped a bit by the Rawhide Kid, who’s not too surprised by her because of his previous meeting with the Avengers. He helps her by holding a gun to her head. Next, she meets the X-Men of 2099. Woot! 2099! They bring her to the Sorcerer Supreme – Illyana! Illyana’s willing to help her to help herself. Cut to seven years later, and Eva’s got a husband and a child. This is a very weird story. But it’s awesome. Bendis throws in some nice cameos, and tells a really neat story. Eva’s freaking out is done well. When she finally meets with Illyana, it’s a cool scene. Sorrentino does a fantastic job. He does different styles for each era. He also does a lot of neat layouts – once again, the meeting with Illyana is a stand-out. The art is fantastic in general, though. This is a really, really good issue, definitely worth checking out.

X-Men #22, by Marc Guggenheim, Harvey Tolibao and Dexter Soy. Rachel tries to send a psychic distress call to the Earth while she, Psylocke and Monet head out to beat up some minions – Skrull-Brood hybrids. They see Jubilee rocket out, and Monet heads after her. Brand orders everyone on the Peak to start fighting, and tells Tyger that she’s going to have the X-Men pick his mind apart. Deathbird doesn’t leave him a mind to pick. The crazy lady’s ship arrives, and Monet helps Jubilee get the defibrillator off the Dove and bring it back to Reyes so she can save Storm’s life. Meanwhile, Sharada, the crazy lady, has captured most of the remaining good guys. But it’s Storm, Monet, Jubilee and Reyes to the rescue! This is a great conclusion to a cool arc. Guggenheim does some good character stuff with Rachel, in particular, but all the girls get some nice moments. The art is a bit uneven. Tolibao’s work is kinda meh. It’s not great. It’s not necessarily bad, just not great. Soy’s work, on the other hand, is amazing. Just gorgeous stuff. I love it. It looks painted, and it’s fantastic. The next arc will be by G. Willow Wilson. That should be good.

X-Force, by Simon Spurrier, Tan Eng Huat and Kevin Sharpe. We find out Fantomex didn’t kill the others, he was just plugged into a hallucination that made him think he did. Now, he’s on a global rampage, trying to prove his superiority, while Mojo’s kept in X-Force’s base to spy on him. Someone is talking to Hope through a radio, saying Cable has captured Volga, and that Hope’s pissed he did it without her. It also turns out Hope’s been talking to the guy for three days, but doesn’t remember it. He’s trying to convince her that “lesser of two evils” is crap. It’s Forgetmenot! And he shows Hope who Meme was. This issue is a big deconstruction of the whole “grim’n’gritty antihero” thing. And it’s awesome. It shows how these cool tough guys who do what it takes are just broken assholes. It’s a plea to remember that good and evil are real, and that morality is important. It’s a really powerful issue. Spurrier is one of the smarter writers at Marvel. He’s a guy who clearly likes exploring big themes and important ideas. The art wasn’t my style. I just didn’t care for it. I’ve never liked Huat’s art. Sharpe’s stuff is better, but still pretty bland. Nothing special. But the writing’s fantastic. It’s a shame that Spurrier keeps doing these big books that no one reads. X-Force has been awesome right from the start (I don’t care what anyone else says, Marrow’s narration in that first issue was great), but it’s not selling great. Shame.

Amazing X-Men #14, by Chris Yost, Carlo Barberi and Iban Coello. In Winzeldorf, Germany, Nightcrawler sees a priest. He’s there to torment that priest. Outside Winzeldorf, some SHIELD agents exploring an old church get beat up by Mystique. She thinks about how she was changed on Genosha. She seems to be resisting it somewhat, as her feelings of good come and go. But she can’t let Nightcrawler become like her. This is pretty good. It shows that Mystique really does love Nightcrawler. I like the art. There’s a touch of a cartoon feel to it that’s pleasant. Decent issue.

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1, by Elliott Kalan and Marco Failla. Storm isn’t happy about Spider-Man being brought into the JGS staff. They arrive while the school is being attacked by Unus. Who’s inexplicably back from the dead. Unus. Attacking an entire school of mutants. Why? Why would he think that could ever possibly turn out well? The X-Men are all sceptical about a non-mutant joining the school. Spider-Man argues that he can teach the kids responsibility beyond waiting for their school to be attacked. This could be the start of a direction where the X-Men actually move beyond hiding in their school, and get more directly involved in fighting for mutant rights through real political action. But it won’t be! X-Men writers never seem to want to do that. They’d rather just do the same thing Claremont did, and since Claremont never had political rallies, neither can anyone else. Anyway, Spider-Man covers Unus’ force field in webbing, stopping him. Toad seems to be back as janitor. Spider-Man remembers Toad starting a team with Frog-Man. I read that story. It was awesome. Any Frog-Man story is awesome, simply through the presence of Frog-Man. Also, Spider-Man is apparently at the school to ferret out a mole among the student body. His Special Class consists of Hellion, Rockslide, Shark Girl, Glob, No-Girl, Eye-Boy and Ernst. Hellion points out it’s the “bad kids” and the “most likely to turn supervillain kids” – in other words, this is Avengers Academy but X-Men. The kids are misbehaving, so Spider-Man takes them to the Danger Room. In the class, he talks to the students, and tries to tell them they have a responsibility to use their powers to help people. Then he takes them to a museum, where they’re attacked by Stegron the Dinosaur Man. This is OK. Not as bad as I’d expected, but my expectations were very low, and I still can’t say this was particularly good. It makes the X-Men look like a bunch of assholes, for one thing. It plays up their insularity to a ridiculous degree. It also dwells really deeply on the whole “power and responsibility” theme, in a heavy-handed way. It’s something that we all know already. The art is also OK. It’s very standard, conventional art, not standing out at all, for good or ill. Totally forgettable. This whole book is forgettable. The only thing that makes it memorable is the presence of Ernst and No-Girl, and that’s only memorable because Morrison’s New X-Men was awesome.

Nightcrawler #9, by Chris Claremont and Todd Nauck. Nightcrawler flashes back to simpler times, in the Danger Room. It’s tough to tell exactly when this would have happened – he was up against Iceman, Beast, Punk Storm, Colossus and Rogue. So it’s mid-’80s, but Beast and Iceman didn’t really hang around with the X-Men at that point. Wolverine was trying to teach him how to fight smarter and nastier. Cut to the present, and Nightcrawler’s up against the X-Men. First, he takes out Rachel and Psylocke, the telepaths. Next, he slaps around Storm, to piss her off, creating crazy weather. Then, he hits Beast hard, knocking him out, and throws him into Storm’s tornado which spits him out right into Iceman. Psylocke is teleported by the Bamfs, right next to Bess. Psylocke kicks her ass. Nightcrawler continues beating up the X-Men. It’s always nice getting a reminder of how dangerous a lot of superheroes can be when they need to be. Nightcrawler systematically takes apart the X-Men. There’s some nice character stuff throughout the issue, too. Nauck’s art is good, and he captures the action well, with a very old-school feel to it. This is good all around. It’s not outstanding, but it’s good for what it is.

Logan Legacy #6, by James Tynion IV and Andy Clarke. At Seaside Heights, NJ, a guy walks down a carnival, then enters a stall leading to a secret SHIELD archive, which has been attacked. He sees his daughter, who stabs him in the gut. Mystique! Cut to Madripoor, 1974. A wealthy businessman is under attack by himself. Mystique, seizing his fortune, after months of manipulations as different people. She kills the guy, and then Irene comes out, saying they’re ready to start building their life together. Then Logan has to show up and spoil it. In the present, Hill wants to know what Mystique is doing in the archive. In the past, Mystique asks Irene to find a path where Logan dies, and they can work to make it happen sooner so they can build their world. In the present, she finds a tape left by Irene. This is a good issue. It delves into Mystique’s character in a way that few writers really have. It shows that she actually does have a dream beyond merely personal power, though we don’t really know exactly what kind of world she and Irene wanted to build. It also explores why she hated Wolverine so much. I do wish there’d been a panel where she and Irene actually share a kiss – for all that it’s one of the more famous same-sex couples in comic book history, they were never actually shown kissing. (Also, I still want a mini showing how Mystique and Destiny met and became lovers. That would be an awesome mini.) The art’s nice. It’s not exceptional art, but it’s nice, and it gets across everything it’s trying to.

Deadpool’s Art of War #3, by Peter David and Scott Koblish. A bunch of trolls are attacking Queens. Meanwhile, Loki has left Hela in charge of Asgard. Odin and Thor are free, and Hela retreats. Odin demands Loki be brought to him, and Deadpool says he’s probably on Earth. He says Loki’s probably getting defeated. He has an army, but “we have a Hulk.” Meh. Pushing the reference too hard. Complete with Hulk smashing Loki into the ground. Though this time, Hulk calls him a dumb ass. Then he’s dropped into the subway, where the Mole Man attacks. Later on, the Avengers rally against Loki’s army. Thor heads down with the Asgardians to kick some ass. Doom and Red Skull are watching, trying to decide which side to take. They decide to fight against Loki’s forces. This is pretty fun, forced movie references aside. There’s some very good Deadpool comedy, and some cool fighting. There are things about it that made no sense to me – why are Doom and Skull suddenly hanging out? – but the fighting was all fun. The art’s good. Good comic.

Axis #7, by Rick Remender and Adam Kubert. Havok wants to know if the Gene-bomb can spare Wasp, but Scott says it can’t. Outside, the Avengers have Assembled. Inside, Deadpool and Spider-Man attack Apocalypse. Deadpool fights Apocalypse – peacefully – while Spider-Man tries to disarm the bomb. It goes less than well. And in Latveria, Wanda’s still attacking Doom, with Magneto and Quicksilver trying to stop her. She curses her family, striking down Quicksilver. Magneto’s unaffected. Yep, if you haven’t heard, Magneto is apparently no longer the father of Quicksilver and Wanda. This is OK. The big “reveal” with the family is silly, especially because, come on, we know it’s going to be retconned again in a few years. Whatever. There was some good comedy in the big battle early on, then it got all dramatic after the cut to Latveria, and stayed dramatic when it returned to the battle. Kubert’s art is excellent. Just great work. Exciting action, and good drama. Apocalypse’s beat-down of Deadpool is brutal.

And the non-X.

Bitch Planet! Bitch Planet #1, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro. We start on Earth, with a woman running to a recording session. She does a history lesson, saying people used to talk of Mother Earth, but now they know the Universe is their mother, and the Earth is their father. This lesson is for a handful of convicted criminals. All women. They’ve all been sent to Bitch Planet. A fat woman gets angry at how small her uniform is, and gets hit by a guard. That starts a brawl. One woman, a white woman, claims she’s not supposed to be there. Back on Earth, a guy is asking for his wife to be released. His name is Collins. The white woman is also named Collins. She wants to talk to someone in charge, so a Catholic nun hologram is pulled up for her. A sexy nun. So now we get the two conversations, as husband and wife talk about what happened that got her sent to Bitch Planet for non-compliance. The wife starts being taken somewhere, and another woman decides to step in to get involved. This starts another brawl. This is awesome. It’s brilliant stuff. It’s cutting social commentary, to start with, on not just prisons, but, as the essay at the end of the issue explains, on the prisons society puts all women in. “Non-Compliant” is used as a criticism against any woman who doesn’t fit the ideal. It’s very, very intelligent writing. And there seems to be some pretty awesome women. As a bonus, there’s a lot of women of colour, and it looks like the main characters will be primarily women of colour. Already standing out is Penny Rolle, the fat black bitch, who is bound to be the favourite of a lot of readers. The art’s excellent. Very, very nice work. There’s a lot of female nudity, but it never feels exploitative. It’s appropriate to the story. As a note, I think De Landro is black, himself. So that’s neat. This is an awesome book, and you should totally buy it.

Pull list for December 10 2014

I work today and tomorrow. So I’m not totally sure when I’ll get my review post up.

I’ll go to the store for: Bitch Planet #1, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro; Deadpool’s Art of War #3, by Peter David and Scott Koblish; My Little Pony Friends Forever #12, by Barbara Kesel and Brenda Hickey; Rocket Raccoon #6, by Skottie Young; Uncanny X-Men Annual, by Brian Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino; X-Force #13, by Simon Spurrier and Rock-He Kim; X-Men #22, by Marc Guggenheim, Harvey Tolibao and Dexter Soy.

I’ll also review: Amazing X-Men #14, by Chris Yost and Carlo Barberi; Axis #7, by Rick Remender and Terry Dodson; Logan Legacy #6, by James Tynion IV and Andy Clarke; Nightcrawler #9, by Chris Claremont and Todd Nauck; Spider-Man and the X-Men #1, by Elliott Kalan and Marco Failla.

So that’s 7 comics I’m picking up, and 10 reviews. Heavy week.

I’m most excited for Bitch Planet! Kelly Sue DeConnick’s new Image comic. Women In Prison – In Space! I love KSD’s writing. I think she does great character stuff, and writes some truly human characters. And she’s also got some really great humour. So Bitch Planet should be awesome. I mean, even the name is awesome. From Marvel, I’m definitely looking forward to the UXM Annual, and learning a little bit about what Eva went through when she accidentally time-traveled. Eva’s a really cool, compelling character, so I’m excited for her to get a story focused on her. I’m not familiar with Sorrentino’s work, but a quick Google Image search suggests he’s pretty good. Also, I’m looking forward to the finale of Guggenheim’s X-Men arc. Women kicking ass! Woot! Plus, his arc being over means that, next up, we get G. Willow Wilson’s arc, and that is something to be excited about.

Speaking of Wilson . . . I’ve talked in the past about the fact that Marvel’s writers’ retreats are basically all guys. Well, it seems as though that’s changed – G. Willow Wilson is at the current writers’ retreat. This is fantastic news. The more points of view represented at these things, the better. Hopefully, she’ll push hard for bigger roles for women and minorities in the major stories. Hopefully, this could also lead to Wilson getting more Marvel work. I’m loving her Ms. Marvel, and the book’s doing well physically and digitally. So it’d be cool if she gets another prominent title. Waid’s leaving Daredevil, maybe she could take over that? (I think I’ve mentioned before that Daredevil is the only Marvel title that’s been in mostly-continuous publication since the ’60s that’s ever had a female writer. Ann Nocenti’s run was fantastic stuff.)

I’ve started reading The Law of Superheroes. It’s really interesting so far. There are some interesting ideas in it. For example, it likely wouldn’t be unconstitutional to remove a person’s powers, even if it requires surgery. It gives an example of a DC villain who had his larynx removed to keep him from being able to say the word that gave him his powers. This would probably be legal. Also, superpower registration would probably be constitutional, along with requiring training, and even mandating that certain superpowers can’t legally be used outside of police or military membership. In other words, certain aspects of the SHRA may actually have a firm constitutional grounding.

In personal news: My work schedule this week is 2:30-11 today, 2-10 tomorrow, 5:30-11:30 Friday, 2:30-7 Saturday, 8-4:30 Monday, 11-7:30 Tuesday. I’m getting a lot of hours this month. Which is nice, because it means more money. But on the other hand, ugh, work.

I got some more Pony figures. Fluttershy! Pinkie Pie, Shanky Hank, Candy Apples, Purple Wave, Cloudia Breezie, Sunny Breezie and Spitfire. The Pinkie Pie is basically a duplicate. I got one in an earlier set, and they’re exactly the same. Candy Apples and Sunny Breezie, I got a couple weeks ago. Shanky Hank is a male pony. Cloudia Breezie is impossible to stand up. So the big ones this week are Fluttershy, Purple Wave and Spitfire. I already have a Fluttershy from a previous set, but that one’s a Rainbow Dash clone. This one has her with her front hooves down, which suits her better than them being in the air. Also, her hair looks way better on this one. It actually looks like her hair. In fact, the hair the figure has is unique to her. Which is great. Spitfire’s great. She’s a unique figure. Her stance means she isn’t balanced well, so she falls too easily, but she still looks cool. Purple Wave is another unique figure. She’s an Earth Pony with fancy hair. She’s neat. So, it’s a pretty good haul.

I put together my Christmas list. In addition to any MCU movies I don’t already have, I put a bunch of books. Drawn To Marvel, Ages of the X-Men, Suburban Glamour, Confessions of A Blabbermouth, In Real Life, Scooter Girl, Friends With Boys, GloomCookie, Pickles, Things Grak Hates, The Adventures of Jack and Miracle Girl, Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf, Steampunk World, Evil Librarian and The Bookshop Book. A nice bunch of options my mom can choose from. Some comics, some books about comics, and some normal books. For the record, Evil Librarian and The Bookshop Book are both a result of me wanting to be a librarian. I’m not as big a reader as I should be, though I am trying to get back into the habit, but books are something I care about.

Last week, I talked a bit about being single. I’ve been chatting to a girl on OKCupid. She’s pretty, and she seems cool. She’s also married. Open relationship, I guess. I kinda want to be bothered by it, but nope. For one thing, I’m not really expecting this to go beyond chatting online (I turned her on to Order of the Stick, which is a very good D&D-based stick figure webcomic you should all check out). But also, I don’t want to stay in this town, so I’m not really interested in a serious relationship, so I have no reason to be bothered if I do get involved with a woman who’s already seeing someone (as long as she’s being honest with her partner). I always figured that I’d hate to be “the other guy” in that sort of situation, and that I’d want to be the guy the girl goes home to, but meh, I’m fine taking whatever I can get, even if it’s just talking online about why I don’t get the attraction to Benedict Cumberbatch.

Which reminds me: Why do girls think Benedict Cumberbatch is sexy? I don’t get it. He just looks so English. He looks like a 17th Century nobleman. And not the romantacized version of one. But one of the real ones, with, like haemophilia or something. And this isn’t just me not being able to admit that a man is attractive. I’m fully capable of admitting when men are attractive. For example, Idris Elba is a sexy man. Chris Evans? Yeah, I get what girls see in him, and why they want to see him in them. But Benedict Cumberbatch? I don’t get it.

Anyway, that’s it for this week.

Alpha Flight #18 (1985, January)

I work tomorrow. So no reviews. But I’ll post my pull list. For today, by Byrne, “How Long Will A Man Lie In the Earth ‘Ere He Rot?”

How Long Will A Man Lie In the Earth 'Ere He Rot?

The bottom-right panel is the most exciting.

Puck walks into the apartment to see Heather holding up the Guardian suit. Puck asks about it, and she says that it’s not the power suit, just a spare of the costume Mac wore over it. She was just remembering. He tells her to avoid those kinds of memories, and that her role as leader isn’t going to be on the front lines. He asks what the plan is, and she says the team needs to be more centralized. So she starts making calls.

She starts with Northstar, swimming in his pool. There’s a guy and a girl there. I get the feeling the girl’s there to keep quiet and stay out of the way. Anyway, Northstar wants nothing to do with Alpha Flight. Next, Heather calls Shaman, who’s out of the office.

He’s at Fort Calgary, with his daughter. He’s checking out the area for mystical stuff. He senses something definitely escaped. He tells Elizabeth that something about her acted as a trigger on the spirit. Meanwhile, in an old house, an old man is arguing with his nurse. The man’s great-granddaughter wants him to stay alive, but he doesn’t feel like putting any effort into it. His great-granddaughter only learned about him recently, and she wants to be able to spend time with him. She knows he did something bad in his youth, but she also feels he’s a good man. As she cooks, something weird starts happening. Shaman gets notified at the police station about the woman calling to report being attacked by her eggs. He prepares to head to the mansion, and Elizabeth demands to go with him.

Up north, Snowbird meets with Doug. She tells him she can’t return his love. She wants to, but she can’t. Doug sees no reason why she can’t, and he kisses her, which does have an effect on her. She leans against a rock, and says she does love him, but she lets her true face show to Doug, and tells him to say he still loves her.

Back at the Stang household, Shaman and Elizabeth have arrived, and go inside. The house is cold, and the energies are still there. So Shaman heads into the kitchen. The scrambled eggs attack, but Shaman manages to defeat them. He feels it was too easy, almost like it was a diversion. The girl becomes worried for her great-grandfather. They all rush upstairs to his room, and he says he’s been waiting for the day for a hundred years, and knowing that he’d be struck at through those he loves. Shaman tries to stop what’s going on, but Strang blasts him down. The great-granddaughter is turning into a monster, and starts blasting Elizabeth, who’s in pain, but is getting stronger. She manages to grab control of the power.

Shaman is amazed at Elizabeth’s power. He also realizes the girl has been possessed by Ranaq, the Great Devourer. Elizabeth might be able to defeat him, but not without killing the girl. He waits his chance, then throws some baubles, which drive Ranaq out. The day is saved! But there’s a lot of questions left to be answered. And to do that, they’ll need to travel back in time.

Neat issue. The Snowbird romance subplot is blah. I never much care for it. Doug is a bland character whose only real role is love interest for Snowbird. He has no particular traits beyond “seems like a decent guy.”And it’s a little disappointing that Snowbird, who’s a fascinating character, wound up being weighed down with this bland romantic subplot.

The scene between Heather and Puck is good. We see her continuing to grieve, but also continue to move on with her life.

But the real meat of the story is the Shaman and Elizabeth stuff. And it’s really cool. The mystical stuff is neat, but the relationship between Shaman and Elizabeth is the best part. There’s a real tension, though we also see hints of Elizabeth maybe being able to forgive her dad. Elizabeth herself is great. She’s feisty and strong-willed. I’m a big fan of her.

The art is as great as always. I would’ve liked a little more stuff during the mystical battle between Elizabeth and Ranaq. Maybe some fancy colours or something. As it is, it was really just a lot of whiteness. Which I suppose has its own weirdness. It’s a minor enough complaint.

So, really cool issue.

Song of the day: Oh Yeah by the Cliks.

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