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X-Men comic of September 11 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So, as of last night, I am officially on anti-depressants. We’ll see if they help. I’ve also read the first volume of the Sailor Moon manga, having picked it up on a whim. And wow, Usagi is bi. I mean, I knew she was, from watching the anime (the Japanese version, with English subtitles, rather than the English dub), but wow. Her reaction on meeting Rei is basically, “She can step on me and I would thank her.” I know from the anime that eventually becomes, “I still want her to step on me, but I’m not going to thank her for it.” Anyway, let’s get to today’s comic.

Powers of X #2, by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Mr. Sinister!

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Guard Sinister’s pretty great.

Xavier and Magneto are there to make a deal with Sinister. This is also apparently the origin of Sinister’s cape. I’m not even kidding. He sees Magneto’s cape and declares he needs a cape of his own. Anyway, Sinister’s been building a library of DNA, and Xavier suggests he make it a library of mutant DNA. Sinister refuses, until another Sinister, with mutant DNA and the classic cape, executes him and takes over. I love the modern take on Sinister. This is very much playing off Gillen’s take, though honestly, I don’t think it’s actually as entertaining as Gillen’s version. We then get a couple pages of Sinister Secrets and Secrets Revealed. We’ll see what’s up with those, though it turns out that the mutant gene in Sinister belonged to John Proudstar. Closer to the present, a few months before the start of this series, Xavier took Cypher to Krakoa, to introduce the two. Also, Cypher already had a transmode arm at that point. There’s some revelations about Krakoa, which may or may not end up being relevant. And there’s more stuff in the far future. And there’s still little to make me really care. Again, this series is all about the plot. It’s about the Big Ideas. And that’s fine, but it’s not what I enjoy reading. I read for the characters. And here, even when we get scenes that spend a lot of time with one or two characters, it’s not about those characters. The Cypher scene isn’t about Cypher, it’s about Cypher being able to understand Krakoa. The scene is still mostly exposition. We’re two-thirds of the way through, and we’re still getting mounds of exposition, and the characters still mostly don’t really matter much. Cypher matters only inasmuch as he can act as a tool of exposition for Krakoa’s new backstory. I still cannot bring myself to care about this story.

And the non-X-stuff

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #48, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Melissa Morbeck is very very clever. She pretty much makes Tony Stark her bitch in this issue. Also, yeah, things are getting tense, though there’s obviously still some solid humour.

Ironheart #10, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Silhouette uses the term “Shuriri,” and I am so happy she did. Also, big twist that’s foreshadowed early in the issue. This is a very good series. Ewing and Vecchio are nailing it.

Gwenpool Strikes Back #2, by Leah Williams, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna. Gwen is confirmed as bi. Leah Williams confirmed it on Twitter a couple months ago, but this issue also confirms it. She wants to seduce either Reed or Sue, and Deadpool raises the option of her being a bisexual unicorn to spice up their marriage, and she only rejects it because she knows Marvel would never let it happen. Gwenpool and Deadpool also both make it clear they have no sexual interest in each other. He’s too old for her, she’s too young for him. Gwen goes so far as to kink-shame any future writers who try to hook them up. Anyway, this comic continues to be wild.

Captain Marvel #10, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, Clayton Cowles. Star is, indeed, a villain. Who could’ve seen that coming, huh? Aside from everyone. Still, it was done well. Carol also gets a moment demonstrating that she is an absolute hardcore badass.

X-Men comic of August 4 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Pretty big comic day. The first comic I read today was Pretty Deadly: The Rat #1. So good. It’s amazing. Pretty Deadly is my favourite comic. The whole creative team clicks. DeConnick, Rios, Bellaire, and Cowles, they’re all amazing at what they do, and they work together brilliantly. After that, I read The Wicked + The Divine #45. The final issue of the series. It’s also brilliant. I got the Olivia Jaimes cover, and it’s delightful. But yeah, starting the day with the two comics most guaranteed to fuck me up was definitely a great idea, no regrets here, nope. So let’s get to a bunch of comics that can’t possibly live up to those two.

House of X #4, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Archangel and Husk are already dead. Holy shit, Paige didn’t even get to punch someone. Damn. Cold, Hickman. The assault continues, though, and Monet, uh, somehow turns into Penance? That’s unexpected. That feels like something that should get some time dedicated to it. Of course, it doesn’t. This is Hickman. Plot is all that matters, and Monet turning into Penances isn’t directly related to the plot, so it doesn’t actually matter. Which makes it completely pointless. Unless he actually does have plans for exploring this, either in this series or in X-Men, then Monet turning into Penance is entirely frigging pointless. It’s a cool moment for the sake of a cool moment, and any emotional meaning to justify it be damned. Which is annoying. Anyway, naturally, she dies. So does Mystique, who gets spaced. The bad guys start bringing the Mother Mold online, so Kurt and Logan sacrifice themselves to stop it.

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At least this is a genuinely good character moment.

This assault ends with the whole team dead. Bear in mind, most of these characters already have places in Dawn of X. So these deaths, ultimately, are meaningless. We know that they’re going to be revived before this story is even over, which takes out a lot of the tension, a lot of the emotional weight. If the story had spent more time on the characters, there would’ve been more weight, but as it is, Hickman is banking on existing familiarity with the characters to do the heavy lifting. And I cannot stand that kind of thing. My feeling is: make us care about the characters in the context of the story you’re telling. Ultimately, this issue’s point is to make Xavier fed up with mutants getting killed. Which I can certainly relate to, I’m pretty fed up with it, especially given Rosenberg’s run was a frigging slaughterhouse. So it’s hard to take Xavier’s “no more” all that seriously, too. I mean, if Hickman does get the X-office to back the fuck off its murder-boner for a little while, great, good for him, but it doesn’t make me like this particular story any more. Hickman is just not a writer I enjoy. This is a perfectly well-crafted story, but it’s one that I find puts very little effort into making anyone care, and instead relies on people caring solely because it’s the X-Men. I had similar complaints about his Avengers run. He is just very much Not For Me.

And the non-X-stuff.

Alpha Flight: True North, with three stories. The first is by Jim Zub, Max Dunbar, Jim Charalampidis, and Ed Brisson. Snowbird and Talisman check out some mysterious danger in Nunavut. On an interesting note, the comics I buy, I also get torrents, just for screengrabs. And this one, the torrent had an interesting error. Some of the dialogue from a later story is included in this one. I’m not sure if that’s anti-pirating measures from Marvel – I’ve never noticed it in any other comics – or if it was just a weirdness with the digital file of this issue. It’s interesting. And a little annoying, as there’s a gorgeous panel I was going to screengrab for my favourite panels tweets on Tuesday. I’ll just have to remember to use the digital code to get the issue on Unlimited. Anyway, the story is really good. I like it. It’s connecting Snowbird to her human side in a nice way. The second is by Jed MacKay, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Ian Herring, and Ed Brisson. Puck and Marrina! Also, Northstar and Aurora working on their tans. But mostly, this is about the friendship between puck and Marrina. Itès nice to see. They were friends back in the original Alpha Flight, before Byrne wrote Marrina out of the series. And this is a really sweet story. Marrina was always such a boring character, before she died, but then the last Alpha Flight series made her all punk. And even though she’s not punk here, her calling Puck “Old Man” is such an endearing bit, and she’s still got plenty of personality. And the third is by Ed Brisson, Scott Hepburn, Jim Charalampidis, and Ed Brisson. Brisson actually lettered this comic, which is interesting. Heather’s reading her daughter a bedtime story, and guys teleport in the arrest her, and Guardian arrives to help her. She’s still wanted for the events of 2011’s Alpha Flight series. This story’s good, too, with a bit of a harsh twist.

Ghost-Spider Annual, by Vita Ayala, Pere Perez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. Gwen gets caught in a trap meant for Spider-Man, gets pretty emotionally messed-up fighting a robotic Lizard, has a great time fighting a robotic Daredevil and Punisher, and saves a robotic Gwen Stacy. It’s a fun comic. Also, I’m 99% sure one of her female classmates has a crush on her. And I’m also 100% sure that her world’s MJ is in love with her. What I’m saying is Gwen Stacy is lesbian-bait.

Champions #9, by Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. Viv 2.0 is not impressed with Riri falling under Blackheart’s control. And Kamala finally reveals her secret identity to Sam and Miles. I’ll be honest, I really like Viv 2.0. I like that she feels things, expresses her emotions. She’s an android, but she’s not reserved like her dad. I find that far more interesting.

Agents of Atlas, by Greg Pak, Nico Leon, Pop Mhan, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Cho’s continuing crush on Luna Snow is very fun and cute, and is reciprocated. Also, Amadeus is told the difference between dragons and wyverns. Good issue. Very fun, there’s lots of mystery, and I’m intrigued to see where this story goes.

Web of Black Widow #1, by Jody Houser, Stephen Mooney, Triona Farrell, and Cory Petit. Natasha crashes a party. And uses ballet to beat the crap out of people. I’m intrigued. She’s out to right some of the wrongs she’s committed, but she’s not doing it in a particularly heroic fashion.

X-Men comic of August 28 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Pretty Deadly comes back next week! Woot! There’s even an absolutely incredible book trailer. I am very excited. I love Pretty Deadly. But that’s not until next week. For this week, only one X-title, again.

House of X #3, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Scott’s assembled a team for the assault on Mother Mold, Xavier says he won’t let Scott die, and Magneto says that the righteous live on in their works. Scott’s team consists of Logan, Kurt, Paige, Warren. Monet, Mystique, and Jean. Interesting line-up. Jean decides to wear her skirt costume. I still like that costume, if I’m honest. Is it a weird choice to wear into a suicide mission in space? Sure. But whatever, it’s cute. You can’t fight crime if you ain’t cute. Not sure why they’d bring Mystique. She’s incredibly dangerous, but most of that comes from subtler approaches than an all-out assault. As they go off on their mission, we get more text pages, including information on Project Achilles, a prison designed to house up to 30 of the worst superpowered criminals. And OK, Achilles? Really? You’re naming it after a figure who’s best-known for having a weak point that resulted in his defeat and death. Really. OK, well, sure. Anyway, Sabretooth is being held there (and also his trial is being held there), and his rather ineffective public defender gets fired when Emma shows up.

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Cue “Bad Guy.”

You can’t tell me this wasn’t her jam for at least a little while. Pretty much everyone has pointed to this panel as Emma being That Bitch, but I disagree, this panel is her being Queen Bitch. And she spends the entire scene being Queen Bitch, telling the court that they’re going to release Sabretooth to her, and there’s nothing they can do to stop her. On Sol’s Hammer, Karima Shapandar expresses concern about Mother Mold wiping out humanity, because Karima’s clearly not an idiot. And then, the assault. So, this issue remains OK. Emma steals the show, naturally. The outfit alone. Damn. However, this is still a plot-driven issue. We spend very little time with the assault team, getting into the mindsets as they go off on what may be a suicide mission. I mean, obviously, it’s not like suicide missions are anything new to them. But even so, it would’ve been nice to get a sense of what they’re feeling. So as per usual for Hickman’s stuff, this is well-made, but doesn’t particularly move me. Great art, though. That Emma. Mmf.

And then a ton of non-X-stuff. I was hoping to get Super Sexy Fun Times, by Meredith McClaren, but unfortunately, it didn’t come in this week. I actually did, on a whim, pick up the first volume of the Sailor Moon manga. It’ll take a while to get around to it, though.

Power Pack: Grow Up!, with two stories! Louise Simonson! Woot! I got the wonderful Elsa Charretier cover. The first story is by the classic Power Pack team of Louise Simonson and June Brigman, along with Roy Richardson, Tamra Bonvillain, and Joe Caramagna. It’s set in the past, when they were still kids. Katie’s about to enter first grade. These days, she’s in, what, 5th or 6th grade? Anyway, they go to see Lila Cheney perform in the park, and then fight Brood with Kitty and Logan. It’s a really cute story, it’s so nice seeing Simonson and Brigman reunite for this, their Power Pack run was one of the great comic runs. It’s very much a model of how to do a great all-ages superhero comic. The comic definitely exists because of nostalgia, and it’s very much done as a throwback to the ’80s, but where some comics like this feel dated, this one feels more timeless. The second story is by Louise Simonson, Gurihiru, and Joe Caramagna. It continues from the main story, and it’s about Katie feeling guilty she didn’t get Alex a better birthday present, because she spent her money on a Lila Cheney figure. And it’s just so cute. Such a cute story. Gurihiru are a fantastic fit for Weezie. Their art is so wonderful, and absolutely brings out The Feels in Simonson’s script. I’d certainly be down for more Simonson/Gurihiru collaborations.

Marvel Team-Up #5, by Clint McElroy, Ig Guara, Felipe Sobreiro, and Clayton Cowles. Turns out Dr. Walter Lawson is alive. He’s the guy Mar-Vell replaced in his debut appearance. And he’s crazy and wants revenge against the Kree. It’s a fun issue. I’m enjoying this arc, though there’s some forced tension between Carol and Kamala that didn’t really work for me.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #46, by Brandon Montclare, Alitha Martinez, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Lunella meets Reed Richards. It doesn’t go well. Her brattiness feels a bit far in this issue, if I’m being honest. I feel like Montclare’s repeating story beats. We had an entire arc about Lunella learning to listen to other geniuses. She’s learned the lesson repeatedly that being the smartest doesn’t mean she has all the answers. And here she is, still saying she doesn’t have to listen to anyone. It’s just getting tiresome. I hate to say it, but it might be time for Montclare to step off this series, and let a new writer take over and do new things with her.

She-Hulk Annual, by Alexandra Petri, Andy MacDonald, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. I hadn’t planned on picking it up, but the shop added it to my subs, so I figured I might as well. Anyway, it’s set a few years back. Bullseye stole her body, and she had to get it back, while stopping Bullseye-in-her-body from killing his own body. It’s fun. And raises some interesting questions about self and identity.

Captain America #13, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jason Masters, Sean Izaakse, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. Steve and White Tiger head to the border to protect some migrants under attack by the Watchdogs. This is very much a political issue, and good for it. Marvel might be too cowardly to allow political statements in their comic celebrating 80 years, but at least they’re letting this comic include political commentary. On a side note, this issue describes Toni Ho as the tech support for the Daughters of Liberty, but I hope she gets to go out in the field, too. It’s a shame that the only girl geniuses allowed to be active superheroes are kids. Toni Ho was awesome under Ewing as an adult girl genius superhero.

Black Panther #15, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel Acuna, and Joe Sabino. T’Challa makes it home.

Thanos #5, by Tini Howard, Ariel Olivetti, Antonio Fabela, and Joe Caramagna. Thanos confronts Magus, and Gamora rescues herself so she can save him. I like this series. It’s good stuff.

X-Men comics of August 21 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’m sure I’m supposed to have some sort of opinion on Spider-Man possibly leaving the MCU, but honestly, all I can really think is that this would be a good time for Marvel to bring Ironheart into the MCU. Just saying, a youthful hero who idolized Tony Stark and wants to carry on his legacy? And it wouldn’t hurt to inject a little more colour, either. Anyway, let’s get to the comics.

Powers of X #3, by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Machine cultists! In the future, there’s a church that believes machines are superior to humans, and humanity has to submit to the machines and become more like them. And then the X-Men make their traditional entrance of smashing through a wall.

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Same, Xorn. Same.

We also learn more about Apocalypse’s final Horsemen. Logan and Xorn are the originals. Magneto is apparently a combination of Lorna and Emma’s DNA. And there’s a Krakoa/Cypher hybrid. And, of course, Rasputin and Cardinal. Rasputin, Cardinal, and Magneto are creating a distraction for Apocalypse, Logan, and Chimera to sneak in to get info they need. They get confronted by Nimrod. Meanwhile, the distraction team’s pretty much done for, so Rasputin takes off Xorn’s mask to release the black hole in his head. And this entire timeline is revealed as Moira’s ninth life, which no shortage of people had guessed online. This issue’s very straightforward. The only question, in my mind, is whether Xorn’s black hole might possibly result in Rasputin coming back in time. I wouldn’t be surprised if that does happen, though I’m not actually expecting it to be the case. If not, then the point of this timeline was only to tell Moira when Nimrod comes online. Well, the real point, I suppose, was to highlight the consequences of not stopping the rise of the Sentinels. Which, meh, not like that was a mystery. If we’d gotten more character exploration in the future, I might not have found it such a waste of time. But there was so much time spent on world-building, all for the entire world to amount to nothing in particular. I hope Rasputin does make it back to the present, partly because I’m one of those weird people who likes time travelers, but also to make all the world-building feel more worthwhile. But whatever happens going forward, this issue is mostly just action. It’s well-made, it looks great, but it’s still just a fight issue, which is why it’s so straightforward compared to everything else in this entire event. Silva and Gracia do a great job. The issue looks great. It just didn’t really blow me away from a story standpoint.

Marvel Comics Presents #8, with the next part of the Logan story by Charles Soule, Dio Neves, Oren Junior, Frank D’Armata, and joe Caramagna. Logan goes to hell.

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It’s good to have a goal.

Little-known fact: All Canadians go to Hell. That’s the price we pay for universal health care. Honestly, still worth it, though. Anyway, Rien gets angry enough that she shows him the door. Luckily, she also goes in with him, to try to make sure he can get back out. Good installment. Ramps up the drama in a big way. Rien still doesn’t have much personality. There’s not much space to develop her character, sadly. Mostly, she just seems angry. Though she was raised to be a weapon, so that’s fair. I like the art. It’s a good-looking comic. Buuuut it’s still a Logan story, so my interest was always going to be limited.

There’s also back-up stories about Jessica Drew dealing with misinformation on social media (and admitting she’s a Dazzler fan, I forget if that’s been established before), and one about White Fox.

And the non-X-stuff.

Death’s Head #2, by Tini Howard, Kei Zama, Felipe Sobreiro, and Travis Lanham. We meet Death’s Head 5.0.1. Death’s Head isn’t impressed. He acknowledges Death’s Head 2 as an upgrade, but Death’s Head 5 he calls a downgrade. Poor DH5. Also, Kate! Woot! And it turns out robots are just like cats. This comic is wild and fun. It kept me laughing. So good.

Fearless #2, by Seanan McGuire, Claire Roe, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cardinal Rae. Ms. Marvel! Also, Melody Guthrie, one of the mutants de-powered on M-Day. Oh man, this is really good. It’s a very positive story, one that makes surprisingly heavy use of mutants as a marginalized community, not just in terms of the hate, but also making references to things like mutant-friendly school districts, and Sapiens-Superior Alliances, like Gay-Straight Alliances. That’s the sort of thing I genuinely want to see more of. That should be a thing, but it’s the kind of thing the X-office just doesn’t bother thinking about. It shouldn’t be up to comics like this to do the heavy lifting of going beyond hated-and-feared, but this comic does it so well. Also, Carol makes a Counting Crows joke, wow. And she laughs, and no one else does, which is hilarious to me. Anyway, I’m really enjoying this.

A Night Nurse story, by Karla Pacheco, Iolanda Zanfardino, and Rosenberg and Rae. She has a bad date, helps Komodo (yay for her showing up!), and smacks Stegron with a fire extinguisher. And gets even more awesome from there. It’s a great story, one that really highlights just how much hanging out with superheroes has made Linda Carter a straight-up badass.

And a Laura and Gabby story, by Eve Ewing, Alitha Martinez, and Rosenberg and Rae. The story is a very unsubtle condemnation of the Trump administration and ICE sticking immigrant children in cages. Like, the very last line is, “No kid deserves to be in a cage.” Ewing was not even trying to hide what the point of the story was. Nor should she. Impeach Trump, abolish ICE.

Ghost Spider #1, by Seanan McGuire, Takeshi Miyazawa, Ian Herring, and Clayton Cowles. Gwen enrolls at ESU in the 616, which actually has a scholarship (via Tony Stark) for aliens, dimensional travelers, clones, machine intelligences, and so on. Marvel New York is freaking weird. I am delighted that ESU actually has guidelines in place to deal with that weirdness. There’s a lot in this issue that made me laugh. It’s really fun.

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #6, by Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Juan Vlasco, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. This issue’s mostly about Kamala learning her dad has a rare disease that’s going to kill him. I’m still sour about Ahmed wiping her parents’ memories of her identity. Kamala’s actually annoyed about it, too. I hope she does tell them again, the story of a teen hero needing to hide their identity from their parents is so played-out. It’s a trope that’s been almost completely abandoned at Marvel. Hell, fewer young heroes even bother with secret identities any more. Riri doesn’t. The Young Avengers don’t wear masks. Nadia doesn’t mind people knowing she’s the Wasp. Of course, plenty of teen heroes do still have secret identities, too. The point is that things have changed a lot in the past decade. I can’t think of a single teen hero at Marvel who still keeps their identity a secret from their parents. Sam Alexander’s mom and sister know. Miles’ parents know. Riri’s mom knows. Nadia’s been adopted by a superhero, so she’s kind of an outlier anyway. Some of the Champions, we have no idea what their relationships are like with their parents, but I think at least a couple are orphans, and several others don’t wear masks, which indicates they’re not concerned about preserving their identities. Is there anyone I’m not thinking of? A young hero whose parents definitely don’t know they’re a superhero? I can’t think of any. So I’m still sour about Ahmed going back there. But this issue’s definitely a step up, regardless. It brings the focus back to be more personal. Also, Ian Herring is still a huge part of this series, and this character. Having him continue on was a very smart decision, his colours define the book’s aesthetic.

X-Men comic of August 14 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I really need to start catching up with all the shows I’m behind on. Buuuut I probably won’t. Depression is fun like that. I’ve also got a shit-ton of comics to catch up on. But, again, depression is fun. Honestly, I should just get on anti-depressants already. The problem with that is that it means going to a doctor and explaining why I need them, and that takes effort, and . . . Depression is fun. But hey, at least I have comics to talk about.

Powers of X #2, by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. In the past, Charles and Moira visit Magneto on his island, to show him what happens in the worlds where Xavier and Magneto don’t work together. Moira’s idea is all of mutantdom working together. I feel like that’s been tried, but sure, OK. In the present, Xavier shows Scott the plans for a Mother Mold, a Master Mold that builds Master Molds, in orbit around the sun. Xavier and Magneto explain who Orchis are, with one particularly good line from Magneto.

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Remember that HYDRA are Nazis.

Nice touch, with Magneto scornfully referring to Operation: Paperclip. No surprise that a Jew would hold a grudge about that. Anyway, in addition to the normal concerns about Sentinels, they also think this is where Nimrod happens. Magneto notes just how ridiculous the mission to stop Mother Mold is, and questions if it can even be done, which gives a great Scott moment.

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No doubts.

You know he’s already working on the logistics. Adapting plans he’s already come up with for assaults on space stations (because of course Scott has plans for assaults on space stations). In the future, during the war against Sentinels, the remaining X-Men are led by Apocalypse. Also, Nimrod is capable of lying and apparently quite enjoys it. And Future Xorn is delightfully nihilistic and I like that. And in the far future, the Phalanx pay a visit. So, this issue has more plot developments. The first few issues were world-building, loads and loads of exposition to provide context for the plot. This issue is where we start to actually get plot.

And the non-X-stuff.

Gwenpool Strikes Back #1, by Leah Williams, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna. Side note: Caramagna might be angling for an Eisner with this mini. He’s doing some crazy stuff with the lettering. Anyway, Gwen wants to get powers so she can get used more and stick around in comics. Also, bananas are radioactive. True fact! This is great.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #47, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. We enter the final arc of this series, and I’m very sad. But they’re definitely going out with a bang. Melissa Morbeck reveals Squirrel Girl’s secret identity to the world, and things are now different.

Ironheart #9, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Riri and Shuri meet! It goes great! Shuri kicks it off by trolling Riri, then criticizing her manners. It’s funny how poorly they get along, at least at first. Also, Silhouette! Woot! So glad to have her show up. She’s awesome. She’s one of a very few disabled superheroes, and even fewer whose powers aren’t related to or compensate for her disability. She really stands out in that sense, and yet she gets no use. So I’m very happy to see Ewing and Vecchio bring her in. She’s also notable for being Blasian, which isn’t common in cape comics. So that’s cool. But yeah, more disabled superheroes, please.

Captain Marvel #9, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles. Carol has a secret cave base. That’s new.

X-Men comics of August 7 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I still haven’t picked up Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3. I want to finish Breath of the Wild first, and I’ve been slacking off on that lately. I have been watching the new season of She-Ra. It’s really good, and also I am judging everyone who doesn’t ship Catra and Scorpia. The third episode is basically all about how happy Catra would be if she just got over Adora and really opened up to Scorpia. That said, Catra is kinda toxic for Scorpia. Scorpia’s such a good dumb sweetie and she deserves better. I’m only 5 episodes in, so no one spoil anything for me. Anyway, comics!

House of X #2, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Moira is a mutant, one who re-lives her life over and over. In one life, feeling mutation is a cancer, she developed a cure for mutation, but then the Brotherhood, led by Mystique and Destiny, killed her.

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In all timelines ever, humans try to wipe out mutants.

Destiny also warns Moira that she’ll only get 10 lives, maybe 11. She also has Pyro burn Moira to death, slowly. The next couple lives ended with Sentinels wiping out mutants, so her seventh life was dedicated to killing the entire Trask bloodline, but Sentinels still came about. Her ninth life, she joined Apocalypse. Her tenth life, she decided to change the rules. So . . . I don’t know. I’m very much wary of this retcon. We’ll see how it goes. But for now, I can’t say I’m a fan. I mean, for one thing, it’s a little irritating that a major human supporting character who supported mutants is revealed as being a mutant herself. What next, we find out Stevie Hunter was secretly a mutant all along? Every human who’s ever opposed murdering mutants turns out to actually be a mutant? Meh. Also, the fact that there’s never a world where things don’t go horribly for mutants. I get that’s why Moira has to keep trying over and over, but just the same, it’s tiring that there is basically never a timeline where coexistence is possible. The pessimism, the fatalism, has gotten boring. This is, of course, a very well-crafted comic. Everyone involved is very good at their craft. There’s nothing to criticize on that front. Though, for all that the issue is about Moira, she gets surprisingly little in the way of characterization. It’s still a plot-driven issue. Which again left me feeling a little cold. Ultimately, I’m left a lot warier of this series than I was after the first issue.

Dead Man Logan #10, by Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Weapon X, with a horde of Sabretooth clones, is attacking Forge’s compound.

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Sometimes, overkill still isn’t enough.

Sabretooth himself captures Bruce, Jr. And somehow makes it away from Dani Cage. Honestly, Dani should be able to crush Sabretooth. Unbreakable skin, along with superstrength. As she likes to say, she is the shield, even if she’s Captain America in this world. Logan and Dani grab the car to chase after Sabretooth’s truck, while Forge decides there’s too many Sabretooths and the only choice is to blow the compound. With Speedball. And uh, this issue’s not great, truthfully. It feels really, really slow. Because it’s clear, from the start, how it’s going to end. Like, there’s no question Speedball’s going to blow up. And it just takes forever to get to that point. Also, I hate Sabretooth. OK? I hate him. I hate that he’s such a one-note piece of shit asshole character, yet we’re supposed to take him seriously as some big threat. He likes killing, and he’s a misogynist, ooh, how menacing. He’s every mass shooter, he’s every controlling guy who kills his wife or girlfriend, he’s a frigging MRA fantasy, and I don’t give a single wet hot shit about him. So this story being yet another in the endless saga of Logan vs. Creed just frigging bores me. I don’t care. I don’t care about what Creed is up to. I don’t care about the upcoming final battle. I don’t frigging care. I would’ve preferred basically any antagonist over Creed. Honestly, Creed got what he deserved previously, when he went completely feral and got chopped into pieces by Logan, and that was that. It’s the ending he deserved, completely anti-climatic, and it should’ve been left like that, but nope, we have to have Logan vs. Creed, round 1098., and showing how dangerous and menacing he is, and blah blah blah. Fuck Sabretooth.

And the non-X-stuff!

Champions #8, by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. I want a Locust solo comic, she is amazing and I love her. Also, Sam is Nova again! Good for him. There’s also a fight against the Freelancers, but sadly, no Cursed Cass. I still want her and Viv to have a hero-villain romance.

Agents of Atlas #1, by Greg Pak, Nico Leon, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Amadeus has a crush on Luna Snow, and some corporation creates portals across all Asian nations. Including Flushing, New York. Also, Raz is there! He’s cool, I like him. Though I am getting a bad feeling that Pak may not be setting up a Silk/Luna ship, which makes me sad. And a back-up by Jeff Parker, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Joe Sabino. It focuses on the original Agents of Atlas, and has Venus singing Jolene, a song that has become quite the meme lately.

I wanted to get Future Foundation. I like Whitley as a writer. I feel like Marvel’s sorely lacking in trans rep, so I wanted to support Tong. And I like several other characters in the cast. But I cannot stand Robson’s art. I just can’t read his work. His faces look so damn weird to me. Obviously he’s a great artist, he wouldn’t be working at Marvel if he wasn’t, and people who know a lot more about art than I do love him. So I’m glad he’s getting work. But that doesn’t change the fact that his style is a complete and total turn-off for me, something I just cannot get beyond.

X-Men comics of July 31 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). On Sunday, I got to see Kiki’s Delivery Service in a theatre. It was so great. I love that movie. It’s so good. Great depiction of burnout. Also, Jiji! I love cats. Kiki is my third-favourite Ghibli movie. My rankings go Spirited Away, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Arrietty, Howl’s Moving Castle. I missed a chance to see Howl at the theatre, but there’s still the other 3, which I will absolutely be going to. For now, though, comics.

Powers of X #1, by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. So it looks like we’ll be seeing four timelines in this story. Year 1: The Dream. Year 10: The World. Year 100: The War. Year 1000: The Ascension. Year 1 seems to be pre-X-Men. Xavier’s having a nice day at a fair, and a woman who I think is Moira sits next to him, though he doesn’t know her, and she says all sorts of cryptic stuff. Year 10 is the present. Mystique and Toad return to Krakoa, and she brings Xavier the USB with stolen info. She also has some demands. Helping mutants doesn’t mean much to her. Year 100 has mutants being hunted by Sentinels, some of which has different designs from normal. Neat. Rasputin and Cardinal are among the mutants fighting. Rasputin’s a fighter. Metal skin and a big-ass magic sword. The name and powers definitely indicate descent from either Colossus or Magik, but nope. She is, in fact, a Chimera, bred with the powers of Colossus, Kitty, Laura, Quire, and someone named Bain. The Chimera were the result of a breeding program run on Mars by Sinister to develop soldiers to fight against the Man-Machine Supremacy. Anyway, a mutant is captured and taken to Nimrod, who apologizes to her. This is a very interesting take on Nimrod.

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I love when robots are dorks.

Also, apparently, there’s a couple thousand mutants living on Chandilar, with rumours that Empress Xandra plans on using them to help with annexing the Sol system. Xandra! Nice! And there’s 8 mutants still living in the Sol system.

So this is . . . interesting. It’s very Hickman, maybe even more than House of X was. Which means your enjoyment of it will depend on how much you like Hickman. Personally, I’m not a fan of him. As I said last week, I prefer character-driven stories over plot-driven stories. Hickman’s stories are dense, but there’s seldom that much room for character development. I also don’t think this issue’s as good as House of X #1. For one thing, the future war isn’t exactly a new idea. Damned near every single future we have ever seen for the X-Men is a bad one, and to be honest, I’m actually pretty tired of that shit. Give us a good future. A future worth fighting for, rather than the constant futures that need to be fought against. The Year 1000 future looks like it might go that route, at least. But I suspect it’s also the timeline we’ll see the least of in this story. We’ll see how this story goes, but I get the impression I won’t enjoy it as much as House of X. And either way, I’m more interested in what comes after. I want to know what Leah Williams and Vita Ayala are going to be writing!

Marvel Comics Presents #7, by Charles Soule, Paulo Siqueira, Oren Junior, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Naturally, the temporary halt on non-Hickman X-titles doesn’t apply to Logan. Anyway, after a bunch of X-Men were killed by the Truth in the ’90s, Logan left the X-Men and started searching for where the Truth would next appear, so he could find his daughter. He finally caught up with them in Mumbai in November 2008. Wow, I don’t know if I even heard about those terrorist attacks at the time. Anyway, she tells him a little about herself.

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She exists only to keep fighting the Truth. Logan then tells her they’re going to go to Hell to kill the Truth. Logan’s hobo beard is the real star of this installment. The story itself is fine. A couple double-page spreads of Logan going to dangerous places. Little actually happens, as the bulk of the page space is taken up by the two spreads, a splash of Logan at the WTC after it fell, and unnecessary exposition about Rien’s origin. The Truth is dealt with basically as a formality, he’s not actually a part of this installment. And honestly, we still don’t know that much about Rien as a person. We do get a certain sense of bitterness regarding her purpose. But she largely comes across as bland. It makes for a pretty lackluster installment. The story as a whole isn’t particularly strong, really.

And the non-X-stuff.

Death’s Head #1, by Tini Howard, Kei Zama, Felipe Sobreiro, and Travis Lanham. Wiccan’s goth, Death’s Head doesn’t appreciate being an amp, and Hulkling is entirely too sensible for these shenanigans. It’s really good. A lot of fun. The creative team’s clearly having a blast. Death’s Head really does seem like a fun character to write. And hey, nice to see Billy and Teddy again.

Marvel Team-Up #4, by Clint McElroy, Ig Guara, Felipe Sobreiro, and Clayton Cowles. A case is made for Paul Blart as a role model. Also, Carol is aware of Kamala’s fanfics. Somehow, Kamala doesn’t react to this by hiding forever. Also, I want to know which of Kamala’s fanfics is Carol’s favourite.

Thanos #4, by Tini Howard, Ariel Olivetti, Antonio Fabela, and Joe Caramagna. Gamora takes her very first prisoner and she’s very proud of herself for it. This is a really good series.

Black Panther #14, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel Acuna, and Joe Sabino. Big battle!

Captain America #12, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Adam Kubert, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. We find out why the Daughters of Liberty came together. The reasoning, apparently, is, “who understands the American Dream better than women?” And look, I’m a guy, so maybe I’m not qualified to opine on this, but that just feels weirdly condescending towards women. I mean, it helps that it’s at least half women of colour. (Let’s not forget that more than half of white women voted for Trump.) But even so, there’s a sense that this puts women on a bit of a pedestal. A certain performative feminism. Honestly, I would’ve accepted “Sharon wanted a bunch of bad bitches” as a reason for the Daughters of Liberty existing. Coates clearly intends the Daughters to be A Thing, hinting at a long history going back to the very founding of the country. And sure, that’s actually totally fine. And hell, a group of women fighting for a place for women within the American Dream is fine. It’s just the bit about “who understands it better” that bugged me. Regardless, we also find out who Dryad is. I’m oddly meh about it.

X-Men comic of July 24 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Well, we’ve entered the Hickman era. So for the next little while, the only X-Men comics are his. Well, and Dead Man Logan. Of course Logan still gets a series. Anyway, let’s get into it.

House of X #1, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Over the past few months, the X-Men have been planting flowers. They even planted one on Mars. In the present, Xavier telepathically summons a bunch of ambassadors to a secret embassy. His new mutant nation has designer drugs that treat a wide range of health problems, but they’ll only be made available to nations that recognize his nation’s sovereignty. So it’s a safe bet the US will be out. I mean, you really think the pharmaceutical industry would let the US government do anything that would cut into their profits? Regardless, the ambassadors go in and meet with Magneto, there as Xavier’s representative. We then cut to the X-Men bringing some kids through a gateway to Krakoa, which is where the X-Men now live. It’s the new mutant nation. Cypher and Sage seem to be the main ones running the computer system linked up to Krakoa, and Doug has a Warlock arm, huh, wonder if that’ll be relevant in the upcoming New Mutants series. Cut to space, where a ship docks at the Forge, a large space station that one of the ship’s crew describes as humanity’s last chance. Karima Shapandar, Omega Sentinel, is there, and not very excited about the whole thing. Also, the Forge is built around a Mastermold attached to a bit of Sol’s Hammer, something Tony Stark made back in Hickman’s Avengers run. Back on Earth, Toad is now a skilled computer hacker?

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That gag never gets old.

Sabretooth is there, too, so someone’s already re-attached his head. The Thing and the Human Torch attack them. Then back to the tour of Krakoa, and maybe my favourite moment of the issue.

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Genuinely funny joke.

It’s a language that’s telepathically implanted into the minds of mutants when they arrive on Krakoa. Magneto notes that a distinct culture requires its own language. There’s some interesting discussions about the whole situation. Magneto notes mutants have never conquered a people and made slaves of their population. Though, I mean, his second appearance kinda did just that? But OK, we’ll let that slide. Back in Manhattan, Sabretooth gets caught by the Fantastic Four, and Scott comes out to greet them. He starts off by congratulating Ben on his marriage, which is honestly kinda sweet. I like when superheroes who don’t interact too often are still friendly. Scott wants to take Sabretooth back to Krakoa, the Fantastic Four disagree, so Scott decides to let them have him. I imagine it wasn’t a tough call. Sabretooth’s a dick. Also, Sue expresses some concern for what Xavier’s doing, but Scott’s response is great.

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Powerful words.

And then back to the tour for Magneto to do a last bit of posturing. So. This is well-made, certainly. Lots of big ideas, presented well. It sets the stage well for the rest of House of X. It does have the same problem I have with so much of Hickman’s work: The big ideas take precedence over smaller character work. I’m all about the characters, that’s the thing I love most, so comics like this tend to leave me a bit cold. There is some cool Magneto stuff, and we get a couple nice little moments with a couple other characters. But the issue’s main focus is on world-building. And there’s still actually quite a bit left to do. We see very little of Krakoa itself. Xavier’s barely in the issue, though obviously his new idea dominates the whole thing. The idea of a mutant homeland isn’t exactly new – X-Utopia from a few years back, Genosha a few years before that, even Avalon a few years before that. Krakoa is a cool variation on the idea. And a mutant homeland is a valuable idea. Mutants having a place where they’re safe is important. My one concern is pretty much always a concern I have: We still need to see non-hostile interactions with humans. China seems on-board with Xavier, which is cool, and France is interested. But I think it’s also important to see mutants living openly among humans. I think seeing a mutant culture develop is important, and I hope that’s part of what Hickman’s going to do. He touches on it with language. I want it to extend to arts, fashion, athletics, holidays, cuisine, and all the other things that make up a culture. I want to see all that stuff get explored. And not just in the form of info-graphs. This issue’s got a few of those in here, I guess to explain things that the audience needs to know but which would slow down the story to explain on-panel.

The short of it is, this is a good start, but Hickman’s writing doesn’t always click with me, so I’m not entirely sold yet.

And the non-X-comics.

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #5, by Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Juan Vlasco, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. I don’t like her new costume. I’m sorry, I just don’t like it. And, ugh, her parents had their memories of her secret identity erased. Uuuuuuuuggggghh WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY why would you do that? It’s just going to lead to a rehash of stories that have already been done? What does this add? So now she has to go back to worrying about hiding it from her parents, yippee, great, it’s not as if we didn’t get those stories already. It’s a terrible idea. It’s going back to an old, tired, worn-out trope, for the sake of cheap drama that we already got plenty of in Wilson’s run. I’m now giving real consideration to dropping the comic. I suppose I’ll stick around a couple more issues, but Ahmed’s seriously disappointed me on this series so far.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #45, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Devil’s in love, but his girlfriend’s been dead for millions of years, poor guy. Also, the Zoe/Eduardo relationship gets more attention here, with Zoe finally standing up for herself more.

Marvel Rising #5, by Nilah Magruder, Roberto Di Salvo, Georges Duarte, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. The Hudson River is a big fan of Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel.

Fearless #1, by LOTS OF PEOPLE. Three stories. First, by Seanan McGuire, Claire Roe, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Janice Chiang. Captain Marvel, Invisible Woman, and Storm all get invited to speak at a leadership camp for girls. All three are going about their normal routines before heading out. Sue is at home with Reed, Carol is cleaning space barnacles off the Alpha Flight station with a French woman I’m pretty sure is Aurora, and Storm . . . chases some guys out of a protected forest. Her daily routine consists of being epic. I love it. Anyway, seems like an intriguing story, and McGuire’s great, though I’m not big on Roe’s art style. I just find her faces weird and off-putting.

Second, by Leah Williams, Nina Vakueva, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Janice Chiang. Millie the Model story! A photo-shoot with other models and influencers. That’s it. That’s the story. It’s great. Lots of fun dialogue, one of them threatens to pee in front of everyone, Chili almost kills someone. It’s just a lot of fun.

And finally, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Janice Chiang. Elsa calls Jessica Jones to get her out of prison. It’s great. Short and sweet with an absolute killer of a last page. It made me want a new series based on the characters who appear. That’s all I’ll say (except it has Bestverine.).

Shuri #10, by Nnedi Okorafor, Rachael Stott, Carlos Lopez, and Joe Sabino. The end of the series. Shame. It was pretty good. I’ll admit, I like Okorafor’s prose more than I like her comics. And I also thought this series was hamstrung a little by the need to write Movie Shuri. I tend to think complaints of comics-movie synergy tend to be exaggerated, but in this case, it was definitely happening. Oh well. It was a fun comic.

X-Men comics of July 17 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I hate summer. It’s too hot. Ugh. Well, we’ve finally reached the end of Rosenberg’s Uncanny X-Men. Sadly, we’ve also reached the end of Unstoppable Wasp. And just another week-and-a-half until I see Kiki’s Delivery Service in a theatre, yay. I remember a couple years ago, some Japanese noodle company did a commercial that was a fake trailer for Kiki’s Delivery Service 2. I’m still mad it wasn’t real, because it looked so cool. I would love for it to happen for real. Oh well. Here’s comics.

Uncanny X-Men #22, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, David Messina, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. Dani talks with Scott in the park about some very important matters.

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He’s been talking to Squirrel Girl.

He talks about mutation being a matter of survival, and how he’s beaten the odds. He’s not exactly happy about it. And he has no idea what to do now that humanity has forgotten mutants exist. Dani makes some comments about how the X-Men were always supporting characters in Scott’s stories, and I want to repeat again, calling out repetitive problems with the franchise is simply infuriating when done in a story that does the same shit. It’s like that caption that started the run, “Every X-Men story is the same,” in a story that didn’t actually try to do anything particularly new. I love Scott, but absolutely he’s dominated the franchise to a deeply problematic degree. The solution to that is to do a story where he doesn’t dominate the story. But this series wanted it both ways. It wanted to lampshade the things people criticize about the franchise, while still doing those same things. And that’s just frustrating. Anyway, after Dani’s done chewing Scott out, Alex comes out to help by telling Scott his self-doubt and self-pity have gotten old. Then, to Emma, and her new haircut.

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Honestly, she rocks the look.

Turns out Sinister was a clone, which I’m relieved at, because the idea that Sinister would actually put himself in danger without a dozen back-ups is just unbelievable. Outside, Scott and Alex are attacked by Sentinels, and Alex sacrifices himself blowing them up. And General Badguy, General WhyEvenBotherGivingTheGenericDickholeANameSinceNoOneWillEverCareAboutHim, shows up, with a Cerebro-style helmet protecting his mind. And hey, Madroxlock also sacrifices himself to stop the Sentinels, since they have pieces of Warlock in them. Which is meaningless, because General Villain just overrides it. Great how this heroic sacrifices is rendered completely irrelevant 10 seconds later. So worth it. Also, Madrox Prime dies. Cool cool, so much death that it stops having any impact at all. Logan kills General Villain, but the Sentinels are still attacking, so Scott and Logan prepare for one last ride, and then the X-Men return.

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Storm’s back for 5 seconds and she’s already being That Bitch.

I love Storm so much. Once the Sentinels are dealt with, Jean floats down to Scott so they can smooch. Boooo. Look, Scott and Jean were great together. But they drifted apart, they broke up, and that’s fine. That happens. The inability of so many writers to get over the ships from when they were growing up is so stupid and harmful. Nostalgia is bullshit. Let Scott and Jean be exes who love each other but recognize that they’re better off as friends. Also let them be supportive of each other as they date new people. Also, best moment of the explanation of Age of X-Man: “All of us were there . . . even Dani, somehow.” I actually love that little shrug of an explanation for that incongruity. The return of the X-Men also somehow grows out Emma’s hair again. Anyway, Scott destroys the Cerebro device that keeps mutants hidden from humanity, and aside from the fact that a whole shitload of people are dead, everything’s back to normal. Let’s see here: Loa, Blindfold, Rahne, Chamber, Sunspot, Madrox, Warlock (maybe?), Banshee (House of X preview confirms he’ll be back), Velocidad, Havok, Madrox, Dark Beast, Joseph (inexplicably), Shenobi Shaw, the Nasty Boys . . . who am I forgetting? Oh, he also depowered Juggernaut and left lllyana in her demonic form. But hey, at least Rosenberg also completely squandered a shit-ton of potentially compelling stories, so that’s something, right? What an absolute shitshow of a run. I’ve given Rosenberg a hard time for it, but I suspect a significant amount of blame should actually go to editorial. Regardless, it’s a shitty run, and I’m glad it’s over, and now I just want to know what X-titles Leah Williams and Vita Ayala will be writing.

Age of X-Man Omega, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Simone Buonfantino, Triona Farrell, and Clayton Cowles. X-Man explains how the world was created when his energies merged with the Life Seed. Meanwhile, Iceman comforts a scared kid and buys him a milkshake. Best possible version of Iceman? Anyway, he takes the kid to the Summers Institute, and we get some stuff going on there. Then over to the Danger Room, the riot in full force.

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There are two kinds of people in the world.

Bishop and the others try to figure out how to get to X-Sanctuary, they argue a bit, and Gabby has a solution.

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She generated the cowboy hat from sheer awesome.

Lorna takes it airborne, and they fly right into a fissure. They get to where Nate is talking to the X-Men. Nate’s also brought the X-Tracts there, and the X-Tracts try to argue that they’ve earned their utopia and should embrace it, while the X-Men are a little more mixed, with some arguing the real world may need them. Beast slaps a power-damper collar on Nate, and there’s fighting. Eye-Boy expresses his love for Nature Girl, and we learn the deal with the Age of X-Man version of Dani.

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Cool way of conveying the theme of this entire story.

Nate makes one last case that relationships ruin the X-Men, that they’re more selfless without them, and that we can give up the things we think define us. Some of the X-Men still want to stay in the fake world, so Bishop points out how screwed-up that world is, that there’s a secret police force and a sham resistance, and that utopias only work if the people in them never change or strive. Nate says ending the world requires killing him, and that it would also kill everyone else on that world. Magneto is willing to do that. Though, of course, there is a very interesting twist at the end. One I like. This was a great finale. Like, a fantastic finale. It explored questions of utopias, and of relationships, in interesting ways, with all sides having valid points, and all sides having doubts, and it didn’t end with everyone agreeing on what the best path was. It was a cool event. I wish some of the characters created for Age of X-Man could’ve carried over, but alas. Dani got good use here, and Bishop was great. I really, really want Bishop and Jean to become a couple in the main universe, honestly, they seemed really cute together in the Alpha issue. Also, I reeeeeeeaaaaaaaaally want Blob to continue trying to be a good person, trying to be worthy of Betsy. I want that so bad. Let Leah Williams keep writing him as a good good big boy. Man, for an event whose initial announcement had me rolling my eyes, Age of X-Man was mostly a treat, X-Tracts notwithstanding.

X-Force #10, by Ed Brisson, Dylan Burnett, Jesus Aburtov, and Cory Petit. Aliya and Tetherblood are still alive, though only barely in Aliya’s case. Also, Rachel’s awake and not in a very good mood. She reveals the truth to the MLA about how Stryfe killed their families and blamed it on Cable, so now he has them to deal with. Still, he refuses to retreat, so I guess minor props for that. More props to Boom-Boom, though, for being awesome.

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She just blew up Stryfe’s android, for the record.

Rachel telepathically beats the shit out of Stryfe, but Cable prevents her from killing him because it would screw with time too much. He and Rachel do erase Stryfe’s memory of the whole battle, before X-Force returns to their own time. This was . . . hmmm. This was a mixed bag of a run. On the one hand, I will never not be angry at male writers continually putting Rachel through stories where a male villain mind-controls her and then she breaks free and declares “never again” only for it to happen the very next time she appears. Yes, her telepathic beatdown on Stryfe is satisfying, and I’m glad Brisson didn’t do some shit where he took the victory from Rachel and had Cable be the one to defeat him instead. I’m relieved Rachel was the one who defeated Stryfe. But I would’ve been so much happier if she hadn’t fallen under his control at all. That entire subplot with Rachel ended up tainting the series as a whole. That subplot aside, though, for the most part, the comic was a lot of fun. I really liked the art. The roughness really enhanced everything. It may not be for everyone, it’s certainly not a conventional style, but whatever, X-Force was never supposed to be a conventional comic, really, right from the Simonson/Liefeld days. There was some really nice character beats here and there, with this issue having a couple of really good ones. There was some good comedy, with Boom-Boom always being Boom-Boom. She seems like she must be one of the funnest characters ever to write. Just bombs and snark. But yeah, Rachel mind-control subplot notwithstanding, it was a good series.

Domino: Hotshots #5, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Michael Shelfer, Jim Charalampidis, and Clayton Cowles. Cosmic-powered lady looking for revenge, good times, and Black Widow reveals why she came to Domino for this whole situation.

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Something we can all aspire to.

They fight. It, uh, doesn’t go great. Luckily, it’s White Fox to the rescue. She gives Domino the Creation Constellation, to give her the power to stop Geun the Executioner. And things get cosmic and weird but we do get to see Domino in a cowboy outfit. And then it’s a cosmic-powered fight. And a rushed finale. This issue needed maybe 3 more pages, I think. Just as an epilogue. As it is, the action finishes, and we get one page of wind-down. The lack of a wind-down felt unsatisfying. But the issue as a whole was really cool. Very cosmic, but also very human. It was a fun series. Shame it’s over. I hope we see more of the Hotshots hanging out in the future. They make for a fun group.

And the non-X-stuff.

Unstoppable Wasp #10, by Jeremy Whitley, Gurihiru, and Joe Caramagna. Nadia has now read Harry Potter. (I have not, nor do I ever plan to, especially with J.K. Rowling exposing herself as a TERF.) Also, Brilliance, Seeker, and Finesse have all joined GIRL. And there’s lots of excitement and lots of feels and all that.

Captain Marvel #8, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles. Someone turns the US against Carol for being half-Kree, and there’s a new hero named Star who is absolutely going to turn out to be a villain.

X-Men comics of July 10 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I finished Jessica Jones season 3. It was OK. Better, I would argue , than season 2. Thematically tighter, at least. Suffered from the same problem as most of the Marvel Netflix shows, in being longer than it needed to be, which resulted in a lot of filler. Hogarth’s sub-plot was the weakest link, as usual. Still, I mostly enjoyed it. But either way, there’s now comics.

Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #5, by Tim Seeley, Salva Espin, Israel Silva, and Travis Lanham. Eye-Boy tells the other X-Tracts about seeing Apocalypse meeting with Nate and admitting to sending Evan to die against Omega Red. Unveil then remembers Apocalypse telling her her powers could turn her into the Horseman of War. Apocalypse shows back up, and Eye-Boy punches him.

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“High scorer on Dig-Dug.”

Apocalypse reveals his true form, and it’s fight time. Dazzler blasts Apocalypse’s arm off. Dazzler is so frigging cool. But then he beats the crap out of them while shit-talking them. Colossus accuses him of taking him and Kitty from a life they shared, and Apocalypse lets him know that Kitty left him at the altar.

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Exactly! It was a schoolgirl crush she never got over.

Then Kitty stabs him in the chest with a Menorah. And Apocalypse says that watching Evan taught him love. Meh to that. And this series ends as mediocre as it started. It had potential. It could’ve been an interesting counter-culture story. But it never committed to that, and instead it just kinda meandered along, not doing much of anything. At no point did this mini justify its existence. It was, without any question, the weakest of the Age of X-Man minis.X-Tremists and Prisoner X were both fantastic, Nightcrawler and GeNext were both pretty good, Marvelous was OK, and X-Tracts existed. About the most you can say about it. It was a comic that was published. One with some badass moments for Dazzler.

Giant-Size X-Statix, by Peter Milligan, Michael and Laura Allred, and Nate Piekos. Huh, now that’s interesting. Marvel uses VC for all its lettering, but Piekos is with Blambot Studios. I wonder if that indicates any changes going forward, or if it’s only for this book. I’m guessing it’s just this book, but we’ll have to wait and see. Either way, X-Statix! I’ve started re-reading the old Milligan/Allreds X-Force X-Statix, and man, it is such a weird, brilliant comic. I don’t even want to review this issue, I just want to tell you to read it. It has Edie’s daughter, Katie! The issue where Edie met Katie was so good, so sweet and sad and emotional. I’m so happy to see her get brought back. Dead Girl gives Edie a chance to reveal the truth to Katie, about both her parentage and about being a mutant. Katie doesn’t take it well.

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Also, Mr. Sensitive and Vivisector are still alive, having someone escaped death. Neat. Doop and Dead Girl recruit them for a new X-Statix, to stop a new team that perverts what X-Statix stood for. Also, Katie’s boyfriend demonstrates how open-minded he is by saying he once dated a girl with a Coldplay tattoo, and that jokes is amazing and I love it. This comic also introduces Mike Alicar, The A, son of the Anarchist; along with Phatty, the daughter of Phat. There’s also some interesting new antagonists. It’s really good. I’m excited for the X-Cellent launching soon. There’s a couple things I’m concerned about. For one thing, I don’t want Phatty’s body-positivity to be a joke, and there’s a couple bits that have me worried it might go that way. We’ll see. But Milligan’s a great writer, and the Allreds always bring out the absolute best in their collaborators. (I speak of them together, because I genuinely can’t imagine Mike’s pencils coloured by anyone else. Though I can imagine Laura’s colours over someone else’s pencils.) Milligan and the Allreds clearly have some things to say about the state of modern society, and I am here for it. And man, the Allreds are always worth checking out, the art is just so good.

Wolverine & Captain America: Weapon Plus #1, by Ethan Sacks, Diogenes Neves, Adriano Di Benedetto, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Cap’s in his old neighbourhood, and Logan crashes down in Eva, Fantomex’s ship that’s also his nervous system. Looks like Fantomex is dead.

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 Give exposition while you stab. Stabsposition.

They fight dudes while Fantomex’s hologram explains the situation. While a hipster records the fight on his phone. When Cap removes one soldier’s mask, it looks like him. Fantomex explains about Weapon Plus, and how they were inspired by Cap. There’s decades of disappearances of people Fantomex figured were used in experiments. His message leads them to an abandoned lab. There’s a tank holding a dolphin in a cybernetic suit. Another holds a messed-up bear that attacks. I’m taking this as proof that Cyber-Force came from the Weapon Plus program. The next secret facility has a mention of a Weapon XXX, which sounds like the porn parody that I now kiiiiinda want to see. Throughout the issue, there’s glimpses of a guy named Billy who, decades ago, wanted to be the next Captain America so he could fight the Commies. He’s still around. This is a pretty good start to the story. Lays down the important exposition smoothly, uses existing continuity on Weapon Plus to build the story. The fact that there is so much continuity has me wondering how good the story will be, though. More to the point, how original will it be. Is this going to be a story I haven’t read yet? Or is it going to be a retread of existing stories? And the most important question of all: Will Weapon II appear?

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Desperately want Weapon II to show up.

The art is great. Even if the story ends up being lacking – and it’s way too early to tell if that’ll be the case – it’ll at least look good, and that can make up for a lot. Neves’ style fits the story, giving it an action movie vibe. It works well here. Gives it just the right level of tension. I like it.

Secret Warps: Weapon Hex, by Al Ewing, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, Carlos Lopez, and Joe Caramagna. I’m writing about this one for the same reason I wrote about the Weapon Hex two-parter last year: That pun name. Anyway, she fights Mad Ghost and his Android Apes in Siberia.

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A noble goal, really.

He also controls Machine Mandrill, a combination of Machine Man and Mandrill. But the trigger spell kicks in and she loses control and tears it apart. Then she uses a spell to keep Mad Ghost solid, and demands to know why he kidnapped Speed Weasel, who uses that opportunity to show up. And, holy shit, the spell for getting info out of someone is called “Hex Position.” The puns! I love it! Anyway, Dr. Wyndham, Weapon Hex’s father, ordered Red Ghost to capture Speed Weasel and try to kill Weapon Hex. He’s part of the group of villains who’ve teamed up to deal with the heroes. She teleports Soldier Supreme and Ironhammer to her, using a spell called Hex Filtration. Clever. And this might be Soldier Supreme’s first time meeting Speed Weasel? Regardless, he sets up a pretty epic line.

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With them together, the villains attack, but Deathstrique and Dormammu Red fall quickly. He gets Inferno underway. And Weapon Hex uses Hex Terminate, which fails, but it’s another pun name that I very much approve of. Also: Hex-A-Gone, a teleport spell. Is this a good story? Honestly, not really? Is it a fun story? Oh dear gods yes, which is what it was going for. There isn’t really the space to make this a good story. It’s too rushed, and there’s no real depth it. But it’s absurd and ridiculous and full of terrible puns and it’s just loads of fun. It accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, which is to have a bunch of spells that are just punning on the word “Hex.” The whole thing is just fun, and sometimes, that’s all a story actually needs to be.

And the back-up, by Tim Seeley, Bob Quinn, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. Laura and Gavrill are in Saint-Esprit, QC, in a little diner, meeting with detective Greer Baptiste.

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I love Gavrill.

Anyway, Laura reveals that she knows Greer ate her partner, Shirlee Cartier. Greer is Wentigra. Laura reveals this riiiiight when Gavrill was about to take a bite of her burger, which is some good trolling from Laura, really. Laura offers to help, Greer says she loves being Wentigra, so Gavrill runs all the diner patrons home.

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Fun panel.

Another fun little story. Lots of Speed Weasel being cute. I love how Seeley portrays the sisterly relationship. Wentigra is also pretty cool. It’s fun.

There’s also Wolverine & Blade, but nah. It’s written by Marc Guggenheim, who is a hack. I flipped through it at the shop, and it looked pretty frigging awful, writing-wise.

And the non-X-stuff.

Ironheart #8, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Riri meets Dr. Strange, for information and snarking. My favourite part might be her not wanting to knock on his door. I totally get it. But yeah, their interactions are fun. This is a quiet issue. ONly a very brief fight when she first gets to the Sanctum, over in three pages. It’s mostly just dialogue. But it’s fun.

Champions #7, by Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. Sam and Kaldera infiltrate Nova HQ to get Sam’s helmet back, and there’s a lot less flirtation between them than I honestly expected. Also, Viv has a feedback error that seems to be her emotional side, and I do want it to lead to Viv becoming more emotional again. It infuriated me what Mark Waid did to Viv, ignoring the hopefulness she had at the end of the Vision solo in favour of her suppressing her emotions. It was insulting to the character, and to fans of the Vision series. I am still mad about it, and anything that gets Viv acting more like a normal teen is fine by me.


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