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X-Men comics of December 13 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Ugh, these late shifts make these weekly review posts a pain, so let’s do it quick-and-easy and just stick to the X-Men.

X-Men Blue #17, by Cullen Bunn, R. B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rain Beredo, and Joe Caramagna. 2099! I actually read through most of the 2099 comics not long ago. They were a mixed bag. I really enjoyed Ghost Rider 2099. Especially when Ashley Wood was doing the art. Gorgeous. But anyway, X-Men 2099 was a book with some reasonably interesting ideas and very ’90s execution, so it wasn’t great. Regardless, this moment amuses me greatly:

X-Men Blue #17

Yeah, it’s a thing.

The two teams talk about the O5+2 ending up in 2099, fight some Public Eyes, and then they all end up in front of a holographic monument to the O5, which is new. Apparently, they took over Alchemax and redesigned it. Ultimately, Alchemax’s success led to gentrification that pushed most people into slums. A new strain of the Legacy Virus is spreading. So, things aren’t great. Also, the Onslaught, a new type of Sentinel with their faces on screens. That fight includes a pretty badass Bloodstorm moment, and Jean gets mad at Scott for thinking Bloodstorm’s hot, but dammit, Jean, badass goth vampire Storm blowing shit up. It’s hot, Jean, and you know it. Don’t get so jealous. Hot is hot. Anyway, this issue’s OK. It does an interesting twist on 2099. But it also doesn’t feel like it advances the plot. Or the characters, really, beyond Hank having some doubts about whether he’s already too corrupted to fix things in the past. Everyone’s a little shaken up by the future, but we don’t get to see much of that. Scott saying that he’s been expecting something horrible is, if I’m honest, entirely too relatable. As is him thinking Bloodstorm is hot. The love-square between Scott/Jean/Jimmy/Bloodstorm is half-interesting. Jimmy, as always, is a waste. And really, I’m not keen on the Scott/Jean angle, either. I’d still prefer them as bros. Scott and Bloodstorm could be an interesting couple. And Jean could bypass Jimmy in favour of, I don’t know, any random guy on the street. (Or bring Laura back, and Jean can get with her.) The X-Men of 2099 don’t really get much characterization, either, sadly. A little bit, not enough. I feel like the X-Men of 2099 have been in a weird position, in recent years, where they’ll make cameos, but don’t actually get enough space to really breathe. I’d like it more if there were multiple issues featuring them. Bunn’s got his arc, and he’s probably got it pretty tightly-plotted, and spending more time in 2099 would’ve felt like padding. But I still can’t help wishing he’d padded, you know? I would’ve liked more time with them. Especially since, as I said, the main plot already doesn’t feel like it does much plot advancement. Maybe just more setting the tone for the arc. We’ll see how the rest of the arc goes, but this issue felt lacking.

Weapon X #12, by Greg Pak, Yildiray Cinar, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. In Mexico, Warpath is leading the team on a hunting expedition. The others scare away the deer by being too eager. Sabretooth is a hunter, how does he screw up like that? Domino suggests they do something funny: Rob a bank. Domino’s a delight, and she’s contagious about it, which I love. Warpath gets a call from Santo Marco, about soldiers attacking and killing the village that Jorge was from. Jorge was a dude from a previous arc. It is, of course, a platoon of Nukes. Domino’s excited because Santo Marco has a national bank she can rob. Domino has the best priorities in this series. Anyway, we get a cool fight scene. This issue’s pretty cool. Starts off fun, gets darker fast, with the Santo Marco government trying to wipe out mutants in the country. President Duarte. I’m wondering if it’s intended as a reference to Dutarte, the President of the Philippines, who’s been murdering drug-related criminals. Be weird, if that’s what it is a reference to. Anyway, the Nukes don’t actually come across as much of a threat. I think this issue might have benefited a little from a bit more even a fight. The team only left to evacuate the captured mutant civilians. Might’ve been interesting if it was at least a semi-even fight. Next issue looks like it’ll be just Sabretooth and the original Nuke teaming up, that should be a more fun fight. The art’s great. Cinar kills on the action. Really good and exciting.

All-New Wolverine #28, by Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. The Orphans of X have bonded the Muramasa to a bullet.Laura’s cousin, Megan, gives her a pep talk about what a good person she’s become, and aw, it’s sweet. Family. The Orphans attack, and this is really good panel composition right here:

All-New Wolverine #28

Also, Daken’s outfit is amazing.

Laura and her family are rescued by the Blackbird. Daken flirts with Megan, until Laura stops it, and probably a good call. Daken would totally have sex with Megan just to do it, without even realizing it. Gabby, upon meeting Danger, decides she needs a codename already, and Daken suggests the perfect name: Honey Badger.

All-New Wolverine #28

I want to read every single one of these.

Yeah, I pretty much love that name. They head to Japan, to meet Muramasa, in perhaps the coolest disguises ever.

All-New Wolverine #28

See, Logan? This is how you do a disguise!

Also, we get a line that’s like something out of an anime:

All-New Wolverine #28

So anime!

This is great. Really tense, but Gabby keeps an element of humour throughout. She is just so delightful and I love her. Laura is very smart and strategic, but I like her little moment of guilt at the start, and Megan reassuring her. Actually, I like that Laura’s aunt and cousin stick with her through the issue. They’re not abandoning her. It shows their strength of character, and the strength of the family bond. I really like that. Muramasa’s neat, too. The art’s great. I really like Cabal on this book. I’d love it if he’d stick around after this arc, too. But that doesn’t seem to be how this series works, unfortunately. Sigh. Regardless, I’m enjoying him while he’s here. And this is just a great arc. About family and vengeance and other stuff. And Gabby gets a superhero name! Hurrah! And it fits her perfectly and I love it.

Jean Grey #10, by Dennis Hopeless, Alberto Albuquerque, Jay David Ramos, and Travis Lanham. Phoenix Force vs telepaths! Not a fair fight! So, retreat via Pickles, to the New Xavier School in northern Alberta. And Hope kinda nails the Summers family:

Jean Grey #10

Both good points.

I suppose, to be fair, Corsair’s not like that. He’s more the make-it-up-as-he-goes-along type. Also, Quentin likes Jean’s current haircut, which Emma sees as proof of how awful he is. Hopeless does have entirely too much fun writing Emma. He also clearly enjoys writing Hope. But mostly, this fight is Jean vs. Phoenix, physically and verbally. It’s a hell of a fight. Jean is pretty awesome. Even knowing she can’t win, she fights hard, and she gets her shots in, and it’s awesome. It’s powerful stuff. And then it’s got one hell of an ending, leading into Phoenix: Rebirth. Which I may as well give a preliminary thought on: I’m fine with it. I’m fine with Adult Jean coming back. I hope Teen Jean sticks around, too. They’re both good characters, no matter what the whiny fanboys say about Teen Jean. The similarities and differences between the Jeans fascinate me. A compelling examination of whether one can choose to be someone else. It’s cool. I like that. And I like this issue. It’s exciting, with a couple good comedic beats, and some bitchin’ action beats. Great art. It’s good stuff.

Cable #152, by Ed Brisson, Jon Malin, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. Armour, queen of tact, asks Cable if it’s weird that he’s older than his father. Obviously it is. Longshot mentions having fought alongside Blink, an Exiles shout-out, and dammit I want the Exiles back. Anyway, the team finds an old Ophrah Industries site, one of Gideon’s old bases. He’s got some telepaths in tubes. He’s also in a tube. Doop taps on the tube, and it drops into the floor, and an attack cyborg shows up, and Gideon shows up. FROM THE FUTURE! It looks like. This is definitely interesting. I like it. It’s an interesting story. Some good twists, some unexpected stuff thrown in. And so very, very ’90s. Really embraces the ’90s-ness. Very unapologetic about it. Makes for a fun experience. As usual, Malin’s style isn’t to my taste, but it captures the ’90s feeling, so it works for this story. I would’ve liked more Blink here, though. I was so excited about her being a part of the arc, but she’s done nothing so far. Blink is awesome and deserves more attention.

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X-Men comics of December 6 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Having my weekends be split up is killing me. But here’s comics.

Astonishing X-Men #6, by Charles Soule, Mike Del Mundo, Marco D’Alfonso, and Clayton Cowles. Del Mundo! Funny, when I was at the comic shop today, I was remarking that Del Mundo didn’t seem to be doing any interiors for Marvel right now, and that I was missing him. Man, maybe I should’ve gotten this issue physically, instead of digitally. Ah, well. Shadow King has won, and is spreading throughout London. Luckily, Xavier has a trick up his sleeve, and he unleashes astral X-Men on him. In the real world, Archangel’s loose, and the military is about to purge a chunk of London. With the Shadow King’s attention spread so thin, Xavier is able to free himself, and slay him. And this leads to a development regarding him and Fantomex, one I’m not really in favour of. This issue has gorgeous art. And I like Xavier’s narration about the X-Men, and how they fight, not just for themselves, not just for the world, but for what they are. That fits the franchise. It fits the theme of a marginalized group fighting for their rights. He also talks about Rogue, Mystique and Fantomex all being fluid, able to become new people as needed, and better than anyone at adapting to changing circumstances, which makes them the best options to battle the Shadow King. That was a cool idea. So Soule’s writing is very good. And Del Mundo is on art. So, you know. Mike Del fricking Mundo. Weird, but gorgeous. So this is still hands-down the best current comic with X-Men in the title.

X-Men Gold #17, by Marc Guggenheim, Ken Lashley, Juan Fernandez, and Cory Petit. A team of X-Men head to the Negative Zone, in a vehicle built for them by Blue Marvel. Always nice to see him. He’s cool, and with Ultimates done, it’s tough to tell when he might land somewhere again. I suppose that’ll depend a lot on what Ewing does after the weekly Avengers event. Rachel’s laying in the sick bay, badly injured, watched over by Amara and Reyes. Not sure why Guggenheim went with Amara. It’s not like she and Rachel were ever that close. They did have that cool issue about them both feeling out of time, and then trying to kill Selene. But since then, they’ve barely interacted. Kitty and Kurt are being held prisoner in the Negative Zone. And then back to the Negative Zone team, which is Storm, Logan, Colossus, Ink (UUUUUUUGGGGGHHHH! He was one of the absolute worst parts about the execrable Young X-Men run), and Armour. As always, utterly bland and forgettable and I honestly cannot care. It’s a competently-made X-Men comic that brings nothing particularly new to the table. Lashley’s art is good and helps make the issue more enjoyable. And Blue Marvel’s cameo is appreciated. But other than that? Meh. Who cares. The characters are flat, and there’s no sense that any of them are going to develop in any way. There’s no weight to any of what’s going on. It’s just things happen, characters talk about it but not in a way that really gives a lot of insight into them, and it’s just . . . there.

Iceman #8, by Sina Grace, Robert Gill, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. The Icemans talk about Romeo ghosting Teen Bobby, while fighting Pyro. This Pyro is apparently a mutant rights activist, albeit a militant one, and I am down for that. I like this Pyro. Seriously, I’m on his side.

Iceman #8

Damn The Man!

I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to side against this guy, but, you know . . . giant murder-bots are a thing. X-Men Gold currently has a sub-plot about a bill to deport mutants. So, I mean, yeah, Viva La Revolucion. The story does imply this is the original Pyro, back from the dead, which, OK then. Anyway, the Icemans were invited to dinner at their parents’ house. In Madripoor, Daken has Zach beat up some thugs and take a ring. And then, awkward dinner time! The parents are being freakishly nice to Teen Bobby, wanting him to move back home with them. There’s arguing, and Bobby might have a strange view of Emma Frost’s manner of speech:

Iceman #8

The real Emma would probably be MORE contempuous.

I do like that impression. Anyway, fun issue. Dinner was amusingly awkward. It’s what I think Grace does best in this series. Also, Bobby is apparently aware of the perverted jokes about him and his younger self and finds them gross, especially with Teen Bobby being underage, and yeah, it’s a place it’s best not to go. Gross. Anyway, the main thing I enjoy in comics is the human element, including superheroes having awkward dinners, so this issue was enjoyable for me. Gill’s art isn’t my favourite. I’m not a fan. But it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s not, like, Greg Land or something. That would be awful. But this is pretty good.

And the non-X.

Black Bolt, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, and Clayton Cowles. Damn:

Black Bolt #8

Beautiful.

Black Bolt and Blinky (and Lockjaw) return to Earth, and New Attilan, and it doesn’t go great. They think he’s Maximus. It gets cleared up, Iso lets Black Bolt know what’s been going on, Panacea’s lack of emotions is so total she can’t even call Lockjaw a good boy. There’s a meeting with Ahura, which includes a pretty great hug. But also a moment of total heartbreak. It’s a great comic. Stop sleeping on it. It’s one of the best things Marvel’s putting out. Ahmed, Ward and Cowles kill it, issue after issue. It’s beautiful and brilliant and needs to be read.

Hawkeye #13, by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino. The Hawkeyes are back together! Kate needs Clint’s help finding her mom, Clint needs Kate’s help . . . in general, really, but more specifically with someone trying to kill him. It seems to be Eden Vale, from the Generations: Hawkeye comic. Which Clint remembers, even though, supposedly, the stories in those one-shots were actually more-or-less illusions. Ah, who cares. Anyway, Eden’s reason for hating Clint is actually pretty sympathetic, even if it she’s still wrong. I like Eden. Anyway, it’s a great issue, loads of fun, Kate and Clint play off each other so well.

I also got Jem: Dimensions #1. It has Sophie Campbell! She writes and draws a story about Clash and Madmartigan, Pizzazz’s cat. And it’s wonderful, And so gorgeous. So stylish. It has a Muslim in a hijab and she is super-stylish, it has a ski-chase that includes rocket-skis. And it has a cat. Kitty kitty kitty! So, you know, it’s amazing. There’s also a story by Kate Leth, Tana Ford and Brittany Peer, about the Holograms playing D&D.

X-Men comics of November 29 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I just want to start by saying that what C.B. Cebulski did was racist bullshit and he deserves to be fired. But hey, let’s read comics.

X-Men Blue #16, by Cullen Bunn, Thony Silas, Rain Beredo, and Joe Caramagna. Magneto’s reading and gets hit by some sort of psychic whammy. On a rooftop, Scott and Bloodstorm bond, which is really nice. I always liked the Scott/Ororo friendship. Iceman is watching Mojo’s TV network, and a TV report marks it as the anniversary of Magneto’s death in the first battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood. Lorna, Warren and Jimmy are training, and Lorna has the best training methods.

X-Men Blue #16

Harsh, but fair.

Sadly, she vanishes before she can get Warren to actually do it. It’s a shame, because lighting him on fire might have been the only way to make me give a damn about Jimmy. And then Jean and Hank, with Hank saying she’s only visiting him because she’s avoiding Scott, which pisses her off. Magneto summons her, and she reads his mind and finds he’s been communicating with Xavier, and that the O5’s presence in the present is causing problems. They need to go back to their own time. When Hank notes they already went back and found it’s not their time, Danger asks if he’s certain of that. So implications that they are from this timeline’s past. Either way, here’s the second-best panel of the issue:

X-Men Blue #16

One of the greatest sentences in the English language.

Also, not gonna lie, I like the final page. I won’t spoil it, but it’s something that makes me happy. Anyway, this issue’s pretty good. I like the dynamic between Scott and Bloodstorm. I’d be down for more of their friendship. (Though there might be teases of something more between them? Not sure how I feel about that.) Bobby, Warren and Jimmy all continue to be best described as “there.” Bobby barely gets that much. It’s like Bunn just doesn’t care about Iceman, and I mean, I don’t care about him, either, but he’s in your book, so do something with him. Jimmy still sucks. Lorna’s awesome in the page she appears on. This arc is going to be full of time-travel shenanigans, and I know some people hate that, but honestly, I always enjoy that, so I’m actually pretty interested in seeing how this arc goes. The more mind-screwing paradox shenanigans, the better, as far I’m concerned. Oh, the art’s good, too, of course. Silas and Beredo do good work. The story’s easy to follow, and there’s some pretty good facial expressions. So, good comic.

Jean Grey #9, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Jay David Ramos, and Travis Lanham. Teen Jean is apparently dying, burnin up, while Emma and Ghost Jean argue. Emma is not happy about Jean invading her mind, or that taking the shard of the Phoenix Force has now resulted in Teen Jean being almost on fire. Jean, meanwhile, says it was necessary in order to prepare Jean for what’s coming. It’s a good conversation, with Emma, smug and snarky bitch that she is, also subtly showing concern for Teen Jean. Which I appreciate. She’s not happy about what’s happening. She expresses genuine anger at Ghost Jean for lighting Teen Jean on fire. But she also keeps her cool exterior up. It’s good work from Hopeless and Ibanez. She also gets to be the one to put Jean’s fire out, though not before Jean gets to experience the horror of what she’s done.

Jean Grey #9

That’s a hell of a line.

Emma then leaves with the Jeans. Hope, in an airplane graveyard, is notified by her alert systems about a significant event, and grabs a whole bunch of guns to go deal with it. I enjoy how much she is her father’s daughter. The issue also has some excellent Jean/Emma dialogue. And the Cuckoos appear, and again, Emma and the Cuckoos are just wonderful. Emma bounces off other characters so well. Her snark is so entertaining. And on another note, I’m really happy the Cuckoos have kept their own distinct looks. They all wear similar but distinct outfits, and they have different hair colours and styles. And I think that’s cool. It’s thanks to Bendis, too. Before him, they were always presented as being pretty much one person. Bendis had them become their own people. But still connected, still sisters, still inseparable. This is a really good issue, mostly because of Emma. I love Emma. And it’s clear Hopeless loves her and enjoys writing her. The Cuckoos are good. Hope, for as little as she’s in the issue, is pretty great. Quentin’s there, too. But mostly, this issue is about Emma and Ghost Jean. As they snark at each other, and air some feels. Ghost Jean stops being a bitch as she sees how much she’s hurt Teen Jean, and it’s good to see Ghost Jean acting more like herself. More compassionate, and more thoughtful. I’ve missed Emma and Jean together. They make such a fun pairing. There’s this weird mutual respect mixed with mutual contempt. So they insult each other, but also confess their emotional problems to each other, and it’s so compelling. I hope that, with Adult Jean coming back, we get plenty more opportunities for Jean and Emma to play off each other. Anyway, good issue.

Old Man Logan #31, by Ed Brisson, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin, and Cory Petit. Logan’s in Tokyo, thinking about how he missed the place. He beats up some thugs, but they heal instantly from his attacks. Best moment: One calls him a Yankee, and he immediately corrects him to say he’s Canadian. I always love that. At a lab, a researcher steals some samples, and gets confronted by the current Silver Samurai (a young dude, remember), who threatens to turn the guy’s family into horseshoe crabs, because apparently, his company has developed a serum that does that, for reasons even he’s not sure of. And then Logan beats the crap out of the Crazy Thunder Gang, who’ve been dealing with Regenix drug the researcher was bringing them. Ugh, I really don’t like Deodato’s art. It drags down the story for me. I find it too stiff, too posed, with weird proportions and this creepy Uncanny Valley aspect to it. It does not work for me, and it distracts me from the story. It’s not a bad story. It’s a fairly common Logan story, really, but set up well, and looking like it’ll be well-told.

That’s the X-stuff, here’s what else I got.

USAvengers #12, by Al Ewing, Paco Diaz, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna. Assault on Glenbrook! General Maverick’s Hour of Power isn’t an hour any more, poor guy. And holy shit this issue is all about fans who can’t let go of classic continuity and embrace change.

USAvengers #12

This is not the least bit subtle and I love it.

We also learn that Storm taught Cannonball how to do crime. And oh my god best Monty-Python shout-out ever.

USAvengers #12

Epic.

And Squirrel Girl is revealed as a Kids In the Hall fan. Makes sense, she is a Canadian citizen. It is completely reasonable to think she would be a KItH fan. And man, that was such a great show. And this is a great comic. It’s so much fun. Ewing includes some pretty blatant commentary on the nature of fiction and fandom and the need for art to change to keep up with times, and the need for fandom to be willing to let the art they love evolve. But he also includes a Monty Python shout-out. So, yeah, this book’s great. I’m sad it’s over. I really, really hope that Toni gets to play a major role in the Marvel Universe going forward. She’ll apparently be a fairly big part of that No Surrender weekly series, which I won’t be picking up because fuck a weekly format, and I’m basically done with Mark Waid, and not interested enough in Jim Zub, and I’m not going to just pick up every third issue for Ewing. I’m glad she’ll be a big player there. But I hope that, even after it ends, she gets to continue to be a major character. She’s honestly exactly the kind of character Marvel should push: She’s a QWOC who is a genius superhero, and who isn’t taking another character’s identity. When No Surrender ends, put her on the main Avengers team as their tech-based hero. Make her a star. Anyway, I’m really going to miss USAvengers. So good.

America #9, by Gabby Rivera, Flaviano, Jordan Gibson, and Travis Lanham. America gets captured in an energy field, so it’s up to all her friends to help her. It also turns out Professor Douglas is a stone-cold badass. I don’t have much to say about this, except holy shit that Flaviano art is great. And Gibson’s colours are a great complement. They make one hell of a team. And having aet I enjoy makes this a much more enjoyable read, too. It really does make a difference. I don’t like Joe Quinones’ style – I just don’t like his style – so it always makes it harder for me to get invested in the story. But Flaviano works for me, and it makes for a much more enjoyable experience, and makes it easier to enjoy the writing, too. It helps that I’m always a sucker for stories about supporting characters. So I actually liked this issue quite a bit. It’s still not great. Rivera’s still doing frankly mediocre work. But hey, I still enjoyed this issue.

New Mutants #82 (1989, November)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Hey look, a post, I don’t do many of these any more. By Simonson, Blevins, Williamson, Oliver, and Rosen, “The Road To Hel. . . .”

The Road To Hel . . .

He appears for, like, 3 panels.

Warlock’s stuck in the middle of Hela’s barrier. On the outside, he’s holding Boom-Boom and Hrimhari. Luckily, Boom-Boom has a cunning plan. For once, it doesn’t involve bombs. Yet. First, she figures that if they brace against the field. It doesn’t work for her, but it works out great for the audience.

New Mutants #82

You know, Asgard gets occasional demon in- You know what? Never mind.

That is a pretty perfect panel. A frizzy-furred werewolf is quite a thing. And Boom-Boom with her hair sticking up, and her shoes smoking. All great. And Boom-Boom’s continuing hatred of Asgard is entertaining. Her next plan actually is a bomb, and I’m genuinely surprised that wasn’t her first plan. It’s her first solution for most problems. On the other side of the barrier, one of the Valkyries, Mist, is threatening the remaining New Mutants, but gets distracted by the large boom, which allows Sam to attack her. She tells him to let her capture them so she can maybe help them later. She’s still resisting, it seems. Good for her.

Boom-Boom’s bombs manage to get Warlock free, so the three of them can flee. The others are herded into Hela’s realm, past Garm, the giant Hel dog.

New Mutants #82

Hela big pupper.

Rahne’s not doing well, so Rictor offers her some comfort. He’s a good dude. He’s always offering comfort. Most to girls, admittedly. Still, I like that side of him. Also, Rahne shows that she doesn’t know Boom-Boom very well.

New Mutants #82

To be fair, Boom-Boom IS pretty great.

Rictor tells her it’s a mask she hides behind to keep people from getting close, and yeah, obviously. She’s clearly got some deep-seated insecurities. Her boasting is part of that, so people don’t realize how scared she is. Anyway, Warlock, Boom-Boom and Hrimhari find Odin, but he’s in the Odinsleep, so he’s no help. Lazy bastard. One of Odin’s guards decides to toss them in prison until Balder can return to deal with them.

Back on the road to Hel, the New Mutants are lagging behind, and Mist shoves them into a crevice to hide them. She explains she has fairy blood on her mother’s side, which gives her some resistance to Hela’s spell. Back in Asgard, some of Volstagg’s kids, led by his daughter, Hilde (who is awesome), slip out of their house to check out the “comet” they saw. Warlock, Boom-Boom and Hrimhari are thrown into a cell, and Boom-Boom asks Hrimhari about his reationship with Rahne, and he says that, much as they care for each other, they can’t be together. Which really is tragic. Though Boom-Boom’s still thinking about herself.

New Mutants #82

There are worse people to discuss relationships with.

The kids pay a visit, tell them the good adults are out of town for a while, but they know someone else who might help. The kids point them to Tiwaz, a sorcerer. The kids take their place in the cell, to show the adults how serious things are. They’re good kids. Even Boom-Boom is impressed. Oh hey, back to Earth. Rusty and Skids are still hiding inside the force field, but Skids passes out, and Rusty’s flames are ineffective with Pyro around, so that’s them fully in custody. And then back to Hel, where some dwarves are carrying a big vat of uru. She wants Eitri to forge her a sword. She threatens to hand his daughter to her minions to play with. Meanwhile, Warlock, Boom-Boom and Hrimhari get to the icy realms, but get snared in a net and crash. In Hel, the Mutants make a futile effort to rescue Eitri and his daughter, but fail. Eitri agrees to forge the sword, which Hela will give to Dani, so she can murder Odin in his sleep, so Hela can take his soul, and his power. It’s a clever plan.

Pretty good issue. Lots of good Boom-Boom. Always a plus. I am disappointed that, despite the cover, we didn’t get more Garm. Garm is pretty great. But he’s really just a cameo here. Mist is neat. I like Mist. The moment between Rahne and Rictor was nice. There’s a good moment near the end, after Sam rockets to try to save Eitri and Kindra and the Mutants get re-captured, with Roberto saying he’s supposed to be the team’s hot-head. I like that bit of gentle teasing between friends.

But the meat of the issue is Boom-Boom and Hrimhari. They get the bulk of the focus, and it works well. They play off each other well. Hrimhari so noble and serious, and Boom-Boom being herself. It’s good to watch as she slowly comes around  on Hrimhari, At the very least, she starts to resent him less. I like him plenty. He’s a good guy. Noble, polite, but willing to call Boom-Boom on her bullshit.

The art’s good. Blevins might draw my favourite Boom-Boom. The cartoonishness works so well with her. He’s still not as good a fit for this arc as he was for Inferno, but I do like him, and I like seeing his work. His Hela is pretty wicked. She looks awesome, as she should, because Hela is awesome.

This issue is dragged down a bit by being very much a middle chapter. Not much in terms of story advancement. It’s as much a way to get characters where they need to go as anything else. So that’s a bit of a shame. Still, it’s an enjoyable issue. I like it.

X-Men comics of November 22 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I didn’t do a pull list yesterday because it was just a tiring week. Working until 11pm every night, but then going in for 9am Saturday? Ugh. No fun. So I just didn’t have the energy to write up a pull list post. Might be the same for the next couple weeks, too. But hey, I got today off, so comics!

X-Men Gold #16, by Marc Guggenheim, Lan Medina, Jay Leisten, Craig Yeung, Frank Martin, Andrew Crossley, and Cory Petit. Kitty debates Bigoted Lady Whose Name Is On The Panel But I Still Don’t Actually Give Enough Of A Shit To Actually Learn Or Type Because Holy Hell The Ham-Fisted Handling Of The Allegory Will Never Stop Bugging Me. Anyway, apparently, Congress passed the Mutant Deportation Act, and I want to reiterate how stupid that idea is, because, like, does it apply to mutants born in the US? Does it apply to mutants with US citizenship? Because you can’t deport people with US citizenship. But whatever! Kitty and Piotr are still a thing, unfortunately, and they get a hotel room. We do get to see a crowd at the school, supporting mutants, so that’s nice to see. There really, truly, desperately needs to be more of that in the X-Men comics. We need to see that, no, not every single human on the face of the planet hates mutants. That being part of a marginalized group does not in fact mean that everyone else hates you, and that there are people who support marginalized communities they don’t belong to. So good on Guggenheim for showing that. Then aliens show up looking for the alien dude who was in the Brotherhood. And Logan threatens to start stabbing people who don’t stay calm, because Logan has one solution for every problem. And hey, apparently he and his second-in-command are lovers. Neat, I guess. This issue is better than the norm, I’ll grant that. It’s still Marc Guggenheim, who is, of course, a sexist hack. (Fun fact: A woman who worked for Guggenheim straight-up said he hates women. Fuck Marc Guggenheim, a sexist hack who should be fired and replaced by a woman of colour. On everything he does, really.) So it’s still not actually good. Just less bad. Kitty calls out bigotry, and yippee for the pretty white girl always being the one who calls out bigotry. Another standard thing with the X-Men, sadly. But hey, at least Guggenheim is trying a semi-original plot with this Negative Zone stuff. I don’t think Claremont every dragged the X-Men into the Negative Zone. So congratulations, Guggenheim, for your very first original idea as an X-Men writer. You’re still a sexist hack who should be fired from the book and replaced with a woman of colour, but hey, it’s nice that the book isn’t 100% pure nostalgia-wanking any more. The art’s good. No complaints there. I have trouble having an opinion on the art one way or the other, if I’m honest. This is such a meh book.

Generation X #9, by Christina Strain, Amilcar Pinna, Felipe Sobreiro, and Clayton Cowles. The students are cleaning up the mess caused by Krakoa in the last issue. And Lin proves once again that she is great at decisions by talking Trevor into letting an opossum look after Shogo. The opossum is called Mrs. Opossum. Gods, I love this book.

Generation X #9

Lin makes a good point.

Everyone’s trying to find Jubilee and Roxy, who are buried beneath the museum that collapsed, and Quire accidentally drops a wall on Mercury and Nathaniel, which leads Ben to finally snap and call Quire out on being an asshole who doesn’t think about other people. And we get more of the Ben/Nathaniel ship-teasing that is going to be the death of me. Strain is trying to murder me with this. It is attempted murder. Trevor helps with the search for Jubilee, with his neat new See-Through-Things power. Down in the tunnel, Jubilee and Roxy find some of Monet’s victims, which prompts the start of a panic attack in Roxy, and it’s neat that she reacts so strongly to Emplate. I like when characters actually have reactions to past trauma. I also really like Jubilee and Roxy’s growing friendship. Roxy sasses her pretty well. Also, I might be wrong, but there’s an interaction between Roxy and Mercury that makes me think Strain might be continuing what Wood set up between them a few years ago. I hope so, it’d be cool to have that come back up. I really do love this series. So much. It’s so good. I will admit, once again, that Pinna’s art style doesn’t appeal to me. He draws really weird faces, with freakishly giant mouths. So it’s hard for me to blame anyone who skips this book as a result of the art. But the whole team is doing some great storytelling. And I love that the series isn’t focused on superheroics. It’s very much a character-driven series, with great drama and interpersonal relationships. The Ben/Nate ship gets a very strong focus here, Jubilee and Roxy get along really well, and there’s some very good work with Quire here, and his own relationship with Ben. I also continue to thoroughly enjoy the Lin/Trevor friendship. They play off each other so beautifully.

Generation X #9

“She’s an opossum?” might be the best explanation for anything.

The issue also has some really sad moments. Bits that are punches to the heart. And, naturally, there’s more setting up stuff with Monet. So it is building to a bigger superhero thing. But mostly it’s the character interactions that keep this book so enjoyable. I love it.

All-New Wolverine #27, by Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Laura brings Daken inside, and he tells her she’s being watched from inside the house by the Orphans of X. Laura’s cousin, Megan, is kinda adorable, and her aunt, Debbie, is kinda badass. Megan waves cheerfully when introduced, while Debbie tells him to put down the gun or get out of the house. I don’t know if it’s because Laura’s there, but I like to think Debbie is just that cool. Then Daken shoots Laura’s mom. And angry Laura is goddamn terrifying. Daken gets the shit sliced out of him, until the Orphans of X start calling out Laura and the other Wolverines. They hate the Wolverines for all the murders they’ve committed and gotten away with. Which is, you know, fair. I figure Laura probably deserves a pass, given she was literally raised as an assassin, and since she left that, most of those she’s killed have been bad people trying to kill her or others, and even so, she’s still turned away from killing except when absolutely necessary. Daken? Yeah, Daken should be in prison. He’s a sociopathic prick with a history of killing solely for his own amusement. But yeah, the Orphans have valid criticisms, and are pretty clever in their approach. They make for good antagonists. Laura’s family reacting to Daken was entertaining. The fight was good. The art’s great. Cabal does very good work. Woodard’s colours also remain excellent. Much like with Herring on Ms. Marvel, I like how Woodard’s colours on Wolverine provide a real sense of visual consistency throughout the run, even as line artists change. It’s entirely too easy to undervalue the work that colour artists do, and it’s important to give them credit. Woodard has cemented, in my mind, the way Laura is supposed to look. (And Gabby, for that matter.) No matter the line artist, as long as Woodard colours her, she looks right. So, much praise to Nolan Woodard. And the rest of the creative team, because this series remains excellent.

Cable #151, by Ed Brisson, Jon Malin, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. Still 13 years ago. Cable’s team and Selene and her Externals reach an agreement not to bother wasting time fighting, much to Shatterstar’s disappointment. One thing I find interesting: This story is supposed to take place 13 years ago, according to the first page. Shatterstar mentions that Selene was supposed to have killed the other Externals a decade earlier. So . . . is that supposed to be a reference to the ’90s story where Selene killed the other Externals? So is Brisson just ignoring the sliding timeline entirely? And why is Shatterstar in his ’90s outfit if this is supposed to have happened in 2004? I don’t even know, man. Regardless, Cable recruits a couple more people so they can split into two teams to find two more Externals. Selene retrieves Blink from where she was lost outside the universe. Something we saw way back in Necrosha. Cable recruits Armour, which does lead to a pretty great line.

Cable #151

NAMES ARE HARD, guys!

Shatterstar recruits Laura, whose just finished slaughtering a bunch of faceless goons. I notice one of the soldier-types she kills is a woman, and honestly, it’s always nice when evil organizations try to practise egalitarian hiring. I know it’s a weird thing to like, but when a group of generic faceless evil soldier-types include some women who are killed alongside the men? It does make me happy. Yay feminism! The External Cable’s team – which is him, Armor and Doop – goes to see is a precog, who invites them in for tea, and this Burke guy pretty much immediately became my favourite External. He’s so nice! Longshot, Shatterstar and Laura go after Saul. And Laura is awesome. She is so hyper-violent and it’s actually pretty great. This is good. I think I’m figuring out the timeline, though it’s really poorly-explained. It is basically forgetting that Marvel has a sliding timeline. “13 Years Ago” means it’s set at the same time as the comics that came out in 2004. Ideally, this series should be set “a few years ago,” with Selene having killed the other Externals “a few years” prior to that. Anyway, this is pretty good. It feels very ’90s, which is fitting, given it’s about the Externals. The art feels very ’90s, too. I’m not a fan of Malin’s style. He tells the story well, I just don’t find it aesthetically pleasing. But the story is good. Brisson and Malin are doing interesting stuff. It’s a weird team. I’m not sure why Cable recruited Blink. Longshot makes sense – he needed her to read Candra’s body. Shatterstar makes sense – Cable knows him. Doop was an odd choice, but sure, OK, I’ll allow it. Laura? If you’re expecting a fight, there’s not many people more useful. But Armour? Especially 2004 Armour? She’s just a kid. She’s got an effective power, yeah, but there are so many other possibilities that would make more sense. So I’m not at all sure why he went with Armour. I love her, but still. Anyway, it’s still a fun comic, I’m still enjoying it. Also, this:

Cable #151

I’m not even totally sure why I love this so much.

That’s the X-titles, but I got sooooo many other comics. So, here’s quick talk about them.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #25, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Ben and Johnny are bringing some of Reed’s old junk to Lunella’s lab, and she finds HERBIE. Yay HERBIE? There’s some break-ins. Lunella reveals she’s been looking for Reed Richards. We drop in on Eduardo and Zoe, who are still The Best. And the Silver Surfer shows up. It’s a fun issue. The art remains gorgeous. Bustos and Bonvillain are just so good at what they do. Montclare’s doing good work, too. His Thing and Human Torch are both kinda obnoxious, but it’s amusing.

Black Panther #167, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, Marc Deering, Laura Martin (with Matt Milla), and Joe Sabino. Shuri pays Thunderball a visit in prison. T’Challa needs him. Shuri is not impressed with him, and threatens to kill him if he slides back into villainy. Shuri’s hardcore like that. But hell yeah for having Dr. Franklin back in this book. And this issue also builds off a plot point from Amazing Spider-Man #648, when Sajani tried to make artificial Vibranium, and I love the way the shared universe can just randomly grab shit from other books. Also, Shuri shows T’Challa the Djalia, which is neat. And he learns some dark truths about Wakanda’s origin. More good stuff. Coates continues to build one of the most politically-minded comics I’ve read. He doesn’t shy away from the dirtiness. I like that. And Kirk’s art is great, too. Man, I remember when he worked on Peter David’s X-Factor. Now look at him. Good for him.

Luke Cage #167, by David Walker, Guillermo Sanna, Marcio Menyz, Joe Sabino. The Ringmaster has augmented hypnotic powers that have allowed him to take over an entire town. And now Luke Cage is under his control. Another inmate in the prison tries to get Luke to remember who he is, which leads to a prison riot. It’s good stuff. The Ringmaster is genuinely sinister. Which is unusual for him. He’s usually kind of a joke. But here, he gets to be evil, and entertainingly so. Great art, too. Good comic.

Captain Marvel #126, by Margaret Stohl, Michele Bandini, Erick Arciniega, and Joe Caramagna. Carol wakes up in space, and finds a space station. Zeta Flight. The computer calls her Corporal Danvers. The station’s crew seems to be missing. So, weird stuff! Puck has hair, and it doesn’t actually look bad on him. Carol’s total confusion throughout the issue is funny, especially a conversation with Black Widow, where she has absolutely no idea what’s going on. It makes for an enjoyable read, more or less. And, of course, pretty art.

Silver Sable & the Wild Pack #36, by Christa Faust, Paolo Siqueira, JosĂ© Luis, Cam Smith, Terry Pallot, Paulo Sequeira, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. Before I talk about the comic, can I talk about Christa Faust? I’d never heard of her before she was announced for this one-shot. She does a lot of tie-in novels. Her original novels tend to be Hardboiled crime fiction. Before she became a writer, she worked in Times Square peep booths, then as a fetish model and a professional Dominatrix. She is, in short, pretty awesome. But anyway, the comic! Symkarian Neo-Nazis have captured a boat full of refugees. Much as I hate Neo-Nazis, I have to admit, these are some buff ladies. But, of course, it’s Silver Sable to the rescue, though not before she has to stab a shark that bit her leg. And she also slices the throat of an old Nazi woman. It’s easy to forget that Sable is hardcore like that. This issue also has a pretty perfect panel:

Silver Sable #36

She speaks for us all.

It’s a good issue. A solid one-shot. If Faust took on a Silver Sable ongoing, I’d definitely read it. She has Sable’s voice down well. Cold, but not as cold as she’d like to be. She’s still got that heroic streak she just can’t get rid of, and which hits her at the least convenient times. The issue’s also got some fun bits, outside of the Neo-Nazis. Who, as I said, are at least awesomely buff ladies. The art’s good, too. Good art team. Good expressions, good action. So, yeah, this was a good comic, and it’d be interesting to see what this creative team would do with an ongoing.

X-Men comics of November 15 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I wrote this last night, but set it to auto-post now. So I’m posting FROM THE PAST! Not that impressive, actually. Anyway, it was really, really late when I finally got around to this, so I didn’t bother doing Hawkeye #12 this week, but I’m sure it’s wonderful and the best thing ever.

X-Men Blue #15, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. X-Men vs. Mojo’s minions. They split into two teams, one team keeping the minions busy, while the other heads for the control room. It’s Jean, Longshot, Logan, Jimmy, Colossus, and Angel, who split off. They fight Mojo, who’s leeching energy from the people on Earth glued to his broadcasts. They’re joined by Magneto, Polaris, and Danger. And the day is saved, hurrah, and there’s a confrontation between Kitty and Magneto, and all in all? Meh. A meh end to a meh crossover. The Blue issues were better than the Gold issues, since Bunn is a much better writer than sexist hack Marc Guggenheim. (Oh! Fun fact! A woman who worked on one of Guggenheim’s shows recently straight-up called him out as a sexist prick. Marc Guggenheim is a sexist hack.) But the format of the crossover meant that, no matter how good a job Bunn did, the story wasn’t going to be satisfying. It focused entirely too much on Kitty, Rachel and Scott, to the exclusion of the others. Jean got a little bit to do, and the Magneto/Polaris/Danger trio got to do a bit. But what could have been a fantastic, fun story, was instead just kind of . . . there. Mojo himself was entertaining, and there were a few good jokes, and some pretty good fight scenes, but all in all? This is one of the most forgettable Mojo stories ever told. Which is a real shame. On the plus side, Molina and Milla continue to do a stellar job on the art. An art team I don’t see Bunn letting go of very easily.

Weapon X #11, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Marc Borstel, Ibraim Roberson, Frank D’Armata, Joe Caramagna. Hulkverine’s about to kill Laura, so Logan slashes him up, but then gets grabbed. While Dr. Alba gloats. Sabretooth steals a nuclear reactor (and Stryker’s head). Domino drops a building on Hulkverine. Laura goes after Alba, and finds the weird little thing on her tongue she uses to control Hulkverine, but then she has to stop Sabretooth from detonating a nuclear bomb in the middle of a city. And Domino figures out how to stop Hulkverine from killing people. This was a pretty good conclusion to the arc. Some good action. I wish there was more Laura. More everyone, really. I hate to say this, because I do enjoy Pak’s Domino, but she’s starting to hog attention a little too much. I want to see more of Warpath in this book. Deathstrike, too. So the book does feel a little unbalanced. Luckily, with the Weapon H arc over, he won’t be getting all the attention here. So hopefully the next arc does a little more with the rest of the team. It’s still a well-made book. The dialogue and art are both very good. The story just went a little off-track with this arc. Not horribly so, it’ll be easy enough to correct going forward, and hopefully, they do correct it.

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #2, by Declan Shalvey, Mike Henderson, Lee Loughridge, and Joe Sabino. So there’s a tam of bad guys looking for a girl. Logan tries to distract them, while Deadpool keeps chasing her. He beats up another bunch of guys. And Logan shows up to take out a few more. Deadpool tries to get the girl to accept his help, and also asks her about her time-traveling. And there’s lots of fighting and quipping and it’s all fine. It’s fine. It’s Deadpool and Old Man Logan and a grumpy teen girl. It’s basically what you’d expect of all that. So, you know. It’s fine. I like Henderson’s art more here than I generally did on the main Deadpool title, which is odd. I think the rough, scratchy style works well for Old Man Logan. Regardless, it’s two over-used characters I have mixed feelings on at the best of times, so . . . yeah, this book was probably never really going to wow me. Still, it’s good.

Pull List for November 15 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). And I’m on Mastodon, @XMenXPert@mastodon.social. Comics tomorrow! Will probably go up Thursday afternoon.

I’ll go to the store for: Hawkeye #12, by Kelly Thompson, Michael Walsh; My Little Pony Legends of Magic #8, by Jeremy Whitley, Tony Fleecs; The Wicked + The Divine #33, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, and Clayton Cowles

I’ll also review: Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #2, by Declan Shalvey, Mike Henderson; Weapon X #11, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Marc Borstel, Ibraim Roberson; X-Men Blue #15, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina.

So that’s 3 comics I’m picking up, and 3 other reviews. A light week.

Why they’re worth buying: Hawkeye’s been great all along, but this next issue’s got even more going for it. Kate teams up with the Wolverines! Laura, Gabby AND Jonathan!

So, X-Men Red. The line-up’s been mostly revealed, though apparently, not entirely. Jean Grey leading, of course. (And it’s cool and all that she’s back, but when can we get back Synch and Skin?) Nightcrawler, Gentle, Namor, Laura, Gabby, and a new character, Trinary. I am so, so glad that Logan’s not on this team. I was really worried that, with jean and Logan both being back, we’d get them on a team together, and that they’d end up dating, and ugh, no, fuck that. Instead, Jean’s teaming up with the Bestverines! It’s an interesting line-up. Except: Why is Namor wearing a shirt? Why would they cover those abs? Someone clearly doesn’t understand Namor’s character at all. That character is abs. With both Laura and Gabby being in this book, there is reason to worry that All-New Wolverine is ending, with Logan getting the Wolverine solo again. Bleh to that.

Marvel’s also now promoting a big wedding, and the safe money, at this point, is Kitty and Piotr. And, once again, uuuuuugh. No, why, please don’t. Frigging Guggenheim and his nostalgia crap. Oh, also? Marc Guggenheim is an asshole. Conan O’Brien tweeted about looking forward to “the all-female reboot of America.” Marc Guggenheim, proving that he does not understand the concept of humour, bitched about “not all men” and “reverse sexism.” And a woman who’d worked on one of his shows straight-up called him out as a sexist prick. So, screw Marc Guggenheim, he’s an asshole.

The Gifted. I’m so torn on that show. The stuff with the Mutant Underground is actually really cool. but then there’s the stuff with the Struckers. And holy crap, does that ever drag the show down. The Strucker Family Drama just does not work here. It’s boring and cheesy, and by far the weakest part of the show. This show would be so much better without them. I’d love to see more of the inter-personal relationships between the members of the Underground. Sage constantly second-guessing Johnny’s leadership. Lorna and the memory girl going out for a supply run. Just some general drama with the refugees. Instead, we have to watch a father deal with his daughter dating. Why? Why do we have to deal with the bland and cheesy TV family drama crap in this show? It doesn’t work. There’s genuine potential to this show, but it’s bogged down by the need to have Mama Strucker tell Papa Strucker to talk to his kids.

You know what might have worked? If the Struckers were black. If they were A Respectable Black Family, who thought that, because they were solidly upper-middle class, it meant they were accepted by society. And then it turns out, nope! They can still be hit by prejudice, too! Of course, doing that story would require having black people in important production positions, and there was no way that was going to happen with an X-Men property.

I’ve joined Mastodon, a new social networking site. But their rules explicitly call out Nazis as not being permitted. It’s still pretty small. But on the plus side, that means it’s really easy to get follows back. I’m currently followed on there by Matt Wilson and Al Ewing. Yep, that weirds me out. Anyway, we’ll see how that site goes.

And I guess that’s all I’ve got for this week.

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