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X-Men comics of May 24 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Ugh, working until 11 means these review posts go up so late. At least I’ll probably be seeing GotG2 tomorrow. Anyway, comics.

X-Men Blue #4, by Cullen Bunn, Julian Lopez, Jose Marzan, Walden Wong, Irma Kniivila and Joe Caramagna. The team arrives in Colorado, searching for a weird mutant signal. They meet Sheriff Kira Lee, who tells them she saw a guy with claws. But young. He killed a Wendigo. Which isn’t supposed to be in Colorado, the curse is specific to Canada. And we don’t actually get an explanation, either. Bunn’s a continuity wonk, so it’s weird that he’d not even mention how weird it is for a Wendigo to be outside of Canada. Regardless, Hank takes the Wendigo’s heart when no one’s looking. Suspicious! They find the claw guy and recognize him as Wolverine’s son, Jimmy Hudson, from the Ultimate Universe. They specifically cite their trip to the other universe. He’s, um, less friendly this time around. Iceman turns into a snow giant to smash him. Neat. He’s figuring out some tricks from Old Wizard Iceman. And then there’s talking. This is OK. It does feel a bit light. There’s not much actually going on here. It’s just an extended introduction for Jimmy Hudson. I guess so the book can have an age-appropriate Wolverine without using Laura, since the X-office has decided that Laura needs to be kept as far away from the rest of the line as possible. For some reason. We don’t even get much insight into Jimmy yet. We know he’s got claws and a healing factor, and that he’s a good fighter. Basically, that he’s a lot like his dad. Oh, and he has amnesia, because of course he does. I like that Bunn actually builds on a story that’s less than 20 years old, by throwing back to the Ultimate story from Bendis’ ANXM run. I’d much rather that, building on recent history, than wallowing in nostalgia. It’s just that this particular issue felt like it needed a little more to it, in terms of character insights. We get Hank being creepy, and Bobby developing his powers a bit more, but we also get a lot of what feels like wasted dialogue. Might just be me, though. The art’s good. It’s not too dissimilar from Molina’s style, so that’s good. No jarring shift. Cute and cartoonish. Gives a nice, light tone to the book.

Jean Grey #2, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Jay David Ramos, Chris Sotomayor and Joe Caramagna. Jean has gone to Adult Beast about the Phoenix, and he tells her there’s no trace of it. Captain Marvel is there, too, which is neat. Kitty, as well. Jean gets angry that none of them believe her when she says the Phoenix talked to her. She decides to use Cerebro to contact some past Phoenix hosts: Colossus, Illyana, Rachel, and Quire. Rachel is fighting Dario Agger from the Thor comics, so that’s kinda fun. She also calls Jean “Baby Momma,” which is really cute. But it suggests they’ve had some off-screen interactions which we’ve missed, which makes me sad. I wish we could’ve seen them talk through how colossally screwed-up both their very existences are, and make the decision to just roll with it. I do hope we get to see those two hang out a bit, though. Regardless, Quire and Illyana both prove that they are absolutely terrible at advice. Especially Illyana, whose advice is, “A little fire never hurt anyone.” Jean also tries to find Hope, and learns she’s in trouble. She’s in a wrecked town in Arizona, about to be tortured and experimented on by some Reaver dude. Jean rescues her, and I love just how casually Hope takes it. It also turns out the town was built on top of a massive Reaver den. Luckily, reinforcements arrive. And they talk about the Phoenix while fighting hordes of Reavers, and I do always like conversations during battles. Also, best moment from the issue:

Jean Grey #2

It’s apparently called the Dark Phoenix Saga in-universe? Amazing.

We also then get some fantastic insights into what the Phoenix does to a person’s mind. Which also gives some interesting insights into the characters themselves. I think Rachel and Hope actually have the most interesting takes. Rachel talks about how the Phoenix saved her, while Hope treats it as just another enemy and all you can do is keep pulling your triggers. Because Hope really is her father’s daughter. We don’t see Illyana’s mindscape. Probably for the best. The Phoenix would be far from the worst thing Jean would find in there. This is a good issue. While I was disappointed to see the series open with a Phoenix arc, I am glad that Hopeless actually acknowledged that other people have hosted it. In particular, I like seeing Rachel and Hope get recognized. It’s also nice to know that Hope is still out there, still fighting, still kicking ass. There’s some really nice character work with all five former hosts shown in this issue. And with Jean. The art is fine. I liked it less here than in the previous issue. I’m not sure what it is I don’t like about Ibanez’s style. He’s a good artist. But there’s something about his faces that I just find kinda wonky. It’s just a matter of personal taste, there’s definitely nothing wrong with the art, I just don’t really like it.

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

Black Panther #14, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Wilifredo Torres, Jacen Burrows, Terry Pallot, Laura Martin and Joe Sabino. Dr. Faustus is excited to get into Wakandan minds for Zeke Stane. T’Challa’s trying to get a woman named Asira to come back to Wakanda. I guess she was in the Priest run, as Queen Divine Justice. Then he goes to talk to the ghosts of former Black Panthers, about what’s happened to the Orisha. They tell him who might know, and where to find him. And the guy is kind of a troll and I like him.This is more good stuff. T’Challa shows both his human side, and his kingly side. He’s nice to Asira, and then harsh with the dead kings when they challenge him. We don’t get much development of the Orisha/Simbi plot, but there’s a little bit, and Stane does come back, and his interest in Wakanda. It’ll be cool seeing more of that. The art’s really good. I’m still enjoying this series.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #19, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain and Joe Caramagna. Lunella sets up some kind of experiment, listening for something from space. She gets a message. The next morning, she’s able to get a connection with the girl, Illa. Who doesn’t know what planets are. She’s lost her father. Hilariously, Lunella still has the Doom-head in her lab. Why does she still have it? It’s pretty funny. Regardless, Lunella wants to save the girl, so she builds a Moon Mobile, a large orb powered by the Omni-Wave Projector. Another cute, fun issue. Montclare keeps the heart and fun, even without Reeder. Bustos and Bonvillain help, of course. They’re amazing. Such a fantastic art team. I love this series so much. Read it.

Mighty Captain Marvel #5, by Margaret Stohl, Michele Bandini, Michael Garland, Erick Arciniega and Joe Caramagna. Carol has started an Alpha Flight cadet training program, to take her mind off Bean. There’s Dante (a guy who Black Widow recommended), Glory (a girl who won a Stark Science Expo at the University of Manila), and A’di (a Wakandan girl) with her drone, Itz. Side note: Glory is an amputee with really neat metal legs. Carol leaves the cadets in the Blood Shed, a combat simulation room, with half an hour to find a way out. Hopper gives her a Hala star with a bunch of toxins that should take her down if she ever loses control again. Then the Guardians of the Galaxy show up to let her know the Chitauri are coming. So then it gets into the Secret Empire stuff, though we still get some fun stuff with the cadets. I like these kids. They’re neat. Glory is pretty amazing. Her legs have rockets and flamethrowers. Dante is from Stohl’s Black Widow: Forever Red novel, and he’s kind of a loser, but kinda charming. A’di is fun, with a snarky side, and Itz is cute. The art is good. Bandini’s got a good style. Nothing unusual, just a good superhero art style. It works for the book, and it’s the style Captain Marvel really should have.

Mosaic #8, by Geoffrey Thorne, Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez and Joe Sabino. Eh, who cares. The series is over, and all I can think about it is that it’s a huge wasted opportunity. Mosaic reminds me a little of Singularity, actually. They’re both situations where the creators talked about what the character would be used to explore, and in both cases, we didn’t really get what was promised. At least Singularity was adorable. Mosaic was just a jerk. He could be fun at times, but still a jerk. I feel like this series needed less plot, kinda. Or, at least, a different plot. As it is? This was ultimately a pretty forgettable series.

Pull List for May 24 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Even though I know I’m going to be getting rid of a ton of comics soon, I’m going to keep picking up more.

I’ll go to the store for: Black Panther #14, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Wilifredo Torres, Jacen Burrows, Terry Pallot, Laura Martin and Joe Sabino; Mighty Captain Marvel #5, by Margaret Stohl, Michele Bandini, Michael Garland, Erick Arciniega and Joe Caramagna; Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #19, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain and Joe Caramagna; Mosaic #8, by Geoffrey Thorne, Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez and Joe Sabino; My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #54, by Rob Anderson, Jay Fosgitt.

I’ll also review: Jean Grey #2, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Jay David Ramos, Chris Sotomayor and Joe Caramagna; X-Men Blue #4, by Cullen Bunn, Julian Lopez, Jose Marzan, Walden Won, Irma Kniivila and Joe Caramagna.

So that’s 5 comics I’m picking up, and 2 additional reviews. A relatively light week.

And not really a particularly exciting one. Black Panther’s been great from the start, and I’m intrigued by this arc looking into the gods of Wakanda. There’s a lot there to be interested in. So that’s going to be great. And Moon Girl’s always wonderful, though I’m sad that Amy Reeder’s left it. We’ll see if Montclare alone can keep the magic. I am really excited about Girl Moon. With a name like that, how could you not be excited? Captain Marvel’s been OK. It hasn’t blown me away. Same with Mosaic. If I’m honest, I’m a little relieved that Mosaic is ending. There was so much potential there. Mountains of potential. But the need to abide by so many staples of superhero comics dragged it down. This book would have been better if it was more its own thing. Maybe if it had been a creator-owned comic. As for Captain Marvel, we’ll see how Stohl handles being forced into an event tie-in. Hopefully, it’ll be good. I do actually like the idea of the trainees.

I’ll probably go to GotG2 on Thursday.

And I actually have nothing else to talk about this week.

Alpha Flight #71 (1989, June)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Happy Victoria Day, to Canadian readers. Appropriately, I’ve even got a Canada-based comic for today. By Hudnall, Calimee, Manley, Sharen and Chiang, “Powerplays.”

Powerplays

“The Sorcerer.” What a generic name.

Alpha Flight’s trying to relax in the penthouse, discussing the future of the team, when the Canadian military drops in. A brief scuffle is ended by Talisman, who advises surrender. Elsewhere, a married couple are camping in the woods. The husband tells the wife about how humanity, as we think of it, has existed for 20 000 years, and almost all our progress has come in the last 150 years. Which really is pretty remarkable, honestly. Like, humanity has been constantly making advances for our entire history, some of them pretty massive. Like, writing was a big deal. But for the most part, yeah, life didn’t change that much, from one generation to the next. But since the invention of steam power, developments have come faster and faster, and life has changed with them. And these developments create problems, which new developments fix, and it cycles, and honestly, I do believe the future is bright. Anyway, the dude trips over a rock, digs it up, and uncovers a small statue.

Back to Edmonton! General Brian Winslow comes in to thank Alpha Flight for saving Canada, and let them know the government is ready to welcome them back. Heather refuses, and Talisman agrees, saying the team will be setting themselves up in Edmonton. Which annoys Heather.

Alpha Flight #71

Liz is totally just trolling Heather, at this point.

Talisman then points to some dudes in suits, who no one even realized were in the room. Back to the married couple. The wife wants to have sex, the husband says he’s not in the mood and rolls over. He dreams of the statue, telling him that they’re going to do great things together. It tells him the insurance company he works for is helping companies to damage the environment, and that his wife is cheating on him. And that the Earth is going to die in 20 years. It’s been 28 years since this issue came out, so its estimate is off. Also, nothing humanity does can kill the Earth. We can make it less hospitable for a while, but the planet will continue on just fine without us. Hell, we’d have to really work at it just to make it completely inhospitable to us. Still, we’re making it a tougher place to live, so we should probably try to be a little less awful.

Back to Alpha Flight! Heather feels like she’s losing control of the team. Remember when Mantlo had her routinely declare herself a better leader than Mac was? Yeah. Anyway, the dudes in suits included the mayor of Edmonton, who wants them to stay in the city. After Heather gets rid of the military and the mayor, Jeffries reminds her about Kara, still hanging out at the mall. She’s annoyed at them for leaving her behind, then says she wants to live a normal life. She takes Laura and Goblyn with her. Writing out the kids was probably a good idea. I could definitely see an Alpha Flight series that brings back the Beta and Gamma Flight concepts, and kids would fit that. But this series is still trying to be a fairly standard superhero adventure comic, and the kids just felt out of place for that. They lacked the charm of Kitty Pryde.

Back to the woods, where Dex yells at his wife to leave him alone, then talks to the statue. It’s actually kinda unsettling.

Alpha Flight #71

He seems fine.

Back to Ottawa. Jeffries is waiting for Heather, but Diamond Lil shows up instead. She gives him a kiss, which Heather spots through the window, and she turns away, even as Jeffries asks Lil to back off and says he’s in love with Heather. Of course Heather sees it wrong and chooses not to see what’s actually going on. It’s the most predictable outcome, and probably the least believable, so obviously, it’s what she does. Then she goes home to Talisman waiting for her.

Alpha Flight #71

I don’t care how hot you are, Breaking & Entering is not OK.

The obvious joke here is “there are worse things to come home to,” but you know what? No. Elizabeth is totally in the wrong here. How would you feel if you got home, and one of your friends had let themself in? Especially if they sat staring at your door so they could say something as soon as you got in. So bad Talisman. Bad! Don’t do this! Anyway, back to the woods, where Dex murders his wife, because the statue told him to. No big loss, frankly. Then he hangs her from a tree and slits her throat so her blood drips into a bucket where the statue’s been placed.

Alpha Flight #71

This is a really weird infomercial.

While Dex drinks the blood out of the bucket, Talisman explains some things to Heather. She says all the weird mystic creatures they’ve fought lately – the Great Beasts, Pestilence, the Dreamqueen – were all warnings. Every 10 000 years, the planets enter a certain configuration, which makes physical laws change so evil gets the upper hand. Guys, I’m not sure this is comic scientifically accurate. Regardless, Dexter is transformed, and he goes to kill Heather and Talisman.

Alpha Flight #71

What a terrible design.

This issue is, uh, something? Probably? Maybe? There’s kinda not a whole lot going on. Heather bitching about how the government’s treated Alpha Flight in the past, and bitching about how she’s in charge, her, not Talisman, Heather’s in charge, so there. I do like how few shits Talisman gives about that. It amuses me. But there’s quite a few things about the story that feel weirdly contrived. The mayor of Edmonton just appearing out of nowhere. Heather seeing Lil kissing Jeffries, and misinterpreting it. Does she have no faith in him? She seemed to just automatically assume the worst. The stuff with Dex and the statue were pretty interesting. Well-written, and it gets increasingly creepy as it goes on. A shame, then, that the Sorcerer ends up being so lame. Terrible design, stupid name, and as we’ll soon see, a pretty bland personality. He’s a lame villain.

The art here is . . . it’s OK. It’s not awful. But it’s also not particularly great. It feels flat and lifeless. Not much dynamism to it.

On the whole, this is a pretty boring read.

X-Men comics of May 17 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I hate working late on Wednesdays. Anyway, comics.

X-Men Gold #4, by Marc Guggenheim, R.B. Silva, Andriano Di Benedetto, Frank Martin and Cory Petit. Gambit is breaking into Nanostorm, Inc, and makes a card pun when he takes out some guards, because Gambit is good at two things: Thievery and bad card puns. Little known fact: Charging objects is actually a secondary mutation, his main power is bad card puns. Look, I just find Gambit’s constant card puns get obnoxious, OK? Anyway, Kitty, Rachel and Kurt fight some Serpent Society people. Kitty also mentions a meeting with City Hall about getting the mansion sewage and plumbing, and uh, hold on a minute, shouldn’t she have thought about that part before she moved the school into Central Park? Between this and the rent, I’m starting to wonder if Kitty thought about the whole thing at all before she decided to drop the school in Central Park. Logan and Storm are at the police morgue to investigate a mutant death. Storm’s got her old XSE badge, from Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men series. Shitty as that run was, the XSE idea was pretty cool, and I do actually think it’s cool for that to be brought back. They meet a Detective Mahoney, who a quick check reveals was co-created by Guggenheim in a 2007 return of Marvel Comics Presents. Fair enough on Guggenheim bringing him back here. Anyway, turns out there’s been a string of mutants being murdered using hardware that’s not even available to the military yet. Gambit brings the vial he stole to his client, Olivia Trask, grand-daughter of Bolivar. That guy seems to have family pop up every few years. On the plus side, she doesn’t really care about mutants, she just wants the sell the nanites to the military. This issue also has an appearance from Cecilia Reye, who was always awesome. And this is an odd thing for me to praise, but at one point, Colossus needs a moment to remember an English expression. In fiction, characters who have English as a second language always seem to be completely fluent, but in real life, anyone speaking a second language – hell, most people speaking their native language – will forget words from time to time. Anyway, this issue is actually better than the first three. It feels a little less desperate, in a way. The pacing feels more normal, less rushed. The art is fantastic. The art team does a great job, and I think it was just so nice to look at that it made me less harsh on the writing than I otherwise would be. It’s not that Syaf was a bad artist or anything, but Silva, Di Benedetto and Martin are just so good. All that said, the characterization is still lacking. We still get little real characterization. Kitty is still entertainingly snarky. But for the most part, characters are just there to say things. We don’t really get much insight into who they are. The dialogue is all surface-level. I don’t think it’s unfair to expect more by now. The one exception I’ll grant: Colossus revealing that he always paid attention when Kitty nerded-out on dates, because she was talking. Fine, that’s really sweet and he’s a good guy, even if I’d still much rather Kitty date his sister. But it’s a great line. It’s such a tiny moment, but it speaks volumes, and Guggenheim needs more of those, and he needs more character depth in general. I feel like Guggenheim is banking entirely too much on readers already knowing the characters and their relationships. All in all, this series remains superficial, though I do think the art has taken a step up.

Generation X #1, by Christina Strain, Amilcar Pinna, Felipe Sobreiro and Clayton Cowles. In Central Park, Jubilee and Chamber are looking for Shogo, who’s wandered off. Yay for Jubilee/Chamber friendship. I still want a Generation X reunion mini that brings back Synch (and Skin, too, why not). Also, yay for Momilee. I actually really love Jubilee as a mom. Anyway, she gets to the school, where Broo is greeting new students. We see some of the New X-Men kids, yay, and Glob is now wearing thick-ass glasses, complaining that he kept losing his contacts. One of the new kids, Nathaniel, bumps into Phoebe Cuckoo and reads her history. He has a psychometry power. Phoebe’s actually quite pleasant to him, aside from a little sarcasm, and she summons Ben Deeds to help him. Not gonna lie, I kinda hope Nathaniel is gay, because I feel like he and Benjamin would make a super cute couple. But back to Jubilee, who meets with Kitty. Yay for these two! Jubilee took over Kitty’s role as Team Kid, for the first few years of the ’90s, and for a while, Jubilee semi-disliked Kitty, so seeing them talking as friends makes me so happy. Ben and Nathaniel talk about Phoebe, with Ben making clear part of what I love about X-Men when he just casually mentions the Cuckoos all being cloned from Emma. Like, that’s a a pretty crazy thing. With the X-Men, it’s downright banal. Their conversation is sadly ended by Bling! being thrown through a wall by Quentin Quire, who’s upset at her for scuffing his fancy shoes. Gotta say, Quentin looks good in a suit. I don’t like Quentin, but damn, boy rocks a suit. Suddenly, ducks! Which is a pretty great phrase to type. And honestly, this page is just amazing:

Generation X #1

“SO MANY HONKS!” isn’t even the funniest thing here.

There’s a Kitty/Quentin moment that’s very interesting, and it’ll be interesting to see Quentin’s story explored in this book. This is a fantastic debut. OK, so, the art will turn some people off. I can’t say I enjoy it. I don’t like how Pinna draws faces. They’re oddly long and oddly blobby. Lips are huge. He does draw great ducks, so credit for that, and I hope he gets many more opportunities to draw ducks. Actually, with Nature Girl in the cast, he likely will get to draw plenty of animals, so that’ll be pretty great. But his figures and faces are odd-looking. Still, for me, the writing overcomes the problems with the art. The writing here is great. There’s some fantastic characterization here, of multiple characters. Strain gets into the heads of several characters, sometimes with just a couple lines. She writes a great Jubilee, though Jubilee is always awesome and I will fight anyone who says different. But she really is so good here. She comes across like an adult with no idea what she’s doing but doing it anyway. Like so many of us. She’s still optimistic and eager, but she’s a little older and a little more aware. And also a little flustered. We don’t learn much about Nathaniel here, but he seems interesting, and he seems like he’ll actually work really well as a new reader surrogate, reacting to the madness as the readers do. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this issue, setting up lots for Strain to explore. And it’s also incredibly fun. I also want to note that Strain does vastly more to explain the school’s new set-up in this one issue than Guggenheim has in 4 issues. The scene of Broo greeting people actually lays it out well. So, really, those three panels tell readers more about the school than Guggenheim has done in 4 issues, which is pretty sad. Regardless, this was the one Resurrxion title I was whole-heartedly excited about, and I was not disappointed. I’m recommending it.

That’s the X-stuff, here’s other comics.

Luke Cage #1, by David Walker, Nelson Blake, Marcio Menyz and Joe Sabino. Luke Cage saves a woman being held for ransom. She was being held for $5000. Which isn’t nothing, but it’s not kidnapping money. When he brings the girl home, he asks the father to employ one of his friends, looking for legitimate work but having trouble because of a record. Luke really is a good guy. He likes helping people. Then he gets a call, and has to go to New Orleans, for the funeral of Noah Burstein, the doctor who gave him his powers. Apparently, Noah killed himself. Luke meets with a father and son. The son had a rare, untreatable disorder that was reversed by Noah’s experiments. But it turns out that the experiments also came with side effects that make people lash out. And Noah’s assistant, Lenore, doesn’t think he killed himself. This is really good. Another solid debut issue. Walker does great work with Luke, as we already knew from Power Man & Iron Fist. He sets up an interesting plot, one which will probably have plenty of twists and turns. I’m gonna make a prediction now: Noah Burstein isn’t actually dead. The art is great. All the people who complained about the art in PM&IF, and used that as the reason they didn’t pick it up? I hope those people pick up this series. There is absolutely no reason for not liking the art here. It’s not stylized. It’s fairly conventional, but so competently done. It’s a unique style, but not one that’s far from the mainstream. Combined with the writing, this issue’s excellent, and it’s set to be an excellent series, one well worth picking up.

USAvengers #6, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov and Joe Caramagna. Sam is being brought back to Earth by a space-taxi. Which is a pretty wonderful idea. Space taxi! Why wouldn’t they exist? Anyway, they come out of warp right in the middle of Earth’s heroes fighting the Chitauri. Sam asks the cabbie to send word to Smasher, then jumps out to help. Sam’s great like that. He contacts Roberto on Earth, and then gets caught in the shockwave of an exploding space whale. The one that ate Quasar, actually, which Carol notes no one could have survived. Of course, we all know Quasar’s fine. She’ll make a big dramatic return in a middle issue, momentarily turning the tide, before things get bad again. Because that’s just how these things go. Anyway, Roberto wants to head up to space to help Sam but Steve Rogers tells him to stay put because Steve is a Nazi right now. Aikku expresses concern over Toni’s armour and guns getting bigger, but Toni declares she won’t kill anyone, and she’s not Tony Stark. Seems like she might resent him a little over what happened to her father. I hope we do get a Toni/Tony confrontation at some point. Seems like it’d be a fun confrontation to have. Anyway, this is a good issue. Ewing does a good job tying into Secret Empire. I kinda wish he didn’t have to, but meh, nature of the beast. The beast being Marvel and its events. Ewing does include some good character moments. Roberto’s worry about Sam, Toni’s insistence that she doesn’t kill like Stark. There’s a few good moments. Still, being a SE tie-in does feel like it dragged this issue down, just a bit. The art’s still amazing, though.

Ultimates 2 #7, by Al Ewing, Aud Koch, Dan Brown and Joe Sabino. The Ultimates, along with a bunch of other heroes, fight the Chitauri in orbit. The fight is actually really good, as they defend each other. Adam is also horrified at the sight of the Chitauri killing themselves against the planetary defence shield. All Carol’s justifications don’t make it easier for him to watch. Carol’s beating herself up about being tricked by Captain Nazi. Meanwhile, America’s been sent to find Galactus and hope he can get them through the shield. Monica makes her own attempt, by trying to merge with the shield, which is really cool. I love these displays of just how ridiculously powerful Monica is. It’s not just blowing up spaceships. She’s versatile. America’s meeting with Galactus is really interesting, too. This is a great issue. Again, I’m not happy about the book being sidetracked by Secret Empire, and it drags the book down a bit. But Ewing does some brilliant character work here, with four of the five members. (T’Challa’s not in the issue.) There’s some brilliant stuff, and I love seeing it, as the series has sometimes drifted a bit from the characters. The art’s really interesting. I don’t think I’ve seen anything by Koch before. Her style’s definitely not going to appeal to everyone. It is a bit of a strange style. But there’s a sense of scale to the art that is just captivating. There were panels that legitimately blew me away. The last page splash is stunning. So I do enjoy Koch’s style. I wouldn’t mind if she does more issues of Ultimates, because she does scale so well. I’d be hard-pressed to think of someone who evokes it as well as she does.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #20, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham. The mosquito is the deadliest animal in the world, and that includes humans. Tippy-Toe and some other squirrels offer to protect Squirrel Girl and her friends while they find a way to stop Melissa Morbeck. Who shows up dressed as Dr. Doom. Actually, it’s a bear dressed as Dr. Doom, with a mask that Melissa can talk through. It’s a Doombear! DOOMBEAR! Anyway, Melissa plans on pinning the blame for everything on Squirrel Girl. Then she’ll beat Squirrel Girl and gain everyone’s trust, allowing her to take over. I guess. Luckily, Doreen, Nancy and Mary come up with an idea. Also, we obviously get the conclusion of Chef Bear and Alfredo the Chicken. This is so good. So good. DOOMBEAR. Lots of animals! Lots of jokes! Doreen’s love of computer science! Mary is a great Future Supervillain. She is totally going to be a supervillain, and she’ll be great at it, and I really like her. Melissa’s really fun. There’s lots of animals. I just love this comic, OK?

The Wicked + The Divine 455 AD, by Kieron Gillen, Andre Araujo, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles. In 455 AD, the Vandals attacked Rome. Also, the Pantheon of that cycle was all dead, except one guy, who blows them up and becomes Emperor. He remembers Dionysus, and the love they shared. Ananke is angry at Lucifer for breaking the pact. He should be dead. What a shock that Lucifer doesn’t play by the rules. Ananke assures him that he will die. He will lose himself and die. And he does! And it’s messed up! This is a great one-shot. Very freaky. Very weird and unsettling. Araujo’s art is a good fit for the story. Very good.

Animosity #7, by Marguerite Bennett, Rafael de Latorre, Rob Schwager and Marshall Dillon. Pallas Cat attacks the vulture. Hot damn, you go, cat. Sandor arrives with reinforcements to defeat the vulture and save Jesse. With Sandor also getting some awesome lines, and an epic one-liner. Sandor is a frigging action hero. But man, this series is dark. And darker all the time. Like, who knew talking animals could be so frigging intense? Sandor, in particular. He starts off heroic, someone you root for. At this point, it’s clear that he is an absolutely ruthless bastard who will do whatever it damned well takes and then a little more to keep Jesse safe. There is no line he isn’t willing to cross. It’s chilling. And such an amazing read. You really should be reading this.

Pull List for May 17 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So things are going on in my personal life, which I’ll get to. But first, tomorrow.

I’ll go to the store for: Animosity #7, by Marguerite Bennett, Rafael de Latorre, Rob Schwager and Marshall Dillon; Generation X #1, by Christina Strain, Amilcar Pinna, Felipe Sobreiro and Clayton Cowles; Luke Cage #1, by David Walker, Nelson Blake, and I’m not sure who else; USAvengers #6, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov and Joe Caramagna; Ultimates 2 #7, by Al Ewing, Aud Koch; Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #20, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham; The Wicked + The Divine 455 AD, by Kieron Gillen, Andre Araujo.

I’ll also review: X-Men Gold #4, by Marc Guggenheim, R.B. Silva, Andriano Di Benedetto, Frank Martin and Cory Petit.

So that’s 7 comics I’m picking up, and one additional review. Pretty standard week.

A good week, too! Animosity! Always a treat. Generation X is the Resurrxion title I’ve been most anticipating. Jubilee! The preview has Chamber! The only X-title written by a woman or POC! It should be a lot of fun. Luke Cage should be great. Walker killed it on Power Man & Iron Fist, and it’ll be cool seeing Cage on his own. And the art looks more my tastes, not that I actually minded Greene and the others on PM&IF. USAvengers will be a Secret Empire tie-in, and while I don’t care about SE, Ewing’s always great at using tie-ins to tell his own stories. The same thing with Ultimates 2, though I suspect that’ll deal more with Galactus doing his own thing, whihc is also cool. Squirrel Girl is always delightful and I love it. And we get the second WicDiv special, this time going back to the Pantheon of 455. Should be fun.

So, yeah. My personal life. My mom is selling her house. Since I’ve been living with her, that means I’m going to have to move out. I’ll need to find my own place. Since I’m not making enough right now to afford living on my own, that means getting a new job. My mom wants me in a call centre. My brother wants me in a warehouse. My friend wants me in school. I just wanna chuck it all and live in the woods. Find a nice bridge to live under. I’ve already applied at the call centre. I can’t imagine any reason they wouldn’t hire me, given I spent 7 years working at a call centre before. But man, I am not looking forward to working at a call centre again.

I’m also not looking forward to finding my own place. Even working full-time at a call centre, I doubt I’d be able to afford an apartment on my own. That means moving in with someone. And since I don’t really know anyone in town, it means moving in with a stranger. So that’ll be awkward and not at all fun. So I’ll need to start looking for a place. Then I’ll need to arrange the move, figure out what I’m taking with me, what to get rid of. And then there’ll be all the fun of getting used to a new place, and living on my own again, and finding some patterns to get into. (I swear, one of the biggest problems I’ve had since I started at Walmart has been the lack of any sort of pattern to my life.)

This is all just going to suck so much. And on top of it all, odds are good I’m going to have to eat into a chunk of the money I’ve saved up, so if I ever find another job out of town, I’ll have that much less money for a move. Life sucks.

I’ll also need to sell off a chunk of my comics. And get rid of a lot of my books. The smart thing to do would be to keep two boxes worth of comics, and to switch almost entirely to reading only digitally. I hate to do that. I like physical comics, and I like supporting my LCS. But if I move into an apartment, space will definitely be a constraint. I won’t be able to keep too many boxes of comics. So the smartest move would be to cut down to a box of creator-owned comics, and a box of Marvel comics I can’t give up. Maybe make it three boxes total, see what I have that I can’t live without. Journey Into Mystery, Young Avengers and Ms. Marvel, obviously. Vision, of course, even if I don’t have the first two issues. (Maybe I should pick those up at the next local geek con. I might be missing an issue of JiM, too.) Hellcat? Weirdworld? Angela? (Actually, definitely Angela, it has Stephanie Hans art.) Squirrel Girl, probably. Sigh. So much to decide. Books, too. Though I’ve been wanting to get rid of a bunch for a while anyway. But enough to fit on one bookcase? Uuuuuugh! I hate this!

I guess that’s it for this week.

Marvel Comics Presents #21 and 22 (1989, June)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Some stuff going on in my life, which I’ll talk about tonight on Twitter, and in my next pull list post. But for today, by Harras, Lim, Riem, Yanchus and Mas, “The Retribution Affair (Part 5) – Best Laid Plans.”

Best Laid Plans

What a thrilling cover.

Conscience has brought Moira, Scott and Callisto before Master Mold (or a screen with his face, anyway), and Scott wonders how Master Mold is alive after Scott destroyed him in Alaska. Master Mold just points out that, as a Sentinel, his body isn’t him. We also get Conscience’s back story. He’s a Sentinel, created by Master Mold with his own brain engrams, which are also Stephen Lang’s engrams. Scott passes out, and his visor falls off, but his beams aren’t firing. We get a quick cut to the Campbell home, where their son has now taken ill, then back to Master Mold’s ship, for more monologuing from Conscience about protecting humanity. He does raise one interesting idea. He says that, because mutants rely on their powers, they lack creativity, and that they’ll stagnate. It’s an interesting argument. It’s also not a very convincing one. There are different levels of power, different uses for given powers, and powers don’t define who mutants are. Colossus is strong, but he’s also a talented painter. Kitty’s a genius at computers. Beast is a brilliant scientist who contributes to human knowledge. There’s no reason they can’t still struggle and add to culture.

Anyway, turns out the Retribution Virus is now starting to infect humans. The Virus has mutated. Conscience isn’t happy, but Callisto takes a certain satisfaction that at least the mutants he wanted to kill will get revenge. Conscience tells Master Mold they have to abandon the plan, but Master Mold still intends to release the spores. All mutants will die, and 92.4% of humans will die, and Master Mold figures this is acceptable, while Conscience doesn’t.

This chapter’s good. We get more insight into Conscience, and through him, into Lang. Conscience is Lang’s more human side, the side that deals with emotions and philosophy. Master Mold is the pure logic side, focused only on achieving its goal. I still dislike how Harras writes Conscience, though. He’s not nearly as charming or charismatic as Harras thinks. He feels like a cheap Joker knock-off. I keep rolling my eyes at the dialogue. It’s just so cheesy. It’s very ’90s, even if the ’90s hadn’t started yet. The art is solid. Lim’s always been excellent. He doesn’t get much to do here, unfortunately.

And Part 6, with inks now by Jeff Albrecht, “Alliance of Convenience.”

Alliance of Convenience

Why can’t Cyclops get a good cover?

Master Mold refuses to listen to Conscience’s pleas to stop the plan, so Conscience decides he needs help. So he goes to Scott, Moira and Callisto. Moira demands to be taken to the lab so she can find a cure, while the others go for the spore chamber. Master Mold finds them, blasts Conscience, and grabs Scott.

Brief as that synopsis is, it’s a good chapter. Conscience’s struggle with his own conscience is pretty interesting, stupid dialogue notwithstanding. Scott, sick as he is, still gets to show off his tactical mind by quickly grasping why Conscience wants the team-up with them. I like Moira standing up to Conscience in demanding an opportunity to cure the virus, while he just wants to contain it. She’s very stubborn. She’s Scottish, after all. And then she gives Scott a nice reminder of Xavier’s lesson that everyone is worth any risk. A really nice moment between them there. And, again, really good art.

But wait! There’s more! This issue also features another story. By Sue Flaxman, Rodney Ramos, Jose Marzan, Jr., John Wilcox and Ken Lopez, “Suffer A Wolf To Live.”

Rahne and Dani are on Muir Isle, during summer vacation, having climbed up a tall hill in order to watch the sunset. They spot a wolf, and Rahne chases after it into the woods, against Dani’s warnings about the woods not being safe. She gets lost in the woods, surrounded by a heavy mist, wandering around for a way out, until another girl finds her, who was the wolf she followed. Turns out Rahne’s found Avalon, and she’s told it’s her new home. She spends a few days becoming a part of the community, hunting and dancing, but she also thinks of home a lot. Dani goes looking for her, and Rahne thinks of her and decides to leave. The others try to stop her, and explain they need her to make babies. Rahne politely declines, by running away, and gets back to Dani.

As is usual with these MCP stories, a little more space to breathe would have done wonders for it. It’s still pretty decent. There’s an interesting story here. We get some good character moments from Rahne. But it’s all so compressed that it’s hard to get an emotional connection to it. I wonder if maybe the MCP format would have worked better with three stories, rather than 4. Two 8-page stories, each parts of ongoing stories, and a 16-page stand-alone. Because a lot of these done-in-ones, this one included, would have worked much better with 16 pages, giving more room to breathe, more room for emotional context. As it is, we don’t get much on the bond between Rahne and Dani, we don’t get that much insight into the Tuatha De Danan, we don’t get much of Rahne feeling torn between Dani and the Danan. The art’s pretty nice. Ramos isn’t someone I’m familiar with. But his style’s nice. Soft and pleasant.

X-Men comics of May 10 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Well this took forever to do.

X-Men Blue #3, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Ray-Anthony Height, Matt Milla and Joe Caramagna. In Barcelona, the X-Men are getting their asses kicked by Sentinels who don’t want to fight. The Sentinels declare themselves fellow mutants, and a young woman named Belen, whose mutant power caused some destruction when it emerged, explains the Sentinels were helping her. The Sentinels then capture the X-Men to prove they mean the X-Men no harm. They’re brought to meet their master, Bastion. Yep, the ’90s dude, who’s a merger of Nimrod and Master Mold. Fun fact: Nimrod, at the time they merged, had been evolving beyond his core programming, and had become sentient, and was even moving away from hating mutants. I always considered it a shame that wasn’t allowed to be further explored. Anyway, Bastion explains that, the last time he was seen, he was nearly destroyed by Hope, but he shunted into the future at the last second, and saw that the mutant race was dying of Terrigen poisoning. Now, even with the cloud gone, mutant numbers are low, making them an endangered species. He wants to save mutants. Guess why! So, yeah, Bastion. Meh. I kinda liked him at the time, but he’s not exactly a great villain. Bunn does try to do something interesting by exploring the idea that a robot will try to maintain its utility function by creating the very problems it’s programmed to solve. That is more interesting than a killer robot trying to kill, but just the same, I’m pretty meh on Bastion, and I’m meh on over-reliance on older characters. This is definitely better than Gold, of course. Vastly superior. Better plotting, more creative ideas, better characertization. In every single way, the writing is so much better in Blue than in Gold. Blue has better art, too. Molina’s great. Cartoonish, but not so much that it would turn off most readers. Enough to be expressive. Oh, I should note that this issue ends on a really nice Jean/Scott moment, where he talks to her as a friend, and I really like that. I like Jean and Scott as friends. As exes who still deeply care for each other, but in a more platonic way. That’s a good way to go with them, and Bunn writing them that way here was appreciated.

Weapon X #3, by Greg Pak, Greg Land, Ibraim Roberson, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata and Joe Caramagna. Logan and Sabretooth are in a coffee shop, waiting for the cyborgs. When they spot them, Sabretooth buys a big-ass gun, and Logan breaks into the car rental place to track the car’s GPS. Meanwhile, in Baja California, Domino’s boating and looking for sunken treasure. The cyborgs show up, and the fight’s pretty fun. I wish it was more implausible, because I enjoy when Domino’s fights include bits that are absolutely ridiculous, but which you accept because of her power. This issue’s pretty straightforward. Pak’s handle on Domino isn’t quite as deep and interesting as his take on Warpath, but that’s not a big deal. Domino’s generally a more straightforward character. She likes money, she enjoys a good fight, she has a penchant for snark. She can be deeper than that, but it’s not at all disappointing when she’s that surface level. The fight itself is a lot of fun. It’s drawn by Roberson, and he does a good job. It feels a little more kinetic than Land’s fights always do, and Roberson is good at giving characters actual facial expressions, including nuanced ones. Land . . . yeah, he’s still Land. I actually want to show you something. The first image is on the bottom of one page, the second is at the top of the very next page.

Weapon X #3

Roberson.

Weapon X #3

LAAAAAND!

The sharp delineation between the two artists is incredibly jarring. And it makes clear how much less interesting Land’s style is. Especially since I’m pretty sure I could find other comics where Land has used literally that exact same face, right down to the exact same expression. Because Land has made a career out of constantly swiping himself. (And, of course, if you remove the colour, you could probably find whatever photo he traced.) Roberson is just so much more interesting and dynamic an artist than Land, and I wish he was the only artist, and Land wasn’t involved at all. That said, in terms of the story, this series has been getting better with each issue. Pak is doing a fine job, telling a fine story, and some of the art is great.

All-New Wolverine #20, by Tom Taylor, Leonard Kirk, Cory Hamscher, Marc Deering, Terry Pallot, Michael Garland, Chris Sotomayor and Cory Petit. After a quick historical lesson about Roosevelt Island once being used to contain the sick, mad and criminal from the rest of the city, and how it’s once again being used to contain sick people, we then get a page of various super-geniuses analyzing the plague the alien girl brought. Bobbi Morse is among those consulted! Yay! So is Nadia. Laura feels responsible for the dead alien girl, especially since the virus has been labelled the Laura Kinney Virus. Some of Stark’s drones monitoring the island start going out, so Laura heads off to investigate and feel like she’s doing something useful. Turns out, it’s Gabby, trying to sneak onto the island so she can help Laura. Because Gabby is the single most stubborn person on the planet. Back at the hospital, someone’s stealing the alien inside an ambulance, so chase scene. The thieves are an interesting reveal. So, this is a great issue. Which generally goes without saying, with this series. I really like how much this arc is connected to the Marvel Universe. Wolverine’s comics always worked best when they alternated between their own mythos and the wider universe. The characters used as experts are interesting choices. Bobbi! I love when writers remember that she’s a brilliant biologist! Gabby is, as always, her delightful self. The guest villain is a lot of fun. The art . . . that’s not as good. For the most part, Kirk does a good job. But there are bad panels. There are times where faces just look wrong. In one panel, Laura looks like an old woman, wrinkles and all. The art is just very uneven throughout the issue. Kirk can do better than this. He did a sub-par job here. Also, he doesn’t really make Laura and Gabby look similar enough. Normally, distinctive appearances are an odd complaint, but Gabby is a clone of Laura, so the two are supposed to look very similar, but they have pretty different facial structures here, as this context-less final panel demonstrates:

All-New Wolverine #20

I like this line.

Laura’s face is longe, Gabby’s is rounder, and while I’m normally entirely supportive of that kind of distinctiveness, it’s a bit bothersome when one is a clone of the other. Taylor’s still doing great work, and of course Garland’s colours are still solid, but Kirk is letting the book down right now. I still love it, though.

Old Man Logan #23, by Jeff Lemire, Eric Nguyen, Andres Mossa and Cory Petit. Asmodeus is meeting with some bad guys, auctioning off Logan’s services, since Logan’s consciousness isn’t in his body. There’s some AIM guys there; presumably, a branch that chose not to join Roberto’s restructuring. Logan, meanwhile, is in Madripoor. He wonders to himself why he ever thought an eyepatch would be a good disguise. Good question, Logan! It was always the silliest part of the Wolverine solo, even if it was kinda charming. And I always like seeing characters poke fun at it. Anyway, he tears up some Yakuza, then decides to put the eyepatch back on because he always liked it. Fair! You do you, Logan. Then he grabs the amulet again and winds up in the ’90s, during a softball game, and asks the X-Men to help him in the future. Again, it’s a fun issue. Again, there’s no real point to it, other than to remind readers that the Patch disguise was a thing. It’s a well-written, well-drawn waste of time. Next issue is the conclusion of the arc, and it’ll be where the emotional weight of the arc is. But I can’t help but feel like this arc could’ve cut basically the entirety of the last couple issues and just skipped straight to the next one, and that it would have been better for it. We didn’t need the tour of his past. It comes across as filler, or as self-indulgence, with Lemire just wanting to hit on all those points in his life, regardless of whether it actually worked for the story. But there is still the final issue, maybe I’ll change my mind.

That’s the X-titles, here’s the rest of my list.

Ms. Marvel #18, by G. Willow Wilson, Francesco Gaston, Ian Herring and Joe Caramagna. Bruno issue! He’s daydreaming about Ms. Marvel – and she’s wearing her costume, so it is her he’s fantasizing about, not Kamala, which would make for some pretty interesting psycho-analyzing – and gets rebuked by the teacher. He’s feeling stupid and useless in the Wakandan school. He’s used to being the smartest guy in class, but now, he’s in a class full of geniuses. And his busted arm means he’s having to learn to write with his non-dominant hand. Another student asks for his help impressing a girl. The guy, Kwezi, wants to steal some Vibranium. Over the course of the heist, Kwezi gets Bruno to believe in himself, less through motivational speeches, more by just not caring about Bruno being disabled. The heist, as all heists do, runs into some snags, but it obviously leads to some uplifting moments, because this is Ms. Marvel. This is a good issue. I like Bruno, so it’s nice to see an issue from his perspective, showing him coping with the injuries he sustained during the CWII arc. His struggles feel pretty authentic. Gaston’s art is really pretty. It’s very soft and pleasing to look at. Also nicely detailed. I would be totally OK with him coming back to do more issues of this book. Maybe spotlight issues for other members of the supporting cast? I would absolutely love a Nakia issue.

Silver Surfer #11, by Dan Slott, Michael and Laura Allred and Joe Sabino. On Earth, at the Greenwood Inn, the place is swamped with tourists. Eve, who’s 9 months pregnant, is chipping in to help out, until her water breaks. In space, Dawn suddenly thinks of Eve, and realizes her baby’s due soon, and that she and the Surfer need to return to Earth. Unfortunately, they’re a bit busy protecting a Space Bee Queen’s honey reserves from an attack by Bearbarians, and yes, bearbarians. They don’t look like barbarians. They’re just bears in jumpsuits, firing guns. But bearbarians.  After the battle, they start heading back to Earth, but get attacked by Warrior Zero, demanding a duel, and not taking no for an answer. Mostly, the issue’s fun. Dawn’s impatient to get home in time for her niece’s birth, Warrior Zero is amusingly persistent, and the Surfer’s attempts to evade a battle are a lot of fun. So the whole thing is a lot of fun . . . until a huge whammy on the very last page, which also makes some perfect use of black space. (The baby’s fine. Slott didn’t kill a baby. Just, you know, thought it was important to make that clear.) Speaking of the art, though, the Allreds, man. So good. I’m disappointed at how simple the design for the bearbarians is, but other than that quibble, the art is fantastic. And can I actually highlight Laura Allred’s colours? Because I think she deserves praise. Her colours are so bright and they really make the art pop. She makes a lot of great choices. She’s amazing. Everything about this series is amazing.

Black Panther & the Crew #2, by Yona Harvey, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Butch Guice, Mack Chater, Scott Hanna, Dan Brown and Joe Sabino. This issue marks the first time Storm has been written by a black woman, and that’s pretty damn notable, and it’s a shame it took this long, and it’s a shame Marvel doesn’t have more black women writing ongoings. But, the issue! It starts in 1955, in Indonesia, with Ezra Keith at an Asian-African Conference. He meets a guy offering power. The guy, Asim, has a folder about Metahumans. The ones we see are Captain America, Namor, Red Guardian, and Black Widow. Which is cool. A reminder that she’s older than she looks. It’s not something that comes up often, but yeah, she’s basically unaging. The art on the photo makes her look older than she would have been at this point, though. She would’ve been early 20s – 25 at the oldest – but she looks to be close to 30. Asim then mentions Wakanda. In the present, Storm and Misty are in Little Mogadishu, in Brooklyn, with Storm narrating about loss and the mutant life. They bust into a gang house, and Misty decides to let Storm show off a bit. They ask about a guy they’re looking for, and are told to ask Luke Cage. As they head up to talk to him, Storm talks about Ezra, recalling a time during the Outback Era. Apparently, she’d routinely pop into Harlem, getting to know her father’s city. Man, that’s an awesome detail to retcon in. I am 100% behind it. Logan was always going to Madripoor, Dazzler did gigs, so the idea that Storm also led a double life? Yeah, I can get behind that. Her story about living in Harlem is really good. It’s really cool stuff. I don’t know if Harvey’s been to Harlem, but she writes about it passionately here. She does a great job conveying what Harlem means to Storm, what it means to her to be among her people. Harvey’s Ororo is black, in a way she isn’t always. Ororo’s connection to Harlem has seldom been explored much, so to see it given so much focus here is really nice to see. Harvey does such a great job with the issue. You’ll note that I’m not giving Coates credit: That’s because, to my understanding, he didn’t write the issue. He’s co-writer, but I’m pretty sure he just co-plotted this issue, while the bulk of the writing was by Harvey. And she proves herself great at dialogue and characterization. I’ve noted, quite a few times, my concerns with non-comic writers being given jobs at Marvel. I want Harvey to keep writing comics, because she does a brilliant job here. The art is fantastic, too. Again, Harlem feels alive. There’s also a nice subtlety to expressions and body language. This series is shaping up to be spectacular. I’m giving it a very strong recommendation.

America #3, by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, Stacey Lee, Joe Rivera, Jose Villarrubia, Jordan Gibson and Travis Lanham. America’s flown off to find the Maltixans who’ve captured Lisa, but she doesn’t want to hurt them, since they’re just kids looking for someone to connect to. And she thinks back to her own experiences, finding communities of people who looked like her, that she could blend into. But she was always ultimately an outsider everywhere she went, until Lisa. She tries to punch to Maltixa, but instead, ends up in the middle of a fight between the X-Men and Juggernaut. Including Punk Storm! The best of all Storms! She takes America to her attic, where he art switches to Stacey Lee, and maaaaaaaaaan, I frigging love Stacey Lee’s art. She is amazing. Anyway, Storm tells America to listen for Lisa. America can’t concentrate by sitting still, she can only concentrate by fighting, and I’m preeetty sure we get an insight into her relationship with Yukio.

America #3

We all know why she has a safeword.

America even says she’s going to get the story behind that. I know there’s no way Marvel would actually let a writer confirm that Storm engaged in BDSM with Yukio, but . . . yeah, it definitely happened. So, this issue. I’ve been a bit disappointed with the book. I thought the first two issues had major pacing problems, and I wasn’t sold on Rivera’s take on America. I’m still not really on board with her take on America, but the plotting here is better (or maybe it just feels better because we got to see Stacey Lee draw Punk Storm). I enjoyed this issue a lot more, on the whole. Hopefully, this is a sign that Rivera’s growing into the medium. The next couple issues will be key, I think. If the book keeps up the quality in this issue, then I’ll be a lot more confident. Because I did really enjoy this. I thought it was a lot better. As I said, though, a big part of that might just have been Stacey Lee.  I frigging love Lee’s art. It is so pretty. And she does motion really well. And it’s pretty. Quinones’ art still isn’t a style I enjoy, but I minded it less here, too. I think I’m getting more accustomed to it. Plus, he drew America as a kid, and she was adorable, and that gets bonus points. As far as the writing goes, Rivera does do a nice job digging into America’s past, while hinting at how much potential power she has. So, yeah, there’s some really good work here.

Avengers #7, by Mark Waid, Jeremy Whitley, Phil Noto, Mike Del Mundo with Marco D’Alfonso, and Cory Petit. The Avengers are fighting some monster, with Nadia also getting in a sick burn on Spider-Man. Doom shows up to banish it, and Nadia completely geeks out, and is pretty adorable about it. He needs their help dealing with a magical problem in a place where he dares not go: A girls’ leadership camp. Nadia goes in to investigate. I gotta say, Doom and Nadia? Amazing. Her fan-girling is adorable, and it gets even better when she starts to actually relate to him on a personal level. It makes for such a fun issue. Also, a girls’ leadership camp where some of the girls decide demon-summoning and human sacrifice are what it takes to get ahead? Yep, that’s awesome. Oh, also! ALSO!

Avengers #7

Omigosh, yes.

Oh man. That is THE BEST. You gotta light marshmallows in fire. Don’t just keep them above the flame so they brown. Stick them in so they burn. Then blow them out and they are the most perfect thing ever. I miss roasting marshmallows in the fireplace. But, uh, yeah, the story’s wonderful. I’m not as big a fan of Noto’s art. It actually feels a bit too heavy and serious for the story. Also, I find his faces tend to be weirdly flat and emotionless, a lot of the time. The man is a fantastic artist, but I don’t like his style. I’m also not sure that Del Mundo’s colours are the best complement to the lines. I’m not very good at judging that sort of thing, I’ll admit, but I think the lines and colours clashed a little bit. Regardless, this is such a good, fun, cute issue. Waid’s been killing it on this book, and Whitley’s co-writing in this issue makes it even more fun, and this series is very definitely worth picking up.

Side note: I don’t read Renew Your Vows. But I guess they just finished a two-issue arc with the X-Men. Where Jean had a child with Logan, and Jubilee was a bad guy. Soooo . . . I’m feeling pretty good about not reading it, honestly, because to hell with both those things. My least-favourite ship in fiction, and a character I love being randomly awful. Miles and miles of nope. On the flip side, Rocket #1 has Tech-Net and that’s awesome. Tech-Net is wonderful.

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