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X-Men comics of January 16 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Yesterday, I had an initial consultation for counseling. It took about 15 minutes. It was very weird and awkward and uncomfortable. I am just not good at talking about my feelings and stuff. So it’s really hard for me. Still, it’ll hopefully be good for me. I have a full appointment on February 7. The day after my birthday, coincidentally. So yeah, hopefully, this’ll be good for me. Oh, I also finished Runaways season 2. Vaughn is my favourite character. I love him. But for now, comics.

Uncanny X-Men #10, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, Pere Perez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. More fighting. Cannonball almost dies, which pisses Paige off. Yay for Paige getting lines. Jean gets most of the telepaths to focus on X-Man/Legion, while Psylocke tries to stop Storm, who’s kicking more ass than all the other Horsemen combined. As a side note, I firmly believe that Ororo and Betsy have a friends-with-benefits thing. Anyway, Ororo’s freed, and is not in a great mood.

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She’ll separate them with her bare hands, at this point.

I swear, no one is more dramatic than Storm. Dr. Doom could take lessons from her.

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Even a god can have an “oh shit” moment.

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Divine justice.

Damn, Storm is awesome. When can we get this Storm on the big screen? “Over-the-top” is basically her starting point, and she only goes up from there, and it’s glorious. This lets the telepaths split them, and Jean and Nate have another heart-to-heart. It doesn’t go well. And OH MY FUCKING GOD the last page says laws are passed to prevent mutant children, holy shit, HOLY FUCKING SHIT, X-office, again? FUCKING AGAIN?! Christ, can you people literally think of no story other than “attempted mutant genocide?” Is that really the only story you can think to tell about mutants? For fuck’s sake, DO. BETTER. I am so tired of this plot. So, so, so goddamn tired. We can’t get away from it. It’s just this constant, never-ending drumbeat of attempts to wipe out mutants, and I am tired of it. We’ve read this story. So many times. And yet, the X-office just refuses to stop going back to that same tired-ass well. And, as usual, there’s absolutely no counter-point presented here. Last issue had mention of pro-mutant protesters, but nothing about that here. We’ll see if Rosenberg bothers to acknowledge the existence of humans who don’t want every single mutant on the planet to be murdered, now that he’s going to be the sole writer going forward. Can’t say I’m optimistic, because the X-office has given me absolutely zero reason to be. Ugh. That aside, this issue was OK. Lots of spectacle, really fun if you just turn your brain off. The Jean/Nate scene was good, though again, it leaves me wondering exactly what the theme of this story is supposed to be, or if there even is one. Nate talks a lot about how he needs to use his power to do something before he dies, to do something good, but he’s the antagonist of the event, so . . . it’s wrong to want to use your power to do good? Is it a message against using your power to force people to adopt your idea of what is good? That’s all I can think. Another weird thing: When Betsy freed Warren from Nate’s control, Warren was pissed at her, ranting about how he lost the only peace he’s known and blah blah. This issue, everyone else freed from Nate’s control is simply angry at having been under his control in the first place. Sooo . . . why was Warren’s reaction so different? Like I said, thinking about this story will just keep exposing more and more problems with it. The art is stellar, though, which makes for some good entertainment if you just look at the pretty pictures. As I said about the last issue: Style over substance, spectacle over storytelling.

Return of Loganverine #4, by Charles Soule, Declan Shalvey, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino. Logan wakes up in a hospital, having apparently passed out after fighting off the X-Men. It also turns out his hotclaws draw energy from his ability to heal. The hotclaws are still stupid, and kinda keep getting dumber. Also, Ana’s been reunited with her son. Logan’s a little suspicious. And then Ana gets really nihilistic.

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“Ma’am, this is McDonald’s.” Haha, memes!

That’s pretty cynical. Not wrong, but cynical. Then she shoots her son. And says he’s not really her son, and that his name isn’t even Perren, it’s just a name she likes. Fair enough. Then a Soteiro dude shoots Logan with a big-ass spike that opens into shackles clinging to the wall. And it turns out Ana is Persephone, with the mutant ability to bring the dead back to life. Everyone on the island is dead, kept alive through her power. Persephone thinks death is pretty great. I kinda dig Persephone. She’s cool. This series? Meh. So meh. Logan is boring in it. The whole thing with the cages in Logan’s head has been wasted in this series. It set up this somewhat-interesting idea of Logan spending the series interacting with old versions of himself, maybe each one filling in a few more of the blanks of his past, and then . . . nope. Not even a little. Makes me wonder why they even bothered with the idea, if they weren’t going to make real use of it. This is a rather lackluster return for Logan, frankly. His death was a great story, really well-told with real emotional weight to it. This? This is bland and largely forgettable.

Marvel Comics Presents #1, I’ll only talk about the Logan story, by Charles Soule, Paulo Siqueira, Oren Junior, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. It’s WW2, and a French sorceress is being forced by some Nazis to summon a demon. A squadron of Canadian soldiers try to rescue her, but she gets distracted and the demon is let loose. Logan fights it while Marie, the sorceress, works a spell to banish it. But it’s only temporary, and it’ll return after a decade. This story is OK. It suffers from the same problem that a lot of the old MCP stories did – being split into 8-page installments makes them feel a little more disjointed. It makes for an odd reading experience, a little too quick. And even reading it completed tends to be odd with these stories, as they’re kinda designed with these 8-page sections in mind. Still, it’s not bad. It’s not the most original plot, it’s a pretty standard demon-summoning story, but it’s off to a reasonably good start.

And the non-X-stuff.

Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter #1, by Kelly Thompson, Mattia De Iulis, and Cory Petit. Jessica nearly drowns Kara Killgrave, the Purple Girl. Yay for her! I’ve missed her, she’s great. She and Jessica get along pretty well. They bond a little over hating the Purple Man. Also, the Purple Children show up, from . . . I wanna say the Waid/Samnee Daredevil run? Might have been a different run, I don’t know, I’m too lazy to look. Anyway, this is really good. Jessica is investigating why her daughter turned purple, and it’s really emotionally intense, though still lots of funny bits. It’s a great comic.

Ironheart #2, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. We find out about a girl from Riri’s past, who looked out for her in high school (when Riri was, like, 8), who’s gone missing. And also, Riri still has PTSD from the drive-by that killed her step-dad and friend. It’s another good issue. Intriguing stuff being set up, some more exploration of Riri’s backstory and what made her the person she is, and the PTSD is a nice touch. I’m really enjoying this.

Black Widow #1, by Jen and Sylvia Soska, Flaviano, Veronica Gandini, and Joe Caramagna. The Soska Sisters are horror filmmakers, which I’m not really into. They’re also Canadian, which I am into. And according to the solicits for this series, Tyger Tiger’s going to be a big part of the first arc, which I am totally into. So I decided to give this book a try. It’s good. The first half has her team up with Captain America to save New Year’s Eve (and there’s a lot of stuff about people still distrusting Cap over Secret Empire), the second half has her head to Madripoor. She puts on an eyepatch, which is amazing. I mean, she rocks it, but you know she’s just screwing with Logan. She’s trolling, she has to be. Anyway, this series looks like it’s going to be dark and messed-up and awesome. I get the impression they want to really delve into how depraved Madripoor is in a way that Logan’s own comics never could. Look, I’ll be up-front: her targets are child molesters. So, yeah, THIS SHIT IS DARK. And it’s off to a great start.

Black Panther #8, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kev Walker, Stephane Paitreau, and Joe Sabino. T’Challa is not good at following orders, but he is pretty good at being an inspiration.


X-Men comics of January 9 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So I have a counseling consultation on Tuesday. I’m pretty nervous about it. I don’t like talking about myself, and my feelings. But I’ve lived with depression all my life, it’s time I tried to do something about it. Speaking of depressing things, there’s a new Captain Marvel trailer, and it has “Connection” by Elastica, which is an awesome song. And one that was originally released in 1994. It’s been 25 years since that song came out. I am so goddamn old. But hey, here’s comics.

Uncanny X-Men #9, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, Yildiray Cinar, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. X-Man has taken over Legion, and everyone’s a little concerned, especially since Nate’s kinda pissed. He grabs Madrox and starts punching him to try to create dupes, but it turns out it’s not Madrox-Prime. The main Madrox slipped away and is off drinking in a bar. So instead, X-Man turns Storm into his newest Horseman and sets the Horsemen to fight the X-Men, while he rants about how they’re the reason things can’t get better for mutants. The fight is going poorly, so Jean sends out a telepathic distress call to all the X-Men, which includes ones she never personally met, like Tempus and Goldballs.

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I see Maggott!

I also notice Frenzy working on a car. Cool. Her being into cars is a pretty cool little detail to add. Kylun’s in there, too, that weird-ass dude. Nice. Shame that Monet’s hair seems back to normal, I kinda dug the asymmetrical thing she had going on in Weapon X, would’ve been cool to see her continue it a little longer. Pixie can’t teleport them, though, so Armour comes up with the most insane plan ever to distract him.

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This idea proves she deserves to be on the main team.

Meanwhile, Beast yells at Anole for being stupid enough to give away the mutant vaccine Beast had been working on, telling him the government will use it as a weapon against mutants. Anole should not have been this stupid. He’s smarter than that. Also, Kitty saves that bigoted Senator from Apocalypse. And X-Man makes a very compelling argument that the fears the X-Men have always had about himself and Legion are the same fears humans have about mutants in general, which is a really good point. And it would’ve made for an interesting story, if that had been the story from the start. If this had been, from the start, a story about generational conflict. But until now, it never felt like that was the theme of this event. So, here’s a controversial statement: Bendis wrote event comics better than almost anyone else at Marvel. Because he made sure the themes were presented early and remained clear throughout. CWII, for all the online hate it got, was very clear in being a story about preventative justice. It had its problems, yes, but it also kept that theme at the forefront of the whole story. This event’s felt all over the place, with a lot of shit that felt like useless padding. Beyond that, trying to present the story now as a generational conflict comes with some fairly negative implications. Consider: Nate and David, the “grandchildren of the atom,” the younger generation, are mentally unhealthy to the point of being legitimate threats. Nate, who would be representing the youth in this story, is causing massive upheavals that will kill untold numbers of people in the name of a better world. He’s taken over people’s minds, he literally eliminated religious sites. He’s an extremist. And, if this story really is intended to have generational conflict as a theme, then the very clear conclusion to be drawn is that the youth are wrong. Further, that drastic action to improve the world is bad, and that the correct approach is the centrist approach of the X-Men. We must also consider how the New X-Men tie into the theme, of course. And that is: They whine about not being respected, debate among themselves whether they even deserve that respect, and then embrace the proven-ineffective centrist approach of the older generation. If the theme of this event is about generational conflict, then it’s handling that theme in the way that is most critical of younger generations. So, yeah, I have problems with it! As an action piece, it’s all very exciting. That spread of Jean calling X-Men around the world is cool, there’s some other really cool moments. The art is excellent, sells the action really well, it’s very good. But the overall story has, I think, officially lost me. I’m now only in this for the spectacle.

X-23 #8, by Mariko Tamaki, Diego Olortegui, Walden Wong, Chris O’Halloran, and Cory Petit. Laura and Gabby are under fire and call Beast to evac them and the woman they captured last issue. Gabby kicks some ass to clear a path.

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Very effectively.

And they head back to the school, where Beast confirms the girl is a clone, but with no healing factor. An X-23 cyberclone. Created by Dr. Chandler, the guy who created Laura’s trigger scent, and her clones. He’s back on his bullshit. As I said about the last issue, I have concerns with the book going back to this well again. One of the things I liked about Taylor’s run was the way it kept Laura moving forward, past clone angst, past “killing machine” angst. This series is going back there, and it’s a little disappointing. I like Tamaki, she’s a good writer, and she’s doing good work here. Laura thinks about how the fact that she and Gabby got past “living weapon” status didn’t provide her much comfort, because she knew someone would keep trying until they got their perfect killing machine, and she worried about the ones who wouldn’t be able to break free of it. That’s good stuff. There’s also continued tension between Laura and Gabby about what to do about the clone, with Laura repeatedly calling her an “it.” Again, it creates some good drama, and I do really like the way Tamaki is adding tension to their relationship. They still make a few jokes with each other, but they don’t have the perfect relationship they had under Taylor. And I really like what’s being done on that front. So I’m still enjoying this comic, even if I have a problem with the exact story being told.

Domino #10, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Michael Shelfer, Alberto Alurquerque, Anthony Piper, Victor Olazaba, Ed Tadeo, Carlos Lopez, and Clayton Cowles. Domino jumps off a building to catch Longshot and save him. She then prepares to defend him against Atlas Bear, but Outlaw steps in to knock Atlas Bear out. Once she wakes up, the team goes to the Mojoverse to try to save Longshot, who’s sick. While there, Atlas Bear has a change of heart and fights to save him. Also, Diamondback is delightful. She tricks a slaver and blows him up. With this being the final issue of this series, there’s lots of Domino narrating about herself and her friends. Example:

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It is a pretty great grin.

So yeah, Simone and her art team end things with a love letter to Domino and her friends. Obviously, it’s being relaunched as Hotshots, but still, this particular series is over, and it goes out with a bang. Lots of great art, exciting action, some great humour (and occasional terrible humour). I really liked all the art. There was a nice variety, and it all looked really good. This series was really good, it’s sad to see it end, though I’m also looking forward to Hotshots. I wonder if the second issue of that will be called “Hotshots: Part Deux.” If it’s not, I’m sure I’ll remember to make that ancient reference at that point. By the way, no bonus points if you get the reference, it just means you’re an old, like me, drawing ever nearer to your inevitable end.

Iceman #5, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Andres Mossa, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. It opens with a flashback to Bobby with Judah, and it’s a really sweet moment.

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That does seem to sum up how Iceman’s usually handled.

And then to the present, where it’s revealed – to the shock of no one – that the totally silent Iceman who melted last issue was just a golem, and the real Iceman has sneaked into Sinister’s lair. It was pretty obvious that it was a golem, I thought. At the Mutant Pride Parade, some of Sinister’s goons are about to start killing people, but the Morlocks stop them. Emma and Christian are there, and Christian wants to help stop the bad guys. He’s a good dude. And Emma is still That Bitch and I love her for it. Anyway, back to Iceman, who says Sinister is lonely. And also levels up with his powers, and kicks Sinister’s ass. Good conclusion to the mini. Iceman gets to show how powerful he is, makes a lot of bad jokes, and shows some of his heart. The flashback with Jonah, while sweet, really didn’t contribute much, unfortunately. I did like seeing Emma and Christian return for this finale. Still not a fan of Stockman’s art, but that’s just a matter of taste. He does good work, the action flows well and characters are expressive. He’s a good visual storyteller, which is the most important thing. It’s just a style I don’t like. As a whole, this series was good, but not great, and suffered, I think, from trying to do too much. It felt like there were a few different stories Grace wanted to tell, but since he only had the 5 issues, he smooshed them together. It still mostly worked, but some elements didn’t work as well as they would have, had Grace the space he needed. The Mutant Pride Rally stands out for that. Still, I’m glad he did include the rally, because it’s the kind of thing the X-Men franchise needs way more of in general.

And the non-X-stuff:

Captain Marvel #1, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles. Kelly Thompson on Captain Marvel! All-female creative team, too, which is good to see, I’ve been saying for a few years that this is a series that should be used to spotlight top-notch female creators. Anyway, in this issue, Carol gets swallowed by a kraken, and all she gets is a lousy t-shirt. Also, she and Tony bicker so well. And Hazmat! Yay! We knew she was going to be in the comic, but I didn’t expect her to get such a great introduction:

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I’ve missed Hazmat a lot.

Anyway, it’s a great comic. Thompson and Carnero come out strong. The dialogue’s snappy, the action’s smooth, there’s a lot to love. Plus, Hazmat! I love Hazmat!

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #40, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Skrull mutant. The X-Men actually did that in ’99-2000. It didn’t really go anywhere. Anyway, G’illian’s story is very sad, but at least we get a bunch of squirrel names. Anyway, it’s a really good issue, very funny, but also very sweet. As usual.

Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4, by Seanan McGuire, Rosi Kampe, Takeshi Miyazawa, Ian Herring, and Clayton Cowles. This issue’s Spider-Geddon aftermath, and I didn’t actually read Spider-Geddon (I’ll read it on Unlimited at some point, I’m sure), so I probably shouldn’t have started with this issue. Oh well, it’s still a really good story about grieving.

X-Men comics of January 2 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Happy New Year, it’s already claimed Bob Einestein (Super Dave Osborn) and Mene Gene Okerlund. So it’s not off to the most promising start. 2018 wasn’t a bad year for me, personally. I’m still working at a call centre, but it’s a better one than the one I was at, and I moved to Ottawa, getting out of the shithole town I was in, and now I get to hang out with my friend regularly. My plan for 2019 is to prepare for 2020. I’m hoping to start therapy – I have a consultation in two weeks – so I can address some of my personal bullshit, and get to a place where I can start living a better, happier life in 2020. Here’s hoping. But for now, comics.

Uncanny X-Men #8, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. While Armour pounds the crap out of X-Man, the X-Men fight X-Man’s Horsemen. Kitty comes out of X-Man’s house with the Senator and Apocalypse. Back at the school, there’s a report on protests outside, and finally – FUCKING FINALLY! – we see people WHO DON’T HATE MUTANTS! There are still anti-mutant protesters, but there are also people with “Mutant Rights” signs. This should not be as much a relief to see as it actually is, but there you go, that’s what the X-office has accomplished over the past decade or so, even the slightest indication that there are humans who don’t want to personally execute mutants is a relief to see. And it only took this series until issue 8 to do it. It also turns out that Anole stole the mutant vaccine from Beast’s lab. Ugh, Anole should be past that shit already. Back at the big fight, Jean and Psylocke are getting ready to send Bishop into Legion’s head to get the kids out, but Kitty says that with Legion and X-Man contained, they have the time to figure out the proper way of dealing with the situation, and that as X-Men, the kids would understand. Which makes Kitty the first person in this series to treat the kids with the respect they deserve. She trusts them, she knows they can handle whatever they have to deal with, which is a level of respect that literally no one else has shown them in this entire series so far.

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Hell yeah they are.

And then Apocalypse tries to kill the comatose Legion. Also, Psylocke stabs Bishop through the brain with a sword. It’s in order to get him into Legion’s head and the Age of Apocalypse. There, Armour is still pissy, complaining that the X-Men have a history of failing to take care of their own. She cites Magik, Kitty, Havok, and Rogue. And she does have a point. It wasn’t the X-Men who saved Kitty from a space bullet, it was Magneto. The X-Men didn’t save Illyana, she had to save herself. The X-Men failed to help Rogue control her powers. And they didn’t seem to make much effort to find Havok to un-invert him, until his actions threatened the world, and then they completely turned their backs on him. Also, when Bishop tells Armour there’s better options than murder, she reminds him of Hope, and damn, that’s a burn. Anyway, things go from bad to worse, as they do. Aside from this panel:

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A fair reaction.

Anyway, this issue is another improvement. It actually addresses two of my biggest complaints: The lack of humans who support mutant rights, and the fact that no one puts any real trust in the New X-Men. Nice to see both of those things change a bit. Beyond that, there’s a fairly interesting discussion on what to do about Legion and X-Man, and Bishop gets some great character stuff here, still haunted by his own memories of the Age of Apocalypse. He’s handled well here. I also like Kitty, here. Wanting to put off saving the kids while they try to figure out a good solution for the X-Man situation is a tough call, which is what leadership needs, and the fact that she trusts the kids to take care of themselves is also a mark of a good leader. She knows what they’re capable of, she knows from her own experience that being young doesn’t mean being helpless. I’m glad she, at least, remembered that. The art’s good. That panel of Pixie reacting to Apocalypse might be the artistic highlight, it just really entertains me. But the art is solid all through the issue. Silva and Rosenberg do good work here. The first chunk of this series was kinda rough and turned me off, but it’s been doing some course-correction that’s starting to get me more on board.

Mr. and Mrs. X #7, by Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. Rogue bites Gambit’s butt. Mojo is the first person ever to hope for clowns. He’s tired of Rogue and Gambit’s bondage games, so spins the Wheel of Genre.

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Rogue & Gambit musical? That sounds intriguing.

It lands on Noir. Honestly, they’re not very good at Noir. They sneak into a place and beat up a bunch of people, which is pretty much what they do normally. They also flirt a lot. Again, as usual. Then Rogue absorbs him. As usual, loads of fun. There’s some good tension. Thompson has fun with Mojo. She writes him really well.

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Amazing, and kinda terrifying.

He’s also deeply menacing when he threatens Spiral late in the issue. It’s the kind of menace that’s so seldom really seen with him. He’s an idiot, but he’s an idiot with a lot of power, including the power to ruin the life of anyone who disobeys him, and he gets a line to Spiral that is a chilling reminder of that. It’s a small moment, but a fantastic one. Also, Major Domo being his usual sarcastically-obedient self. I love Major Domo. He’s great. So yeah, really good issue.

Shatterstar #4, by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, Gerardo Sanodval, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. The issue opens with Grandmaster narrating Tina Cooke’s dying moments, and holy crap. Way to make a death feel meaningful, in a way so few deaths manage. The narration here is brilliant. As is the art.

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A character we barely knew, and I’ve got tears.

Death is often used as a cheap ploy for drama. Seeley and Villa use this moment to make death truly matter. It’s brilliant work. Anyway, moments after Tina dies, Shatterstar arrives (with Pugsmasher, who’s carrying a dude’s head on a pike, Pugsmasher is kinda hardcore), ready to avenge her, to the crowd’s delight. Shatterstar hands Pugsmasher to Xeus, the gladiator who killed Tina, and tells him to keep the dog safe. It’s a really good moment. Shatterstar doesn’t blame Xeus, he’s been where Xeus is. Then he fights three of the remaining Death Sponsors, and one of them is named Cancellator, and just . . . Can we just take a moment to appreciate that name? Cancellator. There’s also Sweep Zweak and Lead-In, but Cancellator. Then, flashback! To Shatterstar defending himself against Sovereignshard’s ambush. He’s clever and brutal, though it turns out he’s also wrong, and Sovereignshard and his team weren’t there to kill him. And back in the present, Shatterstar’s killed the Death Sponsors, and Gringrave welcomes him back to the arena, so she can kill him for betraying her and taking away what they had. That confrontation has one of the most badass finishes I’ve come across. It involves a really messed-up variation on a move Shatterstar used in his first appearance. Damn, this series is REALLY GOOD, guys. The action’s exciting, but there’s so much emotion going on. Shatterstar doesn’t even express much emotion, but there’s a lot of emotion under the surface. Seeley and Villa are so subtle about it, and it’s so good. I’ll be honest, I was in no way prepared to love a mini about Shatterstar this much. I miiiiight have to get the physical issues, or at least the trade. Everything here just works so well. Seeley’s script, Villa’s lines, Sandoval’s lines in the flashbacks, the colours by Vlasco and Lopez. It’s all so good.

Wolverine: The Long Night #1, by Benajmin Percy, Marcio Takara, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. This is based on a podcast, which I won’t be listening to, because I am not the kind of person who can listen to podcasts. My mind drifts too much, or I want to be doing other stuff at the same time, or whatever, but I just can’t focus enough to listen to podcasts. I just don’t operate that way. So, comic. In Alaska, some hillbilly-looking fisherman is talking about a murder. He’d taken his boat out to haul some crabs, and found a big derelict corporate-owned fishing boat. He takes some of his crew on board, and find the hold full of dead people, with big slices taken out of their faces. They look like they were killed by Wolverine. Which is a very standard set-up for a story, people who look like they were killed by Wolverine but it turns out someone else did it.

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This is pretty gruesome, though.

The guy also found packages in the hold, which weren’t mentioned in the police report. Ad we find out he’s telling the story to a couple people in suits. One of them is a woman, and a woman in a suit is something I love, so I immediately like her. Her partner seems cool, too. They’re investigating the murders on the boat, and they learn there’s been other murders in the town. Which is called Burns, by the way. And it sure looks like Wolverine’s doing it. The woman visits the town coroner/funeral home director, which is a pretty good idea, honestly. Two birds, right? Then she and her partner meet up with the town sheriff, who’s kind of a dick to them. But it doesn’t seem like he’s a bad guy, he’s just an Alaskan cop who’s not happy about Feds sticking their noses into his town. Which is probably pretty common. Then they head out with a deputy named Bobby who’s a really nice kid, really loves Alaska. Also, the town has a cult, named The Aurora. They visit the one guy from the derelict ship who isn’t dead, because he’d called in sick, and he tells them about the new hire. Logan. And he’s certainly suspicious. This is good. Interesting cast of characters. I like that Logan’s absent from this issue. I hope that’s a trend that sticks for this series. Don’t let him take over the comic, let the focus stay on the regular people. Make Logan a thing that happens to the story, rather than the protagonist. It’d be way more interesting that way. The FBI agents (I’m pretty sure they’re FBI) are both interesting. I like the guy’s friendliness. The woman isn’t exactly unfriendly, but she’s less friendly than the guy. Different approaches, and they make a good pairing. Deputy Bobby, the rookie “peace officer,” is a charming addition, too, bringing a youthful energy and curiosity, and providing a good justification for the FBI agents to explain things. He’s an effective audience surrogate. The art’s great, obviously, it’s Marcio Takara. He’s always top-notch. He certainly gives us some grisly stuff here, getting to stretch his artistic muscles in a way superhero comics don’t usually allow him to. So yeah, this series is off to a good start. I’m looking forward to more.

And the non-X-stuff: Champions #1, by Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Marcio Menyz, Erick Arciniega, and Clayton Cowles. The Champions have gone international! Ms. Marvel’s a good judge of the abilities of the heroes they’re recruiting, which makes sense, she’s a superhero nerd. I love Locust, she’s so high-energy and full of big declarations, she’s trying so hard to be a classic superhero and it’s great. Riri tries to teach Viv not to kiss without permission, and Sam has a secret. Good issue. Good relaunch. It works really well.

X-Men comics of December 26 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Hope you had a nice Christmas, if you celebrate it. I went to see Into the Spider-Verse again. Honestly, mostly as a time-killer – I had to go to my mom’s early, and my ride back to Ottawa was visiting her own family, and my brother had to work in the evening so we didn’t have a Christmas dinner, so yeah, it was something to do. But man, that is such a good movie. The animation is amazing. Today, on the other hand, can go to hell. I had to work 9-5. I am exhausted. I had to take a nap when I got home, and I still feel dead tired. And now I get to work my normal Thursday-Monday work week. Fun. But hey, at least it’s a light week for comics.

Uncanny X-Men #7, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, Pere Perez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. It’s the Age of Apocalypse, yay. Armour and Glob (who’s gotten a nice power boost) beat up some Infinites. They’ve been there for months. X-Man has led the two to Chicago, while Pixie and Rockslide are apparently hunting them. X-Man leads Armour and Glob to Sinister’s Chicago lab and there’s some talk about how the 616 isn’t actually better than the AoA, just subtler about its evil. Then Pixie and Rockslide attack, saying X-Man has to die in order to save their own world. Also, Glob comes up with a unique strategy against Rockslide.

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Wow, and he didn’t even wash his hand first, rude.

It’s a good issue, with the debate between Armour and Pixie being the strong point. Again I say: This had damned well better be leading to an ongoing series with these four (and a couple others). This issue does benefit from the fact that there’s no one telling the New X-Men to sit down and shut up. I will say, though, that Armour’s comments near the end about finally understanding the difficult choices that the X-Men have to make doesn’t work for me. If Armour were less experienced, then sure, yeah. But Armour’s been around for a while now, in very tough situations, where tough choices had to be made. Beyond that, the crux of her problem earlier was the fact that the X-Men didn’t treat her or the others as equals, so her little speech about “oh wow decisions are hard” doesn’t actually address her actual complaint. The book tries to shift what she was mad about so she can go through a “growing up” moment (which I’m sure will last exactly as long as it takes for the X-Men office to once again get bored of the New X-Men and turn them back into wallpaper who occasionally show up as students needing to be protected from the threat-of-the-month, because the old characters are the only ones the X-Men office gives a shit about). It drags down an otherwise strong moment. That aside, I enjoyed this issue. I like seeing the New X-Men get some focus. Their AoA designs are pretty awesome. The art is great. Always clear what’s happening. The fight is choreographed well, with a couple epic moments, especially from Glob. So, weird Armour forgetting why she was mad moment aside, this was a very good issue.

X-Force #1, y Ed Brisson, Dylan Burnett, Jesus Aburtov, and Cory Petit. In Transia, some soldiers bust into a home to grab a mutant, and then shoot him when he tries to flee. In Queens, X-Force is asking an anti-mutant terrorist where they can find Cable, who’s in a photo with the terrorist group. Domino is a stone-cold badass.

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She is very scary.

Kid Cable was trying to trade info on the Avengers in exchange for guns. With the answers in hand, they deal with the terrorist dude.

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The right way to deal with Nazis.

Cannonball doesn’t express any further objections, so I guess he’s OK with hurting anti-mutant terrorists, too. I like X-Force’s policies regarding awful people. Back in Transia, the President is angry against his top general for sending troops to round up mutants, as he’d promised a trade partner that Transia would be a safe haven for mutants. Huh, interesting. Meanwhile, Kid Cable infiltrates a Transian science facility to rescue Deathlok, who got captured while doing recon for Kid Cable. Luckily, it makes it easy for X-Force to find him. And then he gets to explain why he’s there, and it involves guns from his time. It’s a good start to the series. X-Force is already assembled, which let it jump right into the story. (Though Boom-Boom isn’t in this first story.) It does a good job capturing the tone of the classic series, dark and violent but with some good, weird humour. (Deathlok keeps referring to his “psychopathic human host.” Specifically that. Not just his human host, his psychopathic human host.) I really dig the art. The faces are kinda long, and the guys all look weirdly old and grizzled, but it adds a certain charm, and makes them look more badass. The story looks like it’ll be interesting, and fun. The character dynamics are entertaining, with all the characters having the right voices.

And there’s a back-up, by Brisson, Juanan Ramirez, Brian Reber, and Cory Petit. She was supposed to be in the earlier raid on the terrorists, but she overslept. By 8 hours. She heads to the warehouse and questions the one conscious terrorist, who tells her they get their guns from a time traveler. And also gets shot at.

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It was the only one that was clean.

Boom-Boom then accidentally completely blows up the warehouse. As she does. I love this story. I love Boom-Boom. She is the best. She’s so terrible, an absolute trashfire of a person, and she works it. She is always entertaining, and her snark game is always on point. And she’s a walking explosion, how can you not love that? So great.

X-Men comics of December 19 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I saw Into the Spider-Verse last night. Damn, that’s a good movie. The visuals are stunning, the performances are top-notch, the humour’s great, the Stan Lee cameo brought tears to my eyes. Gwen’s haircut looked wicked. I know there’s already a spin-off in the works featuring Gwen, Silk and Spider-Woman, is there any chance Peni Parker could show up in that one, too? She was cute. Or I guess I should say “kawaii.” But I don’t want to say that. The post-credits scene was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen and amused me immensely. I loved how massive Kingpin was. Miles’ eventual Spider-Man costume was awesome. So much about the movie that was great. Loved it. Go see it, if you haven’t yet. And hey, this week is the one where Marvel reminds us all again that Stan Lee died. I knew it was coming. I was still not emotionally prepared. That little black bar on the cover, and that sketch of him inside, the Soapbox at the end. I was not emotionally prepared for this! But, let’s get to it.

Uncanny X-Men #6, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, Yildiray Cinar, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. Archangel attacks Magneto, pretty brutally. Magneto tries to talk him down. Archangel declines. And then yells at Betsy. Man, Archangel is a grouch. He does lead the combined teams to X-Man, though. He’s been hiding out in BC. Nothing good ever happens in Marvel Canada. So Jean and Nate have a conversation. They used to be pretty close. Nate is now rejecting any familiar relationship between them, though, boo. As if he won’t always be her alternate-reality son. He reveals that he was the old woman Jean spoke to in the first issue, which isn’t a surprise. The conversation doesn’t go great. The New X-Men have better luck talking to him. And hey, his power burn-out gets brought back up. Though I have an issue with how Jubilee reacts to the New X-Men showing up.

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She’s almost the same age they are.

Has Jubilee forgotten who she is? She was 13 when she joined the X-Men. Even now, when you factor in the sliding timeline, she’s probably only around 20. The New X-Men here are probably all around 18 or so. So Jubilee has no reason to be this dismissive of them. Ugh, all this crap with the older X-Men seeing the New X-Men as useless kids is so stupid. The problem isn’t with how the X-Men treat them, the problem is with how the X-office treats them. It’s the writers and editors who turned them into wallpaper, and trying to make it a plot point just exposes how fucking bullshit that was in the first place. And hey, none of these kids are in the continuing UXM under Matthew Rosenberg, what a shock that is. As I keep saying, the X-office absolutely needs to have long-term plans for these characters. When Age of X-Man ends, these kids need to land in an ongoing series. Anyway, aside from that gripe, this is another good issue. The plot intensifies. We get more information about Nate’s motivation. As always, I’d like more character stuff. There’s a tense moment between Betsy and Archangel, and between Jean and Nate, but I could use more in the way of character stuff. Good art. Cinar’s good at what he does. There are several dramatic splashes. Good issue, but one I still have complaints about.

Extermination #5, Ed Brisson, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Joe Sabino. Laura wants to mount Ahab’s head on her wall. Normally, I’m pretty sure she’d be against that kind of trophy hunting. But Ahab is an exception, I guess. Mimic’s dead. Again. Don’t worry, he’ll be back. That guy dies on the regular. Domino refuses to be the one to kill Honey Badger, smart choice, she knows how many people that’d piss off. Ahab’s kids keep converting X-Men into Hounds, and see, this is why I hate kids, they turn people evil, that’s just common knowledge. The cavalry shows up, which includes Armour, Rockslide and Glob. Which just serves to highlight how idiotic that entire sub-plot is in UXM of the adult X-Men sidelining the New X-Men. I seriously hate that sub-plot. Kid Cable convinces the O5 to go back to their own time, though Bobby’s reluctant.

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A good Bobby moment.

First, a trip to the future, to find the twins Ahab’s been using. They were students at Xavier’s before Ahab got them, and pretty nice kids, and Jean gets them to show her their powers, so she can figure out how to reverse them. Cable sends them back to their own time, seconds after they were taken.

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Their memories are erased, the day is saved in the present, though Rachel is still a Hound, fuck that. Ugh. No. No. There is a really nice moment between Jean and Kid Cable, though. He even calls her Redd. Pretty good end to the Young X-Men’s arcs. Kind of a shame it’s over, but they stuck around for a good few years, and most of their stories were cool. So I guess it was time to wrap it up. It would’ve been great if they’d gotten Stuart Immonen to do the art for the section where they return to their own time. That would’ve been a perfect visual bookend, I think. Obviously, it would’ve depended entirely on whether he was interested, and he does have other stuff going on. So I’m not faulting the book for not doing it. Just saying, it would’ve been really special if it had happened. Larraz’s art is great, though. He’s a top-notch artist, he kills it on the scene of the X-Men going to their own time. And I may as well also spoil this: There’s a stinger of Kid Cable telling Adult Cyclops it’s time for his return. So it seems Kid Cable has something to do with Cyclops’ return. Personally, I would’ve liked to have seen Scott stay dead a little longer. I love him, he’s one of my favourite characters, I just think he could’ve stood to be dead a bit longer. Anyway, this was a good ending. Good stuff.

Domino #9, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Michael Shelfer, Roberto Poggi, Guru-eFX, and Clayton Cowles. Shoon’kwa, the woman who hired Domino to retrieve Morbius, is now trying to hire her to kill Longshot. Domino refuses. She thinks roughing him up for the mullet is fair, but not killing him. Shoon’kwa challenges Domino to a fight, and dons a bear skin. The Atlas bear, specifically.

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That’s pretty badass, not gonna lie.

So hey, this woman is the new character who’s going to be in Domino: Hotshots. Neat. After Domino defeats Shoon’kwa, we get her story. Her father was a Wakandan general, her mother was a Dora Milaje. Shoon’kwa got really sick, and was visited by the last Atlas bear in Africa, who gave her the gift to see extinction. Domino is able to use her own power to find Longshot, who’s under Mojo’s control. So it’s a luck vs. luck fight, which doesn’t quite end up being as fun as it could’ve been, because the issue is a bit darker. In a different issue, it could’ve been a fight full of the most ridiculous shit going on all around them both, but this one’s got a more serious tone, so we get more Domino tripping and things like that. Regardless, this is a great issue. Shoon’kwa is cool. She’s kind of a bitch, but after the fight with Domino, she’s humbled, and a bit nicer. She also compliments Adelbert on his hot chocolate. So I look forward to more of her, in the relaunched Domino series. We continue our exploration of Domino’s luck power, which is cool. Outlaw and Diamondback don’t do a lot in this issue. They’re around, they just don’t play a major role. It happens. The art’s good. I think I’ve gotten more used to Baldeon’s style, so I’m digging it a bit more. But yeah, the big thing in this issue is Atlas Bear’s full introduction, in advance of Domino: Hotshots launching in March.

Iceman #4, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Iceman is set to bust Madin’s brother out of jail, but Madin yells at him, quite rightly. But it turns out she was just hangry, and getting some food lets her explain the situation more calmly. She tells Iceman to go after Sinister, and find a lawyer to help her brother. Good suggestions. A few days later, at the school, Kitty and Storm are getting ready for a speech for Mutant Pride, and also joking about how leadership ages you. And Bobby . . .

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Dick move, riding that thing inside.

He’s been getting Forge to help him with something. Bishop wants to go with him to fight Sinister, but Iceman refuses, which seems foolish to me. At the Mutant Pride parade, Dazzler puts on a show, with multiple costume changes. Iceman goes after Sinister. And Bishop pays a visit to the Morlocks for their help. And gets the best description ever.

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I really like the speech that Kitty and Storm give. It’s the kind of thing the franchise needs more of. The X-Men are a stand-in for marginalized groups. And yet, we so seldom see any focus on what that actually means. Oh, we get plenty of people spouting hate. But mutant rights rallies? Speeches that draw real parallels to the struggles of real marginalized groups? We so rarely get to see those, so it’s really cool seeing it here.

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This is not specific to mutants.

Having these sentiments be delivered by a Jewish woman and a black woman make it even better. Especially coming from a black woman, really. But we’re living in a time right now where Jews are facing more overt hatred again, too. So the whole Mutant Pride parade is such a great thing to see. Anyway, I guess there’s also some stuff in here with Iceman? It’s not really important. OK, OK, the Iceman stuff was good, too. There’s some really interesting stuff going on there, with Sinister’s interest in him. And his infiltration of Sinister’s lair is cool, and there are some clues about Iceman’s real strategy. Plus, the issue has Bishop being described as “the hunky X-Man in tight pants,” which is a 100% accurate description of Bishop, so yeah, good issue.

Dead Man Logan #2, by Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson,Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Miss Sinister is selling Sin on the idea of using Mysterio to once again trick Logan into killing all his friends, and taking over the world. Meanwhile, Logan and Clint are having trouble finding Mysterio and Miss Sinister. Miss Sinister and Sin continue to discuss their plans, with Sinister getting annoyed at Sin’s focus on money. Crossbones threatens Mysterio, and Mysterio dunks on him.

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Crossbones is a Neo-Nazi asshole. Screw him.

Honestly, I hate Crossbones. The guy’s a Neo-Nazi. Every time he appears, I want a black dude to run up and punch him. And it really is past time he got his ass handed to him by someone other than Steve Rogers. Let Black Panther kick his ass. Let Luke Cage destroy him. Let Sabra break him into pieces until he begs for mercy. Just . . . just let people who aren’t the Aryan ideal have chances to kick this Neo-Nazi shithole’s ass. Anyway, Mysterio’s feeling a little overwhelmed with all that’s going on. Fair. Meanwhile, Forge has fixed Maestro’s time machine. But Logan can’t return until he’s dealt with Mysterio. Pretty good. Miss Sinister and Sin play off each other pretty well. Brisson writes an interesting take on Sin. She ‘s young, a little reckless, but she shows flashes of being smarter than she lets on. I still don’t like her, on account of the Neo-Nazi thing, and I want her to get punched. Still, I dislike her less than I do Crossbones, who is 100% Pure Garbage. Clint is a good foil to Logan. They play off each other really well. The art’s good. I do want to say that Hawthorne draws a great She-Hulk. But he does a great job in general. This is looking like a good story for Old Man Logan to end with.

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

West Coast Avengers #6, by Kelly Thompson, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Triona Farrell, and Joe Caramagna. Sharks! Kate snaps at her mom! Fuse has more secrets! This is a really good series and you should be reading it.

Champions Annual, by Jim Zub, Nyla Innuksuk, Marcus To, Jordan Boyd, and Clayton Cowles. A spotlight on Snowguard, with Nyla Innuksuk consulting to ensure greater authenticity, which is nice. She visits her home in Nunavut. And she fights a giant. And some shadows. This is a really good story, with a heavy focus on Inuit myth and culture. That’s presumably why Zub felt it was so important to bring in Innuksuk to consult, so he would get it right. I’m obviously not qualified to judge its authenticity, but it seems pretty authentic. It’s clear that Zub cared a lot about it. This story’s also actually a good indication of why it’s important to get diverse voices. The Taqriaqsuit are cool creatures I’d never heard of. I’d love to see more legendary creatures beyond the standard ones, from other cultures. I really liked this comic.

Shuri #3, by Nnedi Okorafor, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino. Shuri is Groot.

Life of Captain Marvel #5, by Marguerite Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Marcio Menyz, Federico Blee, Marguerite Sauvage, and Clayton Cowles. Hmmmm. There’s a lot of retconning of Carol’s history here. Some of it, I don’t really like. It’s a reasonably well-told story, if a bit saccharine. Like I said, there’s just certain elements of the retcons I don’t like. Most notably, it had Carol dating Dr. Lawson, who was obviously Mar-Vell. The original stories had Carol immensely suspicious of Lawson, and while she and Mar-Vell had a bond, they didn’t date, as Mar-Vell had a thing with a nurse. And this retcon basically erases Nurse Una, and I’m not down with that. I don’t think Carol hooking up with Mar-Vell needed to be inserted into her history. Bleh.

Captain America #6, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, and Joe Caramagna. Alexa Lukin is pretty cool. And the plot goes in some really interesting directions. One thing I want to make note of, though: Aleksander Lukin is still possessed by the Red Skull, which makes it creepy when he kisses Alexa. Except that another scene has a character directly tell Alexa that Aleksander won’t return from the dead alone, suggesting that Alexa knew the Red Skull would still be in his head. That actually removes a lot of problems, by giving her more agency in continuing the relationship. I think back to Superior Spider-Man. Spider-Otto raped Anna-Maria. There’s no way around that. He raped her. He presented himself as someone he wasn’t, used her ignorance of the situation to seduce her. It was rape. Mystique routinely commits rape, for the same reason. Superhero comics have honestly kind of a bad history with stuff like that. Coates sidesteps a chunk of that by making Alexa aware that Red Skull is still in Aleksander’s head. So that’s good of him.

Exiles #11, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Munsta Vicente, and Joe Caramagna. Khan’s back, and she’s got her own team of Exiles. Including a skeletal Thor, which is kinda cool. The team includes Killmonger (Shuri), Iron Prince (who wears a Kang mask), X-2/3rds, and a mutated Captain Rogers. Good line-up for a counter-Exiles. And there’s some fun stuff here. Still, I can’t say I’m disappointed this series is ending.




























X-Men comics of December 12 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I finished Daredevil season 3. It was good. Interesting take on Bullseye. And it did a good job wrapping the series up, working well as a series finale. Anyway, here’s comics.

Uncanny X-Men #5, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Chris Eliopoulos. Totally random: I wonder how they decide the order for the names. It’d be neat if they varied it each issue, but there may be a specific reason it’s in the order it’s in. Just curious. Anyway. Apocalypse thinks Kitty’s adorable. I can ship it. Jeez, can you even imagine that? Also, Apocalypse tells X-Man that if he wants to be a god, he needs to destroy centres of worship of other religions. Which X-Man then does. Out in the Gulf of Mexico, Blob and Omega Red turn an oil rig into a crazy jungle. Glob brings Madrox back to the wrecked school, where Legion tries to hug Madrox. Madrox does not appreciate that, which is fair.

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“Yes, I chained you up, but I had the best of intentions.”

Legion uses Cerebro to find X-Man, and the kids are ready to help him save the world. While Storm’s team keeps fighting Magneto and Angel. Also, Lorna’s pissed at her dad and crushes the statue he made of X-Man, and it’s pretty funny. There’s also a fantastic Betsy/Warren moment. It’s a great character bit, of a sort the series has been missing until now. Something that feels like it’ll have real emotional consequences for the people involved. So the series is improving. The plot continues to move along, albeit a bit slowly here, but we get some good character stuff instead. The oil rig scene feels pretty pointless. Nothing much happens there. We do, unfortunately, get another glimpse of anti-mutant protesters. Still, the final chunk of the issue is very strong. The second half, really, from when Glob and Madrox return to the school, through Lorna yelling at her dad and Betsy confronting Warren. The art’s good. Silva’s good for intense stuff. I’m not so fond of him for quieter bits, because I find his style can sometimes be a bit blobby, especially with faces. For intense stuff, it’s less noticeable, so he’s a good choice for this issue. So, yeah, things are improving with this series, we’ll see how the second half goes.

X-Men Red #11, by Tom Taylor, Roge Antonio, Rain Beredo, and Cory Petit. The X-Men, the Avengers, and Atlantis are putting Magneto helmets on all Cassandra’s mentally-controlled hostages. Nova responds by blowing up one of the nuclear reactors on the Helicarrier she controls. So Nezhno ‘ports up and holds the reactor together. Jean confronts Nova while the Avengers and X-Men deal with the Helicarrier. Gambit’s plan is to make it go boom, which the Avengers kinda struggle with, but that’s why the X-Men are the better team, they know the value of batshit insane desperation moves. And Nightcrawler teleports Gabby’s fist right into Nova’s skull, which is another example of the X-Men being crazy. It’s part of an absolutely amazing plan for stopping her. Also, Gabby finally manages to leave Jean speechless.

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She tries.

And, of course, it ends with her giving a speech to the UN. A good finale to the series. This was by far the most optimistic main X-title in a long time. One of the few instances where the X-Men were really trying to change the world, not just save it. Other comics paid occasional lip service to that, but it was never an actual focus, the way it was here. Jean effectively fought hate with compassion. It’s a shame none of the other characters really got the focus they deserved. There was some good stuff with Trinary, and Gentle got great development, and Gabby got some funny lines. Gambit got to be pretty awesome here and there, especially this final issue, with his “save the day with a huge-ass explosion” plan. If the series had continued, I’m sure the rest of the cast would’ve gotten their own stories, too, but as it is, Jean was unequivocally the main character. Which is fine, she did just return from the dead after a fairly long hiatus, so it makes sense for her to be the star of the book. And it was a very enjoyable run. Good art on this final issue. It’s a shame this series is over, especially since I’m pretty sure we all know that it’s not going to be getting replaced with another optimistic title that acknowledges the existence of humans who don’t hate mutants. Sigh.

Weapon X #27,  by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Luca Pizzari, Alberto Alburquerque, Roberto Di Salvo, Ibraim Roberson, Frank D’Armata, and Chris Eliopoulos. Sabretooth intends to kill Stryker and save Graydon. The others are a little worried about what the devil has to say, but Sabretooth points out how much crap they’ve all been through and figures the devil doesn’t get a say. Stryker starts his return to life as they get to the castle, so Sabretooth sends the others back to kill him so he can then kill him again. Mentallo knocks them all out, and Sabretooth has to go save them, sacrificing his vengeance. And things get worse for him. And this is one hell of an end to the series. Very bittersweet. Since it’s the final issue, I may as well do some spoilers: Sabretooth gives up his humanity in order to stop Mentallo from killing the others, and now, he’s alive, but bestial, and without the morality he’d gained in Axis. So he’s basically been reset to his normal state. Next time he shows up, he’s presumably have his intelligence back, but he’ll be evil again. And thus ends the saga of Sabretooth the hero. Also, Graydon Creed is back from the dead. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes. Hopefully, someone will have an interesting take on him. He was, frankly, incredibly dull in the ’90s, before his death. So with any luck, he’ll be more compelling now. It’s a shame this series is over, it was a lot of fun, and this final arc had some really fascinating stuff about vengeance and redemption and sacrifice. Crazy but deep.

Mr. and Mrs. X #6, by Kelly Thompson, David Lopez, Nayoung Kim, and Joe Sabino. Party at Rogue and Gambit’s place! Bobby gets there early, which is his mistake, as it means he has to help with setting up. Never get to a party early. Gambit’s father arrives next, mostly to warn Gambit about an attack. Some thieves, apparently, though Gambit doesn’t know who any of them are. Either way, Rogue gets pissed about it and takes them out. Then it’s time for the party, which has some pretty great conversations. I like this highlight:

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That’s honestly one of my all-time favourite comic book moments, so I always love seeing it get referenced. And Belladonna pays Gambit a visit to let him know that the Thieves’ Guild isn’t happy about him marrying Rogue. He’s King of the Guild, and they don’t want her as their queen. There’s also a nice conversation between Rogue and Magneto. So, Thompson takes a fun idea, and uses it to lay some plot seeds and do some really good character work. It’s a great comic. Lopez’s art is a bit off in some bits, especially early on, especially with Bobby. I don’t know what it is, but Bobby looks weird. For the most part, though, the art’s good. I’m not familiar with Kim (who I’m guessing is a woman), but she does a good job with the colours. But the main draw here is definitely the dialogue, and it shines. Thompson is so good at it. There’s loads of charm, some great humour, some truly terrible humour, and some real heart-wrenching bits. The Rogue/Magneto scene does that, in particular. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of the party, but I suppose it was really of secondary importance, a way to set up a few specific story and character beats. Great comic, as it always is.

X-23 #7, by Mariko Tamaki, Diego Olortegui, Walden Wong, Chris O’Halloran, and Cory Petit. Gabby gets gelato. Laura and Gabby also get called in to help with a murder investigation, three scientists in three weeks. Narration mentions that Kitty’s been working to get law enforcement calling on the X-Men for assistance, which is a nice little detail. Also, Laura has very strong feelings on littering.

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Best PSA.

Laura takes the place of their next suspected victim, and fights the killer. A young woman in a fancy battlesuit. Gabby feels bad for her and relates to her. Tamaki continues to keep this series’ focus on the question of what it means to be a clone. Gabby’s still cute. Good art here. I’m still enjoying this series, but I’m having trouble thinking of exactly what to say about this specific issue. Tamaki’s covering familiar ground here, and I think I would’ve preferred it if she’d moved towards a more original story, but she’s doing a good job with the writing, and the art’s great, so it’s still a good read.

And the non-X-stuff.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #39, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Fish can pee out of their gills. The Skrull who replaced Tony turns out to be pretty cute and I like her and want to trust her, which really proves that the best for shapeshifters to trick me is to take on a cute and sympathetic appearance.

Unstoppable Wasp #3, by Jeremy Whitley, Gurihiru, and Joe Caramagna. Ying is VERY SCARY when she’s mad. Finesse appears! I’ve missed her! She’s a total jerk here, but she always had the capacity to be a jerk, so I’m fine with her embracing it. I’m very curious about the new AIM group that she, Seeker, and a couple other women are a part of. There’s an intriguing plot being woven here. Also, Ying and Shay are very cute.

Champions #27, by Jim Zub, Max Dunbar, Nolan Woodard, and Clayton Cowles. Really sweet stuff, with Riri bringing Sam back to himself, and Viv smooches Riri, who doesn’t seem to feel the same way. Took long enough, but we’re finally getting some delving into Viv’s sexuality. She wasn’t impressed when she smooched Amadeus back in, what was it, the second issue or something? And it’s taken until now to get back to that question. But it’s cool.

Black Panther #7, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kev Walker, Stephane Paitreau, and Joe Sabino. More interesting plot developments. It’s a good story being told here. Less character-focused than I like, though.

X-Men comics of December 5 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). This is a hell of a week. So many comics. And even aside from the Marvel stuff, there’s the start of WicDiv’s final arc (and if you haven’t been following The Wicked + The Divine, then what’s wrong with you, it’s amazing), there’s more Snotgirl (a series that is weird and funny but still pretty tense, with gorgeous art), and the first issues of two new series I’ve been looking forward to. LaGuardia, by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford, looks great. Nnedi’s a fantastic writer, and I really like Tana Ford’s art, and also, she follows me on Twitter which still blows my mind. And there’s Die, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans. Gillen’s one of my favourite writers. Hans is my second-favourite artist (behind only Emma Rios) and also for some reason follows me on Twitter, which blows my mind even more than Ford following me. But anyway, yeah, some exciting new stuff, which it’ll take me a couple days to get around to. But for now, comics!

Uncanny X-Men #4, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, Pere Perez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. The school’s just been destroyed, and the X-Men appear dead. But they’re actually protected by Armour’s armour, while Jean and Psylocke make the Horsemen think they’re dead. Storm congratulates Armour on keeping them alive, but you know what would be a great way of thanking her? Making her a part of an X-team again, on a long-term basis. We’ll see if the X-office actually gives a damn about her once this event’s over. The Horsemen – Magneto, Angel, Blob, Omega Red – then return to their master, Nate Grey. He’s also the one who’s captured Kitty, a Senator, and Apocalypse. Kitty tries to talk to Nate, who then tells the whole world that he’s going to bring about a new order. The X-Men are concerned, and Legion is angry at them for not listening to him, and also nicely sums up why comics are amazing.

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Pretty straightforward, right?

Jean and Betsy put him to sleep, which bothers the kids, who think it’s unfair to do to someone who was trying to help. They get angry at not being listened to. And, I mean, I get their point, but, like, Legion was clearly not in a helpful state of mind? Letting him sleep off his mania was probably not a bad idea. Anyway, there’s more disasters to deal with, more arguing, and Laura wants to stab a megalodon. She doesn’t get to. Jean is mean. Anyway. So. The plot is still being executed in a fairly interesting manner. This issue benefits from not having anti-mutant protesters, thank you for small favours. The huge cast means there’s little room for any of them to get development, still with the exception of the kids, and I still have the same concern there: It’s only worth doing if there are long-term plans in place for them. If they’re going to go back to being wallpaper as soon as this event’s over, then quite honestly, their whole arc in this book is a waste of time. Plus, if I’m honest, Armour just feels kinda whiny. Beyond that? This is the best issue so far. Legion vs. X-Man is actually a really interesting idea for a fight, given, as the story notes, Legion was responsible for X-Man’s existence, and given what powerhouses both are. So that could be a cool confrontation. But mostly, I just really want the New X-Men to get more use after this event ends.

X-Men: The Exterminated, which SOMEHOW is releasing BEFORE the even actually ends, because that’s some brilliant planning right there. I get that delays happen, but come on, Marvel, if you’re going to delay the final issue of Extermination, delay the aftermath issue, too. Ugh, whatever. Two stories, first, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Neil Edwards, Jay Ramos, and Joe Sabino. Hope is giving some of the New X-Men a training room session against Apocalypse. Surprisingly, the group includes Metus, the antagonist from Cable’s most recent series. I’m maybe a little disappointed that he’s in the training session? Not every mutant needs to learn how to fight Apocalypse. Regardless, the kids do well, and Hope’s a good instructor. It’d be interesting to see a new New X-Men series, with Hope as the gruff team leader for a team mostly made up of the Academy X kids, now full-fledged X-Men going on missions. Or possibly tired of being overlooked by the older X-Men and striking out on their own. Look, I just want the New X-Men kids to get their own series again, and Hope would be a good addition to that group. Anyway, later, Bishop tries to pay his respects, but Hope still carries a grudge for the whole “trying to murder her” thing. He says sorry, but she still won’t forgive him, so unreasonable. Jean tries to offer Hope, if not comfort, then at least solidarity. Cable was Hope’s dad and Jean’s son, so they share a connection to him. And they also share a hug, before heading out to clean out some of Cable’s safehouses. In the first, they find Deadpool. It does not go well for him.

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Though the Kubler-Ross Model has some major problems.

Deadpool explains that he and Cable had a pact to clear each other’s safe houses when they die. Which is sensible, and a reminder of how close Cable and Deadpool were that Cable trusted him to do it. At another safe house, Hope makes fun of Cable’s giant X-Force-era shoulder pads, and Jean tells her everyone makes regrettable fashion choice, and I just want to note that Jean’s current costume isn’t particularly great. And now that I think about it, Hope could probably use a new costume. There’s nothing wrong with her current look. I kinda dig it, if I’m honest. But it’s probably time for her to try something else. And the final safe house is where the heavy emotional beats fall, obviously. It’s pretty clear where the story was, there’s no surprised, but it’s still a really good story about grief and moving on. Jean and Hope are good together. Jean clearly sees Hope as family, even though there’s not blood relations, and she’s such a good grandma. I love how nonsensical the Summers family is, and the way everyone in it just decides to roll with it. And as usual, I’d love to see more of Jean and Hope interacting in the future, because I always like seeing these kinds of weird family relationships. But yeah, this is a really good, sweet, touching story, and it’s really nice to get some follow-up focused on Cable’s remaining family.

Second, by Chris Claremont, Ramon Rosanas, Nolan Woodard, and Joe Sabino. This is narrated by Nathan, remembering a time when he was a baby in Alaska, and Scott was being really mopey (shock!), so Corsair had to talk to him. Scott starts to remember a childhood memory, but it slips from him. We get a Claremontian recap of Scott’s and Corsair’s backgrounds, then there’s an earthquake that puts Maddie and baby Nate in danger, which reminds Scott of what they mean to him. It’s a good story. It’s simple and sweet, and very much in the classic Claremont vein. Which honestly makes it kinda boring. I’ll admit, some of the impact of the story is lost because of knowledge of how things went later. But even beyond that, the story just feels light. Like there’s not actually much to it. It’s just kinda there, a perfectly serviceable ’80s-era X-Men story. I know that Claremont’s run was legendary, I love it too, and I know that it makes people excited every time he returns to write anything X-Men. But he doesn’t excite me any more. I still enjoy reading that classic run, but I think a lot of that has to do with it being from a different time. His writing worked great for the ’70s and ’80s. But superhero comics have changed. I would say they’ve actually evolved. The art, definitely, but the writing, as well. Claremont’s writing hasn’t changed to keep up with the times, he’s simply not up to the standard of current creators. Yeah, I said it. Chris Claremont is not as good at writing superhero comics as current superhero writers are. Yeah yeah, “burn the heretic” and all that, but it’s true, Claremont being the best writer in cape comics 30 years ago doesn’t translate to him being a great cape comic writer today. He still writes like it’s the ’80s, and it’s not, and even when his writing isn’t garbage *cough*X-Treme X-Men*cough* it’s still just not up to contemporary standards. So I didn’t dislike this story, I just didn’t care about it one way or the other, which is about the best it gets for Claremont’s X-Men work these days.

Shatterstar #3, by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, Gerardo Sandoval, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Shatterstar’s tenants are being led to an ampitheatre, but one, Tina, from our world, slips away and runs into Grandmaster, who gets back to the show. Shatterstar’s looking for Karl, the dog tenant, in Sah’damn. Clever, Seeley! He also gets hit on by some prostitutes. He then has a flashback, where he told Gringrave that he was being mated to Windsong, and Gringrave suggested they kill her so they can keep banging. Shatterstar throws her words back at her about having no attachments or feelings. In the present, Shatterstar finds Karl and rescues him from a dude who wanted to eat him. And in the meantime, Grandmaster gives Tina Cooke powers.

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Truly a name to inspire fear and awe.

I do like her new look. Not bad. Also, there’s a flashback that may or may not imply something about Spiral.

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This suggests Spiral is bi, which, y’know, makes sense.

There’s two ways of interpreting that, and both make equal sense for Spiral. One: Spiral occasionally has Gringrave kill people for entertainment, which is absolutely on-brand for Spiral, and definitely something she’d do. Two: Spiral occasionally calls up Gringrave for a booty call. I choose to believe it’s both. A little murder and a little bow-chicka-wow-wow. Anyway, this issue’s great. Grandmaster plays Tina Cooke so perfectly, and it’s really rough to see, because it’s obvious things won’t go the way she expects, but her desire to be special is too strong. Meanwhile, the flashbacks do a great job contrasting with the present day, a display of how much Shatterstar’s changed, and also showing why he fights. And, of course, it’s all building to what’s bound to be a powerful confrontation between Shatterstar and Gringrave. She’s retconned into his past, but the flashbacks allow their relationship to be built up effectively, so we’ll actually feel something when they confront each other. It’s the right way of doing something like this. Also, the fighting is great. Shatterstar vs. Deadair is an exciting fight, especially when Shatterstar jumps out a window to land on Deadair’s back in mid-air. Badass move, exactly what I would expect of Shatterstar. The art in both the present and the flashbacks is excellent, and different enough to provide a fantastic contrast. This is a great comic.

Merry X-Men Holiday Special. So, this is just a bunch of single-page quickies by various creators. Each page is a different day, from December 1st up until Christmas Day. Because of the nature of the comic, I won’t really say much about it, aside from briefly mentioning some of the ones that stand out to me. Claremont and the Dodsons do a single-page splash with 13 caption boxes of narration, because never in his entire career has Claremont learned the value of being concise. The point of the page is Kitty Pryde saying she’s going to run for president, an idea Claremont had in his X-Men: The End series. It’s an idea I do like, but man, Claremont really obsesses over his own shit. Soule and Browne do a quickie where Logan’s new hotclaws save Hanukkah (for one family), and honestly, stupid as the hotclaws are, it might be worth it for this story alone. Dr. Nemesis trolls Beast perfectly by giving Kavita Rao a Last Jedi script signed by Hamill and Ridley. Kelly Thompson and David Lopez have Rogue and Gambit defeated by one of their cats. Kurt gives Old Man Logan a photo of himself, as a tremendous callback to the time Logan gave Kurt a photo of himself. Al Ewing and PJ Holden do a story of Sam and Izzy on another planet celebrating its own winter solstice holiday, and Sam getting yelled at by a guy about The War On Glorpsday. Anthony Piper does a Domino story. No crazy luck, but she does murder a dude. Leah Williams and Marcio Takara show Betsy visiting her brother, now that she’s back in her English body. Vita Ayala and Pere Perez do one where Gabby gets a gift card for Steaks & Cakes, and WHY DOES THAT RESTAURANT NOT EXIST? Through the issue, it occasionally cuts to Jubilee, who spends a month trapped in Arcade’s Murdermall with Shogo. I mean, if you’re gonna trap an X-Man in a mall? Yeah, Jubilee’s the one who will absolutely thrive there. Though Arcade also calls her “the weakest X-Man,” and no, she is nowhere near the weakest X-Man. Anyway, not all the stories quite clicked for me, but most were great, some were brilliant, the whole thing is worth a read.

And the non-X-stuff!

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #38, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. A Nightmare On Yancy Street! No, really, that’s the title of the issue. People on Yancy St. are all having bad dreams. Including Lunella. This is a good start to the arc. I’m looking forward to this arc. BUT ALSO:



Actually, Don was the blue lobster, and he died, so I think Bonvillain may have just mixed them up, but whatever, it’s not a problem. What matters is Bustos and Bonvillain slipped him in as a cameo, and I am so happy.

West Coast Avengers #5, by Kelly Thompson, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Triona Farrell, and Joe Caramagna. Bridgette, the awesome dragon lady, is already back, and agrees with Gwenpool that Quire needs to stop leaving wet towels on the floor. Gwenpool and Quire have some genuine romantic tension, Clint and America actually work really well together, and Johnny and Ramone love each other. This issue actually gets pretty emotionally deep. Like, for all the Gwenpool/Quentin hatemance has been a lot of fun, this issue brings some great drama to it, and makes you invested in an actual romance between them. There seems to be some tension between Clint and America, though they’re both professional enough to be able to set it aside for what matters, and I really like seeing them work through a situation together. And the relationship between Johnny and Ramone is really sweet, they care for each other so much and it’s sweet to see. Adnd as an aside, Flirty America is really goddamn sexy. Anyway, this is great stuff.


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