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X-Men comics for March 4 2015

I went out with a friend today. We watched The Kingsmen. I’ll talk about that in my next pull list. But now I have comics.

X-Men #25, by G. Willow Wilson and Roland Boschi. This issue is narrated by Monet. Neat. She’s been killing monsters in order to get a phone signal. She’s able to reach Jubilee, in a new mini-plane (the Hatchling) Beast cooked up. They both agree that they’re probably dealing with some Kree experiment, so Monet tells Jubilee to go bother Medusa. Then Monet accidentally causes a cave-in that buries her. She has a flashback to her mom waking her up and teaching her the fatiha. Her father interrupts and calls it “desert superstition,” but her mother tells her to remember the words. Monet wakes up again, and starts trying to free herself, and telepathically contacts Rachel. Jubilee visits Medusa, and gets dismissed pretty quickly, but she does learn that they might be a bit wrong about their assumptions. This is another solid issue. Wilson makes Monet arrogant, but also vulnerable. The flashback was a really nice touch, a subtle reminder of Monet’s Muslim faith. Jubilee gets to be very fun in her scenes. The twist at the end is pretty cool, and makes me intrigued for the final issue. This has been really good. Boschi’s art is good. Not great, but good. Just kind of a meh style, overall.

Wolverines #9, by Charles Soule and Peter Nguyen. Fang has taken Daken to fight a Frost Giant. Daken refuses. Fang tricks the Frost Giant into attacking Daken. Meanwhile, Shogun and Deathstrike have had sex. He explains to her about Ogun being in his head. Daken wants Fang to call off the Frost Giant, but Fang refuses, and says Daken will have to figure his own way out. In Madripoor, Fantomelle and Culpepper are in the Princess Bar. They’re there to steal Wolverine’s eyepatch. Fantomelle tries to distract the bartender with flirting. She is very, very bad at flirting. It’s actually pretty cute, I’ll admit it. Daken gets pissed off and attacks the Frost Giant, and is about to kill it, but Fang stops him. Fang shows powers here that he’s never shown before. What’s being done with Fang makes absolutely no sense unless it isn’t actually Fang. On the plus side, Fang trolled Daken pretty hard, and since Daken is such an asshole character, that’s always a positive. The Shogun/Deathstrike stuff was OK. The art wasn’t great. This is still a pretty meh series, overall.

Return of the Living Deadpool #2, by Cullen Bunn and Nik Virella. A woman gives a quick rundown of the previous Living Deadpool mini, and the premise of the new one. The woman says they have a plan to kill the Deadpools. Deadpool himself is out watching some train tracks with the teen girl. She’s looking for her parents, who have been grabbed by the Deadpools, and are being taken to a processing station. The train comes by, and they jump on board. And then they fight their way onto it. This is OK. The art’s nice, but as with the previous series, I would’ve liked a few splashes of colour aside from Deadpool himself. I’m guessing the black-and-white is intended as an homage to the original Living Dead movie, but I think it would’ve been really effective to have some colour here and there. The writing is OK. Some OK comedy, some OK drama. Nothing really special. Bunn’s always been a strictly-average writer.

That’s the X-Men comics, here are a few non-X.

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #4, by Kieron Gille, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans. Odinson climbs a peak and shouts out for the Disir. Angela and the Guardians are playing poker when Angela hears Odinson’s shout. She repeats the word, which allows the Disir to find her. This leads to a fight, of course. Also, some kinda-flirting between Angela and Gamora, who honestly have one of my favourite friendships in comics. One of the Disir reveals that Angela stole Odin and Freyja’s body. Then she gets beheaded. The Guardians want to know if it’s true, but Angela walks away. Sera goes to talk to her, and we switch to the Bennett/Hans section. This story covers Angela meeting Sera after Sera’s death, and them establishing that Sera is who she claims to be. And we also learn why Angela has kidnapped the baby. It’s an interesting reason. Very, very cool.  This was a good issue in general. The stuff with the Guardians was really fun, and then the fight was great. And the Bennett/Hans sections are always fantastic. Hans is one of the best artists out there. Jimenez does great work, too, but Hans just kills. Gillen managed to get in some bad jokes, including a horribly painful pun. Always fun. Bennett’s writing in her section is still great, too, very mythic, but also nicely personal. This is a good book. I very much enjoy it.

Operation SIN #3, by Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis. I actually forgot to pick up the physical copy today. Made me sad. So I went digital for this one. Howard manages to drive their truck off a cliff and into a lake. There’s some bickering between them all, but they keep walking, and reach their destination. A big, empty field. The boy, Mikhail, says they have to wait for daybreak. Elsewhere, some people are being herded into a big warehouse. Anton Vanko is among them. One guy falls, and a guard shoots him. A woman brings Anton inside, then her eyes flash green, and a door with the Hydra logo closes. Daybreak comes, and the heroes see a crystalline spaceship appear. Howard thinks he can put the sphere he picked up earlier into the ship, but the hole is too high up, so Woodrow forces Mikhail to turn into a bear. Then Woodrow climbs on Mikhail’s shoulders to put in the sphere. And the woman from earlier gets a green glow again and knows the ship’s been found. This is definitely interesting. It’s an intriguing story, with some nice twists. But there’s also solid character writing. Good humour, and some touches of drama. Ellis’ art is very good. He’s a talented artist.

All-New Hawkeye #1, Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez. The first issue of the new Hawkeye series is coming out before the last issue of the previous Hawkeye series. Somehow, that feels totally appropriate to how Fraction’s written Hawkeye. Fraction’s Hawkeye, after all, was a complete screw-up. Anyway, this issue starts with Clint and Barney as kids in Iowa. They’re trying to catch frogs. In the present, Clint and Kate are running. They’re on a mission for SHIELD, busting up a Hydra base. Things aren’t going well, and they try to escape. Clint makes it outside, but then the doors close, locking Kate inside. In the flashback, Clint and Barney get back to the foster home, and Barney gets yelled at for the grass not being cut. Then he starts getting beaten. Back in the present, Kate finds what Hill sent them in to find. This is really good. Like, really, really good. The segments in the past are done in watercolour, and it looks very pretty, and there’s a real sense of nostalgia tinged with sadness to them. The modern sections are more of an indie art style, but it works well with the wit you’d expect in a Clint and Kate team-up. As an aside, Clint and Kate both get to be shown as extremely competent at what they do. Fraction’s run generally presented them as misfits who are just trying to do their best – not really conventional superheroes, but deeply endearing. This book makes them more superheroic, which is a nice switch-up. Of course, they still have a great chemistry together.

Guardians Team-Up #1, by Brian Bendis and Art Adams. The Guardians’ ship is going down. They’re under attack by someone. The ships pass by Avengers Tower, interrupting Hawkeye’s lunch. Rocket saves the ship by cloaking. Then the enemy ship disappears. And then the Guardians’ ship crashes, and the Avengers show up. The meeting is . . . odd. Come to think of it, the Guardians haven’t actually met the current Avengers line-up. They met the movie Avengers, but not the bulk of the current comic line-up. Weird. Anyway, Spider-Woman is annoyed at the presence of a talking raccoon, so decides to call it a day, but the alien ship shows up again and opens fire. Hawkeye fires off three arrows. Gamora seems to be the only one who thinks it’ll work. It works, of course. Black Widow realizes he’s going to gloat about it for months. I can’t say I’m terribly impressed by this. Honestly, it’s not even that there’s necessarily anything wrong with it, except that it just feels so damned shameless. This is a lot like Bendis’ GotG, which means it’s not particularly strong. There’s plenty of banter, some of which actually is pretty funny, but there’s no real point to it beyond “hey look it’s the guys from the movies!” The Chitauri are the bad guys. Nebula is their leader. Because of course she is. I’ll be genuinely surprised if she isn’t working for Ronan. It’s annoying. Also, I hate Adams’ art. It’s an unpleasant style. Cartoonish in a bad way. This sucks, and I really can’t recommend it at all.

Pull list for March 4 2015

I’m hanging out with a friend tomorrow, so I have no idea what time I’ll be getting reviews up.

I’ll go to the store for: Angela Asgard’s Assassin #4, by Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans; My Little Pony Friends Forever #14, by Jeremy Whitley and Agnes Garbowska; My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #28, by Katie Cook and Andy Price; My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #29, by Katie Cook and Jay Fosgitt; Operation SIN #3, by Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis; Rocket Raccoon #9, by Skottie Young and Jake Parker; X-Men #25, by G. Willow Wilson and Roland Boschi.

I’ll also review: All-New Hawkeye #1, by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez; Guardians Team-Up #1, by Brian Bendis and Arthur Adams; Return of the Living Deadpool #2, by Cullen Bunn and Nicole Virella; Wolverines #9, by Charles Soule, Ray Fawkes and Peter Nguyen.

So that’s 7 comics I’m picking up, and 7 reviews. Though the 7 pick-ups assumes that there’s no mix-up with the MLP comics. #s 28 and 29 coming out in the same week seems weird to me. We’ll see, I suppose.

My March pull list is: All-New X-Men #39; Angela #4; Operation SIN #3; Rocket Raccoon #9; X-Men #25; Captain Marvel #13; Ms. Marvel #13; Spider-Man 2099 #10; Mighty Avengers #6; Loki #12; Silk #2; Squirrel Girl #3; Uncanny X-Men #33; All-New Ghost Rider #12. 14 titles. I might pick up a couple others. We’ll see. And, of course, that’s only my Marvel pulls.

I finally got around to watching Big Hero 6. I thought it was great. It was a nice blend of Marvel and Disney. Marvel provided the exciting action, Disney provided the sweet story and adorable sidekick character. (And the interracial cast, since Marvel hasn’t figured out yet how to make a movie with more than one minority character in a major role. I’d say I’m just kidding, but . . . well, none of their movies have had more than one minority character in a major role.) There was a lot of great humour, of course, which is to be expected of both companies. The characters were mostly very interesting and compelling. I didn’t like Fred – he was just annoying. The others were all really cool, though. The animation was excellent, naturally. No surprise there. The fight scenes were exciting. GoGo kinda stole the action scenes, I thought. Her speed and agility made her the most interesting to watch. And Baymax, of course, was adorable and sweet and great. So, yeah, very good movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though I did make the mistake of watching it while suffering from way too little sleep – being too tired always makes me tear up a lot. I’m man enough to admit when something makes me cry, but being tired just makes that a pain in the ass. Ah, well.

A couple months ago, Comic Book Resources ran a poll to determine the 100 Greatest Writers and Artists – 50 of each. The final results had a single female writer (Gail Simone) and a single female artist (Fiona Staples), which was . . . disconcerting. But here’s something neat: CBR’s doing a poll of the Greatest Female Comic Creators! That’s really cool, I think. A huge list of female creators has been put together here, and the voting opened today. My own lists:

Writers
1. Kelly Sue DeConnick
2. Jen Van Meter
3. Leia Weathington
4. Chynna Clugston
5. Colleen Coover
6. G. Willow Wilson
7. Faith Erin Hicks
8. Trudy Cooper
9. Louise Simonson
10. Ann Nocenti

Artists
1. Emma Rios
2. Stephanie Hans
3. Faith Erin Hicks
4. Erica Henderson
5. Stacey Lee
6. Laura Seijic
7. Colleen Coover
8. Meredith McClaren
9. Molly Ostertag
10. Sara Pichelli

So far, I’ve read the first three essays from The Ages of the X-Men, and they’re very interesting. I’ll read the rest over the course of March. I’m also going to try to read In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang.

My work schedule for this week: 4-8:30 Thursday, 2:30-11 Friday, 10-6:30 Saturday, 9:30-1:30 Sunday. So I’m thinking I’ll do posts Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and also do a pull list post on Tuesday. Those posts will cover new Mutants #30, Alpha Flight #25, and Uncanny X-Men #197. After those, I’ll have 24 posts left to do for 1985. And then, for 1986, I’ll have a lot. Just over 60 posts for 1986. So, lots.

That’s it for this week.

New Mutants #30 (1985, August)

I forgot to do this earlier. Oops. Oh well. By Claremont and Sienkewicz, “The Singer and Her Song.”

The SInger and Her Song

Lots of light on this cover.

Illyana, Sam, Kitty, Rachel and Dazzler are all in Limbo, with Illyana in Darkchilde form. She’s crazy, and Limbo’s in chaos as a result. She starts screwing with the others, too, until Kitty gets involved. Illyana summons her Soulsword, which is pitch black, but Kitty wrestles it away, and it switches back to silver, and covers her with silver armour. Kitty wonders what the hell’s going on, then slashes Illyana to see if that puts things back to normal. Illyana’s calm, but Kitty’s pissed at the Beyonder. The first Secret Wars resulted in Colossus no longer loving Kitty, and now Illyana’s been hurt, and Kitty aims to make the Beyonder pay for both.

They pop back to the normal world, but find no sign of the X-Men, the Avengers or the Beyonder. Illyana suggests they go back to helping Bobby and Amara. They’ve got a plan for finding them, and Kitty plans on infiltrating the Gladiators to learn what hold they have over Bobby and Amara. Alison volunteers to do it, but Kitty refuses.

Meanwhile, Bobby’s in a fight. He wins, but isn’t particularly happy. He heads to the back and powers down, and learns he’s hurt. Flynn tells him it’s a badge of honour. Bobby expresses his joy.

Elsewhere, Alison is trying to infiltrate the Gladiators, much to Kitty’s annoyance. Rachel talks to her telepathically, and Alison says she has to do it, to prove that she’s not addicted. Sam doesn’t think they should let her, but Kitty says it’s her call. Alison heads inside, and she’s given a flask that’ll lower her inhibitions, and told to drink it if she wants in. She does. The Master of the Gladiators is pleased, but prudent, and calls General Nguyen Ngoc Coy.

Kitty infiltrates the Gladiators in the guise of a techie looking for work. Alison’s show starts. First, she sings. Then, as her power builds up, she eventually releases it to knock out a bunch of Gladiators. She loves the cheers. Kitty also gets a job as a techie.

Bobby wakes up to see Alison. The situation is explained, so now Kitty knows about the kids being held hostage. She calls Sam to set up a plan.

In training the next day, Amara and Bobby both mess with Alison to scare her, and she gets mad. Outside, Sam and Illyana talk about the Beyonder. They’re scared of him. Back inside, Kitty disables the surveillance systems so she can let Bobby know there are no hostages. The plan is to have Illyana, Rachel and Sam cause a big enough ruckus to force the cops to make a bust. But the Beyonder shows up. Illyana tries to attack him, but Rachel instead tries to communicate. She learns he’s just curious.

Back inside, Kitty finds Alison, apparently sleeping, and finds a notebook where Alison wrote about not being a Gladiator. Kitty’s proud, but Alison’s not actually asleep, and she’s got a very odd look on her face. She dazzles Kitty. Kitty finds herself being held by a very fat person, who calls her “cherie.” Kitty recognizes the voice, and whoever it is is also a telepath. Bobby and Amara are about to have their bout, and are wondering where Kitty is. A monstrous opponent comes out, and Bobby and Amara figure it’s kill or be killed against it. The Master muses that the foe is actually Kitty in a robotic shell.

Much like with UXM #196, this is a great issue pulled down by a forced Secret Wars tie-in. There’s even more Beyonder content here than in UXM #196, and hurts the issue even more. The Limbo opening is cool, at least, and it does hint at a connection between Kitty and Illyana. (Interestingly, the exact nature of their connection has never been explained, even though there have been a few occasions where it’s been a major plot point.) But the scene between Rachel and the Beyonder just doesn’t work. It feels tacked-on and pointless, with no real bearing on the story. A description that applies quite nicely to most of Secret Wars II, frankly.

Kitty is arguably the star of this issue, which I’m mostly fine with. It is a bit weird that the New Mutants title was so thoroughly taken over by a couple of characters who aren’t New Mutants. Kitty’s experience does make her the right choice to lead the mission. She shows her intelligence and cunning, and comes up with a pretty good plan. Alison is less compelling here – she’s a bit of a whine-ass, frankly, a little too full of self-doubt, and the “addiction” angle pushed maybe a bit too hard. And, of course, the amount of focus she gets is a bit of a problem. It wouldn’t be a problem if she was the only guest star, but with Kitty already getting a lot of focus, too, it means even less space for the New Mutants. They do get some – the animosity that Bobby and Amara feel towards her is a nice touch, and Illyana, of course, gets a pretty decent amount of focus – but the New Mutants still end up feeling like guest stars in their own book, and that’s a problem.

Sienkewicz’s art continues to be excellent. I have no complaints about that. He makes the mysterious Master very intimidating. Speaking of the Master, we get some interesting hints about who it is. It’s very exciting.

Song of the day: Modern Girl by Sleater-Kinney.

Uncanny X-Men #196 (1985, August)

Secret Wars II continues. By Claremont and JRJr, “What Was That?!!”

What Was That?!!

Wolverine vs. a Gimp.

Xavier is doing a lecture, when he overhears a stray thought from one of the kids who attacked him, thinking they need to kill someone.

Out on the Serengeti, Storm is approached by a silver-maned lion, which is then shot. Then she gets shot, herself. Andrea is the shooter, paying her back for hitting Andreas.

Back in New York, Xavier’s briefing the X-Men. Magneto’s with them, and the X-Men aren’t very happy about it. The waiter at the restaurant praises Nimrod while bringing the bill. He says it’s great having a hero looking out for the common man, not just saving the world all the time. Wolverine keeps staring at Xavier, which kinda creeps Rogue out. Kitty asks Xavier why he doesn’t use his telepathy to find the killer, but Xavier lies and says he’s in the midst of an experiment that requires him to dull his telepathy with drugs. He’s actually dulling it because he can’t block out thoughts, due to his injuries, but he doesn’t want them to know that. Rachel spots a guy standing outside the restaurant, and then he pops inside. Rachel goes to talk to him, and recognizes him as the Beyonder, but when Kitty comes over, he’s gone.

Elsewhere, Nightcrawler pays a visit to Father Bowen, who’s having a crisis of faith. He worries that the Beyonder is god. And that leaves him searching for the faith that once sustained him.

At Columbia University, some students are setting up a device in Xavier’s office, while the X-Men do some recon. Rogue and Rachel are flying around, and Rogue reflects on it being weird that Magneto’s become an ally. Rachel says that, in her time, he was a friend and a hero. She senses a mugging, and the two stop it. Then they see that the guy was spraying an anti-mutant message on the wall. Elsewhere, Kitty and Wolverine are sitting on some steps. Kitty gets annoyed at Wolverine’s cigar smoke, and grabs it out of his mouth to take a few puffs on it. She determines never to smoke again. They talk about Magneto and Xavier. Wolverine shares Kitty’s doubts, but figures they should trust for now.

Kitty runs off to check out some more suspects. She goes to the computer physics lab, where some students are gathered. She asks what they’re doing. Apparently, she’s part of the same seminar – she really is a genius, if she’s taking university courses while she’s only 15. The group is tense, and wondering how she got in. A black guy asks if she’s a mutie. Her response is, um . . . not something I can print. Claremont probably went a bit too far here, if we’re honest. His heart was in the right place, but using the N-word is just not cool, no matter the motivation. Anyway, the guys attack her, and decide to kill her.

Outside, Colossus, Wolverine and Rogue are sitting, and Rogue is feeling a little dispirited, wondering why they even bother. In Xavier’s office, Rachel is telling Xavier and Magneto about her sensing the Beyonder. She senses him again, and she links her mind with Xavier and Magneto. That trips the device the kids planted earlier. It turns her own telepathy against her. She lashes out and blows a hole in the wall, sending Xavier and Magneto out through it. Colossus throws Wolverine up (Fastball Special Tracker: 13), and he finds Rachel crying. She senses Kitty in danger, and switches to her hound outfit and flies out.

The black guy is trying to choke Kitty to death when Rachel blasts her way in. Kitty’s still alive. The black guy pulls a gun and tries to shoot Rachel, but she sends the bullet back at him. It stops inches away from his face, held in place by Magneto. He begs Rachel to stop. He says that his own path has done nothing but made him hated and feared, and hasn’t done anything to help mutantkind. She says it’s people like the kids she attacked who turned her into a hound and made her kill people she knew and loved. She wants to get revenge, and since she can’t do it against the people who hurt her in the future, she’ll do it to the people now. Magneto tells her to do it, and show that she’s no better than they are. Rachel lets the bullet fall, and says she may never forgive Magneto. Kitty asks Magneto how he knew what to say, and he says they’re a lot alike.

This is a really good issue. It’s mostly character-driven. Rachel gets a strong focus, as we see her dealing with her bitterness and anger. Her resentment towards Magneto for stopping her from killing is especially strong. I also like her changing her clothes with a thought – it’s a nice show of her power, and a great callback to Phoenix being able to do that. Magneto’s speech to her is very good, and shows just how much growth he’s had since UXM #150. He’s become a hero.

The Kitty/Wolverine scene is cute. The Rachel/Rogue scene touches again on the anti-mutant sentiment that was being pushed at the time. I still wish Claremont had done more to show organized campaigns promoting tolerance, too. Also, the N-word moment was ill-advised. I’m curious how readers at the time – especially black readers – felt about that panel.

The Beyonder’s presence drags the issue down a bit, unfortunately. A pretty common problem with the whole Secret Wars II event, actually. A lot of books had to tie into it, and few were improved by the tie-in. It just feels shoe-horned in. Which it probably was – I suspect Claremont had this issue planned, and then was told to use the Beyonder. There’s an issue coming up that does a lot more with the Beyonder. But he was always a stupid concept. The Beyonder sucks. Yeah, I said it, the Beyonder just flat-out sucks. He was never interesting, even in the original Secret Wars, which was overrated in the first place.

JRJr’s art isn’t too obtrusive here. It doesn’t hurt the story. There are a few panels that are actually pretty cool. There are also a few that kinda suck. But for the most part, it’s just there. It’s images the words are set to. Considering how I feel about Romita, Jr’s style, about the best I can hope for is that it doesn’t distract me.

I also want to talk about Amazing Spider-Man #267, by Peter David. “When Cometh the Commuter!” It’s one of the most absurd, ridiculous, hilarious Spider-Man stories ever. It’s so damned funny. Spider-Man chases a burglar into the suburbs. That’s all you need to know, is that it’s Spider-Man in the suburbs.

Song of the day: Classic Girl by Deidre & the Dark.

Alpha Flight #24 (1985, July)

I work at 6:30 tonight, but decided to squeeze in a post anyway, because I’m that nice. Today, by John Byrne, “Final Conflict.”

Final Conflict

Kind of a bland cover.

The team is gathered in a big crater, called the Eye of the World. Aurora’s pissed off that everyone’s being nice to Snowbird after she killed Walter. Snowbird explains he was possessed by a Great Beast, and had to be stopped. They’re at the Eye of the World because Snowbird hopes they can retrieve his soul from the Realm of the Beasts. Shaman arrives, having been summoned by Talisman. Then Northstar arrives, and Aurora punches him. He gets introduced to Talisman, then decides, since it wasn’t Aurora who called him, he may as well take his leave. He’s stopped by Snowbird, revealing a previously-unseen ability to compel others to help her in her battles. Shaman pulls out the Great Key so they can travel to the realm of the Great Beasts.

They leave Heather behind, since she has no powers, and cross over. They pass through some weird, trippy dimensions, until they finally arrive.

They’re in the Realm of the Great Beasts, which seems pretty normal, albeit ruined. Snowbird, Aurora and Northstar go scouting, and find Somon, the Artificer. Snowbird immediately attacks, and he brings forth Tundra, Kariooq the Corrupter, and Tolamaq the Fire Beast.

Back in the normal world, Heather’s worried. She’s recording her rambling thoughts to keep busy. Roger Bochs arrives in his Box suit. Heather’s glad to see him, but he has no idea what’s going on. Especially when Walter’s stone form starts to crumble.

In the other Realm, Alpha’s on the run from the Beasts. Snowbird turns into a polar bear to fight Somon. While she does, the other Beasts start attacking each other. Shaman stops Snowbird from killing Somon, since they have need of him. He agrees to help.

He leads them to the Pit of Ultimate Sadness, where all the souls reside of the people who used to inhabit the planet. That’s where Walter’s soul is. But the Pit has to be entered by one who loves him, one who hates him, and one who wields great power. Aurora’s the love, Northstar’s the hate, and Talisman’s the power. They’re attacked by Somon, who stabs them all. Snowbird feels the betrayal, and responds by stabbing Somon. Shaman mystically retrieves the others.

While the three living members try to figure out how to revive the three dead ones, the sphere of soul energy starts acting up. It brings the three back to life, and Shaman catches on. The globe is Walter’s soul. Somon’s death has the world they’re in coming to an end, so they pop back to the normal world.

Walter’s body has already disintegrated, as a result of the power of the Eye of the World. There’s nothing that can be done. But Shaman noticed the Box armour, and after Roger phases out, Walter’s soul is put inside it. Walter’s technically alive again – happy ending! But Snowbird says that with the Great Beasts destroyed, her purpose is fulfilled, and she has to leave.

In an epilogue, Heather explains to Doug about her leaving. She feels that, as team leader, it was her duty to let him know. After she leaves, Snowbird comes out of a back room. Turns out she stayed behind, to stay with Doug.

Pretty good issue. Unlike #12, this one actually had a happy ending. Walter doesn’t get his body back, but at least he’s not dead. This issue’s primarily plot-driven, with the search for Walter’s soul taking precedence over much in the way of character focus. Not to say the issue is devoid of character work – all the characters at least get a couple moments here and there. Snowbird gets the most focus, thanks to her fight with Somon. Her choosing to leave Alpha Flight was kind of an interesting idea, though the “teach me to be a woman” line was just . . . ugh. So cheesy and stupid. Plus, another strong, independent woman decides to give up her job so she can make a man happy. Isn’t that just typical? I’m joking, but it does actually bother me, in a weird way. Maybe if there’d been an indication that she was going to go back to the RCMP or something.

The three Great Beasts don’t end up coming across as much of a threat. I think Byrne just had too much story to be able to give them a real sense of menace. Somon fares a bit better, but even he goes down pretty easily. So the action could’ve been more exciting. Byrne’s art remains Byrne’s art. Not much more you can say about it, really. It’s always great.

I may as well also mention Shaman’s cameo in Iron Man #196. He tells Rhodey that the dimension they were in last issue is closed off, so Rhodey can’t go back to retrieve the armour he left behind.

Song of the day: We Don’t Want Your Body by Stars.

X-Men comics for February 25 2015

Comics!

All-New X-Men #38, by Brian Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino. Beast is talking about the need to bring understanding to the people who don’t have it, comparing others to cave people. Angel says he’ll do it, while Beast unlocks another level of consciousness and Gamora goes to kill Thanos. While they discuss how far they’re willing to go to bring peace to the universe, they sue the Black Vortex on a primitive alien race. Then they get blasted from above by a spaceship. Ronan the Accuser beats up Gamora and grabs the Vortex. On the moon of Spartax, everyone regroups after almost being killed in the previous chapter. The Slaughter Squad comes back around, and Illyana casts an invisibility spell. Peter calls up his ship to pick them off, and flips the bird to the Slaughter Squad on the way off. I’m so disappointed they blurred it out. Anyway, this issue’s awesome. So damned good. Bendis does a solid job on the writing. The discussion among the powered-up heroes is really interesting to read, and then the normal heroes trying to figure out what to do is also good. But what really elevates this issue is the art. Sorrentino is ridiculously good. The art is gorgeous, and the layouts visually interesting but also easy to follow. Also, he can actually do a pretty good variety of women. Storm looks gorgeous, Kitty looks pretty, Jean looks cute – they don’t all look the same. I like that he makes them pretty easy to distinguish. But mostly, just, holy shit, guys, he is such an amazing artist. I seriously cannot stress that enough.

Amazing X-Men #17, by Chris Yost and Jorge Fornes. There’s fighting going on. Man-Killer gets knocked out of the temple. Nightcrawler is glad to see Cain Marko, until Cain bashes him and Rachel. Northstar reminds Nightcrawler that forgiveness is bad. Iceman wants to know his problem, and Cain says he wants to hear them say they killed his brother. Storm is looking for the gem, and fights a few guys and a demon. Some weirdo in a robe shows up, and starts taunting her, so she just zaps the person with lightning. Crossbones and Firestar are still fighting. He takes her down and tells her to stay down, but she just fries him and says she doesn’t stay down. She asks him to stop before she’s forced to kill him, but then Pixie teleports in with Colossus. Pixie puts Crossbones to sleep. The Mists of Morpheus worked! Hurrah! Cain is still telling Iceman to say that the X-Men killed Xavier. Iceman points out he spent years trying to do that. The argument is interrupted when Rockslide slams through with the big demon. The reveal of who actually finds the Ruby is pretty neat. It’s a classic villain who hasn’t been seen in a long while. Someone I’ve actually thought should be brought back. This is an interesting and unexpected way to do it. The story itself is cool. Lots of fun fighting. Firestar vs. Crossbones was interesting, simply because the only reason it was even a fight was because she was holding back a lot. I’m glad it didn’t end up being a situation where Colossus took Crossbones down with one punch. The fact that Pixie defeated him was nice – for racist rapists, I’d rather women and people of colour be the ones who take them down. So much more interesting than to have the Neo-Nazi continually defeated by the living embodiment of his philosophy. Anyway, Firestar’s cool, and Rockslide’s awesome. He only gets a couple panels, and they’re both awesome. Fornes’ art is good. Very nice-looking. No particular complaints there. This arc has been really good, and it’s looking like it’ll have a pretty great finale.

Spider-Man and the X-Men #3, by Elliott Kalan and Marco Failla. On Mojo TV, it’s time for Late nite with Spider-Man, with Hellion and the X-Kids Band. No-Girl is being kept in line by four mental slaves, who keep burning out. Mojo is bored with the talk show, so decides to liven it up. He releases the villains – the Sinister Sixty-Six. During the fight, the heroes realize they’ve been kidnapped and forced to go on TV. We find out that Eye-Boy was the mole, as he was working for Mojo the whole time. But then it turns out it wasn’t Eye-Boy, it was Chameleon. They come back from commercial, so the holographic villains are brought back. Rockslide thinks it’s like the Danger Room, so Hellion and Ernst do a telekinetic Fastball Special. Ernst says she’s “Wolverining.” I like that term, and I will now use it to refer to someone doing something Wolverine-like. Especially if they’re the ball in a Fastball Special. They find themselves outside, in the Mojoverse, and Spider-Man gets recognized as a celebrity. They’re saved by ’90s Gambit, but Rockslide sees through the disguise – Gambit is Chameleon. Chameleon is disappointed he was discovered so quickly, pointing out how hard it is to do a French accent that poorly. Gambit-bashing amuses me. Also, X-Babies show up! Yay X-Babies! I love the X-Babies. This was OK. Could’ve used more X-Babies, because the X-Babies are awesome. So, so awesome. Anyway, the story was meh, the action was OK, the art was OK. This book is just . . . really, really meh, overall.

Wolverines #8, by Ray Fawkes and Juan Doe. Fang wants to know who killed Wolverine, so he can kill that person. He beats them all one-on-one, so they go after him as a group. He beats them that way, too. Then Daken tells him to either kill them or leave them alone, and Fang reveals that he meets up with Wolverine every year to have some fun. While he talks about that, Daken sneaks up and stabs him in the head. That doesn’t work, either. Flashback to Wolverine and Fang drunk. Laura talks to Fang, and says none of them killed him, and that they all understand Fang’s grief. This is . . . weird. Fang is pretty awesome. There is a weird reveal about Fang’s race, the Lupak, that doesn’t really make that much sense given previous stories. Actually, the fact that they have such trouble with him is weird, considering he’s normally defeated pretty easily whenever he shows up. It’s a fun story, just one that basically ignores most established canon about Fang. He doesn’t even look much like Fang, frankly. Ah, well. I do like the idea of Fang and Wolverine being drinking buddies who go on ridiculous adventures every year. It’s cute. I’m not keen on the art. It’s a bit weird, to me. o, this issue was definitely a mixed bag to me, and it seems to be kicking off an arc that’s going to be flat-out bizarre.

That’s the X-titles, here’s a few other comics.

Spider-Gwen #1, by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez. I ended up picking this up after all. I got the Skottie Young variant, naturally. Some teenagers – including Hobie Brown – are spraying graffiti on an anti-Spider-Woman sign, and officer Grimm starts climbing up after them, but then the Vulture shows up, with a couple vultures. He flies off with Grimm. Spider-Gwen, meanwhile, is annoyed at how little appreciation she gets. She beats up the Bodega Bandit while looking at her phone, because he is the worst arch-nemesis ever. She gets a call from her father, which she rejects. He’s in the hospital with the critically-injured Grimm, and is worried about her. He tells Foggy Nelson that facial recognition software has identified Adrian Toomes as the guy who attacked Grimm, but then Foggy says he’s been relieved of command of the Special Forces Task Force. In prison, Aleksei is being “interrogated,” which means he’s being beaten up, by Captain Frank Castle. Gwen takes a stolen cash register back to a bodega, and the owner is kind of a dick. A TV is talking about the Mary Janes, who have become a hit thanks to the attack at their show. Gwen goes to see how the Mary Janes are doing. Apparently, they’re having problems finding a new drummer. This was . . . OK. It’s definitely very cool and hip and all that. Honestly? It might be too cool and hip for me. I was never a cool guy. I was always a loser, a dork. So I don’t think I can actually connect to this series the way I should. I’m just not cool enough to enjoy this. Ms. Marvel is so great because she’s such a complete dork. Spider-Gwen? She’s not a dork. She’s got some major problems in her life. She’s clearly feeling underappreciated, and feeling like she’s got something to prove. But frankly, most of the problems she’s having seem to stem from sheer vanity and ego. The art is slick and stylish and cool. So is the writing. So it’s a good book. But it’s definitely not for me, I think.

SHIELD #3, by Mark Waid and Alan Davis. Some guys have assaulted Strange’s house, and one of them opens a book to take a look. Spider-Man is riding on Lola’s hood while Coulson yells at him not to scratch the paint. They arrive at Strange’s house, but SHIELD can’t get in. SHIELD has brought in Pavel Plotkin Rasputin, a random old villain who once shot Dr. Strange and tried to rob his house. After that, he actually retired from villainy and started a family – his son once captured Cloak while trying to summon a demon. Plotkin, Coulson and Spider-Man get into the house, but the doors close before the other agents can get in. The three are attacked by guns that fire spells, but they’re weak ones, so Plotkin can break them. The three move through the house, fighting bad guys. Outside, an agent starts transforming into a monster. This was fun. It was cool seeing such a random, Z-list character as Plotkin – I do wonder why he was in SHIELD custody, though. Last time he was seen, he was a family man who’d sworn off crime. I think he sold insurance or something. Presumably, Waid hadn’t read that Cloak and Dagger story, and just read the old one where he almost killed Strange. Anyway, he was pretty fun here. A bit condescending towards the “mundanes” who can’t understand what they’re dealing with, while also regularly being overwhelmed by it all. Spider-Man’s always a fun guest star. Coulson was shown outside his element, with no real idea what’s going on. Davis always does a solid art job, and this is no exception. This actually feels different from his usual style. It doesn’t feel like an Alan Davis comic, somehow. It’s not that it’s bad. It just doesn’t quite look like his usual work.

The Wicked + The Divine #8 was awesome. Just so much gorgeous work on the art. I loved the lay-out, with the “1-2-3-4″ panels. And Laura being brought into Dionysus’ party was ridiculously trippy and awesome. There’s also tons of character moments that were really cool. It’s just a fantastic issue, and you should totally be buying this series.

Pull list for February 25 2015

I’m off tomorrow, so reviews as normal.

I’ll go to the store for: All-New X-Men #38, by Brian Bendis and Mahmud Asrar; Spider-Man 2099 #9, by Peter David and Will Sliney; The Wicked + The Divine #8, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.

I’ll also review: Amazing X-Men #17, by Chris Yost and Jorge Fornes; Deadpool #42, by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Salva Espin; SHIELD #3, by Mark Waid and Alan Davis; Spider-Gwen #1, by Jason Latour and Javier Rodriguez; Spider-Man and the X-Men #3, by Elliott Kalan and Marco Failla; Wolverines #8, by Ray Fawkes and Andy Clarke.

So that’s three books I’m picking up, and 7 reviews. A light week, which is nice, after last week was so heavy.

I’m most excited for WicDiv and ANXM. Both great books. Gillen and McKelvie never disappoint, so WicDiv’s been excellent from the start, and a party issue should be plenty of fun. ANXM’s been really good all along, too, so it should be a good issue.

Marvel’s May solicits are out. There’s actually depressingly little X-Men stuff. There is Uncanny X-Men #600, which marks the end of Bendis’ run on the franchise. I’m sad to see him go, but excited to see how he ends it. (Also, UXM #35 is apparently going to have a fight between Illyana and Mystique. Kick her ass, Illyana! I like Illyana.) That’s the only X-title I’ll be picking up that month. The other X-titles are Storm, Magneto and Wolverines. There’s also an Old Man Logan mini starting, by Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino, who did gorgeous art in the UXM and ANXM Annuals.

As little interest as I have in Secret Wars, there are a few books that should be pretty fun. They’re going to have a couple anthology tie-ins. Battleworld’s first issue will have the Punisher possessed by Dr. Strange (an idea from a What If story where Wolverine became Lord of Vampires) and being chased by the New Fantastic Four (Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Ghost Rider) from Walt Simonson’s Fantastic Four run. That should be fun. Even better: MODOKs! Another anthology is Journals, the first issue of which will have a story about Lady Kate of 1602. That should be fun. There’s going to be Secret Wars 2099, by Peter David and Will Sliney. It’s going to introduce the Avengers of 2099, including a female Captain America. Who looks like this. She actually looks like a female version of Captain America, not just a woman in a Captain America costume. It’s rare to see women in comics who look this muscular. It’s cool. I like it.

There’s A-Force, of course. I talked about that a couple weeks ago. It should be good. I have confidence in Wilson and Bennett. There’s a new variant cover by Russell Dauterman that looks really, really cool. There’s a MODOK: Assassin mini, and MODOK’s always fun, so that should be entertaining. It’s written by Chris Yost, who definitely likes humour in his books. Silk #4 will have her going on a date with Johnny Storm, which I like mainly because it’s still keeping her away from Peter. But it should be cute. Especially with Stacey Lee’s art, because damn she can draw. Spider-Woman #7 has six amazing villains listed. Cyclone, Goldbug, Mauler, Kangaroo, Big Wheel and Senor goddam Suerte! He was an old, old Power Man foe, one of Luke Cage’s more ridiculous villains, and he fought a guy with a fish head. Senor Suerte is that level of ridiculous. So I am so excited to see him showing up again. I love stupid villains. Love them. I think they’re amazing.

Ms. Marvel #15 continues the story of her having a crush, and I am so excited for that, you guys. It looks like she’s going to end up heartbroken, and that’s sad, but it’s also going to be totally adorbz. Captain Marvel #15 has Carol finally return to Earth. Hurrah! Just in time for the end of the world. Oops. Oh well, still awesome. I’ve enjoyed her space adventures, but it’s going to be great having her back on Earth. Squirrel Girl #5 will be a bunch of mini-comics, and it’s going to be awesome because duh. Thor #8 will finally reveal who Thor actually is. I think I remember seeing an interview where Jason Aaron said he wasn’t going to drag out the reveal. Hey, uh, Jason? 8 frigging issues is dragging out the reveal. Frankly, holding off for four issues was pushing it. 8 issues? That’s stupid. Superior Iron Man #9 shows Pepper in the Rescue armour, which is pretty great. I liked her in the armour. It was neat. So it’s neat to see it make a comeback. Guardians Team-Up #5 will have Rocket team-up with the Pet Avengers. The Pet Avengers! And they’re fighting the Pets of Evil Masters! It’s going to be amazing.

My May pull list is: Operation SIN #5; Rocket Raccoon #11; Spider-Gwen #4 (maybe); Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5; Uncanny X-Men #35; Angela Asgard’s Assassin #6; Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #8; Captain Marvel #15; Ms. Marvel #15; Silk #4; Silver Surfer #12; Spider-Man 2099 #12; A-Force #1; Loki Agent of Asgard #14; Uncanny X-Men #600; Secret Wars 2099 #1. So 16 comics. There are a couple others I’m on the fence about, but which I probably won’t end up getting.

I finally got around to watching My Little Pony: Rainbow Rocks. It was really good. Evil defeated, lessons learned, all that stuff. But man, the music was great. Daniel Ingram killed it with the music. Some of the best music in the show’s history. Maybe nothing as catchy as, say, Winter Wrap-Up or At the Gala, but a few songs came damned close, and they did rock pretty well. Battle of the Bands is a pretty badass villain song, and then the villains get two more awesome songs. (Speaking of the villains, Sonata was clearly the best. She was adorable. Like Pinkie Pie.) Also, the women who voiced the villains have fantastic singing voices. So do most of the main cast, but those three really excelled. There was some good humour, and some really good shout-outs to stuff from the show. Also, I love that DJ Pon-3 basically saves the day. She doesn’t get any lines, and she still manages to steal a scene. As a side note, the movie is a Canadian-American production. Woot for Canada! Anyway. Great movie. And now I still have to wait a few more months for the next season of the show. Dammit.

I finished reading Nanowhere, by Chris Howard. Here’s me review from Goodreads:

This is a bit of an odd book. The writing style seems aimed at Young Adults, but some of the concepts seem like they’d be a bit beyond most teenagers. Of course, some of the concepts are also beyond most people, regardless of age. Still, it does make for a very niche audience. Weird science aside, the writing style is generally fairly simple, even when describing some occasionally gruesome scenes. The perspective jumps around quite a bit. Also, while most of the book is third-person, there are chapters written in the first-person. These chapters explore how the protagonist first met and became friends with his girlfriend. Speaking of the girlfriend, it feels like she gets some short shrift at times. The main protagonist talks a lot about how amazing she is, but it mostly happens behind the scenes, and we don’t get much insight into how she feels about events. There is a nice subversion of the “damsel in distress” direction the book seemed to have taken, but it would’ve been nice to have actually seen her at work.

This wasn’t a bad book, but neither was it particularly great. There are some weird bits, scenes or lines that stick out awkwardly. But there’s also some interesting concepts, and even without having read any other books in the series, the world Howard created is explained clearly enough to avoid being confusing.

It might be at least worth checking out at a library.

There’s lots of stuff about nanotechnology, and even more about the nature of consciousness. It’s definitely some fairly smart stuff. But it’s almost too smart for its writing style, which is very much YA-level. But then there’s also a character who gets toes burned off. So the writing style isn’t quite on the level of the content.

So that puts me at six books finished so far this year. I’m well ahead of schedule. Next up will be The Ages of the X-Men. That should be fun. It’s just a collection of essays about the X-Men. So, yay.

I went over to my friend’s last night. We played Mario and watched Attack the Block. Really good movie. It’s a British movie, about an alien invasion in a poor London neighbourhood. It touches a bit on the dissatisfaction among the youths that led to them becoming criminals in the first place. It also shows that they’re not really bad kids, just lashing out against a world that they feel has left them behind. It’s very smart, but it’s also pretty funny, and really cool. Really good movie. I’d definitely recommend it.

My work schedule this week is 3:30-11:30 Thursday, 6:30-10:30 Friday, 8:30-5 Sunday, 3:30-11:30 Tuesday, off next Wednesday. So I’ll do posts Saturday and Monday, and maybe Friday, depending on how I feel and when I get up and stuff. And my next pull list will be next Tuesday.

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