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Pull list for October 26 2016; Resurrxion

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I work late again tomorrow, argh.

I’ll go to the store for: All-New All-Different Avengers #15, by Mark Waid, Adam Kubert and Paul Mounts; Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #12, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain; Ms. Marvel #12, by G. Willow Wilson, Mirka Andolf and Ian Herring; My Little Pony Friends Forever #33, by Christina Rice and Tony Fleecs; New Avengers #17, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov; Nighthawk #6, by David Walker, Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain; Silver Surfer #7, by Dan Slott and the Allreds; Spider-Man/Deadpool #10, by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales and Jason Keith; Ultimates #12, by Al Ewing and Christian Ward; Vision #12, by Tom King, Gabriel Walta and Jordie Bellaire.

I’ll also review: Civil War II #6, by Brian Bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor; Deadpool #21, by Gerry Duggan, Eric Doescher, Matteo Lolli, Bruno Oliveira, Guru-eFX and Nick Filardi; Extraordinary X-Men #15, by Jeff Lemire, Victor Ibanez, Guillermo Mogorron and Jay Ramos.

So that’s 10 goddamn comics I’m picking up, and 3 additional reviews. Son of a bitch. I hate when that happens in weeks when I work on Wednesday.

Lots of good stuff, though. ANAD Avengers will be about Thor’s feelings on CWII, so should be fun. Moon Girl is such a cute book, and this one will have Lunella dealing with Kid Kree’s crush on her. (It also has a gorgeous cover. Reeder is amazing.) Ms. Marvel is always great, and Andolf’s a fantastic guest artist, and I’m excited to see Kamala’s family in Pakistan. New Avengers has been ridiculously fun, and I’m hoping for more Toni/Aikku in this issue. Nighthawk has been great racial commentary and the climax looks like it’ll be very exciting. Silver Surfer is one of the best things Marvel’s putting out, full of fun and whimsy and heart, and it’s just so good you guys. Spider-Man/Deadpool has been a blast, though I do have concerns about Itsy-Bitsy. Ultimates is crazy high-concept genius, and it looks like this final issue will do a lot to set up Ultimates 2. And Vision has been one of the best comics Marvel has ever put out, and I am not ready for the finale. I’m scared. I know I’ll cry. I just know it.

So I should talk about Resurrxion. (Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a capital ‘X’. It amuses me to write it lower-case.) It’s going to be a branding thing, rather than an event. That’s pretty well what I expected. I saw some predicting it would be an event, but I figured it would be a branding, similar to Now, or to Divided We Stand after Messiah Complex. The name is meant to evoke the X-Men rising from death, with mutants no longer on the verge of extinction, and the X-Men once again becoming big heroes. That should be fun. There will be softball, guys! Softball! It’s been too long. I always loved the softball games. They were fun. So I’m very much excited for that to come back. As for the books . . .

Iceman will depend on the creative team. I don’t care about Iceman as a character, so unless it’s one hell of a creative team, I’ll just see about getting a digital code, rather than pick it up myself. As I’ve said before, I do think they should get a gay man as writer. Jean Grey, I’m more open to. Again, it’ll depend somewhat on the creative team, but I love Teen Jean, so as long as the creative team doesn’t suck, I’ll probably be interested. Cable, meh. He’s not a character I have a lot of passion for. We’ll see. Weapon X, meh. We’ll see what that book is. But it’s definitely working at a disadvantage, in terms of my interest. Generation X, I’m almost definitely going to pick up. I would love for it to be a Generation X reunion series, but I get the feeling it’ll actually be about a new generation of young mutants. Still, I love almost all those books – New Mutants, Generation X, New X-Men, Generation Hope, Bendis’ UXM kids. Aaron’s kids are the only ones I haven’t liked. So a book about young mutants is almost certainly going to go on my pull list.

And then there’s X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold. Really going for ’90s nostalgia with those names, but I’m not going to complain. Indications are the books will be more optimistic. So there’s very good odds I’ll pick them up. As always, we’ll see who the creative teams are. I would guess Lemire on one of them, and Bunn on the other. In which case . . . I don’t know, man. (And one of them will probably have Greg frigging Land, in which case I’m not spending my money on it.) I’m not keen on Lemire’s writing on EXM, but if it’s a more optimistic book, then maybe? Same with Bunn. I enjoyed Fearless Defenders more than I’ve enjoyed UXM. I really, really hope at least one of the books has a female writer. Preferably a woman of colour. The X-Men franchise needs to do better when it comes to diverse creators. Marvel as a whole needs to do better, but I look at the X-Men franchise as being especially in need of diverse voices, given its themes.

Regardless, I am overall happy with the announced line-up, though disappointed at the lack of further details, and especially disappointed about not knowing who will be involved. I hope Marvel doesn’t tease that out too long, before letting us know who the creative teams will be.

So I finished some books I should talk about. The Fettered Flame, by E.D.E. Bell. My review:

This was really good. The first book was a solid introduction to the setting(s), the characters and the conflicts. With all the set-up out of the way, this book gets to delve deeper into everything, to build on the foundations, and to escalate everything. It does this very well, taking intriguing ideas and making them more compelling. The characters are well-developed. And there sure are a lot of them. There’s over a dozen viewpoint characters, though some get less focus than others. It’s interesting seeing which characters get a shift in focus from the first book. A couple characters who were major parts of the first book end up moving a little more into the background here, while lesser characters from the first get more attention.

In my review of the first book, I warned that there was some vegan elements, and for readers to be careful. I’m sorry to say that it’s a lot more prominent here, as Bell forces her pro-vegetable agenda down our throats. Gross. (I’m joking around, of course.) Also much more prominent, though, is the LGBT content. The first book had a little bit of LGBT content, mostly restricted to the dragon world (though there was a human lesbian couple in the first book, and they continue into this one). This one has a lot more, and a lot more of it in the human world, with a couple of the major human characters being revealed as gay. There’s even a transgender dragon. So it’s nice to see more of that.

The most frustrating thing about this book is that it ended. I’m very much invested in what’s going on, and now I have to wait for the next book.

I’ll have to keep my eyes open for the Kickstarter of the final book. I read Victoria, Jr. #2, Little Prometheus, by Manny Trembley.

So this was wonderful. It’s a cute little story about a human girl with a Frankenstein Monster family, and her quest to find the Flame of the Gods to let them feel what it’s like to be alive. Along the way, she makes friends. She’s a good person, irrepressibly happy and positive and optimistic. She’s so full of love and joy and it’s charming. The art is adorable, bright and sweet, and downright gorgeous. This is a really good-looking comic, and worth reading for the art alone, even aside from the great writing. This is a fantastic all-ages comic that I would highly recommend, whether you have kids or not. But especially if you have kids. They’ll love it.

And I finally, finally, got around to The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson.

So this was a delight. It was a Squirrel Girl graphic novel! All the humour, heart and education you’d expect of Squirrel Girl, but more! The plot was goofy, and aware of its own goofiness, but embraced the goofiness with sincerity. It helps that Squirrel Girl’s clone isn’t evil. She’s a good person. She’s just unwilling to compromise. She’s more extreme than Doreen, but she’s not truly evil. She is very clever, though, as she takes down various heroes and villains in very clever and creative ways. The book is hilarious, with jokes on almost every page. The comedy does make the more dramatic moments land harder, as well, so bonus. The book is very positive, making a case for cooperation and understanding and talking things through. It’s also got lots of fun facts in it. There’s some basic Computer Science ideas, and there’s little bits of trivia scattered throughout. The art is cute and fun, as well.

This was great. I loved it. You should read it.

I loved this comic. We need more Squirrel Girl graphic novels. We are getting a Squirrel Girl novel. That should be great. I’ll read it.

My Little Pony’s 6th season has ended. The finale was great. I’m sad to see the season end, since it means a wait for Season 7 to begin. But I’m very excited for Season 7.

My schedule for the week: 3:15-9:45 tomorrow, 10:30-7 Sunday, 3-8:30 Monday, 10:30-5:15 Tuesday. So posts Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Though Thursday is a “maybe,” because I’m hoping to hang out with a friend.

And that’s it for this week.

New Mutants #71 (1989, January)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by Simonson, Blevins, Williamson, Oliver and Rosen, “Limbo.”


S’ym’s got some pretty great hair.

I have to mention that Gosamyr bothers me on the cover. It strikes me as a little sexualized, a little exploitative. The way she’s depicted on the cover feels reminiscent of old Damsel In Distress-style covers. Ah, well.

The Mutants enter Limbo, and Illyana can’t get them back out. While fighting demons, they talk about Destiny’s vision, and learning, and all that. S’ym beats Illyana and grabs her Soulsword, but her armour still protects her. He threatens to kill her friends, so she summons stepping discs to get them all away. N’astirh contacts S’ym, and they bicker. I like their animosity. It makes sense for two potent demons to hate each other.

The Mutants are in Belasco’s throne room. She recaps how she first ended up in Limbo, and her time spent there.

New Mutants #71

Gorgeous panel.

“I was only six years old.” That line is fantastic. So much packed into 6 words. And it’s a fantastic image. Illyana, sitting on Belasco’s throne, looking broken. Just her outline in red and black. It’s gorgeous work from the art team. Just stellar. Anyway, she continues on – talks about Nightcrawler’s death, about Cat, and about Storm.

New Mutants #71

Poor Illyana. And another gorgeous panel.

Your heart really breaks for her. The others all say she couldn’t have killed the X-Men, since they died much later.

New Mutants #71

Here, she’s just terrifying.

The demons show up, and Illyana teleports them all away again, this time to Colossus’ corpse. Rahne’s on the verge of a complete breakdown, but they’re all distracted by a scream. They see Illyana, as a little girl, being chased by S’ym.

New Mutants #71

A demon telling a woman to smile. Appropriate.

The past few years have had a lot more attention put on the misogyny inherent in men telling women to smile. Simonson was tearing those men apart a long time ago. Rahne tries to jump to the girl’s protection, but Illyana explains the situation, and says they can’t save her, because she needs to grow up to be who she is so she can get the others home. They then see S’ym getting attacked by N’astirh. Illyana has no idea who N’astirh is, but she can sense his power. Rahne wants to save Illyana, no matter the price.

Back in New York, the Hellfire Club sees the Empire State Building is growing, and fight off attacks from inanimate objects.

New Mutants #71

That’s pretty horrifying.

Something I feel is worth highlighting: When a bunch of people get in an elevator, and it starts killing them, Emma says she feels their screams, and she’s genuinely shaken up. This seems like another step on Emma’s road to redemption. She’s not as evil as she used to appear.

Back to Limbo! The Mutants next teleport over to N’astirh, still in Limbo’s past. We get his backstory: He wanted to be Belasco’s apprentice, but Belasco took only human apprentices. So before Illyana could destroy Belasco’s main book of spells, N’astirh stole it, traveled far into Limbo’s past, and mastered all the spells. He offers to help Illyana, saying he loves her. He tells her she allowed S’ym to take her Soulsword, because she was afraid, and that she can reclaim it. To accept her true self. And he also says he hopes she’ll one day return, to be his Dark Bride.

The Mutants teleport back to S’ym, and Illyana kicks his ass and takes back her Soulsword.

New Mutants #71

And she gets a makeover.

She opens a portal back to Earth, but it’s much bigger than she intended, and she can’t close it.

This issue’s great. The writing and art work beautifully to tell a tragic story. It really highlights what a tragic character Illyana is. She had such a horrible upbringing in Limbo, faced so much horror, and it left deep scars on her. And she tries so hard to be good, to be better than she believes she is, but that desperation makes it easy for her to be tricked into doing the wrong things. Every time she breaks down in tears, you just want to give her a hug, and every time she’s about to make a mistake, you want to scream at the book, “No! Don’t do it!” But she’s playing out her role, and it’s so sad.

Simonson’s dialogue is fantastic. Just the right amount of melodrama. Loads of angst, but it makes perfect sense, given the events of the issue. Most of the characters don’t get a lot to do, but Illyana really shines, and Rahne also gets to continue showing her love of Illyana. I love that she wants to protect Illyana, to literally take away the pain she suffered, even if it means Rahne has to suffer instead. The relationship between Rahne and Illyana is one of my favourite things about Simonson’s run.

The art is also excellent in this issue. Blevins, Williamson and Buccellato do great work together. There’s so much emotion. Blevins’ expressions and body language are absolutely packed with feelings. And Oliver outdoes herself on the colours. Seriously, she was one of the best colour artists out there, and this is stellar work even by her standards. The uses of red and black are perfect. Gorgeous work.

This is a fantastic issue. One of the best issues of Simonson’s entire run on New Mutants.

Uncanny X-Men #240 (1989, January)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). We now start in on 1989! It’s a long year. I think it’ll actually be 116 posts. Yeah. Ouch. Anyway. Today, by Claremont, Silvestri, Green, Oliver and Orzechowski, “Inferno Part the First: Strike the Match.”

Strike the Match

This cover’s actually kinda bland, given the story.

We open in the Rainbow Room, in the RCA Building. The band plays as Alex and Maddie dance through the empty restaurant. They flirt a bit and it’s pretty sweet, really.

Uncanny X-Men #240


Ah, new love. It gets really goddamn cheesy. Back inside, some paranormal researchers are arguing with each other. A couple of them are claiming the Empire State Building has grown, while one says it’s impossible. The maitre d’ tells them to leave, and when they get in the elevator, it eats them.

Uncanny X-Men #240

Yeah, this shit is darkly comic.

One thing that definitely deserves to be highlighted is how Maddie’s dress won’t stop changing throughout this whole scene. These three panels are all one after the other:

Uncanny X-Men #240

Goblin Queen!

Uncanny X-Men #240

This is genuinely unsettling.

It really adds to the whole air of wrongness. The fact that Alex doesn’t notice that her dress is clearly changing from moment to moment shows just how under her spell he’s fallen. Gateway teleports Alex and Maddie back home, then Maddie leaves again.

Maddie is out at Bard College, the graveyard where Jean’s tombstone is. She’s recalling the scene in UXM #175, when Scott said goodbye to Jean before his wedding to Maddie. And she remembers the wedding. Maddie smashes Jean’s tombstone. Jean’s parents are there, and she attacks them and transforms them into demons. Man, the Greys have it so rough. N’astirh arrives, and Maddie tells him who’s boss.

Uncanny X-Men #240

A pretty definitive Maddie Pryor moment.

That is such a great line. It’s a declaration of independence. A refusal to be anyone else’s pawn or toy. It’s pretty great. And even though she’s a villain, it makes her easy to actually root for. She tells N’astirh she wants her baby, and he says he has a lead.

Back to Australia! For some pretty sharp mood whiplash, as Rogue and Longshot are rollerblading. Dazzler gets pissed at Rogue making moves on her boyfriend.

Uncanny X-Men #240

Gotta side with Rogue here.

Dazzler attacks Rogue, and I normally wouldn’t share this much of a page, but honestly, the entire thing is gold.

Uncanny X-Men #240

Poor Elizabeth.

Psylocke not getting to relax is one of my favourite Outback running gags. I wish it had happened more often. There was this, and there was Storm crashing into her tub. It’s so hilarious. Also great: Longshot chewing out Alison. It’s sad, because I really do love them as a couple in this era, but he’s right. She was out of line. She let her jealousy get the better of her, and she started treating Longshot as her property. It’s sad for both of them. Anyway, Alex tells Storm and Wolverine that he thinks Maddie’s computers may have found the Marauders, in the Morlock Alley.

Meanwhile, N’astirh has taken Maddie to the Nebraska orphanage where her son had been. It seems really familiar to her, and she sees a creche, and sees herself in it. She wipes off some dust, and sees her name.

To the Alley! The marauders are setting up their new base of operations. Blockbuster goes into some darkness.

Uncanny X-Men #240

Colossus is so polite.

And the fight is on! Dazzler takes out Sabretooth, because Dazzler is frigging awesome.

Uncanny X-Men #240

Hell yes.

Given Sabretooth likes to rape and murder women, I love when he’s taken out by women. She also takes out Scalphunter. Longshot catches Riptide’s blades, which is frigging awesome. Go, Longshot. The fight is great. Because they have the element of surprise, the X-Men just kick ass. Oh, and Blockbuster gets captured by a wall. Malice/Polaris uses Colossus to make a hole the Marauders can escape through, but they pause when they get to the surface and see the city. And back in Nebraska, Maddie is introduced to Sinister.

This issue’s great. The long-awaited rematch between the X-Men and the Marauders is very satisfying, as the X-Men methodically tear the Marauders apart. I do like Malice continuing to be the smartest of the Marauders. Interestingly, the bulk of the ass-kicking, from the X-Men, comes from the ones the Marauders hadn’t met before. Dazzler and Psylocke each take out two, and Longshot catching Riptide’s blades was really cool. So the fight is really great.

But the real heart of the issue is Maddie. She is very unsettling here. The dress is a particularly effect detail, so bravo to Silvestri and Green for that. The way it keeps changing is a fantastic touch. The art in that scene does a great job with her in general. She routinely just kinda lurks, often with the lower half of her face not visible, so you just see her eyes looking really creepy. It highlights her role in the growing weirdness of the city. The art – Silvestri, Green and Oliver, working together – makes that entire section, with Maddie and Alex. Claremont’s writing is fine, but the art is what makes it work. On the flipside, the dialogue is much better in the Outback section. Where the art is still great – especially the panels of Rogue crashing the portrait sketching – but the dialogue is especially strong. Dazzler’s possessiveness of Longshot makes for some great drama.

So, yeah, this issue’s great. Love it.

There’s also Classic X-Men #29, a reprint of X-Men #123. There’s no added content this time around. So, it’s right to the back-up, by Claremont, Brigman, Roy Richardson, Oliver and Rosen. Storm and Colossus arrive in Russia. They land a little way from his home, and she leaves him to continue his walk back to his farm. Little Illyana is happy to see him. Remember that this takes place before she was captured by Arcade and brought to North America and went to Limbo. His parents bring him inside for a meal. They look at sketches he’s made of his adventures, and remark how fantastic they are. He decides to pay a visit to an old friend, but the friend is dead. He died in action in Afghanistan. Nearby, a tanker full of gas crashes and goes on fire. He moves it away, and the people cheer him, except for one wounded young soldier who calls him a traitor. He says that if he’d gone into battle with them, so many might not have been killed or wounded. Colossus is arrested by the local militia. In prison, a KGB agent, Colonel Vazhin, takes charge of him. He drives him out into the middle of nowhere and releases him. Which actually comes with an interesting reveal:

Classic X-Men #29

I think this is the only place it’s mentioned.

It makes sense to me that superheroes would be forbidden from military use. Too much risk of escalation. Anyway, Vazhin tells Colossus he can’t stay in Russia, and to go back to the X-Men.

It’s an odd little story. Sad. Colossus just wants to return home and help on the farm, but politics ruins it and he’s forbidden from staying. Poor guy. The story does feel a bit weak, though. Odd pacing, it feels like. I think this could’ve been longer, really. We needed to see more of Colossus reconnecting with his home. Claremont and Brigman do their best with the space available, and it’s still very good. Just not as good as it could’ve been with even a few more pages. Ah, well.

The art is great. It’s June Brigman. She’s such a great artist. Richardson’s inks are good, and Oliver on colours is always good. So, it’s a good-looking story.

X-Men comics of October 19 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I only started reading comics at 1 am, so I might be briefer than usual. Which is probably a good thing, honestly.

All-New X-Men #14, by Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Nolan Woodard. It starts with this:

All-New X-Men #14

I like Hopeless’ OCD take on Scott.

Anyway, he’s laid up and everyone’s busy so he’s settling in for an evening of video games. Hank comes out of his lab for energy drinks, and has some weird little monster in his lab jacket pocket. Scott realizes Hank is hiding something, and he wants to know what. He sends a drone through the air vents, but Hank smashes it. Scott tries instead to get into the lab through an escape hatch beneath their RV, but that goes . . . not well. Next, he tries faking an emergency that he needs Hank’s help for. Scott finally gives up, but then a big tentacle smashes through the window. He then proves himself terrible at one-liners.

All-New X-Men #14

Oh, Scott. You try.

And then he shows the educational value of video games.

All-New X-Men #14

It’s true!

This is a really fun issue. It’s a fun Scott issue, which may sound like an odd thing to say, but Scott can totally be fun. As this issue shows. It shows his OCD-ness, his tactical mind, and, uh, how bored he is with a broken leg. It’s a lot of fun. Bagley’s art remains excellent, and he draws the monster really well, and the video game visuals are clever. All in all? Really good issue.

Death of X #2, by Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Aaron Kuder, Jay Leisten, Jay David Ramos and Morry Hollowell. Storm tells Medusa that the Terrigen Mists are now poison to mutants. Medusa pledges to do whatever she can to help. By the way, can I just say Kuder does one hell of a mohawk?

Death of X #2

The mohawk of a Queen

One of the Terrigen clouds is heading for Madrid, so Medusa sends Crystal there to evacuate anyone X-gene positive, while Storm takes a team to help. Then Scott, via Emma, sends a telepathic message to everyone on Earth telling them about the mutant poisoning. He implies it’s also lethal to humans. He’s trying to incite fear and hatred. Aw, man, that’s lame. In Madrid, people start rioting. Crystal makes an effort, with Iso, to keep the cloud from actually passing over Madrid, and Storm shows up to help, and honestly, it’s pretty frigging badass for all three of them. On Muir, a bunch of mutants have gathered. Colossus, Guido, Rahne, Rockslide, Sunfire, Warpath. Another I can’t quite make out. They’re making burial cairns. This issue does have some really interesting Scott/Emma stuff. It’s nice seeing Emma again. It’s been too long. There is an element of Comedy of Errors with the plot, with Scott and his side repeatedly misconstruing things the Inhumans are doing, as proof of the Inhumans hating and attacking mutants. There’s a scene near the end that definitely makes Scott’s position look more reasonable, even if it is based on a misunderstanding. His speech about the Inhumans trying to kill everyone is something I’m not sold on. It feels like he went too far. On the other hand, he’s just seen a bunch of dead mutants, and he’s dying, himself, so he’s not thinking very clearly. Storm is a Boss here. It’s shocking, actually, given how weak Lemire’s written her in EXM. It’s nice to see her come across as strong. The art is fine. It gets a bit vague at times. Faces get too vague. But for the most part, it’s fine. This is still a pretty OK issue.

X-Men ’92 #8, by Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Alti Firmansyah and Matt Milla. In Gize, Apocalypse returns from a trip to Limbo, saying the demons won’t help them. He’s accompanied by Exodus and Bastion, and is informed by Mystique that the X-Men were sent off-planet. Apocalypse says they need the X-Men to beat mutantkind’s greatest foe. At Lilapalooza, loser mutants are fighting X-Factor. On the other world, Storm and Brand meet with Gladiator and the Imperial Guard to get them off the X-Brood’s backs. And then a fight. And it’s all very meh and I don’t care. Whatever. It’s written better than usual, largely because it’s just a big brawl with no real opportunity for ripping off other stories, though, hey! Coming up is The Twelve! Back to ripping off other stories!

That’s the X-titles. Here’s other stuff.

Black Panther #7, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story and Laura Martin. T’Challa’s being held by Stane, who, in classic supervillain fashion, does a supervillain rant. T’Challa figures he’s gotten enough out of Stane, so he calls in the Crew – Storm, Luke, Misty, Manifold. Fight! Storm makes a callback to X-Men #122, when Misty and Luke found her in Harlem. Woot! Nice callback! Fenris is there, and they attack Storm, with another callback, to UXM #194 and 197. Hell yes for deep cut callbacks! (The Vanisher is there, too.) And T’Challa prepares to kick Stane’s ass, with both hands tied behind his back. Meanwhile, Changamire meets with Tetu, and we see Shuri with Mother in the Djalia. This issue is great. It’s exceptional. There’s some fun action early on, with T’Challa’s Crew against Stane’s people. Which leads to one of the best moments of the issue: “Seriously? With both hands literally tied behind your back?” But even better is the continuing story of Shuri in the Djalia. She’s learning the wisdom of her ancestors, and it’s making for a fascinating story, even for a futurist like myself. The whole mythical aspect is fascinating, and makes Wakanda as a whole feel so much deeper and more complex. I love it. Sprouse’s art is good, though I’ll admit, I miss Stelfreeze on this book. Martin’s colours remain gorgeous, especially in the Djalia portion. This is a series you really should be reading.

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat! #11, by Kate Leth, Brittney Williams and Rachelle Rosenberg. It opens with a flashback a couple weeks ago, and four bad girls breaking into a Soho loft. They graffiti the place up. Turns out it was some musician jackass who wrote an insulting song about one of the girls. Black Cat saw them in action, and offers them a job. In the present, Patsy and Jubilee are giving Bailey some self-defence lessons. Ian is still not interested in superheroing. Black Cat and her Black Cats are watching Patsy, and apparently, even though they were friends in a mini, Black Cat didn’t know Patsy is Hellcat. Which doesn’t make sense. I guess Leth’s just ignoring that mini? Oh well. Anyway, this issue’s cute and fun but still has some really good heartfelt moments. It’s wonderful. The art is so adorable. There’s also another Hamilton reference, apparently, as Ian is singing something from Disc 2. Which is apparently sad? I don’t know. But Hamilton was goddamn everywhere not long ago, so if you obsessed over it like everyone else did, then maybe that’ll get your attention here?

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi. Doreen, her mom and her Nancy are rescued by squirrels, and Doreen takes her mom and Nancy away, and they learn Enigmo has taken over North America. Meanwhile, Brain Drain kidnaps Ant-Man to help him help Squirrel Girl. And he also steals the prototype jet left in Scott’s protection. Scott is not happy about either of these things, and wants to go back home. As they canoe off the island, Doreen and Scott talk about talking to animals. Scott says he doesn’t talk to ants, he just mind-controls them, which isn’t true! He’s asking the ants to help! And they agree. Also, Nancy tells us all about ant supercolonies. This is so great. It’s the bizarre fun I expect of this series and it’s just great. It keeps me laughing and smiling. Poor Scott, having to deal with all these positive people. The whole thing is goofy and I love it.

Mockingbird #8, by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk and Rachelle Rosenberg. The final issue! Which is sad. Anyway, Lincoln Slade, the Phantom Rider, is trying to win Bobbi back by pointing out what a dick Hawkeye is for killing Banner after he made such a big deal out of Bobbi letting Lincoln die. Bobbi gets her nerd friends to help her with him. Paul, of Paul and Storm, is actually useful. Others . . . less so. The Rider decides to summon Ghost Pirates to help him. They turn out to be progressive feminists and decline to help him. And . . . OK. So. Spoiler time! I don’t normally spoil things that occur late enough in an issue, but this is a big one. Back in West Coast Avengers, Phantom Rider used mind-control drugs to make Bobbi love him. Here, Cain basically tosses that out.

Mockingbird #8

Major retcon!

This is, to be blunt, a Big Frigging Deal. That story was a major part of Mockingbird’s history. The story where she was raped, and Clint broke up with her as a result. It was a big thing. This is Cain deciding, nope, to hell with that, Bobbi wasn’t raped and Clint’s not that big an ass. She gave Bobbi back her agency in one of her biggest stories, which is hugely noteworthy. This is a comedic series, and the jokes generally get the bulk of the attention. But I think this deserves to be the story about this issue, because it really is major. In a good way. It’s a positive change and I support it. But it’s definitely a big deal. Anyway, after this moment, we get mercorgis. See what those of you who didn’t buy this series are costing us? This series has been a delight. Weird and funny and smart and gorgeous and just great. I’m going to miss it a lot. Damn you people for not buying it.

A-Force #10, by Kelly Thompson, Paulo Siqueira, Joe Bennett and Rachelle Rosenberg. Also the final issue. Sad. Anyway, the people in town are all bug-monsters now. Singularity teleports away with Dazzler and Medusa. In the mine, Carol is in the process of turning into a bug when the other three pop in. Dazzler transforms, and infects Medusa. Alice says the only way to save everyone is to kill her. Nico turns her back to human, instead, but it doesn’t affect the others. Alice insists she needs to die. That does work. This is a sad issue. A good one. And now the series is over. Which is a shame, it’s been a lot of fun. The characters all mesh well together, with lots of arguing and hugging. I really hope Singularity, in particular, gets picked up somewhere else. She’s too wonderful and adorable to languish in limbo.

Silk #13, by Robbie Thompson, Tana Ford and Ian Herring. Cindy, her friends, and her mother are fighting a skeleton army to reach a floating castle and save her father. David the dragon, with Lola and Rafferty riding him, gets shot down. Poor David. Silk and her mom take out the Ash King, which also takes out his knights, leaving the way to the castle open, to rescue her dad. Then the return to Earth, Bobbi gives the Moon family an apartment with bidets. This was a good issue. It is kinda weird, though. For the entire run of Silk up to now, the search for her family has been the overarching plot. And now, she’s found them. They’re reunited. It’s so weird to have that resolved. I’m curious where the book will go from here. Wherever it goes, I hope Lola and Rafferty remain prominent supporting characters, because they’re great.

I also got the Squirrel Girl graphic novel, but I’ll read it tomorrow, instead. No time, tonight.

Alpha Flight #65 (1988, December)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My pull list for tomorrow is posted. And now, I get to finish 1988! Finally! And then I get to start on the 113 posts it’ll take to get through 1989. Ouch. Anyway, by Mantlo, Haynes, Milgrom, Sharen and Chiang, “When Robots Dream!”

When Robots Dream!

We just did this a couple issues ago.

Jeffries is having a dream of being attacked by Bochs and Scramble. He wakes up screaming. The next morning, he fixes Heather’s dad’s car’s engine, making it a fancy maintenance-free engine. Because, apparently, he’s that much of an inventive genius that he can create engines decades ahead of modern technology. Bleh. Heather’s speaking to her mom, who points out Heather hasn’t taken off her costume since she arrived. Of course, we saw her without it earlier in the issue, when she went to Jeffries when he awoke from his dream. But whatever.

Heather tells Jeffries they got a letter from Kara. She and Laura seem to be doing well. Mostly.

Alpha Flight #65

Not gonna lie, that’s adorable.

Kara tells a bully to suck her sweatsocks. Ew, ew, ew. I’m sorry to people for whom that’s legitimately a fetish, but ew. Though I do like this follow-up panel:

Alpha Flight #65

Fear is a kind of respect.

We then cut to Ottawa, where the Jade Dragon is fed up with being watched all the time. He flips out a bit, and some Chinese agents move in on him. But that’s enough of that, back to Heather and Jeffries, who come across a wrecked bridge. They get to the dress-fitting, and Jeffries thinks about how Heather-as-Vindicator turns him on, and wonders what that fetish says. Then he dozes off. In his dream, the Box armour attacks an orphanage.

Alpha Flight #65

I find this hilarious.

At home, Heather and Jeffries hear a radio report about an orphanage that was attacked. After taking care of that, they head over to see Father Lloyd, a friend of the family. Jeffries worries he’s going insane. His brother was crazy, and he worries it runs in the family. He falls asleep again, and Scramble and Bochs tell him they’re going to force him to kill Heather. He turns the car into armour and attacks her.

He attacks a plane in order to distract her, then hits her. She’s down, but before he can finish her off, he phases out. The robot is still under the control of Scramble and Bochs, and he can’t affect it, so he makes another metal out of nearby train cars. That doesn’t last long. But Bochs/Scramble can’t kill Jeffries and Heather. Jeffries realizes it’s possessed only by his own guilty conscience. He also senses something manipulating his mind.

A few days later, he and Heather visit the graves of Bochs and Scramble to talk about guilt and grief and yadda yadda.

This is a weak issue. There are some unintentionally hilarious moments, with all the cheesiness. The issue really is cheesy. It made me roll my eyes a lot. It’s not helped by the fact that we just had an issue where Jeffries loses control of the Box armour – Heather even references it. In fairness, that’s probably not really Mantlo’s fault – that previous issue was a fill-in, and I imagine Mantlo had this issue planned already. It’s an unfortunate coincidence, but it is probably a coincidence. Setting that aside, though, this issue is just more of the melodrama I found tiring during Mantlo’s run. This does tie into a larger plot that’s developing, though, so I guess it works as part of that larger plot. As a stand-alone, it’s bland.

The art isn’t much better than the writing. Haynes is an OK artist, but he’s not a particularly exciting one. It is, frankly, rather boring art. He does do a good job in the Vindicator/Box fight, I’ll give him that. He’s a pretty decent action artist. But still, very much a mid-tier artist.

Meh issue, overall.

Pull list for October 19 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I work until late tomorrow.

I’ll go to the store for: A-Force #10, by Kelly Thompson, Paulo Siqueira, Joe Bennett and Rachelle Rosenberg; Black Panther #7, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story and Laura Martin; Jem & the Holograms #20, by Kelly Thompson, Meredith McClaren; Mockingbird #8, by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk and Rachelle Rosenberg; My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #47, by Ted Anderson and Agnes Garbowska; Patsy Walker aka Hellcat! #11, by Kate Leth, Brittney Williams and Rachelle Rosenberg (again!); Silk #13, by Robbie Thompson, Tana Ford and Ian Herring; Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi.

I’ll also review: All-New X-Men #14, by Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Nolan Woodard; Death of X #2, by Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Aaron Kuder, Jay Leisten, Jay David Ramos and Morry Hollowell.; X-Men ’92 #8, by Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Alti Firmansyah and Matt Milla.

So that’s 8 comics I’m picking up (plus the Squirrel Girl graphic novel!), and an additional 3 reviews. Heavy week. Urgh, why couldn’t this happen on a Friday I have off?

Lots to be excited about. A-Force is always a lot of fun, and I’m curious to see how this giant bug arc ends. Black Panther has been full of compelling political theory, but this issue’s going to have some of T’Challa’s friends show up to help kick some ass. (The preview also includes a couple callbacks to classic X-Men stories.) Mockingbird ends tomorrow, which is tragic, because it’s been so much fun. Often ridiculous, always enjoyable. Hellcat’s a delightful book and I love it, and the solicit hints at Jubilee getting a bit bigger a role in this arc, so yay. Silk continues the story of Cindy and her friends running around a fantasy world filled with dragons and skeleton warriors, and that’s awesome. And Squirrel Girl is Squirrel Girl. And, of course, more wonderful Meredith McClaren art on Jem!

So Iceman’s getting a solo. I’m glad to see that. I don’t care about Iceman as a character, so I probably won’t be picking it up (I’ll have to see about getting digital codes from someone instead; shouldn’t be a problem). It’ll depend on the creative team. But while it’s not a book I’m personally interested in, it’s a book I thought should happen. Personally, I would’ve made it a post-Secret Wars launch title, to capitalize on the buzz of Bobby’s coming out in UXM #600. Because there was a lot of buzz for that. A lot of that’s died down, which has not been helped by EXM and ANXM not doing much with his sexuality (at least, prior to ANXM #13 and the gay bar), but we’ll see if this gets some of that buzz back up. Iceman is one of Marvel’s oldest characters, with a strong fanbase, and he’s arguably Marvel’s most high-profile openly-LGBT character. So he’s a logical choice for a solo. This does mark the first ongoing solo with a gay male protagonist. And it means they’ll have three titles with LGBT leads: This, America Chavez and World of Wakanda. One thing I find odd, though, is that neither Iceman nor America have creative teams announced yet. I’m not sure why that would be the case. Are the creative teams not locked-down? Or are they both going to be written by straight white dudes and Marvel was hoping to keep controversy over that from overshadowing their LGBT solos? I hope that’s not the case. Iceman should have a gay man writing it. The book will be about a gay men coming to terms with his sexuality. That’s not a straight man’s story to tell. It’s a gay man’s story to tell, so let one tell it.

On a side note, this announcement does indicate that Resurrexion’s not an event, as some thought, but is just a branding. Which is pretty much what I figured. It’s what Marvel does. After an event, the books get a new branding. Think back to Regenesis, or Marvel Now. It looks like that’ll be the case with Resurrexion. Presumably, the title will be meant to symbolize mutants rising from the verge of extinction, and the X-Men returning to the world to be big heroes and all that. I hope so.

January solicits are out. My pull list: Avengers #3, Black Panther #10, Champions #4, Gamora #2, Hawkeye #2, Wasp #1, US Avengers #1, All-New Wolverine #16, Ms. Marvel #14, Occupy Avengers #3, Power Man & Iron Fist #12, Silk #16, Spider-Man/Deadpool #13, Squirrel Girl #16, World of Wakanda #3, Captain Marvel #1, Mosaic #4, Hellcat #14, US Avengers #2, Ultimates 2 #3, Ghost Rider #3, Hulk #2, Moon Girl #15. 23 titles. Ouch.

I finished 13 Ways of Looking At A Fat Girl, by Mona Awad. My review:

┬áThis was a great book. Even better than I expected, to be honest. It’s 13 short stories spread out over the course of years of a girl’s life, as she wrestles with body image issues, with friendship, family, romance, all sorts of things. The main character is deeply insecure, has a tendency to over-think, dislikes confrontation, and enjoys complaining about people she hates. She’s actually rather delightful. Not all the chapters are from her perspective, but the viewpoint characters in other chapters are good, too. The writing in the book is very sharp and clever, alternating between hilarious and heartbreaking. Awad’s prose is just stellar.

I would definitely recommend this book. Even if you’re neither fat nor a girl, it’s really easy to relate to the main character, and there’s a lot to enjoy.

I really did enjoy it. I loved when she hates on people. It reminded me a lot of my ex, who’s great at hating people. And I read Victoria Jr. #2: Little Prometheus, by Manny Trembley.

So this was wonderful. It’s a cute little story about a human girl with a Frankenstein Monster family, and her quest to find the Flame of the Gods to let them feel what it’s like to be alive. Along the way, she makes friends. She’s a good person, irrepressibly happy and positive and optimistic. She’s so full of love and joy and it’s charming. The art is adorable, bright and sweet, and downright gorgeous. This is a really good-looking comic, and worth reading for the art alone, even aside from the great writing. This is a fantastic all-ages comic that I would highly recommend, whether you have kids or not. But especially if you have kids. They’ll love it.

It’s great. The third book is on Kickstarter now. I don’t think I’ll back it, myself – I really need to cut back on Kickstarter – but if you’re looking for a cute all-ages comic, Victoria Jr. is a great choice.

My schedule for the week: 3-11:15 Friday, 4:45-11:15 Saturday, 5:15-11:15 Sunday, 10:30-5:15 Tuesday. So posts Thursday and Monday.

And that’s it for this week.

Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown #2 (1988, December)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Iceman’s getting a solo. I’ll talk about that more tomorrow. For today, by the Simonsons, Jon Muth and Kent Williams, and Oakley, “Tender Loving Lies!”

Tender Loving Lies!

The covers for this series are weird but pretty.

Logan’s hunting for information on the guys who attacked him and Alex. He finds the cousin of one of the men. Among the cash the guy was paid to help, there’s a Russian coin. Then, to Alex, waking up in a hospital room. He’s told Logan’s dead, which he doesn’t believe. There’s a hot red-headed nurse there taking care of him. She sedates him, then takes the doctors up to the roof. She says they’ll only leave when Alex is totally under their control. She’s a bad guy! Oh no! It didn’t take long to get to that reveal, which I find interesting. Often, with something like this, the reveal would be delayed, for later shock value. Doing it this early creates tension. Anyway, one of the doctors says Alex doesn’t show up on video cameras. The nurse contacts her boss, General Meltdown, who calls her Quark.

Meltdown’s call is interrupted when he’s told an inspector is due for a visit at the asylum the next day. Meltdown gets angry, and visits Dr. Neutron, who talks a bit about Quark.

Havok & Wolverine Meltdown #2

He does make Quark sound interesting.

Quark, as Nurse Scarlett McKenzie, pays a visit to Alex, who starts to flirt but then backs off, explaining he has a bad romantic history. This mini takes place a little after Inferno, so . . . yeah, that’s fair. He keeps insisting Logan is still alive, and then he blows up the TV in his room, which is laced with subliminal messages that are hurting his head. A nice little reminder that he’s been trained in psychic resistance. Scarlett tells Alex he’s a great guy.

Meanwhile, Logan arrives in the town where the fat guy was supposed to be. He asks a guy at a taco stand about the heliport, and the guy calls someone else about it. Logan has the guy say he’s staying at a local hotel, and threatens to kill him if he reports on him again.

Alex again! Scarlett is helping him walk, and says someone’s been asking questions about him. She says the word is the guy’s a spy, which she seems to find exciting. She says she’ll talk to the guy and try to turn the tables on him. Using Alex’s beliefs to manipulate him.

Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown #2

Nice insights into Alex’s state of mind.

Meanwhile, the bar Logan’s staying in gets blown up. The Russian dude responsible lets Quark know about it, and says he watched to make sure no one survived. Then Logan pops out of the trunk and kills him. Pretty brutally. Back to Alex, where the “spy” has come in, and wants to know about Logan. The guy says Logan’s death was faked, and it’s a matter of national security. That Logan’s been abducted by the Russians, and is being brainwashed into working for them. Then the guy hits Scarlett, so Alex hits him.

Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown #2

Still pretty good for a sick guy.

Alex tells Scarlett they’re leaving, and going to Poland to look for Logan. He also calls her “doll.” He’s really slipped into Noir mode here. It’s pretty fun, actually. Scarlett lines up transportation for them, and Havok blows them an exit. They take a motor-scooter to an airstrip, where Scarlett’s gotten them a biplane that belongs to a friend. Logan gets to the hospital, a half-hour too late, and finds Alex’s scent, along with a woman’s. And a bomb.

Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown #2


Logan gets to the airfield . . . just too late, as the biplane’s already taken off.

Another great issue. The art is spectacular. Muth and Williams both do great work. Muth, who does the Alex portions of the story, has a gorgeous painted style. Very photo-realistic. He brings in a nice moody Noir feel to it, especially once Scarlett starts talking about spies. But even before that, things like a close-up on Scarlett’s lips, painted bright red, do a great job setting mood. Williams does the Wolverine portions, and as shown above, it’s about the opposite of Muth. Very stylized and exaggerated – I mean, Look at Logan’s hair – but it’s still gorgeous. Rough and raw and violent, very fitting of Logan. The contrasting art styles make for a great read.

The writing is excellent, as well. The Simonsons work well together. Character voices shine. Quark/Scarlett is particularly interesting, with a different voice for each. As Quark, she’s cold, scientific, analytical. As Scarlett, she’s warm, caring, fearful. It’s interesting to watch. Dr. Neutron’s description of her stands out, while also showing some of Neutron’s own personality, which is cool. The plotting is tight, with no wasted space. It’s not that it moves fast – here, it’s actually still moving at a fairly slow pace – it’s that everything in the comic needs to be there. It’s all necessary for character, or for set-up, or for whatever.

This is a great issue.

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