The issue opens with a description of the Mile High Diner, in Denver. Some quick Googling suggests it might actually be closed. Maybe because of what happens in this issue? Probably not. Anyway, Dazzler crashes through the window, fighting one of the Brood-mutants, Spitball. She then gets grabbed by Whiphand. She’s rescued by Longshot, and then by Colossus, who snaps Whiphand’s neck. Then Storm fries Blindside. It’s a good fight sequence, well-choreographed and tense. And the whole time, these two were in the background:
Now, we go to Maddie, still unconscious in the computer room, still dreaming about being a nothing-being. In her dream, she comes to a branching path, one leading to town, the other into the desert. She takes the desert path.
Then she trips over a skull and falls into some water, and is met by S’ym, who leads her to a very nice house, filled with a sumptuous banquet. He manipulates her very effectively.
As brutish as he looks, S’ym is smart and insightful. He offers her a chance to confront her darkest side. She accepts, and he turns her into the Goblyn Queen. Inferno is coming.
And now to Red Rocks! William Conover is about to go on stage, and chastises someone he overhears saying “mutie,” saying he won’t tolerate that word any more than he’d tolerate any other racist slurs. After he goes on stage, his wife is approached by the paramedic, who offers some relief for her arthritis. Rogue is flying towards the ampitheatre with Temptress and Wolverine. Wolverine wakes up and kills Temptress, and Rogue, in her anger and grief, throws him hard to the rocks below. The rest of the Brood, with Psylocke, drive their stolen police car right into a waiting Colossus. Psylocke’s stunned free of the Brood control, but Rogue’s still on their side, and goes after Storm, where none of the X-Men can reach, except Dazzler.
I love that Ali’s got a big-ass cannon in her fingertip. Because that’s how she fires her photon blasts, from her fingertip. Wolverine stumbles into Conover’s speech, badly hurt, and starts to transform into a Brood as Conover tries to comfort him. Conover shouts some prayers to cast the demon out of Wolverine’s body, and Wolverine’s healing factor kicks in to get rid of it. But was it the healing factor? Or was it the prayers? We’ll never know!
Anyway, then Havok fries Tension, without even hesitating. Cold. Then Spitball accidentally kills himself and Lockup by dropping a wall on themselves. That just leaves the leader, who has Hannah Conover as a hostage. He gives a speech about how the humans hounding mutants makes it even easier for the Brood to take over. Wolverine sneaks under the stage and delivers one of the worst quips ever:
What a terrible quip. It’s supposed to sound clever and badass, but it doesn’t. At all. It’s just stupid and makes me groan. Anyway, the day is saved, the X-Men are gone, Hannah’s arthritis is healed (William wonders if he now has healing gifts), and intrepid reporter Trish Tilby shows up for an interview where he talks about how cool mutants are.
I like William Conover. I wish he’d hung around, maybe as someone occasionally seen on TV or something. Just someone we routinely see as a contrast to the constant anti-mutant crap we see.
Good issue. The fighting is intense and exciting. The Brood do end up feeling like less of a menace this issue, as they get destroyed one by one. They lose all their threat entirely when this happens:
Hard to take them seriously at that point. As fun as it always is to see the X-Men being awesome and crushing opponents, it does feel a little too easy in this issue. Last issue had the Brood as legitimate threats. This issue, two are taken out by a wall that one of the Brood made fall in the first place. And then Wolverine’s quip was just . . . no, Logan. No. It doesn’t even make sense in context! It’s like he thought of this quip he wanted to use, but he got tired of waiting for an opening, so he was just like, “Screw it, I’m going for it.” You failed, Logan. You failed hard.
Anyway! I did like William Conover, speaking out on behalf of mutants. It’s nice to see pro-mutant humans in the X-Men comics. I wish we’d get more of that in the current titles. But probably the biggest thing here is actually Maddie. This issue is, in many ways, the official entrance of UXM in the march to Inferno. New Mutants, of course, was already on that road. But now, with this issue, Inferno becomes an inevitability for UXM, as well. It’s handled in a really effective way, making Maddie’s fall believable.
And once again, great art. Silvestri, Rubinstein and Oliver are all top-notch artists, and they do their jobs well, and make for an enjoyable read. Solid visual storytelling, especially in the dream sequence.
The X-Men are in an alley, surrounded by Brood. Oh no! And they’re mutants! Oh no! And they have terrible codenames. Yeesh. Brickbat, Tension, Temptress, Dive-Bomber, Blindside, Spitball, Lockup and Whiphand. Terrible names. Storm actually gets brainwashed by Temptress’ pheromones. Which feels like it might be a bit of subtext. But she does overcome it and flies off. Then Rogue attacks Temptress, but absorbs her psyche, which overwhelms her own, and then Rogue/Temptress uses her pheromones on Psylocke. Is there a reason Temptress keeps taking over the women? In fact, when she tries to use her pheromones on Wolverine, he’s able to resist them and punch Psylocke. I’m going to guess that Temptress was a lesbian before she became a Brood.
We then cut to some foothills outside Denver, where an ampitheatre is being set up for Reverend William Conover’s Glory Day Crusade. Josey Thomas, Harry Palmer’s paramedic partner, is there. William’s wife brings him some coffee, and tells him the radio is reporting mutants fighting. And William speaks out in support of mutants!
He also adds that he wishes he was a mutant who could cure his wife’s arthritis, and wonders how special he can be when all his words and prayers can’t ease his wife’s suffering.
Denver! Where a camera isn’t picking up Colossus, because he’s invisible to electronics. Up in the sky, “Dive-bomb” sabotages a plane in order to force Storm to bring it down safely and leave herself open to attack. And then, an interlude to unsettle us all!
Maddie is flying with her own wings, and she lands outside a cabin, where Scott and the baby are waiting for her. Gateway shows up and dispels the house, then gets dispelled by Scott’s beams. But then a featureless mannequin rises up.
Scott then starts taking Maddie’s various features.
And goddamn, this whole sequence is rough.
Back in Denver, Dive-bomb returns to the fight, carrying the unconscious Storm, and Havok finally joins the fight by blasting a hole through Dive-bomb. And then Colossus comes out of a collapsed building, with Brickbat’s corpse. The rest of the Brood leave, with the controlled Rogue, entranced Psylocke and unconscious Wolverine. Havok feels bad about killing the Brood, especially when it turns back to human, but Storm says they need to kill all the Brood in order to save the Earth.
This is a good issue. The battle against the Brood is intense. The William Conover subplot is interesting, and will have a big pay-off in the next issue. This issue is the first time we see Havok use his power to kill. This ends up taking a huge toll on him, and leads him down a very dark path. That’s going to be fun to watch. But the best part of the issue is definitely Maddie’s dream sequence. It’s really strange and unsettling, with dream logic used effectively. And it leaves the reader very concerned for Maddie’s mental state. This subplot – this is going to lead to Big Important Things. Oh yeah, this is going to lead to badness. It’ll be awesome.
The art’s excellent. Silvestri does an effective job with all the action going on in the battle. The scene of the Hanovers is really sweet and romantic. And then, once again, the dream. The art there is great, and does a great job conveying the sense of being a dream. Scott taking away Maddie’s features is really creepy, and it’s great.
So, yeah, this issue’s great. And sets up a lot more, even better stuff. And as the cover notes, the series went twice a month at this point, so I’ll be reviewing another issue of Uncanny X-Men tomorrow. This month also saw the release of another bi-weekly series, which I’ll be getting to in a few more posts.
There’s also Classic X-Men #25, a reprint of X-Men #119, with new material by Claremont, Dwyer, Austin and Costanza. The colour artist isn’t listed, but I would assume it’s still Oliver. We see how Moses Magnum survived a previous seeming-death. As he fell down a pit, he was nabbed by Apocalypse, who offered to give him power in return for servitude. So this also explains how he got the powers he shows here. This is a scene that could have been great, if there’d been more follow-up. But Moses being a servant of Apocalypse isn’t something that really comes up again, so the added scene doesn’t mean much. There’s also an added scene at a hospital as the X-Men wait to learn if Banshee will be OK, and where Misty expresses concern about Colleen moving in on Scott. Misty is probably right to be concerned, and the fact that she lets it go still bothers me. She knows Jean is alive, so why did she never ask any of the X-Men about her not being there? I guess she assumed Scott and Jean broke up. But why did none of the X-Men tell her Jean’s dead? That’s the thing that never made any sense. “Oh, Misty. I know you and Jean were friends, so this is hard to say. But she’s dead.” Ah well. This is still a good added scene.
And a back-up, by Nocenti, Bolton and Orzechowski. Wolverine is bitching about Central dragging him into a mission, and about the fuses on his TNT being too short. He blows up a shack in the wilderness, then starts his long walk to civilization. And he’s being hunted by someone who thinks he’s Bigfoot. The guy narrates poetically about the joys of the hunt. Logan finds the guy’s loud crunching through the snow to be annoying. He also mentions his fast-healing being barely able to keep up with the frostbite. Which is noteworthy, because it’s a reminder that his healing factor did have limits back under Claremont. Other writers would have him walk naked through blizzards and be totally fine. Then he comes across a bear. Which he kills. And feels bad about.
Then the hunter tries to shoot him with an arrow, with Wolverine catches and throws back. This story’s OK. I like the mockery of the Hunter’s mindset. The romanticizing of hunting from jackasses who are just trying to prove their manliness. That stuff was fun. But other than that, it was a pretty low-stakes story. It was Wolverine wandering through the snow and fighting a bear. He talks a bit about why he loves being out in the frozen wilderness, but not for very long, and it’s not really new insight. All in all, it’s a story that just kinda exists.
Extraordinary X-Men #12, by Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado and Dono Sanchez-Almara. Magik is traveling through time to find the X-Men, and gets caught in one time period, where she’s warned that she needs to kill Sapna. Nooo, I like Sapna. In the far future, Storm is a little miffed that Kurt stabbed Apocalypse. Kurt says the ark, and its 600 mutant embryos, are all dead. As the world collapses, the X-Men defeat the Horsemen. Back in the not-quite-as-far future, Magik says she refuses to kill Sapna. Go, Magik! Save the young woman’s soul, the way you ultimately saved your own soul! Then she reaches the far future, and takes down Colossus. It’s, uh, it’s pretty badass. She just one-shots him with her big-ass sword. Then she takes the X-Men home, with Far-Future Apocalypse in tow. And with this issue, Apocalypse Wars comes to an end. And man, the EXM portion was just bland. The issue focusing on the kids was nice. The rest? Bleh. This issue does have Illyana being awesome, though, and that’s something I am always on board with. Illyana’s awesome. I am so invested in the Illyana/Sapna story, because it’s all about Illyana trying to, in essence, fix her own past. Not literally, of course, but Sapna is her, and she wants to spare Sapna the horrors Illyana’s gone through. That’s great stuff. The Apocalypse Wars stuff – meh. Honestly, it doesn’t really seem to have much point. It has some fairly notable changes for some of the characters – Anole’s bigger, No-Girl has a robot body, and Colossus is now a Horseman. But in terms of what the story is trying to say? I’ve got nothing. No real insight into any of the characters. No insight into the human condition. Just things that happen. And not even particularly interesting things. All in all, I am not at all impressed by this arc. And I still don’t like Ramos’ art.
Old Man Logan #9, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. In the present, in a Tokyo bar, “Patch” meets with a snitch to get some information on where Lady Deathstrike’s holed up. It’s a trap! Though I just love that Logan used the Patch persona. I guess just for fun, since he knows no one was ever fooled by it. Anyway, he kills people. Then we cut to the future – which is Logan’s past, because time travel! – and the Weapon X bunker, where Logan’s in bed with Maureen. The bunker is attacked by a Crimson Dynamo. Logan and Maureen flee. Back in the present, Logan reaches the town where Deathstrike is located. But things don’t go as he expected. This was good. It’s an interesting story, with some interest things going on. And, of course, the art. Sorrentino gets a little less to do in terms of action, which means not much in the way of neat layouts. But he and Maiolo still do amazing work, with some really intimate moments, and also creating a lot of tension. This is the first issue of an arc, so there’s a degree of set-up going on here, but it’s definitely looking like it’ll be an interesting arc.
X-Men ’92 #5, by Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, Corey Hamscher and Matt Milla. Scott and Jean are on their honeymoon in Alaska. Scott’s done with being a superhero, but Jean’s not sure she is. They go to bed, and then wake up in their costumes, surrounded by creepy people in robes. Ew. But it’s actually the Askani Brotherhood, and they’ve been brought to the future by Rachel. Siiiigh. I love The Adventures of Phoenix and Cyclops, too, but come on, we’ve read that story. Do you really need to do that story again? What am I saying, of course they do. I’m pretty sure this book would just randomly burst into flames if they ever tried to do an original story. Anyway, it’s a dystopic future ravaged by Apocalypse, with Sinister now in command as Apocalypse is off-world. So Rachel, Blaquesmith, Jean and Scott are going to go attack him and save the world, hurrah. They fight all sorts of enemies along the way, including robot Deadpools and turtle-looking guys. Also, a T-Rex with a Cyclops visor and optic blasts. And then when they reach Sinister’s Citadel, they come across the Essex-Men, a bunch of weird clones of Scott and Jean. And then it turns out the point of the whole adventure was to get Jean and Scott to the Citadel so Sinister could create Cable. Bleh. Bleeeeeh. This series bugs me so much. I know the whole point is to be homage, but homage can only go so far before it becomes annoying. Do something original. You’re allowed. You’re allowed to tell stories that aren’t just grabbing bits from other stories. You can do a story that’s an original idea. But nope, instead, it’s just retreads of stories we’ve already read, and that bores me, and I can’t enjoy this series.
And that’s all the X-titles, but there’s other stuff to talk about.
Civil War II #4, by Brian Bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. She-Hulk wakes up, and Carol tells her Clint killed Bruce, and that he’s been acquitted. Apparently, a poll shows 87% of people agree with the verdict. I guess a giant rage monster scares people? Huh. Crazy, right? News reporters talk about how Clint might be the most popular superhero in the world now. It then cuts to Tony Stark, who explains his problem with Ulysses. His view is that you can’t see a future that hasn’t happened yet. And he also thinks that visions of disasters have to be affecting Ulysses, and that as a result, he’s affecting the visions. And then he starts talking about what he learned from the scans of Ulysses’ brain. He says that his mind takes in information, and creates an algorithm of a possible future. And that as a result, it’s not 100% accurate. While this is going on, we see Captain Marvel and SHIELD arrest a woman, and when Carol opens the briefcase that was presumably supposed to have a bomb, it’s just a normal briefcase. Carol seems pretty shaken by this. And then we find out Tony was speaking to Steve Rogers, Carol, Strange, Beast, Medusa, Black Bolt and Black Panther. Carol uses an analogy of being told someone is talking about shooting people, and whether you check it out and wait to see what happens. Then she heads to the Triskelion to talk to the woman arrested earlier. This is the first time in this whole event where Carol does something wrong. She does go too far here. But it’s actually still done in a sympathetic way. It’s really easy to understand why she does it. And I suspect, given a little more time, she would’ve been talked out of it. Tony’s position is finally presented in a more effective way, that’s more reasonable than it had been, and Stark himself is more sympathetic than he was in the first three issues. The end of the issue does set up the actual war part of Civil War II. One moment I find hilarious at the end, though, is Tony saying Carol’s side is out-powered. On Carol’s side are Monica Rambeau, Blue Marvel, Storm, Magik and Jean Grey (among others). And yeah, Tony has Thor, Vision, Nova and Strange, among others. But, I mean, Monica Rambeau. And Aurora, actually, so two people with superspeed. Yeah, given who Carol has, I’m not sure they can be outpowered. Anyway, we’ll see where the story goes from here. I will say, as controversial as this opinion will be, I think Bendis is telling a good story here, and this issue does a better job. There’s some really interesting discussion of the issues, with the two sides laid out very effectively, both the pros and cons. Neither side have been presented as bad guys, at least so far, and the impression I’m getting is they won’t be presented as bad guys at any point. I know people like to hate on Bendis, and especially his events, but I genuinely thought Age of Ultron was good, and I think he’s doing good work here. Ponsor’s art is good, as well.
Ms. Marvel #9, by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring. We open a little over 16 years ago, with Kamala’s mother, still living in Pakistan, talking to her own mother about the impending move to New Jersey. It’s a really sweet scene, with Kamala’s mom being really scared, and Kamala’s grandmother being really reassuring, saying the women of their family are voyagers, and then passing on the bracelets. In the present, the group Ms. Marvel’s hanging with bust into Josh’s house to arrest him for a crime he hasn’t committed. It’s worth noting that this is the only series where this sort of thing is going on so far. It comes across as similar to the situation of the first Civil War, where writers could make the SHRA whatever they want. Anyway, Kamala’s pretty disillusioned. Poor girl. On the waterfront, the Corps has converted a warehouse into a prison. One that they don’t actually have any authority for. Nakia, Bruno and Zoe come in demanding Josh be set free. Yay them! Also, Zoe yells at Josh, and they have a really, really sweet conversation, which reveals that Zoe is gay and attracted to Nakia. Cool. That’s really cool. There’s also some really interesting discussions of the issues at the heart of CWII. But the best thing about the issue is the use of the supporting characters. Especially Josh and Zoe. Their conversation is really nice. Josh talks about how much it hurt when Zoe dumped him, while Zoe talks about her sexuality. And it’s really cool that there’s now a queer supporting character in Ms. Marvel. I look forward to seeing more of her and Nakia hanging out, and I’m so curious to see where Wilson’s going to go with that. Will Nakia be interested in dating Zoe? I wouldn’t think so, but then, until today, who would’ve thought Zoe would have a crush on Nakia? Whether Nakia’s interested or not, I do hope Zoe finds a nice girl to date. As for the art, it’s great. Very expressive. Alphona’s flashback section at the start is really emotionally evocative. Miyazawa’s work in the main story is cartoonish and expressive and cute and fun. Ms. Marvel remains one of the best comics Marvel is putting out, and an absolute must-read.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Tom Fowler and Rico Renzi. Everyone has opinions on how Squirrel Girl should go on a date with Mole Man. Nancy’s opinion is people should shut the hell up and mind their own business and not try to pimp a woman. Then Doreen and Nancy go to class and get a reminder that physics is amazing. After class, Squirrel Girl can’t get to the Mole Man’s tunnel through Central Park, because of too many reporters swarming the area. So Nancy decides she’ll go talk to Mole Man instead. Mole Man thinks Nancy is in love with Squirrel Girl, too, and trying to sabotage Mole Man’s chances with her. And man, I love Nancy. Mole Man tries to kidnap her, but she’s having none of that garbage. Nancy’s done the hostage thing before, and she found it not to her liking, and she’s not doing it again. Nancy’s awesome. And then Squirrel Girl goes to kick Mole Man’s ass. She burrows through the ground to reach him! Because squirrels dig holes, too! And the fight goes . . . interesting. Not even close to what anyone could possibly have expected. This issue’s great. I love this series so much. This issue really hammers at the problem with Internet Nice Guys, and how they’re actually jerks for thinking women are obligated to date them. Nancy is awesome, as she always is, because Nancy is just the best. There’s a ton of hilarious jokes, and there’s some really interesting tidbits of trivia, because that’s the kind of comic this is. And it’s just a blast. On a fun note, a 10-year-old girl sent in a letter saying Squirrel Girl should get a movie, pointing out, “She is way better than Superman and he has 9 movies.” That’s cute and made me laugh. This series is wonderful. And by the way, can I just talk about the outfits in this comic? Henderson gives characters the best outfits. They always look cool and cute.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #9, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain. Lunella is unhappy about being back in school. But she does see the Lego project as a potential way out for her. And there’s an amazing double-page splash of her getting super-into her Lego project while narrating about how the thing she’s most proud of building is herself. It’s amazing work from Bustos and Bonvillain, with great writing from Reeder and Montclare. Anyway, she later goes out to fight crime, but Captain Kree has already beaten her to it. He mostly just wanted to lure her out so he could attack her. Devil kicks him away and Lunella calls him Kid Kree. And then in school, Lunella and Marvin continually bicker, with Eduardo taking Lunella’s side and Zoe just wanting everyone to get along and behave. And then the last page. Oh man guys. Guys. The cliffhanger, guys. Next issue is going to be so good. This issue’s so good, too, of course. That spread of Lunella talking about how she built herself. That is so good. Unfortunately, being a double-page spread, the narration would be too small if I tried to post the page. So you should probably just go out and buy the issue, instead. In fact, why don’t you just read the whole series? It’s a good comic. I haven’t felt cheated of my $4.50 per issue (because I live in Canada). It’s a wonderful all-ages comic. Lots of heart. Disney should adapt it for an animated film. It’d be a great fit. And I have to say, I especially love the art of this series. Bustos and Bonvillain do such amazing work.
Mockingbird #5, by Chelsea Cain, Ibrahim Moustafa and Rachelle Rosenberg. Bobbi is assaulting a SHIELD medical clinic, using telekinesis to hold off zombies. Bobbi, of course, doesn’t have telekinesis. The virus in her system does. The zombies are a result of SHIELD scientists using the virus in Bobbi’s system to infect medical cadavers. The lead scientist defends herself by saying she has a lot of student loans, which, you know, fair enough. Who among us wouldn’t create rampaging zombies in order to pay down student loans? Luckily, there’s an experimental anti-viral in an R&D lab located above the gift shop. This leads to a cutaway diagram of the SHIELD medical facility, complete with lots of jokes. Bobbi uses yoga to smash a desk for clubs, then fights her way to the lab, though she stops in one room to talk to Howard the Duck and Spider-Miles for a bit, so they can help her reach the lab. This was really good. It’s a good finale to the arc, exploring the very n ature of viruses, and the role they play. Bobbi’s background as a biologist plays a strong role here, and I appreciate that. I like comics that have interesting facts mixed with clever jokes and exciting action. This book has all of them. Howard and Miles make for really fun cameos. I miss Niemczyk’s art here, but Moustafa does do great work, and it’s actually not much different from Niemczyk’s style. It’s still a fairly soft art style, with solid facial expressions to convey feelings. And the issue also has some fun with layouts in a couple bits, like when Bobbi is crawling through some maintenance ducts. There’s also a panel of Bobbi fighting through a room of zombies, conveying movement effectively by actually showing her in different positions in the panel. I’m a fan of that approach to fight scenes. Anyway, this is a great issue, and I should probably go back and read the whole arc again, as the issue suggests doing, in order to catch things I would’ve missed the first time.
Black Panther #4, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin. We open on a briefing. T’Challa’s told that Tetu was the instigator of the recent troubles, and that he was a former student of Changamire, a political dissident who was exiled by T’Chaka for exhortation against the monarchy. Then he’s told about the uprisings led by Ayo and Aneka. They’ve raised an army and killed the Man-Ape. They’re calling for elections. It’s a revolution. And I am on their side. The Queen Mother pays a visit to Changamire, so they can talk about Tetu, and about Wakanda. It’s a very interesting discussion. Elsewhere, Tetu is meeting with the Midnight Angels, offering an alliance. Then, a conversation between T’Challa and Ramonda, where she offers counsel on what it means to be king. And then the stakes are raised. And that last page – goddamn. Seriously, the last page of this issue is just so damn good. T’Challa makes a short but very memorable speech. I get the feeling it’s going to get quoted a lot by people talking about this series, because it is very much worthy of being quoted. I want to quote the best part here, but I don’t like doing end-of-issue spoilers. Hmm. Screw it, consider this a spoiler warning: “We are Wakanda. We will not be terrorized. We are terror itself.” Damn. The art is excellent, of course, as well. I actually think Stelfreeze gives the book an African feel. Like, when I look at the art, it kinda reminds me of African art. It’s subtle, but it’s there. And just in general, the art really transports you to central Africa, in a very effective way. This is a great series.
Captain Marvel #7, by Ruth and Christos Gage, Marco Failla and Matt Wilson. Side note: The cover names Anka as the artist. The cover is wrong. Anyway, a hearing is being held by Alpha Flight’s Board of Governors, with Carol accused of withholding intelligence. Specifically, Ulysses. She defends her choice in going after Thanos, and then talks about Tony Stark’s view of Ulysses. Which leads to a flashback where Carol heads to Attilan and Medusa tells her Ulysses is now filled with shame about his power, and feels responsible for Rhodey’s death. Carol talks to him, telling him it’s not his fault, and that they saved hundreds of lives because of the vision. He admits to having had another vision, of Dr. Minerva attacking Boston. This time, Carol was ready for her. With Alpha Flight and the Ultimates beside her. This is a good issue. I would’ve liked to have seen the Minerva stuff expanded more, personally. But of course, that wasn’t the story the Gages were telling. They were telling a story of Carol explaining Ulysses’ importance. And that story’s told well. It’s effective. Carol’s position is presented in a very positive light. Failla’s art is good. Very expressive faces. I like it. This is a solid comic.
New Avengers #14, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov. AIM’s base’s computers are taken over by O.M.N.I.T.R.O.N.I.C.U.S., which is still an awesome name, and it sets the defences to attack ‘Berto. He’s in a room full of weapons trying to hurt him. It takes him back to high school. Elsewhere in the base, the other New Revengers are attacking. White Tiger is attacked by . . . White Tiger. I just want to note that I frigging love Ava. Meanwhile, the Maker learns that the New Avengers played him. Oh, I love Three Steps Ahead ‘Berto. I also love the fact that Stealth Zero has a missile mode. This issue’s great. It’s fun, with all sorts of twists and turns, as is usual for this book. This is a series that excels at twists and turns. And at insanity, of course, and this book has plenty of that, too. There’s a lot of hilarious bits, and there’s plenty of moments where characters get to be badass. I love Bobby dodging lasers while sassing OMNITRONICUS. It’s fun. Medina’s art is great, too, and he does the action really well. This is a great series. I love it. I’ll be sad to see it end, though USAvengers looks like it should be a fun continuation.
All-New All-Different Avengers #12, by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig. With Spider-Miles still stuck in the Negative Zone, Vision does the only thing he can think of: He grabs the two Nega-Bands and clangs them together to swap places. Then Thor swaps places with him, but can’t damage Annihilus’ cannon. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Nadia is excited about the fact that she just hung out with the President and got some cool swag. Then Jan takes her for a day of having fun. I want this to be the entire issue. Just two awesome women hanging out and being happy and having fun. Back at the battle, Thor is swapped out for Ms. Marvel, who shrinks down to sneak inside the cannon. But the radiation overwhelms her, so Nova swaps in and just blows the damn thing up. This is a fine issue. It’s fine. This series is fine. Vision and Nova both get some good moments, and Ms. Marvel gets a bit of a nice moment, as well. And, of course, the Nadia/Janet scene was really nice. I really like that Janet likes Nadia. There’s not even a moment of hostility. It’s instant acceptance, and taking her for a fun day out. And like I said, I would read an entire issue of just the two Wasps hanging out. Still, while it’s a fine issue, it’s not an exemplary one. This is a series that’s fine. Totally inoffensive, not quite to the point of blandness. Largely enjoyable, but also largely forgettable. Ah well.
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My latest pull list post is up, if you care to check it out. But now, by Mantlo, Lee, Milgrom, Sharen and Chiang, “. . . Inquisition!”
Heather and Box are at a hearing at Parliament, to determine the future of Alpha Flight. They’re asked why they were in China, and she reminds them of the time they sent Bedlam the Brain-Blast after Alpha. Which, uh, that’s not how it happened? Gary Cody released Bedlam the Brain-Blast on his own. He made the call himself. There was never any indication that he talked to anyone about it. Some people are watching the hearing on a TV through a window, which always amuses me in comics. Is that a real thing that happens? Do people gather outside of electronics stores to watch TV? Maybe it happens in bigger cities, I don’t know. It’s such a common trope in fiction that it must at least happen in New York, right? Anyway, the rest of Alpha Flight is also out and about. Ad I have to say, the sheer level of Whit’s cynicism here is actually a little endearing. I still can’t accept him dating a teenager, though.
Anyway, more of the hearing, with some recapping, and some kind of amusing scepticism.
This guy also accuses Alpha Flight of staging the fight against the Dreamqueen. Which is another of those comic book cliches. People always accuse superheroes of staging things to look better. Which I don’t really get. It would be like accusing police of faking arrests in order to look good. The guy’s a dick and Heather gets fed up and blasts his desk. Which is, uh, not the best move she could have made? “You people are menaces!” “Menaces? Would a menace do this?!” *blast* “. . . Yes. Yes, I believe that is exactly what a menace would do.”
The MP, who suddenly seems a lot more reasonable, continues to rant about Alpha Flight needing to be neutralized. There’s a brief debate about whether Alpha should be controlled, given they’ve always fought on Canada’s behalf, with baldy saying if they don’t control Alpha, Alpha will one day control them.
Meanwhile, the hearings are being discussed on a US news show, where a black couple sees some images of Laura. It’s her parents!
And in the diner where the rest of Alpha is gathered, some guy changes the TV station to a Leafs game. The TV announces another goal for the Maple Leafs. Which is maybe the most outrageous thing in this comic. The Leafs suck. They were especially awful in the ’80s. When Walter objects to the Leafs game being put on – I guess he probably prefers teams that don’t suck – the guy then proceeds to hit on “her” (since Walter is in a female body at this time). Kara tells the guys to get lost, and they wander off. Walter tries to pay for the drinks with his credit card, still under his male name, which the waitress objects to. And, somehow, this sets off a bar brawl.
Back to the hearing! The anti-Alpha guy points out they didn’t sanction Cody’s release of Bedlam the Brain-Blast, and also notes that, given Mansion Alpha was rebuilt with government funds, installing bugs was a pretty reasonable decision. And, I mean, he’s right. I know we’re supposed to hate this guy, but honestly, he raises a lot of entirely valid points. He also suggests the villains Alpha’s fought may not have come to Canada if Alpha wasn’t there, with another woman saying there were no supervillains before there were superheroes. Which is, again, kinda true. The funny thing is, when Box objects, he mentions Omega Flight . . . who were formed directly in opposition to Alpha Flight. Not helping your case there, buddy.
Then a brief return to the bar, and this:
Alpha leaves the bar, unsure of what their next move should be, with Walter noting that they’re broke. While Heather shouts that she doesn’t want the government’s money. That they risked their lives, not for money or fame, but for love of country. Walter remembers that he’s rich, and heads to a bank to make a withdrawal, but once again, he’s in a woman’s body, and even his signature looks different, so the manager refuses to give him the money. He freaks out, and Kara forces him to leave.
We see other hero teams watching the hearings. The FF, Avengers and X-Men, specifically. And we get what is, I think, the key argument of the issue:
The guy’s right. Superheroes are terrifying. The idea of them running around with no oversight? That’s a scary idea. They should be accountable. They should have oversight. Meanwhile, Kara thinks about going back home, and figures she could take Laura and Goblyn with her. And Whit says he’s been thinking of going back to medicine. Finally, the hearing’s Chairwoman asks if Alpha will accept government oversight, and Jade Dragon finally speaks up and says they shouldn’t do it, that they should be free.
Heather decides to reject the money. The anti-Alpha guy tries to talk Box into leading a government-funded Alpha. Box damned near breaks the guy’s hand. And then, outside, Heather proposes to Box.
Walter heads to one of his old houses, where his ex, Ronnie, now lives. He convinces her he’s still Walter, despite his body, but she hates him so she has no intention of letting him have his money.
This issue . . . I don’t know, man. There’s some interesting stuff. Mantlo actually lays out some solid arguments for why the government would want to have authority over Alpha Flight. But a lot of the arguments are presented by a guy who’s an ass an who we’re pretty clearly supposed to hate. That way, his very reasonable points can be ignored by having him froth at the mouth. I dislike that approach. It feels lazy. And honestly, it never feels like Heather actually counters any of the points any of the MPs raise. She just complains about the government not trusting them. She comes across as whiny, petulant and stubborn. She only wants the money if there’s no strings attached. If they’re allowed to do what they want, when they want, with absolutely no oversight or accountability. And that is not how the real world works. Alpha Flight should have government oversight. Ideally, all superheroes should. Put morality clauses in place that allow heroes to opt out of doing anything they feel to be wrong (this would include things like attacking specific targets). I don’t like Heather’s rabidly anti-government stance.
The stuff with the rest of Alpha is a bit uneven, as well. Some of it is good and works well. Other bits just feel odd, somehow. Like, the bar brawl. That splash page of Sasquatch holding everyone up? It’s a cool image, but I don’t know if it makes sense. How does a woman using a man’s credit card lead to a bar brawl? Were the guys trying to beat up a random woman? What the hell happened?
The art is good, though it’s still wasted in this book. Lee does good work. Though I think he was part of an unfortunate trend, with the rise of multiple splash pages in a single issue. This issue has four of them. It’s a talking heads issue, and it has four splash pages. And they look good, no question there. Lee nails each of them. But the thing is, a splash page is a single static image. In a medium like comics, where every single page is precious, too many splash pages can sometimes mean less story. It’s fine here. Nothing is lost in this issue. But I’ve read comics with piss-poor actions scenes that resulted from too many splash pages. But like I said, that’s not a problem in this particular issue, and all four splash pages actually do a really good job of conveying quite a bit. So Lee’s good here.
All in all, while I wouldn’t call this a bad issue, it does have some problems.
I’ll go to the store for: All-New All-Different Avengers #12, by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar and ave McCaig; Black Panther #4, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze, Laura Martin and Matt Milla; Captain Marvel #7, by Ruth and Christos Gage, Marco Failla and Matt Wilson; Mockingbird #5, by Chelsea Cain, Ibrahim Moustafa and Rachelle Rosenberg; Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #9, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain; Ms. Marvel #9, by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa;, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #44, by Thom Zahler and Tony Fleecs; New Avengers #14, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov; Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Tom Fowler and Rico Renzi.
I’ll also review: Civil War II #4, by Brian Bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor; Extraordinary X-Men #12, by Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado and Dono Sanchez-Almara; Old Man Logan #9, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo; Uncanny Avengers #11, by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz and Dave Curiel; X-Men ’92 #5, by Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, Corey Hamscher and Matt Milla.
So that’s 9 goddamn comics I’m picking up, and 5 reviews. Wow. This is a big week. This will hurt.
All the books look good. Black Panther has been really intriguing stuff, great political stuff. Captain Marvel is great, and this arc has Dr. Minerva, who I love as a villain. Mockingbird has been really smart, interesting, feminist stuff, and I’m very excited to see how this arc ends. Moon Girl is an adorable series and will have more adorableness. Ms. Marvel is Ms. Marvel, and I definitely enjoy the way the series explores various themes, and this arc is exploring profiling and future-crime. New Avengers is crazy fun and now we’re getting a big action arc where it looks like Sunspot will get to kick some ass. And Squirrel Girl is Squirrel Girl. So, yeah, lots to love.
As an aside, Blue Monday Vol. 1, by Chynna Clugston-Major, is getting re-released tomorrow. It’s great. So it’s very much worth checking out.
Marvel’s October solicits are out. My pull list for the month: Champions #1, Black Panther #7, Hellcat #11, Mosaic #1, Ms. Marvel #12, Captain Marvel #10, Ultimates #12, Power Man & Iron Fist #9, New Avengers #17, A-Force #10, Mockingbird #8, ANAD Avengers #15, Vision #12, Spider-Man/Deadpool #10, Silk #13, Moon Girl #12, Squirrel Girl #13, Nighthawk #6, Wolverine #13. So 19 Marvel comics that month. I think my overall Now pull list is sitting at 22 titles, and odds are good there’ll be a few more books announced over the next couple months.
So, SDCC was this past week. There isn’t that much for me to talk about. Agents of SHIELD will apparently have Robbie Reyes as Ghost Rider, which is so great. And Gabe will be there, too! I love Robbie and Gabe. Robbie is the BEST Ghost Rider. He’s relevant and relatable in a way the others never were. Johnny Storm was Evil Knievel, but dumb enough to think making a deal with the devil was a good idea. Dan Kethc was OK, but he didn’t have a strong personality. He was mostly just there because they needed to have someone to host the Ghost Rider. But Robbie is a fantastic character. So is Gabe. So I’m hoping that, with them being on TV, maybe he’ll get a new solo. Speaking of Marvel TV, the Luke Cage trailer is great. I’m excited. And, of course, Brie Larson has been confirmed to play Captain Marvel. I hope the soundtrack includes Metric’s “Black Sheep.” Bonus points if it’s used in a scene where Larson sings along to it. All the bonus points if she sings along to the Clash At Demonhead version from Scott Pilgrim. Because, in my heart, Brie Larson will always be Envy Adams. I loved the Scott Pilgrim movie. Not as good as the comics, but still an awesome movie.
For comics: Not much X-Men news worth talking about. All-New Wolverine will launch Enemy of the State II, a spiritual successor to the Wolverine story. We’ll see how it goes. Taylor’s been doing great work, so it should be good. X-Men vs. Inhumans will be a winter event, and people are already groaning at yet another Hero vs. Hero battle. I’m kinda meh on it. I’m not really a fan of the Inhumans. I will say that this event is one that was obviously coming. Everyone knew there was going to have to be some big battle between them. With any luck, the event will end with both sides finding a way to reverse the Terrigen poisoning of mutants, so the X-Men can get the hell away from this damn extinction storyline.
But the biggest news, for me, was the announcement of World of Wakanda, a series spinning off from Black Panther. The writers will be Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey. Coates and Gay will co-write a story about Ayo and Aneka, the Midnight Angels, who have been, hands-down, my favourite part of Coates’ Black Panther. Harvey will do a back-up about Zenzi, the woman provoking uprisings against the Panther. Here’s what’s awesome: Gay and Harvey are both black women. Marvel is launching a series with black women as writers! And what’s more, Gay is also queer! So a queer black woman will be writing a story about two queer black women. That is fantastic news. Gay and Harvey are the first black women Marvel has hired as writers, and it’s about damn time. And I’ve been angry about Marvel’s lack of LGBT representation in Nower, and this is definitely a step in the right direction. (Now if only we can get that Ms. America solo.)
I read That Time I Turned 30 In Greece, by Tana Ford. My review:
|I liked this. This was a fun autobiographical comic about a vacation Tana Ford and a friend took in Greece. There’s some travelogue aspects as she talks about things they see in Greece. There’s also some introspection, and some goofy jokes. It’s a fun read. The art is nice, a style that’s a mix between cartoonish and realistic, with great expressiveness. I enjoyed reading this comic.|
Ford, of course, is the primary artist on Silk. Last year, on a whim, I backed a project she had on Kickstarter for Duck! Vol. 3. I backed at a level that got me her previously-released works. The first two volumes of Duck! were really good, and I was actually really looking forward to the third one . . . and then Ford was hired as the artist on Silk, which completely wrecked her planned release date for Duck. But it’s OK. I like her work, and she seems like a really cool, nice person, so I’m glad she’s gotten the opportunity to do mainstream comics work.
My schedule for the week: 8:30-3:15 tomorrow, 10-4:30 Saturday, 8:45-3:30 Sunday, 11:15-6 Monday. So posts Thursday, Friday and Tuesday. Three posts in one week! That doesn’t happen often. And I might do one Saturday, I’ll see how I feel.
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’ll probably say a little about SDCC on Tuesday’s pull list post, but: World of Wakanda! Roxane Gay! Writing the Midnight Angels! A queer black woman writing a comic about two queer black women. That’s such fantastic news and it’s worth getting excited about. But now! By Simonson, Shoemaker, Milgrom, Scotese and Rosen, “Unnatural Selection.”
In theory, I should probably give you a bit of explanation regarding Evolutionary War. But honestly? That crossover was a goddamn mess. Here’s the Wikipedia article on it. UncannyXMen.net also has an article, one that’s as long and overly-detailed as all their articles. The short version: The High Evolutionary wanted to evolve humanity into gods, but he was also busy doing all sorts of other things that were kinda only tangentially-related to that plan. This was Marvel’s first line-wide crossover spread through their Annuals. The fact that it was the first one is probably what hurt it. No one really knew how it was supposed to work, there wasn’t an overarching plot for each title to advance. A lot of writers just kinda did their own thing. Regardless, it was a stupid event. So let’s get on with this Annual!
A group calling themselves Purifiers are attacking the Moloids, and the Moloids are unexpectedly fighting back, even though they shouldn’t be. The Purifiers brought in a sterilizer ray but haven’t yet had a chance to use it. One of the Moloids get hit by a blast, and all the Moloids scream and clutch their heads. On the surface, various psychics hear the scream. That includes Jean, who’s so shocked that she drops the steel girders she was carrying. X-Factor’s working to fix the Empire State Building. Good for them. They stop the girders from killing anyone, then return to Ship to find where the scream came from. Elsewhere, Caliban tells Apocalypse he heard the scream, from the mutant Moloid.
In the tunnels, the now-peaceful Moloids are being sterilized in groups. The mutant wakes up, freaks out, gets the other Moloids freaked, and they run away. X-Factor heads into the tunnels to look for them. And X-Factor gets attacked by some Moloids who think they’re bad.
In space, the High Evolutionary is contacted by his Purifiers, and Apocalypse tracks the signal and teleports up to the station. And you’ve gotta give a guy credit for knowing how to make an entrance.
Evolutionary gets pissed at him and attacks and they both end up spaced. The Evolutionary is kind of an idiot, for a genius.
Back below, X-Factor is fighting the Moloids, until Jean is able to find the telepath and mentally explain things, and the telepath explains to her what happened. Then the Purifiers show up.
Back to space! Where Apocalypse and the Evolutionary debate philosophy and evolution while fighting. The High Evolutionary wants to gift humanity with advancement and progress. Apocalypse wants humanity and mutants to advance on their own, by being forced to fight for survival, to adapt or die. Apocalypse decides to take the Evolutionary to see the Moloids, to show that they are, in fact, capable of change. The Evolutionary still considers the Moloids an evolutionary dead-end. The Purifiers prepare to kill the Moloid, but he fights for his survival with a brain-blast, then he organizes the rest of the Moloids to fight. Apocalypse tells Evolutionary it’s more than an animal’s instincts, it’s intelligence.
Evolutionary decides to let the Moloids be for now, and teleports away with his Purifiers.
This is an OK story. Simonson does fine work with the crossover. The attempted sterilization of the Moloids doesn’t really fit the Evolutionary’s larger plans in the story, though honestly, none of the Annuals do. Sterilizing the Moloids is disconnected from the forced evolution of humanity. But hey, whatever, it’s fine. It’s still believable that he would want to sterilize them. If he feels they’re evolutionary dead-ends, then sure, he would do it. The debate with Apocalypse is really interesting, and lets Apocalypse actually be kinda morally superior. Sure, he’s trying to kill countless lives, but only so the survivors will be better. He’s still awful, of course. But honestly, his contempt for the Evolutionary makes him so much fun here. I love how he just trolls HE. “Hahaha! You are stupid!” It’s great.
X-Factor feels a bit sidelined, in a weird way. Between Apocalypse trolling HE, and the Moloid, X-Factor doesn’t get a lot to do. We get Jean being psi-sensitive, and having to adjust to hearing someone’s thoughts again. That was kinda neat. And we get Beast feeling sad about his stupidity, and relating to the mutant Moloid on that level. But neither of those character things really gets explored in the depth they should have been.
The art is fine. Shoemaker was always a reliable artist. Never a top talent, but he turned out books that read well. Good panel layouts, good flow of action, acceptable levels of expressiveness. The inks and colours are similarly adequate.
The second story, by Simonson, Tom Artis, Rubinstein, Scotese and Rosen, is called “Changes!” and focuses on the kids. They all decide to have a race, using their powers. Leech and Artie are smaller, so they decide to take a shortcut with the elevator. While the older kids race, they talk about the fact that X-Factor wants to send them to a boarding school. They all crash into each other, and Hank, who’s looking at a photo album. So we see some photos of the various changes Hank’s gone through, with expository dialogue from everyone. Hank feels bad and leaves, but the kids keep looking at photos of the other original X-Men and their various changes.
This is lame. It’s not a story, it’s just a recap of the lives of the X-Factor characters and how they got to where they are now. It also includes a plug for the upcoming X-Terminators mini, which was an Inferno tie-in. The writing is painful, and the art isn’t very good, either. It’s a stupid story.
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Comics!
Uncanny X-Men #10, by Cullen Bunn, Ken Lashley and Nolan Woodard. In Colorado, a flock of Archangels are descending to kill people. Psylocke goes into Warren’s mind, and actually puts on a variation of her old Lady Mandarin outfit as psionic armour. Kinda neat. Meanwhile, Magneto rips Genocide apart. Metal suit against Master of Magnetism has always been a bad idea. In NYC, Monet promises to stay with Emplate if he releases the Morlocks. He tells her to prove it by letting him feed. She throws him against a wall and tells him to fade back out of reality. She is full of contempt for him. Ah, I do love contemptuous Monet. But Emplate has one last trick up his sleeve. And then back to Colorado for a big Last Stand against the Archangels. This is a pretty good end to the arc. The Drone Archangel plot is resolved, with what is basically a return to the classic take on the character, because comics are nothing if not cyclic. The Archangel Wars plot was definitely the weakest part of this arc, for me, though this issue benefits from making it about Warren/Archangel, without trying to make it about Magneto, or trying to give Magneto an emotional connection to it that doesn’t feel earned. The Monet/Emplate plot is much better, and that’s a long way from resolved. It’s a cool twist, and sets up what should be a really interesting direction for Monet. The previous flirting between Monet and Sabretooth always felt gross, but Bunn is now setting up a situation where a bond can be made between them, that feels legitimate. The art is nice. Lashley and Woodard work well together. Lashley’s not quite as expressive as I’d like, but Woodard’s colours actually do a very good job in terms of mood and tone. And the action scenes are very exciting. The dream stuff is also done really well, with the faded colours being a great little visual cue. So, yeah, good issue all around.
All-New Wolverine #10, by Tom Taylor, Ig Guara, Bob Wiacek, Victor Olazaba and John Rauch. Ulysses has a vision about Wolverine, Logan, a little girl and a lot of blood. Logan wakes up to a wolverine staring him in the face. I do love Jonathan. He’s the friendliest wolverine ever. Logan’s chained down for his first official meeting with Gabby.
Laura comes in and unties Logan, and they hear and smell people coming. Turns out it’s burglars. And there’s a good laugh about them picking that apartment to break into. And then Jonathan gets shot. No! Jonathan! So those burglars get their asses kicked. Luckily, Jonathan’s OK. Not just OK.
Logan helps with Jonathan, and tells Gabby he knows she’s hiding something from Laura. But he also thinks she’s a good kid. Then Laura and Logan have a really sweet conversation. This is such a great comic. There’s a little bit of tension running through it with the reader wondering about Ulysses’ vision. Some great comedy when the burglars break in. More tension after Jonathan’s shot. And then relief and comedy when he turns out to be fine. The conversations Logan has with Gabby and Laura are both really sweet. Logan interacting with young women was probably when he was most endearing, and that’s what we see here. And it’s sweet. I’m honestly a little torn on whether I want Logan to become a supporting character in this book. On the one hand, I want Laura to stand on her own, without needing Logan to boost sales. On the other hand, it’d be fun to see Logan and Gabby hanging out more. Maybe he could just show up every so often for fun feels-focused comics. I also really like the relationship between Laura and Logan, as she clearly has a lot of affection for him, but is also completely unwilling to put up with any shit from him. It’s great. The art is really good. There’s good work with facial expressions and body language, and the action scenes are excellent, really exciting stuff. Dynamic. And Jonathan, of course, is totally adorable. This is a great series.
Deadpool & the Mercs For Money #1, by Cullen Bunn, Iban Coello and Guru eFX. It starts with Deadpool and Domino hanging out at a restaurant in Mexico and talking about his team. Interestingly, Domino says they make enchiladas, and asks if that’s his thing. Deadpool says it’s chimichangas. But here’s the thing: The chimichangas thing was a joke about him liking the world, and he actually prefers enchiladas. I’m honestly not sure if this is Bunn making a call back to the Cable & Deadpool joke. I’d like to think it is. But it’s tough to tell. Anyway, Deadpool leaves with Masacre. It was nice seeing Domino. She and Deadpool actually do play off each other really well, I find. They’ve got a good chemistry. Domino’s actually a character who has fun chemistry with a lot of characters, though. Anyway, the Mercs have a mission in Albuquerque, because they’ve been paid to bring in a teen girl who calls herself Negasonic Teenage Warhead. So, now we know how she gets from the movie to the comics. Because she was in the movie, remember? Do you remember her from the movie? She was in the movie and it was a cool movie and the movie was movie. Movie? Movie! She has the same name as the original comic character. And she also has some limited ability to tell the future. I have a feeling that she actually is the original Negasonic Teenage Warhead, with her spirit possessing another girl. Anyway, this issue was meh. The fact that a character whose primary character trait was “dead” is around and well is a bit odd, especially as she shows no sign of what little personality she had previously. She was very much a goth, when we got a glimpse of her in the past, but here, she seems like a pretty normal kid. A significant portion of the issue is taken up with her avoiding and beating the Mercs, which, frankly, drags it down. There’s some bits of plot here. What’s frustrating to me, though, is the ongoing lack of personality the Mercs show. They’re boring and bland and generic, and they don’t feel like themselves. And it’s just kind of a boring issue. Not as infuriatingly boring as the previous volume, but I don’t have high hopes here.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #7, by Gerry Duggan, Scott Koblish and Val Staples. This uses the stupid conceit of being an inventory story, the thing Duggan and Posehn did several times in their run in order to completely miss what made the famous Kelly Deadpool issue so great. This one is set in 1968, exploring the political insanity of that year. Some corporate douche is threatening to pull advertising money from the Bugle if they don’t shift their election coverage to be more positive. JJJ sends Peter and Ned Leeds to report on hippies causing problems. So they head to Chicago, where “Jack McPherson” is promising to end the war in Vietnam. He’s presumably being used as a stand-in for Eugene McCarthy. The douche guy’s sister is booing him, while in a limo with Deadpool and Nixon. Deadpool reveals he was the one who killed JFK. Funny. She takes him to meet Mysterio, who’s posing as McPherson. A bit later, at the protest a riot breaks out, so Spider-Man goes into detail after some “wink-nudge” bits pointing out how ridiculous a lot of his ’60s tropes were. Like the fact that he takes time to get changed while people are getting hurt, or the fact that JJJ doesn’t get suspicious about his photos being taken from the side of a building. Because these are totally things that no one has ever noticed before, these are totally original observations. Ugh. Anyway, Spider-Man and Deadpool fight, then Spider-Man foils the evil plan of the rich douches. After we see Mysterio make some stupid comments that are supposed to be similar to things Republicans have said during the campaign. One specific one I want to note is that he says the Egyptian pyramids weren’t crypts, they were lairs for evil mutants. The thing is, in the Marvel Universe, this is actually a pretty reasonable assumption to make. I’m pretty sure several of the pyramids were lairs for evil mutants. Like, if Xavier were at that convention, he’d probably hear that and go, “Huh, yeah, that sounds about right, we should probably check on that.” Anyway, fighting, whatever. “Funny” political commentary, haha. Lame. Not particularly insightful or clever. It had nothing particularly valuable to say about ’60s comics, and even less of value to say about contemporary politics. Just pointing out things everyone already knows to be problems. Yeah, this issue sucked.
That’s the X-titles, but allow me to talk about other comics, too.
Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat! #8, by Kate Leth, Brittney Williams and Rachelle Rosenberg. Patsy wakes up with a feeling that Jen’s in trouble. She texts America, who agrees to get her in. And guys. Feels.
She tells their non-superhero friends about it. They hug, and then go for drinks to talk about Jen. And Patsy remembers a time they hung out, and it includes a Catball Special, and it is the most adorable thing.
But man, this issue. So much in the feels. This issue makes me cry. It’s so sad! The fact that it’s normally such a fun, upbeat comic makes it even rougher. Leth, Williams and Rosenberg just wreck the reader here. This issue will destroy you, in the best possible way. There’s still some good laughs, but they’re sad laughs mixed with sobs, and it’s just such an amazing comic.
Nighthawk #3, by David Walker, Martin Morazzo and Tamra Bonvillain. Nighthawk attacks some gun-runners. Brutally. They get an advantage over him after he gets thrown from the roof of their van, but Tilda helps him out with one of her owl-bots. And man, Nighthawk is brutal when asking questions. Tilda, meanwhile, remains delightful. She’s such a supervillain, but she’s so charming about it. She keeps asking Nighthawk to bring her on missions, partly so she can get in on killing asshole cops. She really is a lot of fun. Aside from that, we get more progress on the larger plot, and we get the Revelator striking again, at an obvious target. And Nighthawk’s police contact is getting a little more involved in the plot, too, which is cool. The art’s good. There’s a real brutality to the violence that works well for this book. Also, those abs. This is a really good series.
Ultimates #9, by Al Ewing, Kenneth Rocafort and Dan Brown. We start in Machu Picchu in 1998, with Adam Brashear being a dad. It’s cute. He and his son, Kevin, chase off the Infinaut. He’s returned a few times since then, and is about to return again, for the Ultimates to deal with. One of Philip Vogt’s Troubleshooters, Agent Terry Jessup, is standing by to watch and see if they can deal with it. A Tyrone Jessup was part of Psi-Force in the New Universe, and a thing on the letters page confirms Terry is based on Tyrone. Neat! Anyway, while setting up a device to deal with the Infinaut, Carol and Adam talk about what happened to Banner. There’s tension between them. That should go an interesting direction. Ulysses actually also says something cool about the Ultimates, admiring the fact that there’s no hierarchy, no leader, just a bunch of people working together to do things. Which is one of the best things about the team, really. And then they deal with the Infinaut. By helping him. Bringing him in, at a safe size. Which is so great! I love it! It’s what makes the Ultimates so great. They’re not about punching bad guys. They’re about solving problems. And I love this issue for going that direction. There’s also some more really cool high-concept stuff. The scene between Carol and Adam was great, and there’s another fantastic moment for Carol later in the issue, as we see how much she wants a win. The stuff with Vogt and his Troubleshooters is really interesting, too, and I’m curious to see where that goes. This series is great. Not much in the way of action, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you may as well look somewhere else. But this is a very smart comic, so if you enjoy that, this is great.
A-Force #7, by Kelly Thompson, Ben Caldwell, Scott Hanna and Ian Herring. Nico uses a spell to save A-Force from drowning. They realize the Countess’ power has limits, and She-Hulk has a plan for stopping her. Dazzthor confesses to being poisoned by the Terrigen Mists. And Singularity gives her adorable assurance. I love Singularity so much. She’s so positive. Also, we learn Alison Blaires don’t do subtle. Damn straight. They are stars and they will have the spotlight! And then it’s fight time. And after a setback, Countess has pie and lemonade, which is so great. And Dazzler gets a moment of epicness. And the day is saved with the Power Of Love. As in, the Huey Lewis song. This was really fun. There’s a lot of great quips. There’s also some really good emotional beats, especially with Dazzler and Dazzthor. And I’m a sucker for stories where the Power of Love saves the day. I’m a brony, I love Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl, of course I’m a sucker for the Power of Love. Though not the song. But I do think it’s funny that they explicitly referenced the song. Anyway. This was great.
And, finally, Snotgirl #1! By Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung and Mickey Quinn! We meet Lottie Person, fashion blogger with allergies. She’s also a very negative person. She presents herself as fun and happy, but she’s definitely not happy, and she hates a lot of people, and she’s got some pretty clear confidence issues. Then she meets a hot girl who’s really cool. Coolgirl. Lottie gives nicknames to people. Misty is Cutegirl. Meg is Normgirl. She has similar nicknames for pretty much everyone she sees. And now, Caroline, Coolgirl. I like the idea. It’s a cute idea. Lottie goes to see her allergist, who’s on vacation, so a new doctor prescribes a new treatment. I’m guessing it’s going to cause some problems. And, OK, the end of this issue? Holy shit. Did not go how I expected. This was great. Lottie’s a fantastic character. She’s really relatable. She’s such a Social Media Age character. She presents herself online as perfect, living a perfect life. But in reality, she feels like a mess. Which is how I think most people are. Most people are like that, right? Anyway, it makes her a great character for the zeitgeist. There’s some really good humour, and some great drama. And gorgeous art. Hung and Quinn are fantastic. This is a very pretty comic. There’s definitely manga influences in Hung’s lines, but she’s still got a distinctive style. And the colours are really bright and bring everything to life. I love the art. This is a great comic. If you were on the fence about it, then I highly recommend it. If you weren’t planning on picking it up, I still recommend it, because it’s great.