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X-Men comics of October 10 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So with all the time between calls at work, I’ve started re-reading the first book in Will Durant’s Story of Civilization. It’s over 900 pages. It’s a big-ass book. And it was written back in the ’30s, so it’s a little out of date, undoubtedly there’s some inaccurate information, and there’s certain words and attitudes that are a little uncomfortable now. But what I like about Durant’s books is that they’re not just biographies of powerful men. History books tend to focus on a small number of people fighting over who gets to wear the best hat, and they seldom give a whole lot of context to it. Durant goes into the other stuff. The art, the architecture, the diet, the fashion, the make-up, all the little stuff that makes up a culture and a civilization. And I find that stuff way more interesting than a series of names and dates, about this person doing this thing on this date and that person doing that thing on that date. So I enjoy Durant’s books. But anyway, comics!

X-23 #5, by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Marcio Fiorito, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Sophie and Irma are chatting in Laura’s head. Irma says that Esme’s going to go for Cerebro. Luckily, Beast is there to try to keep her away, using a big gun. But he was just an illusion, Sophie trying to distract Esme. Aw. I was so proud of Beast being such a badass. Alas. Anyway, confrontation! Laura calls out Esme as a murderer, Esme is unimpressed and snarks like a Cuckoo should.

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I like Laura acknowledging that Esme’s not entirely wrong.

It’s a good fight, physical and psychic. A satisfying conclusion the arc. Esme made for a great villain, she was menacing but also funny. I liked seeing the difference in the relationship Laura and Gabby have compared to the Cuckoos. It made for a good contrast. The love Laura and Gabby have, compared to the more contentious relationship of the Cuckoos. Kinda sad, really. Poor Cuckoos. But it was cool seeing the Cuckoos get a story. I like them. They’re interesting characters. The art’s good. Nice use of glowing eyes to show readers when Sophie is talking through Laura. Good use of body language and facial expressions, Laura looks buff which is always appreciated, and there are a couple good moments of visual comedy. And there’s not a lot of action, but what’s there is done really well.

Domino #7, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Clayton Cowles. In Barcelona, a guy’s been murdered and partially eaten, and a police sergeant thinks Atlanteans did it. Meanwhile, Diamondback and Outlaw want to re-open the casino on their casino boat. A Wakandan then arrives to hire them for a mission. In Norway. Where Outlaw  – who is not at all dressed for winter weather, because she’s got super-strength so I guess doesn’t notice the cold – gets bucked off her snowmobile. And then a little girl appears. And hey, quick break from the story to talk about an art nitpick: We almost never see anyone’s breath. It’s winter, it’s clearly below freezing, but Baldeon does a terrible job showing anyone’s breath. When we see characters from the front, their breath looks like it’s coming from behind them. Which is just bad. It’s a little thing, but it took me out of the story. And that’s when we can see their breath at all, and we sometimes can’t. Anyway, they follow the little girl into the forest, despite Diamondback’s warnings of trolls and other monsters. And they fight a ghost wedding. An undead bride and her bridesmaids. They’re creepy but also kinda fun. Especially with the bride constantly talking about food.

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I like this bride’s priorities.

We’ve got us a vampire arc! Sounds pretty fun. Including a guest star I won’t spoil, but he’s on the cover of the next issue, so. But yeah, this is fun. Less heavy than the first arc, but it’s still got some weight to it. As much as it needs, really. It is vampires, after all. The little dead girl was creepy. Also, Diamondback’s grandmother seems to have been a pretty creepy lady, telling her stories about Norwegian monsters. I’m curious if trolls will show up, given Domino’s scepticism when Diamondback mentioned them. You’d think she’d accept trolls. Like, she spent a while serving on a team with Dani Moonstar, an honest-to-Odin Valkyrie. Why would Domino doubt the existence of trolls? Why would she doubt the existence of anything at this point, honestly? The arbitrary scepticism of superheroes always baffles me. But whatever, it’s a minor thing. Domino and her posse are a lot of fun together. Great chemistry. The fact that Diamondback’s still showing her cleavage while wearing a parka is ridiculous. I guess her boobs don’t feel the cold. That, and my earlier nitpick about the breaths, aside, I’m pretty OK with Baldeon’s art here. His style is fun, but it’s also really good for creepy stuff like the vampires. On the whole, this is a fun start to the new arc, and I’m curious to see how it goes.

Iceman #2, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Emma wants Bobby’s help with a delicate family matter. Bobby wants to franchise a concession stand called Admiral Snackbar. (According to Wookiepedia there actually was a restaurant by that name in the Star Wars EU, because of course there was.) She tells him that she thinks her father is hurting her brother, one of the few people she loves, and Bobby finally agrees to help. This really is a week for blonde bitches having complicated family dynamics. Kitty tells him not to trust her, and Bobby has a very interesting way of proving that she’s being as sincere as she’s capable of being:

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Pretty sure Kitty will be jerking it to this mental image later.

Emma tells Bobby about her family. Her father being a controlling prick, Christian being a warm and cheerful young man who their father sent to conversion therapy and then put in a mental institution. And it turns out Daddy Frost is also a telepath. I also like this interaction:

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“Pretty white boys” is what gets me. The sass!

They bust into the house and find Christian, who’s quite calm and friendly, but Emma knows something’s wrong because he’s drinking wine and wearing a British-cut suit. By the goddess, I love Emma. “Wearing a British-cut suit was offensive enough,” she is just the snobbiest person ever and I love her for it. She is delightful. Anyway, turns out Christian’s killed dad. But Christian’s kinda in denial about it, and is using his powers to make a projection of the dad, who attacks Emma and Bobby. So Emma brings Christian into Bobby’s mind so Bobby can try to talk him down. And another great Emma line: “Do that thing you do where people think you’re pleasant.” Though Emma’s the one who actually gets to Christian, which is fitting. On a side note, apparently Dazzler also has a new single out in this issue. She doesn’t appear, it’s just a message on Bobby’s phone. Anyway, this is a really good issue. Grace writes a great Emma, classy and snarky and compassionate. An ice cold bitch who cares deeply. I love her. Bobby remains Bobby. I still struggle to give a damn about him. But he and Emma do have a relatively fun chemistry. It’ll be interesting to see if Christian shows up again. And seeing a Worst Case Scenario for coming out is interesting, though I don’t necessarily feel qualified to talk on that point. But it does show how lucky Bobby was with his parents. The art is not my style. It’s not bad, by any stretch. Stockman tells the story well, and it’s not a style that really distracts me. There aren’t weird blobby faces or anything. It’s just not a style that does anything for me. Just personal taste.

X-Men Black: Mojo, by Scott Aukerman, Nick Bradshaw, Andre Lima Araujo, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. The opening panels have been getting a looooot of attention online.

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Some pretty familiar commentary in there.

So, yeah, this is just straight-up calling out Comicsgate. I approve, because screw Comicsgate. They’re a hate group, a harassment campaign, who are mad that their hobby no longer caters almost exclusively to cishet white men. None of them even understand how the comics industry works, which is clear by the sheer number of comics creators who call out their lies. Screw Comicsgate. But anyway! The story! Mojo goes to a coffee shop to stalk a cute cool girl. He’s terrible at talking to her, but he runs into Glob, who tries to help him out. Mojo says how he first met the girl. He bumped into her and she called him a mewling, simpering dolt. So it’s clear why he likes her so much. Glob and Mojo walk through the neighbourhood, and while Mojo’s wearing a trenchcoat and fedora as a disguise, Glob’s wearing nothing, which is cool. I like that he’s just wandering around NYC, openly a mutant, and there are people who say hi to him. Then Mojo saves a little girl who was almost hit by a car while chasing her cat. And she thanks him with a kiss on the cheek. It’s sweet. When Glob and Mojo get back to the school, Major Domo launches the planned attack intended to kill the students. And sudden art change! From Bradshaw – whose style I hate, by the way, cannot stand his style – to Araujo. Anyway, it’s a Half-Sentient, a cross of a Mindless One and a Sentinel. It’s mostly Laura, Rockslide, and Mukus (created by Aukerman and Araujo) who fight it. Yay Laura! Then Major Domo brings in the cute girl, and Mojo finally decides he can’t stand by and let her be hurt. It’s a cute story. A positive message about how even ugly people deserve friendship and even love. I often feel ugly, so it’s a message that appeals to me. And stories about The Magic of Friendship make me happy, so Glob befriending Mojo and helping him to be slightly better was nice to see. The humour was mostly pretty good. The biggest problem I had with the comic was the art. Like I said, I cannot stand Bradshaw’s style. I can’t really put into words why it bothers me, but it absolutely turns me entirely off. Araujo’s style bothers me less. Most people will probably actually be more turned off by Araujo, but I don’t know, I don’t really mind it. I can’t say I’m a big fan of his work or anything, it’s still not a style I love, but I like it more than I like Bradshaw. Still, the story’s charming enough that I enjoyed the issue, on the whole, despite the art.

And the second part of the Apocalypse story, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Geraldo Borges, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit. Apocalypse is being pretty philosophical about being lost on a strange planet while his powers fail him and he becomes mortal. The life around him evolves incredibly fast, and he feels his mind slipping. And he ends up naked and chased by giant insects. Still an intriguing story being told.

So that’s the X-stuff, here’s the rest.

Ms. Marvel #35, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. More Singularity! I still miss her unique speech bubbles, but I’m just so happy to have her show up. Shocker is still lots of fun, but at the same time, he’s got pretty interesting viewpoints regarding breaking away from existing superhero conventions. He even proposes he and Ms. Marvel be a hero/anti-hero team-up. He’s really fun here. Bruno’s very smart. Kamala is very annoyed. The whole thing is really good. You know, it’s funny: Every so often, a writer comes along and decides they’re going to “redeem” Shocker’s reputation. They’re going to show that he can be a genuine threat. They usually do it by going kinda dark, making him more serious, showing him trying to kill someone or whatever. Wilson and Leon showcased his scientific genius, made him a legitimate challenge for Ms. Marvel, and still kept him goofy. And I’m really happy about that. Because he is goofy. He wears a quilt. He calls himself Shocker. His power basically makes him a walking vibrator. He’s so goofy. And he’s better when he’s goofy. So I like that Wilson could make him a threat while also keeping him goofy.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #37, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Squirrel Girl is dead! And her funeral’s got a great turn-out! And Black Widow really loves wearing black and I feel her. I have never related more to Black Widow than I do here. Anyway, it’s great. Really funny. The art in the sequence showing how Squirrel Girl died is great, it’s got this really cool retro feel. Really liked that part.

Exiles #9, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Muntsa Vicente, and Joe Caramagna. Blink is Aladdin! Iron Lad is the genie! Valkyrie i Ali Baba, and Becky her Good Wife. T’Challa is Sinbad. It’s a really cute issue. I liked it.

Captain America #4, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, and Joe Caramagna. Sharon Carter is in trouble in Alberia, with Cap on his way to find and rescue her. He kicks ass. Until he runs into Taskmaster. And all through, he narrates about the state of the country, and the state of himself. It’s good stuff. Coates and Yu are telling a good story, and Coates’ writing is really good here. Really smart stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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X-Men comics of October 3 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So I work evenings now. Woot. The only problem is that, by the time I get home, the woman I’m renting a room from is asleep, and she sleeps in the living room, so I’m not really comfortable using the microwave then. So I’ll need to start looking for somewhere else to live. I also still need to email a therapist to make an appointment. My social anxiety is so bad that emailing someone to help with it is almost impossible for me, which is a definite sign I need help with it. But ugh, so hard. (And that’s not even getting into the real, much scarier reason I want therapy.) I still haven’t started on season 2 of The Gifted yet, I’ll try to watch an episode or two tomorrow. I also still need to watch season 2 of Iron Fist. I am so far behind on everything. It sucks. Anyway, comics.

(Edit: Also, I just finally took the step of emailing a therapist to make an appointment. So that was terrifying to do. So now to see how it goes.)

Weapon X #24, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Luca Pizzari, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. It opens on a card game between Hairbag (HOLY SHIT!), Pyro (the original, apparently back from the dead, sure), and Sauron. Hairbag thinks they should go after Stryker, but Stryker, in his fancy new cyborg body, hits them first. The Weapon X team wakes up in a prison cell, and Monet explains Stryker made a deal with a demon. A bunch of weapons are dropped in the cell, to prepare them for The Games. Sabretooth apologizes for not being there for her when she was possessed by Emplate, and Deadpool shoots himself in the head with a crossbow. Also, Monet’s weapon of choice is an axe, because Monet is awesome. Domino opts for a mace, because she’s also awesome. Then it’s fight time, against a bunch of loser mutant villains. I don’t even recognize most of them. But there’s a bunch. And Domino’s luck remains fun to see.

Weapon X #24

And this is actually tame for her.

As always, this is fun. There’s a little bit of emotional stuff with Sabretooth and Monet, but mostly, this is a comic that enjoys itself. The action is exciting, the banter’s funny, the art is solid. Monet’s still rockin’ her new hairstyle, with one side buzzed. I like it. Kinda punk chic. Stryker selling his soul out of his hate for mutants is also a really cool idea, though. It’s a pretty strong statement on hate, and especially on religious-motivated hate. It’s a very strong message being sent.

X-Men Black: Magneto, by Chris Claremont, Dalibor Talajic, Roberto Poggi, Belardino Brabo, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Joe Caramagna. Magneto’s in a small diner, chatting with the teen girl waitress, Kate. She talks about how long her family’s been fighting for the country, how her mom went to war and didn’t come back. The conversation’s pretty heavy, and then the comic gets topical.

X-Men Black: Magneto

Kate’s good folk.

So, yeah, Claremont’s not being subtle with this bit of commentary. But Claremont was often heavy-handed. And holy shit, the US government is throwing children in jail just because they’re not white, so why should anyone be subtle when talking about that? Screw subtle. I’m sure the Comicsgate jackasses will be outraged at this “SJW agenda” being pushed, because Comicsgate jackasses don’t actually understand comics, politics, or pretty much anything. Regardless, this is actually a really good scene. It draws a direct parallel between mutants and a real-world marginalized group (multiple real-world marginalized groups, really), while actually also evoking a fairly common plot element in X-Men comics. (The X-Men franchise has spent decades saying that prison camps are bad, and here comes the Trump Administration saying, “Prison camps? That sounds like a great idea!”) Anyway, some white jerks in the diner disagree, and say mutants should be rounded up in prison camps, Kate shouts them down, Magneto leaves, and dammit, I got a little bit of great writing in my eye.

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Damn if Claremont isn’t ON with this comic.

It’s been a long time since Claremont’s done anything I’ve really liked. But this scene is brilliant. This is Claremont at his best. Magneto heads back to Asteroid M for a training simulation (he kills the X-Men), Briar tells him one of the camps has been opened, so Magneto goes to deal with it. And he fights a woman in Sentinel armour. The fact that she’s a woman throws him off. He makes a speech asking whether they need to be at war, the mutants he frees talk about the need to fight for their country. And the comic very much drops in quality there. Much as I love Claremont’s ’70s and ’80s work, he’s felt more and more dated with every new work he’s done. And the second half of this issue is no exception.The first half is great, and has a timeless quality, rather than being dated. Two people chatting in a diner. I live for that shit. I would read an entire series about characters hanging out in coffee shops. And I like how topical it is, with the talk of camps. But the end of the issue goes from topical to preachy, and not in an endearing way. So the issue as a whole is very uneven. The art . . . I’m torn. I genuinely can’t decide if I like it or not. On the whole, I don’t think I do. That’s down to taste, though. At least it didn’t really pull me out of the story. Talajic’s a fine visual storyteller, and the style isn’t distracting to me. I don’t like it, but I can live with it. The action scenes are great, I’ll give him that. I prefer him as an action artist over a quiet artist. And he can do moody wonderfully when the scene calls for it.

There’s also the Apocalypse back-up, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Geraldo Borges, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit. Apocalypse is trying to use Celestial technology to create himself a body with no faults, that can live forever, so he doesn’t have to keep taking new host bodies. The experiment goes wrong, and he gets hurled to another planet, where he’s mortal. This is fine. It’s a fine start. We’ll see how the story as a whole goes. Apocalypse becoming more vulnerable is a new twist. We’ll see how it goes.

Shatterstar #1, by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, Gerardo Sandoval (for flashbacks), Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Shatterstar is missing his time as a star in Mojoworld, and now goes by Ben Gaveedra. He’s a landlord of a building for alternate-reality outcasts. Including a socialist dog who is pretty amazing.

Shatterstar #1

You tell him, boy.

There’s also a pair of fantasy warriors developing a fantasy TV series, a mutant commando who’s befriended the teen girl she was sent back in time to kill, an aged Dwayne Taylor from a Noir world, and a girl from a world without superheroes. (Our world, in fact. Earth-1218. That’s our world. We live on Earth-1218. I wonder if this woman if a reference to someone Seeley or someone else on the creative team knew, who maybe passed on or something.) I love this bunch of weirdos. I love the whole concept. An apartment building catering to people from other realities? Amazing. That’s an amazing idea. I love stuff like that. And the characters are all great, a great mix of personalities. I would definitely be interested in a mini about The End, and her friendship with the half-demon mutant teen destined to burn the world. I want to read that mini. Shatterstar goes to see Titus Andronicus. While he’s out, his building is attacked, and his tenants captured, by the Death Sponsors. Damn. Also, Shatterstar and Rictor have broken up, because Shatterstar was apparently finding himself bored Rictor’s got a club now, though, so that’s pretty cool. And it looks like Old Man Night Thrasher is dead but he took a bad guy down with him, because he’s pretty awesome. OK, this issue’s fantastic. Seeley and Villa are telling one hell of a story here. Seeley’s narration is fantastic, and the pay-off for it is magnificent. I’m hoping the tenants are going to be OK, because they’re all cool. (Also, there is some amazing fanfic material in them. Especially The End, who I desperately want to see more of. A time traveler trying to prevent their bad future by befriending the person responsible is definitely something that appeals to me.) There’s also some really good narration about the difference between reality and entertainment, how entertainment is easy and reality is tough, and it’s really good, and works really well with Shatterstar, given his origins. Plus, a little bit of Shatterstar’s history, which is cool. The art’s great. Villa’s got a very clean style, nice use of detail. Cool clothes, too. I’m really impressed, this comic is fantastic.

What If: X-Men, by Bryan Edward Hill, Neill Edwards, Giannis Milonogiannis, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. The very first panel is incredibly relatable.

What If: X-Men

Evergreen caption.

So, the story: Xavier recruited Cable and Domino to go into Cyberspace and rescue Erik from a Nimrod Virus. Cable doesn’t want to go on such a dangerous mission, but Domino agrees to do it, so Cable’s dragged along. Xavier confesses that he’s dying, and Cable finally agrees to go on the mission. So while he fights robots, Domino goes into Erik’s mind to fight the Nimrod Virus. And then, unsurprisingly, it turns out Erik is kinda evil. This is a really cool comic. It captures the cyber-punk feel really well. The visual distinction between the real world and Cyberspace is handled well, in a unique way. Cyberspace looks, arguably, less high-tech. Less flashy. It’s a really interesting way of differentiating the worlds, I dig it. The story’s cool. Domino’s great, naturally. I really liked this.

And the non-X-stuff.

Champions #25, by Jim Zub, Sean Izaakse, Max Dunbar, Marcio Menyz, Nolan Woodard, and Clayton Cowles. Riri’s having nightmares about her encounter with Thanos, Nova’s mom is pretty OK with her son being missing, Amka gets the Siege Parallel from Sila, and Weirdworld is awesome. And the Champions all get wicked-awesome D&D designs. This is a really fun comic. I’m invested in this arc.

I suppose I should give brief thoughts on the comics I didn’t talk about last week because I was pissed about my clothes being stolen. (I didn’t get them back. I had to spend $300 on new clothes. And that’s not including what I’ll have to pay to re-buy my cool t-shirts. I hope the person who stole my clothes dies alone and unloved, because they’re clearly an absolutely garbage person who contributes nothing good to the world.)

Black Panther #4 was exciting and action-packed, but I’m getting bored with all the action. There’s too little character focus. The plot’s compelling, but I want to see more of the people.

Jessica Jones #3 is fantastic. Really fun. The Blind Spot arc nails the finish, with more Elsa awesomeness, and some great lessons on being better. Then there’s also a story of Jess and Luke preparing for Dani’s birthday party, and it is delightful. There’s still some distinct emotional weight to it, but there’s also a villain named Lone Shark, who apologizes for attacking while they’re setting up for a birthday party. It’s great.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #35 is as wonderful as ever. Bustos draws the absolute best dinosaur expressions. I know people love how expressive Anka’s take on Old Lace is, but Bustos will always be #1 in dinosaur expressions. The issue as a whole is great, obviously, but mostly it’s about Bustos and Devil.

X-Men comics of September 26 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Just two more days of getting up early. Then, starting Sunday, I work 3-11, which is way better. Even better, I get Wednesdays and Thursdays off. So it’s a pretty good shift. Woot. Anyway, I have nothing to talk about, so let’s get to it.

X-Men Red #8, by Tom Taylor, Carmen Carnero, Rain Beredo, and Cory Petit. You know, I think I’m just going to post the second page.

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Preach.

So, a couple key points here. First off, this woman is amazing and I love seeing her wreck her co-host. Second, her commentary and the scrawl on the bottom both indicate pushback to anti-mutant hysteria, which is so great to see. I’m so happy to see an X-Men comic acknowledge that, hey, there are in fact people who don’t want to kill every last mutant on the planet. There are people who actually support mutant rights. Because there should be! There absolutely should be humans who support mutant rights. Anyway, Trinary uses Searebro to scan for more Sentinites, and learns Cassandra Nova has released swarms of Sentinites (which we saw on the first page). Trinary can’t turn them all off without tearing her mind apart, so Jean creates a link with Gabby, whose mind continually repairs itself, and who can’t feel pain so won’t be screaming. Cassandra uses the opportunity to get into Jean’s head, which lets Trinary know where Nova is, and she gives the location to the others so they can go fight her. Nova’s in Genosha, so Storm heads off to wreck her shit. Quite effectively. And Trinary saves the day by using the hate on the Internet. This is good. It’s got some really cool ways to battle Nova. Cool plans being used. And one hell of a Storm-being-epic moment. Storm’s made of epic, and even for her, this was awesome. Trinary is great, too. Her big double-page splash is really cool. The story is good, as the X-Men actively fight back against hate, and that page I posted shows how it’s working. There’s also some good humour throughout the issue. And man, I love the Jean/Gabby relationship. I really do. I want these two working together for a long time, because they’re just so good. The art’s good. I think Carnero handles big moments a bit better than smaller talking-heads stuff, but he does a solid job on the small stuff, too. The big stuff is just a little bit better. I’m thoroughly enjoying this comic, one of the most positive X-titles in a while.

X-Men Blue #36, by Cullen Bunn, Marcus To, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. The X-Men (with Bloodstorm) meet up at the Cape Citadel missile base for some nostalgia, then head off to tie up loose ends.

X-Men Blue #36

Yay X-Babies!

Scott says goodbye to his dad and the Starjammers, in a touching scene, with the Starjammers saying he’ll always be one of them. Aww. The team heads back to Madripoor, tell the Raksha that Lorna and Danger will be training them, and Hank gets a sweet goodbye with Gazing Nightshade. A romance that never actually got to develop. The Mothervine mutants are taken to Xavier’s. Then a Scott and Jean scene, where they smooch. It’s a good final issue. As always, Iceman and Angel are entirely superfluous. They get a few comments here and there, but Bunn never gave a shit about them in this run, and he doesn’t start now. They’re only there because they had to be, and I suspect that, if Bunn had been allowed to choose the team, those two wouldn’t have been on it. I don’t care about either character, but I do think that was one of this run’s biggest mistakes. You’ve got the characters, find out what you like about them and how to actually fit them into the story. But whatever. I think my favourite scene was actually Scott’s goodbye to the Starjammers. That was a really nice moment. Jean saying goodbye to Pickles the Bamf was also oddly touching. Also great: The art. I love Marcus To. So much feeling in his lines. And for an emotional issue like this, he’s a perfect choice of artist. I was never particularly keen on this series. I thought Bunn’s stories weren’t particularly compelling, for the most part, and Jimmy was so damn boring. It was a damn sight better than Gold, of course, and it had plenty of good stuff, too. I’m not sad to see it end, though it is a bit of a shame for the O5 to return to their time. I’ve enjoyed their story over the past few years. But I suppose it was probably time.

Domino Annual, by a bunch of people. First, by Gail Simone, Victor Ibanez, Jay David Ramos, and Clayton Cowles (who lettered all the stories.) How Domino met Outlaw! Domino and Diamondback were on a road trip to form a posse. Also, Domino hates smooth jazz. Outlaw’s drinking in a bar, and a guy calls her a filthy mutie, so she throws him out. And a pool table after him. And then it’s a bar brawl.

Domino Annual

Wow.

Domino and Diamondback find her after she’s kicked everyone’s ass, and Domino provokes her into a fight. And Domino calls her Applejack. Which I find cute. It’s a good story. Very cute. Fun. The fight is great, and the banter’s top-notch. I dig the art, mostly, but there are some panels that look a bit off to my tastes. I’ve always had that issue with Ibanez. I’ve always found his art a little inconsistent. Mostly good, sometimes blobby.

Next, by Fabian Nicieza, Juan Gedeon, and Jesus Aburtov (who coloured the rest of the stories). Domino and Cable in the bath, a callback to early X-Force. The story’s mostly Cable, fighting in the future, and feeling pissy about his life, and Copycat posing as Domino. A whatever story. I love Gedeon’s art here, but Nicieza brings little to the table, especially with the story not even being Domino-oriented in her own Annual.

Next, by Dennis Hopeless and Leonard Kirk. Domino, having stolen a Russian military helicopter and the original Crimson Dynamo’s helmet, drops in on Piotr, drinking away his sorrows after his failed wedding. The current Crimson Dynamo is chasing her. So Domino and Colossus take the Commando out. It’s a really fun story.

Domino Annual

Little hat!

Domino and Colossus were really fun together. So it’s cool seeing Hopeless revisit that pairing. The art’s good, too, Kirk does solid work.

Next, by Leah Williams and Natacha Bustos. Nightcrawler holds a support group for visible mutants. More specifically, weird mutants. And dear gods, Doop gets a long speech. I’m not translating it. It’s too long for me to be bothered. In addition to Kurt and Doop, there’s Eye-Boy, Beak, Maggott, Marrow, Kylun, Toad, Bling!, Thumbelina, Stacy X, and a big woman whose name I’m drawing a blank on. And Stacy X gets, hands-down, the best moment of her entire existence.

Domino Annual

And maybe the best moment of the issue, too.

I wasn’t a fan of Stacy X. She had a cool premise, honestly – a mutant prostitute who used her mutation as a way of making money. But she was not handled well. Not at all. She was handled so poorly. So to see her actually get such a powerful moment, where she gets to talk about how hard it was losing her mutation, it’s great. I love it. The whole idea of this story, the RejeX, mutants who can’t pass for human forming a support group. That is the shit I live for. I want so much more of this content. It is so brilliant, and it plays so well into the mutants-as-minority angle. There should be mutant support groups. Absolutely. And it was a cool set of characters Williams and Bustos went with. I love almost all of them, honestly. Thumbelina! Maggott! Marrow! Bling!! So many great characters. And such a heartwarming story. And Bustos’ art! I love her work. I’ve loved her since the start of Moon Girl, and she continues to be amazing. So much heart. This is a great story and I want more of it.

And finally, by Leah Williams and Michael Shelfer. This was actually a framing sequence running through the issue, showing how she spent the day. She woke up after a night of fun with Warpath, posed as a clown to kill someone at a circus, killed someone on a small swamp tour boat, wore a schoolgirl outfit to kill a dude who was implied to be a child molester, and then wished Kurt goodnight after the support group. It’s a fun framing sequence. Lots of amusing visuals. The Annual as a whole is great, well worth reading. Just a lot of fun, and then that brilliant RejeX story. (I really, really hope we get to see more of the RejeX.) The Nicieza story is the only weak spot; the rest of the stories are excellent. Great writing, great art, great everything. I loved this.

Extermination #3, by Ed Brisson, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Joe Sabino. Ahab mind-controls Old Man Logan to attack Hank, Adult Jean refuses to let Scott go back to help, and Jean insists on joining X-Force to find Teen Cable. The two young mutants from the first issue turn out to be sleeper Hounds, which is a pretty good plan by Ahab. It’s how he turned Logan. And he also turns Nightcrawler and Shatterstar, who attack Scott and Jean, respectively. And Boom-Boom reveals she’s not great at online shopping.

Extermination #3

Seriously, how did she make that big a mistake?

Also, her friend is going nuts, and she throws a bomb in his face. She really does have only one answer to every problem. And Teen Hank gets captured by Teen Cable. On a totally random note, I kinda dig Boom-Boom keeping the skirt from the Dead Mutants mini. It’s a nice change of pace from normal spandex costumes. Anyway, the issue. It’s fine. It’s more action, some more twists, some attempts to scare readers by making them think a character was dead (Adult Beast, in this case). The characterization is mostly good. Boom-Boom is obnoxious, as she should be. On the whole, the story’s still pretty bland. The art is great, though. Larraz and Gracia are killing it on the art. It’s gorgeous. The action’s exciting, tension is high, emotions are strong. I love the art. So the book is worth picking up for the art, but the story isn’t blowing me away.

Old Man Logan #48, by Ed Brisson, Ibraim Roberson, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. 6 months ago, in the Northwest Territories, in a small bar, a couple drunks are smack-talking each other, with the bartender trying to keep them from fighting. Then a mysterious shadowed figure insults them. 3 months later, a small group of people is trekking through the darkness, trying to escape The King. He finds them and kills one, badly slashing another’s face. In the present, a couple guys are standing guard while The King keeps their wives. Logan comes up, and gets knocked out by the two guards. A kid wakes him and frees him, and then Logan’s taken to The King, who turns out to be Maestro, the evil future Hulk. So I guess this is just trying to clean up that loose end from earlier in the run. Also, there’s implied rape, so edgy. Meh. I think I could do without this story, honestly. I find the whole rapist angle of Maestro makes him a lot less interesting. Because he’s totally a rapist. He orders women to serve him, and context makes it pretty clear what kind of serving he wants. And it’s just a background detail, something to show how bad he is, rather than being anything that actually affects the women. The women don’t matter at all, which is such a common approach to shit like this. So many stories where a bad guy takes over a town, turns the women into his sex slaves, and they’re lucky if they get so much as a line of dialogue, because they just don’t matter. Their suffering doesn’t matter. They’re not people, they’re props. It’s stupid and shitty and a frankly hack thing to do. It’s lazy writing.

Old Man Logan #48

This is shitty storytelling.

Brisson and Roberson aren’t making any actual attempt to examine the shitty trend of women being treated as sexual objects. Quite the opposite, this story embraces it without giving it a second thought. Look how sexy these women are. That’s not for the story, that’s for the audience. That’s so guys can ogle the hot sex slaves. It’s shitty. Roberson’s a great artist – and he even draws a couple women who aren’t drop-dead gorgeous – but this image sucks. The rest of the issue is whatever, I don’t give a damn about Logan or Maestro. But this aspect of the issue, this use of women as sexual objects, is just awful. So, screw this issue.

And I would’ve talked about the non-X-stuff I picked up, but someone took my clothes from the dryer and I don’t know what the hell to do. I left a note, hopefully they contact me. But it’s left me in absolutely no mood to continue talking about comics, so I’m done.

X-Men comics of September 19 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So, the Captain Marvel trailer dropped yesterday. And . . . OK. Unpopular opinion time: I still have trouble buying Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. The trailer looks great, I have no doubt I’ll love the movie. And Larson’s a great actor, I am absolutely not questioning her ability. But she just looks so cute and sweet. I feel like Carol should be physically imposing, and Brie is not that. There are plenty of superheroes I could’ve believed her as. But Carol . . . I don’t know, man, she just doesn’t intimidate me enough. But like I said, the movie looks great, and I’m sure I’ll absolutely love it. And the poster is amazing. Anyway, here’s comics.

X-Men Gold #36, by Marc Guggenheim, Pere Pérez, Jay David Ramos, and Cory Petit. Kitty calls Piotr to hear his voice, and leaves him a voicemail saying how much what happened hurts. And uh, wow, she gets to leave a pretty long voicemail. In the Danger Room, Rachel has changed back to her earlier Prestige costume, and expresses angst about how she almost killed the team under Mesmero’s control. Then a new Omega-level mutant is detected, so the team gets ready, including Kitty and Storm talking while changing. Huh. How often do we actually see superheroes getting changed? not just whipping off their civilian clothes to reveal the costume, but actually putting the costume on. Tucking their boobs in and all that. And why is that something that I find interesting to see? They arrive in Port Washington, which has been messed up, according to the dialogue, though the art doesn’t make it look particularly bad. Kitty talks the mutant kid down in what is a genuinely great scene.

X-Men Gold #36

Kitty is very good at speeches.

Aaaaand the kid is immediately shot in the head, and an eagle-eye view shows the devastation the kid had caused before powering down. It’s an OK amount of devastation. I’ve seen better. He’s taken to the hospital, where the doctor refuses to do a necessary operation because of the risk of his powers flaring up again and destroying the hospital. Kitty tries to get Rachel to force the doctor, but a different doctor comes in and agrees to do it. The doctor was actually in the first issue, in an anti-mutant crowd that Kitty speechified to. Her mind has now been changed and she sees mutants as people. The note of hope, that minds can be changed, that co-existence is possible. Would’ve been great if the series had more of that sort of thing, and didn’t take its entire frigging run to get back to that idea. Also, the issue still inexplicably ends on a somber note with the X-Men sitting in the ER, unsure if the mutant kid will survive. What, did Guggenheim figure there was too much positivity in this issue and it needed to be balanced with an absolute downer ending? This was one of the best issues of the run, I’d say. It’s more personal, and it actually tries to show that progress is, in fact, possible. But there are still problems. The new Omega-level mutant, because calling a mutant Omega-level is a really easy (lazy) way of raising tension and drama without having to put in any effort. And, indeed, the kid doesn’t really doesn’t do much to earn that Omega distinction. He was powerful, sure, but a mutant can be powerful without being Omega-level. But Guggenheim is a lazy hack, so sure, Omega-level. The kid’s design is also super-generic. Oh look, a guy made of energy, how original. It feels lazy. And the ending feels almost mean-spirited. I think it’s meant to call back to the Kitty/Storm scene, when Kitty mentions that she thinks all the loss the X-Men suffer is a reminder of why they fight. But still, it feels mean. It feels like it’s still pushing the “being a mutant is suffering” angle I find so tiresome. Especially with this following the only moment in the entire run where a human didn’t hate mutants. Like, leave readers with the freaking win! End with the hopeful note, not the utterly miserable one. Ugh. The art’s good. No complaints there. Pérez has clear layouts, expressive characters. A boring design for the new mutant, but whatever. Still good art. And a pretty good final issue of a bland, forgettable X-Men run. I will not miss this.

Mr. and Mrs. X #3, by Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. Gladiator’s unimpressed with the Imperial Guard, and Oracle sends Cerise to fix the problem. Rogue is not happy about a clone of her running around naked, and Kitty is concerned about why there are so many naked people in space. Rogue and Gambit want to know what Kitty got them into, and it turns out the egg was the genetically engineered child of Xavier and Lilandra. Neat! And it looks like Rogue because it’s psychic and mirroring Rogue for survival. Then it reads Rogue and Gambit’s minds for memories of its parents, and changes to look like their daughter, and she takes the name Xandra. And she’s really cute.

Mr. and Mrs. X #3

Hi, Xandra!

Then Deathbird attacks and disabled the ship’s weapons, so Gambit grabs Deadpool for a counter-attack, and damn, Thompson’s comics always have amazing fight layouts, and it’s consistent enough for me to think she’s gotta be doing something to get these layouts from her artists.

Mr. and Mrs. X #3

The second half of a 4-page spread. FOUR. PAGE. SPREAD.

Gambit reaches Deathstrike, who’s leading a rebellion against Gladiator. She doesn’t think he’s the rightful Majestor, and she wants to use Xandra to give her rebellion legitimacy and to put her on the throne. Gambit disables the ship and he and Deadpool teleport back to Rogue, who shoves Deadpool back into the teleporter to get rid of him. So it looks like that’ll be him out of the series, at least for now. Good, he was stealing a bit too much attention. Unsurprisingly, this issue is fantastic. Loads of fun. Xandra is really cool, a great concept. And she’s adorable. Not just how she looks, but her personality. She’s got a childlike nature that’s very endearing. I also really like the idea of Deathbird leading a rebellion against Gladiator. Rebellions are basically what she does, and I appreciate that about her. Fight the power, Deathbird. She doesn’t seem to particularly care that she has a niece, but the fact that she doesn’t want to kill Xandra is nice. It’s progress, for her. The fight is amazing. Gambit and Deadpool kick loads of Shi’ar ass, while carrying on banter. And Gambit has to be the responsible one, for once, which is fun to see. He keeps yelling at Deadpool for stabbing people. And the art’s great. Everyone looks really cute. Bazaldua draws very pretty people. The naked Xandra running around is hilarious. And that fight is, as I said, amazing. Great layout, phenomenal flow. I love fight layouts like this, they always give such a good sense of motion. Plus, FOUR-PAGE SPREAD. Damn. That takes confidence. Love this issue.

Multiple Man #4, by Matthew Rosenberg, Andy MacDonald, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. King Madrox has slain Good-ish Madrox, and is now full of doubts. He finds one of the time machines on the now-dead Madrox, and uses it, hoping to fix things. Which takes us back to issue #1. Madrox dupes are all around the timestream, picking up skills and items. Including one who ends up in the world of the Swimsuit Specials. And, again, all this leads back to the big fight from the first issue. Not actually sure how I feel about this issue. I think my big issue is that it shows how characters who died got powers that didn’t keep them alive, so it feels pointless. We’ll see if it matters in the next issue, but here, I just have to wonder what the point is. They died. They all died. So how they got powers doesn’t seem too important. The wacky adventures in the timestream are reasonably fun, but, again, not sure how they’ll be relevant, considering they’re dead. And after last issue’s ending seemed set to make the stakes feel more real, this issue largely goes back to that weird disconnect, where it doesn’t feel like anything we’re seeing actually matters even in the context of the comic. There is another last-page cliffhanger that might result in the final issue giving the impression it gives a damn about itself. The art’s good. It’s better than this comic probably deserves. This comic deserved Greg Land. Which is maybe the meanest thing I will ever say about a comic?

Return of Loganverine #1, by Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino. Logan is in his costume, surrounded by dead people, and grunting. A doctor is still alive in the lab, and he explains that he specializes in cloning, and when he found out what Soteira wanted him to do, he refused, and thus the massacre. The doctor tells Logan to kill Persephone, the lady in charge of Soteira, and also asks Logan to stab him through the brain. But then a bomb is tossed in. Which leads to what I have to grudgingly admit is one of the best panels ever.

Return of Wolverine #1

Flaming tiger. This belongs on the side of a van somewhere.

As Logan stumbles out of the wrecked lab, his memories talk to him. His memories are fuzzy, but past versions of himself talk to him. He chases the Soteria kill team to a camp, which they then destroy. When Logan tries to counter-attack, he takes a blow to the head, which gives us a glimpse into his mind, where his memories are in prison cells. A woman wakes him up, tells him to kill Soteira for taking her son, and tells him he’s Wolverine. Soooo . . . OK. I’ve made no secret of how I feel about Logan. So there’s no way I can really be fair to this issue. Still, I’ll do my best. It’s OK. He’s actually in it, which is, you know, a good thing. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if it had taken until issue 3 for him to appear, given how Marvel’s handled the return. Soule is classier than that, though. The mystery of Soteira is OK. They seem to just be a fairly generic evil company. Persephone only appears in Logan’s mindscape, but she’s got some charisma there. She could be interesting. She’s also probably not going to end up appearing outside this mini, let’s be honest. Logan’s amnesia has a pretty cool twist on it. I guess he’ll be unlocking different memories as he needs them. The art is Steve McNiven. Do I really need to say anything else? He’s perfect for a comic like this. He’s got an epic vibe going on. It feels big and important. Ultimately, though, my take on the issue is that we’ll see how the mini goes. I’m sure it’ll be good, Soule’s a great writer, but I’m also sure that I won’t care about Logan being back, because I don’t like him.

And the non-X-stuff.

West Coast Avengers #2, by Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli, Triona Farrell, and Joe Caramagna. BRODOK is amazing, Quire accidentally talks himself into appreciating insanity, America thinks of ways to murder Kate, Gwen and Quire hate each other into make-outs. This is amazing. It is all the right kinds of ridiculous.

West Coast Avengers #3

She’s talking about Weekend At Bernie’s 2.

Life of Captain Marvel #3, by Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Marcio Menyz, Marguerite Sauvage, and Clayton Cowles. Kid Carol was adorable. Captain Shooting Star! Present Carol is not good at romantic moments. And there’s one hell of a last-page cliffhanger twist. This is a good mini. The first year of the run was rough, but Stohl’s really picked things up now, and the art is doing a lot to help, too. Making the story smaller and more personal has made it so much better than when Stohl was trying to make it big and epic.

Captain America Annual, by Tini Howard, Chris Sprouse, Ron Lim, Karl Story, Walden Wong, Scott Hanna, Jesus Aburtov, Erick Arciniega, Israel Silva, and Joe Caramagna. I hadn’t actually planned on picking this up, but it was in my subs when I went, so sure. I’ve got Captain America on my subs list, so they included the Annual in that, which I pretty much expected. WWII! Cap and Bucky find a sickly German lady who still leads them a good chase, they fight Nazis, and Bucky appreciate a good insult, no matter who it comes from. There are 3 escapees from a Nazi camp, including two women, and a gay man, and when he admits he’s gay, Cap accepts him and calls him a hero. Because even in 1944, Cap was down with it. The issue is fantastic. It’s really powerful. All about the will to survive, even in the face of horror. There’s some great social commentary. Also, Nazi-punching. I’m sure the Comicsgate crowd are outraged about that. (I’m mostly joking.) Yeah, great comic, highly recommend it. It’s Tini Howard’s first Marvel work, and she comes out strong, as someone to watch for. I mean, she was already someone to watch for from her non-Marvel work (which I haven’t read yet, myself), but yeah, this is one hell of a start with Marvel.

X-Men comics of September 12 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I was out pretty late with my friend last night, so I didn’t have a chance to complete my reviews before I had to go to bed. Thus, a day late. Uh, not sure I really have anything to share this week. I have nothing in particular to talk about. Or, at least, nothing I’m comfortable talking about yet. There is one pretty big thing that’s been on my mind for a while, but I’m not ready to talk about it on here. I want to talk to a therapist first. I’m going to see about making an appointment once I’m out of training at work. It’s just scary, because it’s something that is life-changing that I’m wanting to do. If I can work up the determination to make an appointment with a therapist, then it’ll still probably be a few months before I’m willing to talk about it on here. But hey, feel free to take a guess at what’s been on my mind. I’ll even confirm it if you guess right. But for now, comics!

X-Men Blue #35, by Cullen Bunn, Marcus To, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. This takes place before Extermination. Jean and Jean are having coffee in Italy, as Teen Jean prepares to return to her own time. The Jeans get along well, with Teen Jean even saying she wishes she had more time to get to know Adult Jean better. Aww, it’s so sweet. Jean’s entire arc over the past few years has been a rejection of her destiny and her future self, and now she wants to get to know her future self. Meanwhile, the Hanks also talk, with Adult Hank admitting he was wrong to bring the O5 into the present. The Bobbys talk, with Adult Bobby saying Jean outing them the way she did was a bit messed up, which is something a lot of people have criticized about the whole thing. Even some people who supported the reveal of Bobby being gay took issue with the way Jean outed him. Teen Bobby’s a bit bummed about having to go back in the closet when he goes back to his time. The Warrens head to a temple in Tibet where Archangel has been taking care of the mutants that Xorn was taking care of. And Scott, of course, has no future version of himself to talk to. Throughout the issue, we also get glimpses of various futures if the O5 stay. Jean fights Galactus, Hank helps Goblyn Queen take over Limbo from Illyana, Warren kills Archangel to become Apocalypse’s new Death, and Bobby . . . goes on a date with a cute boy. Wow. Death and destruction and all is horri- oooh, that dude’s cute. Anyway, it’s a good issue. Everyone trying to get closure with their adult selves, and hating the fact that going back means undoing all they’ve learned, all the development they’ve had as individuals, and effectively killing themselves. And typing it out, wow, I don’t know if it’s intentional, but it really feels like a bit of commentary on the very nature of mainstream cape comics. Character development is never permanent; they always return to who they were. The O5 were a really interesting premise, an exploration of what a person might do when faced with who they’re going to become. It was a cool idea. I know a lot of people hated them from the start, but I liked them. I liked the idea behind them, and I thought Bendis mostly did interesting work with them. Hopeless’ work with them wasn’t quite as interesting, but was still good. Bunn’s work with them has been mostly mediocre, sadly. But I do like this quiet issue, and I like that all of them get some time. Warren got the shortest shrift here. The Bobby scene was pretty good. I do wish we’d gotten to see more of the Jeans before this story ran its course. I definitely would’ve loved to see them get a team-up issue, one that shows how they do differ. Ah, well. The issue benefits from Marcus To’s lines. The man’s damned good at what he does. Milla’s colours are an ideal match for To’s lines, too. But yeah, To does a great job with facial expressions, and just with camera angles, to keep things visually interesting, even in a talking-head issue. His spreads of the future are also gorgeous. Jean’s has gotta be a stand-out, unsurprisingly.

X-Men Blue #35

Daaaaaaaaang.

Bobby’s date is another great spread. All ice and light and cute boys. So, yeah, this was a really good issue.

X-23 #4, by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. The Cuckoos are trying to merge Esme with Gabby, but something goes wrong, possibly because of Laura’s presence. Laura tries to stop the process. But fails. Esme possesses Gabby. Laura wakes up outside, having been blown right out of the warehouse in the machine’s explosion. And there’s quite the interesting development in Laura’s head, while Esme makes plans to make the Cuckoos strong. This is good. Lots of plot developments. Really interesting stuff. Esme is quite menacing. Seeing Gabby act menacing is weird and creepy. Not gonna lie, I’m a little concerned about Irma. She’s so sweet, but the other Cuckoos are clearly getting impatient with her, and Esme’s not tolerating weakness. I hope nothing bad happens to her. The story is really interesting, and it’s getting tense. The art’s really good. As usual, Irma is easy to tell apart from the others, based solely on her facial expressions. She always has a different expression from the others. She’s more expressive in general, more emotive. Which is really cool, I like that touch. Also, this issue has a stellar opening.

X-23 #4

Clearly a fun bunch.

Love it. So the art’s great. And the writing’s great. And I’m really excited for the next issue. I’d love it if Irma became part of the supporting cast after this arc, insert a little Found Family stuff in there. The family theme, once again, is less prominent in this issue, but still pretty heavy. Regardless, it’s great stuff.

Domino #6, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Clayton Cowles. Adelbert, the dude that Domino fought/rescued in the first issue is very particular about omelettes. I love him. Outback takes Diamondback to a hospital, and one of the doctors doesn’t want to work on a mutant, which just gets her threatened by Outback. In Hong Kong, Domino and Shang-Chi ride, grab something to eat, talk about her power, and get attacked by Topaz, who’s angry about Desmond dying. Fight! Which includes one of the greatest pieces of battle banter ever.

Domino #6

I would watch this Disney movie.

And then the fight has one of the most intense endings, and does it with just words. Damn. Simone kills it. Just three sentences, and it’s so damn powerful. A reminder that Domino isn’t like other X-Men, that she lives her life by different rules, while also making clear how hard that life is for her. This arc absolutely nails the ending. Gives Domino a bittersweet victory, wraps up the loose ends, and is just so powerful. The art is better than usual, too. Baldeon outdid himself for this. He puts so much emotion and power into the lines. Blee’s colours do so much to enhance the mood, too. This is a perfect end to the arc.

Iceman #1, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Bobby’s taking a walk in Hell’s Kitchen – which he points out has gone from being crime-ridden to upscale – and comes across a guy fire-bombing a club. Seems like he’s a homophobe, given his one line of dialogue. And then he sees a paper with something about the Morlocks. The next day, as he has one of his ice-golems train his students – Anole, Idie, Michaela, Eye-Boy, Glob – he shows Kitty the flyer about a missing Morlock. The day after that, Iceman and Bishop head into the sewers to investigate. They find a dead Morlock, and a fight, between a couple Morlocks and some other mutants. After the small group is defeated, Iceman teams up with Madin, one of the Morlocks, to try to lure out the rest. And we get a pretty good point raised.

Iceman #1

Not even a little wrong about the school.

I like when mutants call out the school. The focus on training X-Men means the focus actually is on training mutants how to solve problems with violence. I’d love to see more alternatives to Xavier’s presented. Alternative mutant schools that aren’t training soldiers. (Maybe with teachers who are actually qualified to teach.) I mean, Iceman had his kids fighting a monster, even though one of the kids has “eyes” as his power, and another has “spit.” Do they really need to be taught monster-fighting? Maybe they could be taught, I don’t know, math? Social studies? What is Xavier’s English program like? Anyway, the plan works, and the mutant assailants are ambushed and surrounded, and one of them declares the only hope for mutants is to be and look more human. Hmmmm. I suppose that is a debate among marginalized communities. There are some who seek mainstream acceptance by trying to be more like the majority group. POCs acting white, queer people acting straight, that sort of thing. Still a bit iffy, but sure, OK. I see what Grace was going for, and since he actually does belong to a marginalized community, I’m sure he’s more aware of these kinds of debates than I am. That aside, the issue’s OK. Lots of Iceman making bad jokes. Bishop’s cool, but a bit under-used. The art’s fine. Doesn’t really stand out. It tells the story, it’s nice enough to look at, it absolutely does what it’s supposed to do. It just doesn’t do much beyond that, at least for me. People who actually know stuff about art are probably huge fans of Stockman and deeply admire his work. But all in all, my reaction to this issue, as with Iceman as a character, is mostly just a shrug.

Old Man Logan #47, by Ed Brisson, Damian Couceiro, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. A giant plant-monster is attacking Guardian. Shaman and Snowbird head off to help him, while Puck and Logan look for more plant killer. Guardian gets smacked by the plant, which then covers him. While Shaman and Snowbird free him, Shaman gets momentarily connected to the creature, and learns it’s an alien plant, its planet was attacked, it hitched a ride on one of the ships attacking, and it crashed into the water, and it’s just trying to survive. The plant killer plan hits a snag, so instead, Logan comes up with a plan involving fire. Fire is always a great plan. Enh, it’s a fun issue. Some fun Alpha Flight stuff. Wouldn’t have minded even more Alpha Flight focus, but that’s pretty much by default mood, so whatever. The story tries to draw a comparison between the creature and Logan, but I don’t know that I buy it. Whatever Brisson intended with the story, ultimately, all I got out of it was a reasonably entertaining Logan-teaming-with-Alpha-Flight adventure. With art that was a little inconsistent at times, but was mostly solid.

Old Man Logan #47

Why use a door when there’s a perfectly good window?

Couceiro has potential, he could be phenomenal, but it’ll be a couple more years before he’s there. I’m rooting for him, though. I hope he gets consistent work. He’s great now, but in a couple more years, he’ll be killer.

And the non-X-comics.

Ms. Marvel #34, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. Kamala apparently borrows her mass from time, which is pretty interesting. Shocker is actually not bad at science, neat to see that come up. but most important, Kamala gets to meet Singularity! Who remains adorable and helpful in a not-very-helpful way. I love Singularity and want more of her. Someone needs to put her back in an ongoing title, stat. Anyway, great issue. Weird, but great.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #36, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. A ghost silences New York. Squirrel Girl and Iron Man fight her. It’s fun.

Marvel Rising: Omega, by Devin Grayson, Georges Duarte, Roberto Di Salvo, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. It’s a lot of fun. America hits a robot with its own arm. Ms. Marvel pilots a dragon. Squirrel Girl is untouchable by murder traps. The team does a Donkey Kong challenge. There’s even a Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur cameo at the end! It’s a great issue. A great mini, which Marvel numbered in the absolute worst way imaginable

Champions #24, by Jim Zub, Sean Izaakse, Marcio Menyz, Erick Arciniega, and Clayton Cowles. This is The School Shooting Issue. It’s called – ugh – “Trigger Warning.” Ugh, no, guys, that’s awful. It’s a bad joke, and kind of a dick move. It ends up diminishing the value of trigger warnings, which was absolutely not what anyone involved intended, but it does. Beyond that, the issue doesn’t actually provide a trigger warning. The issue opens with a black page saying it’s a special issue. Which actually would’ve been the perfect place to put a content warning that it dealt with school shootings. Anyway, there’s a shooting at Miles’ school while he’s not there. Goldballs was injured in it. Riri’s reaction to the shooting is actually pretty great. She says she’s seen it before, people get sad and angry and then get over it, and nothing ever gets changed. Which is pretty much exactly the case. A couple weeks later, Kamala’s school has a shooting drill, which, as a Canadian, is honestly one of the most insane things I have ever heard of. Fire drills? Absolutely. Tornado and hurricane drills? If you live in areas that get those, then you’ve gotta do them. Shooting drills? Holy shit, US, you’re messed up. Anyway, this issue’s about how people feel in the aftermath of shootings. Miles feels guilty about not stopping it, and Kamala actually gives him a really nice pep talk about deciding between despair and hope. It’s pretty good stuff. The people who constantly whine about “Politics In Comics” were convinced this was going to be some kind of anti-gun screed, but it very much wasn’t. It didn’t talk about gun control at all, it didn’t get into statistics or anything like that. It just focused on how hard it is to keep going after something like that happens, and when someone you know gets hurt. Also, the art is fantastic. I’ve enjoyed Izaakse’s art on this book, but something about it was especially strong here.

Exiles #8, by Saladin Ahmed, Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera Jordan Gibson, Chris Sotomayor, Muntsa Vicente, and Joe Caramagna. Four colour artists credited, including Quinones. Jeez. Never a positive sign. Anyway, the Exiles are put on trial for saving the multiverse. This issue is mostly just a way to let each character exposit on their backstory. It’s still pretty fun.

X-Men comics of September 5 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So my training at my new job is going well. But in more exciting news, I have a date this weekend. Yay! And man, that was quick. I knew it. I knew it wouldn’t take long to find a date in Ottawa. I hadn’t been on a date in the past two years in Cornwall, but in Ottawa, I got one within two weeks. She seems really cool. She liked the Jem comics, she was an animator on Wander Over Yonder and Star vs. the Forces of Evil, and she lifts weights so she can be big stronk woman. I’m really excited about this. But first, comics!

X-Men Gold #35, by Marc Guggenheim, Simone Buonfantino, Giovanni Valletta, Erick Aricniega, and Cory Petit. Aw, Bandini already left? That’s disappointing. Ororo’s been captured by a bunch of zombies, including her parents, and Uovu taunts her. She can’t beat him, and he tells her he’s going to kill her and bring her back as his slave. Honestly, I’m just glad to see he doesn’t care about marrying her. Refreshing change of pace. In New York, the team fights X-Cutioner, because Guggenheim needed the team to be doing something. They get summoned by Stormcaster, which creates a portal and returns to Storm. And man, I love a good smirk.

X-Men Gold #35

Even her smiles are epic.

The X-Men deal with the villagers while Storm beats the crap out of Uovu. And as a result of the battle, Stormcaster’s power is drained and it crumbles, never to be seen again, until another writer wants to score nostalgia points by bringing back plot points from the Asgardian Wars. I can’t say this issue did much for me. I think this whole arc suffers from being too short. It needed one more issue, I think, to really explore Storm’s feelings about her parents returning, and to show her bonding with them. As it is, the plot moves at a brisk pace, but it feels a bit flat. Hitting the points it has to hit, largely predictable, no surprises, and not enough emotional weight behind anything. It means that what could have been a powerful, emotional, epic story ends up being weirdly perfunctory and bland. Which is a shame. It’s not helped by the art, which is kinda inconsistent. The first half of the issue looks better than the second half. That smile is perfect, but there are few moments like that. The lightning looks a bit fatter than I would’ve liked. It’s somehow less impressive that way. Also, there’s one specific moment during the fight that was simply bad choreography. Storm hammers Uovu, and the next panel shows her having been knocked back, but Uovu doesn’t seem to have actually done anything to her. It’s a little thing, but those kinds of things are important. It took me out of the story for a moment. So the art is by no means bad, but there are little complaints I have about it. And, of course, I have much the same complaints I’ve always had about the writing, with it relying on reader familiarity with old stories to carry the emotional beats, rather than Guggenheim having any idea how to insert the emotional beats into the stories he’s telling.

Astonishing X-Men #15, by Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Land, Neil Edwards, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata, and Clayton Cowles. The group is gathered to discuss the fact that they just assaulted federal agents, and Dazzler gets spotted by a photographer who asks her why she’s hanging out with terrorists. They then grab a bus, much to Beast’s displeasure. Come on, Hank, it’s not the first time you’ve served on a team that had to grab a bus. Remember when the Avengers had to do it? That’s one of my all-time favourite Avengers moments. It’s wonderful. Alex admits that he thinks Bastion put something in him that the Reavers are looking for, and that he put together the team to protect him, which pisses the others off. Alison does offer him some comfort, though.

Astonishing X-Men #15

For certain values of “comfort.”

I love the Ali/Alex friendship. They play off each other so well. Alison is always so superior with him, and it’s really cute. Meanwhile, most of the named Reavers, who aren’t in government custody, are trying to figure out what to do about Pierce being captured by the government. Also, Pretty Boy makes a comment about wanting to marry Tom Cruise, so he might be bi? OK, sure, I can buy it. Warpath follows Alex to the Bar With No Name, and calls Alex out on his lie about gathering the team to protect himself. The others are at Piotr’s apartment, with Ali telling Piotr he needs to be more willing to open up and talk about what he’s going through. Then they’re attacked. That scene has Edwards on lines, and holy shit, the difference between him and Land is huge.

Astonishing X-Men #15

They don’t look traced from a magazine!

Greg Land aside, this is good. It’s good stuff. Some plot progress, combined with character developments. Good mix of humour and drama. Leans more towards humour, but not to the detriment of the story. Land, to be fair, is able to tell the story with the art. His style is still distracting, but nothing jumped out as bad visual storytelling. I still hate his art. And I’m also still mad at Rosenberg for what he did to Karma. No forgiveness for that.

Weapon X #23, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Yildiray Cinar, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Weapon X-Force vs. Deadpool. He’s working for the evil cult, but in fairness, he actually has a very good reason.

Weapon X #23

Good font choice is a key thing to look for in a religion.

Fighting! And quipping! And he blows up Monet with napalm. Deathstrike tries to use her nanites to get Deadpool out of Mentallo’s control, but he’s just there because he’s being paid. Monet gets pissed about her hair being damaged by the napalm, and punches him out of the building. Don’t mess with Monet’s hair. Then Domino teases Sabretooth and Monet for liking each other. It’s pretty great. And then more fighting, and the reveal of the real villain. This series remains largely dumb fun. It’s great. No complex themes being explored, no deep character analysis. Just lots of violence and quips. And it’s honestly just good fun. Deadpool is maybe a bit much here. Pak and Van Lente obviously just had a lot of fun writing him, so he kinda steals the show, which is a little disappointing. But I’ll allow it, because like I said, Pak and Van Lente are just enjoying themselves too much for me not to also enjoy myself. And the art’s great, too. Really exciting action. Could probably have been a bit more violent, honestly, but the action flows really well, and that’s the most important thing. Also, even after being burned by napalm, Monet looks awesome.

Old Man Logan Annual, by Ed Brisson, Simone Di Meo, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Cory Petit. This story’s set in the Wastelands of Old Man Logan’s time. A town gets attacked by a gang called the Punishers. Because of course a dark and gritty future is full of edgelord jackasses who idolize a mass murderer. When Logan arrives in the town, he’s blamed for the attack. He killed the Hulk Gang, which opened the way for the Punishers. He tracks them down, and after a slight complication involving a bullet to the skull, meets Frank Castle, still alive. And they launch an assault.

Old Man Logan Annual

It goes as you’d expect.

There is, however, one thing that stands out. Panhead, the leader of the Punishers, talks about how guys like Logan and Castle, the old heroes, let the world fall. They had a good life, and they let other people of their generation ruin it all, and make life an absolute shitshow for new generations. Which is actually pretty much exactly the state of the world today. The Baby Boomers had great lives, and they screwed the world up for everyone who’s come after them. It makes Panhead actually kinda sympathetic. Except he’s still a murderous douche. It’s an OK story. It’s Logan and Castle teaming up to kill people. Yippee. The fact that they’re old doesn’t really mean a lot, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a pretty straightforward story, with the only interesting thing being Panhead calling them out for letting the world go to shit. Still, it’s always frustrating when an important message like this is delivered by a villain. I’ve no doubt Brisson intended Panhead’s comments as a reflection on the way Millennials have been screwed over by Baby Boomers, and it seems to be an argument he thinks has validity. But it does feel hampered coming from the mouth of a villain. The art’s good. It definitely suits the story. Got a Western vibe to it, dirty and rough and moody. This is my first exposure to Di Meo’s art, and he’s a perfect match. It’ll be interesting to see if Marvel gives him more work, and what they’ll put him on.

There’s also a back-up story, by Ryan Cady, Hayden Sherman, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Cory Petit. It’s an Old Man Punisher story. He wipes out a bunch of dudes in a gang called the War Machines. Kinda disappointing how gangs in the Marvel future are all named after heroes or villains. It bores me. I know why writers do it, but I still don’t like it. After he wipes them out, he’s confronted by a smaller group, wielding various weapons. One guy’s got a couple of Dr. Octopus’ tentacles. While Punisher kills them, the leader runs for Punisher’s van, and opens it to find three coffins, belonging to Punisher’s family. Ew, dude, no, why. This does seem to be setting up a possible Old Man Punisher story, which, ugh, no thanks. Hard pass. I’ve never cared about the Punisher. Gun fetishist revenge fantasy murder-porn has never been my thing. Which means this story did nothing for me. If you like the Punisher? Yeah, you’ll probably dig this. Though traveling around with the corpses of his family is really weird. Again, the art fits the story, does a good job with tone. Great job done with fire and shadows, makes for some great intensity. Also a fairly interesting last-page reveal of antagonist, if the story does get continued. (Has it been confirmed as continuing? I honestly don’t remember.) Still, not at all for me.

And non-X-stuff.

Captain America #3, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, and Joe Caramagna. Steve is in a small town, talking to a guy about how the town was saved by Hydra, and is being kept alive by Power Enterprises. Steve then goes to talk to T’Challa and Okoye about the mine having no coal left. People are being paid to allow a terrorist cell to grow, basically. They’ve found the main Nuke hub, and they go in to shut it down. It’s a good comic. Exciting action. Still some good introspective narration. Still digging this series.

Quicksilver: No Surrender #5, by Saladin Ahmed, Eric Nguyen, Rico Renzi, and Clayton Cowles. Mirror Battle! And Pietro remembers that he likes things. Good finale to a good mini.

X-Men comics of August 29 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Summer can go to hell. Anyway, I’m now living in Ottawa. A few days into my training at Rogers. I don’t want to go into detail, but the training isn’t set up how I expected. They’ve got a different way of doing it from usual. I’ll see how it goes, but I’m really not worried. I can do the job. I’ve done it before, for a different company. The apartment I’m in is OK. I may end up looking for somewhere else, once I have a better idea of how much I’m making and how much I’m spending. I haven’t started looking for a girlfriend yet. Honestly, I’m kinda thinking I should get a therapist before I go looking for a girlfriend. I’ve got some Issues I want to work through. Of course, I also haven’t started looking for a therapist yet. Might wait until I’m out of training and know what my shifts will be like. Or maybe I’ll just keep avoiding it and never get around to dealing with my shit. That sounds a lot more like me. But hey! Comics!

X-Men Blue #34, by Cullen Bunn, Marcus To, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. Magneto is confronting the now-adult O5, minus Iceman, because Bunn really had no use for him. So, tense conversation. Which leads to a fight, as the O4 try to kill him, which they’ve accomplished before. This time, the other mutants watching the battle jump in to save Magneto, since they see him as a saviour. And then Magneto returns to the present, to prevent the Reaver virus, and to be reset back to an older status quo.

X-Men Blue #35

Wow, Magneto, dick response.

So, yeah, spoiler here, but: Asteroid M is back. The Brotherhood/Acolytes are back. So Magneto is basically back to his early ’90s status quo. Yippee. Who needs progress when we’ve got nostalgia. I mean, he’s even got Exodus and Amelia Voght with him. (I think it’s Voght? It might be Scanner.) I won’t spoil who else is on his team. But yeah, this issue was all about putting Magneto back to his early ’90s status quo. More nostalgia shit. Bleh. The story here is well-told. The confrontation between Magneto and the future O5 is tense, with him angry that they never returned to their own time, and them angry at something he’s going to do. The art is great, with To capturing the anger on both sides perfectly. From a craft standpoint, there’s absolutely no complaint. I just have a problem with the move backward, and even that’s only because it’s part of a pattern of the X-office constantly moving backwards.

Extermination #2, by Ed Brisson, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Joe Sabino. Damn, it’s hot. Ugh. Oh, right, I was talking about a comic. And, uh . . . wait a minute. Young Cable shoots the Mimic while he’s doing his groceries. Dick move, but strangely amusing. (He was only shot with an electric tranq, he’s still alive. That makes it a little more OK to laugh.) At the school, Scott is angsting over Bloodstorm’s death, and Jean tries to comfort him. Bloodstorm deserved better than a fridging. Anyway, the X-Men gather to talk about what’s going on. Kitty proposes splitting up into teams to protect each of the remaining O5, while others look for Ahab. Scott storms out into the appropriately dramatic rain, the other 3 follow him, and Warren and Hank get tranqed. Scott manages to blast Young Cable, but is distracted by it being Cable, and he escapes with Warren. With only 3 of the O5 left, they get split into their teams, with Jean choosing wisely.

Extermination #2

She’s got good taste.

And then Ahab attacks. So . . . hmm. Trying to decide how I feel about this issue. And honestly? Not sure I can have an opinion yet. I think I feel largely the same as I did with the first issue. It’s not yet really doing anything particularly new or creative. This issue does have one plot point that’s incredibly messed up. I don’t want to spoil it, but holy shit, it’s harsh. No more shocking deaths, assuming Mimic wasn’t killed off-panel, so it’s got that going for it over the first issue. I love Larraz’s art, so it’s also got that going for it. He’s fantastic. Other than that? This issue mostly just keeps the story moving. Hard to have any strong opinions on it, one way or the other, for now. It’ll read well as part of the completed story, it reads fine as part of an ongoing story.

X-23 #3, by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Laura gives chase after the van the Cuckoos are abducting Gabby with, and uh, wow, Laura’s good. But she takes out the wrong van. She heads back to the church to find out what Dr. Marks was up to for the Cuckoos, and she was involved in cloning stuff. Meanwhile, the Cuckoos are preparing to use Gabby to revive one of their sisters, while Gabby is still Gabby.

X-23 #3

I love Gabby.

Side note: I like how you can tell that this is Irma, because she looks sad. She clearly doesn’t want to be doing this. Cabal does a good job with facial expressions. This is good. Laura’s car acrobatics are awesome. She is extremely menacing to Dr. Marks. The Cuckoos don’t get much to do, but it’s fine. We still get to see that Irma’s conflicted, even if it’s shown a little more subtly. The main point of this issue is to explain what the Cuckoos are actually doing. It’s comic book science, but basically, they’re grafting the near-dead Cuckoo onto Gabby to make use of her healing factor. So this issue tells us the exact plan, which is important, and the end sets up for some sort of complication, and it’ll be interesting to see how that goes. The need to explain the plot does mean a lot of what made the first two issues good – the character dynamics and the complex themes – get minimized. But it’s a necessary evil, and I’m confident we’ll get more of those elements. We do still get some of the thematic stuff. This issue isn’t as good as the first two, but it’s a necessary part of the story, and it’s still very good, very enjoyable. Laura’s fear for Gabby’s safety is particularly strong here, and elevates the issue a lot. And Cabal’s work showing Irma’s sadness also helps a lot. So, yeah, great work.

Hunt for Loganverine: Dead Ends, by Charles Soule, Ramon Rosanas, Guru-eFX, and Joe Sabino. People all over the world have been getting kidnapped. Stark and Daredevil head to the X-Mansion to discuss what was discovered in the Hunt for Loganverine minis. Psylocke is apparently having some trouble dealing with being in her original body again. But anyway, Kitty, Stark and Daredevil talk.

Hunt for Guyverine: Dead Souls

Why even have students if not to exploit them for free labour?

And this comment is pretty great:

Hunt for Guyverine: Dead Ends

Comics!

They go over what they know, and find Soteira at the head of it all. The meeting is interrupted by rods being dropped from orbit. Stark, Storm and Firestar go to intercept, and hey, Firestar, cool, and a good choice. The rods are stopped, but then another dude shows up. Meh meh meh. It’s a recap issue. Recapping 16 issues, tying it all together, to set up another mini. It’s irritating, just how much Marvel’s milking this whole thing. It’s shameless. Also, I’m still not a fan of Rosanas. I don’t mind him as much here as I have on other stuff he’s done. I wouldn’t actually say it’s better than his other stuff, though. If I’m honest, it felt a bit rushed at times, a bit sloppy. It’s possible it’s just a matter of the colours not fitting the lines quite right. That does happen. But I’m inclined to think that Rosanas was probably just a little rushed. It’s not a big problem, it’s not bad, by any means. Just doesn’t quite look like his usual stuff. Like I said, I did actually prefer it over his normal style. But that’s a taste thing. Soule’s writing is definitely not up to his usual standard. So it’s not a great comic.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #6, by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, Michael Garland, and Clayton Cowles. So, quick warning: There’s profanity in this review. A flashback to 3 months ago has Dani checking out a destroyed house for any indication of Tran’s involvement. Then she touched some weird gold dust and got covered by Warlock’s ashes. In the present, Illyana’s checking it out. Later, Shan and Illyana have a confrontation. Illyana has questions about how Shan’s been running Hatchi, some of the projects it’s involved in and people it’s partnered with. She also says that Tran’s been influencing Shan for years. Which is actually an idea I’ve felt for years should’ve been explored, but it should’ve been explored in a story where it didn’t take until the last damn issue for Shan to play an actual frigging role. Illyana summons Tran for a three-way confrontation. Tran denies any involvement in Dani going missing. Shan forces Illyana to kill Tran so she can absorb him back into her soul.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #6

Remember when Karma was a hero?

Fuck you, Rosenberg. Seriously? He’s basically turned her into a villain with this bullshit. There’s also Warlock-like duplicates of most of the classic New Mutants, and shit gets crazier and sets up a story that’s going to be continued. But I don’t care. Matthew Rosenberg turned Karma into a villain. Just a straight-up villain. He took a story that should have been about her, made it all about Illyana instead, kept Karma almost entirely absent until the final issue, where he turned her into a villain. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck that. I feel like I wished on a monkey’s paw. For years, I’ve wanted a story to follow up on the fact that Karma’s first appearance had her absorb her brother into her. And what do I get? Illyana’s the star of the story, Karma isn’t even a presence until the last issue, at which point she’s revealed as a fucking monster, as she uses her friend to murder her brother so she can re-absorb his soul and keep being awful. “Oh, the story’s continuing, you’ve gotta trust the creative team!” Fuck no I don’t! I don’t have to trust them at all! Because I see no reason why I should. Because they did not earn any trust when it comes to their handling of Karma. Oh, they could have. There are plenty of ways they could have earned that trust. But earning my trust would’ve required they actually fucking use her at some fucking point prior to the end of the fucking series! But nope, she was only brought in when it was time to reveal that she’s a fucking villain. I love Karma. She’s been one of my favourite characters for years. And this is what Rosenberg does to her? He turns her into a villain. And shit, it’s a huge missed opportunity with Tran, too. He could’ve been brought back as an antagonist for the X-Men. And hey, that also would’ve justified more use of Karma! And she deserves more use. And not as a villain. Yeah, there’s no way I’m going to be spending any money on anything Rosenberg writes. I’ll stick to the digital codes for the books he does. I don’t even give a shit whether this comic is well-made or not, what this entire mini has done with Karma is too much bullshit for me to talk about anything else to do with it.

There’s also X-Men Grand Designs: Second Genesis #2, but I’m not reviewing it, except to say it’s really cool.

And non-X.

Ms. Marvel #33, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. More of the Shocker. More of Kamala wrestling with her powers, and her struggle messing with her mind a bit, too. Also, the Shocker has the greatest headquarters ever, and I love him here. He is so much fun. This is a great arc of a great comic and if you’re not reading it already you should feel bad.

Jessica Jones #2, by Kelly Thompon, Mattia de Iulis, and Cory Petit. Elsa declares Jessica to be an Axe Girl. I don’t think anything else needs to be said. Jessica and Elsa get along really well. They make a good pairing, I’d love to see them interact more. She also goes to a nightclub that White Rabbit co-owned, and one of the bartenders mentions White Rabbit was smart and didn’t take crap, and hell yeah. White Rabbit was awesome. I love her. She was already rich, she committed crime just for the fun of it, and I appreciate that. She just wanted to have a good time. And then the investigation continues with more crazy twists and turns and weirdness. And a hell of a Spider-Man cameo. This is such a great series.

Exiles #7, by Saladin Ahmed, Rod Reis, Lee Ferguson, and Joe Caramagna. Pastor Xavier is creepy but also weirdly funny. The issue has triumph and tragedy. It’s fun but then it gets sad. Two deaths I have serious problems with. But still, a good issue.

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