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Uncanny X-Men #207 (1986, July)

Hey, I got a review up today! By Claremont and JRJr, “Ghosts.”


A pretty famous cover. I find it a bit boring.

Wolverine is in a post-apocalyptic New York, screaming for Phoenix. He tries to kill her. She pushes him back and runs away, and as she passes a mirror, she sees herself in her old Hound outfit. She doesn’t know what’s going on, and wonders if her whole trip to the past was just a dream. Wolverine catches her and kills her, and Rachel wakes up. She hates that she’s alive, and doesn’t think she deserves it. She smashes a nearby mirror, so Colossus and Kitty come in to check on her. Kitty chastises her for breaking the mirror, since whoever owns it probably values it. The X-Men are temporarily living in the Morlock tunnels. In another room, Wolverine, still injured, also wakes up, and mutters that Rachel needs to stop. He’s the reason they’re in the tunnels – he was brought to the Healer, and is still too weak to be moved.

Rachel asks Storm how Wolverine is, and Storm responds coldly. Rogue points out that Rachel’s stunt in San Francisco, where she took the lifeforces of Colossus, Wolverine and Storm without permission, was pretty bad.

Later on, Rachel has another dream, of being in a Japanese temple. Wolverine attacks her again. She wakes up, this time in an alley. She’s still full of angst. She feels worthless. Then she has another dream, this time in a dead, mountainous area. She falls down a cliff, and lands in some water, where she sees her Hound outfit and markings. She tries to claw them off, but just rips off her entire skin and costume. She thinks it’s a chance to start over, be someone else, but Wolverine still attacks her.

She’s woken up on the subway, by a kind police officer. She runs from him, and finds herself near the apartment of the guy Selene killed way back in UXM #184. Rachel remembers the guy, but can’t remember his name. Rachel decides to kill Selene.

In the tunnels, the X-Men find Wolverine gone. And Rachel gone, of course. Storm says Wolverine has to take precedence. Rachel gets Selene’s helper monkey, Von Roehm, to take her to the Hellfire Club. She sneaks into Selene’s room while she sleeps, and tries to decide if she’s capable of killing. She decides to give it a shot, and attacks Selene.

Rachel easily deals with Selene’s attacks, then asks if she remembers the guy she killed when they first met. Selene remembers him, and his name, which pisses Rachel off. Eventually, Rachel manages to beat Selene, and is about to kill her, but Wolverine steps in and tells her not to do it. He tells her she doesn’t have the right, and she points out that he’s a killer. He agrees that they’ve both killed, and will probably kill again, but says what Rachel is about to do is murder. He tells her that, as heroes, they need to stand for the dream, but she says her dreams are nightmares. She refuses to back down, and says the only way to stop her is to kill her.


This is a great comic, with one hell of a final panel. It’s one of the all-time great cliffhangers in X-Men history. It’s shocking, chilling and leaves you wanting to know what the hell happens next. Awesome ending. The rest of the comic is great, too. It’s an exploration of Rachel’s ongoing survivor’s guilt, and it actually does a pretty good job with it. She thinks a lot about how she shouldn’t have lived, how there were people more deserving, how she’d be better off if she was dead. It’s done well. It’s really sad. Tragic stuff. Claremont really makes you feel bad for Rachel. The confrontation between Rachel and Wolverine is also really good. Very tense, and truthfully, both sides raise valid points. Selene is immensely dangerous, but it’s impossible to lock her up. If we’re honest, it actually might be better for someone to just kill her. On the other hand, not only does that set a dangerous precedent, it’s also murder, which is totally unethical.

JRJr’s art isn’t too bad here. It’s not bad at all. It’s a bit softer than usual. But it’s dark, fitting the tone of the issue.

This is yet another classic issue. Claremont just would not stop putting out classic issues back then.

I should also mention that Sabretooth is in Spectacular Spider-Man #116, by Peter David and Rich Buckler. He goes to the Foreigner to get work as an assassin. Black Cat steals from the Foreigner, so Sabretooth goes after her. Spider-Man gets in the way, and then it’s fight time. Spider-Man webs up Sabretooth’s face, and Sabretooth hurts himself ripping the webbing off. The issue itself is pretty good. Sabretooth’s a tool. This was before Claremont brought him around to being an X-Men foe – at this point, he was mostly an Iron Fist villain. He’d previously teamed up with, of all losers, the Constrictor. So, Sabretooth still sucked at this point.

Alpha Flight #35 (1986, June)

I’m late posting because I bought a new computer, and I’ve been setting it up. I’ll talk about that more in my next pull list. But for now, by Mantlo and David Ross, “The Child Is Father To the Man.”

The Child Is Father To the Man

What a bland cover.

Marrina’s in pain, wishing for death. Attuma is trying to get her to talk, to spill some secrets, but she doesn’t know anything and is incapable of speech. He makes some jokes at her expense. We get a quick explanation of how Attuma became Lord of Atlantis. He orders news of her capture to be spread, to lure in Namor, and Marrina gets angsty, which is kinda what she did back then.

Meanwhile, Heather and Puck are flying back home, giving a quick recap of the past couple issues. Heather also thinks about Puck’s crush on her, but she isn’t sure whether she’s ready to fall in love again. And then she thinks about her suspicions about Mac maybe having something to do with Wolverine’s creation, while Puck angsts about how a normal woman could never love a dwarf. And the readers thinks about how, OK, we get it already.

They get back to the Mansion and find Doug Thompson there. I just want to note that Doug Thompson may very well be the most Canadian name in the world. (Also, “__son” means, literally, “son of __”. So wouldn’t “Thompson” means “son of Thomp.” Logically, that means there used to be people named Thomp. I’m joking, no need to correct me.)

Anyway, they check on Snowbird in the infirmary, and she’s pretty crazy. She says she needs Shaman’s help, then transforms. Aurora tranks her.

Shaman’s on his vision quest. Mantlo includes a quote about the Tundra by Farley Mowat. I actually really liked some of his books when I was younger. He liked getting into weird adventures to write about. The Boat That Wouldn’t Float might be one of the more fun books, worth checking out, if you’re looking for something to read. The People of the Deer is what Mantlo quotes, and it’s a good book, too, about an Inuit tribe he lived with for a little while.

Anyway. Enough tangents. A herd of caribou suddenly show up, charging towards Shaman. He runs away, and leaps across a chasm that appears out of nowhere. The caribou vanish as they tumble down the chasm. Then mosquitoes show up. Little bastards. Kill them all. He runs, and falls into a lake, where he’s attacked by a giant fish. Then the fish goes over a waterfall. Shaman uses a sharp rock to cut his way out. Next up, wolves. After that, snow.

He tumbles into a cairn for shelter, and Talisman is there waiting for him. She tells him off for not telling her about the consequences of putting on the tiara. Despite her anger at him, she tosses him a staff and a robe. Then his Ghost Grandpa – soon to be a major motion picture, I’m sure – gives him an Eagle Crest. He’s told the objects were stolen a long time ago by Vikings, and so Talisman raises the skeletons of those Vikings. Shaman asks the Spirits of the Land to help him out, and he destroys the skeletons.

Then he pops back up at the Mansion.

Bleh. Bleeeeh. Mantlo sucks. I think that’s why I kept digressing – I had to do something to help me enjoy this bland comic a little more. The bulk of this issue is taken up by Shaman’s vision quest. It’s actually not that bad, I suppose. Better than most of what Mantlo does in his run. It is a little bit of a stereotypical plot, though in fairness to Mantlo, Byrne did the same thing. It’s a shame that so many writers back then all treated Native American/Aboriginal characters pretty much the same. They’re all empowered by magic, they all go on vision quests, they’re all tied into this weirdly colonialist view of what they’re supposed to be. They’re defined by their heritage. The only real exceptions from back then are Wyatt Wingfoot and Dani Moonstar, who are both proud of their heritage, but without being defined by it.

Shaman’s new look is just awful. Awful awful awful, in every conceivable way. Other than that, Ross’ art is fine. Nothing exceptional, but not off-putting. Just there. Much like the writing. This is just so bland a book.

X-Men comics for July 29 2015

I went to see Ant-Man last night. I’ll talk about it below. But first, comics!

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #3, by Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli. Deadpool’s about to make out with Zsaji, but stops. Flashback! The heroes are on their way to the villain base to rescue She-Hulk. Deadpool gets in a fight with Thunderball. Deadpool wins by shooting him repeatedly in the mouth. Cut back to Deadpool bringing Zsaji to the dead heroes. Flashback, Deadpool finds the clothing room, and comments on Hulk still having shredded purple pants. Deadpool apparently gives himself a symbiote costume. He decides to get it off, since he doesn’t think it’s fair for it to have to hear his thoughts. He directs Spider-Man to it on the way out. Back to Zsaji, healing Colossus. Flashback, to the heroes fighting Galactus. Meh. So much meh. The jokes aren’t funny, and the jokes are the whole point of the comic, so the comic fails completely. This is just really, really bad.

That’s the X-stuff. Here’s another comic.

1602 Witch Hunter Angela #2, by Marguerite Bennett, Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans and Irene Koh. Angela and Serah are hunting through the woods, talking about the Enchantress’ promise that Serah would die. Angela isn’t sure what to do, but an explosion gets their attention. A caravan is under attack by monstrous beasts, and doing quite well for themselves. Angela and Serah lend a hand, then get to know the caravan, a troupe of players, the Gardiner’s Men: Madam Gomorrah, Peadar O’Cuill, Arthur Dubghlas, Goodman Root, and an aroughcun. It’s the Guardians of the Galaxy! Of course! They’re on their way to a village festival, a wedding. Anne Weying and Edwin Brocc. Then we switch over to Gillen and Koh as they offer a tale as a wedding gift (after a brief moment of breaking the fourth wall). While Odin was away, Heimdall and Siri made love despite not legally being married, and Heimdall was sentenced to death by “Lord Angelo”. Word reached fair “Sarah,” who rushed to his aid. “Angelo” offered to spare Heimdall if “Sarah” would be “Angelo’s” bride. “Sarah” agreed, but tricked Angelo into signing a contract to join the Witch Hunters. The lesson: Always check your paperwork. At a dance to celebrate the wedding, Brocc is revealed as a Faustian. 1602 Venom! This is great. So much fun. Angela’s reactions throughout Serah’s story are hilarious – the two have a great chemistry throughout the issue, but it’s especially good there. Helped by Koh’s art – great facial expressions. Her art is really nice. It works well for romance, actually. As for Hans, her art is, as always, stunning. Gorgeous. Wonderful. She does the action well, and the environments are just beautiful.

So, like I said, I went to see Ant-Man yesterday. Or Tuesday. Whatever. It was good. Fun. Probably one of the weaker Marvel movies, though. For one thing, the bad guy was really, really weak. People talk about the villains always being the weakest parts of Marvel movies, but man, Cross in Ant-Man was the weakest villain yet. There was absolutely nothing interesting about him. It was a terrible role, and not played very well – too smarmy, too obviously evil. Just bad. And that wasn’t even the worst part of the movie. That distinction goes to the romance subplot. It felt shoe-horned in, in the worst possible way. At no point was it convincing, and even the characters didn’t actually seem particularly invested in it. That bit should’ve been dropped. Fortunately, it was a very, very minor element – barely present at all – but still. Dumb. Still, it was a fun movie. I enjoyed it. Some really cool action sequences. Falcon’s cameo scene was really cool.

Pull list for July 29 2015

I work tomorrow, but I’ll still try to get my reviews up.

I’ll go to the store for: 1602 Witch Hunter Angela #2, by Marguerite Bennett, Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans and Marguerite Sauvage.

I’ll also review: Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #3, by Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli; X-Men ’92 #2, by Chris Sims, Chad Bowers and Scott Koblish.

So that’s one comic I’m picking up, and three reviews. So . . . yeah, getting my reviews up on Wednesday should be pretty easy. Jeez. One damn comic. That’s just sad. It’s because it’s a fifth week, I suppose.

I’m most excited for . . . well, I only have one comic. I am excited for it, though. Bennett’s started this mini off in a really interesting way, with a cool premise and some interesting ideas. Plus – Stephanie Hans. Siiiigh. That’s a happy sigh, by the way. Not a sad one. It’s the kind of sigh you let out when looking at someone beautiful, but in this case, it’s her art that gives me that reaction. Not that Hans herself isn’t attractive. She’s very pretty. But her art is just . . . siiiigh.

So, I’m going to see Ant-Man tonight. In fact, I’m watching it right now. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. Probably not enough to talk much about it on here, because I don’t talk about movies on here in general. But still, I’ll probably find it a fun, enjoyable movie.

With Marvel’s hip-hop album cover homages, there’s been more discussion about the lack of diversity among Marvel’s creators. There are a few people of colour doing some of the covers, but not many confirmed as interior artists. And there’s only one person of colour confirmed to be writing after Secret Wars, with Greg Pak doing Totally Awesome Hulk. The hip-hop covers are cool – I don’t even like hip-hop, and even I think most of the covers are really damned cool – but just the same, as plenty of people have pointed out, if Marvel wants to show appreciation for black culture, they really should hire some black writers. It’s sorta kinda maybe been hinted that there might be a person of colour doing a Black Panther book. Alonso did confirm a Black Panther title, and he mentioned it in the same breath as TA Hulk. So, we can hope they’ve got a black writer on the title. And hopefully, they hire more black writers, too. Minority characters are cool, minority creators is a lot more meaningful. Especially if those minority creators aren’t restricted solely to minority titles. Let’s see a black woman writing Iron Man, a Latino guy writing X-Men, an Asian writing Hul- oh yeah. Fine then, a gay Asian writing Hulk.

The point is, Marvel desperately needs to step up its game in regards to minority creators. There are plenty of talented creators of colour out there. They write comics, they write TV shows. Hell, they write hip-hop. Marvel’s hired CM Punk – a professional athlete – to co-write the Drax ongoing. So why not bring in a hip-hop artist – someone whose career revolves around words – to co-write a Luke Cage comic? Come on, can you tell me that RZA wouldn’t write an awesome Luke Cage? And then get some of the talented black comic writers to do books, too. Felipe Smith can have a run on the Punisher. Kevin Grievoux can come back to do something. he writers are out there, Marvel needs to do a better job at giving them shots. Don’t just give us middle-aged white guys all the time. Give us writers with a different perspective.

I’ve been re-watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I’m on Season 2 now. I watched Luna Eclipsed last night. It is such a great series. It’s legitimately funny, and it’s also really sweet. And then there’s episodes like Lesson Zero or Party of One that get downright unsettling – I actually really love those episodes. It’s just a wonderful show and I love it.

I got my tax return a couple days ago. It’s, uh, pretty big. I’ll probably spend a chunk of it on a new computer. The one I have is pretty old. The only real problem it has is a weird one: When it’s hot out, it rattles. The hotter the day, the louder the rattle, and I have to tip it over more and more to make it stop. It’s practically horizontal at this point. So, yeah, I think it’s time to get a new computer. Which will mean getting it all set up. Bleh. Bleeeeh.

My schedule this week: 7-11 tomorrow, 3:30-9 Thursday, 6:30-11 Saturday, 11:30-8 Sunday, 10-6 Tuesday. So I’ll have posts Friday and Monday, and the next pull list on Tuesday.

That’s all I’ve got for this week.

Firestar #4 (1986, June)

So I’ll probably be seeing Ant-Man tomorrow. But for today, by DeFalco and Wilshire, “Now Strikes the Assassin!”

Now Strikes the Assassin!

They should’ve gone with red for the background, but Firestar herself looks really cool here.

The issue opens with an assassination attempt on Emma. She throws herself and Angel to the floor just before bullets fly through the window. When guards bust in, Emma says the assassin was working for the Black Queen. Once Chase takes Angel away, Emma yells at her guard because they guy he hired cut her forehead with a shard of glass. Chase is suspicious, wondering how anyone could’ve sneaked onto the Academy grounds.

Angel talks about how much Emma’s come to mean to her over the past three years. She decides she has to use her power to help Emma, and that she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure the Black Queen doesn’t hurt her. Emma expresses to Shaw some disappointment that, after all the time and effort that went into training Angel, they’re not likely to get any more use out of her after the suicide mission assassination of Selene. Shaw does reflect that Emma seems to almost feel something for Angel.

Two weeks later, Firestar, in costume with a mask, is doing some more training. Emma throws her off by entering the training room. She does praise Angel’s efforts, and invites her to attend a ball in Manhattan. Chase gets suspicious again. So a few nights later, he starts drinking with a guy from operations, to try to learn what Emma’s planning. He can’t decide what he should do about what he’s learned, but it’s taken out of his hands when Emma has him beaten and tied up.

The next day, Emma tells Angel that Chase was killed by the Black Queen. She also adds that the Black Queen will be at the ball, and that maybe Angel shouldn’t go. But Angel insists. A few more days later, Chase, who’s been held in a little shed, breaks free. He gets shot in the process, but stumbles towards the Academy. Angel gives her dad a quick call to say she still loves him, and when she gets back to her room, Chase tells her the White Queen is going to use her as an assassin, and that she was the one who killed Angel’s horse. Then he dies.

Emma finds out that Chase escaped, and also that he reached Angel’s room. She heads down to her underground complex to search for Angel, but Firestar is already there. She attacks Emma, beats up some guards, and follows Emma into the training room. Firestar shows what a powerhouse she is, and Emma tries to convince her she needs Emma’s help to control her power. She tells Emma to leave her alone, and then destroys the complex.

Angel returns home, to talk to her dad about what happened. Happy ending!

An OK finale to an OK series. Firestar letting loose was cool to see. Neither the writing nor the art are very exceptional. I don’t like the way Angel, in this issue, sounds pretty much identical to how she sounded in the beginning. It’s been three years, her voice should be a little different. She’s also drawn pretty much the same. The only way we know any time has passed is because we’re specifically told that time has passed.

Even more disappointing, though, is that this mini didn’t really lead to anything. It seems like it should’ve led to Firestar becoming part of an ongoing book. But nope. She doesn’t show up again until the New Warriors. (Speaking of which: I’ve been reading that series, and it’s awesome. I’d highly recommend it.) So, after this mini, she went completely into limbo for three years, until a Thor two-parter at the end of 1989 that introduced the New Warriors a few months before their book launched. No appearances, no mention, nothing. Like everyone in the X-office at the time just completely forgot she existed. This mini even ends with Shaw telling Emma they should just forget about her, I guess to justify the fact that Claremont doesn’t have the Hellfire Club going after her.

All in all, the mini isn’t bad, but it’s also nothing special. It gives an origin to a character with potential, but it took a few more years for anyone to start exploring that potential.

X-Factor #5 (1986, June)

So apparently I will be going to Ant-Man, on Monday. My brother wants to go, so I guess I’ll be going with him. But for today, by Layton and Guice, “Tapped Out.”

Tapped Out

Frenzy is the only one of those four to actually go on to do anything else.

Some guy escapes from a rather nice chalet, and gets away in a car left for him. One of the Alliance is about to blast the car, but another stops her, since they can’t risk killing the guy. The others all figure they can catch him before their withdrawals start.

Meanwhile, X-Factor is doing some exercise. While they do, Jean expresses some doubts about the X-Factor idea, and whether they’re just making things worse. Iceman argues that they’ve already saved two mutants, but Beast says Jean has a point. So Iceman, being either an idiot or a sociopath, freezes Beast’s feet while Beast is hanging on a couple wires, which makes Beast lose his balance and fall. Angel catches him, and then they all torment Iceman for a minute.

Elsewhere, the escaped guy, Michael Nowlan, is trying to call his ex so she can get him some “dope” so he won’t be able to use his power and he’ll be useless to the Alliance. I just love how “dope” was the drug of choice in comics in the ’80s. In this case, the guy presumably means heroin, but in other cases, dope is presumably used to mean marijuana. And sometimes maybe cocaine. Honestly, writers just used “dope” as a catch-all back then. Anyway, his ex has cleaned up and stopped selling drugs, and she wants Mike to leave her alone. Then she calls X-Factor.

In Soho, Vera’s taken Beast and Iceman to a little boutique for some new clothes. The outfit she picks out for him is . . . not good. At all. She likes it, which makes me pretty sure she’s probably on dope. They get an emergency beep, and head back to HQ. There, we actually find out Jean’s enrolled in night courses at Columbia University, for a psychology program.

After a briefing by Hodge, X-Factor flies off to find Mike Nowlan. In San Francisco, the ex, Suzy, is packing up and planning on skipping town, but she’s attacked by the Alliance. X-Factor finds Nowlan in his motel room, with some needles. So, yep, the “dope” here is heroin. They wake him up, and he freaks out and hits them with some energy that makes their powers go out of control.

We get Mike’s backstory – he was in ‘Nam, got addicted to drugs, got sent home to a detox centre, met Suzy, accidentally activated some guy’s mutant power, and mutants started looking for him to augment their powers. He used drugs to block the power transfer, and he doesn’t want X-Factor’s help. Beast convinces him to let them help.

Just in time for a fight with the Alliance. They have Suzy, so Mike has no choice but to boost their powers. The Alliance kicks X-Factor’s ass, and brings Nowlan back to their chateau, and their master. It’s Apocalypse! We don’t see much of him here. Mostly just his profile, and one eye. We don’t see his face.

This is an OK issue. It’s Layton’s last issue on the book, aside from an Annual, and I can’t say I’m sorry to see him go. I wasn’t really impressed with his work here. He turned Scott and Warren into unfaithful dicks, the “mutant-hunter” premise was idiotic from the start and it defied reason that any of them would’ve thought it was a great idea, his reverting Beast back to human felt too much like trying to revert things back to the ’60s status quo. All in all, I just wasn’t impressed.

As for this particular issue, it feels a bit disjointed. The scenes of them all doing their own things were weird. The bit in the clothing shop seems like it was meant for comedic relief, but I’m not sure it was really needed, given we’d already had some comedic relief earlier, during the exercise scene. There was a scene of Rusty and Artie talking about Scott being distracted, and it didn’t work at all. I’m wondering if it was just a way of reminding readers that those two exist. I did like the idea of Jean attending night courses at college. That’s one thing I wish had been continued, but I don’t think Louise Simonson really followed up on it. It would’ve been cool to see her doing something that would both help with her superheroing and also give her the skills to build a normal life if she ever chose to. Very few X-Men would actually be able to fend for themselves outside the X-Men. Although, interestingly, Jean’s the only one of the original team who doesn’t have a specific skillset to fall back on. Iceman’s a CPA, Scott’s a pilot, Angel’s a businessman, and Beast is a scientist. They’re all qualified for normal careers. Jean’s not.

I digress. I think I mentioned it in a previous review, but Layton’s original idea for the Big Bad was the Owl. One of Daredevil’s bigger villains in the ’60s, who’d fallen into utter irrelevance with the rise of the Kingpin in the ’80s. Layton apparently wanted to re-imagine him as a threat again, as an X-Factor foe. But when Layton was removed, editor Bob Harras told Louise Simonson he wanted a big, Magneto-level villain, and Simonson (with a sketch from husband Walter) pitched Apocalypse. Apparently, Guice had even drawn in the Owl on the final page, and then they just drew Apocalypse in over him. The whole thing is talked about in this CBR article by Timothy Callahan. (The article also has Guice mention another vaguely-planned X-Factor story, where Madrox’s clones would go out of control and start hunting and killing him and each other, on the coast of Ireland. That actually sounds like it might’ve been a fun story, but also really dark.) Man, can you imagine if Layton had stayed on, and kept the Owl as his big villain? The Owl! He’s a guy who flies. That’s it. He’s just about as powerful as Angel. Less, actually – he doesn’t fly, he glides. So Layton’s idea for a Big Bad who could threaten the X-Factor team was a guy who’s significantly less powerful than Angel, and who used to routinely get beat up by a blind man, until the blind man moved on to bigger threats. The Owl was too small-scale for the blind guy. I suppose we don’t know exactly how Layton would’ve gone about it, what his exact plans were. Just the same, man, we dodged a bullet there. Instead of the lame-ass Owl, we got the iconic, major-league villain Apocalypse. A villain so awesome he got his own world where he won. And who’s getting a movie based on that world. Can you even imagine “Age of the Owl” as a thing? It’s a ridiculous concept.

The art here is good. Not so good that it’s worth spending much time talking about, though. It’s weird, actually. Guice does very, very nice work. It’s very crisp. And yet . . . I find I have trouble actually caring about it. I don’t know why. I will say that he does love his fanservice – on behalf of women and gay men. The gym scene is full of shirtless men showing off their muscles. Jean is wearing a normal leotard, along with tights. So she’s pretty well-covered. But Scott, Angel and Beast are all just wearing shorts. In Angel’s case, it’s just a speedo. Guice brought a lot of beefcake to X-Factor. One has to give him that much, at the very least.

Anyway. Decent issue.

X-Men comics for July 22 2015


Uncanny X-Men #35, by Brian Bendis and Valerio Schiti. In Tempe, Arizona, a teen girl shows up and  summons demons to attack her father, a high school football coach. It’s the girl from waaaay back at the start of Battle of the Atom. The NXS kids show up to kick some ass. While the others fight monsters – Fabio shouts “Goldballs” constantly – Benjamin goes to talk to the girl. He actually seems to be getting through to her, but Goldballs knocks her out. With that situation over with, they go back to the original Hellfire Club to crash. The next day, Fabio finds out a video of him is trending online, and when he calls his mom, she says that people have been calling about him, including The Tonight Show. He becomes a media sensation, and a hugely successful superhero. (The best part might be a cover of a Tiger Beat-type magazine dedicated to superheroes. Also, Dazzler apparently released a new album. Cool!) It’s a good issue. Fun. It gets pretty dark near the end. For a little while, I was convinced that it was actually just a dream Fabio was having, but apparently not. Truth be told, I think I would’ve enjoyed the story more as Fabio having a weird dream. Ah, well. The team fights some big villains – Grey Gargoyle, Mr. Hyde, some others – so I’m going to assume they were being superheroes while the Avengers were busy fighting each other during the whole Time Runs Out timeskip. I also would’ve liked a little more focus on the rest of the team – Fabio kinda dominated the issue to too much of an extreme. Still, it’s definitely a funny issue. Once again, though, the cover and solicit have absolutely nothing to do with what happens in the issue. Bendis is pretty bad for that, actually. Schiti’s art is great. It always is. He’s a solid artist.

E Is For Extinction #2, by Chris Burnham and Ramon Villalobos. The U-Men have released Xorn and instead captured Scott, Emma and Wolverine. Except they haven’t. As Scott, Emma, Wolverine and Xorn walk away from the exploding facility, Wolverine wants to know what happened. They all tell Xorn what’s happening to them. In District X, Beast learns that version of him that passed out on his doorstep is a human. In the Atom Institute, Esme Cuckoo – who’s apparently been sleeping with Magneto, ew, girl, ew – wakes him up to let him know Scott’s going to attack the Institute. Which means it’s fight time. They want Jean Grey, and now that Xorn’s fixed their powers, it’s a real fight. Quentin turns out to be a traitor, helping Scott’s team from the inside. He reads Esme’s mind to find out Magneto’s plans for the Phoenix Egg, then slips away. Magneto confronts him in the egg room, and kills him, but not before Quire bonds with the egg. It starts to hatch, and Magneto hears the Phoenixsong, but Xorn confronts him. And then at the end things get weird. This series remains really good. Burnham is playing with some big concepts, the way Morrison did, keeping the spirit of New X-Men alive. The story is weird and complicated and so damn weird, but there’s also some good humour, and some good action. Villalobos does a competent job mimicking Frank Quitely’s style, though it’s not as good. I think I’ve decided I don’t like Villalobos’ art here. It’s just a bit too rough for my tastes. Nonetheless, it’s a good comic.

Old Man Logan #3, by Brian Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino. Apocalypse is about to kill Logan. He’s stopped by the intervention of the Thor who’d confronted Logan before. While Thor and Apocalypse argue, Logan slips away. No one saw which way he went, because they were all watching the Thor. The Thor gets annoyed and lashes out, and Apocalypse sics his Infinites on her. Logan hides behind a wall to heal, and Tabitha finds him. They talk a bit, until Logan sees the Thor flying away, and he takes his own leave to follow the Thor. He does give Emma a telepathic request to find Tabitha and help her. He attacks the Thor, who fries him and drops him. Then she gets distracted by more stuff in Apocalypse’s domain. Logan wakes up to see Iron Men, in the Armour Wars domain. This continues to be a pretty interesting series. Logan’s getting a nice little tour of Battleworld, and continually getting his ass handed to him by Thors. Especially the one Thor. I wonder if she’ll show up again, actually. As usual, Sorrentino’s art is just so damned good. Gorgeous work. Easily the best-looking book of the week. Easily. He does great layouts, there’s really interesting colour choices by Marcelo Maiolo, there’s power and energy to it all. Amazing work.

Magneto #20, by Cullen Bunn and Paul Davidson. In the present, Magneto is still trying to destroy the Ultimate Earth. In the past, he confronts Briar. She explains she was rich and bored, until her path crossed his. She studied him, and found she actually agreed with him, but also knew that he couldn’t stop himself from hurting innocent civilians. So she aimed him at threats. He demands to know the truth, and starts hurting her. She says that’s him at his best, and pain makes them feel alive. In the present, Lorna tells Magneto his plan isn’t working, and to stop fighting so he can have a few minutes of peace. He tells her she knows better. The Marauders launch some power amplifiers. In the past, Briar meets her SHIELD contact. In the present, a Helicarrier shows up to help Magneto with the Ultimate Sentinels. This is a pretty decent issue. Not too much of the melodramatic narration that always bothered me. A little more insight into Briar’s motives. Turns out she wasn’t planning on betraying him. I figured that was her goal. Huh. Still, overall, the issue doesn’t do much for me. Either Bunn’s writing or Davidson’s art. It’s just not all that compelling.

That’s the X-stuff, but there’s a couple other comics to mention.

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde #1, by Sam Humphries and Alti Firmansyah. Peter Quill is working as the singer at The Quiet Room. He’s singing “Part of Your World.” He’s singing Ariel’s song from The Little Mermaid. As a job. He’s also got Werewolf By Night on bass, Strong Guy on drums, and Lorna on guitar. At least, I think that’s the band. It looks like them. This Quill is the 616 one, from the Liferaft. He saw Everything Die. He got separated from the others, so now he sings Disney songs, since Battleworld doesn’t have any. Somehow. I would think if anything could survive The End of All That Is, it would be Mickey Mouse. Anyway, Quill goes by the name of Steve Rogers, to stay out of sight. Drax tells Quill he should hook up with some of the ladies who fawn over him, but Quill declines. Obviously, still pining for Kitty. Inside, Kitty Pryde arrives to meet with Gambit. She works for Valeria’s Foundation, and he has an anomaly for her. It’s hair. She confirms the hair is an anomaly, and she hands over knives made from Longshot’s bones. Quill goes back on stage to start singing a song dedicated to Kitty, and sees her in the audience. It’s a great comic. Quill brings a nice mix of humour and pathos. Kitty is great. By the way, I have to say that Firmansyah gave her a gorgeous dress. Seriously, amazing. It’s got a space design, dark blue and covered in little stars, and it just looks amazing. She does a fantastic job in general with the art. The club looks classy, the white suits on Quill and his band are stylin’, Drax the bouncer with a full head of hair is great, and there’s some really amusing cartoony bits, especially with Gambit. She’s got a very good, stylish, expressive style. I’m really impressed. I hope to see more Marvel work from her. As for Humphries, he continues to do really good work, too. Quill singing Disney songs is a hilarious concept. He has a lot of fun with the story, but also provides some nice drama. Good comic.

Future Imperfect #3, by Peter David and Greg Land. I’ll stick to the stuff with Layla or Ruby. Layla leads Ruby, Janis and some dude to the Maestro’s city, and goes over the plan for getting in. Later on, Layla talks to some other anti-Maestro people with the Maestro’s own forces. She lets the resistance in, and they go down to the cellblock to find Ross, but he’s not there. Ruby blasts some soldiers who show up. Layla calls a monster to help out, and then she leads the resistance towards the Maestro. The writing is solid. The art is Greg Land, which means the book is ultimately unreadable. Seriously, Land is such an awful, awful, awful, awful artist, and it drags PAD’s writing down so much, because PAD is a writer who excels at dialogue, which means he needs an artist who can pull off a wide range of expressions, and Land’s idea of “a wide range of expressions” is to use exactly the same face for 8 different expressions. Greg Land sucks and I want Marvel to fire him so he can go suck at DC instead.

Also, Loki: Agent of Asgard #16. Freyja puts on sunglasses while saying “Let us ride.” I love

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