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X-Men comic of September 11 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So, as of last night, I am officially on anti-depressants. We’ll see if they help. I’ve also read the first volume of the Sailor Moon manga, having picked it up on a whim. And wow, Usagi is bi. I mean, I knew she was, from watching the anime (the Japanese version, with English subtitles, rather than the English dub), but wow. Her reaction on meeting Rei is basically, “She can step on me and I would thank her.” I know from the anime that eventually becomes, “I still want her to step on me, but I’m not going to thank her for it.” Anyway, let’s get to today’s comic.

Powers of X #2, by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Mr. Sinister!

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Guard Sinister’s pretty great.

Xavier and Magneto are there to make a deal with Sinister. This is also apparently the origin of Sinister’s cape. I’m not even kidding. He sees Magneto’s cape and declares he needs a cape of his own. Anyway, Sinister’s been building a library of DNA, and Xavier suggests he make it a library of mutant DNA. Sinister refuses, until another Sinister, with mutant DNA and the classic cape, executes him and takes over. I love the modern take on Sinister. This is very much playing off Gillen’s take, though honestly, I don’t think it’s actually as entertaining as Gillen’s version. We then get a couple pages of Sinister Secrets and Secrets Revealed. We’ll see what’s up with those, though it turns out that the mutant gene in Sinister belonged to John Proudstar. Closer to the present, a few months before the start of this series, Xavier took Cypher to Krakoa, to introduce the two. Also, Cypher already had a transmode arm at that point. There’s some revelations about Krakoa, which may or may not end up being relevant. And there’s more stuff in the far future. And there’s still little to make me really care. Again, this series is all about the plot. It’s about the Big Ideas. And that’s fine, but it’s not what I enjoy reading. I read for the characters. And here, even when we get scenes that spend a lot of time with one or two characters, it’s not about those characters. The Cypher scene isn’t about Cypher, it’s about Cypher being able to understand Krakoa. The scene is still mostly exposition. We’re two-thirds of the way through, and we’re still getting mounds of exposition, and the characters still mostly don’t really matter much. Cypher matters only inasmuch as he can act as a tool of exposition for Krakoa’s new backstory. I still cannot bring myself to care about this story.

And the non-X-stuff

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #48, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Melissa Morbeck is very very clever. She pretty much makes Tony Stark her bitch in this issue. Also, yeah, things are getting tense, though there’s obviously still some solid humour.

Ironheart #10, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Silhouette uses the term “Shuriri,” and I am so happy she did. Also, big twist that’s foreshadowed early in the issue. This is a very good series. Ewing and Vecchio are nailing it.

Gwenpool Strikes Back #2, by Leah Williams, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna. Gwen is confirmed as bi. Leah Williams confirmed it on Twitter a couple months ago, but this issue also confirms it. She wants to seduce either Reed or Sue, and Deadpool raises the option of her being a bisexual unicorn to spice up their marriage, and she only rejects it because she knows Marvel would never let it happen. Gwenpool and Deadpool also both make it clear they have no sexual interest in each other. He’s too old for her, she’s too young for him. Gwen goes so far as to kink-shame any future writers who try to hook them up. Anyway, this comic continues to be wild.

Captain Marvel #10, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, Clayton Cowles. Star is, indeed, a villain. Who could’ve seen that coming, huh? Aside from everyone. Still, it was done well. Carol also gets a moment demonstrating that she is an absolute hardcore badass.

X-Men comic of August 4 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Pretty big comic day. The first comic I read today was Pretty Deadly: The Rat #1. So good. It’s amazing. Pretty Deadly is my favourite comic. The whole creative team clicks. DeConnick, Rios, Bellaire, and Cowles, they’re all amazing at what they do, and they work together brilliantly. After that, I read The Wicked + The Divine #45. The final issue of the series. It’s also brilliant. I got the Olivia Jaimes cover, and it’s delightful. But yeah, starting the day with the two comics most guaranteed to fuck me up was definitely a great idea, no regrets here, nope. So let’s get to a bunch of comics that can’t possibly live up to those two.

House of X #4, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Archangel and Husk are already dead. Holy shit, Paige didn’t even get to punch someone. Damn. Cold, Hickman. The assault continues, though, and Monet, uh, somehow turns into Penance? That’s unexpected. That feels like something that should get some time dedicated to it. Of course, it doesn’t. This is Hickman. Plot is all that matters, and Monet turning into Penances isn’t directly related to the plot, so it doesn’t actually matter. Which makes it completely pointless. Unless he actually does have plans for exploring this, either in this series or in X-Men, then Monet turning into Penance is entirely frigging pointless. It’s a cool moment for the sake of a cool moment, and any emotional meaning to justify it be damned. Which is annoying. Anyway, naturally, she dies. So does Mystique, who gets spaced. The bad guys start bringing the Mother Mold online, so Kurt and Logan sacrifice themselves to stop it.

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At least this is a genuinely good character moment.

This assault ends with the whole team dead. Bear in mind, most of these characters already have places in Dawn of X. So these deaths, ultimately, are meaningless. We know that they’re going to be revived before this story is even over, which takes out a lot of the tension, a lot of the emotional weight. If the story had spent more time on the characters, there would’ve been more weight, but as it is, Hickman is banking on existing familiarity with the characters to do the heavy lifting. And I cannot stand that kind of thing. My feeling is: make us care about the characters in the context of the story you’re telling. Ultimately, this issue’s point is to make Xavier fed up with mutants getting killed. Which I can certainly relate to, I’m pretty fed up with it, especially given Rosenberg’s run was a frigging slaughterhouse. So it’s hard to take Xavier’s “no more” all that seriously, too. I mean, if Hickman does get the X-office to back the fuck off its murder-boner for a little while, great, good for him, but it doesn’t make me like this particular story any more. Hickman is just not a writer I enjoy. This is a perfectly well-crafted story, but it’s one that I find puts very little effort into making anyone care, and instead relies on people caring solely because it’s the X-Men. I had similar complaints about his Avengers run. He is just very much Not For Me.

And the non-X-stuff.

Alpha Flight: True North, with three stories. The first is by Jim Zub, Max Dunbar, Jim Charalampidis, and Ed Brisson. Snowbird and Talisman check out some mysterious danger in Nunavut. On an interesting note, the comics I buy, I also get torrents, just for screengrabs. And this one, the torrent had an interesting error. Some of the dialogue from a later story is included in this one. I’m not sure if that’s anti-pirating measures from Marvel – I’ve never noticed it in any other comics – or if it was just a weirdness with the digital file of this issue. It’s interesting. And a little annoying, as there’s a gorgeous panel I was going to screengrab for my favourite panels tweets on Tuesday. I’ll just have to remember to use the digital code to get the issue on Unlimited. Anyway, the story is really good. I like it. It’s connecting Snowbird to her human side in a nice way. The second is by Jed MacKay, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Ian Herring, and Ed Brisson. Puck and Marrina! Also, Northstar and Aurora working on their tans. But mostly, this is about the friendship between puck and Marrina. It├Ęs nice to see. They were friends back in the original Alpha Flight, before Byrne wrote Marrina out of the series. And this is a really sweet story. Marrina was always such a boring character, before she died, but then the last Alpha Flight series made her all punk. And even though she’s not punk here, her calling Puck “Old Man” is such an endearing bit, and she’s still got plenty of personality. And the third is by Ed Brisson, Scott Hepburn, Jim Charalampidis, and Ed Brisson. Brisson actually lettered this comic, which is interesting. Heather’s reading her daughter a bedtime story, and guys teleport in the arrest her, and Guardian arrives to help her. She’s still wanted for the events of 2011’s Alpha Flight series. This story’s good, too, with a bit of a harsh twist.

Ghost-Spider Annual, by Vita Ayala, Pere Perez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. Gwen gets caught in a trap meant for Spider-Man, gets pretty emotionally messed-up fighting a robotic Lizard, has a great time fighting a robotic Daredevil and Punisher, and saves a robotic Gwen Stacy. It’s a fun comic. Also, I’m 99% sure one of her female classmates has a crush on her. And I’m also 100% sure that her world’s MJ is in love with her. What I’m saying is Gwen Stacy is lesbian-bait.

Champions #9, by Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. Viv 2.0 is not impressed with Riri falling under Blackheart’s control. And Kamala finally reveals her secret identity to Sam and Miles. I’ll be honest, I really like Viv 2.0. I like that she feels things, expresses her emotions. She’s an android, but she’s not reserved like her dad. I find that far more interesting.

Agents of Atlas, by Greg Pak, Nico Leon, Pop Mhan, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Cho’s continuing crush on Luna Snow is very fun and cute, and is reciprocated. Also, Amadeus is told the difference between dragons and wyverns. Good issue. Very fun, there’s lots of mystery, and I’m intrigued to see where this story goes.

Web of Black Widow #1, by Jody Houser, Stephen Mooney, Triona Farrell, and Cory Petit. Natasha crashes a party. And uses ballet to beat the crap out of people. I’m intrigued. She’s out to right some of the wrongs she’s committed, but she’s not doing it in a particularly heroic fashion.

X-Men comic of August 28 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Pretty Deadly comes back next week! Woot! There’s even an absolutely incredible book trailer. I am very excited. I love Pretty Deadly. But that’s not until next week. For this week, only one X-title, again.

House of X #3, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Scott’s assembled a team for the assault on Mother Mold, Xavier says he won’t let Scott die, and Magneto says that the righteous live on in their works. Scott’s team consists of Logan, Kurt, Paige, Warren. Monet, Mystique, and Jean. Interesting line-up. Jean decides to wear her skirt costume. I still like that costume, if I’m honest. Is it a weird choice to wear into a suicide mission in space? Sure. But whatever, it’s cute. You can’t fight crime if you ain’t cute. Not sure why they’d bring Mystique. She’s incredibly dangerous, but most of that comes from subtler approaches than an all-out assault. As they go off on their mission, we get more text pages, including information on Project Achilles, a prison designed to house up to 30 of the worst superpowered criminals. And OK, Achilles? Really? You’re naming it after a figure who’s best-known for having a weak point that resulted in his defeat and death. Really. OK, well, sure. Anyway, Sabretooth is being held there (and also his trial is being held there), and his rather ineffective public defender gets fired when Emma shows up.

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Cue “Bad Guy.”

You can’t tell me this wasn’t her jam for at least a little while. Pretty much everyone has pointed to this panel as Emma being That Bitch, but I disagree, this panel is her being Queen Bitch. And she spends the entire scene being Queen Bitch, telling the court that they’re going to release Sabretooth to her, and there’s nothing they can do to stop her. On Sol’s Hammer, Karima Shapandar expresses concern about Mother Mold wiping out humanity, because Karima’s clearly not an idiot. And then, the assault. So, this issue remains OK. Emma steals the show, naturally. The outfit alone. Damn. However, this is still a plot-driven issue. We spend very little time with the assault team, getting into the mindsets as they go off on what may be a suicide mission. I mean, obviously, it’s not like suicide missions are anything new to them. But even so, it would’ve been nice to get a sense of what they’re feeling. So as per usual for Hickman’s stuff, this is well-made, but doesn’t particularly move me. Great art, though. That Emma. Mmf.

And then a ton of non-X-stuff. I was hoping to get Super Sexy Fun Times, by Meredith McClaren, but unfortunately, it didn’t come in this week. I actually did, on a whim, pick up the first volume of the Sailor Moon manga. It’ll take a while to get around to it, though.

Power Pack: Grow Up!, with two stories! Louise Simonson! Woot! I got the wonderful Elsa Charretier cover. The first story is by the classic Power Pack team of Louise Simonson and June Brigman, along with Roy Richardson, Tamra Bonvillain, and Joe Caramagna. It’s set in the past, when they were still kids. Katie’s about to enter first grade. These days, she’s in, what, 5th or 6th grade? Anyway, they go to see Lila Cheney perform in the park, and then fight Brood with Kitty and Logan. It’s a really cute story, it’s so nice seeing Simonson and Brigman reunite for this, their Power Pack run was one of the great comic runs. It’s very much a model of how to do a great all-ages superhero comic. The comic definitely exists because of nostalgia, and it’s very much done as a throwback to the ’80s, but where some comics like this feel dated, this one feels more timeless. The second story is by Louise Simonson, Gurihiru, and Joe Caramagna. It continues from the main story, and it’s about Katie feeling guilty she didn’t get Alex a better birthday present, because she spent her money on a Lila Cheney figure. And it’s just so cute. Such a cute story. Gurihiru are a fantastic fit for Weezie. Their art is so wonderful, and absolutely brings out The Feels in Simonson’s script. I’d certainly be down for more Simonson/Gurihiru collaborations.

Marvel Team-Up #5, by Clint McElroy, Ig Guara, Felipe Sobreiro, and Clayton Cowles. Turns out Dr. Walter Lawson is alive. He’s the guy Mar-Vell replaced in his debut appearance. And he’s crazy and wants revenge against the Kree. It’s a fun issue. I’m enjoying this arc, though there’s some forced tension between Carol and Kamala that didn’t really work for me.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #46, by Brandon Montclare, Alitha Martinez, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Lunella meets Reed Richards. It doesn’t go well. Her brattiness feels a bit far in this issue, if I’m being honest. I feel like Montclare’s repeating story beats. We had an entire arc about Lunella learning to listen to other geniuses. She’s learned the lesson repeatedly that being the smartest doesn’t mean she has all the answers. And here she is, still saying she doesn’t have to listen to anyone. It’s just getting tiresome. I hate to say it, but it might be time for Montclare to step off this series, and let a new writer take over and do new things with her.

She-Hulk Annual, by Alexandra Petri, Andy MacDonald, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. I hadn’t planned on picking it up, but the shop added it to my subs, so I figured I might as well. Anyway, it’s set a few years back. Bullseye stole her body, and she had to get it back, while stopping Bullseye-in-her-body from killing his own body. It’s fun. And raises some interesting questions about self and identity.

Captain America #13, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jason Masters, Sean Izaakse, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. Steve and White Tiger head to the border to protect some migrants under attack by the Watchdogs. This is very much a political issue, and good for it. Marvel might be too cowardly to allow political statements in their comic celebrating 80 years, but at least they’re letting this comic include political commentary. On a side note, this issue describes Toni Ho as the tech support for the Daughters of Liberty, but I hope she gets to go out in the field, too. It’s a shame that the only girl geniuses allowed to be active superheroes are kids. Toni Ho was awesome under Ewing as an adult girl genius superhero.

Black Panther #15, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel Acuna, and Joe Sabino. T’Challa makes it home.

Thanos #5, by Tini Howard, Ariel Olivetti, Antonio Fabela, and Joe Caramagna. Thanos confronts Magus, and Gamora rescues herself so she can save him. I like this series. It’s good stuff.

X-Men comics of August 21 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’m sure I’m supposed to have some sort of opinion on Spider-Man possibly leaving the MCU, but honestly, all I can really think is that this would be a good time for Marvel to bring Ironheart into the MCU. Just saying, a youthful hero who idolized Tony Stark and wants to carry on his legacy? And it wouldn’t hurt to inject a little more colour, either. Anyway, let’s get to the comics.

Powers of X #3, by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Machine cultists! In the future, there’s a church that believes machines are superior to humans, and humanity has to submit to the machines and become more like them. And then the X-Men make their traditional entrance of smashing through a wall.

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Same, Xorn. Same.

We also learn more about Apocalypse’s final Horsemen. Logan and Xorn are the originals. Magneto is apparently a combination of Lorna and Emma’s DNA. And there’s a Krakoa/Cypher hybrid. And, of course, Rasputin and Cardinal. Rasputin, Cardinal, and Magneto are creating a distraction for Apocalypse, Logan, and Chimera to sneak in to get info they need. They get confronted by Nimrod. Meanwhile, the distraction team’s pretty much done for, so Rasputin takes off Xorn’s mask to release the black hole in his head. And this entire timeline is revealed as Moira’s ninth life, which no shortage of people had guessed online. This issue’s very straightforward. The only question, in my mind, is whether Xorn’s black hole might possibly result in Rasputin coming back in time. I wouldn’t be surprised if that does happen, though I’m not actually expecting it to be the case. If not, then the point of this timeline was only to tell Moira when Nimrod comes online. Well, the real point, I suppose, was to highlight the consequences of not stopping the rise of the Sentinels. Which, meh, not like that was a mystery. If we’d gotten more character exploration in the future, I might not have found it such a waste of time. But there was so much time spent on world-building, all for the entire world to amount to nothing in particular. I hope Rasputin does make it back to the present, partly because I’m one of those weird people who likes time travelers, but also to make all the world-building feel more worthwhile. But whatever happens going forward, this issue is mostly just action. It’s well-made, it looks great, but it’s still just a fight issue, which is why it’s so straightforward compared to everything else in this entire event. Silva and Gracia do a great job. The issue looks great. It just didn’t really blow me away from a story standpoint.

Marvel Comics Presents #8, with the next part of the Logan story by Charles Soule, Dio Neves, Oren Junior, Frank D’Armata, and joe Caramagna. Logan goes to hell.

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It’s good to have a goal.

Little-known fact: All Canadians go to Hell. That’s the price we pay for universal health care. Honestly, still worth it, though. Anyway, Rien gets angry enough that she shows him the door. Luckily, she also goes in with him, to try to make sure he can get back out. Good installment. Ramps up the drama in a big way. Rien still doesn’t have much personality. There’s not much space to develop her character, sadly. Mostly, she just seems angry. Though she was raised to be a weapon, so that’s fair. I like the art. It’s a good-looking comic. Buuuut it’s still a Logan story, so my interest was always going to be limited.

There’s also back-up stories about Jessica Drew dealing with misinformation on social media (and admitting she’s a Dazzler fan, I forget if that’s been established before), and one about White Fox.

And the non-X-stuff.

Death’s Head #2, by Tini Howard, Kei Zama, Felipe Sobreiro, and Travis Lanham. We meet Death’s Head 5.0.1. Death’s Head isn’t impressed. He acknowledges Death’s Head 2 as an upgrade, but Death’s Head 5 he calls a downgrade. Poor DH5. Also, Kate! Woot! And it turns out robots are just like cats. This comic is wild and fun. It kept me laughing. So good.

Fearless #2, by Seanan McGuire, Claire Roe, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cardinal Rae. Ms. Marvel! Also, Melody Guthrie, one of the mutants de-powered on M-Day. Oh man, this is really good. It’s a very positive story, one that makes surprisingly heavy use of mutants as a marginalized community, not just in terms of the hate, but also making references to things like mutant-friendly school districts, and Sapiens-Superior Alliances, like Gay-Straight Alliances. That’s the sort of thing I genuinely want to see more of. That should be a thing, but it’s the kind of thing the X-office just doesn’t bother thinking about. It shouldn’t be up to comics like this to do the heavy lifting of going beyond hated-and-feared, but this comic does it so well. Also, Carol makes a Counting Crows joke, wow. And she laughs, and no one else does, which is hilarious to me. Anyway, I’m really enjoying this.

A Night Nurse story, by Karla Pacheco, Iolanda Zanfardino, and Rosenberg and Rae. She has a bad date, helps Komodo (yay for her showing up!), and smacks Stegron with a fire extinguisher. And gets even more awesome from there. It’s a great story, one that really highlights just how much hanging out with superheroes has made Linda Carter a straight-up badass.

And a Laura and Gabby story, by Eve Ewing, Alitha Martinez, and Rosenberg and Rae. The story is a very unsubtle condemnation of the Trump administration and ICE sticking immigrant children in cages. Like, the very last line is, “No kid deserves to be in a cage.” Ewing was not even trying to hide what the point of the story was. Nor should she. Impeach Trump, abolish ICE.

Ghost Spider #1, by Seanan McGuire, Takeshi Miyazawa, Ian Herring, and Clayton Cowles. Gwen enrolls at ESU in the 616, which actually has a scholarship (via Tony Stark) for aliens, dimensional travelers, clones, machine intelligences, and so on. Marvel New York is freaking weird. I am delighted that ESU actually has guidelines in place to deal with that weirdness. There’s a lot in this issue that made me laugh. It’s really fun.

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #6, by Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Juan Vlasco, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. This issue’s mostly about Kamala learning her dad has a rare disease that’s going to kill him. I’m still sour about Ahmed wiping her parents’ memories of her identity. Kamala’s actually annoyed about it, too. I hope she does tell them again, the story of a teen hero needing to hide their identity from their parents is so played-out. It’s a trope that’s been almost completely abandoned at Marvel. Hell, fewer young heroes even bother with secret identities any more. Riri doesn’t. The Young Avengers don’t wear masks. Nadia doesn’t mind people knowing she’s the Wasp. Of course, plenty of teen heroes do still have secret identities, too. The point is that things have changed a lot in the past decade. I can’t think of a single teen hero at Marvel who still keeps their identity a secret from their parents. Sam Alexander’s mom and sister know. Miles’ parents know. Riri’s mom knows. Nadia’s been adopted by a superhero, so she’s kind of an outlier anyway. Some of the Champions, we have no idea what their relationships are like with their parents, but I think at least a couple are orphans, and several others don’t wear masks, which indicates they’re not concerned about preserving their identities. Is there anyone I’m not thinking of? A young hero whose parents definitely don’t know they’re a superhero? I can’t think of any. So I’m still sour about Ahmed going back there. But this issue’s definitely a step up, regardless. It brings the focus back to be more personal. Also, Ian Herring is still a huge part of this series, and this character. Having him continue on was a very smart decision, his colours define the book’s aesthetic.

X-Men comic of August 14 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I really need to start catching up with all the shows I’m behind on. Buuuut I probably won’t. Depression is fun like that. I’ve also got a shit-ton of comics to catch up on. But, again, depression is fun. Honestly, I should just get on anti-depressants already. The problem with that is that it means going to a doctor and explaining why I need them, and that takes effort, and . . . Depression is fun. But hey, at least I have comics to talk about.

Powers of X #2, by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. In the past, Charles and Moira visit Magneto on his island, to show him what happens in the worlds where Xavier and Magneto don’t work together. Moira’s idea is all of mutantdom working together. I feel like that’s been tried, but sure, OK. In the present, Xavier shows Scott the plans for a Mother Mold, a Master Mold that builds Master Molds, in orbit around the sun. Xavier and Magneto explain who Orchis are, with one particularly good line from Magneto.

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Remember that HYDRA are Nazis.

Nice touch, with Magneto scornfully referring to Operation: Paperclip. No surprise that a Jew would hold a grudge about that. Anyway, in addition to the normal concerns about Sentinels, they also think this is where Nimrod happens. Magneto notes just how ridiculous the mission to stop Mother Mold is, and questions if it can even be done, which gives a great Scott moment.

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No doubts.

You know he’s already working on the logistics. Adapting plans he’s already come up with for assaults on space stations (because of course Scott has plans for assaults on space stations). In the future, during the war against Sentinels, the remaining X-Men are led by Apocalypse. Also, Nimrod is capable of lying and apparently quite enjoys it. And Future Xorn is delightfully nihilistic and I like that. And in the far future, the Phalanx pay a visit. So, this issue has more plot developments. The first few issues were world-building, loads and loads of exposition to provide context for the plot. This issue is where we start to actually get plot.

And the non-X-stuff.

Gwenpool Strikes Back #1, by Leah Williams, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna. Side note: Caramagna might be angling for an Eisner with this mini. He’s doing some crazy stuff with the lettering. Anyway, Gwen wants to get powers so she can get used more and stick around in comics. Also, bananas are radioactive. True fact! This is great.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #47, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. We enter the final arc of this series, and I’m very sad. But they’re definitely going out with a bang. Melissa Morbeck reveals Squirrel Girl’s secret identity to the world, and things are now different.

Ironheart #9, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Riri and Shuri meet! It goes great! Shuri kicks it off by trolling Riri, then criticizing her manners. It’s funny how poorly they get along, at least at first. Also, Silhouette! Woot! So glad to have her show up. She’s awesome. She’s one of a very few disabled superheroes, and even fewer whose powers aren’t related to or compensate for her disability. She really stands out in that sense, and yet she gets no use. So I’m very happy to see Ewing and Vecchio bring her in. She’s also notable for being Blasian, which isn’t common in cape comics. So that’s cool. But yeah, more disabled superheroes, please.

Captain Marvel #9, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles. Carol has a secret cave base. That’s new.

X-Men comics of August 7 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I still haven’t picked up Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3. I want to finish Breath of the Wild first, and I’ve been slacking off on that lately. I have been watching the new season of She-Ra. It’s really good, and also I am judging everyone who doesn’t ship Catra and Scorpia. The third episode is basically all about how happy Catra would be if she just got over Adora and really opened up to Scorpia. That said, Catra is kinda toxic for Scorpia. Scorpia’s such a good dumb sweetie and she deserves better. I’m only 5 episodes in, so no one spoil anything for me. Anyway, comics!

House of X #2, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Moira is a mutant, one who re-lives her life over and over. In one life, feeling mutation is a cancer, she developed a cure for mutation, but then the Brotherhood, led by Mystique and Destiny, killed her.

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In all timelines ever, humans try to wipe out mutants.

Destiny also warns Moira that she’ll only get 10 lives, maybe 11. She also has Pyro burn Moira to death, slowly. The next couple lives ended with Sentinels wiping out mutants, so her seventh life was dedicated to killing the entire Trask bloodline, but Sentinels still came about. Her ninth life, she joined Apocalypse. Her tenth life, she decided to change the rules. So . . . I don’t know. I’m very much wary of this retcon. We’ll see how it goes. But for now, I can’t say I’m a fan. I mean, for one thing, it’s a little irritating that a major human supporting character who supported mutants is revealed as being a mutant herself. What next, we find out Stevie Hunter was secretly a mutant all along? Every human who’s ever opposed murdering mutants turns out to actually be a mutant? Meh. Also, the fact that there’s never a world where things don’t go horribly for mutants. I get that’s why Moira has to keep trying over and over, but just the same, it’s tiring that there is basically never a timeline where coexistence is possible. The pessimism, the fatalism, has gotten boring. This is, of course, a very well-crafted comic. Everyone involved is very good at their craft. There’s nothing to criticize on that front. Though, for all that the issue is about Moira, she gets surprisingly little in the way of characterization. It’s still a plot-driven issue. Which again left me feeling a little cold. Ultimately, I’m left a lot warier of this series than I was after the first issue.

Dead Man Logan #10, by Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Weapon X, with a horde of Sabretooth clones, is attacking Forge’s compound.

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Sometimes, overkill still isn’t enough.

Sabretooth himself captures Bruce, Jr. And somehow makes it away from Dani Cage. Honestly, Dani should be able to crush Sabretooth. Unbreakable skin, along with superstrength. As she likes to say, she is the shield, even if she’s Captain America in this world. Logan and Dani grab the car to chase after Sabretooth’s truck, while Forge decides there’s too many Sabretooths and the only choice is to blow the compound. With Speedball. And uh, this issue’s not great, truthfully. It feels really, really slow. Because it’s clear, from the start, how it’s going to end. Like, there’s no question Speedball’s going to blow up. And it just takes forever to get to that point. Also, I hate Sabretooth. OK? I hate him. I hate that he’s such a one-note piece of shit asshole character, yet we’re supposed to take him seriously as some big threat. He likes killing, and he’s a misogynist, ooh, how menacing. He’s every mass shooter, he’s every controlling guy who kills his wife or girlfriend, he’s a frigging MRA fantasy, and I don’t give a single wet hot shit about him. So this story being yet another in the endless saga of Logan vs. Creed just frigging bores me. I don’t care. I don’t care about what Creed is up to. I don’t care about the upcoming final battle. I don’t frigging care. I would’ve preferred basically any antagonist over Creed. Honestly, Creed got what he deserved previously, when he went completely feral and got chopped into pieces by Logan, and that was that. It’s the ending he deserved, completely anti-climatic, and it should’ve been left like that, but nope, we have to have Logan vs. Creed, round 1098., and showing how dangerous and menacing he is, and blah blah blah. Fuck Sabretooth.

And the non-X-stuff!

Champions #8, by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. I want a Locust solo comic, she is amazing and I love her. Also, Sam is Nova again! Good for him. There’s also a fight against the Freelancers, but sadly, no Cursed Cass. I still want her and Viv to have a hero-villain romance.

Agents of Atlas #1, by Greg Pak, Nico Leon, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Amadeus has a crush on Luna Snow, and some corporation creates portals across all Asian nations. Including Flushing, New York. Also, Raz is there! He’s cool, I like him. Though I am getting a bad feeling that Pak may not be setting up a Silk/Luna ship, which makes me sad. And a back-up by Jeff Parker, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Joe Sabino. It focuses on the original Agents of Atlas, and has Venus singing Jolene, a song that has become quite the meme lately.

I wanted to get Future Foundation. I like Whitley as a writer. I feel like Marvel’s sorely lacking in trans rep, so I wanted to support Tong. And I like several other characters in the cast. But I cannot stand Robson’s art. I just can’t read his work. His faces look so damn weird to me. Obviously he’s a great artist, he wouldn’t be working at Marvel if he wasn’t, and people who know a lot more about art than I do love him. So I’m glad he’s getting work. But that doesn’t change the fact that his style is a complete and total turn-off for me, something I just cannot get beyond.

X-Men comics of July 31 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). On Sunday, I got to see Kiki’s Delivery Service in a theatre. It was so great. I love that movie. It’s so good. Great depiction of burnout. Also, Jiji! I love cats. Kiki is my third-favourite Ghibli movie. My rankings go Spirited Away, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Arrietty, Howl’s Moving Castle. I missed a chance to see Howl at the theatre, but there’s still the other 3, which I will absolutely be going to. For now, though, comics.

Powers of X #1, by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. So it looks like we’ll be seeing four timelines in this story. Year 1: The Dream. Year 10: The World. Year 100: The War. Year 1000: The Ascension. Year 1 seems to be pre-X-Men. Xavier’s having a nice day at a fair, and a woman who I think is Moira sits next to him, though he doesn’t know her, and she says all sorts of cryptic stuff. Year 10 is the present. Mystique and Toad return to Krakoa, and she brings Xavier the USB with stolen info. She also has some demands. Helping mutants doesn’t mean much to her. Year 100 has mutants being hunted by Sentinels, some of which has different designs from normal. Neat. Rasputin and Cardinal are among the mutants fighting. Rasputin’s a fighter. Metal skin and a big-ass magic sword. The name and powers definitely indicate descent from either Colossus or Magik, but nope. She is, in fact, a Chimera, bred with the powers of Colossus, Kitty, Laura, Quire, and someone named Bain. The Chimera were the result of a breeding program run on Mars by Sinister to develop soldiers to fight against the Man-Machine Supremacy. Anyway, a mutant is captured and taken to Nimrod, who apologizes to her. This is a very interesting take on Nimrod.

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I love when robots are dorks.

Also, apparently, there’s a couple thousand mutants living on Chandilar, with rumours that Empress Xandra plans on using them to help with annexing the Sol system. Xandra! Nice! And there’s 8 mutants still living in the Sol system.

So this is . . . interesting. It’s very Hickman, maybe even more than House of X was. Which means your enjoyment of it will depend on how much you like Hickman. Personally, I’m not a fan of him. As I said last week, I prefer character-driven stories over plot-driven stories. Hickman’s stories are dense, but there’s seldom that much room for character development. I also don’t think this issue’s as good as House of X #1. For one thing, the future war isn’t exactly a new idea. Damned near every single future we have ever seen for the X-Men is a bad one, and to be honest, I’m actually pretty tired of that shit. Give us a good future. A future worth fighting for, rather than the constant futures that need to be fought against. The Year 1000 future looks like it might go that route, at least. But I suspect it’s also the timeline we’ll see the least of in this story. We’ll see how this story goes, but I get the impression I won’t enjoy it as much as House of X. And either way, I’m more interested in what comes after. I want to know what Leah Williams and Vita Ayala are going to be writing!

Marvel Comics Presents #7, by Charles Soule, Paulo Siqueira, Oren Junior, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Naturally, the temporary halt on non-Hickman X-titles doesn’t apply to Logan. Anyway, after a bunch of X-Men were killed by the Truth in the ’90s, Logan left the X-Men and started searching for where the Truth would next appear, so he could find his daughter. He finally caught up with them in Mumbai in November 2008. Wow, I don’t know if I even heard about those terrorist attacks at the time. Anyway, she tells him a little about herself.

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She exists only to keep fighting the Truth. Logan then tells her they’re going to go to Hell to kill the Truth. Logan’s hobo beard is the real star of this installment. The story itself is fine. A couple double-page spreads of Logan going to dangerous places. Little actually happens, as the bulk of the page space is taken up by the two spreads, a splash of Logan at the WTC after it fell, and unnecessary exposition about Rien’s origin. The Truth is dealt with basically as a formality, he’s not actually a part of this installment. And honestly, we still don’t know that much about Rien as a person. We do get a certain sense of bitterness regarding her purpose. But she largely comes across as bland. It makes for a pretty lackluster installment. The story as a whole isn’t particularly strong, really.

And the non-X-stuff.

Death’s Head #1, by Tini Howard, Kei Zama, Felipe Sobreiro, and Travis Lanham. Wiccan’s goth, Death’s Head doesn’t appreciate being an amp, and Hulkling is entirely too sensible for these shenanigans. It’s really good. A lot of fun. The creative team’s clearly having a blast. Death’s Head really does seem like a fun character to write. And hey, nice to see Billy and Teddy again.

Marvel Team-Up #4, by Clint McElroy, Ig Guara, Felipe Sobreiro, and Clayton Cowles. A case is made for Paul Blart as a role model. Also, Carol is aware of Kamala’s fanfics. Somehow, Kamala doesn’t react to this by hiding forever. Also, I want to know which of Kamala’s fanfics is Carol’s favourite.

Thanos #4, by Tini Howard, Ariel Olivetti, Antonio Fabela, and Joe Caramagna. Gamora takes her very first prisoner and she’s very proud of herself for it. This is a really good series.

Black Panther #14, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel Acuna, and Joe Sabino. Big battle!

Captain America #12, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Adam Kubert, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. We find out why the Daughters of Liberty came together. The reasoning, apparently, is, “who understands the American Dream better than women?” And look, I’m a guy, so maybe I’m not qualified to opine on this, but that just feels weirdly condescending towards women. I mean, it helps that it’s at least half women of colour. (Let’s not forget that more than half of white women voted for Trump.) But even so, there’s a sense that this puts women on a bit of a pedestal. A certain performative feminism. Honestly, I would’ve accepted “Sharon wanted a bunch of bad bitches” as a reason for the Daughters of Liberty existing. Coates clearly intends the Daughters to be A Thing, hinting at a long history going back to the very founding of the country. And sure, that’s actually totally fine. And hell, a group of women fighting for a place for women within the American Dream is fine. It’s just the bit about “who understands it better” that bugged me. Regardless, we also find out who Dryad is. I’m oddly meh about it.


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