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X-Men comics of January 17 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Hey, it’s comics.

X-Men Gold #20, by Marc Guggenheim, Diego Bernard, JP Mayer, Frank Martin, and Cory Petit. Storm is wandering through a sandstorm on a planet where she can’t control the weather. Which . . . I don’t know. She’s manipulated weather on alien planets before. She’s manipulated weather in space. Back on the spaceship, Ink finds Kurt, impaled on shrapnel, still alive. And Logan wakes Armour up by slapping her, which she doesn’t appreciate. Kitty and Piotr are outside, in the sandstorm, with Piotr dying. Storm gets to be a badass and take out a monster, and honestly, it’s the best moment she’s had in this entire run, because she gets to make a big dramatic declaration when she does it. There’s some talking, a plan is developed to go home, hurrah, whatever. And Kitty agrees to marry Piotr, because what 20-something girl doesn’t want to marry the guy she had a crush on at 13? Christ, I hate cape comics’ inability to get the hell over the past. Kitty had a thing for Piotr over 30 goddamn years ago, so of course they have to get back together and get married. As for the bulk of the issue: So very, very meh. So boring. I feel like Guggenheim rushed through this. Because the X-Men trapped and separated on an alien planet, trying to find their ways to survive and regroup? It’s a neat idea. It could’ve used more space to breathe. But nope, it’s all rushed through to get back to Earth so Kitty can agree to marry Piotr. As always, the characters have all the personality of cardboard. No character developments. No interesting team dynamics. Armour bitches a bit about Logan hitting her, and that’s about the extent of the character conflict. Aside from Kitty and Piotr, none of the characters in this book matter. And even Piotr only matters in terms of his relationship with Kitty. Everyone else? You could swap them with anyone else and it wouldn’t make a damned bit of difference. Guggenheim sucks. Also? He’s sexist. I just think it’s worth remembering. The art’s fine. It deserves better writing than this dreck. It’s competent art that tells the story as well as it’s allowed to, given the limitations of it being just an obnoxiously dull story.

Weapon X #13, by Greg Pak, Yildiray Cinay, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. The civilians rescued by the Weapon X team find the dead body of a flying woman, and the villagers explain that they’ve been rescued by superheroes before, but it never solves the problem, and the government needs to be overthrown. Warpath is entirely down for that, and I love him for it.

Weapon X #13

Warpath is all about overthrowing the government.

Deathstrike and Logan don’t think they should do it. Domino’s down for it, as long as they rob the national bank in the process. Domino is a delight in this book. Meanwhile, Sabretooth and Nuke blow shit up. Sabretooth rather likes Nuke. Also, Domino flirting with Warpath is fun. This whole comic’s fun. Hilariously violent, between Sabretooth and Nuke. Honestly, their gleeful violence is really entertaining. Domino’s obsession with robbery has also been a great gag throughout this series, and I’m glad she finally got the chance. Warpath’s immediate willingness to overthrow a country’s government seems about right. An oppressed group fighting the government that’s trying to kill them? Yeah, I figure he’s got reason to back that. It’s a cool moment. The art’s good. Cinay’s a talented artist. He and D’Armata make the hyper-violence really enjoyable to watch. So, yeah, this is a really fun comic.

Generation X #86, by Christina Strain, Amilcar Pinna, Felipe Sobreiro, and Clayton Cowles. Jubilee visits Quentin on Krakoa, telling him to let the school be his family. The conversation comes to a halt when Jubilee gets an alert about the school vanishing. Back at the school, Monet chases the kids, until Chamber distracts her. Husk jumps in to help. The fight starts wrecking the school, with Ben taking a chunk of debris to protect Nate. And guys. GUYS.

Generation X #86

YES. FINALLY.

I’m so happy. These two kids have been killing me. Also, Monet is mean about Paige’s accent and I don’t like that. Don’t be such a jerk, Monet. I mean, I love when Monet’s a jerk, but there are things I don’t want her being a jerk about. Paige’s accent is one of those things. Nate also comes up with a plan, and Roxy gets to be a badass. And there is, of course, a big cliffhanger at the end. And I don’t normally like talking about those. But, I think I actually need to talk about it. I’ll give my thoughts on the issue as a whole, first, then put the big spoiler in another paragraph. Sound good? OK. So this is good, as it always is. Strain is such a great character writer. I know a lot of people disliked this book for not having a greater focus on superheroics, but frankly, I think it made for a more enjoyable and more memorable comic. Instead of teens being superheroes, this book was superheroes being teens, and that made it so much better. Let me be blunt: By and large, the superhero stuff isn’t really what’s remembered about books like this. Look at the original Generation X. They did superhero stuff, but Emplate aside, what battles and villains do people really remember about it? Not many. But the Paige/Jono romance? The dynamic between Emma and Sean? The arguments between Jubilee and Monet? People remember that stuff. That’s the stuff that’s important. And that’s what this book focused on. There actually was still superhero stuff going on. But it served as the backdrop for character development, which is how it should be. Strain has filled this book with character development and interesting dynamics and just great character work in general. It’s genuinely impressive, especially since this is her first major comic writing. I really, really hope Marvel’s got more work lined up for her, because she absolutely deserves it. The art is still not my style. It’s personal taste. I suspect Pinna’s art probably did drive away more potential readers than it brought in, which is a shame. It is expressive, and Sobreiro’s colours are great. I just find Pinna’s faces really weird. Long, with huge mouths. Still, I love this series.

And now, the big spoiler-y bit. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want a big spoiler. Seriously, it’s a pretty big deal, so if you want to read it for yourself, then skip ahead now. If you’re still reading this, I assume you’re OK with being spoiled, or have already read the issue. OK? OK. So. Jubilee’s not a vampire any more, and seems to have her sparklies back. Obviously, a lot of people are happy about this. A lot of people never liked Vampilee in the first place. I’m . . . less enthused. I grew up on Jubilee, I’ve always loved her, and I liked her power. I thought it was a cool, fun power. And her becoming a vampire did make me roll my eyes a bit, partly because that whole storyline was pretty badly-written, but also because it felt like a desperate attempt to cash in on the vampire craze. So I didn’t much care for it. But you know what I like even less? Yeah, I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. I don’t like regression. I don’t like the constant need to return characters to an older status quo. It feels cheap, and honestly, it feels lazy. Like the only thing anyone can think to do with characters is to repeat what’s already been done with them. I’m even more disappointed because Strain had done such interesting stuff with Jubilee as a vampire. And I would’ve preferred to see more writers doing interesting things with it than to see it reverted so writers can just go back to writing Jubilee as her ’90s self of or something. (I love ’90s Jubilee. Love her. She was the best. I don’t want her written that way again. But I’m worried that the next writer to use her will do that. Let’s just hope Guggenheim doesn’t get his hands on her. He’d probably get rid of Shogo, too.) Still, it’s done now, and even though I think it closes off some potential story options without opening any new ones, we’ll see what happens going forward.

All-New Wolverine #29, by Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Logan, Sabreooth, and Deathstrike are all apparently dead, having been shot in the head with Muramasa bullets. Muramasa himself collects pieces of the souls of Laura, Gabby, and Daken, to forge an armour for her. And Laura has the best aunt.

All-New Wolverine #29

Best aunt.

Gabby has decided she doesn’t much like pain. A few days later, it’s fight time. The Hand accompanies some of the Orphans of X. Gabby accidentally gets the ashes of a Hand ninja on her tongue, and worries it’ll turn her into an undead ninja, and that seems like a silly concern, but this is the Marvel Universe, so who the hell even knows. And then Laura gets to show off her sweet-ass armour.

All-New Wolverine #29

Shiny!

Also, Daken comes up with a pretty awesome plan, though “awesome” in this case means “pretty damn crazy.” This is great. Laura has the best family. I love them. I even like Daken, in this series, with his willingness to do anything for Laura. Elsewhere, he’s an ass. Here, he’s an ass who cares. Which makes sense to me. He’s a sociopath, but he sees himself in Laura, so it makes him care about her, even though he doesn’t care about anyone else. Laura’s armour is great, and I’d be totally fine with it becoming a recurring thing. I doubt it will, but I’d be happy if it did. This issue does end up being a little more serious. Even Gabby gets tones down compared to normal. Of course, it’s still not particularly dark. There’s still plenty of fun stuff, but it has less humour than usual. Which is fine, it works well for the issue. There’s still a lot to like. The Orphans of X remain pretty interesting. And the art’s great. Very good-looking comic.

There’s also America #11, by Gabby Rivera, Stacey Lee, Flaviano, Jordan Gibson, Chris O’Halloran, and Travis Lanham. And uuuuuunnnnngggghhh, Stacey Lee! So good! The writing is as weak as usual. America herself still sounds wrong. But that Stacey Lee artwork! Worth the cost of the comic. Lee is amazing.

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X-Men comics of January 10 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So Stan Lee has been accused of sexually harassing some nurses. So far, the main source of the allegations is the Daily Mail. Which leaves me torn. On the one hand, I believe women. Full stop, I believe women. But I’ll admit that I do hate to believe something coming from the Daily Mail. My first instinct is to wait for a more reputable source to investigate and report. That said, the thing I’m really interested in seeing is whether more women come forward. I wouldn’t be surprised, at all, sadly. If Lee did harass women, I’d hope that, now that an allegation has been made, more will come forward about it. We’ll see. But for now, comics! As usual, I’m sticking to the X-Men comics, because I worked until 11.

X-Men Blue #19, by Cullen Bunn, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rain Beredo, and Joe Caramagna. The X-Men see themselves fighting Magneto and the Brotherhood, but the Brotherhood looks dead, and Xavier walks into the fight to announce Magneto’s going to die. Then he and the X-Men bodyslide away. Back at the Mansion, Xavier checks on Xavier, comatose in Cerebro. The real X-Men, and Magneto, are semi-safe outside the timestream, to discuss the situation. The X-Men all think that the Evil X-Men are themselves, from further down the timeline. The reveal of who the Evil X-Men are is something that makes sense. I’m not sure how easy it would have been to guess, but once it’s revealed, it’s an “oh yeah” moment. It does make the “did we turn evil?” scene fall a little flatter. But at least they didn’t guess what was going on. Still, on the whole, this arc’s kinda disappointed me. I wonder if this is meant to put further doubts in their minds about whether to work with Magneto. I’d honestly be a little disappointed in that, because the premise had some definite potential, even if it never felt like the series has made much use of that potential. This entire series has felt largely like wasted potential, and this arc has been particularly bad for that. Cool guest stars who get little real exploration. A story that never felt like it was adequately building to anything. The reveal, while it makes sense, doesn’t really do enough to justify all the build-up, I feel. The whole thing just feels unsatisfying, somehow.

X-Men Gold Annual, by Marc Guggenheim, Leah Williams, Alitha Martinez, Craig Yeung, Jay David Ramos, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Cory Petit. The 30th Anniversary of Excalibur! One of the surviving D’Bari, who goes by the name Starhammer, and who’d previously tried to kill Rachel (in UXM #387, an issue I’ve read but have absolutely no recollection of, but a quick check reveals it was Jean he attacked back then). Anyway, he wants revenge. On Earth, a stork shows up with a delivery for Kitty. It’s a letter from Meggan, saying she and Brian just had a daughter. So Kitty, Kurt, and Rachel hop a plane to England. Martinez has loads of fun with the other passengers. In England, Brian has a beard. Also, Maggie is already speaking. And being philosophical.

X-Men Gold Annual #1

She is entirely too young to be making dad jokes.

The fact that everyone just accepts this pleases me, for some reason. Like, “Eh, talking babies isn’t the weirdest thing we’ve seen. Literally all of us have come back from death at least once.” Anyway, Starhammer attacks, and the fight does give us some pretty great lines.

X-Men Gold Annual #1

Brian’s sigh absolutely makes this panel.

Dammit, Kitty. Brian’s reaction is for all of us. Everyone who saw the joke coming, and were powerless to stop it. Just wonderful.

X-Men Gold Annual #1

I love comics.

Anyway, more fighting, some inter-dimensional stuff, Maggie not wanting Brian’s help with a gluon inhibitor. It’s a fun story. Captures the tone of Excalibur – madcap, but just rolling with it. There’s all sorts of dumb jokes, but there’s some nice moments, too. The sense of family between the two of them comes through. There’s a lotta love. One thing I want to note: I expected the story to do something with Maggie talking being strange. But nope. There’s absolutely nothing up with her. She’s just a three-month-old who’s already speaking, and also shares her father’s engineering talents. Why? Well, why not? Just look at who her parents are. The art’s good. Martinez is a talented artist. She does especially well with quieter stuff, but the action isn’t exactly lacking. Good colours, too. But hey, there’s also a back-up! By Monty Nero, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Michael Garland, and Cory Petit. A young girl is visiting her aunt in New York, and the girl wants to meet Storm. She loves the X-Men, and especially Storm. Girl’s got good taste. Kitty, Storm, Colossus, Armour, and Ink are fighting Fin Fang Foom. Randomly. Fin Fang Foom has popped up a lot in recent years. The girl’s too late to meet the X-Men there, so she tries the Mansion. And absolutely destroys Anole.

X-Men Gold Annual #1

That is COLD, girl!

The girl does, of course, get to meet Storm eventually. It’s sweet. It’s a cute story about a girl who loves the X-Men. A reminder that there actually are regular people who are totally OK with mutants. Something we still don’t see enough of. Beyond that, it’s just a cute story about a kid meeting her idol. And also, how her enthusiasm is infectious enough to catch her aunt up in it and see what the appeal is. It’s also the most brutal slam on Anole ever, and it’s just too brutal for me not to laugh at it. Poor Anole!

Phoenix: Resurrection #3, by Matthew Rosenberg, Joe Bennett, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. Jean dreams of the space shuttle crashing in Jamaica Bay, and of drowning, then wakes up in the supermarket, surrounded by more dead people. Like Gateway, and what looks like Psylocke’s original body, and I’m not completely sure who else. Out on Jamaica Bay, a father and son are fishing, and a whole bunch of dead fish float to the surface, followed by a flame funnel. The X-Men go check out Cockrum Hill Cemetery, and yay for that reference! They find Jean’s body missing. To be fair, her tombstone reads, “She will rise again.” So. In the fake world, Jean takes her car to the shop, with Mr. Patch as the mechanic. He hits on her, and she shoves him away. Good. This is how it should be. Rosenberg gets it. She even impales him with a screwdriver! Back in the real world, Kitty takes a team to get Emma to run Cerebro. Emma doesn’t bother. She just points them at New Mexico. This is getting better. The Jean stuff remains the highlight. It’s getting weirder and more unsettling. But the X-Men stuff has more emotional depth than the first two issues did. In particular, there’s a moment where Dani asks why Hank talks about “it” instead of “her,” and Hank reminds her that Jean was one of his best friends. Of course, Dani even being there, while appreciated, does bring back my point from last issue: The story is dragged down by not putting more focus on a core set of characters who can show their emotional reactions to Jean’s return. I stand by that criticism, and I feel it continues to drag this book down. On the plus side, Emma is wonderfully Emma. The art’s good. I do find Bennett draws people with weirdly large eyes. It makes them look permanently surprised. Some of them, anyway. His Emma looks good. Anyway, despite my complaints, this is an enjoyable comic, and this is the best issue yet.

Cable #153, by Ed Brisson, Jon Malin, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. It opens on a flashback in the 5300s, of Gideon returning to life, in a wasteland future. He finds the X-Mansion, and Cable’s arm. In the present, Cable’s team is being psychically overwhelmed. Doop erects a shield just long enough for the team to fight free. But then the base self-destructs. And Gideon confronts Selene and the other Externals. It goes poorly for Selene. Good issue. The fighting’s fun, there’s a cool Armour moment, Selene vs. Gideon is enjoyable. My one complaint about this whole arc is Blink having no personality in it. She’s Selene’s personal chauffeur. It does amuse me that Brisson and Malin brought back the Externals just to kill them all off again. By the end of this issue, only three are left. Well, 4. The last one isn’t named, but I would guess they mean Apocalypse. This isn’t some great story being told, but it’s a fun ’90s-style action-fest, and it’s good for what it is. Though the art is going to be divisive. Some people won’t be able to stand it, some people will absolutely love it.

Old Man Logan #33, by Ed Brisson, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin, Cory Petit. It starts with a flashback to when Logan and Mariko met, and he gave her a flower. Aw man. That was so nice, back in the day. I really did like their romance. Anyway, in the present, she tries to kill him. Can’t blame her. He escapes, and meets up with the Silver Samurai. The douchey young one who was almost killed earlier in the arc. Shingen tells Logan the drug breaks down and kills its hosts, but it takes a while, and Logan comes up with a plan. Which is then executed successfully. This issue’s OK. Wrapped up the Yashida Takeover plot real quick. But the big thing here is Mariko’s resurrection. She was always Logan’s best love interest, his real True Love. (Though she made a cuter couple with Mary Jane.) It will be interesting to see where that goes. If she stays alive, or dies again. (I’d like to think they wouldn’t just fridge her all over again. But I wouldn’t really be surprised if it happens. Maybe letting her go out more heroically, as a way of “making up” for her first death. Not that it would actually make it much better, of course.) If she does stay alive, will she and Logan get back together right away, or will she say she needs to go find out who she is, by herself? Honestly, I’m wary of any of these options. Mariko dying again is just fridging her again, and is kinda gross. But keeping her alive means an eternal Will-They-Won’t-They situation between her and Logan. There would always be that expectation that they’ll get back together, and it would only be a matter of time before a writer had it happen. But if they get together, it’d only be a matter of time before a writer broke them up. I feel like there’s no really good options here. But hey, we’ll see. No matter what happens, I know one thing: I still hate Deodato’s art.

. . . Screw it, I’ll still review more comics.

Ms. Marvel #26, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. Zoe discovers the true meaning of CrossFit: Punching dinosaurs. Not well, but still. Also, she’s very clever. Also, Naftali’s uncle might be putting Kamala’s secret identity at risk. And Harold is a badass old guy. The issue’s great. This is classic Ms. Marvel. Really fun, really funny, really sincere. This issue’s mostly about Zoe being awesome. Really awesome. She’s brave and noble and maybe doesn’t think things through as thoroughly as she should, but she’s trying. I love Zoe. And I love this book. And I love the art. Leon brings so much charm and character, and conveys so much humour. And Herring continued to be an unsung hero on this book. Phenomenal job on the colours, always. But issues like this really are why I love this series so much.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #28, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Squirrel Girl and Loki vs. Dormammu! And they win with GODDAMN GHOST SQUIRRELS. YES. This is a good comic.

She-Hulk #161, by Mariko Tamaki, Jahnoy Lindsay, Federico Blee, and Travis Lanham. It’s a good issue. Jen vs. Robyn. Hulk vs. Hulk. And Jen vs. Herself. Really good stuff.

X-Men comics of January 3 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Happy New Year! Saladin Ahmed is writing Exiles! With Blink, a chibi version of Wolverine, and a grizzled old vet version of Kamala Khan. I am excited. Ahmed is doing amazing work on Black Bolt (which I picked up this week but haven’t read yet), so I am totally down for this. Anyway, comics!

X-Men Gold #19, by Marc Guggenheim (the sexist hack), Diego Bernard, JP Mayer, Chris Sotomayor, and Cory Petit. X-Men vs. a god. And Logan vs. Gay Nazi Monster. That one ends with claws through the head, so I’m pretty sure the evil gay monster is dead. The god is tougher, but a reasonably cool plan is hatched and succeeds. And I don’t care about any of it, because Guggenheim gives no particular reason to care about any of it. It’s Grim People Talking Grimly About Grim Things. Yippee. Character development? What’s that? Why would anyone want to read about interpersonal conflict when they can read Ink saying the giant looks tough? Thrilling! Guggenheim sucks. He’s just a boring writer. Bland stories told blandly, with characters talking about the plot without actually providing any real insight into their personalities, and certainly not contributing to any interesting relationship dynamics or personal developments. Guggenheim fails to give the reader a reason to actually give a shit, beyond showing them familiar characters. But that’s boring. Yeah, I love Armour, but so what that she’s here? I love Armour because of how Whedon developed her over the course of Astonishing X-Men. But here, she’s flat. She’s static. She’s not undergoing any development or changes. She’s just . . . there. The entire cast is just there. The art’s fine. I have no strong emotions one way or the other on the art. With better writing, I might enjoy the art more. With better art . . . I still wouldn’t care about the writing. Because Guggenheim is a goddamn hack.

Astonishing X-Men #7, by Charles Soule, Phil Noto, and Clayton Cowles. Xavier has taken over Fantomex’s body, and wants to be called ‘X.’ He restores Warren’s mind in Archangel’s body, in time for Warren to stop a nuke dropped on London. The dude who ordered to bomb drop is pissed, which makes me wonder if maybe he’s Scottish. “X” psychically shows up, starts removing the psychic infection from London, and knocks out all the dudes in the war room, while also wiping their memories of the X-Men being there. Yep, definitely Xavier in there. He tells the others that Fantomex made the choice to let Xavier take over his body, and Betsy goes to the Astral Plane to check, and finds Fantomex happy. All in all, everything seems to be going quite well, everything’s fine and dandy, no problems on the horizon at all. I will say the end reveal is something I’d already guessed at. Not a surprise at all. Done well, though. I’ll admit to not being a Noto fan. I know, I know. He’s immensely talented. His art’s stylish and cool. But I also find it a bit flat and static. Not very expressive. But it’s just taste. In terms of the story, well, I don’t like “X.” It’s silly to me. But I’ve always found Xavier to be a bit of a dick, and I’d prefer he stay dead. I hope this series ends with him dead again. He works better dead, as a symbol. Also, if Warren’s going to be in control of his body again, I hope he can at least swap back and forth between his Angel and Archangel forms. I’d find that more interesting than just Warren being Archangel again, permanently, until the next time a writer decides to make him Angel again, and so on, and so on, forever and ever, because Big Two comics can never just move the hell on. Warren being permanently Archangel again would just feel like a retread, for the sake of nostalgia, which I hate. But other than all that, this is still pretty good. Soule writes good dialogue. The issue serves as a nice breather between two major threats. So it’s good.

Phoenix Resurrection #2, by Matthew Rosenberg, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. An astronaut’s working outside a space station and sees a flare on the moon. On Earth, a redhead telekinetically lifts things in her sleep while quoting part of her final speech to Scott on the moon from X-Men #137. As Jean leaves her house the next morning, she says hi to Jamie Madrox. The X-Men debate the return of the Phoenix, and the team’s momentary lack of psychics. Jean gets a new customer named Erik, who mentions being friends with her old teacher, with Jean asking if he means Mr. Claremont, which is a cute bit. Also, Jean asks what he wants to eat, he asks what she’d have if she could have anything, and she says the Lumberjack is her favourite. I don’t know if this is supposed to be teasing her attraction to Logan, but I’m gonna use it as an excuse to post this:

Always take any opportunity to reference that song. Anyway, Cable uses Cerebro, and it almost fries his brain. Back in the afterlife, I think Thunderbird is the diner’s cook, and Annie mentions Dr. MacTaggert, and man, so many dead people in the X-franchise. Also, the X-Men split into teams again to search areas associated with Jean and the Phoenix, with Dazzler, Pixie, Strong Guy, and Shatterstar getting to go into the sewers, which seems mean. Why send Dazzler into a sewer? Also, Strong Guy and Shatterstar both still have their facial hair. They’re dedicated to those looks, I guess. The issue also has a moment where Laura gets to give a nice reminder of how dangerous she is. And Iceman makes a terrible, terrible joke, but also gets a pretty good dig in at Boom-Boom that made me chuckle. I miss their caustic chemistry. Anyway, on the whole, I find this issue uneven. The Jean stuff is fascinating. She’s in an afterlife, full of other dead X-characters, and they’re all living a completely normal life, and it’s nice, but it’s also kinda unsettling. And honestly? I feel bad that the town’s going to have to end. It seems so nice, and Jean seems content there, and everyone else seems happy, but obviously, it won’t last. And that’s sad. Poor Jean, and poor other dead people. The stuff in the real world isn’t as good. A lot of Serious Talk about the situation. And for an issue that’s banking so hard on connecting it to the past, and especially to the Phoenix/Dark Phoenix Sagas, it’d be nice if the story worked harder to provide an emotional connection to that stuff. We see Jamaica Bay, but so what? Aside from Kurt calling it “unnerving,” we get no commentary from any of the X-Men who were in the shuttle crash. Cable’s in the book, but has nothing to say about his kinda-mom. Rachel’s not in the issue, of course, because she was written out last issue by being put in a coma. Which pisses me off. The way writers who use the Phoenix Force seem to feel the need to write around Rachel is annoying, because, like, why not let her play a role? How does that hurt? But I’m having serious problems with the real world portions, because I feel like it would be stronger with a couple of main focus characters to provide a real emotional grounding and connection to what’s going on. Rachel would’ve been pretty perfect for that, honestly, but I think going with Storm, Colossus and Kurt as the focal characters would’ve done wonders, too. They were there when Jean became Phoenix. They were there when she died on the moon. Logan was, too, but this is an older version, so he wouldn’t really fit as well. Regardless, I’m not impressed. Though the art’s great. I really like Pacheco. He does great work. Clean, crisp, expressive, good flow of action, and generally easy on the eyes. And Rachelle’s colours are always on point.

Iceman #9, by Sina Grace, Robert Gill, Ed Tadeo, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. Bobby invites Judah to Bobby’s going-away party before his move to LA. He also mentions he had a fight with Kitty, and compared her haircut to ’90s-era John Stamos, and it’s supposed to be bad, but I mean, any-era John Stamos is a pretty good comparison, I figure. Meanwhile, Idie and Mikaela, the girl with pointy spit, go clothes-shopping at a thrift store, to find an outfit for the party. They also talk about stuff and it’s a good scene. At the party, there’s lots of conversations. Including Kitty and Bobby arguing more. Kitty doesn’t think Bobby’s making a good decision in moving to LA, and doubts his motivations. Rictor hits on Bobby. And, of course, Daken and Zach show up and ruin the whole thing, along with Purifiers. And Daken uses his rapey pheromone powers on Judah, because Daken’s awful. He really is awful here. He’s a monster. He talks about the Apocalypse Seed in him, so I don’t know if that makes him worse than he’s recently been. Or maybe he can only be less awful when Laura’s around. Either way, he’s incredibly terrible here. Just a complete monster. It makes him less interesting and less entertaining, if I’m honest. Reminds me why I don’t like the character. The party is fun. Lots of fun stuff in it. I enjoy casual stuff like that. I wouldn’t have minded more of it. The art’s fine. I have no strong opinions on it.

Rogue & Gambit #1, by Kelly Thompson, Pere Perez, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. In a Latin American country, three people on the run get attacked. At the Mansion, Gambit insists on calling Ororo “Stormy,” which I love, and joins Rogue in a Danger Room scenario with old-school Sentinels, along with Psylocke, Pixie, and Armour. Pixie is a Rogue/Gambit shipper. Gambit really wants to get back with Rogue, she doesn’t want to repeat the past. Kitty has a mission for Rogue involving mutants vanishing. She wants Rogue and Gambit to pose as a couple in order to get in. And on the flight, Rogue implies Deadpool is a better kisser than Gambit. Wow. On the island, they get a great room, with super-friendly neighbours that make Rogue instantly suspicious. Which entertains me. Anyway. I’m split. On the one hand, I hate nostalgia. I hate the way Marvel, and especially the X-Men, keeps retreading the past. I think it’s not just a mistake, it’s dangerous. So I have an objection to the entire premise of the series. On the other hand, Kelly Thompson’s a phenomenal writer. And she does great work here. She does a great job at capturing two a pair of exes who have different views on their relationship. Gambit is stuck in the past. He’s not able to move past her. Rogue has moved on, but she can’t entirely shake her feelings for him, and she always has to force herself not to let his charm work on her. I’m hoping it doesn’t end with them back together, or even a tease that they could get back together. I’d much rather it end with Rogue telling Gambit it’s over and that he needs to move on. I’d be fine with Gambit not being able to move on, but I want it clear that Rogue has. We’ll see how it goes. Regardless, Thompson’s great. The art’s great, too. Bright and full of energy, and nails the tension between them. It does a lot to create the tone of the story. So it’s a charming comic, lots of fun, and worth reading, my hatred of nostalgia notwithstanding.

X-Men Grand Design #2, by Ed Piskor. You know what? It’s 3:30 am, and I work at 11:30, I need to go to bed, so I’m not going to talk about this one. It’s probably really cool and interesting and probably worth picking up.

X-Men comics of December 27 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My Christmas presents included a book on First Nations legends, and a Sailor Mercury Pop. She joins Cyclops, Agent Carter, and two Storms. I love Mercury. Venus is my favourite Sailor Scout, but Mercury and Rei are tied for second. I need to rewatch that series sometime. So good. Anyway, I’m wondering if I should just put this blog on indefinite hiatus. I never get the energy to update with regular posts, just these once-a-week things. Well, whatever. Comics.

X-Men Blue #18, by Cullen Bunn, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rain Beredo, and Joe Caramagna. Sean and Emma are talking about the school’s lack of resources, and Emma mentions the Braddock Academy, the Hellfire Conservatory, and Fitzroy’s school. So, already, this is clearly a different timeline from the original Generation X. Meanwhile, the X-Men fight Generation X on the lawn, and I gotta say, I do not like the red-and-gold uniforms the Gen X team wears. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I don’t like that they all wear it. It works for Synch and Monet. And even for Jubilee, though it’d work better with her yellow coat over it. But it doesn’t look good on Husk, and it looks terrible on Skin. Just . . . no. No. But Husk turns into ruby quartz, and holy shit, that’s amazing. Also, Monet gets mad at Bloodstorm for hissing at her and that amuses me. I also like Jubilee blowing bubbles with her gum, in the middle of a fight. Very Jubes. Sean and Emma end the fight, then take Jean and Scott inside for tea and conversation. The rest of the two teams hang out, which includes this, the best moment of the entire issue:

X-Men Blue #18

Jubilee is the best.

And Penance doesn’t like Jimmy, which just shows how insightful Penny is. Always trust Penny’s instincts. Warren hits on Paige, which is cute, and Monet remembers how fun it was to sucker-punch Bobby. I’m loving these little interactions. And we learn a little more about what’s going on. I liked this issue more than the last one, but that might just be because Generation X is the best. I love those kids. They get more personality than the X-Men 2099 did, probably because the Gen X kids always had more personality. They were full of personality. Some got the short end, still. Skin, in particular. Actually, if I’m honest, most of the Gen X kids still showed little personality here. Luckily, one of them is Jubilee, and a multiversal constant is that Jubilee is awesome. Monet, too, who got some really good snark. And Paige, actually, showed some of her own cleverness with the ruby quartz form. Really clever, and the kind of thing she would come up with, just to see if she could. Still, while there’s some actual plot development near the end, I think this issue does have the same major weakness as the last one: It feels like a lot of filler. The side-trip doesn’t provide enough real character stuff for the Blue team to justify the lack of story. The art is fine. A bit vague, at times. Silva’s style isn’t particularly detail-oriented, for the most part, though some effects during the action scene are awesome. Beredo’s colours are great. So the issue looks pretty good, even if it’s not an artistic stand-out. The art’s good enough to make the writing more enjoyable, at least, which is always good.

Phoenix Resurrection #1, by Matthew Rosenberg, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. A couple kids in Annandale-On-Hudson come across a dead girl, who sits up and is creepy. Then a red-head shows up with a dead pigeon, which comes back to life. The two kids freak out and run. Later, the X-men show up, with Rachel saying she used to have family in the area. And, uh . . . no shit? It’s where Jean’s parents lived. You’d think this is something the other X-men would remember, but they don’t say anything. Anyway, the two kids are found, unconscious and floating just above the ground. Later, the X-Men gather everyone, including the splinter teams. Shatterstar still has a mustache. Blah blah blah, there are three locations to scout, and three teams. Kitty, Piotr, Storm, Illyana, Kurt, and Jubilee; Teen Beast, Rogue, Scott, Teen Bobby, Teen Warren; Logan, Laura, Warpath, Sabretooth, Psylocke, Domino. That team gets to go to the North Pole. All three teams get in fights. The North Pole team finds another Wolverine, and Domino shoots him in the head, because Domino’s the best. Anyway, the issue sets up a mystery, but I’m not completely sold on how seriously the X-Men take it. I think it would have worked better if the team had talked about their history with Annandale-On-Hudson. If the fact that something weird happening there was what initially concerned them. Ultimately, the issue doesn’t really get good until the last few pages. Which is where the meat of the story starts. That scene’s done really well. But I can’t really talk about why without spoiling it. But those last few pages do their thing really well, adding a lot of emotional weight to the story, while also being very bittersweet. I really like those pages. I’m not a fan of the art. I’ve never liked Yu, I doubt I ever will. I find his faces so strange, too line-heavy. They look scrunched up in weird ways. Just a matter of personal taste, though. It hampers my enjoyment of the story, but that’s me. But still, it’s a good comic. It’s a promising start.

Well, I may as well do quick thoughts on a couple other comics.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #26, by Brandon Montclare, Alitha Martinez, Roberto Poggi, and Travis Lanham. Moon Girl meets Galactus! And sasses him! And it turns out there’s a being called Omnipotentis, who’s a level up from Galactus, a being who devours universes. Also, Ben Grimm is not good at remembering his own villains. As for Martinez, some of her panels look bad, but most of it is gorgeous. I like her art style. It’s cute and fun. I miss Bustos, but Martinez is a good guest artist.

Black Panther #168, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Walden Wong, Matt Milla, Chris Sotomayor, and Joe Sabino. The Queen-Mother is unimpressed by Wakanda’s democracy and the need for the council to approve any war with Azania, while the Dora Milaje are willing to lay down their lives to save Ayo and Aneka from Klaw. There’s tension! I’m more on their side. The Queen-Mother is a little too hard, too cold, too bitchy, honestly. Though she does get a redeeming moment at the end. Black Panther has a plan, but first, he has a fight, which allows Thunderball to be a Big Damn Hero, and it’s very satisfying. And Black Panther’s plan is pretty awesome, with one hell of a final page reveal. It’s great. I’m still enjoying this book. This arc is a lot less political than the first year, but it’s still got political elements, and it carries over consequences from that first year, which is good to see. I like this series.

Captain Marvel #127, by Margaret Stohl, Michele Bandini, Erick Arciniega, and Joe Caramagna. Sigh. Siiiiigh. There’s potential here. There’s some moments I really like. But mostly? This is just bland. It’s boring. Stohl is not the right writer for this book. I want to enjoy this book, I really do, but I feel like I’m just buying it out of obligation. I think I’ll have to drop it. I may as well finish this arc, just to have it complete up to there, but after that? I just don’t feel like bothering with this series any more. It’s not worth it.

X-Men comics of December 20 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Given I’ve been too exhausted to post much lately, odds are I won’t be posting anything before Christmas, so if you celebrate it, then Merry Christmas. Marvel gave us an early Christmas present by canceling a whole bunch of awesome books and cutting my pull list by a third. Hawkeye, Generation X, Luke Cage, America, Iceman, Gwenpool, She-Hulk. Notably, of those titles, only one was written by a straight white man. Fun fact: They canceled every single one of their titles written by women of colour. All three of them. Considering Cebulski came into the EiC position amidst controversy about him pretending to be Asian, the fact that he immediately ended all the books written by women of colour, without having anything ready to announce as replacements, is A Bad Look. And of course, between Generation X, America, and Iceman, their queerest books have all been ended. Again, no announcements ready for books to take those places. My March pull list for Marvel is 11 titles. The lowest it’s been in years. So Cebulski’s era is off to a great start!

Anyway, here’s today’s comics. As with last week, I’m trying to be quick-and-easy with the X-titles, and just not talking about the non-X-stuff, because I just don’t have the time.

X-Men Gold #18, by Marc Guggenheim (who, reminder, is a sexist prick), Ken Lashley, Arif Prianto, and Cory Petit. It opens with Amara talking to a guy from Damage Control about repairs to the mansion, and it’s interesting that it’s Amara doing that. Reasonable, though, given her background, it makes sense for her to take some sort of leadership position. In the Negative Zone, Kurt teleports into a statue, and the only reason he survives is because Heaven doesn’t want him back. The X-Men meet with the bad guy to get Kitty back, but he doesn’t have Kurt, so the X-Men decide to fight. Which includes, for no goddamn reason other than Guggenheim being an unoriginal hack, this line, “Welcome to Dartaryus, X-Men, hope you survive the experience.” The first part said by Armour in Japanese, the second by Colossus, in Russian. There’s no reason for this line to be there other than for Guggenheim to say, “LOOK YOU REMEMBER THIS LINE YOU LOVE THIS LINE RIGHT?!” It’s lazy. It’s the same tired nostalgia-bait that has made this title so boring. On a plus note, there’s a letter complaining about the Kitty/Piotr relationship, and I 100% agree. Screw that ship. Screw this constant fucking nostalgia-wanking. Even this issue, which is actually trying to do its own thing for the first time in this series’ existence, has to throw in little winks to the past, and ugh, no. Of course, doing its own thing is still boring, with the characters being bland and uninteresting. Because Guggenheim is still a total goddamn hack. There is not a single character in this book who couldn’t easily be replaced by any other character and not sound exactly the same. It’s boring and frustrating. I think the biggest problem is the lack of interpersonal conflict and tension. Everyone’s too buddy-buddy and comfortable. And I think back on Brian Wood’s X-Men. It was another book where all the characters liked each other, but there were still conflicts that allowed them to have distinct personalities, and allowed for character developments. Shit, even Wilson’s single arc on that book put a lot of effort into giving each character a distinct voice, beyond just accents. With Guggenheim? Virtually every line is interchangeable. They all have the same basic speech patterns. There’s no conflict at any point. And it’s frigging boring. It is the most boring shit possible. I hate Guggenheim as a writer. Hate him hate him hate him. I have never read anything he’s done that’s been worth reading. Yet he keeps getting work. Meanwhile, how much you wanna bet Mariko Tamaki won’t be getting another Marvel title? At least the art is fairly good here. I’ll admit that Lashley’s not a favourite. But he’s good. I generally enjoy his art. Prianto’s colours are good. Haven’t seen his work before, but he’s good. He knows how to complement Lashley’s lines, most of the time. So aside from a few wonky panels (Amara on the first page, why, what happened), it’s a good-looking book. Just a shittily-written one.

Generation X #85, by Christina Strain, Amilcar Pinna, Felipe Sobreiro, and Clayton Cowles. Quentin isn’t answering texts from Ben, and aw man, I feel so sad. Seriously, I feel bad for both of them. Like, it’s clear that they both care for each other, and it hurts to see them apart like this. At the school, Paige visits Jubilee to talk about Monet. And do Jubes’ dishes. And also, I think Paige might be shipping Jubilee and Chamber. Roxy and Trevor totally ship Ben and Nate, which amuses me. It looks like Glob and Sprite are still an item, and I kinda love it as this random background thing. Monet has plans, Lin tells Jubilee where Quentin’s gone so Jubes can go after him. And Jubes also smooches Jono. Sorta. Not that he has a mouth to smooch. So, yeah, that happened. On a person note, I see Jubilee as a biromantic asexual. She’s never really shown much in the way of attraction to anyone. And Paige talks to Roxy, in a really good scene, and I really like Paige as a therapist, and students seeing her. This issue gets intense at the end, but most of it is just great character-driven stuff, and I love it. I love these sorts of deeply character-driven comics, all about the dialogue and interactions. Pinna’s art style still doesn’t appeal to me, of course, but I will note that he’s expressive, and sells the interactions well. I’ll also note that Sobreiro’s colours are great, and he makes Roxy frigging sparkle, and it’s gorgeous. I love that, too. But yeah, mostly, this is about the interpersonal dynamics, and that’s what I enjoy most, so of course this issue hits my sweet spot. It’s just a great, fun read. I love it. I’ll miss this book so much. Especially since it’ll leave us no X-titles focused on the students, which are almost always the most compelling X-titles. So unfair, losing this.

Old Man Logan #32, by Ed Brisson, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin, Carlos Lopez, Cory Petit. It starts a few years ago, with Gorgon and the Hand bringing to life a woman who seems to be connected to Clan Yashida. Gee, I wonder who it could be. In the present, Logan goes to a funeral to ask a widow about her husband’s death. He’s classy like that. Scarlet Samurai and Gorgon have a scientist inject Hand ninjas with that regeneration serum. Then they go interrupt Logan’s talk with the widow, who they kill, because I guess we need a reminder that they’re evil. And the issue ends with the reveal of who the Scarlet Samurai is. And it’s predictable. I won’t spoil it, but you won’t have any trouble guessing it. Like, at all. Frankly, the most surprising thing about it is that they didn’t try for a bait-and-switch. Honestly, the reveal is predictable enough to make the story downright boring. Not helped by me continuing to hate Deodato’s creepy, static art. I just do not like his art. I’ve also never cared about Gorgon, so that makes this less interesting for me. Truthfully, this entire arc just isn’t for me. It’s bland and predictable with characters I don’t care about and art I hate. Not my thing.

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan, by Declan Shalvey, Mike Henderson, Lee Loughridge, and Joe Sabino. It starts with a fart joke. Not gonna lie, I giggled a bit. Farts are funny, dammit! Anyway, the girl from the first couple issues is being tortured as part of testing her power. Logan and Deadpool find the base and get vehicles dropped on them, bringing it back to where the first issue opened. Where we do get a pretty nice scene involving Deadpool and Maddie. This comic isn’t doing anything particularly innovative. It’s very much by-the-numbers. But there is some decent humour, and that nice Deadpool/Maddie scene. So it’s not a bad book. Just . . . painfully predictable. The art’s fine. It works for this comic. I think I said this before, but I think Henderson’s style works better for the pairing than it did for Deadpool alone. I think it works better for Logan than for Deadpool, actually. Anyway, this is fine. It’s fine. Whatever.

X-Men Grand Design #1, by Ed Piskor. This is an attempt to simplify the timeline of the X-Men, basically. It starts by talking a bit about the history of mutants, including Namor flooding NYC back in the late ’30s. The original stories said no one died, but here, Piskor says tens of thousands died. Because that makes way more sense, when an entire city gets suddenly flooded. Brian and Sharon Xavier developed a way to divert the water out of the city, and were rewarded with assloads of money. Howard Stark and the Xaviers then worked together on an atomic project. We see young Magnus use his powers to escape Auschwitz with Magda. We see Charles struggling with his power, Cain Marko accidentally burning down the house and killing Xavier’s mom, and then Charles going searching for peace, and encountering the Shadow King. Magnus got his little life with Magda and Anya ruined. Charles and Cain in the war, where Charles got crippled. Charles meeting Moira at a mutant rights rally, and her leaving when he gets too invested in his work. Meeting Magnus and Gabrielle in Israel, then leaving. Jean being inside the mind of her dying friend, and her psychic scream attracting the Phoenix Force’s attention, which also attracted the attention of various aliens, with a Shi’ar ship showing up, Corsair being captured and sent to a prison world, Scott and Alex going to an orphanage. Xavier helping Jean out of her coma, in a pretty heartbreaking scene. Scott’s optic blasts accidentally cutting a kid clean goddamn in half, which is screwed up, though it was just a hallucination. Jack of Diamonds blowing up. Magneto killing Master Man, who is a cyborg here, to steal Nazi gold. Bobby giving a kid frostbite that costs him an arm. Magneto rescuing Wanda and Pietro. Warren rescuing Cameron Hodge from a fire, and Hodge providing Warren knock-out gas to use as a hero which turns out to have terrible side effects on the people he uses it on. The Right helping Bolivar Trask develop the Sentinels. The X-Men saving Hank from the Conquistador, and all of them being bailed out by Jean, who has telepathy at this point. So, lots of little changes. And this only covers up to the actual formation of the X-Men. Which is pretty impressive. It’s fun. Piskor needs to never draw children ever again. The massive heads are creepy. But other than that, the writing and art are fun. It’s an enjoyable read, though the nature of the project means it seldom spends much time on anything. It moves fast. So as a story, it’s not great. But as a history project, it’s really enjoyable. The changes made are all there to streamline the story, and they mostly work. So, yeah, it’s pretty good.

X-Men comics of December 13 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Ugh, these late shifts make these weekly review posts a pain, so let’s do it quick-and-easy and just stick to the X-Men.

X-Men Blue #17, by Cullen Bunn, R. B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rain Beredo, and Joe Caramagna. 2099! I actually read through most of the 2099 comics not long ago. They were a mixed bag. I really enjoyed Ghost Rider 2099. Especially when Ashley Wood was doing the art. Gorgeous. But anyway, X-Men 2099 was a book with some reasonably interesting ideas and very ’90s execution, so it wasn’t great. Regardless, this moment amuses me greatly:

X-Men Blue #17

Yeah, it’s a thing.

The two teams talk about the O5+2 ending up in 2099, fight some Public Eyes, and then they all end up in front of a holographic monument to the O5, which is new. Apparently, they took over Alchemax and redesigned it. Ultimately, Alchemax’s success led to gentrification that pushed most people into slums. A new strain of the Legacy Virus is spreading. So, things aren’t great. Also, the Onslaught, a new type of Sentinel with their faces on screens. That fight includes a pretty badass Bloodstorm moment, and Jean gets mad at Scott for thinking Bloodstorm’s hot, but dammit, Jean, badass goth vampire Storm blowing shit up. It’s hot, Jean, and you know it. Don’t get so jealous. Hot is hot. Anyway, this issue’s OK. It does an interesting twist on 2099. But it also doesn’t feel like it advances the plot. Or the characters, really, beyond Hank having some doubts about whether he’s already too corrupted to fix things in the past. Everyone’s a little shaken up by the future, but we don’t get to see much of that. Scott saying that he’s been expecting something horrible is, if I’m honest, entirely too relatable. As is him thinking Bloodstorm is hot. The love-square between Scott/Jean/Jimmy/Bloodstorm is half-interesting. Jimmy, as always, is a waste. And really, I’m not keen on the Scott/Jean angle, either. I’d still prefer them as bros. Scott and Bloodstorm could be an interesting couple. And Jean could bypass Jimmy in favour of, I don’t know, any random guy on the street. (Or bring Laura back, and Jean can get with her.) The X-Men of 2099 don’t really get much characterization, either, sadly. A little bit, not enough. I feel like the X-Men of 2099 have been in a weird position, in recent years, where they’ll make cameos, but don’t actually get enough space to really breathe. I’d like it more if there were multiple issues featuring them. Bunn’s got his arc, and he’s probably got it pretty tightly-plotted, and spending more time in 2099 would’ve felt like padding. But I still can’t help wishing he’d padded, you know? I would’ve liked more time with them. Especially since, as I said, the main plot already doesn’t feel like it does much plot advancement. Maybe just more setting the tone for the arc. We’ll see how the rest of the arc goes, but this issue felt lacking.

Weapon X #12, by Greg Pak, Yildiray Cinar, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. In Mexico, Warpath is leading the team on a hunting expedition. The others scare away the deer by being too eager. Sabretooth is a hunter, how does he screw up like that? Domino suggests they do something funny: Rob a bank. Domino’s a delight, and she’s contagious about it, which I love. Warpath gets a call from Santo Marco, about soldiers attacking and killing the village that Jorge was from. Jorge was a dude from a previous arc. It is, of course, a platoon of Nukes. Domino’s excited because Santo Marco has a national bank she can rob. Domino has the best priorities in this series. Anyway, we get a cool fight scene. This issue’s pretty cool. Starts off fun, gets darker fast, with the Santo Marco government trying to wipe out mutants in the country. President Duarte. I’m wondering if it’s intended as a reference to Dutarte, the President of the Philippines, who’s been murdering drug-related criminals. Be weird, if that’s what it is a reference to. Anyway, the Nukes don’t actually come across as much of a threat. I think this issue might have benefited a little from a bit more even a fight. The team only left to evacuate the captured mutant civilians. Might’ve been interesting if it was at least a semi-even fight. Next issue looks like it’ll be just Sabretooth and the original Nuke teaming up, that should be a more fun fight. The art’s great. Cinar kills on the action. Really good and exciting.

All-New Wolverine #28, by Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. The Orphans of X have bonded the Muramasa to a bullet.Laura’s cousin, Megan, gives her a pep talk about what a good person she’s become, and aw, it’s sweet. Family. The Orphans attack, and this is really good panel composition right here:

All-New Wolverine #28

Also, Daken’s outfit is amazing.

Laura and her family are rescued by the Blackbird. Daken flirts with Megan, until Laura stops it, and probably a good call. Daken would totally have sex with Megan just to do it, without even realizing it. Gabby, upon meeting Danger, decides she needs a codename already, and Daken suggests the perfect name: Honey Badger.

All-New Wolverine #28

I want to read every single one of these.

Yeah, I pretty much love that name. They head to Japan, to meet Muramasa, in perhaps the coolest disguises ever.

All-New Wolverine #28

See, Logan? This is how you do a disguise!

Also, we get a line that’s like something out of an anime:

All-New Wolverine #28

So anime!

This is great. Really tense, but Gabby keeps an element of humour throughout. She is just so delightful and I love her. Laura is very smart and strategic, but I like her little moment of guilt at the start, and Megan reassuring her. Actually, I like that Laura’s aunt and cousin stick with her through the issue. They’re not abandoning her. It shows their strength of character, and the strength of the family bond. I really like that. Muramasa’s neat, too. The art’s great. I really like Cabal on this book. I’d love it if he’d stick around after this arc, too. But that doesn’t seem to be how this series works, unfortunately. Sigh. Regardless, I’m enjoying him while he’s here. And this is just a great arc. About family and vengeance and other stuff. And Gabby gets a superhero name! Hurrah! And it fits her perfectly and I love it.

Jean Grey #10, by Dennis Hopeless, Alberto Albuquerque, Jay David Ramos, and Travis Lanham. Phoenix Force vs telepaths! Not a fair fight! So, retreat via Pickles, to the New Xavier School in northern Alberta. And Hope kinda nails the Summers family:

Jean Grey #10

Both good points.

I suppose, to be fair, Corsair’s not like that. He’s more the make-it-up-as-he-goes-along type. Also, Quentin likes Jean’s current haircut, which Emma sees as proof of how awful he is. Hopeless does have entirely too much fun writing Emma. He also clearly enjoys writing Hope. But mostly, this fight is Jean vs. Phoenix, physically and verbally. It’s a hell of a fight. Jean is pretty awesome. Even knowing she can’t win, she fights hard, and she gets her shots in, and it’s awesome. It’s powerful stuff. And then it’s got one hell of an ending, leading into Phoenix: Rebirth. Which I may as well give a preliminary thought on: I’m fine with it. I’m fine with Adult Jean coming back. I hope Teen Jean sticks around, too. They’re both good characters, no matter what the whiny fanboys say about Teen Jean. The similarities and differences between the Jeans fascinate me. A compelling examination of whether one can choose to be someone else. It’s cool. I like that. And I like this issue. It’s exciting, with a couple good comedic beats, and some bitchin’ action beats. Great art. It’s good stuff.

Cable #152, by Ed Brisson, Jon Malin, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. Armour, queen of tact, asks Cable if it’s weird that he’s older than his father. Obviously it is. Longshot mentions having fought alongside Blink, an Exiles shout-out, and dammit I want the Exiles back. Anyway, the team finds an old Ophrah Industries site, one of Gideon’s old bases. He’s got some telepaths in tubes. He’s also in a tube. Doop taps on the tube, and it drops into the floor, and an attack cyborg shows up, and Gideon shows up. FROM THE FUTURE! It looks like. This is definitely interesting. I like it. It’s an interesting story. Some good twists, some unexpected stuff thrown in. And so very, very ’90s. Really embraces the ’90s-ness. Very unapologetic about it. Makes for a fun experience. As usual, Malin’s style isn’t to my taste, but it captures the ’90s feeling, so it works for this story. I would’ve liked more Blink here, though. I was so excited about her being a part of the arc, but she’s done nothing so far. Blink is awesome and deserves more attention.

X-Men comics of December 6 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Having my weekends be split up is killing me. But here’s comics.

Astonishing X-Men #6, by Charles Soule, Mike Del Mundo, Marco D’Alfonso, and Clayton Cowles. Del Mundo! Funny, when I was at the comic shop today, I was remarking that Del Mundo didn’t seem to be doing any interiors for Marvel right now, and that I was missing him. Man, maybe I should’ve gotten this issue physically, instead of digitally. Ah, well. Shadow King has won, and is spreading throughout London. Luckily, Xavier has a trick up his sleeve, and he unleashes astral X-Men on him. In the real world, Archangel’s loose, and the military is about to purge a chunk of London. With the Shadow King’s attention spread so thin, Xavier is able to free himself, and slay him. And this leads to a development regarding him and Fantomex, one I’m not really in favour of. This issue has gorgeous art. And I like Xavier’s narration about the X-Men, and how they fight, not just for themselves, not just for the world, but for what they are. That fits the franchise. It fits the theme of a marginalized group fighting for their rights. He also talks about Rogue, Mystique and Fantomex all being fluid, able to become new people as needed, and better than anyone at adapting to changing circumstances, which makes them the best options to battle the Shadow King. That was a cool idea. So Soule’s writing is very good. And Del Mundo is on art. So, you know. Mike Del fricking Mundo. Weird, but gorgeous. So this is still hands-down the best current comic with X-Men in the title.

X-Men Gold #17, by Marc Guggenheim, Ken Lashley, Juan Fernandez, and Cory Petit. A team of X-Men head to the Negative Zone, in a vehicle built for them by Blue Marvel. Always nice to see him. He’s cool, and with Ultimates done, it’s tough to tell when he might land somewhere again. I suppose that’ll depend a lot on what Ewing does after the weekly Avengers event. Rachel’s laying in the sick bay, badly injured, watched over by Amara and Reyes. Not sure why Guggenheim went with Amara. It’s not like she and Rachel were ever that close. They did have that cool issue about them both feeling out of time, and then trying to kill Selene. But since then, they’ve barely interacted. Kitty and Kurt are being held prisoner in the Negative Zone. And then back to the Negative Zone team, which is Storm, Logan, Colossus, Ink (UUUUUUUGGGGGHHHH! He was one of the absolute worst parts about the execrable Young X-Men run), and Armour. As always, utterly bland and forgettable and I honestly cannot care. It’s a competently-made X-Men comic that brings nothing particularly new to the table. Lashley’s art is good and helps make the issue more enjoyable. And Blue Marvel’s cameo is appreciated. But other than that? Meh. Who cares. The characters are flat, and there’s no sense that any of them are going to develop in any way. There’s no weight to any of what’s going on. It’s just things happen, characters talk about it but not in a way that really gives a lot of insight into them, and it’s just . . . there.

Iceman #8, by Sina Grace, Robert Gill, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. The Icemans talk about Romeo ghosting Teen Bobby, while fighting Pyro. This Pyro is apparently a mutant rights activist, albeit a militant one, and I am down for that. I like this Pyro. Seriously, I’m on his side.

Iceman #8

Damn The Man!

I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to side against this guy, but, you know . . . giant murder-bots are a thing. X-Men Gold currently has a sub-plot about a bill to deport mutants. So, I mean, yeah, Viva La Revolucion. The story does imply this is the original Pyro, back from the dead, which, OK then. Anyway, the Icemans were invited to dinner at their parents’ house. In Madripoor, Daken has Zach beat up some thugs and take a ring. And then, awkward dinner time! The parents are being freakishly nice to Teen Bobby, wanting him to move back home with them. There’s arguing, and Bobby might have a strange view of Emma Frost’s manner of speech:

Iceman #8

The real Emma would probably be MORE contempuous.

I do like that impression. Anyway, fun issue. Dinner was amusingly awkward. It’s what I think Grace does best in this series. Also, Bobby is apparently aware of the perverted jokes about him and his younger self and finds them gross, especially with Teen Bobby being underage, and yeah, it’s a place it’s best not to go. Gross. Anyway, the main thing I enjoy in comics is the human element, including superheroes having awkward dinners, so this issue was enjoyable for me. Gill’s art isn’t my favourite. I’m not a fan. But it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s not, like, Greg Land or something. That would be awful. But this is pretty good.

And the non-X.

Black Bolt, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, and Clayton Cowles. Damn:

Black Bolt #8

Beautiful.

Black Bolt and Blinky (and Lockjaw) return to Earth, and New Attilan, and it doesn’t go great. They think he’s Maximus. It gets cleared up, Iso lets Black Bolt know what’s been going on, Panacea’s lack of emotions is so total she can’t even call Lockjaw a good boy. There’s a meeting with Ahura, which includes a pretty great hug. But also a moment of total heartbreak. It’s a great comic. Stop sleeping on it. It’s one of the best things Marvel’s putting out. Ahmed, Ward and Cowles kill it, issue after issue. It’s beautiful and brilliant and needs to be read.

Hawkeye #13, by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino. The Hawkeyes are back together! Kate needs Clint’s help finding her mom, Clint needs Kate’s help . . . in general, really, but more specifically with someone trying to kill him. It seems to be Eden Vale, from the Generations: Hawkeye comic. Which Clint remembers, even though, supposedly, the stories in those one-shots were actually more-or-less illusions. Ah, who cares. Anyway, Eden’s reason for hating Clint is actually pretty sympathetic, even if it she’s still wrong. I like Eden. Anyway, it’s a great issue, loads of fun, Kate and Clint play off each other so well.

I also got Jem: Dimensions #1. It has Sophie Campbell! She writes and draws a story about Clash and Madmartigan, Pizzazz’s cat. And it’s wonderful, And so gorgeous. So stylish. It has a Muslim in a hijab and she is super-stylish, it has a ski-chase that includes rocket-skis. And it has a cat. Kitty kitty kitty! So, you know, it’s amazing. There’s also a story by Kate Leth, Tana Ford and Brittany Peer, about the Holograms playing D&D.

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