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X-Men comics of April 18 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Congratulations to Superman for Action Comics #1000, I suppose. I’m not a DC guy, but hey, that’s quite the milestone, so good on Supes. Anyway, here’s comics.

X-Men Gold #26, by Marc Guggenheim, Michele Bandini, Arif Prianto, David Marquez, Matthew Wilson, and Cory Petit. Kitty thinks back to when she first met Piotr, when she was 13 and he was 18, and she developed a crush on him, and she was 13 at the time, and he was 18 at the time, and let’s never forget how screwed up that was, and still is, and how stupid it is that old-ass fanboys like Whedon and Guggenheim are still hung up on a 30+-year-old crush between a 13-year-old and an 18-year old. Screw that noise. Anyway, the team is on a mission in Santo Marco to find Mesmero, who goes back into Rachel’s head again. Storm is still Sthorm, wielding her magic hammer. They take him to the mutant prison, where the warden is blatantly anti-mutant and throws out the crap about mutants replacing humans. Yeah yeah, every single human in the world hates mutants, I am fucking over that. Show me the humans who are totally OK with mutants! Give me the humans who are permanent parts of the supporting cast! Give me something more unique than “every single human in the world hates mutants.” That shit’s boring. Boring Evil Lady is in cahoots with Yet Another Goddamn Sentinel, and they have evil plans that I couldn’t care less about. Piotr tells Kurt he and Kitty have set a wedding date, and Kurt immediately takes him and a few other guys to Vegas for the bachelor party, before anything can happen to interrupt it. Which is a valid concern, but he should know by now that it doesn’t matter what he does, something will happen. It’s inevitable. Blaaaaaaaaaah. So boring! So shitty! Guggenheim sucks. He’s a shitty writer who doesn’t belong anywhere near an X-Men flagship title, because he doesn’t have a single thing to actually say. What the hell is the point of any of this, aside from him wanking a gross ship from over 30 years ago? I know I say this every two weeks, but Guggenheim’s run on Gold is legitimately one of the least interesting, most pointless things I have ever read. The average fanfic spends more time delving into characters and their relationships. Also, Kitty and Piotr talk about how they’ve been “dragging their feet” with the engagement. Didn’t they get engaged, like, 3 issues ago or something? It’s probably been, like, a month in-universe. There are couples who go straight from engaged to married in a few months, but a lot of couples wait years, even if they’ve already been dating and living together for several years at that point. A couple months is not “feet-dragging” by any reasonable standard. But Guggenheim’s a useless fucking hack who can’t come up with any other way to inject tension between characters. Also, can someone please take Storm away from this asshole? Because it doesn’t seem like he actually gives a shit about her. He gave her a magic hammer that gives her immense power, and her role in this issue is to hit Mesmero with some lightning and appear in a single panel so Rogue can compliment her look. That’s it. Storm getting godly power is kind of a big deal, and all it boils down to here is Rogue saying she looks good. And I know Guggenheim’s got some plan for Storm’s hammer, and I’m sure it will amount to nothing more than an attempt at a Cool Moment, but holy shit, can we get a fucking hint of how Storm might feel about what’s going on? What am I saying, of course we can’t, because that would mean Guggenheim being competent enough as a writer to actually explore how characters feel about things going on, and to care enough about Storm to let her be something more than a glorified extra. And what makes this issue even worse is that I like the art. Bandini’s good. He’s got a talent for facial expressions, for showing how characters are feeling. And he’s saddled with a writer who doesn’t care about that. Bandini deserves better than this. The entire art team does. They’re doing good work, but they’re doing good work on a comic whose writing makes it garbage. Marc Guggenheim is a terrible fire and he should be banned from ever writing again. I don’t even want him writing grocery lists, because he’d probably make those terrible, too.

Edited to add: I’m not Jewish, so I didn’t catch this, but I saw Jay Edidin (of the X-Plain the X-Men podcast) note that Marc Guggenheim screwed up something else. When Kitty’s talking to her mom, she says that since her father’s dead, she asks her mother to walk her down the aisle. Her mom initially says that’s a father’s role. Jay said that, traditionally, in Jewish weddings, both parents walk their child down the aisle. It’s something that would be pretty easy to learn by doing even the tiniest bit of research on Jewish wedding traditions. But, as I keep saying, Marc Guggenheim is the hands-down worst writer Marvel has. So, clearly, he didn’t care enough to do that research. The weird thing is that Guggenheim is actually Jewish, which means he didn’t research his own goddamn faith’s wedding traditions. Which is insane. That’s how bad a writer Guggenheim is. He is so bad that it makes him not bother researching the wedding traditions of his own faith in the lead-up to the wedding of a character from that faith. Like, that’s Writing 101 shit. Do the research. Even if you think you already know all about something, do the research. But Guggenheim sucks, so he didn’t do the research.

Weapon X #16, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Roland Boschi, Andrea Sorrentino, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Logan vs. Sabretooth, surroounded by monsters captured by Amadeus Cho. Logan’s unleashed, and is kicking Sabretooth’s ass, so Sabretooth frees the monsters. A wall is broken, and there’s kids playing soccer outside, and holy shit, why are monsters being kept so close to a place where kids play soccer? How does that happen? Anyway, Logan fights a hydra at one point, and uses a strategy straight out of Order of the Stick. Literally, it’s a strategy used in Order of the Stick. Also, we find out what happened to Sabretooth in Logan’s time. He’d gone feral, and Logan had to put him down, which he did pretty easily, since Sabretooth was all animal at that point, while it was the human part of him that made him dangerous. This is told in a three-page portion drawn by Sorrentino, gorgeously. Though without any of the trippy layouts he often does. Also, the resolution of this birthday brawl is pretty brilliant. I love it. This is a good issue. The fighting’s brutal, and the rivalry is actually presented really well. I like Logan verbally tearing Sabretooth down, pretty much demolishing Sabretooth’s entire philosophy. This issue also addresses Sabreooth’s inversion from Axis, stating that it’s still in effect. Even though he’s been a total psycho asshole this entire run. But OK, sure. So there’s some good writing. Boschi’s art is a bit odd. Inconsistent, I found. Sometimes looked good, sometimes looked rushed and messy in a bad way. I’m not a particular fan of his in the first place, but here, it just felt like half-assed most of it. I know he can do better than this, but he really did an inferior job here. I’m guessing he was just rushed. It happens. Regardless, while it hurts the story a little but, it’s still an enjoyable read.

Cable #156, by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, German Peralta, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. Flashback, to Cable’s last solo series, when he was a single dad raising Hope in the future while being hunted by Bishop. Right after the crossover where Hope met the X-Force line-up Laura was a part of, so she’s got questions about mutants. The thing that actually kinda sticks out to me about the opening scene is Cable mentioning Nate Grey as his half-brother, which is oddly sweet. Anyway, they’re in a future full of dead bodies, and find some hobos who kick Cable’s ass. Bishop shows up, and Hope grabs Cable’s gun and shoots Bishop, and remember, she was like 6 at this point. Later, Hope asks Cable about his parents, so he thinks about Slym and Redd. After the flashback, is that a lizard with a bionic arm? How does . . . what?! Look, I’m not complaining, I actually think it’s pretty amazing, but.

Cable #156

Why does this lizard have a bionic arm?

I want to know the story here. Who gave this lizard a bionic arm? Was it some guy’s pet, which got loose when the owner died? Are lizards really smart in the future? Is this the lizard equivalent of Misty Knight? Oh my god yes I am absolutely declaring this to be the post-apocalyptic hellscape future lizard version of Misty Knight. Canon, and you will not convince me otherwise. This lizard is the lead-in to Cable teaching Hope how to shoot a gun, which is really nice. Father-daughter bonding. Honestly, I love this issue. Seeing Cable and young Hope, seeing Cable teaching Hope, and telling her about his own family, and all that stuff. It’s just so good and pure. Though on a funny note, he mentions that Jean’s dead, like that was ever going to stick. It’d be nice if Hope did get to meet Adult Jean. Hope and Teen Jean got along really well, I’m curious how Hope would feel about the adult version. But yeah, this is such a great issue. The art does a good job evoking the style from that Cable series. I forget who the artist was on the bulk of that run, and I could look it up easily, but I’m not going to. Anyway, the art here has a similar feel to that, which I appreciate. I like Peralta more than I like the artist I’m not looking up. But this issue’s all about Dad-Cable, and I love it for that. Really good. Highlight of this entire series so far. Actually, one of the best issues of any of Cable’s series.

And the non-X-stuff.

Ms. Marvel #31, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. First, I want to start by saying the cover has “Khan You Feel The Love Tonight?” and I am simultaneously angry and happy at that pun. Anyway, Tyesha has her baby! Kamala’s an aunt! Malik Theodore Khan, a boy. And even Gabe is immediately enchanted. (Not me. I hate babies.) After, she goes out on patrol, and gets her first kiss. Red Dagger. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed, because with all the hype over the past couple years about Who Would Be Kamala’s First Kiss, I hoped that Zoe would plant a smooch on her just to get Kamala over first kiss drama. But hey, it’s fine. Red Dagger’s cute, and he’s nice, and he clearly likes her a lot and wants to support her, so I’m fine with this ship. And hey, Bruno’s also back, at exactly the most awkward time. With his Wakandan best friend, and look, I know it’s a big dramatic moment and everything, but the most important part of that moment is a pigeon whose mind is blown by a hovering suitcase. Anyway, Bruno being back means he and Kamala having to figure out how to be friends after she kinda-sorta got him crippled. Also! New girl from Connecticut, and she’s haughty and bitchy and I honestly kinda love her. There’s also Bruno’s friend being hilariously condescending about the US (he keeps calling it a “developing nation,” and the Imam at Kamala’s masjid is kind of a troll and the best. He’s a great dude. Anyway, it’s a really good issue, focused on Kamala’s personal life, which is exactly the kind of thing I love most, so it’s exactly the kind of issue I love reading. Such a great comic. Plus: This bird.

Ms. Marvel #31

As always, the pigeons are the real stars of this series.

Black Panther #172, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, Marc Deering, Walden Wong, Laura Martin, Matt Milla, and Joe Sabino. The Adversary! Shuri being badass in single combat against him! T’Challa makes Storm into a god. Not even an exaggeration, he has Wakanda imbue their faith in her, which makes her a god. Because, as always, T’Challa is the man with the plan. A cool finale to a cool year-long arc. An interesting exploration of religion and faith and gods. I enjoyed it.


X-Men comics for April 11 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). The Simpsons is out-dated and lost its relevance years ago. Here’s comics.

X-Men Red #3, by Tom Taylor, Mahmud Asrar, Ive Svorcina, and Cory Petit. Cassandra Nova pays a visit to the Xavier School. She cracks the sign, because she is petty, she groans at Kitty/Piotr drama and I am 100% with her on that. And she kills a young mutant who can see her, because she’s evil. I am . . . less on board with the murder. Oh, and she gives a drug to another mutant. In India, Sentinel. It blasts Gabby, so Trinary makes it sit down, which is pretty badass. Trinary is surprisingly powerful. She reprogrammed the Sentinel to remove its directive to kill mutants, something Juston Seyfert could never do, before he was killed in a book that was built around killing cool young characters with lots of potential. Anyway, they steal the Sentinel. Trinary then talks about spikes in anti-mutant sentiments, which leads to a scene in Louisiana where a young girl with wings confronts an angry mob, and gets rescued by Gambit. The angry mob is carrying garden torches, in a touch that’s pretty clearly meant to evoke the tiki torches wielded by the alt-right neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, and also makes pretty clear which side Taylor comes down on. He is firmly anti-Nazi. I’m sure the Comicsgate shitholes are frothing at the mouth about that panel. But screw those people. Anyway, wing-girl still gets shot. Which, frankly, she should probably be able to survive. It was a handgun, and while it wasn’t long-range or anything, a gutshot from a handgun isn’t instantly fatal. My understanding is that it’s actually not that difficult to survive that, if you get to a hospital reasonably quickly. Anyway, I generally enjoyed this issue. Trinary’s cool, but I would’ve liked to learn more about her as a person. She shows off her power a lot, but we don’t learn much about her personality. Which is a shame. Still, she reprograms a Sentinel with ease. And also gets a little freaked out at Gabby not being dead. Gabby continues to be the best. Honestly, this issue’s a bit of a let-down from the first two. For all that happens, not a lot happens. Not much character stuff, not much plot development. A bit disappointing. Still, as I said, I mostly enjoy it. Taylor’s still a good writer, the art’s still good, Asrar’s a good visual storyteller. I guess this issue does also bring in Gambit, which . . . yeah, it’s a pretty disappointing issue. (Ha! Gambit burn!)

X-Men Blue #25, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. Lorna has mixed feelings about killing an alternate version of Malice, and I suppose that’s reasonable. Killing is rough, even if it’s someone you hate. And it’s not like this version if Malice has the same odds of returning to life as the main Malice does. Then she’s reminded that the Raksha are basically all broken. Meanwhile, in Scotland, Alex continues pitching the future to Magneto, talking about how Mothervine will make mutants the dominant species. Magneto declines to join, and fights Alex, Emma, Miss Sinister, Bastion, and a whole bunch of tiny Sentinels. Emma gives Alex a psychic boost to his power, in order to take down Magneto. Good teamwork, actually. Magneto does slip away, though. And the bad guys launch their plan, so someone needs to stop them. Not bad. I really like the Magneto/Alex scene. It’s well-written, good tension between them, and both presenting their cases well. Obviously, we’re meant to side against Alex, but he still comes across as reasonable, not some frothing power-mad lunatic. He’s not old-school Magneto. Makes for a compelling scene. The fight is really good, too. Magneto is shown as powerful to the point of being overconfident about it, taking the bad guys apart with casual ease. Also, the image of him assembling a metal suit is pretty badass. Alex’s power-boost is cool, though his blasts could’ve looked cooler. But whatever, petty complaint. I still like the fight. The Lorna stuff at the start is fine, too, but I don’t know, it didn’t really resonate with me. The art’s good. Molina’s a talented artist. Except that I noticed kind of a limited set of facial expressions on a lot of characters. I feel like we got more tone and mood conveyed through Milla’s colours than Molina’s lines. I don’t know, might just be me. And I suppose the issue didn’t call for a particularly wide range of expressions. It’s a good-looking style, just felt a bit emotionally flat to me, but maybe I’m just crazy. Regardless, on the whole, this is a good issue.

There’s also a back-up feature, by Bunn, Mike Perkins, Andy Troy, and Caramagna. It’s about the remaining O5 and Venom, with Scott angsting about Jean being dead. Danger flies into a meteor storm that tears holes in her, and then the four find themselves in their original costumes at the mansion. Hank realizes Danger’s created an artificial environment for them to feel comfortable in as they die. Jean is there, too, which makes Scott not want to leave the simulation. It’s a kinda-sad story. But it’s still a pretty meh story, and I’m not a fan of Perkins’ art, which is a bit blobby for my tastes.

Old Man Logan #38, by Ed Brisson, Dalibor Talajic, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Bullseye takes the drive Kingpin wants back, and Sarah tells him he should help her take Fisk down, so Bullseye can run the city. As if Bullseye’s ever cared about being in charge. Do your homework, lady, the guy’s just out for laughs, which he gets by killing people. Logan tries to sneak away from the crowd gathered outside the grocery store where he fought Bullseye, but he gets spotted, and I’ll give credit to the dude in the crowd who shouts at him to go back to Canada. THAT guy did his homework. Anyway, he gets back to the apartment and gets in a car chase with Bullseye, and beats him up. He even threatens to kill Bullseye, who just points out that never works. Then he goes to Kingpin to learn what’s on the drive, and it is exactly what I expected. It is precisely what I predicted it to be, if you remember what my prediction was. So this is the least surprising twist ever. The confrontation between Logan and Kingpin is fairly cool. Good tension. Kingpin’s calmness and confidence is always cool. It’s where his true threat lies. Not in a physical fight, but using his influence to defeat his enemies. It’s cool. The art does a good job of carrying the store. It carries a lot of the tension. So not a surprising end to the arc, but handled well.

Domino #1, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Clayton Cowles. Domino gets a pug as a birthday present. The dog is all white, has a black spot over its left eye. Just like Domino. Then, flashback to how the day started, with her and Outlaw, aka Crazy Inez, on a job. They’re there to investigate timber piracy. Mafia-infiltrated timber piracy. And it turns out the job was a trap and she has to fight a monster. And almost gets run over by logging machinery, until her luck makes her trip and get mud in her cleavage, because Domino’s pretty sure her own power kinda hates her. Also, Inez pulls a Fastball Special with her. The monster turns out to be a mutant named Greywing, who complains that Domino and Inez look gorgeous and have cool powers, while he involuntarily turns into a monster. Fair gripe, but there’s no need to take it out on Domino and Inez. And Domino’s other partner on the job turns out to be Diamondback, who Domino thinks is a snob. And then Domino gets a surprise birthday party, which means loads of X-Men. And Dazzler sings. But all the happiness makes Domino remember her past, and that makes her feel like shit. Inez and Diamondback are actually really good in this issue. They’re sweet. And they’re really good friends to Domino. This is a good issue. Lots of fun, until an intense ending. Simone gives Domino a voice that balances all the different interpretations of her, which isn’t easy, because she’s a character who’s had a lot of wildly different interpretations. Simone strikes a good middle ground, making her fun, but with a deep darkness, as well. Baldeon’s art is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s very cartoonis, very exaggerated. Good for facial expressions, but definitely not for everyone. I’m . . . uncertain. I’m undecided on how I feel about his art. I can’t decide if I like it or not. Some panels, I really like. Some panels, I really don’t. The colour is good throughout. It’s a good start to the story, worth checking out.

That’s the X-stuff, here’s what else I got.

Exiles #1, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Caramagna. Some fairly overwrought monologuing from the Unseen, Nick Fury. I think my problem is actually the lettering, here. It’s a bit too fancy, gets hard to read sometimes. Anyway, he says something is destroying universes. Didn’t we just do that 3 years ago? More interesting, Blink visits the Bahamas, and her family. A version of her family, really, since this Blink is from another reality. But aw, she has a family! Good for her! Then the Tallus summons her to the moon so Nick can tell her she has to save the multiverse, and with that, it’s a time-hopping she goes! First up, a post-apocalypse where the last Inhumans have taken refuge in Jersey City, under the protection of Khan. She uses her giant hand as a lie detector. Neat trick. Then her world gets eaten and she becomes the last survivor when the Tallus takes her and Blink out. Then a bright fancy future for Iron Lad. Not the Iron Lad from Young Avengers. This is an alternate version. Because he’s Kang, and nothing can ever be simple with Kang. The reveal of who the Time Eater is is pretty cool. This is a good start to the series. I’ve missed Blink, so much. She’s great here. I look forward to spending time getting to know Khan and the others, too. Valkyrie and Wolvie join next issue, I think, and that’ll be exciting. I’m not a fan of Rodriguez’s art. Personal taste. Can’t really explain why I don’t like it, but I don’t. Still, I’m on board with this series.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #31, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. This is Henderson’s last issue and I’m so sad! This issue opens with the gang fighting EpicCrimeZ, a criminal who livestreams his crimes, to make money from committing crimes. It’s a plan, you have to admit that. And then he hits Doreen and Nancy with a weapon that puts them in Hypertime. Which is neat. It lets them replace Bullseye’s guns with bananas, which is hilarious, but also, he can still use those as deadly projectiles, so. Anyway, the issue is just Doreen and Nancy saving lives while working on a time machine over the course of decades that pass in a single weekend, and it’s just. It’s so good. So wonderful. Doreen and Nancy are so good together. The best of all best friends. Their relationship has really been the heart of this series. So seeing them literally spend their entire lives together, and how strong their love for each other is all through that time, it’s so nice. (Also, I’ll be honest, I genuinely can’t tell if North and Henderson intended for them to come across as a couple, but they really came across as a couple, just the body language in a lot of the panels. I’m, like, 80% sure that it was intentional, that we’re supposed to read Doreen and Nancy as being in love, but it’s possible it’s just meant to be the kind of close friendship that looks like love.) I’m going to miss Henderson so much on this book. She had such an influence on the character of the series. She brought so much charm and energy and fun and love. I’m crushed that she’s off the book, but I have nothing but good wishes for her on whatever her next project is.

Champions #19, by Jim Zub, Sean Izaakse, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. Nunavut! An Inuit girl checks out a strange new secret installation. She finds some colourful lady in a ball. The next morning, in New York, Nova chases the Fly and the Scorpion (the girl version). And then Spider-Miles catches them. They get a call from Ms. Marvel and go to see the new Champions HQ, which is a pretty cool jet. Nadia’s room has a G.I.R.L. poster, which is a nice touch, I miss her solo. She even name-drops them in a briefing! I really hope they show up, they were cool. I want to see how Shay and Ying are doing as a couple. Sadly, Viv has a conversation with Riri where she mentions disengaging her emotions, so that bullshit from Waid’s run is still carrying over. Ugh. Uuuuuuuugh. I loved Viv as an awkward teen girl in the Vision solo. As an emotionless teen? Boring. Still misses the core of her character. Ugh. Though her conversation with Riri is actually nice. I look forward to seeing their friendship develop. This is a pretty good start to the new run. We’ll see how it goes. The Waid run has left me really wary, still. Zub seems to have a better voice on some of the characters, but it’s early. I do like his Viv more than Waid’s, overall, but I’d still prefer her as someone who embraces her emotions. The Vision series left her in a spot where she embraced emotion, and then Waid shit all over that for the sake of having the Cold Unfeeling Android, and Zub has her specifically state her emotions are disabled, but she still acts more cheerful than she did in Waid’s run. Ms. Marvel doesn’t get much page time. Nadia is cute and happy, which is important. I like Zub’s take on Riri, too. She expresses concern about working on a team, and wonders if she belongs. I still want Riri to get a solo written by a black woman, by the by. I like Izaakse’s art far more than I ever liked Ramos’. It’s still got a little bit of a cartoonish vibe, but not as extreme as Ramos. Or actually, not as sharp. Ramos’ art style always felt pointy to me. Izaakse has a bit more natural a line style. His lines aren’t as heavy, and they flow better. But he does a phenomenal job at expressions and body language. Actually, special mention of Viv’s body language. At a couple different parts, she’s just randomly floating upside-down. Because if you can float, why wouldn’t you be upside-down? It’s a cute touch. And yeah, I just generally like the art style. Still, as I said, I’m worried about Champions, so we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

Falcon #7, by Rodney Barnes, Joshua Cassara, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. Falcon vs. Vampires! Fun reminder: Nightwing is a vampire. Pretty sure he’s still a vampire. Did that get retconned, or is Redwing still a vampire? Also, Misty teams up with Blade to kill other vampires. He asks her on a date. He has poor timing, but to be fair, he doesn’t spend much time not killing vampires. But this is another solid issue. A shame this series is ending. Maybe if all the people who’d bitched that Sam should have been pushed as Falcon instead of as Captain America had actually tried the book, maybe this book would’ve done better. But I think we all know those people didn’t give a shit about Sam, they just wanted their old white guy back.

X-Men comics of April 4 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I got home to Bad Ass Bitches, by Meredith McClaren. Quite a treat, on this New Comic Book Day. It’s an art book, drawings she did of various female mythological creatures from around the world. And it is gorgeous. I cannot recommend enough that you check out her work. She is amazing. She’s Iniquitous Fish on Twitter and Tumblr, where the first post, right now, is a drawing of Chewie teaching Rey to swim. Note: She does a fair bit of mansmut. I do not say this as a warning, but as an enticement. Also, she’s currently working on a book about superhero sex lives, because she is a good and wonderful person who makes this world a better place. Anyway! Lots of comics today!

X-Men Gold #25, by Marc Guggenheim, Paulo Siqueira & Jose Luis, Cam Smith & Victor Olazaba, Arif Prianto, Java Tartaglia & Juan Fernandez, and Cory Petit. You know, I gotta say, the number of artists who work on X-Men Gold? Probably not a good sign. Generally, when you have this many artists involved, it’s because the book keeps coming real close to missing deadlines. Maybe – and this is a crazy idea, but stick with me – maybe a bi-weekly schedule that pushes art teams so hard isn’t actually a great thing to do. Setting aside all complaints about the quality of the series, the fact that it’s bi-weekly is just wrong. But anyway, let’s get into the content of the issue. Boring Negative Zone God Guy (henceforth BNZGG, because I give so few shits about him that I would rather type out an overly long insult than type his name) is in Paris. Illyana and Armour are in New York, fighting Rhino, a fight that ends rather predictably, with Illyana just sending Rhino to Limbo. I wouldn’t have minded seeing a little more fight, with Illyana and Armour playing with Rhino, but eh, minor thing. In prison, Storm is in her prison cell, having a panic attack over her claustrophobia. This lasts all of two panels before she gets over it and also overcomes her power damper. It is boring. But hey, Stormcaster, the hammer Loki gave her, then randomly decides to pay her a visit. Even though it was last seen being destroyed. Which I think would make for the second time it as destroyed? OK, I guess magic hammers have built-in justifications for coming back. Captain Britain and Meggan are already in Paris, fighting BNZGG, and the X-Men arrive to help. At the prison, Storm tells the warden she and the other X-Men are leaving, and Illyana brings them to Paris to help in the fight. And uuuuugh, it’s still all so boring. Storm getting pissed at being put in a small cell was OK, but still didn’t really amount to anything other than Look At This Cool Moment. There’s still no actual character development or exploration going on here. A story needs more than Cool Moments to be a good story. It needs to have shit to actually say, and Guggenheim has not a single damn thing to say with this book. And at the end there’s a “What are we going to do with 12 X-Men” joke, a callback to the end of Giant-Size X-Men #1, but the thing is, in 1975, 13 X-Men was a lot. Today, 12 X-Men is just two teams. Which is what this was, too: Two teams, teaming up. An incredibly common X-Men thing. So the joke makes no sense, and is there only because Guggenheim is an unoriginal hack who’s banking on people enjoying references to things they enjoyed. The cameo from Captain Britain and Meggan is nice, but again, doesn’t actually accomplish much. Stormbreaker showing up is . . . random. We’ll see if Guggenheim has any actual ideas for that, or if it was just “HEY GUYS remember the Asgard adventure where Storm got a hammer, do you remember that, wasn’t that a great story, you loved that story right, remember how great it was.” Given how utterly devoid of cleverness this entire run has been, I’m betting it’s the latter. That Guggenheim doesn’t actually have any clever ideas for anything involving the hammer, he just wanted to remind people that the Asgard adventures happened. The fight against BNZGG isn’t particularly exciting, either. Part of it is just how casual so much of the banter is. We get occasional dialogue about how dangerous he is, but no one actually seems all that concerned. The art doesn’t help there, either. No one looks concerned. BNZGG being so big means the “fight” mostly consists of X-Men standing on him and hitting him while he doesn’t react, which isn’t the most thrilling action. So ultimately, this is just incredibly boring.

Astonishing X-Men #10, by Charles Soule, Aco, David Lorenzo, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. The X-Men arrive in the small Scottish town where Proteus turned reality inside out. There’s dragons. And Logan says he “barely” stabbed X, which is pretty funny. Also, the others have voted Psylocke in charge, and she tells X they’re not killing anyone, while X says he’d drop a nuke on the town if he could. X isn’t the Xavier we remember. Which is interesting. The town has gotten pretty interesting. Also, Aco does a lot of panels. Anyway, fighting. This includes Rogue grabbing a shield and a battleaxe. It’s pretty sexy. It’s really only a single shot, but still. Barbarian Rogue. I would read that storyline. Yeah, an arc where a group of X-Men get caught up in a D&D adventure. Rogue’s a barbarian, of course. Jean as a wizard. Laura could be a Halfling fighter. Warren would definitely be a rogue. Dazzler’s obviously a bard, but she somehow still manages to be one of the most effective members of the party, and no one would be quite sure how. I’m going to stop there, but yeah, I like this idea, I want an arc of an X-Men comic that is entirely about a group doing a D&D adventure. (Get Tana Ford to draw it, because it’s kind of her thing.) Anyway, Proteus reveals his plan: To remake the Astral Plane, using the minds of many people to shape something special. It’s an interesting idea. This is a good issue. It doesn’t really advance the plot that much. A lot of the issue is banter and combat. But Soule does some very good character work. X’s comment about wanting to drop a nuke speaks volumes about who he is. It paints him as far more ruthless than Xavier was. There’s even some really good, subtle moments. When Mystique tells X that Psylocke is in charge, because none of them trust him, she’s got a sadistic smile. She takes pleasure in putting him down. Because that’s who she is. Soule is good at small moments that still give insight into the characters. And he continues to make Proteus fascinating. He becomes a lot more menacing here. The art’s good. Aco has some pretty distinctive layouts. Very busy, loads of little panels showing close-ups of things. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell exactly what we’re looking at, which isn’t great. The art itself is really good, he’s a talented artist, but it’s the layouts that will make or break this issue for most people. I was mostly fine with it. But I couldn’t really blame anyone who found it too distracting. Still, this remains a strong series.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #2, by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, Michael Garland, and Clayton Cowles. In Russia, researchers are about to be killed by something. A few days later, in New York, Rahne, Boom-Boom, Rictor, and Shatterstar are out for brunch, and talk about Illyana. Rictor doesn’t trust her. Rahne does. Tabby doesn’t care as long as she gets paid, and also, she’s a little drunk, and you know what, that’s fine. Being drunk at brunch is fine. Live your best life, Boom-Boom. Illyana and Guido ‘port in and grab the others for a mission, leaving Shatterstar behind, poor Shatterstar. And I have to say, I love the brunch scene. Love it. At one point, Rahne takes a piece of bacon off Rictor’s plate, and Rictor complains that she should have ordered bacon if she wanted bacon, and it’s just this perfectly human moment. And I live for that shit in superhero comics. It is just the most mundane thing in the world, and it’s wonderful. Anyway, to Russia, and the base, and Boom-Boom being Boom-Boom.

New Mutants Dead Souls #2

That’s what she said. (Couldn’t resist, sorry not sorry.)

And then they fight a Frost Giant. During the fight, Illyana uses her Soulsword to block the giant’s axe, which is a pretty badass moment. I also really like this moment:

New Mutants Dead Souls #2

Aside: Illyana rocks that black hood.

I like it because it makes me think of when they started out together. It makes me think of just how far their relationship’s progressed. Rahne started off not liking or trusting Illyana, and now, she does. It’s really cool to see that growth. And while I’m posting panels this one just makes me smile:

New Mutants Dead Souls #2


Oh, and we find out why one of the Russians dug up the Frost Giant, and maaaaaaaan, I am EXCITED. It is great news. It is something I have been clamouring for, for years. I won’t spoil it. But damn, I am psyched for where this series is going. So thrilled. Oh, and Illyana’s plan for defeating the Frost Giant is also one of the greatest plans ever. And the final splash page is also very exciting news. This is great. I love this issue. The brunch. The plot reveal. The fight against the Frost Giant.  The humour and the drama. All the character moments. This is some really strong writing. Actually, let me talk a bit about the fight. I said of X-Men Gold that the fight against BNZGG was boring partly because he was so big. Here, the New Mutants fight a giant, and it’s exciting. It’s done well, with plenty of tension, and plenty of back-and-forth. And the art team kills it throughout the issue. It’s really expressive, and I just love the art style. Gorham’s style works so well for this book. It’s got this weird balance of comedic and dramatic, and it matches the writing perfectly. Rosenberg, Gorham and Garland just make for such a great team, all complementing each other perfectly to tell a fantastic story. I definitely recommend this series.

All-New Wolverine #33, by Tom Taylor, Ramon Rosanas, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. It’s Madripoor in the future, and Wolverine stops a gun sale. Gabby is Wolverine in this timeline. Laura is Queen of Madripoor, and is going grey. Huh. Gabby’s also got a significant other, has kids, and was once stepped on by Thanos and turned into a puddle. Laura reveals that she’s dying, an imperfection in her genetic code. She also reveals Gabby and the kids are clear. And we also find out this is A Good Future, something we see entirely too few of in X-Men stories. There’s clearly been hard times, but the world is a good place, and I like to see that. I don’t care for cynicism about the future. For all the world sometimes seems to suck, I believe in progress. I believe things get better. So I like when that’s reflected in fiction. Anyway, before she dies, Laura wants to save Bellona, the remaining clone/sister. Oh, and to show how good this future is: President Kamala Khan. There’s also Grizzled Vet Maria Hill, which is neat. And there’s just a lot to like about this. A good future is such a refreshing idea for a superhero story. Grown-up Gabby is interesting. She’s different, a lot more mature, but also still very much Laura’s little sister. Old Woman Laura is actually not all that different from who she is today. She also has Penagos the Pelican statue on her desk. Penagos survives! Hurrah! This is a very intriguing start to the story, and I’m very curious to see where it goes from here. It’s Tom Taylor’s final arc, so that’s sad, but it looks like it’ll be a good arc to end with.

Rogue & Gambit #4, by Kelly Thompson, Pere Perez, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Rogue and Gambit are on a table again, and Rogue uses the power of sass to keep the villain, Lavish, distracted long enough for Gambit to pick the lock on his wrist. And man, Rogue is amazing in this scene, managing to sass both Lavish and Emma. Also, Gambit is pretty awesome with the escape. But there’s still fighting. And during the fight, we get a flashback to Scott and Jean’s wedding, and the havoc over catching the garter to put on Rogue (since she caught the bouquet). Turns out the Rogue and Gambit golems have little bits of them inside them, and breaking them makes them relive some memories. Rogue relives one from soon after Captain America refused Gambit a spot on the Uncanny Avengers, and Gambit feeling hurt that Rogue didn’t trust him. As a result of absorbing the memories, they also get each other’s powers. And that gets us an awesome fight. Perez kills the layout. And yeah, this is a great issue. The memories we get are both really powerful, and the way they react to learning how the other felt was great to see. And it leads to a fantastic moment of weakness at the end, as they realize why they’ve been feeling so good during their time on the island. The art is also top-notch. As I said, Perez does great layouts, especially during the fight. One double-page spread, in particular, is sensational. But even the quieter moments are gorgeous. I was never really invested in the Rogue/Gambit ship, but this series has been getting me invested in it. Thompson and Perez are doing a really good job showing why it’s a relationship worth caring about. And they’re also just telling a really fun, really emotional story.

And non-X-stuff I picked up.

Black Bolt #12, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, and Clayton Cowles. Ahura and Blinkie visit Black Bolt’s memories of his childhood, and Black Bolt’s dad was a total bastard. Also, Absorbing Man’s alive again, and reunited with Titania, and it’s such a good scene. I love these two. They’re such a great couple, and Ahmed and Ward give them so much love and warmth. And this is such a great final issue. This has been one of the best Marvel comics of the past year, and I’m so sad to see it end, but it goes out strong, having told a complete and compelling story. If you haven’t read it yet, read it. Read this series. It is damned close to the King/Walta Vision series in terms of quality. Yeah, it’s that good. Just a brilliant, beautiful series.

Rise of the Black Panther #4, by Evan Narcisse, Javier Pina, Stephane Paitreau, and Joe Sabino. T’Challa blows up his throne just because a Doombot was sitting on it, and that is a pretty boss move. Also, N’Jadaka, Erik Killmonger, gets settled back into Wakanda. This is a good issue. There’s a lot of tension between T’Challa and Doom. Though the way Narcisse has Doom continually refer to himself in the third person gets old fast. He doesn’t do it that much. A lot, yes, but not as much as he does here. Still, aside from that, it’s an enjoyable issue.

X-Men comics of March 28 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I got the new Erika Wennerstrom solo CD today! I’ve been listening to it while writing this, and it’s great! Stand-out songs include all of them. I really love Erika Wennerstrom’s voice. She is such a powerful singer. The easy comparison is Janis Joplin. It’s not a pretty voice, it’s not even all that wide a range. But there’s so much strength. Oh, I should note that Wennerstrom is the singer for my favourite band, the Heartless Bastards, a blues-rock group. So Wennerstrom’s solo album’s got a mix of blues, country and rock. Just a bit of country in there, not too much, just a bit of flavouring. But yeah, great album, highly recommend it.

X-Men Blue #24, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla (with Jay David Ramos), and Joe Caramagna. Shaw kicks Magneto’s ass, thanks to his power-up from Mothervine. Xorn politely declines the Ultimate Marauders’ recruitment offer, with Bloodstorm and Jimmy jumping in to help him. Storm summons bats. Neat! Back in Madripoor, Ultimate Malice has possessed Lorna, because Lorna just can’t get away from this crap. She beats the crap out of the Raksha. Shaw’s power-up ends up draining his own energy, and Lorna frees herself from Malice, but man, the Raksha get brutalized first. Still, I appreciate Bunn letting Lorna defeat Malice, even if I might have preferred it get a little more room to breathe. More of an actual struggle between Lorna and Malice. Lorna just kinda came back and kicked Malice out with ease, and I would’ve liked it if Malice had fought back. Not because I like Malice, but because I think it would’ve made Lorna’s victory more satisfying if it wasn’t so quick and casual. I’m also not really happy about the way the Raksha were so thoroughly destroyed. Bunn’s never really done anything with them. There was some potential, but Bunn’s had so many balls in the air, that a lot of them have ended up being largely wasted. The Raksha are among them. Meanwhile, Jimmy remains incredibly dull and pointless. Friggin’ Jimmy. But hey, Bloodstorm is awesome just standing there. There’s some other developments that are pretty OK, including Briar smack-talking Daken, and Daken getting smack-talked is one of my favourite things. Daken sucks. ANYWAY, on the whole, this is an OK issue, one that does advance the plot a little, and has a couple good moments for a couple characters. But it’s kinda too little plot for a plot-driven story, too little character for a character-driven story, too little action for an action-driven story, and doesn’t end up being particularly satisfying on any of those levels. On the plus side, it doesn’t have frigging symbiotes in it.

Old Man Logan #37, by Ed Brisson, Dalibor Talajic, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Logan’s paying a visit to Sarah Dewey, from the recent Kingpin mini. She wrote his biography. Logan wants her help taking Fisk down. And she is wasted. Totally drunk. Bullseye spots them getting groceries, and calls Fisk to ask if he should kill Sarah, and Fisk says no. I actually kinda like that. Sarah helped him, even if he was manipulating her the whole time. But he still remembers who’s been good to him, and he tries to be good to them, back. It’s very big of him. (And no, I don’t mean that as a pun.) Sarah talks about the work she did for Fisk, and then Bullseye attacks, having already killed a bunch of people. Personal note: I go back and forth on Bullseye. Sometimes, I find him a lot of fun. But I also often find myself irritated with the casual murder thing. Anyway, fight, while Logan sends Sarah to get the drive to her hacker friend. Who has a really nice apartment and that bothers Sarah, and that does admittedly amuse me. She wonders why a hacker doesn’t have a shitty, filthy apartment. Hollywood lied to her! The stuff with Sarah’s cool. I haven’t read that Kingpin mini, but she seems like a reasonably interesting character. All drunk and failing at snark because of it. It’s entertaining. The Logan/Bullseye fight is good, pretty even, with both getting their shots in. Talajic’s not the most dynamic artist, but it’s still a fairly well-choreographed fight. It’s a good issue, in a decent arc. Nothing spectacular, but it’s fine.

Legion #3, by Peter Milligan, Wilifredo Torres,, Marc Deering, Dan Brown, and Travis Lanham. Dr. Hannah is in the middle of a paranoia-storm in David’s mind. Hannah realizes it’s coming from Tami, the French woman personality, who fears that Hannah helping David will kill Tami. So Hannah’s actually starting to make use of her psychology skills, sort of. And we learn a little more about Lord Trauma. He was created back in the Muir Island Saga. And now that Hannah has a plan for treating David, she’s more excited about the whole situation she’s in. Good. She wants to unite the alternate personalities, but they’re a contentious bunch, and then one of them gets killed by Lord Trauma’s goons. But man, this book remains weirdly dull, which is the absolute worst thing that can be said about a comic like this. This should be a bizarre, trippy, endlessly fascinating comic, but it’s not. It just kinda moves along, not really doing anything all that interesting. Hannah is a largely flat character, still. It’s nice that she’s starting to get used to her situation and start applying her skills to it, but she’s still not all that deep as her own character. David himself is barely in the book, and his mindscape doesn’t actually say all that much about him, either. Lord Trauma is dull. I like Tami, but that might just be because she’s a cute woman with a French accent. The art doesn’t help, either. Torres is a good artist, with a really interesting style. But it’s not weird enough for this book. It needs more of a Sienkewicz vibe, and Torres doesn’t bring that vibe. You know, if this wasn’t a Legion title, it might be pretty OK. But as a Legion comic, it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t push hard enough. Which is very disappointing.

I also picked up:

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #29, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Side note: Much as I love Bustos, I miss Amy Reeder’s covers. A new villain named Cellar Dweller attacks with a bunch of weird monsters. And he’s captured Eduardo and Zoe. The Fantastic Three stop him, and then turn their attentions to the whole “impending end of the universe” deal. There’s also more Johnny/HERBIE banter that I love. Johnny’s hatred of HERBIE makes me smile. Also, Galactus and Silver Surfer being friends. Galactus appreciates the Surfer and that’s really nice. I like Golden Galactus, he’s a nice dude. And Lunella has a plan that ends in a last page worth rejoicing over. This series is so good. So weird and crazy and positive and good. With gorgeous art.

Black Panther #171, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino. Okoye is inserted into Asira’s mind, to help deal with the whole Ras the Exhorter thing. Panther and Thunderball have a plan for dealing with Klaw, and Panther also has some pretty nice words for Thunderball. I love how Coates has handled Thunderball here, really focusing on the scientist aspect that so few writers have ever really bothered with. Also, man the assault on Stane and Klaw’s headquarters is awesome. Black Panther vs. Klaw is a great fight, too. There’s also a pretty damn epic last-page reveal of who’s been behind everything. And it’s also X-Men-related! It’s awesome and exciting and I’m psyched to see Coates do the classic X-villain he’s brought in. This is another great issue. I really enjoy what Coates is doing on this series.

X-Men comics of March 21 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Magdalene Visaggio is writing a Dazzler one-shot! Woot! I am excited for that. I just wish it was an ongoing. Dazzler deserves an ongoing, or at least a maxi-series. Also, Marvel Future Fight added Emma and Illyana. Yay! But . . . Illyana’s in her awful Bachalo hotpants. It’s a terrible look. But that’s what the game went with. Ugh. It also added new costumes for Cyclops and Loganverine. Storm, meanwhile, still only has one costume, her rather dull mid-2000s one, the bathing suit with, like, arm flaps or whatever? It’s one of her less-interesting looks. They need to introduce the Punk Storm costume. Her best look. Punk Storm Forever. I’ve actually got a really light week. Only two actual X-titles, and one non-X-title. I considered buying Weapon H on Comixology, but . . . I don’t want to. It was an OK arc of Weapon X, but even though it’s spun off from that, it’s not really an X-title. So, I’m skipping it. I’ll read it when it comes out on Unlimited. Anyway, here’s today.

X-Men Gold #24, by Marc Guggenheim, Thony Silas, Arif Prianto, Marcio Menyz, and Cory Petit. First, I do want to note that the David Nakayama cover is awesome. All that orange. Very striking. Anyway. Some big lady picks a fight with the X-ladies. (Her crew include Bliss, Electric Eve, and Animax. Huh, I don’t think I ever actually read that Morlocks series that Electric Eve came from. Some day.) The fight is short and, ultimately, pointless, as Kitty, Storm and Rachel just destroy the four women. Not even a fight. It is, frankly, boring. The fact that Kitty so effortlessly knocks out the big woman, who put Callisto in traction for a month, is just stupid. It is Guggenheim being a complete and utter fucking hack, thinking that Cool Moments are the most important thing you can do in a comic. If a good writer had done this, the fight would’ve been brutal, and would’ve had something to say about the characters other than “they fight good.” Just stop writing, Guggenheim, you jackass. Anyway, in new York, some villain from Duggan’s Uncanny Avengers run shows up. He controls spores. I don’t remember his name. I don’t care. I didn’t find that a particularly interesting arc of Uncanny Avengers. And Guggenheim is way less talented than Duggan, so the villain is infinitely less compelling here. Anyway, Iceman’s team fights him. Fight fight, blah blah, at least there’s an interesting moment where the new Pyro thinks plant-guy’s vines look like cancer, and they call Dr. Reyes to confirm it. I like seeing her . . . for all of two panels. And then the bland end to the fight. This issue sucks. Marc Guggenheim sucks. He is awful. How the hell does he keep getting work? Who the hell read this bland, by-the-books tripe and went, “Yes, this is what I want in a story.” It’s boring. The fight against the plant-guy is so by-the-numbers that it’s boring. The prison fight is one of the least-interesting fights I have ever seen in a superhero comic. And it’s not an art problem. Silas is a talented line artist, and Prianto and Menyz are both good colour artists. The art is fine. It’s as good as the script lets it be. The problems with this book rest entirely on the script. It is entirely a problem with Marc Guggenheim. He scripted The Dullest Fight Ever for Silas to draw. There was little Silas could actually do to make the fight more exciting. He did his best, but he had fuck-all to work with for that fight. And then in the “fight” against plant-guy, again, there just wasn’t that much to actually do. Silas also tries his best to make the characters expressive, but once again, the script calls for little in that department. Because Guggenheim is a god-awful writer. And, as always, we get absolutely no insight into any of the characters appearing in the comic. As always, Guggenheim’s focus is solely on the surface. Cool Moments, Cool Lines, with no actual meaning behind any of it. Guggenheim is, without question, the absolute worst writer working at Marvel right now. Hands down. Not even a competition. Everyone else at Marvel, even if I don’t particularly enjoy them, I can appreciate what they’re doing, and recognize their talent. Guggenheim? He’s just a shitty, shitty writer.

Cable #255, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, German Peralta, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. It opens with what a flashback to when Cable was a kid, being raised by Redd and Slym, with techno-organics consuming people. In Osaka in 2049, Cable saves a little girl from Nimrod, who’s missing an arm. Cable stops him by infecting him with the T-O virus. That . . . seems like a bad idea. (Also: I still miss when Nimrod was a good guy who was evolving past his anti-mutant programming. That was cool.) He then takes the girl and her parents to a safehouse in 2070 Australia. And he gets to thinking about his own daughter. Who happens to be paying a visit to the school, in order to get some company for a while. That night, a T-O monster wearing Cable’s face attacks her. Cable visits her the next day, and sees her eye scarred up the same way his is. He tells her the monster is named Metus, and it’s been following him since he was a kid. Not very effectively, clearly, if it took this long for it to show up again. He and Hope also have a heart-to-heart about wanting to be in each other’s lives, and it’s really sweet. I like these two. They’re good together. And then, Cable vs. Metus! And flashbacks to fights we never saw. OK, so it was more effective at following than I thought, we just never saw those times. Anyway, this is OK. Metus is kind of lame. I get what they’re going for here, a villain based on the T-O virus that infects Cable. A story about the virus that’s more than just Cable struggling to keep it in check. I can appreciate that. But Metus just kinda bored me. It’s a somewhat generic villain, not much depth. It hates Cable because reasons, goes after Hope because villain, makes cliched villain statements, and is all-around not at all compelling. However, the Cable/Hope scene is really good. It’s touching, as they reunite and hug it out. I like that scene. It’s very good. The art’s good, too. Peralta and Aburtov mesh well, and generic as Metus is, the T-O stuff about it is handled well. There’s a liquidity to it that works. And there are certain points where it is genuinely gross and creepy. So, all in all, it is a good issue.

Ms. Marvel #28, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. Madness in Jersey. Giant iguana-monster rampaging. And a giant tortoise-monster rampaging. Captain Marvel goes to save the day, joined by Ms. Marvel’s friends. And Naftali finds Kamala at a fancy private school. With uniforms and everything. Apparently, she just wanted somewhere she could blend in. Naftali encourages her to go back and talk to her friends about the pressure she’s been feeling. Naftali’s a good dude. Zoe and Mike double-team a giant snake monster, because they’re awesome. And the return of Ms. Marvel! And Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel make up. and it’s nice and sweet. It’s a really good issue. Fun, sincere, great art, just a great comic. I love this series.

X-Men comics of March 14 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So Laura’s going back to X-23. Because Marvel has decided that permanent change is horrible not allowed, and every character always needs to be reverted to an older status quo. I love Tamaki, so I’ll pick the book up, but holy shit am I ever annoyed that she’s going back to X-23, so soon after she completely rejected the designation. It was a powerful moment. Pretty definitive. But nothing is more powerful than Marvel’s desperation to undo any and all changes that all characters go through, so people can read the same damn stories they’ve already read. Maybe next, Laura can also become susceptible to the trigger scent again. Because who needs genuine growth and development when we can just read the same stories over and over and over. Ugh. Anyway, here’s comics.

X-Men Blue #23, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla, Jay David Ramos, and Joe Caramagna. The Raksha, those Madripoor mutants, are worried about the X-Men, so they go to the house and talk to Magneto. He’s in a video chat with Bloodstorm and Jimmy. Jimverine. The Littlest Wolverine. Anyway, they’re on the trail of Miss Sinister and her partners. Magneto talks about how he wanted the O5 to stand as an example, of Good Mutants stopping Evil Mutants. Living in the past, Mags. The Raksha tell him that the Hellfire Club is in Madripoor, meaning Emma’s in Madripoor. Hightown, I’m sure. Even as a felon on the run, she’s got class. Bastion kills a group of Prime Sentinels, with Havok at his side. Magneto goes after Shaw, who’s developed a secondary mutation allowing him to absorb kinetic energy from the air. And Bloodstorm and Jimmy find the Ultimate Marauders meeting with Xorn. Aside from Jimmy being here, this issue’s not bad. We learn more about the plans of the villain group. We get a little bit of Lorna stuff, and she’s always great. But it’s a bit more plot-driven a story than I generally care for. The plot’s fine, it’s well-constructed, but I’m more about the character drama, so the issue falls flat for me. People who enjoy plot-driven stories will probably really enjoy this. It comes down to taste. I do really like the art. Molina and Milla are a great art team. Detailed, solid storytelling, and pleasant to look at. This book’s not what I enjoy, but it is very well-made.

Weapon X #15, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Roland Boschi, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. The team is going out. Domino wants to drink and dance, Deathstrike just wants tacos, and I find it hilarious. She’s so fun when she’s not ranting. I would love a Deathstrike mini. Anyway, everyone else leaves, but Logan stays on the airship. Then gets a text from Sabretooth wishing him a happy birthday. So, that’s this issue. Aside from Domino declaring Daylight Savings “a scam to enrich the electric companies.” The issue’s OK. I wonder if you could track Marvel time by how many birthdays Logan’s had? Probably not. Anyway, it’s always good for a fun fight, I suppose. This one plays out a little different from usual, with Logan being old, and more scared of losing control than usual, because he remembers how he killed the X-Men. Sabretooth, meanwhile, is one-note. Flat and fairly boring. A common problem for him. But I feel like issues like this ultimately live or die on the art, and the art here is fine, but it’s not really spectacular enough to make the issue really stand out. Boschi’s a talented artist, but an issue like this benefits from more energy than he brings. So this is a perfectly fine Logan vs. Sabretooth comic, but it’s not one that really breaks the mold.

Astonishing X-Men #9, by Charles Soule, Matteo Buffagni, Giada Marchisio, and Clayton Cowles. Proteus is messing with Psylocke and X, so Archangel and Logan go in to free them. Warren pulls Psylocke free and reminds her what’s real. Logan helps X by stabbing him, to drive out Proteus, since Fantomex has a healing factor. X, as it turns out, does not. Logan’s “oops” is pretty priceless, I’ll admit. Proteus, meanwhile, drops by a pub. The X-Men fly off in the Blackbird to chase him, and Bishop tells Psylocke that he’s stopped a lot of ends of the world, and also seems suspicious of X. And back in the Scottish village, Proteus is promising to give everyone what they want, and is also still big on Medieval fantasy. This is good. Soule’s been crafting a very good story over this run, and he’s come up with a cool take on Proteus. He’s still menacing, but also more sympathetic, and more tragic. He wants to do good. He’s not out for vengeance or power or mayhem. He wants to help people, and make the world a better place, but he’s still basically a kid so he has no real understanding of what he’s doing. It’s sad. But also creepy, and pretty cool. I also like Soule’s take on Bishop, as someone who monitors Ends of the World to stop. It’s a bit similar to Cable, but those two always had a lot in common. The art’s good. Buffagni’s got a good style. I think this is my first exposure to Marchisio’s colours, and it looks good. Good colour choices. I really like the colours on Proteus. This is a good comic.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1, by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, Michael Garland, and Clayton Cowles. At a Hatchi Corporation relief centre in Alabama, a guy checking bodybags gets murdered. The next day, Rictor, Guido, Illyana, Rahne, and Boom-Boom come to town. And Guido finds a kitten he wants to keep. Since everyone disagrees on the kitten, Illyana pops it into Limbo and pulls it out an adult so it can take care of itself. Illyana’s hardcore like that. Anyway, there’s zombies running around. So the team fights zombies. And Illyana is awesome. This is . . . really good. Like, really good. The writing and art work beautifully together. The characters all have so much personality and charm, and Rosenberg gives each a distinct voice. The banter is comfortable, people who’ve known each other for a while taking the piss out of each other. On the downside, Rahne says she doesn’t like cats, so I don’t like her any more. She bad-mouthed cats, she’s dead to me now. I’m kidding. I still love Rahne. But I love cats more. Karma is also in this book, and apparently, she’s The Boss. She inherited the Hatchi Corporation from her evil half-sister in Liu’s Astonishing run, and Rosenberg brings that back. I like how professional Karma is here. She was always eminently professional. But she also comes across as a strong leader. And I like Karma like that. I just like Karma in general. She’s a great character who gets too little use. But yeah, the characters are all great. The plot of this issue is done really well. It unravels in a really intriguing fashion, and goes to some interesting places. And the art is excellent. Gorham’s got a really expressive style. I especially love just how goth he makes Illyana look. He also does a killer Boom-Boom. But mostly I adore his Illyana. The action isn’t the best. It’s not bad, by any stretch, but it gets a bit vague. Not enough details during the action. The zombies look indistinct, blurred together, which makes it a little less interesting. Still! Minor complaint, given my tastes run more along the character stuff, and that’s handled fantastically. Really good comic, and I’m really interested in seeing where it goes.

All-New Wolverine #32, by Tom Taylor, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Flashback! A few years ago. A girl named Amber started her first day at a new school, while Laura completed her first assassination, of a presidential candidate. Amber’s dad was one of the guards, and he died, too. In the present, Laura goes to Amber with a guess to who was behind the assassination. She thinks the politician was targeted because he was going to expose a tobacco lobbyist who secretly lobbied for a neo-Nazi organization. Man, remember the days when “ties to neo-Nazis” would be a career-killing story? Now it’s a great way to get hired by the White House. Anyway, Laura and Amber go to a fake tropical country to grab the Nazi and bring him back to the US for punishment. The plan involves terrible Hawaiian shirts. And it’s a lot of fun. This is a great issue. It’s nice seeing Amber forgiving Laura for the role Laura played in her dad’s death. They bond and it’s nice to see. This is basically just an epilogue to the Orphans of X arc, as Laura makes good on her promise to help the Orphans find the people responsible for the deaths of their loved ones. After such a heavy arc, this is a really fun breather issue. The start of the issue is pretty brilliant, contrasting how that day went for Amber and Laura, but then it just gets fun. Good art. Morissette-Phan gets to draw Laura in a Hawaiian shirt. So, you know, it’s gotta be his year made, right there. And, again, that opening sequence is gorgeous, too. This is such a great series, and it’s tragic that it’s ending. I’m excited for Tamaki’s take on the character, but I really hate that they’re changing her back to X-23. As though none of what Taylor’s done actually matters. I hope Tamaki at least keeps Gabby and Jonathan around. Those two need to be a permanent part of Laura’s supporting cast.

Old Man Logan #36, by Ed Brisson, Dalibor Talajic, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Fisk being Mayor of NYC reminds Logan of the villains teaming up against the heroes. He goes into a bar, so that he can ask the guy who’s been following him what he wants. He’s got a drive that belonged to Fisk, but it’s encrypted. Even so, Fisk wants him dead. I’m going to make a prediction here, and we’ll see what comes of it: The drive has photos of Vanessa on it. Anyway, the guy gets killed, so Logan takes the drive. So now Fisk wants him dead. Pretty good. Logan’s concerns about what Mayor Fisk means are pretty reasonable. I do want to note that Fisk cracking down on vigilantes, while self-serving, is actually also kinda what he should be doing? Vigilantes are illegal in the real world for a lot of reasons. Superheroes really should be licensed by the state. They can join a police force. Or form private security firms, I suppose. Either way, Fisk isn’t actually wrong. But whatever. The point is that I do like how Brisson ties Mayor Fisk into Logan’s future past, not as a direct “this happened in my time,” but as a subtler thing. Logan sees it as a variation on what the villains did in his time. Which is cool. The art’s good. I like Talajic. He’s good at brutal. He’s got good energy in his work. Makes for an enjoyable read. So, yeah, this arc’s off to a good start. We’ll see how it goes.

I also picked up:

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #30, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Doreen and Nancy explain to a woman from the 1800s why Apple apps can’t be used on Android phones. Also, Doreen tries to play mediator to galactic disputes. And Nancy uses an alien bathroom that has 3 seashells. Demolition Man reference! And Tippy-Toe becomes the Silver Squirrel. And Nancy also becomes Silver Nancy. And man, there’s a looooot of drama in there. Seriously. So much drama. It is a great issue in a great series, and I am so sad that Erica Henderson is leaving this book! Her art has been such a huge part of defining the series. The charm and energy and character she brought will be very much missed. I know a lot of people didn’t like her style, but I enjoyed it. She’s a great visual storyteller. I’m excited to see what she does next, but I am really going to miss her on Squirrel Girl.

Falcon #6, by Rodney Barnes, Sebastian Cabrol, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. Sam’s late for a date with Misty. How do you make a woman like that wait? He talks to her on the phone while kicking some ass. Also, Deacon Frost, the vampire, is running around. Meanwhile, Shaun gets a date with a cute girl he knows. And Falcon and Misty, who’s in a really nice dress, go searching through the sewers for a felon Falcon lost track of. This is an interesting issue, for sure. Sam and Misty have a good chemistry. Misty’s always great, in general, and she remains so here. Falcon vs. Vampires is an interesting angle, I suppose. Not what one would expect of Falcon. But then, Falcon vs. Blackheart was even weirder. The focus on the supernatural is pretty interesting in this book. A  neat angle for the book, something very different from what one expects of Falcon. So, yeah, I’m enjoying this series.

X-Men comics of March 7 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Sure would be nice if Fresh Start could start announcing the books that won’t be written by white dudes. Because so far, the announcements have been pretty white dude-heavy, and it’d be nice to get some word on books that’ll have other voices. But anyway, today’s comics.

X-Men Gold #23, by Marc Guggenheim, Thony Silas, Arif Prianto, and Cory Petit. Scythian, the lame Negative Zone god, rips his way into the main universe. Kitty’s X-Men team have been taken to The Box, a prison for mutants. On the one hand, it’s probably more reasonable than putting mutants in with a general population of a regular prison. On the other hand, of course there’s a prison specifically for mutants. Kitty’s put in a cell with Callisto, and she seems annoyed about it, but it’s been a long time since they’ve actually been enemies. They were never friends, but there’s no real reason for Kitty to be upset at being roomed with her. Storm and Rachel are in the cafeteria, being glared at by a bunch of women, and Rachel’s having flashbacks to her Hound days. Back at the school, Bobby’s already returned, to lead a new team, which includes Armour, Ink (UUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHH NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN THE TINIEST SHRED OF A SHIT ABOUT INK, GUGGENHEIM!), Amara, and Illyana. And Rogue. Back at the prison, Kurt and Piotr are kicking some ass in a big-ol’ prison brawl. And the new Pyro visits the school to try to make amends for his actions. Ugh, frigging Ink being dragged back in. I know he’s Guggenheim’s pet character, but he sucks. He’s a shitty, stupid, shitty character who’s shit. He was the worst part about Young X-Men, and that book had a lot wrong with it. On the plus side, it’s not like Guggenheim is actually taking any time at all to delve into any of the characters, so we don’t get more than a couple utterly banal lines from him, lines that could be spoken by literally any character. Which remains the case for basically every character in this entire book. You could swap out damned near every single character, and the book would remain exactly the same. The Rogue/Iceman scene is nice, I’ll grant that. Easily the best scene in the issue, and a contender for one of the best scenes in this entire series so far. Guggenheim does a decent job letting them play off each other. But other than that, the series remains boring, because Guggenheim remains a hack who’s incapable of giving the characters any particular depth. There’s no exploration of the relationships between them. There’s no way for any of them to actually grow and change. They’re just there to serve the plot Guggenheim came out with, and to bank off the nostalgia of older readers, and screw that noise. At least the art’s nice, though everyone’s faces look oddly flat, a lot of the time. But this is still a pointless comic.

X-Men Red #2, by Tom Taylor, Mahmud Asrar, Ive Svorcina, and Cory Petit. A girl named Trinity has been locked up in a small prison cell with no signals coming in. She did something that angered some powerful men, so now she’s being locked up. Trinary tells the guy locking her up that she’s going to email his search history to his mother, and damn, girl plays rough. That is just nasty. Anyway, the news is obviously talking about Jean’s apparent murder of a UK Ambassador the UN, and one newswoman actually suspects there’s more to it, and man, I like this woman. She news what world she lives in! Jean and her team have been given asylum in Wakanda, which Gabby is enjoying. And she meets Gentle. Jean gets a pre-recorded message from Trinary, who explains that she launched a cyber-attack to increase the pay of every woman in India, by stealing from the accounts of the 25 highest-paid CEOs in India. So, a trip to India, and Gabby miiiiight be into girls. She mentions not having processed some feelings for a girl on a bus. Neat. Also, the sequence of Laura, Gabby and Kurt sneaking into the prison is awesome. They’re very good at stealth. I like this issue. I already love Trinary. I mean, her cyber-attack was pretty epic. Good on her. And she’s clearly got foresight, considering she prepared her own escape before she got captured. I’m excited for more of her. I am a little disappointed that this issue doesn’t do more to push the mutant rights angle, the idea that Jean wanted to push. But I guess we have to get the team together first. I do hope we get more of the positive stuff. But Taylor’s also doing some fantastic character work. All the characters are well-written and complex. Gabby, as always, is an absolute delight. I really want more of her and Jean interacting. Gabby just seems to be somehow beyond Jean’s understanding, and Jean doesn’t try to fight that, and it’s fun. There’s good chemistry between everyone so far. The art’s great. Asrar’s lines have the right amount of details. Svorcina’s colours mesh well with the lines. It’s a good-looking title. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, despite a few nitpicks here and there. This looks like it’ll be the best team X-title. I’m excited.

Iceman #11, by Sina Grace, Robert Gill, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. Bobby daydreams about leading an X-Men team and smooching Judah, while Rictor talks to him about leading a team. They’re having an awkward date. At a place called Pho Gettaboutit, which is a pretty great name. Both of them keep thinking about their exes, and then Bobby’s mom calls him to deal with weird lights coming out of a neighbour’s house. Side note: I still don’t like Rictor’s weird ’70s mustache. They go to deal with the neighbour, who’s an anti-mutant mutant. And Bobby tries to talk him down. And a lot of the conversation is also applicable to coming to terms with one’s sexuality. Metaphor! The issue also has a bunch of flashbacks to earlier periods in Bobby’s life, moments from his childhood. Moments where he felt ashamed of being a mutant, swearing that he wasn’t one. I really like the art in the flashbacks. I think it’s Sina Grace who drew them, and they’ve got a great Silver Age feel to them. It works really well. Anyway, this is end of the Iceman solo. It had some good stuff. Grace did an effective job exploring Bobby coming to terms with being gay, and included some good metaphor stuff to further that. There was good character-driven storytelling. It fell flatter when it got into the superhero stuff. It clearly wasn’t what Grace really wanted to do with this book, so those bits suffered. But it was still good Iceman stuff. Good character work. Gill’s art, well, it’s down to personal taste, and I didn’t really enjoy it. Too many lines, I think, for my tastes. Especially on faces. So I didn’t really enjoy that, for the most part. But he’s a good visual storyteller. He did good work. Kind of a shame the book’s over. Though the biggest obstacle to me enjoying it was always my total apathy regarding Iceman.

Rogue & Gambit #3, by Kelly Thompson, Pere Perez, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. They’re asked what separates them, and they agree it’s trust, and that it comes down to Antarctica. After their first time together – Rogue’s first time at all – and then Gambit was forced to reveal his role in the Morlock Massacre, and Rogue abandoned him in Antarctica when he needed her most. After their session, they swim over to the bungalo of the couple they met the first day, but they’re gone. Suspicious! And here I was sure that couple was looking for some swinging. Anyway, Rogue talks to Gambit about how young she was when they met, and how he became everything to her, and it’s some strong stuff. And then they have sex. Something seems to be limiting their powers. And also messing with their memories, and making them not want to care about stuff they should really care about. They go check out a local hospital, which has an awful lot of people in the psychiatric ward. They head back to the secret lab they checked earlier, which they have only vague memories of, and there’s clones of them. Which means Rogue and Gambit vs. a bunch of Rogues and Gambits, which is a really fun fight. This is another great issue. This is a great mini. Really intriguing mysteries, and really fun banter. I don’t have quite the same fondness for the Rogue/Gambit ship as Thompson does, but she writes it brilliantly, and makes it easy to care. It makes it understandable why they keep gravitating back to each other, and why they keep breaking back up. Rogue, in particular, goes into a lot of depth on her complicated feelings about him. And it’s really good stuff. The art’s great, too. Perez and D’Armata do great work. Really bright and fun, with nice energy. The fight scene is thrilling. Also, the swimming scene is spectacular. Not very long, but yeah, gorgeous artwork there. I’ve loved this mini. I’m eager to see what Thompson’s next Marvel project will be. I’ve already told my LCS to order Nancy Drew, because in addition to Thompson, it’s got Jenn St-Onge on line art, and she’s fantastic.

And here’s what else I got:

Black Bolt #11, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, and Clayton Cowles. The Jailer has taken over Blinky. Poor Blinky! It kills Lash, which I’m fine with. Lash sucked. Black Bolt gets Titania out of there and she finds a couple of Lash’s minions, and tells them they need to go get a crew. And there’s a great conversation between Blinky and Ahura. And man, this is such a good issue. Really strong emphasis on the power of family, gorgeous prose, gorgeous art. One hell of a cliffhanger end. This series is phenomenal.

Hawkeye #16, by Kelly Thompson, Leo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino. Hawkeyes vs. Masque, Eden, and Minions! Johnny has powers! Lots of feels. Lots of fantastic fighting. Just so good. Such a brilliant series. So much fun, so much heart. Just so good. And this is a great finale, even if it came several hundred issues too soon. On the plus side, a letter from Thompson at the back promises Kate will be back in August, so whatever Thompson has lined up, Kate will be involved. So yay for that.

She-Hulk #163, by Mariko Tamaki, Diego Olortegui, Federico Blee, and Travis Lanham. Jen and Patsy chaperone the prom for one of Jen’s client’s kids. The girl is the first mutant to be elected Class President at any school in New York State. I tweeted this last week, when the preview went up, but: She-Hulk somehow managed to do more to show the advancement of mutant rights than 95% of X-stuff. This is the kind of thing that X-Men writers never even think about. They’re all still hung up on the idea that mutants need to hide who they are, but of course there are going to be mutants who are out there, open, and living their lives. Just like any other marginalized groups! Anyway, some jerkasses called Bio Rights are protesting the prom. Jen’s still figuring out some stuff with herself, having to deal with the assholes at her firm, and she kicks some racist ass. Patsy also helps with the ass-kicking, and is delightful about it. This is a great finale to a great series. I like this issue’s focus on how, much as some things still suck, some things are getting better. Slowly, but surely, and the youth are a big part of that, using their anger to fuel their fight for a better world. It’s great stuff. And the Jen/Patsy friendship remains one of the greatest friendships in comics. I’ll miss this series a lot.

Rise of the Black Panther #3, by Evan Narcisse, Paul Renaud, Stephane Paitreau, and Joe Sabino. T’Challa reveals Wakanda’s existence to the world, and a lot of people take notice. Wakanda’s invited world leaders to Wakanda, to show off their tech. And he fights the Winter Soldier, still a Russian assassin. It’s a good comic. Very entertaining.


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