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X-Men comics, December 5 2012

December 5, 2012

Another batch of Now! comics, including Avengers #1.

First, though, X-Factor #248, by Peter David and Paul Davidson. Pip is confronted by Thanos and Death, but refuses to believe he’s dead. He actually manages to escape, and winds up in Monet’s body. The others are wondering how Pip’s body is still breathing after getting a bullet through the head. When Pip explains he’s in Monet’s head, Lorna and Rictor do the first of two “Bwahaha”s of the issue, which makes me think PAD may have been reading some old Justice League International when writing this. It also turns out Pip’s race, the Laxidazians, have their brains in their chests, next to their hearts. The bullet basically gave him an appendectomy, instead. Longshot finds the bullet Pip was shot with, and uses his powers to learn where the gun was loaded. They use Shatterstar’s teleportational abilities to get there, at the same time that Madrox and Layla are dropped off at the New York Botanical Garden by a dead cab driver. Once all the team is there, they’re attacked, and told that Hell On Earth is coming. Awesome issue, as always, with some fun humour, and a few moments of good characterization. This series continues to be one of Marvel’s best. Too bad the art’s bad, though.

Next, I’m going to do X-Men #39, by Greg Pak, with art by Paul Azaceta and Matthew Southworth. Domino and Daredevil track the base of “Armitage,” the guy selling copies of supervillain weapons. They beat up a bunch of goons who are using the assorted weapons. We see Armitage watching them, thinking about how he was about to get out of the game after one last sale, and thinking back on his daughter. When he confronts the heroes, he’s revealed as ex-SHIELD, and that he used to love superheroes, until a brawl between them destroyed his neighbourhood, killed his wife, and put his daughter in critical condition. He started selling the weapons in order to pay for treatments for her, but she eventually died anyway. Daredevil feels sorry for him, Domino doesn’t. It’s a good issue, with mostly good art, and good characterization.

All New X-Men #3, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. Cyclops takes Magneto and Magik to their new headquarters, the old Weapon X facility, figuring no one would look for them there. A couple days after that, they attack a military transport convoy. Magneto and Cyclops find their powers acting weird. They’re not sure why. When they get Emma Frost out of the truck, she reveals that the Phoenix Force messed up their powers. She’s incredibly angry with Scott. Then we cut to a pro-mutant demonstration at niversity of Texas, where some guy turns into a girl he’s talking to. Cut to Scott angsting about losing control of his powers, because it takes him back to the lack of control in his childhood. He also continues to insist that what he did when the Phoenix controlled him wasn’t him, but Magneto says it was all him, and that he did what he wanted. Magik, it turns out, has actually gotten more control of her power. Emma tells Scott about a new mutant. Cyclops and Magneto show up to recruit him, and the young X-Men are there. I can’t say this issue impressed me. Aside from Magik, none of the characterization seemed right. Bendis doesn’t quite have a grasp on the voices of these characters. Nice art, a cool story, but flawed dialogue and characterization. The next issue will need to work hard to regain my interest.

The last X-title is Deadpool #3, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, art by Tony Moore. This continues to be an annoying book. It’s all about cheap laughs over anything remotely resembling quality writing. Dr. Strange is a jerk to Deadpool and Agent Prescott, until he learns they’re telling the truth about what’s going on. The dead presidents are at a dentist (so Washington can get new teeth, I guess), and they argue about a plan Reagan came up with. Lincoln thinks it’s a good one, Ford thinks it’s a stupid one. Strange finds the necromancer, and teleports everyone there (except Franklin, who he hasn’t forgiven for sleeping with Clea, in a story I’ve actually read, so I actually got the reference). Deadpool finds the presidents while Strange frees and talks to the necromancer. Deadpool gets beat up by the presidents until their helicopter arrives. Richard Nixon shows up and decides to destroy the Watergate. Ford trips and falls into the helicopter’s rotor. Strange shows up and grabs Washington’s sword out of Deadpool’s torso, then enchants it so Deadpool can kill Nixon. He also whispers to Deadpool about something odd Strange found about Deadpool. I’m hoping that last bit sets up a move away from straight comedy, and into vastly better writing, which mixes a strong degree of tragedy and pathos into it. But I’m not expecting that. I’m guessing it’s setting up some sort of really shallow drama that will continue to be hidden under tons of bad jokes. And yeah, most of the jokes here are lame. No surprise there. This series continues to be awful.

That’s all the X-titles, but there’s a few Now! titles to get to, including Avengers #1, by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena. This was really hard to follow, I thought. Tony Stark has some big idea that he needs to talk to Steve Rogers about. Then we cut to Mars, which has been terraformed by some weird beings who argue about whether humanity should be destroyed or improved. They fire an “Origin bomb” at Earth, which is destroyed by the Avengers (the six from the movie). Apparently, two other bombs have already hit Perth and Regina, killing nearly two million people. The Avengers are defeated, and Captain America is sent back to Earth, battered and beaten. When he wakes up, he summons a bunch of new Avengers, consisting of Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Wolverine, Cannonball, Sunspot, Eden Fesi, Shang-Chi, Captain Universe (a female version), and a new woman whose name isn’t revealed (but it’s Smasher). The art’s nice enough, but I have to say, I did find the story itself a little too confusing, especially for a first issue. We don’t know what’s going on. We get very little characterization. It’s just not a very good way to start a run. It’s too big and impersonal. So, this did not impress me.

Well, how about Thunderbolts #1, by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon? Punisher’s tied to a steel beam, with a bunch of dead people around. Some guy is talking about how a lot of people will be arriving for him soon. In Somalia, Venom is killing people, and General Ross shows up to talk to him. Then we cut back to Ross talking to Punisher. Then to France, where Deadpool is killing mimes. Back to Punisher, who tells Ross to hurry up and get to the point before all the criminals get in there to torture him. Then to Afghanistan, so Ross can talk to Elektra after she finishes off some sheik. Then Punisher again, who wants to know why Ross wants him. He wants people who know how to kill. Punisher joins him, and the two of them kill the 400 criminals outside. It’s pretty meh, all in all. I don’t like the art, for one thing. And I’m naturally inclined to dislike Way, after his time on Deadpool. I’m willing to give him a chance to impress me with this series, though.

Iron Man #3, by Kieron Gillen and Greg Land. I still can’t pay for this book, as a result of Greg Land. But this issue’s pretty good. A Colombian drug lord has his daughter talk to him. Then Pepper asks Tony why he changed from his liquid armour to the new modular suits, since it seems like a step back. (Tony is more interested in talking about preparing grilled cheese on toast in a microwave, calling it quasi-grilled cheese on toast.) He explains that the modular armour is less flexible but more operative. He decides on a stealth approach for the Extremis he traced to Colombia. He uses lightbender and hologram technology to get in, then finds a girl with Extremis inside her. He reveals himself, and she screams. He’s attacked by Living Laser, Firebrand and Vibro. He knocks them out pretty easily, then goes back inside to talk to the drug lord. Turns out he’s trying to save his daughter’s life. She has a rare cancer with no cure. The drug lord bought the Extremis because he hoped to save her life. Tony uses the Extremis to save her, saying it was what Maya wanted it to do all along. The writing’s very good, and Gillen’s got a really good insight into Tony.

Finally, Red She-Hulk #60, by Greg Parker, with art by Carlo Pagulayan and Wellington Alves. The Avengers are saving people on the bridge she damaged last issue. Machine Man notices she’s actually repairing some damage, too. Captain America puts all Avengers on alert that Betty Ross has to be brough in, but Machine Man continues his investigation. He goes back to the house from last issue and talks to Eleanor Bennett, the little girl inside. She sends him to the Terranometer, as the guy inside calls it, a giant supercomputer powered by the rotation of the Earth. The guy is Nikola Tesla, and Aaron also notices that Tesla was a member of SHIELD. I love that Parker is building on Hickman’s brilliant (and unfinished) S.H.I.E.L.D. series. Betty goes to a military base on some island, and tries to sneak in. Machine Man shows up to help her. She explains that when Eleanor touched her, she saw the world overrun by Echelon’s supersoldiers. She wants to take Fortean to meet Eleanor, to convince him to shut the program down. A fight breaks out, and Betty eventually loses control completely, becoming pure Hulk. It’s not pretty. This is a very good series. Parker’s a great writer, and he’s doing really cool stuff with Red She-Hulk, and with Machine Man. And with Nikola Tesla. This is worth reading, no question.


From → 2012, Uncategorized

  1. Can’t say I’m surprised that Deadpool isn’t any better than the last few issues. I don’t understand how it’s getting good reviews from major comic websites.

    • Probably people who never got the point of the character. People who think he’s supposed to be pretty much all-jokes, all the time, rather than an actual, complex individual, with a depth far exceeding the puns and pop culture references he’s been reduced to. I imagine those reviewers are probably also huge fans of Family Guy, and its “who needs punchlines when you have random references” brand of “humour.” Along, of course, with the always-popular “if it’s shocking and offensive to people who aren’t me, then it’s funny” school. Bah.

  2. Yeah, except they’re supposed to be professional comic reviewers. Professionals should have a working knowledge of these characters, or at least be able to do some research.

    Sure, random reference humour does have its fans, but it’s the second most lazy form of comedic writing. The laziest would be puns – yuck.

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