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X-Men comics (December 12 2012)

December 12, 2012

None of my favourites out this week, sadly. But let’s get started.

First up, Cable & X-Force #1, by Dennis Hopeless and Salvador Larocca. We start with the team already assembled, as Cable, Domino, Colossus and Dr. Nemesis are assaulting some lab. The Uncanny Avengers show up, and Havok wants Cable to explain what’s going on. Cable can’t explain it, so he teleports his team away. We cut back to a few days earlier, where Hope is complaining about school to her shrink. Cable eavesdrops, then goes back to where he’s holed up, some airfield full of old, dead planes. Forge wants to know what Cable’s planning, but Cable avoids the question by asking about his arm. Forge gives him a robot arm, which Cable says is the silliest thing he’s ever worn. He’s won over by the rockets it fires. He gets a headache and leaves to talk to someone else. Cut to Domino talking to someone on bluetooth (Boom-Boom, apparently – nice to see those two keeping in touch, I have to say), walking into some building in civilian clothes, changing into her costume in a back room, dropping down an elevator shaft, and finding the AIM facility she was there to abduct a guy from has already been shot up by Hope, who wants to know where Cable is. Cable gets Nemesis to join him, and Domino takes Hopes to meet up with Cable at his base. Hope gets very angry at Cable abandoning her, but calms down when he says he’s missed her. He has another migraine, and when Hope touches him, she gets some vision. She then sees that vision on the news. And there sure seems to be something techno-organic going on. This is actually a pretty good first issue. It does a decent job setting up the series, and has a reasonably interesting premise. Also, nice to see Hope will actually be showing up somewhere. It’s a shame, then, that the end of Arena has caused me to swear off buying anything Hopeless writes. I would’ve liked to pay for this series, but I just can’t forgive Hopeless for killing Mettle in Arena. Also, Larocca’s a good artist.

X-Treme X-Men #7.1, written by Grek Pak, with art by André Araùjo and Raul Valdes. Dazzler explains their mission to Sage (who, according to the synopsis, is the main Sage, and not an alternate-reality version of her). Sage thinks the whole thing is insane, especially when Dazzler tells her to find their Xavier do they can get back to him. She manages to shunt them into another universe, but not the right one. Their robot is soon covered in Brood, coming from – and this is a quote – “a supremely powerful, death-dealing, brood-possessed Acanti-skywhale Xavier.” Oh, comic books. The Brood Queen brings the Brood to another reality, one unprotected by a Xavier. Cut to Scott getting into Utopia, hoping to find some stuff in the med lab that’ll help him get back control of hi powers. This reality seems familiar. He’s attacked by some Brood, but with his powers on the fritz, they catch him. Dazzler saves him, and he helps the team take down the Brood and the Xavier-Acanti, with Howlett getting sent inside so he can kill the Queen. The Xavier then asks Alison to kill it so no one else can get control of it. Scott asks Dazzler if she knows it’s her home reality, and she says she’s not dumb. She leaves for the next reality. This was actually a pretty cool issue. Pak made Scott very sympathetic, which is always nice. Dazzler was less annoying than in the earlier issues dedicated to her. She seems to be developing a bit of a callous side, actually, which is interesting. I’m kinda looking forward to seeing where that goes.  I don’t much care for the art, but it’s not a big deal.

Wolverine #317 by Cullen Bunn and Paul Pelletier. Wolverine is leading the team of his ex-girlfriends (and Elsa Bloodstone) through Louisiana swampland. He talks about lying to the Covenant about killing the Dreaming Maiden, then goes into an old riverboat she’s stored in. Two of the Covenant members say come out and say they’re protecting her. The ladies bust in and a fight starts. Crowley and Chambers (the Covenant members there) want to use the Maiden to turn away “the Drifting Chaos.” We get a shot of the Death Celestial from the recent Defenders series. The Menace then shows up, in a sexy new female body. Wolverine gets shot, and wakes up in the Maiden’s dream. He admits to having forgotten about her. She talks about going into the heads of the Covenant and promising them all what they wanted. Wolverine apologizes for abandoning her. He wakes up, and sees that a chunk has been blasted out of the Maiden’s crystal body. Later, Logan tells Melita he wants to remember her. Baker has reassembled the Covenant, with Elsa taking her father’s place. This was a somewhat disappointing end, but it was still good. Bunn had a good arc here. Next, of course, Frank Cho takes over for Savage Wolverine.

Age of Apocalypse #10, by David Lapham and Roberto de la Torre. Jean Grey’s on the run. Monet and Sugar Man give Prophet a jelly bean that will split Weapon Omega from his godlike power. Pierce tries to convince Shaw to send men after Jean, then tries to seduce a lady into telling him where the Shadow King lives. Jean is fighting through the sewer and runs into Weapon Omega. Sabretooth shoots Omega from behind with a shotgun. While Sabretooth fights Omega, Prophet takes Jean away. He explains he recruited Jean to be his successor, but that they’ve run out of time. He wants her to get the bean into Omega. It ends with Quentin Quire showing up at Shadow King’s house. This issue is the first time Prophet and his team have really suffered a major setback. Not coincidentally, it’s also the least bad issue of the series so far. I still find the art too muddy, and the writing’s still weak. But the fact that things didn’t go exactly as Prophet planned is refreshing, given how the rest of the series has gone out of its way to make him into a damned Mary Sue.

Now, for the non-X-Men titles. Let’s start with Avengers Arena #1, by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker. I should warn you, there’s profanity coming. I’ve tried to avoid it on this blog, but I need to use it here. So. Fuck this book. And, in fact, fuck Dennis Hopeless for writing it. He killed Mettle. First issue, and he’s already killed one of my favourite characters in the book. The first few pages have Hazmat on the run, being chased by an apparently-feral X-23, and about to be killed. So that’s the other of my favourite characters in this series, on the verge of death. Apparently, that scene takes place on day 29, so I guess she’ll survive that long. Yippee. hen we cut back to Hazmat and Mettle back at the Academy, laying in bed together, as Hazmat talks about how being with him makes her feel normal. Then a bunch of young heroes all find themselves held in the air. Arcade shows up and tells them the score. They attack, and he effortlessly beats them up. He tells them they’re going to kill each other, and he makes it easy on them by delivering the first kill. He gives 10 seconds to pick a victim. Hazmat attacks him, and he decides to make her the first, but Mettle volunteers himself, instead. Arcade blows him up. Just like that. Which is bullshit. Academy was one of my favourite titles. Mettle was one of my favourite characters from that title. Mettle and Hazmat had one of my favourite relationships in comics in general. And Hopeless just fucking kills him, first issue. Fuck that. That’s insulting to both Mettle and fans of the character. Why am I supposed to give a shit about this series any more, at this point? So I can see which character I like gets offed next? And does Hopeless think anyone’s actually going to get emotionally invested in any of the new characters he’s introducing? He’s just sent the message that any character who doesn’t have a movie is only good for cannon fodder. So even any characters Hopeless doesn’t get the chance to kill off, there’s no point in caring, because they’ll just be killed by the next writer who needs someone as cannon fodder for cheap shocks and drama. I’m downright offended by this shit, and I refuse to buy anything Hopeless writes from now on. This was an asshole move on his part, and I am just not going to support that sort of bullshit.

Fantastic Four #2, by Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley. The Thing is yelling out at Yancy Street to take care of itself. It’s a lame scene. Scott Lang exploring Reed’s cancerous unstable molecule body is much cooler. Sue introduced Medusa to the Future Foundation kids. Thing and She-Hulk are working out. Reed calls everyone for a meeting in the Omega Room, a mayday suite that’s an upgrade from the Panic Floor. Johnny’s reminded that he never found a replacement for himself. He goes to ask Darla to take his place for the four minutes he expects to be gone. She tells him she’s got a big tour coming up. He wants to show her why being in the Fantastic Four is awesome. He shows her a monkey. Reed explains it’s a mutated offshoot of homo habilis from 2.66 million years ago. It’s actually Moonboy. Johnny and Darla take him back to be reunited with Devil Dinosaur. She apparently agrees to replace him. The Four take off, and Scott starts counting down the four minutes until they get back. Good issue, even if Fraction can’t seem to get a good handle on the Thing. Great writing, solid art, and next issue starts with the really crazy stuff. Looking forward to it.

Iron Man #4, by Kieron Gillen and Greg Land. Pepper chastises Tony for apparently thinking all his women look the same. Tony prepares to go after the last two Extremis kits, starting with the Paris Catacombs. There’s 13 Extremis Enhanciles there. He puts on heavy armour. Very heavy. Seriously, the thing is huge. He enters the Catacombs, and is attacked by 13 women who are insane. Tony seems worried. A scientist has him go into another room, and the women stop outside it. The scientist spews some insane stuff, then when Tony prepares to destroy the Extremis kit, the scientist shoots him. The blast bounces off Tony’s force field, wrecks the wall, and the scientist is quickly torn apart by the women. He uses his laser to replicate the symbols in a circle around him, and the women stop again. He has his suit kill the women, except for one who apparently hadn’t moved at all for days. He apparently puts her in the raft. She starts talking in weird, and it seems to hint that she’s pregnant. Great writing. Land’s art. Ugh. Interestingly, Gillen seems to be making use of Land’s awful, shallow art to show insight into Stark’s personality. All the women look the same to Tony. It’d be nice if, at the end, when he says Pepper isn’t like anyone else, Land had stopped being such a lazy douche, stopped tracing for once, and actually drawn Pepper as looking different from the other women in the book. But that’s probably asking too much from Land, who seriously needs to get fired.

Finally, I’m not sure if it counts as part of Now!, but Dark Avengers #184, by Jeff Parker and Neil Edwards, was also pretty good. The Dark Avengers are all laid out on tables while Iron Man and Hank Pym talk about who they are. They were sedated when Stark found them, and Pym says it’s nanites. Stark thinks Richards sent them to attack Stark. Skaar wakes up in the streets of Manhattan. He’s attacked by a whole lot of Iron Men, and Moonstone comes down to grab him. She’s pretty sure they’re in an alternate reality. They’re attacked by . . . things sent by Dr. Strange. The Wasp is attacked by a protozoan, which Pym kills. Apparently Pym Particles aren’t working right, and the Wasp is stuck at her miniature size. June Covington wakes up and takes control of Pym through an implant on the side of his head. Strange takes control of Moonstone and Skaar. This looks like it’ll be a really fun story. Parker’s a great writer, and the art’s solid, and the concept is awesome. This is a really cool new world.

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From → 2012, Uncategorized

2 Comments
  1. Kenny permalink

    I normally frown on that much profanity in a review, but when it comes to Avengers Arena #1? My thoughts EXACTLY. I was disturbed and horrified by that issue, which is a shame, considering both its predecessor series were so promising (Thank you Christos Gage)! Several people pointed out that the same reaction could’ve been achieved by killing off some new, redshirt character (as Gage did in Avengers: The Initiative #1), but no, this guy kills off a fan favorite. And the premise is terrifying. I would feel so bad if I were one of those kids. I think you have to be part masochist or really hate the characters to enjoy this series.

    • Yeah, I’ve avoided most profanity. “Bitch” is probably the strongest language I’ve used so far, as far as I can recall, and I was saying it in praise of Marvel Girl beating up a T-Rex. But I had to swear at Arena. That’s why I prefaced the review by saying there was profanity incoming for anyone who didn’t want to read it. And yeah, if the goal was to show how dangerous Arcade was, killing off a red-shirt would be just as effective. Killing off Mettle was simple shock value.

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