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X-Men comics, January 23 2013

January 23, 2013

There’s a few comics this week, but only one that really matters, and that’s Young Avengers #1. I’ve been looking forward to that book since it was announced.

Uncanny X-Force #1, by Sam Humphries and Ron Garney. It starts with Psylocke threatening to kill Spiral while surrounded by a bunch of thugs.

Uncanny X-Force #1

“Any of you —- FREAKS move, and I’ll execute your drug dealer.”

Psylocke and Storm (correction, Mohawk Storm, which, as I’ve said, is Best Storm) are talking about Psylocke ending X-Force. Psylocke doesn’t want to talk about what happened with Fantomex, and doesn’t want to go back to the school. Actually, we see a flashback of Logan kicking her out of the school and giving her a mission, without actually admitting that’s what he’s doing. They reach LA, and are told they need permission from the Avengers. Psylocke’s response is that the Avengers can go —- themselves. Psylocke has a bit of a dirty mouth here. I like it. Mohawk Storm draws up some cloud cover. We learn why they’re going to LA: There’s some new drug, called Tao, that basically puts people under Spiral’s control (though not named yet; the email explaining it comes from “Saskatchewan Sweetie,” and was addressed to “Cutlery Kid” – I love it). Psylocke and Mohawk Storm (OK, OK, last time I make that joke) go into a bar to meet their contact – Puck! Yay! I love Puck. Puck’s awesome. He shows them Spiral in her club. Which might not have been a great idea, considering Psylocke’s history with Spiral. At least Puck and Storm have a distraction to check out her stash. It’s not what they expected. We get a page of Bishop returning from the future, and then the last three pages are Fantomex and female Fantomex (Femtomex, and that joke I will keep up in future reviews) being thieves. This was a good issue. A very good debut. I had some concerns – I’ve never read anything by Humphries before, but my brother hated his Ultimates stuff – but it’s solid. Psylocke, Storm and Puck are all awesome. They’re funny and badass. Spiral doesn’t get much to do here, but she’s got an interesting set-up, and seems like she’ll be a neat addition to the team. The plotting is very good, too. It moved forward at a good pace, with a couple flashbacks to clue us in on what’s going on, without spending too much time dwelling on it. Most notably, this book largely takes Storm and Psylocke back to their Claremontian roots – they’ve got a lot of attitude and anger issue they’re working out, mostly through applications of sheer badassitude mixed with snark. Regardless, this is already much, much better than the latter half of Remender’s UXF run.

Wolverine and the X-Men #24, by Jason Aaron and David Lopez. It starts with a nice phone conversation between Storm (no Mohawk makes me sad) and T’Challa. It’s well-written. T’Challa asks her not to hook up with Wolverine. Wolverine goes into the bar and finds a message left by Rachel telling him not to think about it. It’s teacher’s night out, so it’s his turn to watch the kids. Kitty’s out on a date with Bobby. They’re both finding it weird. OK, I’ll admit it, that’s a nice scene, too. It’s clear they don’t have much chemistry. Idie pays a visit to the comatose Broo, trying to talk him into waking up. Beast is up on SWORD’s station watching Brood autopsy videos for a clue to helping Broo, much to Brand’s annoyance. And considering she’s got her zipper halfway down her boobs, she’s probably right to be angry. Sabretooth is teaching Kade how to kill people with a rifle. Quire finds Jean and starts flirting with her. Ew. No. No, Aaron. Bad! Bad! Back to Kitty and Bobby’s date, and things improve when they realize how ridiculous their lives are. Damn. I really didn’t want them to become a couple, but Aaron’s clearly decided it’s happening. It ends with Bobby and Kitty kissing, and Logan giving Storm her Mohawk (and them kissing). Logan cutting her hair was actually really stupid. For the close shave she has, you’re really need an actual razor, not claws. And Toad complaining about all the kissing. Oh, also, there’s a bit of a surprise ending. This was a more character-focused issue than usual for WatXM. It was also a much better issue than usual. When Aaron does more in-depth character stuff, it’s great. It’s only when he tries to get random and crazy and goofy when the book sucks. So he needs to keep doing more issues like this one. Except no Quire hitting on Jean. Or else I might have to find a spray bottle. Seriously, Aaron, no.

Astonishing X-Men #58, by Marjorie Liu and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Warbird fights the Fianden, and he asks her about her urge to create. She throws a dagger through his eye, and we find out he’s a machine made by the Fianden. She wants him to cure what the dust did to her, and he tells her the dust did nothing, and there’s no cure. Gambit shows up and tells them SHIELD is about to bust in and arrest them. They run and get in a car driven by Karma. The machine wants to use the device he found to bring the Fianden back to life. And it does, in a sense. And Warbird starts drawing, which is nice. This is OK. Feels a little unbalanced at times. The pacing is off. Some things happen a lot more quickly than they should. But Liu does a good job with Warbird and the robot. Can’t say I loved the art, though.

Gambit #8, by James Asmus and Pasquel Ferry (with pencil assists by David Baldeon and Clay Mann). Gambit is at the Forever City, built by the High Evolutionary. He’s exploring the city for the lost ESU expedition. He’s also not noticing all the giant monsters running around. He finds the kids, and gets into the bunker they holed up in right before getting eaten himself. The teacher complains about how all the people who refused to help will pay, and Gambit mentions she might not want to mention him or Cich, since they might both be considered international terrorists. While he fights monsters, he thinks about his childhood and his life. He also thinks about Joelle, and feels guilty for not doing more to help her (you know, after saving her from the dragon-monster-things). She seems to be thinking of him, too. In a way that’s probably not going to be healthy for him. Pretty good. Though he keeps getting stuck in silly-looking outfits. Well, sillier than usual. What started as a fun heist-type story has become more of a straight superhero adventure. Gambit hasn’t even really managed to steal anything since the first issue. It’s very enjoyable, though. Maybe in the top 5 male solo titles Marvel has going on right now. Top 10, at least. Actually, if I’m honest, I could be liking this more. It might be that I’m just not a big Gambit fan. I didn’t think his old ongoing, back in the day, was all that great, either, for the most part (though it had its moments).

Uncanny Avengers #3, by Rick Remender and John Cassaday. The Red Skull uses his new telepathy to turn people on the streets of New York against mutantkind. His S-Men show up with Scarlet Witch and Rogue, who admit they won’t stop until the world is free of humans. He enables the people to “see” the X-Gene, and they start attacking seemingly normal people at random. Well, one girl was actually definitely a mutant. She gets saved by Captain America’s shield smacking her attacker in the face. Havok, Cap and Wolverine go about saving mutant lives. The Red Skull is still whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Which is a good time for Thor to make his entrance. Cap almost gives in to the hate, but ultimately resists, because he’s Captain America. He still yells at Alex, though. Rogue and Wanda tell Wolverine what the Red Skull’s done, which causes an immediate berserker fury. He manages to take off one of the Skull’s hands. Too bad the Skull had swayed Thor to his side. This is an action-heavy issue. A whole lot of fighting going on. A lot of the characterization ends up being done through narration. Overall, the issue feels a bit tighter than the last two. It’s an improvement. Now we just have to hope the series starts meeting its release dates going forward.

Deadpool #4, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, art by Tony Moore. It starts with Deadpool dressed as Marilyn Monroe so he can kill JFK. Then he goes to San Francisco to kill Polk, Tyler and a few other minor presidents. He breaks the fourth wall to say it’s time for a montage, and recommend readers play Five Minutes Alone by Pantera. Taylor, Polk, Tyler and Fillmore all go down quickly. Then to the Hoover Dam to kill Hoover, Coolidge, Harding and Buchanan. Then the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and Van Buren, Jackson and Pierce. And possibly the two Adams’s. Not sure if they got killed there. Then to Vegas for Lincoln. As a UFC fight. Lincoln explains what a stupid character Deadpool is, and asks what makes him exceptional. Deadpool says it’s that he doesn’t give up. He kills Lincoln, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison and McKinley. Taft shows up in a flying bathtub to grab Lincoln’s body and fly away. This might be the worst issue yet. So little of it actually makes sense. It feels too much like situations being set up so jokes can be made about it, rather than making jokes about the situations that come up naturally. Posehn and Duggan thought it would be hilarious to have Deadpool fight Lincoln in a UFC fight in Vegas, so logic be damned, they had Lincoln go to a UFC event in Vegas so Deadpool could show up and fight him. A lot of the jokes fall flat, with none of them actually making me legitimately laugh. I don’t think I so much as chuckled once. I’m not sure I even smiled. It’s just a slog to read through.

Deadpool Killustrated #1, by Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli. He starts in a dinghy being attacked by Moby Dick. We get a flashback to how it started, with Deadpool in a room full of dead superheroes, including a couple Captain Americas, a set of Iron Man helmets, and a pile of Spider-Mans. He goes down to a lab full of evil supergeniuses. The Thinker’s suggested plan is for Deadpool to go into a metaverse of classic stories. Kill those inspirations, and the modern heroes cease to exist. The geniuses send him through, and then throw in a bunch of robots to kill him or something. He first winds up in Don Quixote. He kills Quixote, despite kinda liking him. Then he’s in Moby Dick. He’s killed the whale, leaving Ahab pretty angry. When Deadpool’s dragged on board the ship, he finds a doll that briefly turns into the Vision. Then he starts killing the crew of the Pequod. This one’s actually pretty good. There’s a few fun (if obvious) literary references, and the story seems like it’ll be pretty interesting. This is actually going to be an enjoyable Deadpool story. Unlike the ongoing, which really, really sucks. I honestly don’t get how people can enjoy that piece of garbage.

Last of the X-titles, A+X #4, which has two stories. The first, by Kaare Andrews, has the long-awaited (cat-man) Beast and Spider-Man team-up that was already on at least two previous covers. They’re in a zombie-verse, and after a brief scientific debate over the term “undead” they start running away. They’re saved by people who resemble Beast. While Spider-Man fights a giant cat-monster thing, Queen Talia tried to seduce Beast. He refuses, explaining he’s already in a relationship. Beast saves him, and Talia banishes them. It’s an OK story. Kinda cute. Not fond of the art, but I can see a lot of people liking it. The second story, by Jason Latour and David Lopez, stars Captain America and Quentin Quire. Cap takes Quire to a town that’s a front for a secret AIM facility. It doesn’t go well. Eventually, Quire find himself in Cap’s mind, fighting a bunch of MOGOD’s (Microscopic Oddities Generated Only for Disintegration). Cap appears in his mind as skinny Steve Rogers, and they destroy all the MOGOD’s. They reach an understanding, with Quire getting Cap to throw him back into the school hallway in handcuffs, to maintain his image. It’s a well-written story, but I can’t say I particularly buy it. It just doesn’t feel right, somehow. But like I said, it’s good. And MOGOD’s. Gotta love MOGOD’s.

Young Avengers #1, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. It starts with Kate Bishop waking up in a strange bed after a one-night stand. She goes to the window and finds out she’s on a space station. Noh-Varr comes out of the shower, and Kate remembers that he once kicked the YA’s asses once. He starts dancing to ’60s music (The Ronettes – Be My Baby, and Kate thinks it’s great. So then Skrulls attack. McKelvie splashes the hell out of the next two pages.

Young Avengers 1

Yes.

In New York, Teddy stops a mugging while disguised as Spider-Man. Billy is very disappointed in him, since they had agreed to stop being superheroes. Teddy decides to come out of the phone booth and say he fell in love with a superhero, which I love. That’s a pretty great line. Miss America stops Loki from stopping Billy from doing something that seems like it’s going to be very, very bad. I love it. I was always going to love this. Kieron Gillen is one of the best writers out there. And Jamie McKelvie’s great. This issue is mostly set-up, but it’s great set-up. I have no clue why the Skrulls attacked Noh-Varr’s station, and I don’t really care, because that two-page spread up there is so wonderful. Beyond that, the characterization is solid all around. Billy and Teddy’s scene is really nice and sweet. Kate Bishop and Noh-Varr have a surprising chemistry, and Kate Bishop’s thoughts in that spread are dead-on – that really is Kate Bishop’s voice. This is just great. You have to pick up this book. You have to. I command that you buy this book. Go. Now.

And just because it’s one of the best things ever, here’s the Brian Lee O’Malley variant cover:

Young Avengers #1

So . . . awesome. . . .

FF #3, by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred. John Storm explains the Fantastic Four are dead and he escaped to stop the thing that killed them. Which was an amalgamation of Doom, Annihilus and Kang. Which is . . . interesting. Also, the Moloids bring the Mole Man a Starheart, to thank him for attacking the city and bringing the new FF together. And then say they’ll probably have to save him from whatever he plans to use it for. And when they return and see She-Hulk, they call her The Jen. Poor her. Darla’s doing a show and feels fake, then returns to her dressing room to find flowers. Scott happens to be hiding in them. She’s given a delivery from the Yancy Street Gang, which Scott grows to save her from. The Gang is less than impressed with Darla as Miss Thing. Back at the Baxter Building, Wyatt Wingfoot is positive John Storm is John Storm. Darla decides to come back to the team after Scott tells her the Fantastic Four are gone. I love it. Fraction and Allred are a great team. Fraction does great character work, sharp dialogue and strong plotting. Allred likewise does great character work and plotting, and has some really neat layouts. This is a great series, definitely worth picking up.

And finally, Avengers #3, by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena. While Ex Nihilo prepares for the birth of his new Adam, Abyss tries to seduce Thor. Adam is born speaking Builder machine code. The Avengers show up to do some fighting. The new Captain Universe seems confused about what’s going on, as she starts reverting to normal. Falcon reveals he can understand the birds Ex Nihilo made, and convinces them to leave. Nice. Captain Universe then tells them to stand down. And destroys Aleph when he refuses. I, uh, don’t think she’ll be taking part in most of the fights in this series. She’s just a touch overpowered. It’s a pretty OK issue, better than the first two. A bit anti-climatic. But still cool. As I said before, though, Hickman will need to bring a lot more characterization going forward.

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From → 2013, Uncategorized

2 Comments
  1. FF was my favourite of the week! UXF was my Saskatchewan Sweetie. I think I’m going to like it even more than Remender’s run. I loved ASTONISHING, but I’m really into Warbird, though I know a lot of fans can’t stand her. I thought Kaare Andrew’s cat-planet story in A + X was amazing. I mean, I can’t even imagine Marvel published that. Stuff like that makes me wonder if it’ll be featured in ‘I LOVE YA BUT YOU’RE STRANGE’ style columns in fifty years. Very surreal. YOUNG AVENGERS continues me not being blown away by KG’s recent stuff…but I’m glad you loved it so! McKevlie and Norton’s work certainly is fantastic. Did you pick up the O’Malley variant? It really is great! And everything else was great, too! The only thing I didn’t read on your list were the two DEADPOOL books and I’m glad to hear I’m not missing out.

  2. Last year my comic shop sold me a big lot of the first Image Comics issues for 0,50 € each.
    In that lot I found the first issues of Witchblade, and I was hugely impressed. I couldn’t believe how good they were. We recently talked about old comics standing the test of time: well, the first issues of Witchblade still look wonderful about 20 years after their release. I do suggest you to read them if you haven’t.

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