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X-Men comics, March 20 2013

March 20, 2013

As usual, I have a lot of comics to review, because Marvel doesn’t stagger their releases enough. Ah, well.

First up, X-Factor #253, by Peter David and Leonard Kirk. First off, I want to say I’m glad PAD is back to writing future issues of X-Factor. I was worried, after his stroke, that he might let the book end. But he’s recovering well, and still writing, so all is well. Mephisto is yelling at Jezebel (Mephista, he calls her), who says she was looking out for the mortals, since someone had to, and she was born of a mortal. He tells Madrox to watch her, and he hisses “Yesssssss.” Mephisto tells him not to his, so he says “Yes.” Apparently, even as a demon, Madrox isn’t right in the head. Up in the world, X-Factor is staring at the fact that the sky is bleeding. That’s certainly worth staring at. Layla wants to go back to look for Jamie, but Monet says there’s no point. They argue for a bit, and then Monet passes out. Shatterstar and Darwin guess that the bleeding sky is a result of the Hell dimensions bleeding together to start their final war of dominance. We see the Avengers and the FF fighting demons in the streets, but considering the size of the Hell armies, it’s not likely they’ll do much good. Polaris suggests using Tier against the Hell-lords. It’s a simple scene, but done well. While Tier sleeps, he’s visited by Satana. She tries to distract him with words while drawing a sword. It doesn’t work, so she tries Plan B, instead. Over the course of the fight, Tier manages to get rid of Satana. I’m a little surprised to see her in this fight, but OK. As they all prepare to return to New York, Layla tells Monet that the fight with Pluto has caused her to start bleeding inside her head, and is dying. Monet says to tell no one. This is such a great storyline. Exciting action, great character moments, cool twists. There’s a reason X-Factor is my favourite title. I’m sad that Monet seems poised to die. I love Monet. I really don’t want her to die. I’m quite certain that if she does die, PAD will do it in a scene that makes me cry. Anyway. Buy this book already.

All-New X-Men #9, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. They’re all in Times Square (in the Danger Room), and Kitty starts to explain things before telling Jean to get out of her head. Jean asks why Kitty’s scared of her now, and Kitty says it’s because she’s been acting scary, and that the stunt she pulled on Warren scares people. Kitty asks if anyone on the team knows what a Sentinel is. They actually do come from before the Sentinels first showed up, so it’s a fair question. Jean answers, and promises it’s the last time she’ll go in Kitty’s head. Then some Sentinels show up. The team is all over the place, with Beast figuring he can shut them down old-school, while Scott tries to get them acting as a team. Kitty tells them what they did wrong. Iceman tried to save her, when she was the one person who least needed it. Beast went off on his own, Scott couldn’t control the team. As they’re leaving after being chewed out, Jean asks Scott about Mystique. Kitty wants to know when he met her. Out at the Raft, Maria Hill brings in Sabretooth in adamantium shackles. No points for guessing who it actually is. Mystique is there to bust out Regan Wyngarde, Lady Mastermind. Back at the school, Warren goes to ask Adult Beast about the supposed mutant genocide he convinced them was coming. Beast talks about the dangers of Scott talking about a mutant revolution, and how that’s what’ll lead to the genocide. In the kitchen, Kitty demands to know more about Teen Scott’s encounter with Mystique. Both conversations are abruptly ended. This continues to be an awesome series. Just awesome. Great characterization of all the young X-Men, and of Kitty, who’s become quite the taskmistress. I love Kitty. The tensions between all the teen X-Men is also really interesting to see. Scott and Jean have some definite tensions, Angel’s still not sure what they’re doing there, Beast is too independent, and Iceman is Iceman. It’s great. And Bendis has a knack for last-page cliffhangers. And Immonen’s drawing the crap out of it. I’ll take this over Bachalo any day, given the choice.

Cable & X-Force #6, by Dennis Hopeless and Salvador Larocca. Wolverine is at the Raft, telling the guards to take the shackles off Colossus. The guards say the cuffs stay on all prisoners until they’re in a cell. Wolverine simply slices them in half. Wolverine tries telling Colossus he doesn’t belong in prison, but Colossus says the Raft is much nicer than the prison he’s been carrying with him over his actions. He also refuses to tell Wolverine exactly what happened at the food factory, saying it’s not his story to tell, but that he needs to take responsibility for his part in it. The remainder of X-Force goes to a camping area, but are told it’s closed for the season. Forge tells Cable to shoot the ranger in the head. It’s a robot, and Forge uses it to tap into the mainframe it’s connected to. Nemesis has a sciencegasm at the SWORD spaceship that Forge raises out of the ground. Back at the prison, Kitty sneaks in to leave Peter some art supplies, and a letter about how she feels about the whole thing. Domino is underwater, talking to someone else and saying it’s OK to back out. The person is, and I quote, “totes in. Down with a capital ‘D’.” So you just know this person’s going to be awesome. It’s Boom-Boom! Hurrah! I love Boom-Boom. She’s so ridiculously fun. Anyway, Domino and Tabitha cross a perimeter line at the same time, so Domino can get in undetected. Things get progressively weirder from here. But the important thing is Boom-Boom’s on the team now! Yay! This is a good book, and with Tabitha here, it’s just going to get even more fun. Peter and Kitty both get very good characterization, and Domino and Boom-Boom are a lot of fun. They have such a good chemistry. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of it.

X-Termination #1, story by David Lapham, Marjorie Liu and Greg Pak, written by Lapham (the worst of the three), art by David Lopez. This is a crossover between Lapham’s (atrocious) Age of Apocalypse, Liu’s (pretty good) Astonishing X-Men, and Pak’s (very good) X-Treme X-Men. The Astonishing team find a secret lab with hairs from both AoA Nightcrawler and Dark Beast. They, meanwhile, are in San Francisco, preparing to enter the Dreaming Celestial. They teleport inside the Celestial, with Beast saying they can use it to get home. He activates a machine to do just that, but there are problems. It’s unstable. Then Karma takes control of Beast. Nightcrawler teleports outside and attacks. Before Wolverine can kill Kurt, the Celestial’s chest explodes. Kurt teleports inside, and then jumps through the portal with Beast. Kurt learns about what happened while he was gone, and Prophet comes to talk to him about the anomaly. The Astonishing team follows through, to take Kurt back. Wolverine and Jean argue, until Dazzler stops them, jumping through with her own X-Treme team. Something else follows through, too. And kills Xavier’s Head In A Jar. That’s a shame. This is OK. Better than Lapham’s usual sub-standard fare on AoA. I suppose having other people telling him what to do helps. Kurt gets some really good characterization. Everyone else is just . . . there. Not much to say, really, about any of it.

Savage Wolverine #3, by Frank Cho. Amadeus is given by the old tribe leader four of the most beautiful women on the island to serve him. Well, one’s a bit of a butterface. Amadeus ends up freaking out slightly, and asks about the mountain instead. He asks for the story from the beginning. Something – it looks like a Celestial, and the old man calls it a Star Giant – battled something – it looks like Cthulu, and the old man calls it the Dark Walker – and defeated it, but couldn’t kill it, so instead entombed it in the mountain, with a machine to keep it dreaming. Then it transformed a bunch of monkeys into people and tasked them with protecting the machine. The old man asks about the “Calvin” Amadeus keeps talking to. Amadeus explains it’s the artificial intelligence in his suit. The suit is made with hyper-dyne fiber similar to Vindicator’s (from Alpha Flight) but powered by quantum folds, isometric solar threads and bio-electrical feedback. He then decides to go with “spirit guide” instead. The old man says his spirit guide is a beaver. An injured reaper – one of the Sauron-looking things – is brought into the village, and describes the ones who attacked him. Amadeus is not happy. Wolverine and Shanna are spying on the temple, and trying to figure out how to get past the guards patrolling the outer wall. Shanna continues to be helpful in a way that infuriates Wolverine, by telling him to count in Mississippis. Then he’s attacked by a dinosaur. Because the Savage Land seems to hate him. The guards confront him, but seem to want to communicate. Wolverine’s trying to show he’s peaceful, but that’s ruined when the branch Shanna was on breaks, and she falls right on top of the guy, accidentally killing him in the process. A fight breaks out, and Wolverine’s impressed by Shanna. The spear that goes through her gut is less impressed. Amadeus tells the chief to save her. This is such a fun book. It’s well-written, well-drawn, and really funny while still having some depth to it. (Actually, if I’m honest, this is kinda what I’d want in a Deadpool title. Instead, that book’s just shallow and stupid. Bah.) Cho keeps tossing all sorts of complications in, making things go from weird to insane. The chemistry between Wolverine and Shanna is great, with Shanna pissing him off, and him ultimately rolling with it, like when he actually starts counting in Mississippis. The fact that he’s immediately tackled by a raptor as soon as he starts is even better. Definitely worth reading.

Wolverine MAX #5, written by Jason Starr, art by Roland Boschi and Felix Ruiz. Logan is at Mariko’s grave, and remembers something. He digs it up by hand, and uncovers her family’s sword. Creed tells him to hand it over, and they fight, but Creed wins. Logan has another memory, at Mariko’s grave, of her husband telling him she left her sword. This makes Logan fight some more. Creed kicks his ass some more, and blinds him with the sword. Even without eyes, Logan can tell where Creed is, and keeps fighting. He beats Creed, then leaves him to be captured by police. He leaves Japan, going on a ship heading for LA, and starts writing down his memories after throwing Mariko’s sword overboard. Meh. I just can’t bring myself to care about this series. It’s far better than the puerile Deadpool MAX, at least – that series was awful. This one’s just . . . not doing anything for me. It’s not that it’s bad. It’s that I just can’t care about it. Maybe because it’s out of continuity, maybe because Wolverine isn’t one of my favourite characters, maybe because I missed at least one issue (possibly two, I don’t remember). But I just have no interest in this.

Deadpool #6, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, art by Tony Moore. Deadpool wakes up, and finds Washington in a magic death sphere while his undead army battles through the capitol. Taft attacks in his bathtub, which Deadpool blows up. Preston’s aide shows up in a mech suit to kill Taft, then sends Deadpool after Washington, who’s with Eisenhower and Hayes. Deadpool passes through the sphere, then drops dead, where someone – presumably Death – mentions loving him before he wakes up. Washington absorbs the power from Eisenhower and Hayes, killing them. Deadpool manages to beat Washington, who returns to normal and thanks Deadpool for stopping him. Blah blah blah, whatever, Preston is in Deadpool’s head. And this remained a stupid, shallow comic. But he makes fewer jokes than usual, so this is the “serious” issue, the one that shows how deep Deadpool is, and that Posehn and Duggan can do more than just one bad joke after another. Except they can’t. Because this issue was still awful. Just awful. Blah. It angers me that anyone is actually buying this pile of crap. A bunch of danged kids who don’t actually get the point of the character, I’m betting. Get off my lawn! Also, I hate the art. There is literally nothing I enjoy about this title.

That’s the X-titles. Now for some Now! titles.

Nova #2, by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Sam is, understandably, a bit freaked out about what’s going on. Having a talking raccoon in his face would be a bit of a shock, I imagine. Not that Rocky appreciates being called a raccoon. Though pulling his gun on the freaked-out kid still seems a bit extreme. He runs away, and the nurse brings him back to his room and puts him to sleep. He wakes up, and walks outside with his dad’s helmet. He puts the helmet on, and becomes Nova. He gets a recording from his dad. The next morning, he’s discharged from the hospital. That night, he puts the helmet on again, and flies around for a bit. His mom sees him. He crashes into the moon. He’s not very good at this yet. This issue’s a bit better than the last one. Fewer cliches. Though the “final message from his dead father” is a bit of one. Loeb handles the fear and excitement of discovery fairly well. Rocket comes across as a bit of a psycho, too, so I didn’t like that. Still, this is good, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Loeb goes from here. I’m hoping it turns out well. I’m hoping Loeb finds catharsis in this, and that it brings out the best of him. He’s been an awful writer for a long time, so it’ll be cool if this gets him back to being a good one.

Captain America #5, by Rick Remender and John Romita, Jr. Cap’s trying to rush towards the gate home before the Zola virus takes control of him, but gets caught in a hard choice when he sees smoke, and knows Zola’s found the Phrox. He and Ian return to help in the fight, and Cap gets beaten by one of the crazy clone monsters Zola made with his blood. Zola’s daughter, Jet removes her sensory deprivation suit and prepares to kill Cap with her bare hands. She kicks his ass effortlessly, but Ian stops her before she can kill him. She’s shocked to see him, and he punches her in the throat. Cap can’t kill her, so tells Ian to watch her. She sends a thought to her father that his son is still alive, and Zola pulls back his men, so he can deal with Cap himself. Once Cap’s down, Zola orders Jet to kill him. She wonders at the mercy Cap showed her earlier. Zola just blasts him off the cliff instead. But Cap doesn’t quit, and he fully plans on rescuing his son. Still good. I don’t like JRJR’s art, but that’s a personal thing. The writing is solid. I’ll confess, I am looking forward to Steve getting back to the real world, and more of a supporting cast, but this has been a cool arc, and this issue has a cool finish. The next issue should be even cooler. I’m enjoying this, for the most part.

Indestructible Hulk #5, by Mark Waid and Leinil Yu. One of the Chinese officers takes a sub to keep an eye on Attuma and Banner, while the Dreadnought escapes. Attuma lets it go, not giving a damn about Lemurian glory. He wants Atlantis, and he needs Lemurian alchemy to do it, not its fleets. Banner wakes up on a sub, with a blue woman asking him to turn back into the Hulk. She thinks the Hulk is sexy. Her betrothed is not amused, but she has no interest in a marriage pact between their families. Turns out they’re part of the Lemurian Rebel Army, dedicated to taking their city back from Attuma. Their spies obtained the plans for the device Lemuria’s alchemists built for Attuma. We see the device tested on the sub spying on Lemuria. It’s some sort of acid. Very powerful acid. Banner tells the rebels to get ready for an assault. He kisses the lady to get her to hit him so he’ll turn back to the Hulk. Again, this completely ignores his development over the past few years. So frustrating. Anyway, the Hulk fights Attuma, but gets knocked into a giant monster called the kophin. The Hulk gets out, of course, then throws Attuma inside it. That’s the end of him. The woman pops up out of nowhere to start making out with the Hulk, but he turns back to Banner. I’m still annoyed at the fact that Waid has just decided to basically ignore all the Hulk’s previous development. Even before the Jason Aaron series, he wasn’t a mindless monster. Also, the fact that Waid introduced a supporting cast and then immediately ignored them for two straight issues is annoying. The next issue needs to have a heavy focus on Banner’s assistants. Other than that, I guess this issue’s good. But this series simply doesn’t compare to Waid’s excellent work with Daredevil.

New Avengers #4, by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting. Stark is talking to Richards and Panther about the antimatter bomb they’ve reverse-engineered from Black Swan’s device. He gives them a pair of Shi’ar omnicaster helmets, and puts one on himself. He shows them the Dyson Sphere he’s working on, to weaponize their own sun. He can’t figure out what to call it, but Richards says it’s called Sol’s Hammer. In Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, Wong brings tea, and is shocked at the book Strange is reading. Strange is afraid and tells Wong he’s leaving his estate to Wong. The next incursion point is above the Statue of LIberty. They cross over, figuring they can use the Infinity Gems on that world to stop the current incursion. They find a statue of Magneto. They also find Galactus preparing to destroy the world. Richards feels they should stop him, and the others reluctantly agree, but Terrax shows up to tell them not to bother. In this reality, he’s still Galaktus’s herald. He tells them to go home. It’s good. Very dark and tense. The ideas they’re coming up with to stop the incursions are insane, and kinda cool. It’s not my kind of book, though. It’s a little too cynical for my tastes. I’ll review the next issue, but that’ll be it.

Dark Avengers #188, by Jeff Parker and Neil Edwards. I can probably stop reviewing this book after this issue, though I’d still encourage you to read it, because it’s really good. A pair of spies are watching Moonstone get killed, and Richards manages to bring them into real-time. Skaar captures one of them. In Hell’s Kitchen, the other Dark Avengers are still held captive. USAgent tries to explain that they’re trying to stop Strange, but he’s not believed. Spider-Man believes him, though, and lets them go. In Stark Tower, his top lieutenants – Pepper and Rhodey – are trying to convince him they all need to get some rest. Stark ignores them, and asks Pym if the neutron bomb is ready. Elsewhere, the spies are freaking out about the fellow traveller being captured, and about the fact that space is receding. Uranus is disappearing. Richards talks to Skaar and the spy, who’s from AIM. Over in Strangetown, the team is detected, but Spider-Man throws a giant sword to Trickshot, to use against the weird soul-spitting snake thing. Unfortunately, Spider-Man falls not long after, leaving the team to face Strange, Clea and Tigra without him. Could be bad. This is a great series, and deserves to keep going. Too bad it’s ending soon. I definitely like the last page cliffhanger. Very nice, though not exactly a surprise. It’s such a messed up world they’re in, and things just keep getting more messed up. It’s great.

And, because I love the book so much, Captain Marvel #11, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Christopher Sebela, art by Filipe Andrade. Tracy yells at Carol not to fly, Dakota North helps Carol with Captain America’s flying bike and gives her a lead on Deathbird (who’s likely an impostor, as Dakota mentions the real Deathbird’s in no condition to fight after what Polaris did back to her at the end of the War of Kings), and Carol continues to be awesome. Still a great book. Read it.


From → 2013, Uncategorized

  1. Just read X-Factor, and you’re right – Hell on Earth War continues to be amazing. This issue was even more dramatic than the rest of the storyline so far, yet it’s still just as much fun.

  2. I don’t think it’s so much as Marvel not staggering their releases as they put out a million books every week! I am so relieved to hear you enjoy SAVAGE WOLVERINE as much as I do – I really feel like some kind of shallow pervert (which I probably am) reading that book, but I actually think it’s really well done. I was so giddy about the return of Boom-Boom – I practically squeeled. Really afraid about this ‘END OF X-FACTOR’ arc coming up…that book should go on forever! And DARK AVENGERS is amazing. DA, CAPTAIN AMERICA, and NEW AVENGERS were probably my favourite books of the week – though I completely understand your distaste for NA. It’s a pretty different book.

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