X-Men comics, April 3 2013
This is a pretty light week. Only three X-titles, and a few Now! ones. So let’s start.
First up, All-New X-Men #10, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. It starts in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a money transfer of $18 million is attacked by the ANXM, led by Wolverine. Turns out it was Mystique, Sabretooth and Lady Mastermind. Then we head to the main event: Adult Cyclops and his team at the JGS, seeing who’ll join them. Adult Iceman accused him of having murdered Xavier. Xavier says that if anyone there thinks he murdered Xavier of his own will, to kill him, because he doesn’t want to live with the thought that that’s who people think he is. Krakoa then eats him and the others. They get out quickly. Then Scott makes his offer to train mutants to fight back against the inevitable attacks on mutants that the rise of new mutants will lead to. He says that nothing else has worked, so he’s going to show humanity what Xavier trained them to be: Warriors. His case made and offer extended, he leaves to let everyone think it over. I gotta say, it’s hard to disagree with him. Teen Scott is extremely angry at feeling like Beast lied to him about what happened. Maria Hill drops by the Raft to learn about what happened with the Lady Mastermind break-out. Back at the school, they talk about Adult Scott’s visit when Hill calls to ask if any of them have been in recent contact with Mystique. When Adult Scott returns, the Cuckoos join him, and someone else – we’ll find out who next issue, because Bendis evidently decided that would be the most hilariously trolling thing he could do. Anyway, it’s great. There’s a lot of complex viewpoints being discussed, and the different viewpoints are given fair treatment. We can debate whether Scott’s approach is the right one – I tend to think he’s perhaps being a little too aggressive – but Bendis presents it as an entirely valid view for him to take. He’s not some madman frothing at the mouth. He’s not classic Magneto advocating mutant supremacy, despite how many have characterized him. He’s a man determined to protect his people, and willing to use force to do it. He doesn’t want to fight, but he’s not afraid to. It’s interesting stuff. So I’m really enjoying this series.
Age of Apocalypse #14, written by David Lapham, art by Andre Araujo and Renato Arlem. This is part 3 of X-Termination. The Wolverine, Hercules and Northstar arrive on 616 Earth, and see the monster that went through battling the Dreaming Celestial in San Francisco. Back in the AoA world, fighting. The team of Jean, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Summers, Iceman and Beast head to Nevada, to get the Celestial Seed hidden there. Back on 616, the Wolverines are trying to cut up the monster, and Nightcrawler throws Hercules at it, knocking it away. Kurt shows up to help the injured Wolverines while Hercules continues to wrestle with the thing, to his death. The team of Prophet, Sage, Karma, Deadeye and Gambit try to develop some plan as the Celestial leaves. In the AoA, Jean steals the Death Seed, which is then stolen by Dark Beast. In 616, things go very, very badly. This is . . . OK. Still. Not bad, not great, just . . . OK. It’s hard to really care that much. The writing’s OK, the plotting’s OK, everything is just OK. This whole event is worth skipping. On the plus side, this series is now over and finished. Good riddance. The whole thing was terrible.
And Deadpool #7, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, art by Scott Kobish. It’s a flashback to the ’70s or ’80s. Lots of stupid stuff in it. I don’t care. This book bores me too much for a real review, so I’m just going to say that I still hate this series and wish it would be given to a writer who doesn’t treat it as a joke.
There’s the X-titles. Now the Now! ones.
First, Thanos Rising #1, by Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi. (It’s dedicated to Jim Starlin – that’s nice. Especially since he’s getting somewhat screwed over by Thanos’s use in the movies.) Thanos is visiting the ruins of the city on Titan, where he was born. He’s visiting the grave of his mother. He nearly died in childbirth, and the doctors were shocked at his appearance, but his father, A’lars immediately loved him. His mother tried to kill him. She says that if they don’t kill Thanos, he’ll kill them all, and disavows him as her son, calling him a monster. At school, he feels like an outcast, but some kids ask him if he wants to play with them. Without showing them the picture he was drawing. Of a dead and decaying animal. That’s interesting. He later visits his mother in a mental institution, talking about how he’d been having recurring nightmares for years about being a newborn and someone screaming and trying to kill him, and recently discovered a cure: Stop sleeping. At school, he freaks out at the thought of dissecting an animal, and throws up. He tells a girl who talks to him that he doesn’t want to cut open a living thing. He later takes some friends to a cavern, which collapses. The others were killed, and eaten by the animals in the cave, but he survives. This is a really interesting origin story so far. The girl who talks to him is incredibly creepy. Thanos himself is very different from who he turns out to be, though the issue begins with the start of his descent into evil. Also, his mother’s freak-out was chilling, and she was still creepy when Thanos visited her after she’d gone completely mad. This is a really cool start. Jason Aaron’s a really good character writer. And Bianchi’s art complements the story well.
Red She-Hulk #64, written by Jeff Parker, art by Carlo Pagulayan and Wellington Alves. Betty and Aaron are in the kingdom of the Mole Monster, who’s like the Mole Man but more of a monster. They get eaten by a giant worm-like monster. It excretes them in another chamber, where they come face to face with the Mole Monster’s army. Over 7000 creatures, by Aaron’s rough estimation. Betty naturally charges, Because she’s a Hulk. The Mole Monster quickly calls an end to hostilities, since he figures they’re not human – they’re monsters, and so, they’re welcome in his kingdom. He takes them to the Consumption Cave, and explains they guard the entrance they used to enter the caves, and shows a sword with the SHIELD sigil. There’s another pyramid in the underworld. Up top, Fortean is angry at finding the Thinker working on some Echelon stuff. Then they get a visit from the She-Hulk, who wants to talk to him about finding Betty. And man, she really needs a better outfit. That one-piece bathing suit just does not look good. I think the best I’ve seen her in was that, with jeans. That was a really cool look for her. Somehow, the bare legs just look dumb. Anyway. Down below, the Mole Monster takes Betty and Aaron to the pyramid. We learn the Mole Monster is actually the Mole Man’s son – he slept with a Deviant woman, and then abandoned her. Betty is appropriately disturbed at the thought of someone sleeping with the Mole Man. Because, seriously, ew. Anyway, they find the pyramid, and things go a bit weird. I love this series. I’m going to stop reviewing it, because it’s not an X-title, but you really should be reading it, because it’s fun, exciting, and full of weird twists and stuff going on. It’s a great book.
Venom #33, by Cullen Bunn and Declan Shalvey. Toxin is fighting the weird thing Venom fought last issue, but fails to kill it. In the morning, Flash is talking to Beast by Skype, about the creature. Beast says he might be able to help the guy if Flash can capture it. He then attends an AA meeting, and thinks about the symbiote as he talks about being an alcoholic. That night, a woman at a kennel finds the thing eating the dogs. Venom confronts it. This is good. Nice character work. I don’t think I’ll review any more of this series, but it’s a good book. Worth checking out, if you like Venom.
Winter Soldier #17, by Jason Latour and Nic Klein. We start in the Cold War, as a KGB colonel is checking up on an assassination the Soldier just completed. The colonel takes the target’s little girl as he leaves. In the present, Bucky’s been unable to find the girl, Tesla Tarasova, the Electric Ghost, and feels like Fury’s used him. Fury tells him about a new SHIELD Helicarrier that went down that morning. A bunch of LMDs have been going crazy and killing the targets they were supposed to be keeping an eye on. And then a Gamma warhead depot off the coast of Madripoor went off. Then Tesla told the world that the fruits of their labours have blossomed. Fury tells Bucky he thinks she’s in a cloaked satellite, and that they can probably find her when she uncloaks to get more fuel, but that if there’s a mole in SHIELD, she’d know they’re tracking her. Luckily, Robards – who is hilariously sarcastic – says he hacked into the MODOD running the HYDRA base they’re in, and got control of the base. Bucky teleports up to the satellite, while doing a lot of philosophizing about life and death and the soul and stuff. This is also very good. Latour has a good grasp on Bucky, and does some really good characterization with him. Robards is awesome, and steals the scene he’s in. The art suits the tone of the book. It all works very well. If you like Bucky, this book’s worth reading. Latour isn’t quite as good as Brubaker at the spy intrigue stuff, but he still handles it reasonably well.
And Age of Ultron #4, by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch. Cage talks to Vision, who says Ultron controls from the future. Then She-Hulk wakes up and throws Cage out through the wall to tell Stark what they found. She’s killed, and it doesn’t look good for Cage. Out in San Francisco, Black Widow is reading through Fury’s end-of-the-world scenarios. He was apparently even prepared for this. He has a secret bunker in the Savage Land. Storm flies everyone out of New York while Invisible Woman keeps them invisible. In Chicago, Red Hulk lands in front of Taskmaster, then kills him and grabs the Ultron tech. The others reach the Savage Land eight days later. And things look like they’re going to get crazier. This is another issue with almost no characterization. Instead, it’s plot advancement. I’m hoping he gets back to characterization soon, though I didn’t necessarily miss it in this issue. So far, this is still a really good event, with a lot of complex twists and crazy stuff going on.
There was also Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite #3, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Del Mundo. It’s talking about Terran, the sixth moon of a planet 80 000 light-years from Earth. All life was wiped out on the planet, and the Badoon have taken the moon, using the survivors there as slave labour. Unfortunately for the Badoon, they’re paid a visit from the Most Dangerous Woman In the Galaxy. The book calls her Thanos’s daughter; I’m not sure if Bendis has decided to retcon her into his biological daughter, or sticking with adopted. Anyway, she kicks some Badoon ass. And is immune to lava, apparently. Gamora doesn’t get to say much, but some of what she does feels a bit off. I’m not sure yet if Bendis has her voice down. We’ll see how it goes in the main series. I also don’t like the art here.
I’ll also talk about Iron Man Season One, by Howard Chaykin and Gerald Parel. It’s good. It’s an interesting reimagining of his origin. I like it.