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X-Men comics, April 10 2013

April 10, 2013

Another relatively quiet week in comics. Four X-titles, 5 other titles.

First up, Uncanny X-Men #4, by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo. It just occurred to me that Bachalo sometimes seems to have problems with feet. Anyway, while Scott makes his offer from last week’s ANXM, the Cuckoos chat with Emma telepathically. Celeste seems to hate Emma, but the other two are less hostile. They still draw Emma into their brains when they realize she’s lost her powers, and then find out how she lost her powers. Then the girls say they’re sorry. Emma says they’re not, because they’re parts of her, and she knows how mean she is. But they insist that they are sorry. Emma asks them to come to the new school. It’s a very cool scene, especially since it takes place at the same time Scott is talking to everyone else. Speaking of the new school, the new students are feeling a bit out of sorts. They check out their rooms, and Christopher, the healer, hits on Eva. Back to the JGS, where Emma and the Cuckoos are talking about the Original X-Men. Emma and the Cuckoos are the only ones in colour in this scene, and it’s kinda cool. They also smack-talk Jean’s untrained psychic abilities. When Scott’s team returns to base, they see the new students getting attacked by Krakoa, Skrulls, and more. It’s hilarious. Magneto turns the Danger Room off with his iPhone. Yes, an iPhone is the remote control for the new Danger Room. Apparently, there’s an app for holograms beating kids up. We also learn who joined the new school with the Cuckoos. I doubt anyone will be too surprised. Even so, I’m not spoiling it. I don’t like Bachalo’s art. I used to, but I haven’t liked it for a while now. I’d prefer to have someone else on this book. Someone with a darker style, to match the darker tone of the writing. The writing, of course, is solid. I can barely remember the last time the Cuckoos got so much characterization as they do here. The new students are slowly having their personalities developed. We’re also getting hints that Illyana might not have things as together as she seems. I think this is supposed to be leading up to an arc involving Dormammu, if I recall the rumours correctly.

X-Treme X-Men #13, written by Greg Pak, art by Guillermo Mogorron and Raul Valdes. Howlett’s mourning Hercules. Northstar flies superfast to create a vortex around the monster, keeping it from absorbing any more energy while Prophet, Sage and Kurt access the Celestial’s memory box. Karma tries to help with her telepathy, but doesn’t seem to do much. Turns out there’s actually billions of the monsters, and they’re trying to follow the one the team is dealing with. Back in the AoA, things are going swimmingly. Kurt teleports Prophet and Waggoner back to New Apocalypse, and they see Dark Beast with the Apocalypse Seed. While Jean and AoA Nightcrawler chase after him, the others all regroup to talk over the plan. Prophet says they can only save one world, but Dazzler says they’ll save both. Her plan is to lead the other two thingies through the portal, get them together to deal with them all at once. The big one isn’t taking the bait, so Kurt sees only one option. Meh. This event continues to be meh. Some sad stuff in this issue, but whatever. Probably not worth reading.

Wolverine #2, by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis. It starts with some cops and some thugs seeming to plan some heist, though they seem very odd. They’re presumably possessed. Then we cut to the kid shooting at Wolverine with his future-gun. The kid escapes, and a hobo tells Wolverine the kid got into a mail van. Turns out the kid is actually up on a construction site, and starts shooting people until Wolverine sees him. Then the kid shoots Wolverine. Wolverine manages to get up there, and has an odd conversation with the kid. Then the kid jumps. Wolverine saves him, and whatever was possessing him seems to have fled into someone else. Who gets shot by Fury, Jr. Then Wolverine and Fury, Jr. have a conversation. This issue isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s hard to call it great, either. There’s some weird stuff going on, and the conversations are written reasonably well. But I can’t quite get into it. I think this might’ve worked better as a second arc. Maybe do a somewhat more conventional Wolverine story for the first arc, to ease into things, and then start the bizarre sci-fi stuff. I don’t know. I just feel very lukewarm towards this.

Uncanny Avengers #6, by Rick Remender and Daniel Acuna. A thousand years ago, Thor is in a pub getting drunk when Apocalypse smacks him from behind. Apocalypse beats him enough that Thor decides he needs an intermission, to figure out a way to beat him. Apocalypse returns to his flying pyramid base, and tells Rama-Tut that Thor’s fled, and the two discuss plans. Meanwhile, Thor tells Odin about the fight, and Odin says Apocalypse is wearing Celestial armour, and he can’t get involved. Loki tells Thor how to bless his axe so it’ll pierce Celestial armour, but it turns out it was Kang. In London, a pair of guards are talking about sex, in a rather amusing scene. Then the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse attack. Thor kills them, which angers Apocalypse. Thor manages to beat him, but Odin tells him off for it. This is good. It’s a cool, fun issue, with some deep plotting going on from Kang. A lot of interesting stuff. Very nice art, too. Oh, also, Wolverine’s ancestor. Yep. A thousand frigging years ago, and we still can’t get away from Wolverine.

Now, the other titles. First, Age of Ultron #5, by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch. It starts months ago, with Stark, Pym and Richards studying the Vision. They can’t quite figure out how to wake him up. Pym also says that he’s considered going back in time to stop his creation of Ultron, but always thinks that it would also mean stopping the Vision’s creation. Then Vision wakes up. We then cut to the present, and the Savage Land.  Stark starts laughing about how crazy they were to take the Vision in, and set themselves up for Ultron to use him. The group finds Fury’s secret Savage Land base. They use Red Hulk to bust in, and find Nick Fury. Alive and able to kick ass. Fury has Doom’s time machine. His plan is to take the Avengers to the future and kill Ultron. Wolverine suggests going back in time and killing Pym. Fury lets everyone into his secret vault to armour up, then picks his team for the assault on the future. The rest are left behind to guard the place. Wolverine still wants to go back after Pym. This issue brings some more character stuff back, which is good. A nice balance between characterization and plot advancement. Next issue should be plenty of action. Bendis is doing a much better job, so far, than in his other events. I’m enjoying AU so far. And this has some nice debate, too, over the best path.

Ultron 1AU, by Kathryn Immonen and Amilcar Pinna. Victor is trying to help a kid escape and hide from an Ultron. Doesn’t work. He’s cornered by an Ultron, which scans him, and then explodes. Victor takes the kid to where he’s hiding, with a few other kids. Things aren’t good. He goes to his room and plugs himself in, and looks at his memories of the other Runaways, when one of the kids finds him and freaks out. Then they’re attacked by Ultrons. He decides to go down fighting. It’s a good issue. It does a pretty good job getting into Victor’s head. The inability of the Ultrons to read him properly is a really good touch. Victor’s going to be in the upcoming Avengers AI series. I’m looking forward to that.

Fearless Defenders #3, by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney. Hela is telling off Valkyrie, saying she’ll save the world even if she has to eviscerate everyone to prove her noble intentions. I think I really like Hela. Hela tells the All-Mother not to send Valkyrie to confront the Doom Maidens, since it would bring disaster. She says that there are spells that, if inscribed in Asgardian blood, would spell doom. So Valkyrie has to sit it out, while Hippolyta leads instead. The All-Mother agrees to have Hippolyta go, but sends Val, Misty and Annabelle with her. We then cut to Dani, who’s encased, as Caroline le Fay talks about herself. The Defenders teleport down to what’s apparently one of those replica towns sometimes used at nuclear bomb testing sites, but with all the mannequins dressed as superheroes. There’s a pretty good gag of Hippolyta looking at a Hercules mannequin, then a couple panels later, holding its head in her hand and tossing it behind her back. Valkyrie finds some stairs down to a cavern, and they find the Doom Maidens awake. Then fighting breaks out. Hippolyta does quite well. But things get weird. This is getting really good. I like how the art continues to avoid fanservice. The writing is solid, especially the arguments between Val and Hippolyta. I wish I could think of a way to shorten Hippolyta’s name that wouldn’t be either insulting or stupid. Oh well. The point is, this is becoming a genuinely great book. The first issue had some problems, but they’ve been smoothed out. Even Anna’s being a lesbian is being used much better, with her getting a little flustered when Val tells her the valkyrie armour looks good on her. So, yeah, I have high hopes for where this series goes from here.

Secret Avengers #3, by Nick Spencer and Luke Ross. Daisy Johnson and Fury, Jr. are at an arms show. They both clean up real nice. Anyway, she introduces him to Senator Ralston, who served with Fury in the Howling Commandos. We then cut to Hawkeye and Widow on the Helicarrier (192 days since the last crash!), and Hawkeye’s saying he and Bobbi are both professionals, and can work together despite their past. Dammit. I was really, really hoping their past wouldn’t come up much. Bobbi is way too damned cool a character to be “Hawkeye’s ex.” She deserves better. She deserves to be famous for herself, not who she slept with, but writers don’t seem inclined to give her that chance, and it’s frustrating. Anyway, turns out Hawkeye was actually talking to Mockingbird in disguise. Hill then takes them – along with the real Black Widow – to brief them on AIM’s moves in the previous issue, and gives them Coulson as field support for their investigation. Back at the arms show, a guy with the DOD is boasting about their Iron Patriot armour, which has an AI that lets it fly itself. Some people from AIM come in, saying they’re there to do business. The SA team heads to the AIM facility that blew up last issue, and investigate. Bobbi gets to remind readers that she’s a scientist, which is nice. It was how she started out – before was a superhero, before she was even revealed as a spy, she was a scientist. They find a Jocasta. Back at the arms show, a fight breaks out, and Rebel Ralston gets killed. Another Howling Commando down. Ah well. This series is doing a pretty good job with AIM’s intrigues. At this point, the main thing I want to see from this book is for Bobbi to be moved out of Hawkeye’s shadow. I actually firmly believe they shouldn’t even be in the same book, not until Bobbi’s had a chance to stand on her own again. It frustrates me that so few people are able to look at her as her own, independent character. She’s always talked about in terms of her relationship with Clint, and she’s just so much better than that. She’s a scientist, a spy, and a straight-up badass. Spencer’s brought up their past; fine. Now, he needs to never bring it up again. Drop it. Let it go. Have them act like professionals, and leave their past in the past.

And, lastly, Alpha: Big Time #3, by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Nuno Plati. First, Plati’s art is not good. But on with the story. Alpha’s apologized to the mugger he almost killed, then leaves. Spider-Ock comes to keep an eye on him. Andy says he doesn’t want his powers any more, but Spider-Ock gives him a pep talk. Later, Alpha has to save Soupcan from a fire, and the cops call him Gravity. Soupcan declines to be his girlfriend, finding the whole superhero thing to be “ugh.” A couple days later, Otto Parker tells Andy he has supersenses. Andy tests them out, and the experience overwhelms him a bit. He also learns that Soupcan likes him. This issue’s a whole big ball of meh. I can’t even work up the interest to criticize it, because it’s so dull.

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From → 2013, Uncategorized

2 Comments
  1. So on my blog you said that Assembled is doing very well under DeConnick. If I were to pick up the last few issues and get any missing paperbacks, where would be the best place to start?

    • I’d say with the start of her run. Issue 9. It’s been solid since she came on. It’s got a real classic Avengers feel that none of the other books are giving. Young Avengers is the best Avengers book, because Kieron Gillen is magic, but I’d rate Assemble as second best.

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