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X-Men comics (April 17 2013)

April 17, 2013

This is a busy week. Made worse by the fact that my stupid frigging Internet isn’t working, forcing me to use my college’s stupid slow Internet. Ugh. Anyway, may as well get started.

First up, X-Factor #245, by Peter David and Leonard Kirk. Wolfsbane goes to talk to Tier, who isn’t eager to kill. She promises they’ll find another way. The team teleports to Times Square, now a demolished waste. Mephisto beats up Satannish. Polaris is angry that Tier doesn’t want to fight, but Layla sides with him and Wolfsbane. It’s a very tense scene. Polaris is more ruthless than I expect of her. It’s cool. They come under attack from minor demons while Hela duels with Asmodeus. Hela beats him, but then gets hit from behind by Mephisto. Mephisto’s awesome. Jezebel sends away the demons threatening X-Factor, and Strong Guy shows up with the demonic Madrox. Jezebel tried to leave with Tier, but Wolfsbane will have none of it. Strong Guy tries to stop Wolfsbane, but Monet wants to pound away on him. Their fight goes to an odd place. As usual, this is awesome. A lot of good characterization in the midst of exciting action. Mephisto making his way through the Hell-lords is really fun to watch. I’m excited to see what happens next.

X-Men Legacy #9, by Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat. David’s taken Ruth out for a movie and milkshakes. He talks to her about how messed up his mind is, and says that the thing that gives him strength is her. Then they share a kiss. He teleports the two of them to the moon (10km south of the Mare Vaporum, to be exact), and she makes some Watchmen references as a way of telling him not to let all his power make him forget how to be human. The shout-out maybe goes a little far, but it’s still fairly well-done, including her drawing a smiley face in moon dust. There’s some ruins that David wanted to show her. He tells her about the weird guy who lives there, a “creature of smoke and power,” who occasionally goes to Earth to get books. His name is Aarkus – it might be the Golden Age Vision, though it doesn’t much look like him. Anyway, he’s insane now. We see him read a book about the mutant threat, and he decides to deal with it. He kills a bunch. The X-Men follow him to the moon, and Aarkus kills them. David tells Ruth it hasn’t happened yet, and that he can stop it before it happens, by turning Aarkus’s mind off. Ruth disapproves and tells him not to do it. But there’s still one Watchmen reference to go. And it looks like David’s kinda screwed up his relationship with Ruth. This series has been pretty good. I still don’t like the art, and it still makes me angry to see David speak with a Scottish accent. But the plotting’s solid, and other than the accent, the characterization’s very good. Spurrier’s doing good work with Legion, and crafting an interesting story.

Cable & X-Force #7, by Dennis Hopeless and Salvador Larocca. Scott’s telling Cable that SWORD isn’t going to take kindly to Cable stealing one of their ships. They come under attack, proving his point. Forge and Nemesis leave in the ship, to make the rendezvous. Nemesis wants to float in zero-G, but Forge refuses. Until Nemesis insults him into it. These two are seriously the best pairing in comics today. They play off each other so well. Meanwhile, Domino’s having fun beating up prison guards while Peter tells her to stop, but she says she’s just a diversion to keep anyone from going after Boom-Boom. Speaking of, she’s being attacked by some weird alien thing she just freed. After she blows him away, the alien finally finishes deciphering her “ridiculous pork language.” Scott asks Cable what’s going on, and Cable says he needs to get the alien away from SWORD before trouble comes. Domino rejoins Boom Boom and the alien and tells him they’re getting him off-world using his ship. Back in the ship, Nemesis continues to be awesome, but is interrupted by the alien’s astral form or something taking control of the ship. This book is a lot of fun. The conversation between Scott and Cable, tossed in throughout the issue, is nice. It’s always nice seeing them interact, and especially seeing Scott being fatherly to Cable. Boom Boom is hilarious as always. Forge and Nemesis are the ultimate buddy comedy team. The alien’s fun. It’s all awesome.

Astonishing X-Men #61, by Marjorie Liu and a whole bunch of artists. Five of them, in fact. This is the penultimate chapter of X-Termination. While Jean’s taken the power of the Death Seed, Howlett mourns Kurt’s death. Jeanpocalypse attacks the creatures, and holds them off. Prophet sends Nightcrawler through the portal to get Sage and the Celestial’s black box, which Sage is already tapping into. She sees the birth of the universe. The Celestials were there, shaping creation, creating life, and creating death. Their death-creations turned on them. The Celestials split the universe into the multiverse in order to contain the creatures. Back in the AoA, Jeanpocalypse has lost her mind. Prophet realizes there’s only one way to beat the things. They need to be imprisoned again. Guess with universe gets to be the lucky prison? This issue bothered me less than other parts of X-Termination have. Still, I’ll be glad to have this thing over with, and for Astonishing to get back to other stories.

Wolverine and the X-Men #27AU, by Matt Kindt and Paco Medina. It follows Wolverine and Sue on their way to find Pym. Each is thinking about the situation, and their car runs out of fuel. They make their way through an old SHIELD installation to find an energy cell and information on where Hank might be, still thinking about the situation. Wolverine finds a weird creepy alien baby thing in a tube, and frees it. Turns out he shouldn’t have. Sue finds a feed on all the superheroes – done in the style of old comic book panels, actually. A very nice touch, that. Wolverine figures out that the alien was a Brood, and kills it, while Sue watches a feed from the Baxter Building. Wolverine learns he may have been responsible for the Brood developing an exoskeleton and sharper teeth. I’m amused. Sue tells Reed to upgrade his security system, and then regroups with Wolverine at the car. Their views of the situation have changed a bit. Anyway, it’s a really nice issue. A nice exploration of the two of them. And a fun story in general. Especially Wolverine and the Brood. That was oddly amusing. It was also interesting seeing how their experiences in the SHIELD installation made them think again about the situation with Pym, even if that didn’t carry over to the main book.

Savage Wolverine #4, by Frank Cho. The tribe Amadeus found brings Shanna to an area for a resurrection ceremony, where they find Man-Thing. Or a Man-Thing. Shanna’s placed in a small sunken table before it, and it’s stabbed. A green liquid comes out, filling the pool until Shanna’s submerged. She steps out of it, whole. She’s now apparently bonded with the Savage Land. Neat. Amadeus explains to Shanna everything about the creature imprisoned by the island, and she mentions she and Wolverine were going to blow up the machine with a bomb. Speaking of Wolverine, he’s tearing his way through the temple guards. When they’re down, it’s time for apes. He kills them all, and gets ready to plant the bomb. Shanna arrives just in time, and throws her spear at him. IN the same hole as his last two impalements. The day is saved. But the newest visitor might be a problem. This series is just ludicrously fun. It’s what a Wolverine series should be. It’s full of brutal violence, and the story is stupid fun, with plenty of humour throughout. This is just great fun to read.

Wolverine MAX #6, by Jason Starr and three artists. Logan’s in Venice Beach, California. He’s found a dog, which he’s named Dog. He’s playing with her when he meets a red-head who gives her name as Candy, and hires him as her driver while she’s in town. The next day, he drives her to her modelling shoots. At one of them, a guy calls her Katie, and Logan gets a bad feeling. He runs into the house after her, and finds her about to be raped. He has to get shot and kill a guy with his claws to get her out. This is better than the previous arc. Maybe because it’s telling an actual story, rather than just doing the standard “Logan can’t remember his past” thing. I read plenty of those stories years ago. The fact that this issue barely even touches on his amnesia makes it stand out more.

That’s the X-titles. Now the Now! ones.

Age of Ultron #6, by Brian Michael Bendis and Brandon Peterson. Wolverine exits a cave in the Savage Land, glad to see everything alive. He tells Sue to stop hiding. He convinces her to help him kill Pym, and they hide when Fury shows up in his flying car. They steal the car. Heh. Back in the future, the team there finds the Savage Land . . . also alive and prospering. Odd. Fury sends Quicksilver towards Manhattan for recon, and has Storm fly the rest of them at a slower pace. In the past, Wolverine’s picked up Pym. We find Pym examining Dragon Man, and learn that it’s actually what made him decide to create an artificial intelligence. Wolverine attacks him. In the future, they’ve found Ultron’s city. The entire eastern seaboard has been turned into a technological masterpiece. They get attacked by Ultron heads. Swarms of them. In the past, Wolverine is about to finish Pym, but Sue stops him. In the future, things aren’t going well. In the past, Wolverine tries to convince Sue that killing Pym is the only way. She lets him. This is really good. Sue’s uncertainty about crossing the line was done really well. She seemed truly conflicted. The fight in the future was desperate, and it was chilling seeing how far Ultron had advanced. It was also cool seeing where Pym got the idea for Ultron, and his characterization in that scene was really good. This was a great issue.

And, finally, Nova #3, by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Nova’s nervously apologizing to the Watcher, who shows him a coming space fleet. McGuinness is great, I’ll just say that now. Nova returns to Earth, figuring he’ll get help to deal with the spaceships. Back home, his mother talks to him. Gamora and Rocket show up to talk to him, making a pretty badass entrance, which Rocket immediately ruins by laughing. After a brief, tense conversation, Rocket and Gamora tell Sam they’re going to train him. It’s a pretty brutal training session. They then explain the Chitauri got their hands on the Ultimate Nullifier, and plan on testing it on Earth. Gamora and Rocket send Nova to log the Chitauri armada’s coordinates. I’m coming to really like Sam. He’s so confused over everything happening to him, and it’s amusing to watch. Using the Chitauri felt a bit cheesy, but whatever. Giving them the Ultimate Nullifier – and having Gamora apparently not actually know what the Nullifier is – was a bit worse. I would think Gamora would know what it is, rather than referring to it as “something called the ‘Ultimate Nullifier’.” I’m also a little worried that the Nullifier that’ll be used won’t be what it’s traditionally been, but we’ll see. I guess Loeb’s trying to appeal to newer readers with this stuff. Which is fine, I guess, as long as the story is well-told. So far, he’s doing a good job. I guess he’ll be leaving the book pretty soon, though, and then coming back later on; something that was planned before the book was launched, so has nothing to do with how it’s been received. This is definitely the best work Loeb’s done in years. And McGuinness is killing it.


From → 2013, Uncategorized

  1. Cable is an awesome character. He really is a natural born leader: he’s self confident, he always has everything under control and he always knows the right thing to do.
    Cable, exactly like his creator Rob Liefeld, became a symbol of 90s comics, a period usually remembered as full of excesses — excessive violence, excessive masculinity, excessive pouches and so on.
    I don’t think the 90s were so terrible: yes, the characters became ruthless instead of light hearted, manly instead of teen aged and so on, but I liked this process, and I don’t think it was as ridiculous as many readers describe it.
    Also, some changes the 90s introduced in comics definitely are positive. For example, before the 90s it was impossible to see a decent action packed scene: neither the superhero nor the villain used weapons, so they used to fight by using only their fists. In the 90s, both of them started using guns, submachine guns, bombs and so on, so the action packed scenes became less predictable, more varied and more spectacular.
    Another positive innovation the 90s gave us: the characters became less politically correct. Before the 90s, a superhero was supposed to be irreproachable, so all of them were so full of political correctness that they became ridiculous. When they started holding weapons, killing their enemies and acting in a ruthless way without any resentment, they became more realistic and enjoyable, in my opinion.
    I think that all these changes the comics faced in the 90s were due to the success of the movies Arnold and Sly used to make during those years. Boys loved those movies, so they wanted to see the same things in the comics they used to buy: both Marvel and DC decided to give them what they wanted, and, while many readers think it was a wrong move, I did appreciate it. Maybe it’s because I started reading comics exactly in the 90s, or maybe it’s because I love action packed comics and movies – especially when Arnold or Sly is involved.
    To make Cable’s connection with that resentfully remembered period more flebile, Marvel subsequently modified his outfit, making him less manly, removing some pouches from his costume and so on. I didn’t appreciate it: it’s like drawing a smile on the Punisher’s T – shirt instead of the skull. The costume is part of the identity of the character, so, if you change it so much, you distort him, in my opinion. Give us back Cable’s pouches, Marvel! : )

    • I started reading comics in the ’90s, too, but having read through so many older comics, I disagree with you. In the ’60s, characters were beyond reproach. That started to change in the ’70s, and even more in the ’80s. We were able to get characters with darkness in them. Even in the ’60s, Marvel made their characters deeply flawed.

      The ’90s had some great stories. But it also had a lot of stupidity. It was a time of almost self-parody, in terms of how ridiculously over-the-top everything was. Too many muscles, too many guns, too many swords, too many pouches, too much everything. Women wore ever-skimpier outfits, and contorted into anatomical impossibilities. Men were just as impossible, with how huge their muscles got.

      And a lot of the action actually got less interesting. Sure, they had guns. But there’s only so much you can do with guns. It usually came down to guys standing and shooting stupidly big guns – it was static. Compare that to, say, a fist-fight between the Hulk and the Thing. There was plenty of movement, as they slammed each other around, tore up the landscape to hit each other with, and so on. Or Compare it to Iron Man fighting Crimson Dynamo. They fly around, blasting at each other and pounding each other, throwing all sorts of gimmicky devices around, trying to beat each other through superior strategy. All sorts of movement. Nightcrawler doing a multi-teleport punch. Storm whipping up a hurricane. Spider-Man never standing still, leading his opponents into a trap. That’s way more exciting than seeing Cable standing totally still, firing a giant gun.

      Nah, the ’90s had a lot of stupid stuff.

      • You expressed your opinions in a frank but polite way, and you justified them in a very detailed and sensible way. I’m still a huge fan of 90s comics, but I appreciated your thoughts and the way you explained them. Thank you for your reply! : )

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