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X-Men comics (June 26, 2013)

June 26, 2013

So this is a big week, because Marvel doesn’t know how to stagger their releases.

First, X-Men #2, by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel. Beast is shocked to see Karima conscious, but she says she’s Arkea (“We are Arkea.”) and knocks him out. She activates the school lockdown. Rachel tries to turn it off, but the computer system laughs at her. Psylocke says Sublime just keeps thinking “the infant, the infant,” but neither she nor Rachel are sensing an infant in the building. Beast wants to know who Arkea is, but she seems uninterested in answering, so he activates a data burst device to tell Rogue where to target. Rogue’s shocked to see Karima, but Beast says it’s not her, so Rogue hits her hard. Arkea seems intrigued by the blood on her, then fights back. Beast injects her with morphine to take her down. Outside, the other ladies are trying to get in, but Kitty says there’s no way for her to get past the Danger Room protocols used. Storm asks Sublime about Arkea moving through technology, and he says she simply learns what she can, destroys what’s in her way, and moves on, lacking Sublime’s humanity and subtlety. Storm starts snapping orders: Kitty’s to wreck every system in the school until Arkea’s neutralized. Rachel says someone needs to protect Kitty. Sublime tells them they need to kill the host body. Kitty’s reluctant to kill Karima, seeing her as one of their own. Arkea finishes downloading the data from the X-Men’s computers, then leaves. The team prepares to chase her in the jet. This is great. Very exciting action, but still with some good character work included. Jubilee, in particular, gets some nice moments near the end. I also like how they still see Karima as one of them – she was never a mutant, and she was actually a Sentinel, but they overlooked that because she was a friend. I hope we get Karima back after all this – I always liked her. Sublime’s proving to be rather interesting. It’s rather interesting to see Rachel starting to take a bit more of a command role; not something I expect of her, and it’s nice to see. It shows how confident she’s grown. And, of course, Coipel’s art continues to be excellent. This is a series worth buying. It’s worth supporting. Especially since it sends the message, “Yes, female-lead books can do well at Marvel.” And then JiM and Red She-Hulk get canceled due to poor sales, showing that, no, they often can’t. Argh.

Uncanny X-Men #7, by Brian Michael Bendis and Frazer Irving. We start with someone talking to Illyana. He’s not familiar with her, and asks what’s troubling her. We find out it’s Dr. Strange. Then she starts her story, beginning with the X-Men fighting in Limbo, in a gorgeous page-and-2/3 spread (the last 1/3 is the dialogue between Illyana and Strange). Irving does a fantastic job with it. Limbo started to come apart, as a result of Magik’s power being broken. The realization gave her an idea on how to end it. Magik fights back, while the X-Men continued to get beat up. Irving handles the big panels much better than the small ones. The big panels are gorgeous. The smaller ones often are messy and unattractive. Anyway, Illyana ends the whole thing by absorbing Limbo into herself, making the easiest double-page spread an artist has ever done – all blackness. You lazy bastard, Irving. (I kid.) It actually works very well. She sends the X-Men back home – more or less – but Benjamin’s not breathing. Illyana confronts Dormammu while Christopher heals Benjamin. The kids note that the adults seemed to have as much trouble with their powers as they did, and Fabio says he wants to go home. Finally, Illyana asks Strange for help in understanding her power. This is excellent. The fight is thrilling and frightening, Illyana’s freak out is terrifying, and there’s solid characterization, particularly of the new kids, and of Illyana. Buy this book.

All-New X-Men #13, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. We start with a spread of Jean going Phoenix, while Cyclops and Wolverine stare at her in shock, and Mystique and Sabretooth look a her with fear. Then we cut back 6 hours, and a tense flight. Iceman finally breaks the silence by asking if anyone else is upset that Warren left, or if anyone knew Scott had a brother. Wolverine cuts the discussion short by asking Jean (“Jeanie,” to her confusion) if she can provide a psychic cloak. Jean asks Professor Kitty if she can do that (Kitty doesn’t want to be called that). Kitty walks her through how to do it. They go to Stark Resilient so Wolverine can pick up the scent. Jean’s concentration lapses and the guards spot them. We then cut to  Mystique and Sabretooth watching Alex’s UA#5 speech (read my thoughts about it at Beyond the Gamer! [/shamelesswhore]), and making fun of him. Mastermind says she wants in on Mystique’s whole plan, or she’s leaving. Hydra arrives, and Mystique says she wants to buy Madripoor. Then we see the X-Men reacting to Alex’s speech. Beast is uncomfortable with Alex saying “the M-word” – nice to see that someone is, in-universe. Beast asks if mutant is a derogatory word, and Iceman says any word can be derogatory if you say it with enough derogatory, and demonstrates with “Pepperoni.” OK, this made me laugh. Then we get Kitty’s reaction, and it’s wonderful. She says she’s proud to be a mutant, and proud to be Jewish, and wants people to know it. We go back to Mystique negotiating with Madame Hydra while Jean telepathically eavesdrops and reports to the others. Then the team attacks. This is great. I loved seeing someone criticize Alex’s “M-word” speech in a way that was sympathetic, which Remender has failed to do. (As a side note, they actually included a reprint of the UA page with the speech, for those who didn’t see it. I honestly wonder if that was Bendis being a little passive-aggressive. If it was, bravo to Bendis. Kitty’s response to the speech is great – it’s fantastic characterization on Bendis’s part. (Also, Iceman’s joke was legitimately funny, so credit to him for that.) He’s doing great characterization all around. And little needs to be said about Immonen’s art – the guy’s brilliant. Bendis clearly seems to believe in the mutants-as-allegory angle, as he has Kitty compare her being a mutant to her being Jewish. And he’s better than Remender at exploring political issues, even fictional ones. Can you imagine how different, and how amazing, UA would’ve been with Bendis on it? He’s showing with UXM and ANXM that he gets mutants, and gets the allegory. And that he actually can do in-depth character exploration in a team book. All Remender can do is make people hate each other while fighting big threats. Anyway, this was another excellent issue of ANXM.

Uncanny X-Force #7, written by Sam Humphries, art by Adrian Alphona and Dalibor Talajic. We start in Paris, with Psylocke and Fantomex in bed. He asks her to help him with a diamond heist so he can pay for his mother’s dialysis. He agrees, for mother. She even agrees to try to learn to like Cluster. Then we go to Madripoor’s present, where Charlie and Psylocke (in a Fantomex outfit) are in a weird superhero-themed nightclub/brothel, to find a guy who works for Weapon XIII. Psylocke finds a woman dressed as old-school her. The woman says where the target is – the Deadpool suite. They bust in, but a bunch of ninjas pop out of the walls. We go back to Paris, and the end of the heist (Psylocke uses her powers to make the guards think it’s Iron Man and Thor – I’m sensing some residual bitterness towards the Avengers). A lucky shot severs the rope before Psylocke can get into Eva, but Cluster helps her onto a roof. Now. Psylocke and Cluster chase their target while ninjas cut off escape routes. The Demon Bear is going berserk, distracting Psylocke. And then Weapon XIII shows up. Then, Fantomex and Psylocke have been making a lot of heists, and Psylocke wants to stop it. Fantomex says she loves being a thief, and she storms out. Cluster follows. This is good. Very good. The rest of the team doesn’t even appear, but honestly, I’m not missing them so far. Humphries is doing such a good job with Psylocke and the Fantomexes (including two twists I’ll admit I saw coming from the first issue, but which were done well nonetheless). There’s a development I was glad to see, and which I hope continues on. We finally start to find out what happened between Psylocke and Fantomex, and it’s fitting for both. And the art’s great. Especially the colouring. When it goes to the past, the colours are bright and vibrant. In the present, it’s dark and shadowy. It’s a nice contrast. I would definitely encourage people to buy this. It’s another female-led book, and it’s another well-written, well-drawn book, and those deserve support.

Wolverine and the X-Men #32, by Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw. Man, the art from the books I read prior to this one spoiled me, because ugh, I do not like Bradshaw’s art. Anyway, we start in the headquarters of Kilgore Arms, where guards checking out an intruder alarm find a snowman. Iceman lets Kitty know they’ve got company, and she apologizes for tripping the alarms. Kitty’s looking through files to try to find the Hellfire Academy, but no luck, so Iceman makes the visit worth their time by wrecking the place. Warbird and Doop are beating up aliens in Indonesia, Angel and Beast are flying above the Atlantic Ocean, and Rachel and Storm are hovering above New York, all looking. Back at the school, Lockheed is temporary headmaster. I don’t like how Bradshaw draws him – too humanoid, and too large. He’s supposed to be small, almost cat-like. Quire’s being beaten by Master Pandemonium’s hand demons. Philistine comments about how Quire is the first person the Siege Perilous has ever rejected. We get Philistine’s back story – he was an archaeologist who found it, then used it. The teachers discuss the students, and whether they’re ready for Phase 2. Toad tells them that maybe they should try educating the kids, instead of turning them into bad guys. Husk freaks out and breaks up with him. Wolverine leashes some Bamfs and tells them to find the Academy, while Kilgore talks to Sabretooth. This is meh. Little characterization for anyone. The Hellfire Brats can roast in a damn fire and never sully the pages of a comic again, because they are a stupid concept who will never be interesting, no matter how much Aaron wanks them. The art’s cartoonish, as is the writing. Most of the humour falls flat. About the only worthwhile moment was Rachel mind-scanning the entire planet for information on the Academy – I will admit, that was a cool panel. But that was about the only decent one, with the rest being the same pablum I’ve long since come to expect from this series.

Wolverine #5, by Paul Cornell and Mirco Pierfederici. Wolverine’s fighting SHIELD agents while thinking about how there aren’t enough good samurai movies. He’s trying to keep calm while fighting, trying not to kill too many of them. Earlier that day, Fury Jr. takes Wolverine to Helicarrier Hercules (Hercules killed the Hydra, after all). Wolverine figures out quickly the whole crew is under mind control. He drops into some tunnels, where the controlled Fury Jr talks to him. Turns out the Helicarrier was designed to be able to fight Atlantis, and it dives under water. Wolverine calls his friends at the Guernica Bar for the blueprints for the Hercules carrier. One of them calls Wanda. It’s not stated that it’s the Scarlet Witch, but it’s strongly implied. It’s actually a cute moment, I have to admit. Wolverine finds some agents in a decompression chamber. They make their way to the non-lethal armoury, and that brings us to the present, with mostly wounded, some for life, and 3 dead. I liked this one more than the last few issues. It felt less British. Maybe Alan Davis not being on art helped. Mirco (I am not typing that last name again – you want people to use your last name, then don’t have such a weird last name, man!) has a similar style, but it’s a little different, so I don’t think I have quite the same reaction to it as I do to Davis’s. (I love Alan Davis’s art, for the record. But whenever I see it, I think of British comics and characters. His art has an English accent in my mind. I practically hear Wolverine speaking in Cockney slang. It’s not a knock against him, it’s my own weird thing that I can’t get over.) There’s still a lot of mystery to uncover. And I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes.

Gambit #14, James Asmus and Khoi Pham. We actually start in Wisdom’s bed, where his one-night stand slips away with a disgusted look on her face. I can definitely understand that – I love Pete Wisdom, but man, any woman who sleeps with him should be kind of ashamed of herself for it. Gambit’s outside the JGS, getting ready to go inside and level with everyone about the kind of person he is. Then he falls into a hole that transports him to a magical realm with fairies and trolls. Wisdom shows up to get the trolls to back down, and we get confirmation Gambit’s in Avalon. Wisdom explains the situation to Gambit in his classic snarky manner, and man, I love Wisdom. Anyway, the woman stole the Faerie Grimoire, and Wisdom’s conscripted Gambit to steal it back. They go to a place where magic elements can be bought, and Gambit pretends to be working there while the owner’s tied up with Wisdom. Sadly, after a little more flirting between Gambit and the girl, she decides to show that she’s a witch who knows exactly who he is. They fight. And flirt. This is such a fun issue. The interactions between Gambit and Wisdom are hilarious. They’re both funny guys, but I’d say Wisdom steals the show, until the very end. It’s a bit of a shame this series is ending soon, but at least we got this issue. Worth it.

Deadpool #12, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, art by Mike Hawthorne. Deadpool lands on a car next to a mother and son from Ohio. He gets beat around by Vetis for a while, who keeps using the powers of various superheroes. Michael shows up to help Deadpool, and then Mephisto shows up. Vetis decapitates him, and Michael stabs Vetis through the chest so Deadpool can pull his heart out and give it to Mephisto to eat. Mephisto offers to get Preston out of Deadpool’s head, but they all refuse to make a deal with him. They’re all in Deadpool’s mind, though, so they figure they may as well look at the No Admittance area. Turns out it’s an empty gallery, with no memories in it. It’s all very meh. I just don’t give a damn.

So there’s the 8 X-titles. Now a few Now! ones.

Age of Ultron #10AI, by Mark Waid and Andre Lima Araujo. It starts with Pym explaining how he found a way to shrink and enlarge matter, and so, obviously, put on a costume to fight crime. He mentions his traditionally unstable mental state, and that the Avengers always wonder when he’s going to crack. Then he says he’s finally lost it. Then we get his backstory. We learn his parents’ names, and his own middle name (Christopher). He could be a challenging child – he once took a breath in blue raspberry drink flavouring so he could look like an alien from TV. His babysitter – his paternal grandmother – was a sci-fi writer who urged him towards imagination and creativity, while his parents wanted to move him towards engineering or medicine. She died when he was 7, which devastated young Hank. He started focusing on dull, practical inventions at that point. Whenever he did try something fun and creative, his bosses would tell him to knock it off. He finally got fed up and quit, and invented his Pym Particles. He decided to become a superhero, since there were so many popping up. (Interestingly, we skip Maria entirely.) Being around such big guys in the Avengers made him panic a bit, and want to be taken seriously. That led to him creating Ultron, in the most practical move of his life. He’s finally managed to kill Ultron, but he learned that even in a world where Pym didn’t exist, things still went to hell. Then it hits him that things were worse without him. He decides to put on his costume and fly around on an ant, where he finds a high-speed chase with a kidnapper. He drops on the car as Giant Man, then shrinks down to deliver a brain-punch as Ant-Man. He starts superheroing in effective and rather fun ways. It’s a good story. It gives a lot of interesting insight into Pym, and somewhat explains why his life’s been so messed up. It’s a touching story, continuing his ongoing redemption. The art’s very nice, too. It has sort of a classic comic feel to it, which works well with the story. We’ll have to wait and see how Avengers AI does, but based on Humphries’ work on UXF, I think it’s going to be a good series. With Victor Mancha of the Runaways, to boot! Pym’s grandson! (I wonder if he’ll still prefer “Dr. Pym”?)

Nova #5, by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Sam is telling Titus to back off, but Titus isn’t impressed. He uses his skateboard to knock the helmet out of Titus’ hands, and then puts it on and blasts him away. His mom saw it. Titus lands in a skate park, where four kids are hanging out. Nova saves them and drives Titus away, space-jumping back to the Chitauri Armada. He holds out the Ultimate Nullifier and threatens to use it if Titus and his armada don’t leave. Titus refuses and grabs the Nullifier, but as they struggle, over it, they activate it. Titus and his armada are sucked into a black hole, while Nova escapes. Rocket and Gamora show up telling him to hand over the Nullifier, but he refuses. Instead, he gives it to the Watcher. This isn’t bad. Sam continues to grow into being a hero. My only problem with this series remains the timeline, which is something I’m hoping gets addressed soon. But the writing’s actually good, the characterization’s good, and the art’s great. It’s a better series than one would expect of Jeph Loeb. We’ll see how it goes without him as the writer for the next arc.

Guardians of the Galaxy #4, by Brian Michael Bendis (again) and Sara Pichelli. Firs off, Pichelli does very nice art. The story starts in a dive bar as they celebrate their victory and praise Groot for saving the day. Stark asks if there’s a way to contact Earth, and Rocket gives him a device. Stark is amazed at a phone that can make calls across the galaxy. Tony and Gamora flirt a bit, then they go have sex, with her apparently injuring Tony in the process. She starts heading back to the bar, and gets blasted in the back. At the bar, some Spartax Royal Guards enter, and a fight starts. Back to Gamora, who’s been captured by a bounty hunter, Maxilin the Accuser. While the Guardians fight the guards, Peter keeps flirting with some girl. Gamora beats up her captor, and asks who put the bounty on her. Their fight is really cool. Well-choreographed. Stark calls Pepper. Gamora end up losing the fight, but Rocket puts a big hole in the guy’s chest. Another good issue. Some fun character stuff, and some deeper character stuff with Gamora. Bendis has been setting up a lot of sub-plots that I’m hoping will pay off down the line. I’m sure they will. Bendis usually doesn’t leave things dangling forever. It may take a few years, but he usually gets back to them. The bar fight is a lot of fun, and the alley fight with Gamora is great. Pichelli knocks it out of the park. Also, bashful Groot. Yes. She made a walking tree look positively embarrassed. He was almost blushing. It was wonderful.

Secret Avengers #5, by Nick Spencer and Luke Ross. We get brief shots of what seems to have been a mission that went unhappily (Hawkeye not wanting to take a shot, Black Widow being thrown out a window), and then we cut to the post-op. Hawkeye asks Widow why she agreed to work with SHIELD. She says she knew what she was getting into, and that it’s the world she lives in. He says he’s getting out, and she says he gets out every time he does it. And that the only one lying to him is himself. Then we see what looks like AIM’s top guy, dead with a hole through his helmet. Hawkeye’s brought in to talk to Coulson, who wants his story on the mission. Hawkeye, Widow and Fury Jr were on AIM Island, with Hawkeye refusing to go along with the mission, saying he doesn’t kill. Even though he has killed without losing much sleep over it in the past. He tries not to kill, but he’s not really squeamish about it. I guess the difference here is it’s not self-defence or war, it’s an assassination, and that’s a line he doesn’t want to cross. Which is fair. He and Fury Jr argue until Widow interrupts by saying she’ll be taking the shot. Now Widow’s being interviewed by Coulson. Before she could take the shot, she was found by the other Black Widow, Yelena Belova. She’s the one who threw Widow out the window. That’s when Hawkeye was ordered to take the shot. Hawkeye refused, and instead rescued Widow, leaving Fury Jr to take the shot. And he did it. And now Daisy Johnson is no longer director of SHIELD. Hill’s back in charge. And that’s when the big twists happen. This is great. Lots of the twists and turns we expect from this book. Seeing the mission go to hell was fun and interesting. The last-page reveal, while obvious, was still done well. Daisy being removed as SHIELD Director was a good choice – she never made much sense as the director. She’s 19. That’s way too young. The ongoing political intrigues are also really cool. And the art’s good.

Young Avengers #6, by Kieron Gillen and Kate Brown. First, the intro page is resumes for Speed and Prodigy (of the X-Men) – cute. We open with Prodigy working technical support. Advising on how to defuse a Skrull bomb. Then telling someone to run from Elektra. That call annoys him – you just can’t help ninjas. Then the credits page, which is a job sheet with the names written on. As he comes out of his office, his boss hassles him, and Tommy says they should get some noodles. But first he has to do some work. Assembling gizmos. Five minutes in the morning, five in the evening. He puts together some stuff, then says that was about a week from his perspective. More gizmos, another week. He says it’s hell, but hell that pays. Gillen clearly gets speedsters. A lot of people can forget how different their perspective would be. They go for noodles, where Tommy gripes about the Young Avengers, and David talks about all the stuff he knows – which includes how Scott and Emma like to kiss, and how all the X-Men like to wipe. Later, he IMs with Laurie at the school. Nice to know she’s still kicking around. Gillen seems to be the only one who cares about her, since he made her. She wants him to come back to the school, he doesn’t want to. The next day, Tommy asks why David’s working a shit job, and David points out he was the head of the youth division of the mutant separatist group sometimes called terrorists, and that he can’t take X-options, because he feels they used the kids. Someone breaks into where they work, wearing a Patriot costume, but a quick call confirms for Tommy it’s not his Patriot. Tommy volunteers himself and David to watch the place that night. David’s less than pleased, but Tommy says they’re friends. David says they’ve had noodles once and coffee once. Tommy agrees: Friends. That night, they see their Patriot, and Tommy confronts him, but it’s weird and creepy. It is seriously messed up. And awesome. And Kate Brown does some great stuff with the panels. This was amazing. Gillen’s got a great handle on both characters, and he has such fun with them, until that super-creepy ending, which is seriously the stuff of nightmares. Buy this. If you’re not buying this, you’re wrong. Gillen’s one of the best writers out there, and Brown’s a fantastic artist, and this is just awesome and you should buy it, unless you suck, in which case maybe buying this will help you suck less so you should buy it anyway.


From → 2013, Uncategorized

  1. Actually, Brian Wood’s X-Men 1 was the top selling comic last month, so hopefully it will continue to do well. The comic deserves it.

    Wolvie and the X-Men 32 was slightly better than the last issue, but only because it spends less time at the Hellfire Club. Even then, the X-Men scenes have their own problems. For example, why didn’t Hellion or Pixie recognize Lockheed? I’m pretty sure they’ve met him before at the very least.

    Also just a side note, Guardians 4 came out this week, not guardians 3. Feel free to edit this part of the comment out.

  2. Re: X-Men #2: It was great to see Rachel taking command, and Rogue being a powerhouse in issue #1 (in particular) and Kitty in #2, who I usually disregard. So far everyone is getting their talents showcased nicely. Total badass-ery. Also, from a writing aspect, to have the alien bacteria/Arkea/Karima accessing files on the characters to “info dump” and fill in things is a neat tactic.

  3. Gehirn permalink

    All new X-men 13, now we see how jean actually is the Phoenix force incarnation… She show us the Phoenix raptor and she didn’t need go to the space…

  4. Gehirn permalink

    You may right or see Mastermind could be the trigger to call phoenix, Or it may be a warning, if you remember when jean dream killed by wolverine we see the Phoenix raptor in her eye, still a confusing secret

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