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X-Men comics (July 31, 2013)

July 31, 2013

This is a good week. Lots of comics.

Let’s start with Uncanny X-Men #10, by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo. Ali’s trying to talk to Fabio, but Fabio’s family is insane, so that’s difficult. His sister is psyched that Dazzler is in the house and wants her to sign a record, and Fabio’s dad wants to shoot Alison. She puts a record on and creates a flashbang. Fabio’s sister seems entirely too happy about it. The whole scene is great. Hilarious, but also legitimately tense. Meanwhile, at New Xavier’s, new mutant David shows what he can do by hijacking the plane with his mind. Scott is suitably impressed. Irma Cuckoo shows up with a totally new hairstyle – short and black. It’s actually pretty cute, but Celeste freaks out. Seems Irma might have a bit of a crush on Triage, too. Once Emma defuses the situation, Phoebe thinks about going red. Celeste is not amused. Well, it’s one less blonde on the team, so that’s a plus. Anyway, then we go back to Fabio waking up cuffed to a chair so Alison can talk to him without having guns pointed at her. Fabio refuses to say anything, pointing out that Scott saved him from police and giant robots, and that it’s SHIELD who’s kidnapped him. Scott pops in to demand Fabio’s release. Things are actually shockingly civil between Alison and Scott’s team. It’s very tense, but it never even comes close to coming to blows. It’s a fantastic scene. I actually get the feeling that Alison’s really conflicted about what she’s doing. And then there’s a last-page shocker that’s got some very interesting potential ramifications. This is great. A lot of excellent characterization. Bendis continues to do more with the Cuckoos than any writer since Morrison. He does a great job with Alison – it feels more like Alison than Pak’s ever did, even though I did eventually come to really enjoy his X-Treme X-Men. I’m still not big on Bachalo’s work here, but it’s actually not bad here. There’s not a lot of action, and Bachalo’s an artist I find better at quiet stuff than action. Irma did look really cute. Great series. This continues to be the slowest of slow burns, but I prefer character-focused stuff over big things happening anyway, so I’m very satisfied.

X-Men #3, by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel. While the main team lands in Budapest. Back at the school, the clock reaches 0 . . . and nothing happens. Kitty gets Pixie to teleport the clock away, then the room seals and atmospheres are added. Bling knocks the door down, but then they come across a bunch of Karima Shapandars. Bling wrecks them, too. Bling is actually quite the little ass-kicker in this book. You go, girl. Back in Budapest, they’re outside a hospital right near where Arkea’s meteor crashed down. The hospitals deals in a lot of medical cybernetic implants. Sublime says Arkea is trying to gather the pieces of herself that broke up in reentry, and that when she does, she’ll be unstoppable. Jubilee stays outside with the baby, looking up the floor plans. She also worries about possibly losing the baby. Back at the school, more Karima-bots. Armor, Hellion and Oya are kicking some ass, and Bling and Surge tell Kitty to hit the server room while they also go to kick ass. Back in Budapest, fight! Another excellent issue. Coipel’s art, of course, is excellent. There’s a lot of action in this issue, and he draws it really well. But there’s also plenty of quiet moments, and those are gorgeous. He does such a good job with facial expressions. Kitty, in particular. And Wood’s just killing it. He’s made better use of Bling than anyone since . . . well, ever, actually, because Bling was always a very silly character, but Wood’s doing good stuff with her here. He also made good use of Hellion. The confrontation with Arkea was tense, and started to build some tension in the team, as not everyone was happy with Storm ordering Psylocke to use her psychic sword on Arkea/Karima. And the end of that confrontation was very good. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where that goes. So I’m loving this series, which is no surprise. If you’re not reading this, you’re wrong.

Uncanny X-Force #9, written by Sam Humphries, pencils by Dalibor Talajic and Adrian Alphona. It starts Then. Psylocke puts a gun to Fantomex’s head, angry at him setting her up. Cluster wants them all to get along, and Fantomex just keeps making stupid jokes. Psylocke can’t kill Cluster, but she swears that she’ll find Fantomex when Cluster isn’t with him, and kill him. Now. Weapon XIII lets Psylocke into the old library where Fantomex is imprisoned. It’s a very tense, emotional discussion between Psylocke and Fantomex, as each accuses the other of betrayal. And then the big fight. In a flaming library. Very dramatic. I mean that in a good way. In most books, it would be really cheesy, but for UXF, it works. It’s exactly the sort of thing I expect of this book. And again, I mean that in the best possible way. She spares Fantomex, which bothers Weapon XIII. She played him. Very nice, Psylocke. The fight between Psylocke and Weapon XIII is pretty cool. She unleashes the Demon Bear on him. Outside, Cluster and Fantomex tell Psylocke they want to be remerged, so they can love Psylocke properly. This was another good issue. The art, as ever, is gorgeous. There’s an ethereal feel to it all that makes it work really well. Humphries does a great job with Psylocke, making her strong, clever and sarcastic. She tells off Fantomex, and then she tells off Weapon XIII. Her romance with Cluster seems entirely at an end, sadly. Oh well. Now that this arc is over, it looks like Humphries is going to get back to the team. I’ve enjoyed this arc, but I will be glad to see the other characters again. Especially Puck. I love me some Puck. No such thing as too much Puck.

X-Men Legacy #14, by Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat. Pete Wisdom’s feeling pretty good about burning a whole through David’s face, but Blindfold is less than pleased. Wisdom points out it wasn’t really David. He “Holodecked” them. He tries the Fury, but Blindfold sees through it. Next is letting Wisdom see everyone he’s loved and lost – his mom, Kurt, Kitty, John the Skrull and Maureen. Ruth tells David it’s low, and David brings her to understand what he’s doing. Wisdom and Ruth are released back into the bar, where Lila Cheney explains the plan: Get rid of mutophobia in Britain. Psylocke’s snuck into the Ministry of Defence, Alchemy’s on the Scottish border pouring rare earths the full length of the country, Pixie’s ready to stir things up at a football game, Chamber’s in a nuclear plant, and Liam – who can blow things up – has gone to see the Queen. Wisdom doesn’t believe any of it – he thinks David’s target is Abdi. Wisdom is clever, he is. Wisdom tears through more fantasies until he winds up in David’s mind. Brought by David, at the gentle prodding of Ruth, by which I mean she was twisting his ear. Eventually, David releases him, He rushes to where Abdi is, to save him from David . . . who actually gives Wisdom a chance to save Abdi from the actual assassination, care of a gay Aqiri citizen. Then David surrenders. We find out exactly what all the other members of David’s “team” were doing. It’s pretty great. David’s quite the manipulative little bastard, and it’s a joy to watch. I still hate the art, though. It just doesn’t work for me. And I also still disapprove of David’s accent. Still, I very much approve of what he’s doing. Next issue should be very interesting – looks like he’s going to be getting a visit from mom.

Wolverine: In the Flesh one-shot, by Chris Cosentino and Dalibor Talajic, will be updated once I’ve had a chance to read it. Maybe.

What If? AvX #3, written by Jimmy Palmiotti, pencils by Jorge Molina and Gerardo Sandoval. The world’s getting burned, while Hope and Magneto demand the mutants side with them. Cyclops refuses, and tries to talk her down, but she refuses. Magneto and Hope start killing people. Hope can’t control the power, and asks Magneto for help. He kills her, and absorbs the Phoenix himself. He kills just about everyone, but Xavier’s able to distract him while Hulk does a Fastball Special with Wolverine. Then the Phoenix leaves Magneto, and Wolverine meets up with Jean. The world’s over, and Jean and Wolverine are starting over, because this is a really stupid series that doesn’t even try to make sense. What a waste of time this whole thing was. All that, just to get a panel of jean and Wolverine kissing, because idiotic fanboys actually believe those two ever had anything between them, despite the overwhelming lack of any actual on-page evidence that Jean ever actually felt something for him. The whole idea that she did was Claremont being pissy about Scott’s happy ending with Maddie being ended so he could run back to Jean. Even then, Claremont never actually showed Jean as having any real feelings for Wolverine. So the ending of this mini is idiotic nonsense, which makes sense, because the whole thing was idiotic nonsense. Things happen for the sake of having them happen, rather than flowing logically from past events. Magneto becomes an omnicidal maniac for no reason, which makes Scott look like a complete idiot for trusting Magneto with Hope’s training. What a terrible mini this was.

That’s all the X-titles. There’s a couple more non-X-titles to mention.

Guardians of the Galaxy #5, by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli. Neil Gaiman is listed as a “consultant” – I’d hoped for co-writer. So that’s a little disappointing. It starts with Angela angry at being where she is. Makes sense she’d be angry – ’90s anti-heroes usually were, and that ridiculous outfit makes it clear that she’s still stuck in the ’90s. Seriously, it sucks. Anyway, we then cut to the Guardians’ stolen ship, where Tony and Rocket are trying to figure out what Tony’s going to do about his busted armour. Rocket shows him a sladon – a device that heals metal. Then they talk about what a terrible idea it was for Tony to hook up with Gamora. Meanwhile, on Rigel 7, Peter Quill is being chased. He manages to slip away, and is found by Mantis, which is who he was looking for. She’s not joining his team, but that’s not why he’s there. He felt something, and wanted to know if she felt it, too. She probes his mind, and sees the weird time-breaking-thing he saw. The Guardians get a ping from Earth, and go to check it out. It’s Angela, of course. That leads to a catfight. This is OK. Somehow, this issue just didn’t seem to click for me. Pichelli’s art is solid, but Bendis’s dialogue seems a little too Bendis-y. More than usual. It felt like it dragged it down a bit. I may also be biased by the fact that Angela’s costume is just so unbelievably stupid. It actually makes me not like her as a character. I’ve never read any of Spawn, so I have no previous experience with her, and my first experience is thinking about how stupid she looks. Maybe I’ll start to care about her more once she starts, you know, doing something. But for right now, I really don’t care about her. And that makes me care less about the book, which is very rare for me. There are very few instances where I care less about a team book based on a single character being added in. But this one actually managed to do that.

And lastly, Captain Marvel #14, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Scott Hepburn. This ends the Enemy Within crossover with Avengers Assemble. Yon-Rogg is about to crush New York, and Carol’s not sure she has the strength to stop him. Cap and Cap get blasted off their skycycle, and have to fight Mandroids. She goes after Yon-Rogg, but the Mandroids keep him safe. Wendy comes up with an idea for stopping Yon-Rogg from putting New Kree-Lar down on top of New York. They need to analyze the energy he’s using to counteract it. It’s Carol, of course, with the Sentries working to create an amplification field. They can use Captain America’s shield to block the lasers they’re connected with, but they can’t get it there in time. So Carol handles the situation herself, by flying into orbit. It’s a very emotional finale, and I’m very curious to see where her story goes from here. I love this series.

My favourite comic of the week is Uncanny X-Men #9. And my scene of the week goes to the same, for Alison dealing with Fabio’s family. Also, cover of the week to – shock! – Fearless Defenders #7. Mark Brooks continues to absolutely kill it with the covers of that series. I also want to mention Stephanie Hans’ art, because it is absolutely gorgeous. Just stunning art. It’s a really nice story inside, too (Clea!), but Hans steals the issue with that art. I’d love to see more of her. She deserves it.  Runner-up for cover is Legacy – it’s a clever representation of Legion’s manipulations.

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From → 2013

3 Comments
  1. I just picked up issue #3! “If you’re not reading this, you’re wrong.” Can I quote you on that?

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