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X-Men comics (August 14, 2013)

August 14, 2013

Another fairly light week. Here we go.

First up, Uncanny X-Men #10, by Brian Michael Bendis and Frazer Irving. Eva is being trained by Magik in hand-to-hand combat, and not doing too well. Emma isn’t in the mood for Scott being smug, and wanders off. Magneto is in his room, apparently reflecting on past battles with the X-Men, and he gets a message. from someone who wants to meet. They’re speaking in code, and it’s bizarre. Also, the idea of Magneto knowing how to text message is oddly amusing to me. Anyway, we go back to Eva and Magik. Eva manages to throw Magik to the ground, and then briefly panics and puts her in a time bubble. Then she makes Magik vanish. Scott says they need to go to Mr. Fantastic to get her back, but Eva manages to bring her back. Then Eva freaks out and runs away. Magneto has a meeting with Maria Hill, who tells her she’s not going to talk to him any more, and he can deal with Dazzler from now on. Then we see a big pro-mutant rally at University of Michigan Ann Arbor. I like that Bendis is actually showing that sort of thing happening. It’s something I’ve long felt needs to show up in X-Men comics, so the fact that Bendis keeps tossing these rallies in is something that makes me very happy. A speaker talks about how, as soon as the X-Men had the power to change the world for the better, that was exactly what they did, and the Avengers tried to stop them. Bendis said in interviews that the good the Phoenix Five did would be addressed; now it is. Scott and the others decide to stop by to say hi. No, really, Scott shows up and says “hi.” Then he delivers a speech, and it’s a good one. It’s a masterful speech. He talks about Xavier’s dream, he talks about the Avengers and Fantastic Four being good people who’ve been fighting alongside the X-Men for years. He’s showing that he’s not a villain, and that’s a smart move for him. I really like the speech he delivers, because it’s a positive one. I would argue much more positive than Alex’s speech in Uncanny Avengers #5. On a side note, he also shows a little guilt about Xavier’s death, before quickly suppressing it. Very, very nice touch. Of course, then things go wrong. I gotta say, Bendis is continuing to kill it. I’d like to see more of the new mutants, I will say that. He makes sparing use of them, and I’m hoping that he’ll give them all a little more focus soon. Next month starts Battle of the Atom, so I doubt they’ll get much to do there, but hopefully once that’s over, the focus will shift to them for a short while. Other than that, though, this is excellent. Magneto’s machinations continue to be interesting. The rally is an awesome development, and Scott’s speech was pretty much exactly what I would’ve wanted. And that brief moment of realization regarding Xavier was great. Bendis is doing some great work on this book.

Uncanny X-Force #10, by Sam Humphries and Ramon Perez. The Revenant Owl Queen sends her followers to kill Bishop. Meanwhile, Storm and Puck are trying to get information out of Bishop. Psylocke returns and confirms that Bishop remembers little of what happened. He doesn’t remember Hope. Storm, Psylocke and Puck talk about what to do about Bishop, but he refuses to go anywhere, saying his mission is in LA. He explains that revenants are psychic demons, and that he’s the only one who can stop the ones who’ve journeyed to the past. Puck doesn’t believe any of it, until they come under attack from a whole bunch of revenants. Storm tries to get Bishop away, but gets grabbed, and some Owl blood forced into her mouth, which exposes her to all her darkest shame. Puck goes through the same thing. Psylocke sends her Demon Bear to protect Bishop, and exposes herself in the process, so the Owl blood can be forced on her. (Her shames, by the way, include her classic costume. Nice.) And I normally don’t give last-page spoilers, but Bishop gets a “Now it’s my turn” moment. I had to mention that. This is actually less enjoyable than the last few issues. I know, most people were impatient to get back to the team story, but I really enjoyed Psylocke’s adventures in Paris and Madripoor. I thought the last few issues were well-written and had great art. I didn’t much care for the writing or art in this issue. Art-wise, it just seemed rushed. A lot of bad faces. For the writing, I don’t know, it just didn’t click for me, somehow. It lacked the depth of the last few issues. It was a chunk of exposition followed by a long fight scene. The shames of each of the three characters was pretty neat, though, I’ll give it that.

Astonishing X-Men #65, by Marjorie Liu and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. The X-Men are fighting a Mystique who’s now powered by a Celestial Death Seed, while someone tries to get Bobby to talk about what happened. Thor stuns Mystique, and then Kitty reaches into her and digs out the Seed. Then everyone is teleported away by ice. And now we see that it’s Bobby who’s talking to Bobby. Bobby admits that he’s scared of his father, and Bobby tells him he’s seen his father in every authority figure. In the Antarctic, everyone confronts Iceman, telling him stupid he’s been, and that he’s not alone. And then Iceman fights a monster Iceman while Bobby tells himself to grow up and be a man and confront his fears. It’s all very metaphorical. Whatever. I don’t particularly care. I don’t like Iceman, and no matter how hard anyone tries to make him interesting, he’s a boring, annoying characters, capable only of bad jokes and self-pity. I hate Walta’s art, I’m not a fan of Liu’s writing, Bobby’s probably my least favourite X-Man ever (and yes, that does include Maggott) . . . I don’t even care enough about this issue to do a more proper review.

Wolverine and the X-Men #34, by Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw. This is Part 4 of the seemingly-never-ending Hellfire Brat arc. The X-Men show up, with their Krakoa and Iceman making a giant ice mecha. The Brats activate their own Krakoas. Also, Kitty apparently hasn’t even let Bobby get to second base with her yet. Fastball Special with Krakoa and Wolverine. The Brats are all annoying little shits – I am simply too fed up with them not to swear at them – and Broo attacks Kilgore. We can only hope Broo kills him, and then finishes the others, because  – and I cannot stress this enough – they are absolutely terrible characters who never should’ve existed in the first place. Quire and Idie fight the other students, most of whom also suck. Paige is trying to kill Toad, because Jason Aaron has decided to do everything in his power to make people not want to see Paige ever again. Kitty’s searching for the kids. The X-Men fight the Hellfire teachers, who are mostly terrible characters. Seriously, Aaron just sucks when it comes to villains in this series. How is he the same guy who came up with Gorr the God-Butcher? Anyway, Doop translations: “Hello. Are there any small children in here?” “What the. . . .” “Oh man. She’s not kidding. Totally about to eat my eyeballs. Must . . . fight back. . . .” Sadly, Broo doesn’t kill Kilgore, even though I’m certain that everyone who’s ever heard of the Hellfire Brats wants them to die. Jason Aaron, you are the only person on the planet who thinks these characters aren’t an abomination. Kill them! Kill them all! Just get it over with already! And then leave this book so that someone else can write it. You’re going to have Amazing X-Men. This book can be given to Christos Gage. Or even better, Kathryn Immonen – she needs somewhere to go now that Journey Into Mystery’s ending. ANd by the way, I still don’t forgive those of you who weren’t buying that book. You’ll buy swill like WatXM, but you won’t buy the excellent Journey Into Mystery? You’re all bastards. You’re why the Hellfire Brats exist, you know that, right? As long as you buy books they appear in, Jason Aaron’s going to keep bringing them back. Is that what you want? Do you want to see Kade frigging Kligore pop up in Amazing X-Men? If you do, you’re a terrible person. Just an objectively terrible person. Liking the Hellfire Brats is a surefire sign of someone being terrible. Ugh.

Wolverine #8, by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis. It starts with Black Panther beating up Wolverine and demanding to know why he was in Wakanda. Then we cut back two days. Maria Hill briefs Wolverine, Storm and Fury, Jr. on the virus, and on the last virus-controlling superhuman left, the Host, arrested on trumped-up charges in Wakanda. The Host is functionally immortal, which is why the virus didn’t have her killed. They don’t know if Black Panther’s controlled by the virus. So Wolverine figures he can piss the Panther off to find out, while the others free the Host. That . . . goes less than well. The Panther’s very controlled, and very intelligent, and actually turns it around to piss off Wolverine instead. Meanwhile, Storm, Fury, Jr and Victoria Frankenstein – and it still makes me happy seeing her again – sneak in. They find the Host, but get attacked before they can wake her up. Black Panther reveals to Wolverine that he knows about the virus, and that he’s wearing a filter to keep from being infected, and that he was only baiting Wolverine in order to trick the virus. This is pretty good. Black Panther was as clever as usual. Storm got to be a bit of a badass. It’s interesting seeing Wolverine having to deal with being a mere mortal now. I’ve gotten used to Cornell and Davis on this book, so it no longer feels as weird as it used to. That’s good.

Deadpool #14, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, art by Scott Koblish. The White Man goes to the Empire State Building so he can take hostages and demand Deadpool and the Heroes for Hire come face him. Luke and Danny find Deadpool, they go face the Whit Man, blah blah blah, terrible jokes, unappealing art, some kids punch the White Man in the balls, freeze him and knock him off his yacht. I got exactly one laugh out of the whole thing, and that was on the letters page. Someone talked about doing Deadpool cosplay at a convention, and asked for advice. The response was to go “old-school” and chop off his feet for a Rob Liefeld Deadpool. Credit where it’s due, that was actually a really good burn.  As for the rest of the issue, I don’t care. This series is awful. It’s not clever at all. It’s just a bunch of “lol random and wacky!” nonsense. It’s stupid and shitty.

There’s the X-titles.

Infinity #1, by Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung. It starts with a flashback to the Illuminati destroying a world, with a caption about it being “an Avengers world.” And by the way, quick side-note, can I just say how much I hate that phrase? It felt forced when Captain America first said it, and it feels forced every single time it pops up. It feels like a forced meme, a phrase that was manufactured just to be spread around. Anyway. The next chunk is from the Free Comic Book Day Infinity issue. Thanos sends his representative to Ahl-Agullo, a planet conquered by Thanos. He brings back a tribute. The tribute seems to be a whole lot of dead babies. One of Thanos’ servant creatures – an Outrider – arrives on Earth, invisible, and looks for something. Then, to Galador, where the Builders – the oldest civilization in the universe, which makes me roll my eyes and wonder how damned many “oldest civilizations” we’re seen in comics, and it annoys me when ideas like that get recycled constantly – are attacking. The Spaceknights – Starshine, Terminator, Ikon, Firefall, Pulsar – are fighting back. Captain Universe tells some citizens the Spaceknights will fail. Galador is destroyed, completely. Back to Earth, where Captain America and Hawkeye help SWORD to arrest some Skrulls. There seems to be an unusual number of Skrulls showing up on Earth. And then an unconscious Captain Universe shows up behind Brand. And on a side note, the Avengers officially have too many Captains right now. Three Captains is too many. The Outrider is in Attilan, prying into Black Bolt’s mind for secrets. On the Peak, the Avengers are shown a distress signal from Kree space. The Builders have attacked one of their outposts. They’re on their way to Earth. On Attilan, Black Bolt discovers the Outrider, in his mind and above him. The Outrider barely manages to escape. The Avengers plan on meeting the Builder fleet in space. The Outrider returns to Earth, and reports its success to the Five Dreadlords of the Black Order. I have the same problem with this that I do with all of Hickman’s run on Avengers and New Avengers. It’s very big, epic stuff . . . with no real emotion to it. It’s a very cold, impersonal story. There’s a little bit of emotionality on Galador, but then the whole planet’s destroyed. The art doesn’t help. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Cheung’s work looks great. It suits the scope of the story. But it has that same detached feel. Like it’s too big. I’m simply not enjoying this. It leaves me feeling bored, because I have no real investment in the story. Yeah, sure, Earth’s at risk. So what? The Earth’s always at risk. Even in the real world, the Earth could be wiped out at any moment without any warning. So the scope doesn’t mean anything. I’m actually going to quote Mordin from Mass Effect 2: “Can’t anthropomorphize galaxy. But can think about favourite nephew.” Hickman’s not giving us that. He’s not giving us that real emotional connection to the story. I don’t even need to read the comic itself; a synopsis would give me the same effect, in the end. So, blah. I don’t like Infinity.


From → 2013

  1. I agree with your point on Infinity. Planet-wide threats are so common in the Marvel Universe – pretty much every month even. There needs to be heart behind the story or it ends up kind of meaningless. There needs to be some sort of character focus. Hickman did that right in his Fantastic Four run – it’s up there with the best runs in the franchise. I know he’s capable, so why is he forgetting that in his Avengers run?

  2. Hamburger Time permalink

    I must say I’m really interested in this person whom Scott regards as “first on the list” of mutant-haters. Have any guesses who it might be? My first guess would be Sinister, given that Gillen masterfully set him up as Scott’s arch-nemesis AND left room for that plot to be continued, but he’s never really “hated” mutants so much as seen them as useful and ever-so-fascinating lab rats.

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