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X-Men comics (August 21, 2013)

August 21, 2013

Now that Infinity’s started, we’re getting some tie-ins. Well, they should be a lot easier to give a damn about than Infinity itself is. But first, X-Men.

First, X-Factor #261, by Peter David and Neil Edwards. Darwin is in Las Vegas, carrying a big gun and busting into a warehouse that’s supposed to lead to Hela. Instead, it’s a stolen car ring.  The guys shoot him, and he turns into Jell-O, much to his own surprise. He tells the guys to turn themselves into the police, then walks out and runs into Monet. He punches her. She punches him back, and says Guido brought her back to life. Then they go out for drinks. She flips out at a singer who mentions Heaven in his song, breaks a bouncer’s hand, and then Darwin says he loves her. She takes him to bed. This is . . . a very odd issue. But enjoyable. They’re both in a really weird place. Monet, after suffering a case of dead, isn’t able to feel anything any more, though she does a pretty good approximation of anger. Habit, I suppose. Darwin’s haunted by the death powers he has. They’re both alone, cut off from everyone else, with no idea where anyone else even is. The dialogue, overall, is less sharp and clever, and more serious. There’s still plenty of PAD’s style in there, though. The art is meh. It’s serviceable. It falls flat in a few places, particularly a panel of Monet laughing (though the previous panel of her scrunching up her face was very good). Only one more issue of this volume of X-Factor. This one gives no indications of what comes next. So we’ll have to wait and see.

X-Men #4, by Brian Wood and David Lopez. Jubilee’s taken Shogo to Santa Monica Beach, accompanied by Wolverine. She’s got lightbenders, and she’s also got some new leg tattoos. Cool. Meanwhile, the others are trying to save a plane with a flaming engine. There’s clear tension between Storm and Rachel, over Storm’s willingness to kill Karima to stop Arkea. Despite the tension in the scene, there’s a couple funny lines, too. Jubes and Wolvie – I’m feeling ’90s-ish – check out her old house, which he offers to buy for her. She declines. Back in the air, the non-angry ladies come up with a plan that Kitty says is “crazy, it involves grappling hooks and ridiculous amounts of brute force.” I approve of any plan that involves grappling hooks. I won’t spoil the plan, except to say that Psylocke uses a telekinetic crossbow because she is now awesome. Back to Jubes and Wolvie, who are at a mall food court. Not just any mall – this is probably the most famous mall in X-Men history, because this is Jubilee’s mall. The one from her very first appearance, way back in UXM #244 (thanks, Jeanine!). The one where the ’80s X-Ladies – Storm, Psylocke, Rogue and Dazzler – went to a strip club and beat up some M-Squad goons. That comic is a classic. I’m looking forward to getting around to that one, though it’ll be over a year before I reach it. Anyway, it’s a nice scene. Back to the rescue, where Storm and Psylocke continue to discuss things, and Rogue is awesome. This is such a great issue. Jubilee’s more like herself here, which is nice to see. The first three issues had her really emotional. Here, she’s showing a little more of her fun side, though she’s still far more mature and grown up, appropriately. The scene with her and Wolvie are really nice, as we explore her childhood, what she’s lost and how far she’s come. Though I am a little sad that she calls him Logan now. It just feels weird coming from her. She always called him Wolvie, but now she’s an adult and calls him by his name. Sigh. On the other side, the dialogue between Storm and Rachel was really good, really tense. And the plane rescue was just fantastic. The plan really was insane, and so much fun to watch them pull it off. Seriously, you have to buy this book, if only for that great rescue. But everything else in the issue is solid, too, so it’s worth picking up for everything. Wood does some excellent characterization of everyone, with Rogue being particularly fun. Given how much of an unlikable bitch she is in Uncanny Avengers, it’s wonderful seeing her having so much fun in this book. She’s got a wild streak here that’s just an utter delight to see. Especially when she starts improvising on the plan. “I’m going to shoot the Blackbird” is in the running for one of the top lines of the year, I think.

X-Men Legacy #15, by Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat. “X-Day” has improved the perception of mutants in the UK. Cyclops gets interviewed about it on the news, while Gabrielle Haller lands on Muir Island in a helicopter. Legion is remembering it the way it used to be, but then lets the memory fade back to the ruin it remains. Sad, really, that it’s never been fixed up. But I suppose, without Moira, there’s no reason. Anyway, Gabrielle’s really nervous, and David seems less than enthused about her being there. He tells her about his recent breakdown, the Age of X, and the fact that his brain picked Moira to fill the motherly role. He tells his mother about what he went through at Muir Island, and then asks her where she’d always been. She says she never understood the world he lives in. Then they have a heartfelt moment of reunion. And then he sucks her into his head without thinking about it. She quickly realizes the Xavier in Legion’s head isn’t the real Xavier. They get out of Legion’s head. And then she gets shot in her head. So that’s the end of Gabrielle Haller. That’s too bad. She was always cool. But she was also ridiculously old at this point. One of the unfortunate realities of a sliding timeline. This issue’s really emotional. Legion’s memories of Muir make Moira look pretty bad, and I suppose she kinda was, given that she poked and prodded him quite a bit. She was trying to help, but still. This doesn’t do much in regards to the larger storyline, but that’s fine. I much prefer character-focused stuff, and this issue’s very character-focused – even more than usual for this series, and this series is doing a great job at that – so I figure it’s a great issue. The next issue should be very interesting, since it looks like Legion’s going to be confronting his father’s killer.

Cable and X-Force #13, plotted by Dennis Hopeless, written by Cullen Bunn, art by Salvador Larroca. Lisbon has a giant freakish monster attacking it. Forge and Nemesis are trying to come up with ways of dealing with it, all of which would result in even greater death and destruction, because they are insane. But so, so funny. In the future, Hope is surprised to see herself. Future Hope and Blaquesmith – who’s working on a Deathlok, because the X-titles just can’t seem to get rid of those things these days – explain why they’re sending Cable the premonitions. In Future Hope’s timeline, Cable retired, and missed some signs that the world was on the wrong track. By the time he got involved again, it was too late. The Future People watch the past fix itself, in the form of Colossus dropping onto the Lisbon monster. He winds up in monster snot, so Domino tells him to set himself on fire for a few minutes, and sets Boomer on clean-up while she goes to talk to the nerds. In the future, Future Hope explains that she sent the visions to get Cable and Hope fighting together. Blaquesmith also explains that they’ve changed Cable’s brain to give him precognition. Which takes us back to the past, and Avengers Mansion, and Cable still having a seizure. In his mind, he explains to Havok what he was doing. In the future, Hope tells them that what they’re doing is killing Cable, and it hasn’t even resulted in Hope getting to fight beside him. A lot of people seem to find time travel stories confusing. I’ve never had that problem. So I’m finding this story easy to understand, but I don’t know if other people might have trouble with it. I would hope not, but they might. Regardless, it’s an interesting story being told. And Bunn’s scripting is as strong as Hopeless’ was. I don’t know if Bunn’s taking over permanently or just on a temporary basis, but it’s fine either way. He’s got a good handle on the characters. I do want to see more Forge and Nemesis. They’re awesome. And more Boomer. What I like about this book is the humour it brings. Remender’s Uncanny X-Force was really dark and serious, because Remender seems to have some sort of vendetta against fun, so it’s a relief to get an X-Force book that knows that it’s actually OK to laugh.

And now, the non-X-stuff. Mostly Infinity stuff. And by “mostly,” I actually mean “entirely.”

Avengers Assemble #18, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Barry Kitson. Infinity #1 left me cold last week. Spider-Woman talks about the Battle of the Corridor, where various alien races – the Kree, Shi’ar, Brood, Spartax and Skrulls – united against the Builders. It didn’t go well. DeConnick gets out of writing an inspiring speech from Captains America and Marvel by having Spider-Woman too nervous to hear most of it. Clever. She touches on Carol’s memory problem. Spider-Woman sees Carol and Clint go off for one ship, and says she wondered if she wouldn’t be happier if she never saw that ship again. Ouch. Jessica isn’t taking Carol’s memory loss, or her own break-up with Clint, well. Anyway, then the fight starts. Some pretty impressive space battle action. Then a whole lot of Builder ships show up in a counter-ambush. Hulk and Jessica go outside to fight. In the end, Jessica isn’t able to get back into the ship before they get the engines back online, and she tells them to leave her behind. They don’t, and a Skrull actually saves her life. Leaves her feeling pretty confused. Anyway, this is really good. This does what Infinity #1 – what most of Hickman’s Avengers run – failed to do: It combined some intense action with some really personal stuff. By focusing on Spider-Woman, DeConnick gave us a real investment in what was going on. Jessica’s pain about having basically lost her best friend is really good, as is her apparent bitterness about breaking up with Clint. We even get a little bit on her feelings about Skrulls – a very nice touch. I think some people are disappointed that Avengers Assemble has just been going from tie-in to tie-in. I actually think it works well that way. It’s a really good way of getting much more personal stories in the midst of the big, action-oriented events. DeConnick shines at characterization, and I really appreciate that she’s keeping the focus on the ladies. Also, Kitson’s art is very good here. It works for the big space battle set pieces.

Avengers #18, by Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu. This is called “Avengers Universe.” Argh. I am so damned sick of this “Avengers World” crap. So right off the bat, this issue displeases me by continuing to push a forced meme. Anyway, we start with a Galactic Council, assembled for war. We get a flashback of Skrull warlords talking about the Builder threat and the war council. Kl’rt wants to go to the Council. Others want to fight alone. Including one sacrificing himself to try to kill a bunch of Builders. Annihilus is also at the Council, interestingly. The Avengers talk about what’s going on, and Cannonball and Sunspot act like douches. Ugh. The Council decides on an ambush at the Corridor. So, uh, maybe I should’ve reviewed this before Assemble. Ah, whatever, no big deal. Big fighting, Builders ambush back. Meh. It’s stuff happening. Reading a recap is pretty much the same as reading the issue. All you miss out on is some pretty pictures, and if that’s all you want, there are cheaper options. Hickman continues to give us little reason to care. The flashback to the Skrull warlord sacrificing himself in an ambush was cool, but other than that, it really does just come down to stuff happening, with no emotional investment.

Thunderbolts #14, by Charles Soule and Jefte Palo. We start with the Thunderbolts killing a cow mutated by gamma radiation into a Nessie-like creature. Back on the sub, Ross tells them that it’s time they did a mission for one of them. They put their names in a hat Deadpool found (apparently, the sub also has a room full of toilet seats), and the Leader draws one. A drawing of a skull. Because the Punisher doesn’t do subtlety. He wants to take out a crime family operating out of New York. You can almost see everyone roll their eyes and sigh. He explains about the Paguro Family – an old Mafia family, who’s moved to a behind-the-scenes role in the underworld, providing support for gangs without attracting any attention themselves. They’ve got every criminal in New York working for them, and ready to fight on their behalf. I gotta say, that’s pretty cool. We then get a look at the Paguros in “action,” so to speak – very, very cool. Then the mission starts. This is really good. I’m glad to be rid of Way and Dillon. Soule is already doing a much better job, and and Palo’s artistic style doesn’t always work for me, but it’s generally OK here. Less annoying than Dillon’s art. Soule is the main draw here. He’s off to a great start. The characterization is solid – the Punisher, in particular, is well-handled. There’s also some nice humour, and not just from Deadpool (who also shows some smarts in being concerned about what made the Avengers head into space). There’s a few great beat panels. I think this is going to be a very entertaining series, now that it has a writer who isn’t awful.



Edit: I keep forgetting that I want to do best books and moments. My book of the week, this week, is going to be X-Men #4. Normally I’d go with X-Factor. But X-Men knocked it out of the park. Moment of the week, I think, is going to be Rogue: “I’m going to shoot the Blackbird!”


From → 2013

  1. More superhero comics should have a team rescuing people as in X-men 4, rather than only fighting supervillains.

    • Yeah. That rescue sequence was one of the most exciting things I’ve read in a while. A daring rescue can sometimes be more enjoyable than a big battle. And also helps show the heroes as actual heroes.

  2. gumanorak permalink

    Really enjoyed your post. Though I disagree about The Avengers, and glad someone else enjoys X-Men Legacy, it seems somehow neglected.

  3. X-Men #4 was great and only surpassed by the utter brilliance of Wonder Woman #23. Wolverine + Jubilee is always a welcome sight to see as well.

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