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X-Men comics (September 4, 2013)

September 4, 2013

A lot to get to today. And I slept well enough that I can handle it. So let’s start.

We begin, sadly, with an ending. X-Factor #262, by Peter David and Neil Edwards. It starts off with a shock – Layla’s pregnant. Not like the dupe baby from a few years ago – and man, was that ever shocking and tragic – this one’s real. I could talk about what happens in the issue. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll say it’s an absolutely wonderful finale, with some great emotional moments. Ever since Peter David re-launched X-Factor in 2005, it’s been a fantastic series. His sharp, clever dialogue and deep characterization made it a joy to read every month, and the plot twists were often genuinely shocking (the aforementioned dupe baby). He took a bunch of also-ran characters – Madrox, Strong Guy, Monet, Wolfsbane, Layla, Rictor, Darwin – and seemingly effortlessly made them easy to care about. I am deeply saddened by the end of this series. However, there are indications he’ll be relaunching it – again – and going by #260, probably as a government-sponsored team again. I just hope that if he uses Monet again, it doesn’t interfere with the Generation X reunion that’s never going to happen anyway.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1, by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho (with Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger, which is an awesome name). It starts with Magik checking out to the future, and seeing mutants fighting Sentinels. It really does never end. Then we cut to the JGS, where Jean tells Bobby not to start a food fight, until Cerebro picks up a new mutant. A very powerful one. In Phoenix, AZ. Then we see a woman riding some kind of awesome monster, while other monsters rampage. Kitty brings the four of them down, with a sword for herself. The new mutant is a career criminal who now has crazy mutant powers. Then Sentinels show up. Then the Uncanny X-Men show up. Then we get an awesome double-page spread fight scene. Then a decapitated Sentinel head blasts Teen Scott, and then the world goes all blurry as Adult Scott disappears. Luckily, Triage is able to heal Teen Scott, so Adult Scott comes back. And then more stuff happens. This was really, really cool. Some great action stuff, and then some insane plot stuff. I love me some time travel shenanigans, so this one was definitely up my alley. The art and writing were also solid. Fran Cho draws the hell out of the action sequences. It helps that he understands how anatomy works, so characters aren’t winding up in weird, unnatural poses. The sequence where Teen Scott is dying, and the art goes all blurry to reflect time rewriting itself, was also a great touch. It makes the whole thing very tense. Jean’s concern for Scott is also really telling – she was trying to move away from him, but she really does care too deeply for that to work. At that point in her life, she loved him, and there was no escaping it. This is a great kick-off to the event. And X-events usually tend to be better-done than Avengers events, so things are already looking really good.

All-New X-Men #16, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. We start in the UXM school, with them reviewing footage of their fight. They wonder who keeps sending the Sentinels, and one of the Cuckoos says it’s the government and SHIELD. Hijack says she’s one of those people who thinks the government is out to get them. Of course, it’s not paranoia when the government has repeatedly, and in the recent past, actually been out to get you. Meanwhile, Triage slips out, and Scott follows to talk to him. Triage is freaked out about bringing Scott back from the dead with his bare hands, and Scott says he probably wasn’t completely dead. I feel like Bendis missed a good chance at a Princess Brides reference here by having Scott say he was probably only mostly dead. Anyway, then we cut to the JGS, where some X-Men from the future have dropped in for coffee and accusations that the X-Men of the past screwed everything up. Wolverine asks which of their mistakes they’re referring to. The mistake was in letting the original X-Men live in the present. The future X-Men include an Iceman who’s now just a monster, and old Beast, the grandson of Charles Xavier, a female Xorn, Deadpool (of course, even though he’s not a mutant), an old Kitty, and Molly Hayes. Molly! Yay! They say the original X-Men need to be sent back. Then Wolverine randomly attacks. But he’s not in control of himself. Once the fight ends, they realize that Jean and Scott are missing. Then we cut back two minutes. Jean was talking to Teen Hank telepathically about how she couldn’t read the minds of the future X-Men. She wanted to leave, and she wanted him to go with her. He refused. So instead, she asked Scott. Who agreed pretty much right away, even without being told why she wanted to leave. That’s trust. And that sort of trust is the foundation of a solid relationship. Or an unhealthy, overly dependent one. Either way. They have a nice scene in the plane, with Jean really angry about everything that’s going on, and how she doesn’t trust anyone. It’s cool. Back at the school, we find out who’s under the Xorn helmet. And, uh . . . wow. Not at all what I was expecting. I won’t spoil it, because it’s a great reveal. Really well-done. Much like the rest of the issue. The opening at the New Xavier School does some good stuff with Triage and Adult Scott. Teen Jean and Teen Scott continue to be well-written. Teen Scott barely even has any lines, but the ones he does have show what kind of guy he is really, really well. I especially like that as soon as Jean asked him to leave with her, he said OK. he didn’t even ask why. She explained to Hank why she wanted to leave, and he still refused, but Scott trusts her implicitly. The art was good. It was mostly people sitting around talking, but Immonen handled the facial expressions well, and kept the “camera” shifting enough to be visually interesting. There was also one really nice panel on the plane, where Jean was looking out the window, and her face is reflected as the sky speeds past. It’s just a really good shot. Another nice touch was right after the Xorn reveal, and a distinctly uncomfortable look on another person’s face. Anyway, this issue keeps the event going strong. Now we’ll only be getting one part a week, though.

X-Men Legacy #16, by Simon Spurrier and Paul Davidson. Legion is hunting someone, sniffing his spoor, which Ruth finds gross. He eventually finds Scott in a small Montana town, dealing with a new mutant whose power fused together every living thing within 200 yards. That’s . . . incredibly gross. Anyway, Scott’s team has it under control. Ruth asks David if he’s sure about what he’s doing, and he says he is. Then he wonders if he should kiss her. Of course, since she’s in his head, she heard that. The Xavier creature taunts him, but Ruth says to ignore it and kisses him. Back in Montana, Scott is showing a reporter some of the students, and Triage finds a lot of weirdness about the situation, as his voice starts getting quieter. Soon, no sound is heard. Then there’s a flash of lightning, and a burst of thunder, as David and Ruth make an awesome entrance. He starts off by taking out the students. He takes out Magneto simply by using gravity to cause his helmet to lift off. Which seems . . . stupid. Oh well. He takes out Illyana with some hypnotism. Ruth punches out Emma, and David tweaks Ruth to give her the confidence to take out the Cuckoos. Then he challenges Scott to a fair fight, which Scott finds strange, given his own martial arts training gives him a huge advantage.

Deadpool Kills Deadpool #3, by Cullen Bunn and Salva Espin. Galactipool is preparing to devour the world, and the Deadpools start fighting. The Watcher saves Ladypool, since she’s his favourite. She, Deadpool and Pandapool go get some weapons. Then she gets in the Bea Arthur and rams Galactipool while the Watcher takes the other two away to that world’s Nexus of All Realities, located in the Savage Land. There they find Deadpool the Duck, Deadpool Dinosaur, and a Deadpool version of MODOK. Blah. This series continues to pale next to the first two, which were clever, and which actually had a point. At least there’s only one issue left.

That’s the X-titles. Some Infinity and Now! titles next.

Avengers AI #3, by Sam Humphries and André Lima Araujo. Hank finds the Vision’s nanite components, but there’s no programming. He’s wondering what happened to the Vision’s AI. Vision himself wakes up to find himself in Avengers Mansion. Or a facsimile of it, within a Diamond. Vision recognizes Dimitrios, and tries to attack, but is stopped. Then the Mansion disappears, and . . . uh, I can’t describe it. Dimitrios explains his origin. He says that the anti-Ultron virus jumped to global network before it died, and created six superintelligences. Which promptly went to war for several billion cycles. Back in the real world, Chang arrives at the clean-up site, tosses Doombot’s head to Victor (who’s going by Skull Boss now), sees Alexis, and asks Pym about her. He says she’s just a utility droid, nothing he can’t handle. Chang is not reassured. I am, though – I’m hoping Alexis will be cool. They also tracked Dimitrios down. SHIELD plans to bomb the place, but Pym says that would be wiping out a new form of life. Chang wants to leave a covert mission instead. Back in the Diamond, Vision talks to some of the AIs, until he’s revealed, at which point the other AIs stand in awe, calling him the Spawn of Pym. In the real world, a crowd watching the clean-up sees Victor’s metal hands, figures out he’s a robot, and attacks. The fight is really cool to watch. This continues to be a very intriguing series. The characterization is solid, and the art is good, but it’s the ideas that are really cool. It’s a compelling and fascinating exploration of life and Artificial Intelligence and so forth. This is a really smart sci-fi story, and very enjoyable. And also a lot of fun.

Infinity #2, written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver. We start on the Peak, with some of Thanos’ men having taken over a power relay substation. Brand gets rid of them the best way she knows how: Explosions. Turned out their goal was to deactivate the Peak’s automated targeting systems. That’s when the fleet shows up. Corvus Glaive visits Attilan, demanding what Thanos knows Black Bolt has. Medusa threatens to kill Glaive, and Glaive has his men kill themselves to show how little they fear death. Everyone else is shocked or angered, but Maximus actually seems kinda impressed. Glaive demands the heads of all Inhumans between the ages of 16 and 22. We then cut to space, at the rendezvous point of the broken space fleet. The Avengers go on the Shi’ar flagship, Lilandra. Aww, what a nice touch. I was really sad when she died. I’m glad to see her name being honoured. Anyway, Smasher has lots of bad news. When Cap asks for good news, she says she thinks she’s falling in love with someone. Then another ship enters the system, being pursued by four Builder crafts. Gladiator’s fed up, and personally leads the rescue. They kick some ass, but then an Ex Nihilo goes down to the agriculture planet the fleet is orbiting, and spreads a decay across it. Blah blah, whatever. As usual, Hickman’s got all the epic stuff, with no heart. Why am I supposed to care about the death of this particular planet? Thanos’ armies have been wreaking havoc on Earth, but beyond the fact that it’s Earth, we’re given no real reason to care about that, either. It’s just a couple panels of destruction with no context. Hickman needs to make the story more personal. It simply doesn’t work as it is. It’s too big, too vague.

I’ll add Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3 once I’ve had a chance to read it.


From → 2013, Uncategorized

  1. And the trend of X-Men events usually being better than the straight Avengers events of the same year continues.

  2. All New X-Men this week was epic. Just mind bogglingly awesome. and really funny… and kick ass. I’m just crazy impressed.

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