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X-Men comics (October 9, 2013)

October 9, 2013

Another batch of comics. Let’s get to it.

First up, X-Men #6, by Brian Wood and David Lopez. We start with Armour and Bling giving Jubilee a little gadget that’ll protect Shogo in an emergency. Bling also tries to talk to Jubilee about a thing with Mercury, but Armour interrupts before we learn what it is. On the Blackbird, Wolverine asks Rachel to spy on the future X-Men, since he doesn’t fully trust them. The X-Men get back, and Xavier learns that Teen Beast and Iceman went into the future. He mentally assaults Bling to find out where they went, and then tells his team it’s time to drop the charade. Kitty suddenly transforms into a blue man with red hair and sharp claws – the son of Wolverine and Mystique, apparently. He stabs Wolverine. In the lab with the time cube, Future Jean takes everyone out with a mind blast. Back in the hangar, there’s more fighting, including Psylocke swinging a 90lb telekinetic Morning Star with one hand while holding a baby who just pooped. Psylocke is awesome. Jubilee grabs Shogo and Bling and runs while Psylocke fights Deadpool and . . . Wolverstique? Mystiquerine? Whatever. The blue guy. The bad future X-Men get ready for an attack from the good future X-Men. We also happen to get a nice reveal at the end of who the future X-Man in Iron Man armour is. I’m not spoiling it, but it’s cool. This is cool. Some great fighting and some great character stuff. Wood balances it perfectly. He makes some good use of Jubilee and Psylocke, and of Bling. Which remains so weird to me, but I really like it. And I really want to know what the hell is going on between Bling and Mercury. Lovers’ spat, maybe? What sorts of things do teenage girls fight over? I’m sure we’ll find out eventually. And man, Psylocke’s growing arsenal of telekinetic weapons is awesome. A flail? So cool. Psylocke is a hardcore badass and I love it. This issue kicks this X-over up a level.

Uncanny X-Force #12, by Sam Humphries and Adrian Alphona. Spiral’s in Hollywood, looking for Ginny, when some woman mentions “the White Robes,” a cult who’s been taking over Hollywood. After Spiral cuts off the thumb of a guy who was pinching the girl’s ass, the girl tells Spiral the cult is tough to find. Spiral finds a woman killed by the cult, and reanimates her to get some information. She manages to find a White Robe, who turns out to be a monster killing someone. After she kills it, she finds a matchbook for a club called the Magic Mansion. The matchbook features an image of a woman shoving a rabbit into a hat as it asks for help. It’s kinda cute. Spiral teleports in, and meets the Owl Queen. And we learn just a little bit more about Revenants, and who the Owl Queen really is. And it’s great. This is really cool. There’s some great action, admirably drawn by Alphona. Actually, much as I’m enjoying Humphries’ writing on this series – and I’ve been enjoying it immensely, I think he’s doing a great job, and his characterization of Spiral here is fantastic – the art has been even better. Every issue looks great. There’s an otherworldly quality to it. I think it’s the colours that do it. The pencils have consistently been just a little off – in a very good way – but the colours are really unconventional, and it gives the book a unique look and feel that just heightens the whole experience. I know this book hasn’t been doing particularly well, but I really enjoy it.

Astonishing X-Men #68, by Marjorie Liu and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Wolverine, Gambit, Warbird and Cecilia fight a monster made out of human body parts, a gift from Dark Beast. Wolverine stops Warbird from killing the thing, saying they need to save the people. Luckily, Karma used her old Asgardian training to track down Dark Beast – an awesome callback, as an aside. It’s going to take me a while to reach that 1985 New Mutants Special Edition, but it’s a fantastic story. Anyway, the monster dies. Warbird wants to kill Dark Beast, but Wolverine stops her. They all tell her she can’t do it, and she leaves in disgust. Later, she and Karma are doing some sword training, with karma showing some skill. While they fight, they talk, with Karma telling her to keep painting, because art will do more to help the world than a sword will. Northstar also tries to cheer Bobby up, with his usual charm and tact. He asks Bobby to go into the city with him for his deportation hearing. Then Wolverine, Karma, Gambit and Cecilia all meet Warbird at a small restaurant and tell her that she belongs with them. We get all sorts of heartwarming stuff about freedom and choice and family and stuff. It’s pretty saccharine, to be honest. Liu’s run ends much how it started – kinda bland and boring. It’s a shame this series has come to an end. Whedon and Cassaday had such a great run, and then we had Ellis, and other people, and now it’s over. Oh well. At least we got a karaoke night out of Liu’s run. I demand more karaoke bars in comic books. I want to see the ladies of the Avengers go out for drinks and karaoke. Anyway. I’m not really a fan of Liu, though I think if she writes Jubilee and X-23 hanging out again, I would buy that, because they made such a great pair. I’m glad she used Karma, but a little disappointed that she never gave Xi’an a girlfriend. Come on, someone needs to hook the poor girl up. Sadly, with AXM over, Karma’s probably not going to be showing up anywhere else for a while, except as a possible background character. That sucks. I love Xi’an. She’s a great character. Also, she’s a librarian, which is the field of study I’m in, and that automatically makes her cooler. I also hate Walta’s art. I just do not like his style, at all.

Wolverine #10, by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis. Wolverine and Kitty are on motorcycles, and Kitty’s thinking about how slowly he changed after getting his memories back. They’re attacked by some guy named Fiber. He doesn’t want to kill Wolverine; he’s being paid for something specific. And he can fire needles from his fingers. He mentions being an acupuncture expert who decided to weaponize his skill. He hurts Wolverine, then teleports away. Apparently, that was all he was supposed to do, presumably to make sure Wolverine couldn’t stop thinking about his mortality. Meanwhile, there’s a worldwide communication blackout, almost certainly caused by the Virus, and SHIELD is boosting the Host’s power levels so she can wipe it out. Back to Wolverine and Kitty, outside Alberta. They arrive where the home he grew up in used to be. Obviously, it’s not there any more. It’s been over a hundred years, so it makes sense that it’s been replaced by city. They go into a mall and look around. And soon the action’s going to start. This is OK. I kinda feel like Kitty’s narration was just a touch underused in some places. Threw off the balance just a bit. Not a big deal, though. Davis’ art is good, but he doesn’t really get a whole lot to do here. This is basically all an interlude issue, to get Wolverine and Kitty to the big fight next issue. The fight with Fiber felt like filler (alliteration!). I can’t really recommend this specific issue. You won’t miss much by skipping it and grabbing the next one instead.

Deadpool #18, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan art by Declan Shalvey. The heroes reach the camp where the families of the North Korean X-Men are being held. A guy in a Deadpool mask is captured outside the camp, but it’s not Deadpool, it’s the North Korean Cyclops. He takes down the troops, giving everyone else a chance to get into the camp. Deadpool chases Butler. Captain America defends the families, and Deadpool slaughters the people trying to kill them as he runs past. Butler’s holed up in a bunker, so the heroes kill the guards. That done, they tell the North Koreans to get the hell out of the country. Then Deadpool goes looking for Carmelita and his daughter. Much like last issue, this is actually very good. It’s a little unbalanced at times – Deadpool goes from serious to comedic just a little too quickly here and there, and it feels a bit off. But for the most part, it’s good. His jokes aren’t bad, and there’s a real tragic element. I’m a little concerned that this is going to lead to the book becoming too serious for the next few issues – Deadpool still needs to make jokes to mask his emotions, after all – but I’m very glad that they’ve abandoned the slapstick approach they had for the first 14 issues. I still think Shalvey’s the wrong fit, though. Aside from his art simply being unpleasant to look at, it’s too cartoonish.

That’s the X-titles. So now some Infinity and Now! stuff.

Avengers AI #4, by Sam Humphries and André Lima Araujo. Monica hang is praying (she’s apparently a Muslim – cool), and Doombot lets her know about the meeting that’s about to start. The meeting is short, and then Pym gives Victor a pep talk. Inside the Diamond, the Vision tries to argue for peace with humanity, but the AIs inside turn against him. Vision realizes it was all part of Dimitrios’ plan, and they have a brief fight, with Dimitrios showing that he is one sarcastic son of a bitch. He trolls Vision hard, and it is hilarious. In the real world, the SHIELD troops landing on the platform the Diamond is stored on run into a bunch of MODOCs – Military Operatives Designed Only for Combat. The guy leading the operation sends Doombot and Victor to get the server while he and his men keep the MODOCs busy. Vision reassembles his nanite body in the real world, and Alexis  goes crazy and busts out of the Helicarrier to go help the troops on the oil platform. A weapon is activated on the platform, and blows up before Victor can get rid of it. This is great. Dimitrios trolling Vision is definitely my moment of the week. Worth three bucks on its own. But the rest of the issue was really good, too. I like that Monica is a Muslim. There’s not enough Muslim superheroes, and even fewer in ongoing titles. There’s Monet, and that’s about it. Alexis also looks like she’s going to be very interesting. I get the feeling there’s going to be a big battle between her and Dimitrios down the line, and that it’ll be awesome. But man, between this issue and the last one, Dimitrios has gone from interesting concept to awesome jerkass villain. This is definitely worth reading.

Fearless Defenders #10, by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney, with one of the most gloriously ridiculous covers I’ve seen in a while. Mark Brooks is a genius. Anyway, I’m reviewing this because it’s an Infinity tie-in, though I’ve enjoyed the series as a whole. We start with a girl named Ren Kimura busting out of a cocoon while thinking about how much she loves dancing, and how her parents pushed her to do things she didn’t want to and never approved of a lot of things she did (including being a lesbian). Then her hands suddenly become weird. Some of Thanos’ troops are walking through the city, shooting the cocoons before they can hatch, but Caroline le Fay stops them with her team composed of Titania, Scorpia, Shriek and Mindblast. Ren tries to run, but gets cornered by one of Thanos’ troops. Who then gets thrown away by Hippolyta. She, Val and Misty are a little concerned about what’s going on, and go confront le Fay to keep her from taking the cocoons. Then the fighting. Hippolyta fights Titania, Val goes after Shriek, Misty fights Mindblast, and that leaves Scorpia free to grab Ren, who shows off her new powers, with her fingers lashing out. Then she defends herself with the power of dance. This issue was pretty meh, actually. It’s a tie-in to Infinity and obviously also a bit of a precursor to the upcoming Inhumanity stuff. And I don’t have a problem with either of those things. But the story, and Ren’s narration, was really cheesy. Seriously, just so cheesy. And when she starts dance-fighting, it gets even worse. It was just such a major cliche. And while Sliney’s art for that sequence isn’t really bad, he’s also not a good enough artist to sell the moment the way that a better artist would. Put someone like Emma Rios or Stuart Immonen or David Lafuente on it, and they would’ve drawn the hell out of it so much that the cheesiness would’ve been forgotten. But Sliney’s such a generic artist that it just didn’t work. So I can’t really recommend this particular issue.

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #4, by Robert Rodi and Michael Del Mundo. Fulmina is blacking out Manhattan, block by block, while Spider-Man beats up people while he comes up with a plan to stop her. On his way back to Spider Island, he spots a hospital blacked out, and realizes their generator must have failed. He wants to ignore it, but he can’t. He can’t figure out why he felt like he had to stop to save a few lives when more lives were hanging in the balance, but he also feels like it was the right decision. It’s really nice, actually, showing his growth as a person. He finally reaches Spider Island, and we get a glimpse of the blacked-out New York skyline. The only remaining lights for Fulmina’s face. Really nice work by Del Mundo there. Otto downloads Fulmina into his brain, and then talks to her about how stupid her dream to return society to simpler times was. Good issue. I won’t be reviewing this series any more, but it’s worth reading. Good writing, good art, and Rodi can do stuff with Otto-Man that Slott can’t really do.

And finally, Infinity #4, by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena. Talking about the negotiations for surrender, blah blah, Then back to Earth, the hidden city of Orollan. Some talk about the Inhumans there, the fact that only a handful of them can go through Terrigenesis. This sequence looks like it was done by John Romita, Jr. I don’t like JRJR, so that’s not a compliment. Opena’s art looks too sharp. Anyway, then we meet Thane, son of Thanos, a healer. Then we cut to New York, after Attilan’s destruction. Thanos climbs out of the wreckage, looking a little worse for wear, and we find out what happened. When Black Bolt screamed, he activated the Terrigen Bomb, which caused a global Terrigenesis – anyone with Inhuman DNA was affected, and wound up in a cocoon to undergo their changes. Then Black Bolt emerges from the wreckage, and he and Thanos face off. Bolt screams again, but Thanos stands up to it, then punches him. Bolt screams again, until Thanos grabs his mouth to shut him up, and then beats the crap out of him. Because Thanos is that damned tough. Meanwhile, Thane’s Terrigenesis caused him to wipe out the entire village he lived in. Then we go back to Hala, where Thor is meeting with the Builder to negotiate the surrender. He tosses his hammer, and then kneels to surrender. The Builder says they’ll spare all the other worlds – but not Earth. He says Earth threatens every universe, and has to be destroyed. It’s hard to argue with that. Of course, Thor chooses to argue by letting his hammer return, and then crushing the guy’s head with it. Meh, whatever. Thanos beating up Black Bolt was cool, because Thanos is awesome. Thor taking down the Builder was pretty badass. There’s definitely some good moments. But moments don’t make for a great story, and this story is nothing but moments. It’s moment after moment after moment. But there’s no real characterization. And Hickman continues to be a little too enamoured of some of the ideas he came up with, and so dwells on stuff that doesn’t matter and which no one really cares about, like the Inhumans in the hidden village not all underoing the Terrigenesis. It wasn’t necessary to have that stuff in there. Whatever.


From → 2013

  1. X-Men 6 is my favourite issue in the Battle of the Atom event so far. Several great Jubilee moments, showcasing how awesome both Rachel and Psylocke are, and some of the more interesting reveals yet.

    And wasn’t Hickman so much better when he was writing Fantastic Four? He actually had character development in it.

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