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X-Men comics (November 20, 2013)

November 20, 2013

I start my field placement on Monday. So for the next 3 weeks, my weekly reviews will probably be very, very late.

First, Uncanny X-Men #14, by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo. The kids are climbing around in some mud during a rain storm, wondering how it’s going to work when the original X-Men get there. (Magik thinks having a teenage Jean Grey around will be hilarious. As All-New showed us last week, it is.) Benjamin’s pissed off about the whole climbing in the mud thing, and gets into a big argument with Scott (and even gets in a nice burn that Emma appreciates). After a shower, Benjamin goes into his room and finds Emma waiting for him. Which makes him drop his towel. She thinks his power is a lot more than he thinks it is. She pushes him, which looks a lot like coming onto him, and he makes the lights flicker. Emma figures his power is actually to make people very good, about themselves and him. Then the two go to Atlantic City so she can train him. Emma tells him to ask a girl out. Benjamin says he’s gay. Which, um . . . that came out of nowhere, but cool. Anyway, it doesn’t go well. He finds another girl and starts talking to her about Kubrick. And then – MONTAGE! And then, a test. He has to deliver a letter. He signs into the office as “Scott Pil-” – presumably, he was writing “Pilgrim.” Shout-out! Hurrah! Anyway, this is a great issue. Really, really good work with Benjamin. His power is expanded on, and so is his personality. Emma also gets to be a lot of fun. The art was pretty good. Still a little more abuse of white space than I like to see, but the art itself actually worked pretty well. Emma (and Magik) looked damned sexy in their dresses. (And something I want to mention: Bendis mentioned not long ago that one of the characters in UXM was LGBT, and he’s already revealed who it was. He didn’t make a big storyline all about Benjamin being gay, he just had Benjamin say it. I want Hickman to look at what Bendis did. And I want Hickman to do the same damned thing with whoever the LGBT character in Avengers is. Hickman, it is not OK for you to not out the character on-panel. The bullshit you pulled with Secret Warriors, saying Stonewall was gay but not revealing it in the comic itself? Not cool. Not OK at all. It does not count as diversity when no one knows about it. Secret diversity is not diversity. You want an LGBT Avenger? Great. So do I. I want multiple LGBT Avengers. But if the character never actually says they’re LGBT, then the simple fact is they are not LGBT. So whoever the LGBT Avenger is, you had damned well better make it clear in the comic itself.)

X-Men #7, by Brian Wood and Terry Dodson. We start in Colombia, with Ana Cortes inheriting her father’s business empire. She’s there with a Japanese woman who apparently installs Yuriko into her. So Lady Deathstrike is going to be a hot Latina now? I’m fine with that. Then to the JGS. The official paperwork for Jubilee to adopt Shogo legally is being processed, which is great news, until she finds out the Monet is going to be back at the school. And right off the bat, Monet insults her. Oh, yeah, that’s the stuff. I’ve missed you two so much! Karima’s back to human, her Sentinel implants inert. Monet meets Karima, and the two hit it off, since they’ve both just recently returned from the dead. They go out for a jog, and get attacked by Lady Deathstrike. Monet shows how awesome she is. We also find out what happened between Bling! and Mercury. Bling! asked her out, Mercury freaked out. But it’s all good, because now Bling! likes someone else. I’m betting on Jubilee. I’m so glad that Bling! will be sticking around. I also love the new Lady Deathstrike, I love seeing Monet back, I love that Karima’s sticking around. I love the first of Deathstrike’s new recruits. I’m loving this book. And the art is gorgeous. The Dodsons are fantastic. There’s really nothing about this book that isn’t awesome. Wood’s characterization of Monet is interesting. She’s less certain of herself than usual, and it’s actually made her a lot nicer. I’m going to enjoy seeing her and Jubilee snarking at each other. I miss Generation X, especially since it never gets referenced. It’s like most writers forgot that book even existed. So I’m glad to see that it won’t be forgotten here. I know some people are reluctant to pick this up since the recent blow-up over Tess Fowler’s allegations against Brian Wood. But I think this still an awesome book that deserves to be picked up.

X-Men Legacy #20, by Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat. David’s dying, and as he does, he philosophizes about why people are scared of it, with his guess being that life goes on without them. The Shadow Phoenix is in his brain, killing his personalities. He tries to fight, but nothing works, until he merges with his own insanity, absorbing all the personalities into himself. And then he beats the Shadow Phoenix and kicks it out of his head. And then Aarkus explains why they did what they did. It was all to help David, fix him, so he could fight the Golden Evil Xavier Thing. Ooh. More cool stuff. As usual, I hate the art, but like the writing, aside from the accent. David’s become a Gestalt now, rather than a Legion, his mind mostly united. Which is cool. It’s strong writing.

Cable and X-Force #16, by Dennis Hopeless and Gerardo Sandoval. Colossus and Domino fight a Sentinel. Cable manages to get to Hope, who’s still alive thanks to a telekinetic force field that protected her from the bomb. Cable’s powers aren’t working. Boom Boom is dancing in a club that sprang up out of nowhere, until Dr. Nemesis finds her and chews her out for it. Nemesis then inserts himself into Forge’s brain. Back at the Sentinel, Domino manages to get it to knock its own head off. Then Colossus cuts it open with a huge industrial plasma torch. Unfortunately, its explosion causes an avalanche. Back in Australia, Cable figures that Hope probably has his telekinesis. Lucky her. In Forge’s mind, Forge tells Nemesis about the Adversary, who compares him to Q. Forge figures the Nemesis is what drove him crazy not long ago. And now he’s loose. So we’ve got three cool stories going on at once. Good writing, good art, good book. I’m wondering how they’ll beat the Adversary. Last time, it took nine of the X-Men sacrificing themselves. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s done this time.

Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe #2, by Chris Hastings and Jacopo Camagni. In Connecticut, SHIELD busts into a home to detain a girl’s teddy bear. There’s a demon in the teddy bear, and its reflection kills the SHIELD squad. Son then the mother takes her daughter to get help. SHIELD has decided to start dealing with magical threats. They’re about to kill Longshot, but the woman drives up with Mr. Dapples. Before the SHIELD agents can fire on the car, Longshot jams them with knives. The agents aren’t sure why they were given rifles that can be shut down by knives – apparently, Hastings has decided to just lampshade the hell out of this series. Longshot fights the head of the SHIELD team. Meanwhile, some kid pulls Dr. Strange out of a hat. Because this story is built on being utterly ridiculous. Fun, though. Anyway, Strange takes Longshot, the mother and daughter back to his place, and learns that the SHIELD director hunting magic is the In-Betweener. Or, more accurately, his Order half, who’s probably already captured Chaos. Strange assembles a strike team to free Chaos and rejoin the two halves of the In-Betweener. This strike force is Deadpool, Ghost Rider and Scarlet Witch. It leads to a pretty fun fight. Longshot winds up finding the Hulk. Dazzler learns that Order plans on going after mutants next, and convinces Order to release the Hulk. This is a lot of fun. I still hate Longshot’s new haircut, but other than that, the art’s good, and the story is hilariously goofy. Probably the best way to go with Longshot. His naivete combined with his luck can make for really weird, offbeat stories, which is what Hastings and Camagni are going for here. And it works. It’s a lot of fun.

Wolverine MAX #13, by Jason Starr and Felix Ruiz. Logan tries to convince his manager, Sean, that he’s not responsible for killing some guy. Sean tries to get him to turn himself in, but Logan doesn’t trust him. And that disturbs Sean. So does the fact that Suzie’s gone. Sean explains the whole situation to him as they drive away from the trailer park. They hole up in some cabin that Suzie’s uncle owns, and Logan shoots himself in the head with Sean’s shotgun. It’s pretty gruesome. When he heals, he finds that what Suzie did to him is gone.  And he wants some revenge. More cool, moody stuff going on. The art suits the story very well. And the story is cool. Dark and gruesome, full of betrayals and twists and turns and murder and other fun stuff. I like this book.

A+X #14. The first story, by Max Bemis and David Lafuente, teams Spider-Ock and Magneto. Spider-Ock is in Boondocks, Nevada, a ghost town, where he finds a secret underground lab. Magneto’s already there, having dealt with an army of AIM grunts. AIM kidnapped a preteen boy, who’s a mutant. There’s a page with a cute little 8-bit video game visual design showing what’s in the AIM base. As they fight through the base, Magneto bad-mouths supervillains. It’s actually pretty funny. At one point, Spider-Ock speculates that maybe Magneto hasn’t experienced the sort of tragedy that leads to someone becoming a supervillain. Magneto points out he was in the Holocaust. Finally, they reach MODOK. MODOK. With a metal body. Who threatens Magneto. Who controls metal. MODOK. Magneto. Take a wild guess how that fight goes. Go on, guess. Anyway, they free the boy, who declares a war against mutants. It’s kind of a fun story. Magneto’s contempt for supervillains is fun, and the way the pair just casually beat up all the AIM guys while chatting is great. AIM is one of those groups that it’s fun to see get beat up. The second story, by Gerry Duggan and David Yardin, teams Scott and Captain America. They’re in a casino that holds a SHIELD facility. Scott had freed himself, and Cap agreed to team up with him for their mission against the Skrulls. Cap pulls up info on the Cadre, and an LMD provides them information on a Latverian black ops site and a Skrull detector. The pair sneak into Castle Doom, and Scott’s power stops working right when he needs to shoot a bunch of Doombots. Then the real Doom comes down and kills the Skrull they were trying to rescue. Some nice arguing between Scott and Cap. A pretty good story. And nice art by Yardin. So, two more cool stories.

There’s the X-titles. Now the non-X-titles.

Thunderbolts #18, by Charles Soule and Jefte Palo. I hate Palo’s art. Hate it. Anyway, the three incompetent Mobsters are Inhumans now. One of them is an artist. He gets a bullet through his head. Ouch, Soule. That was brutal. It really was. You can feel the guy’s excitement, his pure joy, and then . . . blam. The surviving Nobilis decide to defend the family name by killing a lot of other Mobsters. Outside, Mercy is blowing up spaceships. Ross tells her to leave the people alone, and threatens to find a way to kill her if she doesn’t. He convinces her that he has a plan to get her all the death she wants if she leaves the people alone. Man, what a good artist could’ve done with this whole sequence, but no, we’re stuck with Palo, whose style is just awful. Deadpool’s finally gotten his pizza, which he finds OK, not great. Then the Paguros walk in and he remembers why he wanted to go there in the first place. I love Soule’s writing (even if he does have Punisher and Elektra hook up again . . . sigh). It’s funny, clever, violent, and bizarre. If only he wasn’t saddled with Palo, who really is just a terrible, terrible artist. I don’t know how he ever got hired, honestly.

Secret Avengers #11, by Ed Brisson and Luke Ross. On the Helicarrier, Maria Hill is pissed about not being able to see what’s going on. On the ground, some freaky-looking guy in a hospital gown has the SA team trapped as he rants about how they’re the reason normal people keep suffering. The guy suddenly collapses. Hill finally gets in contact with Fury, and tells him the dude is a new Inhuman, and to try to bring him in alive. That doesn’t work. So it comes down to Sarah. I hope Sarah doesn’t just disappear after this. She’s cool. I’d like to see her show up again. She clearly doesn’t want to kill, so the Secret Avengers might not be the best place for her. But she could join another Avengers team. Other than that, this was pretty OK. Ross does some great art. The Inhuman’s speech pattern got annoying very fast, but that’s a small complaint. Overall, another solid issue.

Avengers #23, by Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu. Cap and Iron Man have a quick comm briefing about the situation. Out in space, the fleet gets a message from Starlord on the Peak, and the battle starts. Lots of fighting. That’s all. Meh. Don’t care.

I also want to mention that Young Avengers #12 was awesome. So much awesome. Go read it.

From → 2013

  1. Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers – Lots of epic fights with emotionless exposition. You want character development or a reason to actually care? Either read something else or make it up in your head. It’s like the movie Battleship, except the plot makes more sense. i think it was issue 4-6 that were actually character focused, and as such they were the only good ones so far.

    And Brian Michael Bendis’s new mutants are so much more interesting than those in Wolverine and the X-men. You’ve got the Australian girl who can pause time in bubbles, a healer who walks with a cane, Goldballs (who hates his nickname), machine hijack kid and now Brian, the master infiltrator. Interesting power sets with equally interesting personalities. With WATXM, we have, well … I guess Shark Girl is kind of ok, but Eye Boy? Snot? Bland cookie cutter personalities? I’m dropping it.

    • Goldballs has grown into his name. I think he’s fine with it now. I’m wondering what name Benjamin will get. I liked the Morph suggestion, since we’re not likely to get Exiles back.

      And yeah, Snot was stupid. That’s some grade 4 bullshit right there. That’s what Aaron considered to be funny? Grow up.

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