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X-Men comics (November 27, 2013)

November 29, 2013

This is late because of my work. But here it is.

First up, I’m going to talk about Pretty Deadly #2, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios. Right off, I want to say how gorgeous Rios’ art is. It’s just jaw-dropping stuff. There’s a reason she’s my all-time favourite comic artist. Jordie Bellaire’s colours complement the art perfectly. This is just the best-looking book coming out. Period. This issue is incredibly graphic. The first scene involves a wolf  checking out a butterfly and a skeleton of a rabbit missing a chunk of its head. So weird. But really cool. Then we get a sex scene. Then a prelude to violence. And then most of the issue is taken up with a big fight. Deathface Ginny shows up to save Sarah and her sons from Big Alice and her gang. Ginny tears through them with her sword, slicing the tops of heads off. And then an awesome fight with Alice. And Rios just draws the hell out of it. It’s hyper-kinetic, and brutal. There’s one panel, in particular, where I swear I actually saw a sword moving in it. But DeConnick also does a lot of great writing. Alice is insane, and creepy, and badass. One of the big criticisms I saw of the first issue is that people had no idea what was going on. This issue answers nothing. But honestly? I don’t care. I’m fine waiting for the answers. When the story is this  good, the art this gorgeous, the writing this sharp, I’ll wait as long as they want to take to start answering questions. (Though, for the record, we get some next issue, according to a podcast DeConnick did.)

DeConnick also provides a little letter, talking about her son, Henry Leo, and his experiences with bees, and a dream where he killed a hummingbird with a water gun. He apparently helped Kelly Sue figure out why Ginny shot Bones Bunny in the first issue – that she wanted to see what would happen, but didn’t mean to be cruel. The letter, as with last issue’s, is really good, a fascinating insight into her creative mind. She also has the URLs of a couple recordings of Ginny’s Song, though both are recited by men. One isn’t even sung. I’d like to hear a version by a girl. Also, there’s a Pretty Deadly t-shirt. I want it.

Anyway. Buy this book, if you haven’t already. It’s an incredible book.

All-New X-Men #19, by Brian Michael Bendis and Brandon Peterson. We start in Miami, with a mutant girl about to be killed, when the X-Men show up to save her. Fight! Jean’s quite the badass. The whole team gets some nice snarking in. When the cops show up, Scott wants to give them a statement. Yes, he apparently is that naive. During the fight, Kitty recognizes the girl as Laura. Laura runs, and Kitty gives chase, tackling her outside a bar, where some skeevy guy hits on them. The death glare Kitty shoots is great. Something very, very strange is going on with Laura. Meanwhile, Jean gets a look inside the head of one of the Purifiers. So that’s something. She’s not very happy about it. This is a great issue. A lot of little moments of characterization, plenty of quips, plenty of being badass. It’s very dark and tense and exciting. Peterson does a great job. Facial expressions are meaningful, the action flows well and is exciting, a lot of good layouts. One complaint: Israel Silva doesn’t colour Laura’s eyes green. He gives her blue eyes, instead. Which is an incredibly common error, but it’s still an error.

Uncanny X-Force #14, by Sam Humphries and Phil Briones. Cassandra Nova and her cultists are in the Griffith Observatory. Cassandra has the hill it rests on rise up as a monster, which is pretty neat. Meanwhile, Bishop explains the situation about the Revenants about to invade, and they have to sacrifice a telepath to stop it. And then he throws a knife into a Revenant’s head. Back at the observatory, Cassandra offers Psylocke an alliance. She’s willing to offer Psylocke back to her original body. I continue to enjoy this. The art is fantastic. A lot of trippy stuff going on. This series has had some really strong art right from the start. A little unconventional, with lots of fun touches here and there. Humphries is also doing some great character work. Puck gets to do a little more comedic relief than usual, and gets to be a badass. All in all, while I know this series has a lot of detractors, I really like it.

Wolverine and the X-Men #38, by Jason Aaron and Pepe Larraz. SHIELD shows up at the JGS. Maria Hill and Dazzler go down to talk; Wolverine calls Dazzler Hill’s “pet mutant,” which I think is incredibly and needlessly harsh. Dazzler is trying to search for Scott – something Wolverine wants done in the first place. So don’t be such an ass, Wolverine. Scott had reason to be harsh to Dazzler, and even he at least tried to be civil. Hill makes some excellent points about how insane the shit the X-Men do is. After Hill leaves, Beast blames Scott for Hill’s fear. Beast blames Scott. The man who is more responsible for the clusterfuck at the Cape than anyone else is blaming Scott. Beast is a frigging idiot, and if Aaron actually thinks we should agree with Beast, then Aaron is an idiot, too. Meanwhile, Broo gives a tour to two new students. And apparently Kid Gladiator is back. Yippee. Lots of crazy stuff being thrown around, little of it clever. Don’t care. The best stuff was Hill talking to the X-Men, and what made it great was that Hill was totally reasonable, and pretty much right. The X-Men are insane. They spend more time fighting each other than they do saving the world, or engaging in political action, which is really what they should be doing.

Wolverine and the X-Men Annual, by Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw. This is an Infinity tie-in. Kid Gladiator is doing a report on his time on Earth. He’s at the Shi’ar school for Superguardians. Kid doesn’t like it, and misses the JGS. A call to arms is sounded for a lot of Subguardians to join the fight against the Builders, but Kid is told by his father to stay behind. He disobeys, and joins the fight in space. He gets hit and lands in a ship, where he finds a Smasher, cowering in fear. He helps her get over her fear to get back into the fight. After the fight is over, Gladiator congratulates Kid. The Smashers bow to him, too. Kid doesn’t want to go back to the Superguardian school, so Gladiator agrees to let him go back to the JGS. Meh. A whole lot of meh. What is it about this book that makes Aaron lame? He’s a great writer. His Thor is great. His Wolverine run was great. He’s done lots of great stuff. But all his work on WatXM has been lame. I’m also not keen on Bradshaw’s art. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference.

Savage Wolverine #12, by Phil Jimenez, with Scott Lope as co-writer. We start in 1932, with Logan petting a baby elephant in Africa. Then we cut to the present. Wolverine is reflecting on the scene, way way back in X-Men #109, where Storm chewed Wolverine out for wanting to hunt, and he explained he just wanted to get close enough to touch a doe. He sees hyenas and vultures, and runs after them to find some dead rhinos with their faces removed. One is still alive. Some park guards find him, and he attacks them in a rage before one of them – a woman, of course – snaps him out of it. Then she tells him to put the rhino out of her misery. Back at the ranger camp, we get some talk about poaching. Back at the JGS, Kitty (this takes place before BotA) is talking about costume design, and getting made fun of a lot, when Wolverine calls and asks for her help tracking the poachers. She tells him they’re sent to Madripoor, which leads to another flashback. This time, we get to see him in his Patch days, letting Jessica Drew know that he wasn’t going to allow poachers in Madripoor. Then to the present, where Wolverine confronts Tyger Tiger. This is much, much better than the last arc. It’s solid characterization of Wolverine, showing his crankiness and his sensitive side. There’s some fun with poking fun at Kitty’s old costumes, and it looks like Cypher might be helping her out, too. Yay Cypher! This issue is light on violence, but there’s some hints of it, and I think it’s going to get more violent soon. This is just a great, solid Wolverine story.

Deadpool Annual, written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, art by Evan “Doc” Shaner. This takes place “5 or 6 issues” before Secret Invasion. Deadpool’s sitting on a rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen. In a single city block, we’ve got the Avengers fighting Count Nefaria, the X-Men fighting Juggernaut, and Spider-Man fighting the Lizard. (Continuity error: The Vision is with the Avengers. He was in a warehouse at that point.) Madcap talks to Deadpool. They fight. Madcap shoots Deadpool with his bubble gun, but since Deadpool’s already insane, it just makes him sane and sends him to his happy place. And then Daredevil shows up and kicks them. Then Thor passes by with a latte and lightnings them. They’re reduced to ash. And then Deadpool heals back to life, but he’s got a new voice in his head. So that explains that stupid aspect of Way’s run. Then we get to right before Marvel Now!, and the same rooftop. He planted a bomb to distract the superheroes so he could kill Murdock, but Luke Cage deactivated it and is returning it. Luke hits Deadpool hard enough that he gets a glimpse of one of Madcap’s memories, and Madcap actually takes over their body and uses his crazy power on Luke, who starts dancing. Then Thor shows up, and also gets crazied and starts dancing. And then Deadpool gets Luke and Thor to tear his in half so he and Madcap can each have their own body again. This was . . . OK? I guess? I didn’t care for the art. A lot of the humour fell flat. The story itself was an OK idea, a way of explaining why Deadpool had those voices for the execrable Daniel Way run, and why they’re gone now. But overall, this just didn’t really do anything for me.

Uncanny Avengers #14, by Rick Remender and Steve McNiven. In 3806, the galaxy is being destroyed, and Kang shows up to rescue Stryfe. In 2033, May Parker/Venom. In 2099, Doom. In 2020, Arno Stark. In 2014, Ahab. In 2043, Magistrate Braddock. In 2055, some kind of Deathlok’ed superbeing. Abomination, I think. Rogue and Sunfire are looking for Wanda, so Rogue can kill her. Wanda and Wonder Man begin the spell . . . to bring all the mutant heroes to beat up the Twins. Rogue and Sunfire are stopped by Grim Reaper and Daken. Rogue fights Grim Reaper, and Daken is about to kill Sunfire when Wolverine pops in. And then Rogue stabs Wanda. And then Grim Reaper stabs Rogue. Wonder Man goes down to Wanda, and they finish the spell. Wonder Man apparently dies in the process, as does Wanda. So that’s three deaths. Of course, Rogue is on the cover of an upcoming issue of Avengers AI, so I doubt her death will stick. I’m also doubtful that Wanda will stay dead. I’ve seen some speculation that this is going to be used as a way of repowering mutants who lost their powers on M-Day. I hope that’s not the case. I would be annoyed at that, because it would be a way of absolving Wanda of any guilt over M-Day. And  think she should feel guilt. I think that should be a fairly major aspect of her character for years to come. She should always be trying to make up for the pain she caused, but she should never actually be able to. If she’s actually allowed to fix what she did, that would actually make her less interesting to me, because it completely removes a good motivation, and some potential stories that can still be told. As for this issue, whatever. I don’t care. I still find Remender too invested in dark’n’gritty. The art’s nice.

There’s the X-titles. Now the Infinity (and Inhumanity) stuff.

Infinity #6, by Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung (with Dustin Weaver). The Avengers Heavy Team – Captain America, Captain Marvel, Thor, Hulk, Hyperion – lands on Earth, and go to confront Thanos, who’s preparing to kill his son. The New Avengers try to stop Supergiant from detonating a planet-destroying bomb. The Maw tries to convince Thane, Thanos’ son, that the Avengers have no hope of beating Thanos, and Thanos, Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight do kick some ass. Supergiant activates the bomb, but Maximus outsmarts her by having Lockjaw teleport her and the bomb to an uninhabited planet. “Woof.” That’s gotta be the best line of this entire event. Out in space, Starbrand destroys an assload of ships with one blast, which annoys me, because much like the defeat of the Builders, it makes that battle seem too easy. We’re supposed to believe Thanos’ fleet is some big, nigh-unbeatable force. And then one guy wrecks a huge chunk of it in about a second. Whatever. Back to the Avengers getting their asses kicked. Corvus Glaive dies, which makes Proxima Midnight kinda shut down. That just leaves Thanos, who fights Thor. It’s not even a fair fight. But the Maw releases Thane, who sticks Thanos and Promixa in stasis in some sort of box. Deus Ex Machina, as usual. And then a shit-ton of exposition epilogue, because if there’s one thing this event hasn’t had enough of, it’s exposition. Ugh. Whatever. I’m glad this event is over. What a waste of time. The Builder threat, built up as nearly impossible to defeat, was solved with a Deus Ex Machina. Thanos’ fleet, built up as nearly impossible to defeat, was solved with a Deus Ex Machina. Thanos himself, built up as nearly impossible to defeat, was solved with a frigging Deus Ex Machina. The heroes weren’t allowed to actually accomplish anything. Every single threat was ended by someone else. Even the planet-killer bomb was actually stopped by Maximus and Lockjaw. And there was very little characterization at any point along the way. There was no real context for what was happening. Just a frustrating event.

New Avengers #22, by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Deodato. Shuri wants to know where T’Challa was during the invasion of Wakanda. The Dora Milaje resign as T’Challa guards, and tell Shuri that Namor has been in the Necropolis. Shuri tells T’Challa off and leaves, and then Namor tells him he’s lost everything dear to him. We get a scene with Maximus and Black Bolt, and another between Wong and Strange, before we go to Reed, Beast and Tony talking to Black Swan. She tells them the Builders are nothing, and warns them of greater threats. This issue had more characterization. Unfortunately, it continues to be too dark and cynical for me to enjoy. Deodato draws some pretty pictures, though. Credit where it’s due there.

Infinity: The Hunt #4, by Matt Kindt and Steven Sanders. Sanders is terrible. The kids have been swallowed by a giant whale with a blue girl living inside it, projecting her memories through the whale’s psychic walls. Which is . . . um. The kids learn that Wakanda destroyed Atlantis. The kids go back outside and decide to go to Wakanda to continue fighting. Giant monsters! One even takes out the giant flying whale. Gang, one of the Pan-Asian School kids, has a plan for beating the monster. It has a very slim chance of success. It succeeds. This was meh. The whole series was meh. Some pretty decent action, but on the whole, meh is the only word that comes to mind. Kindt just isn’t a great writer.

Infinity: Heist ##, by Frank Tieri and Al Barrionuevo. The gang breaks into Stark Tower, though a few people are there. It looks like Luke Cage, Iron Patriot, some blond guy, and a Siberian tiger. The villains break into the armour room. Before Spymaster and the others can attack Blizzard, Whirlwind and Amanda, those three attack them. Then Spymaster steals some armours and teleports out. Then the heroes show up. The blond guy seems to be the original Human Torch, Jim Hammond. The villains beat up the heroes, and then the big guy in armour lets the others know he has one of Spymaster’s teleport devices. They use it to find him. It doesn’t go well. This book’s not as good as the first two issues. This is more plot-focused, while the first two were great character pieces. We get very little of that this issue. The art is nice enough. But on the whole, this is a let-down.

Avengers Assemble #21, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matteo Buffagni. We start with June Covington talking about the lack of a plan in the world, and that free will is there instead. She’s talking to a new assistant, explaining how she makes money from custom gene enhancements (including a Dutchman who wanted his sweat to smell like parsnips), as she gets a delivery. A large crate. She opens it, to reveal an Inhuman cocoon. And a bomb. Poor assistant Gail apparently dies in the explosion, and June is pissed at the damage to her new Inhuman pet. Then we go to Avengers Tower, where Spider-Girl wants some help finding her Social Studies teacher. She has trouble getting it, since no one’s willing to let her finish a sentence. Until Anya shouts that two Inhuman cocoons have been stolen, including the one her teacher was in. Spider-Woman and Black Widow agree to help look. Team Lady Spiders! Black Widow has an idea for where to start the search. Beat up AIM. This leads to an awesome 10-second fight in darkness. They obviously win, but then a lot of reinforcements arrive, led by Kashmir Vennema. Hurrah! She’s awesome. This is great. June Covington! I love her. The DeConnick/Rios Osborn series June debuted in was so amazing. This scene is a standout. I love Emma Rios. I wish we’d gotten her on this arc. Oh well. On the plus side, starting with the next issue, the arc will be co-written by Warren Frigging Ellis. That’ll be epic. As for this issue, the art is solid. Black Widow’s zipper is too low, which is unfortunate. Other than that, a lot of great art. The writing is excellent. June shows off her complete amorality. Spider-Girl’s a lot of fun, and her annoyance at the Avengers not letting her actually explain why she’s there is funny. Awesome book. I love it.

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From → 2013, Uncategorized

4 Comments
  1. A very mixed week on the Marvel front. ANXM and Avengers Assemble were both very good. Uncanny Avengers was almost insultingly bad, and we finally saw the end of the most soulless Marvel event in years.

    Don’t know if you’ve heard, but they’ve announced the end of Wolverine and the X-Men in February.

    And as for Pretty Deadly, it’s the kind of comic you really have to read more than once to really get. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but it’s so unique, well written and well drawn that those who do have the patience are in for a treat.

    • I had heard about WatXM ending. I’m not disappointed. With any luck, it’ll lead to a new volume of New X-Men, written by someone other than Aaron. The previous volume of New X-Men had solid sales all throughout its long run. Young X-Men did poorly, but it was also a really badly-written book.

      And yeah, Pretty Deadly is definitely a comic you have to read several times.

      • I liked the previous volume of New X-men by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost. It was the first team book series I read in full and helped me get into comics. It’s not perfect by any means, but it did a good job at balancing the teenaged characters and their teachers. That and it was the series that best explored the M-day aftermath.

        And yeah, I couldn’t even make it through 2 issues of Young X-Men, and the mere sound of the second storyline revolving around dust sounds really stupid.

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