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X-Men comics (December 11, 2013)

December 12, 2013

Today was my final day at my placement. Woot! Then tomorrow, I’ll go visit my girlfriend for a few days, and I go back to my mom’s on Wednesday. So next week’s post will be on Thursday. Anyway, comics.

First, Uncanny X-Men #15. INH, by Brian Bendis and Kris Anka. We start in the past, with Illyana visiting Strange. She falls asleep during meditation, which is funny even before she mumbles “Dasvidaniya, bitches” in her sleep. Strange sends her home, and Wong gets a smile by asking if he’s still alive in the future. Bendis writes a very sarcastic Wong, and while it bugged me in New Avengers, I can write it off as friendly joking here. Anyway, Illyana goes back to the present, and Eva and the Cuckoos (and Jean is also dragged in) talk about needing to go shopping. Illyana finally relents, and they get Emma, who gets Kitty (despite Kitty being very reluctant), to turn it into a full-on Girls’ Night Out. Hurrah! There’s a lot of cute stuff in this half of the book. But, this is an Inhumanity tie-in, so eventually, we need an Inhuman to show up. It goes less than well. This is a good issue. The first half is hilarious, full of Bendis’ trademarked witty banter. Anka also has a lot of fun on art duties, especially with Emma’s sleeping position. Anka isn’t one of my favourite artists (though I’ll always have a lot of respect for him for his redesign of Psylocke’s costume, because she desperately needed a new costume), but he’s very good. The second half of the issue is very tense, and it deals a bit with how the rise of the Inhumans may affect mutants. We’ll have to wait and see if any other books bother to deal with this, or if it winds up being ignored. I’m hoping it’s a continuing matter, but I don’t really expect it. I’m not even sure if Bendis will bring it up again, though it’s certainly possible. I doubt anyone else will bother.

Wolverine and the X-Men #39, by Jason Aaron and Pepe Larraz. Wolverine breaks into a SHIELD facility that has Sentinels in it. When he gets there, he finds Cyclops. After some quick mutual threats, they fight Sentinels. Then we go to the JGS, where the three-faced double-agent guy is enjoying himself, until the squid-faced double-agent chick chews him out. Turns out they’re working for SHIELD. They’ve been studying the students. Specifically, they’ve been studying the students Aaron cares about. All the other students don’t matter in the slightest, as is usual with Aaron’s run on this title. The girl wants to shut the school down, by blowing it up, while the guy doesn’t. Then we cut back to Wolverine and Cyclops. It’s funny – Scott is clearly far, far more reasonable about everything than Wolverine is, yet Wolverine tosses out some bullshit line about how the JGS has saved him, and I think we’re supposed to go, “Yeah! Go Wolverine! You tell that jerk!” And it sorta sums up my whole problem with the relationship between Scott and Wolverine: Scott’s a nice guy. He’s reasonable, he’s calm and collected. Wolverine’s a dick. And yet Wolverine has always been far more popular. Aaron is pulling the same crap, with Wolverine being a heroic dick and Scott being a nice guy who I’m pretty sure we’re actually supposed to dislike. We’re supposed to be on Wolverine’s side through it all, despite Wolverine being a petty, idiotic prick who can’t stop telling Scott off, despite the danger they’re in. The JGS stuff is painfully cliched and stupid. So this issue is just really lame.

Cable and X-Force #17, by Dennis Hopeless and Gerardo Sandoval. Cable and Hope are fighting the Reavertron 9, the tank made up of the lamer Reavers. Cable gets blasted, and Hope gets eaten. Then we cut to Forge’s mind, possessed by the Adversary. Forge realizes that the Adversary is trapped in their base, since his powers don’t affect cold steel, and if they kill the host body, the Adversary goes with him. Forge and Nemesis also bicker a bit, like the awesome pairing they are. In the real world, Boom Boom is annoyed that the omnipotent reality warper is attacking her with pirates. They must be in this year. In Colorado, Domino is trying to rig the Sentinel head to explode to stop the avalanche about to destroy the town of Vail. So, lots of bad things going on. All of them get resolved in this issue, however. Mostly in fun ways. There’s a lot of great character moments, plenty of weird humour. Great art. This is a good book. It’s funny. Uncanny X-Force, under Rick Remender, was extremely dark, almost oppressively so, with little humour. Now, both X-Force books are oddly light and humourous. Still plenty of dark stuff, of course, but it’s very balanced. I like that. Anyway. Another good issue.

Wolverine #12, by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis. Wolverine tries to fight Silver Samurai, but he gets his ass kicked by another trio of Hand ninjas. The Host is taking control of the virus, but the Helicarrier comes under attack. Wolverine does manage to kill a ninja, and when he finally stumbles back to Kitty and the trapped humans, he mentions killing the ninja. One of the cops rants about X-Men not killing unless they think it’s best, and calls Wolverine a monster. Wolverine cuts the guy’s hand off. But it turns out to be Mystique, who mocks Wolverine’s lack of ethics and says it’s time for the endgame. More good stuff. Wolverine’s losing it. He’s scared, panicking. And it’s messing him up. It’s fun to watch. Davis does a great job showing Wolverine’s fear in his face, his body, even just the atmosphere around him. The secondary plot of the Host fighting the virus gets little space here. Maybe too little, considering how important that arc was before this. It’s really been derailed by this mall battle.

Wolverine MAX #14, by Jason Starr and Roland Boschi. Logan’s in a limo with some young guy who seems to be offering answers to his past. They reach a hotel, and the guy gives Logan sunglasses and a cowboy hat before they go in. A look that’s familiar on Logan, of course. The casino is owned by Mickey Gold, a name that means nothing to Logan, even though it should. Mickey, Jr. tells Logan he had a wife, and four kids, two boys and two girls. And then he laughs and says he’s messing with Logan. I like this kid. Then we meet Mickey, Sr., an old friend of Logan’s. (He mentions Logan being from Canada. Obviously.) We also find out that Logan used to work for Mickey. He calls Logan a killer and a monster, and forces Logan to work for him again. Another strong issue. I really like this series. It’s dark and moody and violent, and the fact that it’s not trying to bring in all sorts of familiar characters works in its favour. The art is good, and suits the story perfectly. Next issue wraps this series up, which is probably for the best. It’s been a good series, but I feel like this is probably a good time to finish it.

That’s the X-titles. But there’s a couple Inhumanity titles to mention.

Mighty Avengers #4.INH, by Al Ewing and Greg Land. Right off the bat – first damned panel – fuck Greg Land. Fuck his tracing bullshit, and the utterly terrifying result every time he makes a character smile. We start with some douchebro-looking guy from Cortex Inc. cutting a promo, then talking to his bodyguard, a woman who underwent Terrigenesis, and can now slow down time. Meanwhile, Luke Cage is having the old Gem Theatre redone as the new headquarters for the Mighty Avengers. Falcon is there, complete with a terrifying smile care of Greg Land, who is simply incapable of drawing faces and needs to stop trying. (We also see Blue Marvel over in Germany, helping Hauptmann Deutschland fight the Terror-Hives of WESPE.) Spider-Ock has spent the time insulting Cage, and when he leaves, Jessica and Monica wonder why he’s changed. DW Griffith – an old pal of Luke’s from his Hero for Hire days – suspects “Atlas Shrugged.” And with that, we have the best explanation ever of why no one is too bothered by Spider-Ock’s behaviour. I love it. There’s also a great bit when Luke thinks Cap sent the Falcon to check on them, and Falcon says his name is not “And The Falcon.” “Spider Hero” has a chat with Kaluu, a black magician who’s had occasional fights with Strange. We then cut to a SHIELD agent stationed on Attilan being chewed out by Maria Hill for not getting Attilan out of the Hudson yet. I love Hill. I really do. Every writer seems to try to one-up each other when it comes to making her a bitch, and it is always glorious. The whole issue is full of absolutely hilarious dialogue. With an artist who wasn’t the hacktacular Greg Land, this would be amazing. Sadly, Land’s art does hold it back. Still, even with Land, it’s a great book, with a lot of hilarious lines and moments, and also plenty of tension and drama (including some moments that combine humour and tension – a trick very few writers ever accomplish). I also appreciate the nods to the past. Once Land steps off the art duties, this book will be an absolute must-buy. Even now, I definitely recommend picking it up.

Avengers AI #7.INH, by Sam Humphries and AndrĂ© Araujo. The team is securing the ruins of Attilan. Doombot gets attacked by Daredevil, who thinks it’s actually Doom. Pym brings the fight to a quick end. He’s in his Ant-Man costume. DD explains why he’s there (looking for an old lady), and they have an argument about Doombot. Then they fund Doris. She’s a tentacle monster now. This is another great issue. It’s narrated by Pym, and we get some interesting thoughts from him. DD’s guest appearance is a lot of fun. Doombot is awesome. Araujo’s art is excellent. All in all, this is another strong issue of AI, which is a great series and worth picking up.

Inhumanity: The Awakening #1, by Matt Kindt and Paul Davidson. We start in New York, with students from the JGS and Avengers Academy helping with relief efforts in the aftermath of Attilan’s destruction. Pixie’s following some news on Twitter, particularly a girl who was changed by Terrigenesis. Pixie thinks the girl might be about to kill herself. She teleports herself, Quire, Finesse (yay!) and Striker out to Connecticut to save the girl. They find the girl falling, and Pixie saves her, then tells off the others for not helping. Fiona tells her story, which is done through Facebook or Twitter or whatever photos. Then Striker talks to her about fame, and about the curse and privilege of having powers. And then the real plot kicks in at the very end. This was reasonably well-written. Better than The Hunt, anyway. It’s a more limited cast of characters, which is a good choice. Most of this issue is taken up by telling Fiona’s story. The social media format was kind of an interesting approach. I’m not totally sure how I feel about it. I can’t tell if it was a neat variation, or an irritating bit of pandering. That’s not the only social media touch, either. Running across the top of every page is an online conversation between two people, one a racist troll douche, the other a compassionate mutant girl. (As an aside, Fiona’s photos also have comments from her best friend and a troll.) That part, I actually like. I like the dueling viewpoints. It’s an interesting touch. There’s also some good humour in a lot of the troll’s comments. As for the art, I don’t like it. It’s off-putting. As a whole, this is an OK issue, but Kindt will need to up his game a bit more. He’ll also need to use Finesse more. Because Finesse is awesome. My favourite Academy character.

And I also want to mention Amazing Spider-Man #700.3. I bought this comic for one reason: The back-up story by Jen Van Meter and Emma Rios. More accurately, I bought this comic for Emma Rios. I paid $4 for a 7-issue back-up story. But I love Emma Rios. She’s my all-time favourite artist. The story by Van Meter and Rios is about Black Cat breaking into the vault of a rich man with a lot of stolen paintings. She finds the guy’s daughter in there, who idolizes Black Cat. It’s a really good story. The daughter’s cute, but her story is still sad. The art, as usual, is gorgeous. Jordie Bellaire’s colours continue to highlight Rios’ art perfectly. Expressions and body language are flawless at showing moods. There’s a sense of motion to it all, even when characters are just standing still. I should also mention the paintings. We see a few of them, and they’re great send-ups of real paintings, with superheroes in place. My favourite might be the Andy Warhol take on the cover of Wolverine’s first solo comic. And I would be remiss if I didn’t also give some praise to Jen Van Meter. The story is cool, and she does a great job with Black Cat’s voice, and the daughter. Still, the main thing I want to get across is that I will buy pretty much any book that has Emma Rios’ name on it.

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From → 2013, Uncategorized

4 Comments
  1. A three-headed kid and a squid=faced chick? It’s almost like Jason Aaron wants us to anticipate anyone else writing WATXM. I assume these characters first showed up in the previous issue, because I don’t recal a three-headed character from earlier in the series.

    I considered picking up Inhumanity: The Awakening, but I ended up passing it. I might have to give it a shot when I get the chance this weekend.

    Which of the All New Marvel Now books are you most excited about? Personally, the three I’m looking forward to the most are the Captain Marvel relaunch, X-Factor and She Hulk. The first two are obvious considering how brilliant their writers can be, and I like She Hulk.

    • Yeah, the three-headed kid and squid-faced girl are new students who showed up last issue. They’re also humans, who are taking MGH to appear to be mutants so they can infiltrate the school on behalf of SHIELD.

      I’m not sure I can really recommend The Awakening. A lot of it will depend on how you feel about the use of social networking in comic books as a storytelling device.

      For All-New, I’ll go with Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, All-New X-Factor, and probably She-Hulk. I’m really psyched for Ms. Marvel.

      • I’ve never read anything from the writer of Ms. Marvel, but it does sound good from the interviews. I’ll give it at least one issue as I probably will with all the All New Marvel Now books. It’s nice to see that Marvel is trying to do a number of female-led books now, and hopefully some will succeed.

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