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X-Men comics (February 5, 2014)

February 5, 2014

This is a big week. There are a few comics, but this is the week Ms. Marvel #1 came out! It’s very good. Definitely worth checking out. I’ll talk about it more below. First, the X-Men comics.

First up, X-Men #10, by Brian Wood and Kris Anka (with the last few pages by Clay Mann). As an aside, I managed to get the animal variant, with the ladies as cats. It’s adorable and awesome and I love it. It does make me miss my own kitty. Anyway. Gabriel Shepard comes by to wake Monet up, then cleans the site of the Arkea virus. (Also, Monet decides to stop dying and coming back.) Monet meets back up with Storm and Psylocke, and is shown a display that highlights Arkea activations. The Sisterhood is looking for something in the desert, while Pixie and Rocksldie (super-yay!) go in space to get rid of the case Pixie teleported out there a while back. Rockslide sounds weird. I’m curious what’s up with him. We see the X-Men trying to track Arkea, and we see who Arkea plans to recruit next. And holy crap. Oh, we also see some of the JGS students getting ready to fight Sentinels on a beach. The fact that Wood is making more use of the New X-Men than Jason Aaron when Aaron is writing the school-based book and Wood is writing a classic superhero book is just shameful. I can only hope that Jason Latour remembers that there are more than 5 students at the JGS, and actually makes some use of all the kids that Aaron forgot even existed. Regardless, this issue continues the major plotlines, and it’s very exciting. Not much in terms of the Bling subplot, but it looks like she and Mercury are both going to play notable roles in the fight against the Sentinels next issue (along with Jubilee – who, despite being a vampire, apparently still likes pizza, given the panel we see of her sitting at a computer with a slice of pizza hanging from her teeth; I really like Jubilee), so I suspect we’ll get something. The art shift at the end isn’t too jarring; Anka and Mann aren’t that dissimilar, so it’s not a problem. The art is good, and so is the characterization, and the plot is continuing nicely. That said, there are a couple of really weird storytelling moments. We see the Sisterhood in the desert, and then Arkea summons a helicopter to pick them up, and we don’t really get an answer to why she didn’t do that earlier, or why they were in the desert in the first place. The final few pages, with Jubilee and some of the students on a beach, also feels disjointed, coming out of nowhere. (There’s some awkward blocking there, as well, with word bubbles not being where they probably should be.) So this issue has some definite flaws. Still, despite that, it’s a great read, worth picking up. Especially if you can find the adorable cat cover. Kitten Shogo! Jubikitty has fangs! So cute.

Wolverine #1, by Paul Cornell and Ryan Stegman. We start with Wolverine and a team infiltrating some place. One of the people on the team is a guy whose got his chest bare (I Fight Evil With Evil is tattooed on it), there’s another guy, and a woman. Wolverine, naturally, makes out with the woman for a few seconds. Because obviously. They beat up some more people. This was all video taken by a guy named the Offer, who’s showing it to a prospective client. He wants to offer Wolverine’s services to the guy’s boss, Sabretooth. We cut back 5 weeks, to Storm and Wolverine in a bar, talking about what he went through with Sabretooth. Wolverine is acting tough, secure, confident. Storm wants him to talk about it, he doesn’t want to. She does convince him to use some new tools, though. He goes to Black Widow for help getting used to using guns again. This involves shooting her LMD. The poor LMD. This issue was OK. I still dislike Wolverine as a character, which hampers my enjoyment of this issue. I am curious to see where this story goes, though. The art’s OK. Not really my style, but good for what it is. I don’t have much to say about this, partly because I don’t give a shit about Wolverine, partly because there’s still a lot that needs a wait-and-see approach.

That’s the X-Men comics. Now, the non-X-Men stuff.

First up, as I said, Ms. Marvel #1, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. We start with Kamala smelling a BLT, and joking around with her friends, Nakia and Bruno. A blonde girl and her jock boyfriend come in, and are insensitive while pretending to be nice. Then we get a scene of Kamala with her family. Kamala asks if she can go to a party, but her father says no. She feels like an outsider, and wants to be normal, so she sneaks out (wearing her Ms. Marvel lightning bolt jacket) and goes to the party, where the girl and guy from earlier are a lot less interested in pretending to be nice, and Kamala leaves. Then the Terrigenesis fog comes in and knocks her out, where she has a bizarre dream involving Iron Man, Captain America and Captain Marvel.There are also birds with hats. Captain America has a fish on his shoulder. Iron Man is holding a winged sloth. There’s a porcupine with giant green hands. I don’t know if any of those things represent anything, but they are weird. Anyway, it ends with her emerging from her cocoon. This is really good. The characters are very fleshed-out and believable. Her family is so real it almost makes you wince. The older brother who’s not even looking for a job strikes close to home – my own older brother is unemployed and isn’t really looking. I think most people can find something about the character to relate to. She’s an Avengers fangirl (who even writes her own fanfics); we’re all superhero fans here. She struggles with feeling like an outcast, and wants to be normal, even if only for a little while. Again, something I suspect a lot of us can relate to, especially when we were teenagers. I should also comment on the art. It’s good, too. It’s very fun, kinda cartoony in a good way. There’s a lot of little sight gags (a newspaper mentions a tax on the colour orange; it also has the captain of a cricket team blame the fans for a crushing loss, and given the fact that it was just a couple days ago we got a Bronco pulling that card, I’m pretty sure someone working on this book is a wizard), and characters have very expressive faces and body language. The art works especially well in the dream sequence, giving it a really weird feel. This is a very, very promising series, and one that I would definitely urge you to buy.

Loki: Agent of Asgard #1, by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett. We start with Loki stabbing Thor through the heart. Then we cut to earlier, and fanservice, because Ewing and Garbett know who really wants to read a book about sexy Loki. So, shower scene! Then he’s given a mission. As he starts his mission, he narrates about magic being about taking a lie and making the universe believe it’s real. I like that. It seems like the kind of thing Kieron Gillen would come up with, but Al Ewing beat him to it. Those crazy Brits. Anyway, as he runs up the side of a building, he turns invisible, leaving a cool Cheshire Cat smile. (Also, Hawkeye is apparently so terrible at video games that he somehow managed to wind up with the army after him and no health and falling out of a crashing plane – in a bass fishing simulator.) Loki winds up being found and semi-captured by the Avengers, at which point he proceeds to be the charming scamp we all love. He completes his mission, of course. And there’s a very, very shocking reveal at the end.  This builds on Kieron Gillen’s take on the character, particularly the focus on the power of stories, and Loki’s efforts to escape the role set for him by existing stories. He wants to escape the old stories by creating new ones, in the hope that the new stories will stick, allowing him to be a different character than he used to be. It’s very metafictional, but also really, really cool. Garbett’s artwork is good. Fairly standard, but well-done. The fanservice goes down smooth, for the people who like that sort of thing. There’s some nice touches here and there. It’s all very serviceable art. Still, the real appeal of this comic is Loki himself. Ewing gives him the sharp wit and clever dialogue we expect of the character. So this is another book worth reading.

Black Widow #3, by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto. Natasha’s getting ready to leave, and one of her neighbours mentions that Liho scratches at the door when she’s gone. The neighbour has a black eye. Natasha thinks the woman should leave her husband, but the woman shrugs and says it’s her home. Then we go to her mission, in Argentina, breaking someone out of a prison. The mission goes well, as she shows how badass she is, but also explains that she’s so good because she knows how to be one with her environment, a skill that comes from belonging anywhere by belonging nowhere. The mission does hit a small complication that winds up costing her her commission. When she gets to a safehouse, she calls her manager, and he tells her SHIELD has a mission for her. We see more of her rather grey morality here, as she refuses to kill guards doing their jobs, but doesn’t hesitate to kill someone she knows is bad. This is a great series. It’s very dark, not much in the way of humour, but it fits the character. One letter also mentioned the fact that she isn’t having to use her “feminine wiles” and overt sexuality to accomplish her missions, which is definitely a nice change. Noto’s art remains an excellent companion to Edmondson’s writing, setting the tone effectively, and making for some nice action sequences.

All-New Invaders #2, by James Robinson and Steve Pugh. We start earlier, with Bucky in Vienna, being chased by Kree. Then he calls up Captain America, and the two go try to help the original Human Torch, which brings us to the end of the previous issue. They all fight Tanalth, but it’s a standstill. Then Jim and Bucky fill Cap in on the mission they remember. And . . . that’s about it. A nice fight, and then exposition about what we saw in the first issue. This is OK. The original WW2 Vision, Aarkus, showed up, and will apparently be showing up again. I find it funny, because he was just in X-Men Legacy recently, in a fairly noteworthy role. He seems to be making a comeback, I guess. Still, I’m hoping for other characters, and more diverse characters. I still think America Chavez would be a good fit. Triple-shot of diversity (lesbian Latin lady), a cool attitude, and she would bring some major power to the team. (The device the Kree are collecting can control gods; the Invaders will need someone who can hold their own against gods, and Chavez fits that bill pretty nicely.) Plus, she’s just too damned cool to wind up in limbo.

I also want to mention Mighty Avengers #6. Al Ewing is killing it on that book. A great blend of humour and drama. Valerio Schiti did the art duties, and it looks fantastic. It’s dynamic, and expressive, and creative, and everything that Greg Land isn’t. So Mighty Avengers is definitely, definitely worth picking up.


Edit: Punisher #1, by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerards. Some soldiers do an op in Ghana to rescue someone, and then get orders for their next mission. Then we cut to the Punisher in Mexico, being badass, killing people, getting information, and killing some more. His lead takes him to LA. He chats to a fry cook and a female cop, then goes to meet an armory officer for some supplies. And then he keeps hunting. Including blowing up a building with a rocket launcher, because Punisher’s a big fan of overkill. This is good. Punisher’s never been one of my favourite characters, but Edmondson and Gerards have fun with him. Edmondson gives him a dark wit. And the story is being set up to be really interesting. Dark, violent and cool. Gerards is a good fit for that – his art in this issue is dark, violent and cool. This is good. I hope Rachel Cole-Alves shows up, though. I miss her.


From → 2014

  1. Ms. Marvel is possibly the best comic of the week. It strikes a near perfect balance of comedy, drama, character introductions, religious subtext (without getting preachy or overwhelming) and fun. Such a relateable character, as both a superhero fan and someone who wants something more substantial in her life. The dreamlike quality of the art suits the story perfectly. There are almost too many reasons to pick it up.

    I get the feeling that X-Men 10 was two issues squished into one, as it feels there are important scenes missing. It`s still good, but it could have been better. it`s also a bit hard to follow to be a starting issue, making the number 1 really pointless.

    I was interested in Mighty Avengers, but never picked up issue 5 and the store was out of it. I might try the paperback when it releases.

    Also I`m not sure if you`re into novel reading, but the She Hulk Diaries book is good. Just read it this past weekend.

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