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X-Men comics (March 5, 2014)

March 8, 2014

Well, my big project is out of the way. So now I can do my reviews.

First up, Uncanny X-Men #18, by Brian Bendis and Marco Rudy. Scott and his team return to the base as Eva argues that David deserves another chance. They notice that the ANXM team is missing, and Cyclops finds a Shi’ar weapon. And the rest of the issue is flashbacks, starting with Illyana bringing Kitty to see Scott. Kitty puts her fingers in his brain and threatens to unphase. Scott explains to her the feelings of guilt he has over Xavier’s death. He maintains that it wasn’t him that killed Xavier, but he accepts that he’s responsible for it, because he lacked the strength to stop it, and that he’s going to pay for his sins. She lets him go, and then cries and says she misses Xavier. Scott says he felt the same way when Kitty was gone. And then he asks what she needs from him. Cut to a week later, with the O5 being brought to the NXS, which leads to weirdness. Kitty and Illyana bond over their shared joy at Emma’s fury about Jean’s presence. Scott has a brief and awkward conversation with Jean, and another one with Young Scott. The two actually seem to get along, which probably shouldn’t be surprising. This issue does a very good job getting into Scott’s feelings, something which hasn’t been explored too much. We get a very nice explanation of how guilty he feels, and what he feels guilty about. The conversation between Scott and Kitty is wonderful. These two are my favourite characters, so I always like seeing them interact, and Bendis does a great job with them here. Marco Rudy recently did the Marvel Knights: Spider-Man mini, where he brought some crazy layouts that were really cool. He does some really weird layouts with this issue, too, but it feels less appropriate than it did in MK:SM. He’s got a great art style, but it is muddier than a lot of artists. It didn’t quite work for me here. Still, this issue was excellent, as usual from this series. And I’d rather keep Rudy than go back to Bachalo, but unfortunately, Bachalo returns next issue. With the team attacking SHIELD! That should be a lot of fun. I think we’re also going to get an update on Dazzler, which is nice.

Wolverine and the X-Men #1, by Jason Latour and Mahmud Asrar. It’s summer break, so most of the teachers are gone, but a lot of the students are still there, so some of the students are serving as TAs. Most notably, Quire. Who’s not happy about it. Idie tries to make him feel a bit better about it. Eye-Boy greets a new student, Lin Li, with small antlers, who can control and bond with animals. She doesn’t seem to speak. We get a panel of Armour putting students through an obstacle course while firing a flame thrower above their heads and shout “Squirm of die, maggots!” Sigh. Please, Latour, no. Don’t do that shit. That sort of idiotic, over-the-top nonsense was what made Aaron’s run so terrible. Storm calls Beast, who’s in space with some students. And then back into the classroom, where Rockslide is about to try to catch some Bamfs. The remaining Hellfire Brats is taking bets. Fuck you, Latour, for acknowledging that that piece of shit character even still exists. Do not ever use him again. None of those shits should ever be used again, by any writer, in any book. They should be stricken from the record. Anyway, Rockslide stops chasing the Bamfs when they start crawling over the new girl. Storm chews out Quire for letting it happen in the firs place, and he defends himself by saying he shouldn’t be in charge of anything, and that they only believe in him because they saw a future version of him. Apparently, seeing the future has him going through a big of an existential crisis. And meanwhile, Wolverine has tracked down Fantomex and asks him to go to the school to keep it safe. On the one hand, Latour has made use of a couple of the New X-Men kids, with Rockslide and Hellion both getting some lines here. On the other hand, honestly, the abominable Aaron run has me doubting that any of them will show up with any regularity. There are indications Armour will be a part of the main cast, but Armour wasn’t a New X-Men, she was created by Joss Whedon for his Astonishing X-Men run. What Latour should do is have the New X-Men kids as part of a revolving supporting cast. What he’ll probably do is ignore almost all of them. It’s possible Rockslide will be part of the supporting cast, dealing with feeling like he’s been left behind by his friends who graduated (which was raised in this issue). It’s also possible that Rockslide will wind up as wallpaper. Maybe brought out for the occasional cheap laugh. I can’t be objective on this series. Not yet. My loathing of Aaron’s run is too intense. I will say this is already miles better than that crap. There’s more depth than Aaron ever brought. There’s a greater sense of the characters actually having complexity, rather than the two-dimensionality of Aaron. The art doesn’t do much for me. It’s not bad, I just don’t care for it. It’s a bit vague at times. And it just doesn’t really work for me.

Magneto #1, by Cullen Bunn and Gabriel Walta. We start with a coffee barista telling some cops about an attack. A guy walked into the shop, sat down with a doctor, they started talking, and then the guy killed the doctor. With metal. Then we go to a cheap motel, where Magneto is thinking about how important he used to be, and how some might see his situation as a fall, but he just thinks the coffee’s OK. He reflects on who he’s been, and the sins he’s committed, including a flashback to the scene the barista described. And then we learn a bit more of what he’s up to. He’s tracking down anti-mutant activity, using refurbished laptops and newspaper clippings. SHIELD has been planting false reports to try to draw him out, but he’s too clever to fall for them – he knows the difference between a real atrocity and a false one. And he finds a real one – a vagrant who’s turned himself in for three murders. So Magneto goes to deal with him. This is cool. Bunn has a good grasp of Magneto’s voice. The narration is solid. The story is shaping up to be very interesting, too, with an interesting twist thrown in at the end of this issue. Walta’s art is good. The most interesting part is when Magneto attacks the police station – we get little inlaid panels of all the metal bits he can use for hurting people. (As an aside, Magneto still knows how to make an entrance. He’s also modified his costume a bit – it’s black now, instead of red. It looks very cool.) Walta’s not quite my thing, but at the least, I don’t find him off-putting. This series should be pretty interesting.

Night of the Living Deadpool #4, by Cullen Bunn and Ramon Rosanas. I actually forgot to review the previous issue. It was good. Deadpool is apologizing to the dead people in the town he killed. He decapitates the AIM agent he met last issue, who’s now a zombie, and says they’re going to make things right. The head manages to get Deadpool to the AIM facility where the zombie outbreak started, before finally fading away to mindlessness. Deadpool kills the zombies outside, but just attracts more. This leads to a joke about learning true fear at a Duggan and Posehn party. He tries to figure out a cure. He fails. And things end on a really weird note. This mini wasn’t bad. The art was nice, though I still would’ve liked a few more splashes of colour throughout. The humour was OK. Not great, but not OK. I chuckled a couple times. More than Daniel Way’s run usually got, at least once the pirate arc started. I wouldn’t really recommend this unless you’re a big fan of modern Deadpool.

That’s the X-titles. Now a couple Now! titles.

She-Hulk #2, by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido. We start with Jen looking at the “Blue File” mentioned in the last issue. Turns out it’s a lawsuit. Some guy in North Dakota is suing She-Hulk, along with Dr. Druid, Monica Rambeau, Tigra, Wyatt Wingfoot, Nightwatch, Shocker and Vibro, though we don’t learn why. Instead, we meet the owner of the building She-Hulk’s office is in. Her name is Sharon King, and she’s a former mutant (she even attended Xavier’s, apparently) who lost her powers on M-Day, but since she knows what it’s like in the world for people with powers, she leases office space to people with powers. We get a brief glimpse of some of them – a guy walking on the wall, a girl floating down with an umbrella, a dwarf, and a guy walking through his office’s door. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these people and the building. It should be a lot of fun. Then She-Hulk hires a paralegal, named Angie Guang, who has a monkey named Hei Hei. She brings him everywhere. Angie is very, very odd. But since she’s the only applicant, she gets hired. Then She-Hulk sets out to find clients, but no one wants to. They keep saying they’ll give her a call. Turns out her previous  bosses told everyone about the thing with the table. She gets frustrated and goes out for drinks with Patsy Walker. Hellcat! Turns out the Happy-Go-Lucky Hellcat is having problems of her own – no guy, no real job, and she’s a little frustrated and wants to hit something, despite being pretty drunk. They go to a warehouse that Patsy heard was an AIM lab. Things don’t go well for Hellcat. Poor Hellcat! She-Hulk ends up offering to hire her for investigative work, and Hellcat gives an adorable smile. This issue’s great. Yay Hellcat! She’s always fun. And She-Hulk’s fun. And the office is fun. There’s lots of fun here, basically. A lot less in terms of the legal side this time around, but that’s not a problem. It’s still present. Pulido’s art is definitely going to be hit-or-miss for most people. I’m fine with it. It’s a cartoonish style that fits the tone of the book. But it’s something that could definitely turn a lot of people off. Or on. One or the other. Regardless, this is a great series, well worth picking up.

New Warriors #2, by Christopher Yost and Marcus To. A new Inhuman (he has a horn on his head) is on the NYC subway when it slams to a stop. He goes to see what’s going on, and finds Sun Girl fighting the Evolutionaries, to protect some Morlocks. Then we cut to New Salem, where Justice and Vertigo get help from Speedball, Brutacus and another guy whose name I forget and I’m too lazy to look up. Kaine picks a fight with Water Snake, which could go better, until Aracely gets Water Snake to back down. Then Snake gets a chance to explain what happened. Then Evolutionaries show up. Justice and Speedball visit Avengers Tower, and use the computer to pull up the X-Men’s records on the Evolutionaries – I actually kinda like the reminder that these super-teams all share information. And then an alert notifies them of an emergency in the NYC subway. This is another good issue. Lots of good action. However, it’s not a great issue. It lacks either significant plot development or significant character development. It’s still doing set-up. I’m looking forward to the team finally coming together, and the series becoming a little more complete. To’s art is good. It’s a very conventional art style, but it’s well-done. It works. So conventional isn’t bad.

Loki #2, by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett. Speed-dating! Guys keep getting rejected by a woman who keeps seeing right through their lies, until Loki sits down in front of her. He tells her who he is, and that he’s on a mission to bring Lorelei to Asgardia. (He was given the mission when the All-Mother manifested in his punch. He was about to throw a party to greet his new neighbours, after having had to magically move his apartment. He’s worried about the All-Mother spilling the punch on the floor as they float around.) Loki eventually tracks Lorelei to Monte Carlo, where she’s pulling a heist. (This includes an absolutely wonderful panel parodying old romance comic covers. It really is great.) Loki corners Lorelei in a vault (he was posing as a girl in her group – when the woman he’s talking to questions that, he says he’s always himself). Lorelei escapes, so Loki decides to rob the casino himself, while he’s there. I love Loki. Meanwhile, at the speed-dating, Lorelei is taking a guy’s wallet, but he’s fine with it. Risk of living in New York. Apparently he was mugged by the Eel the previous week. Awesome. And we also get the story about the girl he’s talking to. She’s neat. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. Naturally, this story is really fun. Lorelei’s heist is great, as is Loki ruining it. The humour is a nice blend of goofy and sharp, much as one should expect from a British comic book writer. Garbett’s art is conventional but excellent. The issue looks very good. This series is another one worth buying.

Moon Knight #1, by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. We learn that Moon Knight is back in New York, with Joy Mercado giving his basic backstory. Then we cut to Moon Knight’s limo, and Knight himself in a white suit. I don’t like it. He looks like he should be selling fried chicken. I will say, however, that the white really jumps off the page – Jordie Bellaire does a great job, as always. MK has his computer pull up information on some recent murders. He goes to the scene of the most recent, and finds his old buddy, Detective Flint, who calls him Mr. Knight, and explains to a rookie cop that they call him that so they don’t have to arrest him. Moon Knight does some Sherlock Holmes stuff at the crime scene to deduce a whole lot about the killer. And then he tracks him to his lair in the tunnels under New York. He finds the guy, a wounded SHIELD agent who’s been attaching the body parts of strong men to make himself better, fit for duty again. When the guy threatens to kill Moon Knight, we get one of the best responses ever: “I’ve died before. It was boring, so I stood up.” And when the guy asks how MK’s going to stop him: “I stopped you two minutes ago. Look down.” And we see a Moon-a-rang sticking out a chunk of machinery in the guy’s side. And then we flash back to Marc Spector talking to a psychiatrist he hired to make him sane. Turns out he doesn’t have Dissociative Identity Disorder – he’s just had his brain altered by Khonshu to give him four personalities to match the four aspects of Khonshu. I like this take on the character. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise – Ellis is a damned good writer. There’s a lot of clever dialogue here, a cool story, and a really neat variation on the character. If anyone can make a Moon Knight solo successful, I figure it’d be Ellis. Shalvey’s art is good. Another one that’s not quite my thing, but a lot of people really love him. Bellaire does a really good job on the colours. So, this is another very good All-New Now! title that’s worth picking up. Marvel really wants all your money.

Punisher #3, by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerards. Punisher gets beat around by Electro, but escapes and hooks back up with his Army pal. Punisher then finds out where the Dos Soles headquarters is, and attacks it. This remains a good series. This issue is mostly action, but there’s plenty of very exciting action. I don’t have much to say about this because, well, I can’t think of much to say about any Punisher series, for the most part. If you like the Punisher, you’re probably already buying this. If you don’t like him, it’s probably not worth buying. I think that’s pretty much what it comes down to.

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From → 2014

One Comment
  1. I’m going to wait at least a few issues before I give the new WATXM a shot. From the sound of it though, it’s a slight improvement.Still, throwing in more new characters is a bit off putting when there were too many to begin with.

    And I am so very much enjoying She Hulk so far.

    Magneto’s also off to a good start.

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