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X-Men comics (March 26, 2014)

March 26, 2014

This is my final week of classes. I’ve got a couple finals next week, and then I go off for three weeks of field placement at the Canadian Human Rights Commission. But for today, I’ve got comics.

First up, All-New X-Factor #5, by Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico. Gambit’s sleeping, with his kittens awake. he wakes up to find Danger in his room. She’s still missing some bits of her, and wants Gambit’s help to reestablish them. Harrison tells his girlfriend to be out of his bedroom before his wife gets home. Quicksilver’s reading a book while Lorna cooks – apparently, Cerberus comes from the Greek word “kerberos,” which means “spot.” Hades has a big guard dog named “Spot.” Pietro finds that funny. Gambit comes in, and Pietro trolls him. Man, Pietro is really trolling Gambit in this series. Danger keeps observing that people are lying, including saying that a computer programmer named Lemar Smaug, who Serval wants to buy out, isn’t human. Turns out it’s the Magus.  And then there’s a fight. This is good. The series has reached the level of quality that one expects from PAD. There’s a lot of great humour, but there’s also some really deep, subtle characterization, and plenty of interesting plots going on. The return of the Magus is cool. He showed up a little bit in the Kyle/Yost X-Force, but dormant. Now, he’s active again. And things seem to be pretty complicated. I’m still not satisfied with the art. It’s good art, but it’s almost too good. Di Giandomenico’s art has a lot of style. It’s very cool, very slick. I feel like that actually kinda clashes a bit with PAD’s writing style – I feel he’d be better served with a more conventional artist. Or, alternatively, Jamie McKelvie would work well – he’s also very cool, very hip, but in a way that I feel would complement PAD really well. Carmine, meanwhile, might work better on a book like Avengers – doing big, flashy stories, where the style takes precedence over the substance. But other than that, this is a very good book.

Marvel Knights: X-Men #5, by Brahm Revel. Kitty’s happy to see Xavier, even if he’s only a memory, and she explains the situation to him. It kinda says a lot about her that, while Wolverine and Rogue keep imagining enemies, she remembers her mentor. Walking, even – at his best. Meanwhile, Rogue and Wolverine are being chased by Darla, the rednecks and a bunch of memories. Rogue tries to talk Darla down, with no success.  Kitty convinces Krystal to convince the biker gang to help with the battle, with Krystal agreeing out of the guilt she feels about making Darla freak out in the first place. Kitty, Krystal and Xavier reach the fight, and Xavier reminds them to think on good memories. Rogue summons up a memory of ’80s Punk Storm – the best Storm – Wolverine brings up Nightcrawler, and Kitty brings up Colossus. Big fight time! Woot! And emotional climax! This issue was very good. The whole series has been fantastic. If you haven’t been reading it, I’d recommend picking up the TPB when it comes out. Because it’s a fantastic series. Wolverine gets his ass kicked for much of the series (before finally pulling it together here), Rogue gets to be a badass right through, and Kitty shows why she’s the heart of the team. The story is dark and tense and exciting, and the art matches it perfectly. I really, really hope Marvel gives Revel more work, as a writer or an artist. He’s an immense talent, and he deserves a chance to do a lot more.

Amazing X-Men #5, by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness. In the JGS, Rachel, Angel and Warbird help blue Bamfs fight red Bamfs to defend the portal. In the Afterlife, the rest of the X-Men fight lots and lots of demons, led by Azazel. Teleporting sword fight! For a single double-page splash. Dammit, Aaron, it’s a teleporting sword duel, and you waste it for a second time! This should’ve been several pages, each with lots of panels! It’s a teleporting sword fight! It’s an inherently awesome concept, and if you’d let it go on, it would blow readers’ minds. Instead, it’s over in 5 bamfs. Five. Gah. Then Azazel orders his men to light the ship on fire. Wolverine tells Firestar to do the same to them. Then Azazel stabs Wolverine through the heart. Xavier tells Nightcrawler not to do what he’s thinking of doing, that Archangels are on their way to end it, and that he should return to Heaven. Nightcrawler declines, and tells the blue Bamfs that it’s time. I don’t know. I still don’t feel this book. Aaron’s next issue will be his last. Then Kathryn Immonen will do a fill-in issue (which I’ll definitely buy), and then Kyle and Yost will take over. I’ll probably enjoy it more then. I loved their New X-Men (and I still miss them – maybe Kyle and Yost will make use of those kids), and Yost’s Scarlet Spider was great. And he’s done a lot of other great work. At the very least, the book might get some villains who aren’t awful. Next issue will have Mystique, but that’s a one-issue thing. Aaron has failed to use a single compelling villain in his entire time on the X-Men. There was the Hellfire Brats, who need to be banned from ever appearing again. There was the Frankenstein Monster Circus, which even fans of WatXM thought was lame. And his first arc on Amazing used frigging Azazel. At least with Yost and Kyle, we might get some interesting villains. As far as this issue goes, it was basically all about Nightcrawler, obviously. Other characters got a couple lines here and there, but he was the only one to get any real characterization. Which makes sense – it’s not a problem at all. His characterization is handled well. The art is good, though I have to say, the change to Firestar’s costume – the flames going up higher – really doesn’t work. I’d recommend they put the flames back where they used to be, because right now, they’re just too high up her arms and legs. Anyway, I’m really, really looking forward to Immonen’s issue.

Origin II #4, by Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert. It’s a month after Clara and Creed freed Logan. They’re in New York. She’s been trying to civilize him, and she tests him by having him buy sausages. He freaks out and pops his claws when the shopowner tries to give him his change. Clara tries to find out why Logan’s in so much emotional pain. Creed gets jealous again of the attention she’s paying to Logan, and leaves. That night, he wakes up from a nightmare, and he finally opens up to Clara, and tells her about Rose. They bang. Essex’s men find them, and Logan tears into them. And Clara makes the bad decision of getting too close to him. We also learn about the exact relationship between Creed and Clara. Another good issue. Gillen’s writing is solid. He’s normally a witty writer, but here, he restrains himself. He keeps the tone very serious. He does a good job with it. And, of course, Kubert continues to do a fantastic job with the art. The book looks fantastic. Though I still don’t care about Wolverine.

Deadpool #26, written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, art by Scott Koblish. This is another of the fake inventory issues. (As an aside, I still want Marvel to start using clever nicknames on credits pages on a regular basis again. Come on, Marvel! Do it!) It’s 1945. Hitler learns that Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos are on their way to Berlin. A time traveler shows up to kill Hitler, much to Hitler’s irritation – he’s had it with time travelers. He easily kicks the guy’s ass and steals his device. He decides to use the device to kill Fury. He goes to 1954, where Fury and Deadpool encounter each other in an LA bar. Deadpool lets Fury know he’s about to die, and that he was sent to keep Fury safe. After a car chase and shoot-out, Hitler attacks with a giant robot. He kills Fury and Deadpool, but Deadpool manages to send a postcard to Cable in the future. And Cable shows up with another giant robot. This issue was . . . meh. I don’t like these inventory issues. They don’t have anything particularly interesting to say about the time periods they’re poking fun at. This one was better than the other ones, but it was still mostly really, really bland. Not particularly clever at all.

A+X #18. The first story, by Jim Kreuger and Will Sliney, teams up Kitty and Vision. They’re in Murderworld. Kitty sees Xavier, who stands up and warps. There’s also warped versions of Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Douglock ( the combined Warlock and Cypher from Excalibur back in the ’90s). They can apparently touch her. Vision beats them up, and warped versions of Wanda and Ultron show up. And more, of course. They take on each other’s mirrormen, though Kitty does choos to punch Emma herself. Because of course she would. They take out the mirrors the enemies are coming from, and then wander through a maze. They see a guy with a digital ghost with a bullet hole in his head, and follow him to digital ghosts of all Arcade’s victims. Poor Mettle! I miss you, Mettle! Juston Seyfert and Red Raven are there, along with a bunch of people who look normal. I don’t see Reptil, but if I’m not mistaken, I think Avengers Underground confirmed his death. Vision and Kitty figure out that the computer in Murderworld has gained sentience, and wants to die for what’s happened there. They talk it out of it. Not a bad story. The rationale for the computer using Vision and Kitty is a bit weak, but it’s a reasonably entertaining story. The second story, by Gerry Duggan and David Yardin (with a penciling assist from Matteo Lolli), finishes the Cyclops and Captain America team-up. Ant-Man and Scott blow up Doom’s files and a Doombot, and the Cuckoos make the human guards play patty-cake. Ant-Man also gives a reason for the lack of a telepath on the Avengers – none of them want to be mind-linked to Hawkeye. Makes sense to me. Anyway, they all leave, taking the Skrull-Doombot with them. It wears a cape. And nothing else. Scott returns to talk to Steve, and Steve tries to talk him into surrendering to authorities. Eva freezes time, but so does Dr. Strange. He’s there to keep the proceedings honest. Scott and Steve argue about Scott surrendering. Steve acknowledges that he no longer believes Scott killed Xavier, but he does believe Scott needs to be acquitted by a jury of his peers. Scott asks who a jury of his peers would be. Strange and Eva walk away, quite friendly with each other. This was a good finale to a good story. Scott and Steve arguing at the end was kinda funny, though it also had some very relevant stuff – specifically, Steve no longer viewing Scott as a murderer. As I recall, Wolverine’s also gotten past seeing Scott as a killer, and so has Kitty. So the other heroes are starting to forgive Scott. Though they all still seem to think he should turn himself in to stand trial, even though, you know, most heroes have refused to turn themselves in for crimes they’ve been accused of quite regularly. Especially when mind control is involved. How many heroes have we actually seen stand trial for crimes committed while under outside control? I’m honestly asking, because I can’t think of any. Oh well. Ant-Man and Emma got along surprisingly well, and Strange and Eva had a really nice moment. And that marks the end of this whole series. It’s been a fun one. I’m hoping Marvel tries another anthology series. They’re always enjoyable, though I don’t think they generally sell very well. I also think this did a much, much better job of combining the X-Men and Avengers than Uncanny Avengers has done.

Uncanny Avengers #18, by Rick Remender and Daniel Acuna. Havok is leaving a message behind for his daughter, Katie, for her 16th birthday. Havok’s being chased down the street by Blob and what seems to by Pyro, even though Pyro’s been dead for years. He thinks about how Eimin rewrote history to convince everyone that Thor and the Avengers are responsible for the Earth being destroyed. Havok plans to set everything right, even though it means destroying Planet X. He’s rescued by Jan, now his wife. They plan on attacking the Tachyon Dam, with help from Beast. They’re being chased by X-Force – Magneto, Blob, Pyro, Toad. Havok blows up the Dam, but Wasp gets captured in the process. This is kinda meh. Here’s the weird thing: Much as I want this whole story over with, I feel like this issue probably should’ve focused more on Planet X. I feel like Remender should’ve had a “downtime” issue. I mean, the last issue ended with the destruction of the Earth – this should’ve been a slow, quiet issue, exploring Planet X, the relationship between Havok and Wasp, and the feelings of guilt they both have about what happened. We get hints of all those things, but they’re swallowed up, a bit, by the action and the plot. I also would’ve put a different artist on this. Acuna’s good, but I feel like the story would be better served by someone with a bit sharper a style. Acuna’s a bit muddy, and that’s very effective for some stories, but for this particular story, I would’ve preferred someone clearer. Oh well. Either way, I’ll be glad when this story’s over.

That’s the X-titles. Now the Now! stuff.

First, Guardians of the Galaxy #13, by Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli. This is the finale of The Trial of Jean Grey. Jean admits to being the Phoenix, says she’s angry that it took control of her, and also adds that killing her won’t stop what happened. She also says she would’ve forgiven Gladiator for the whole trial thing . . . but he killed her family. She powers up – she glows bright pink and kicks some serious ass. Oracle talks to her. Jean’s doing something she’s never done – taking everyone’s psychic energy and sending it back at them, her telepathy and telekinesis working together. She and Gladiator take each other out, and then Oracle ends the fight. Gladiator says it’s not her place to end it, and Scott decides it’s his own place. He threatens to kill Gladiator if he goes for Earth again. It’s . . . actually a pretty impressive threat. “I will bring a Hellstorm of Asgardians, mutants, Atlanteans and Hulk monsters right down on top of you!” Teen Scott can be a hardcore badass when he needs to be. Peter and Kitty seem to hit it off. What is it with Kitty and guys named Peter? No, seriously, is the name just a major turn-on for her? There was Piotr Rasputin – Colossus. There was Peter Wisdom. Now there’s Peter Quill. The only non-Peter boyfriend she’s had was Bobby, and that relationship kinda sucked. Oh well. Kitty and Quill have a nice chemistry. Maybe they’ll keep in touch. I actually kinda hope so. And, of course, Scott leaves the team to go with his dad and the Starjammers. This was something we already knew about, though. It was announced a few weeks ago. This was good. A nice finale to a cool story. The Guardians still don’t get to do much – this was basically an X-Men story. Actually, it was kinda two X-Men stories – one for Jean, one for Scott. It was a good one, though. Jean’s new power-up is an interesting twist. There seems to be a bit of a trend lately of making strong women even more powerful. Al Ewing gave Monica Rambeau a power-up in Mighty Avengers, and now Jean Grey’s gotten a power-up for All-New X-Men. And a non-Phoenix-related power-up, to boot! I like that Bendis is kinda moving Jean away from the two stories that always defined her: Scott and the Phoenix. He’s not ignoring either one – he’s handling them both head-on, and then taking her in a different direction for each. (He’s also moved her away from Wolverine, though I suppose we’ll presumably see a little more interaction between Jean and Laura, so we’ll see how that develops. Who knows, maybe they’ll hook up. Shut up, it could happen. If not in the comic, then in my dreams. And probably some fanfics and fan art. Which has probably already been created.) Oh, and the art. It’s great. Pichelli’s got a very nice style. Jean’s pink power form is pretty cool. Pichelli’s great. She’s someone who’s going to go places. It reminds me a little bit of Stuart Immonen, though her art’s more detailed than his. The action scenes look great.

All-New Ghost Rider #1, by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore. I’ll be honest, I’ve never much cared about the Ghost Rider. There’s one reason I picked this up, and it’s going to sound a bit bad: Felipe Smith is black. I’m a supporter of greater diversity at Marvel, not just with characters, but with creators. So I wanted to put my money where my mouth is now that I have a chance to support a non-white writer. So I picked this up. (I got the animal variant cover – yay!) Robbie Reyes is in an auto shop, working on a really nice car, when his boss tells him it’s quitting time and gives him his week’s pay. In cash. He tries to shortchange Robbie, but Robbie’s no idiot. We see a trio of assholes shove a kid out of a wheelchair and steal it. Robbie starts beating the shit out of them, until one pulls a gun. Robbie takes the kid, Gabe, back to their home, makes him mac’n’cheese, and tells him they’re going to get out of the crap neighbourhood they live in, which has a whole lot of violence. That night, Robbie steals the sweet-ass car he’d been working on in order to take part in a drag race. This is a very good debut. The characters are really deep right off the bat. The story moves at a quick pace – we get the main characters, the basic set-up, some excitement and a couple overarching plots, all in one issue. The dialogue feels natural, and there’s a subtlety to it that exposes the core of the characters with ease. It’s helped by Moore’s art. The guy does a phenomenal job. I don’t think I’ve seen him before, but he’s already someone worth watching. The action is exciting. The drag race is fast and kinetic and just great. But he does just as well at the quieter moments. The characterization is helped greatly by the expressions on their faces, which add a lot to the writing. Moore complements Smith beautifully. I still don’t care about the Ghost Rider. But I’ll keep picking this book up, at least for now. It deserves a shot. It at least deserves to do well enough to justify Smith  and Moore getting more Marvel work.

Revolutionary War: Omega, written by Andy Lanning and Alan Cowsill, art by Rich Elson. We get Killpower’s story in Hell, with Mephisto making a deal with him. He promises to send Killpower home, if Killpower first does some jobs for him. Those jobs involved going to all sorts of different Hells and killing things. And eventually we catch up to the present, and Killpower getting home, angry at having been forgotten, and wanting to burn it all. Demons are popping up all over the world. Britain, of course, is swarming with them, with the heroes fighting back. The UXM team is fighting a bunch, New York is full, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are fighting demons in Paris, for some reason. Death’s Head 2 and Tuck show up to kick Killpower’s ass – one of DH’s old favourite pastimes. Up in the tower, Dark Angel’s not quite as depowered as she thought – seems Mephisto left her a trace of power, in a betrayal of Killpower and his pets. She uses it to wake up Captain Britain and the others. And they fight to save the world. It does burn out Dark Angel’s powers, so I guess that confirms her current status over in Iron Man. This was good. It was a nice, fun return to the wonderful Marvel UK. I really, really hope more of these characters stick around and show up some more. I want to see DH2 and Tuck some more. I loved those two. The original DH, too, yes? I’d love it if Motormouth also made some more appearances, but at the same time, she seems to have a nice thing going with her kids. On the other hand, her kids are pretty messed up, too. So I don’t know. Anyway. Great event. Made me really happy.

Silver Surfer #1, by Dan Slott and Mike Allred. We start 12 years ago, with a couple little girls – sisters – seeing a shooting star. One – Eve – wants to go everywhere and see everything. The other – Dawn – wants the star to go on forever so everyone can get a wish. How the hell is it that everything Mike Allred draws ends up having such sweet moments like that? It’s the first page, and already we’re seeing it. Of course, it turns out the star was the Silver Surfer, visiting Earth for the first time, and deciding it’s perfect for Galactus to feed on. We skip to the present, where the Surfer’s helping a a tiny star to provide heat and energy to a tiny planet. Some kind of drone greets him as a champion for the Impericon, a place of great wonders. On Earth, Eve has been traveling the world, and sending pictures to Dawn. But Dawn’s perfectly content in Anchor Bay. She and her dad now run a bed and breakfast. Back in space, the Surfer reaches the Impericon, the Impossible Palace, which has managed to hide itself from the Heralds of Galactus. He gets a tour of the Impericon, while Dawn gives a tour of the B’n’B. And then we find out about Surfer’s mission. This is a Silver Surfer story by Dan Slott and Mike Allred. There was never any chance that this would be bad. Honestly, nothing by Mike Allred is ever bad. Everything he does is great. I don’t know what it is, but he just seems to bring a joy to his books, and brings out the best in his writers. Like every Allred title, this is fun but touching. Dawn is an amazing character. Right off the bat, she’s deeply compelling. I’m betting she winds up being the best new character of 2014, even without any powers. This book is absolutely worth getting. It’s wonderful.

Iron Patriot #1, by Ales Kot and Garry Brown. We start with Rhodey dying. Then we cut back two days ago, to New Orleans. He’s in his Iron Patriot armour, singing while he sends some drones into the water to assess the risk of New Orleans sinking. His father calls, wanting Rhodey to spend more time with his niece, Lila. Lila is some kind of engineering prodigy. A teenager, it looks like. Her mother’s dead, and there’s no reference to her father so he’s probably dead, and she’s being raised by her grandparents, Rhodey’s parents. The next day, Rhodey gives some speech about being there to protect all Americans. he also says he’ll no longer be involved in any international military matters, excepting rescue missions. This is . . . OK. It’s not a great start, especially for a mini. It needed a little more superheroics – Rhodey’s an experienced hero, so there’s nothing stopping the story from going straight into it. A new character needs an origin story, and if that means no real action for the first few issues, that’s fine. But when you’ve got an established hero, it’s best to show what they can do right off, intermixed with who they are and what the overall point of the story will be. This issue spent a little too much time with Rhodey and his father talking. The characterization’s good, it’s just weak plotting. The art’s great, though. It looks good, for the most part. A few weak spots, but mostly, it’s solid. It’s nothing particularly inventive or eye-catching, but it does the job. This mini looks like it’ll probably end up being pretty middling, overall. Not bad, not outstanding. Just an adequate story.

I also want to mention the conclusion of Avengers Assemble. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matteo Buffagni take it out in style. It includes plenty of action, plenty of banter, a knock-knock joke (no, seriously, Carol, Jessica and Hulk do a knock-knock joke and it is wonderful), and Anya gets a new ringtone. She even tosses in a nice little Goodnight Moon parody poem on the last page. It’s cute. I’m sad to see this series end. I’m hoping Anya lands somewhere soon – she’s a good character.

From → 2014

  1. First off, good luck with your finals.

    So many issue fives this week, at least for me. But of the three you read, I pretty much completely agree with you. Marvel Knights X-Men was actually kind of amazing, Amazing X-Men really was not, and X-Factor was just fun.

    That’s quite the development for Jean Grey’s powerset, and I agree it’s good that Bendis is going a different direction for her character, yet isn’t ignoring her past. I’m still hoping there will be an X-23/Gamora team up someday. Also worth noting is that, with Cyclops now gone, the All New X-Men have an even male/female balance. Nice touch.

    I’ll miss Avengers Assemble – it was great.

    • I was actually going to mention that ANXM is now gender-equal. I’d even typed it down. I cut it because I wound up writing something else that made my comment no longer fit where I had it. But yeah, considering it started out 4 guys and one girl, I find it neat that it’s now 3 guys and 3 girls – with the girls actually being the most competent ones there.

      And yeah, Assemble was a lot of fun.

  2. G'kar permalink

    I found most the books that I got enjoyable well expect for one but that goes without saying. Too bad this was the last issue of Avengers Assemble but I think it ended a good note.

  3. Concerning, All New X-Men, I’m hoping that we get some focus on Angel. There was that panel where he says, “you’d do it for me? Right?” He really needs the spotlight.

    • Hopefully, Scott’s departure means the other men get a little more focus going forward. None of them are characters I particularly like, but I dislike when characters in a book never get to do anything.

      • Yeah, by the way great reviews as usual. I don’t have the funds for all the books I want so it’s great to catch up and get a decent commentary on them at the same time.

      • I’m glad you enjoy my reviews. I kinda like writing them.

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