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X-Men comics (May 21, 2014)

May 21, 2014

My brother’s birthday is tomorrow. But for today, I have comics.

First, Uncanny X-Men #21, by Brian Bendis and Chris Bachalo. At the JGS, Scott’s lost control of his blasts. Magik tries to teleport him away, but can’t, and she loses control of her own powers, turning into the Darkchild. Storm takes the pair out with a lightning bolt. Then “Dazzler” shows up demanding the X-Men hand Scott and Magik over. In Madripoor, the Blob wins a bar brawl, then feels his powers slipping away. He can’t reach Mystique on the phone, so he goes to where Dazzler is, and Magneto confronts him. Magneto almost kills him, but remembers when they first met, and lets him go. But he also frees Dazzler. Yay! About time! At the school, Maria Hill shows up, and agrees to let Beast have one hour to figure out what’s wrong with Scott and Magik. And the mysterious bubble-dome dude takes control of the Helicarrier above the school. This is great. It’s funny: Scott and his team are barely even present, but Bendis does such a good job with everyone else, that they’re not really missed. Dome-head is fairly intriguing – I’m curious who it is and where this story’s going. And I’m very happy that Dazzler’s no longer sedated. I’m hoping she gets a significant role in the book, now that she’s awake again. Maybe we’ll get to see her take on Mystique. I do feel bad for poor Blob, though. The art remains very Bachalo. Not my preference. He has a distinct style that he does very, very well, it’s just not a style I enjoy. Still, this issue’s great, and this series continues to be one of the top X-books.

X-Men #14 by Brian Wood and Clay Mann. First, a quick note: Wood’s last issue on this title will be #17. That makes me sad, because he’s been doing a great job. Worse, he’s being replaced by Marc Guggenheim’s whose Young X-Men was so bad that it left the New X-Men students as wallpaper ever since. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if this book gets cancelled in a year. Anyway, this issue. We start with Monet and Rachel chasing the guy who shot Teon into the subway. Storm is asking Kymera for information about the attack, and Jubilee is teaching Jubilee to press the beep-beep (the thing that creates a force field around him). Storm calls a team meeting and announces they’re officially a team, and they’re going to vote on who to lead. Then there’s an explosion that breaks out the shooter. Very cool. Kymera gets a pretty badass moment, which is nice – I’m glad she’s getting something to do. The whole team gets some cool characterization. Jubilee’s worry for Shogo is done well. Mann does a good job with the art. He’s not one of my favourites, but he’s also not someone I dislike. He reminds me of Stuart Immonen, just not quite as talented (not an insult – Stuart Immonen is immensely talented, one of the best in the industry). There’s a lot of panels where it’s intentionally hard to see exactly what’s going on – mostly with too much fire – but you can still tell what’s happening. There’s a real sense of tension throughout. The back-up story (Bromo-Superior Part 2) is drawn by Phil Briones. Psylocke is telling Hellion to lead his team. Rockslide gets shot by another cannon, and mutters that it still hurts less than being punched by Monet. Then Hellion sends Anole in to take out the cannon. And we get a nice reminder that Anole is a hardcore badass. But Psylocke reminds Hellion it’s supposed to be his time to shine. And we get a reminder that Hellion is a straight-up powerhouse. It’s very cool. It’s not a long segment, but it gets across some effective characterization and some awesome action. Briones does a great job with it.

All-New X-Factor #8, by Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico. Doug’s a dessicated husk on the floor, and Georgia, the girl who did it, just asked who wants pie. Danger asks what sort of pie. I love Danger. Warlock demands Georgia fix Doug, and threatens to kill her. Dakei and his guards come in with guns raised and tell X-Factor to get away from his daughter. Polaris takes the threat pretty well, considering she only takes away their guns and doesn’t kill them. Polaris is angry at Dakei for being an anti-mutant bigot who never mentioned his own daughter being a mutant. Georgia was unaware she was a mutant. She was also unaware that not everyone could drain moisture out of people’s bodies. Georgia reverses what she did to Doug, with her father being very torn on it all – he hates mutants, but loves his daughter. And Snow shows up to talk to Dakei. When Doug’s back, he suggests Georgia go to the JGS to learn how to use her power. Danger adds that she may die. “Sometimes repeatedly. Doug died, for instance.” I love Danger. This issue’s hilarious. There’s an absurd casualness to a lot of it. I feel bad for poor Georgia. The ending of the issue is pretty hard. I still think Carmine’s a bad fit for this book. He draws well, it’s just not the right style for X-Factor. It’s too cool, too stylish, and it needs something more down-to-Earth.

Amazing X-Men #7, by Kathryn Immonen (yay!) and Paco Medina. We start at a Pik-n-Pay grocery store, where Firestar and Iceman are getting snacks for game day. Angelica seems a bit crabby, but she is with Bobby, so it makes sense. And then they find a baby in their cart. Then Spider-Man shows up demanding the baby, saying he’s been chasing it all over the state. He pokes the baby, and it turns into a weird freaky monster. Spider-Man grabs the monster-baby thing and runs off, with Firestar and Iceman chasing him. It turns out Spider-Man wants to trade the thing for . . . a goat. It’s a team mascot. This issue is gloriously ridiculous, and absolutely hilarious. All three of them get a lot of funny lines. Angie’s a voice of annoyed reason, and also bashes junk food a lot. She also gets probably the best snark in the entire issue, at Spider-Man’s expense: “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you have friends.” There’s also this beauty: “You don’t know anything about this species! You have no right to impose our stupid gender constructs on an alien race!” Yeah, it’s that kind of story. The art’s great, too. Medina’s got a real classic style that works perfectly for this story. (He also draws Firestar in a more classic version of her costume – she doesn’t have flames all the way up her sleeves, which is good, because I don’t like that look.) This issue is great. I love it. And it makes me really, really want Kathryn Immonen on another ongoing. There’s such a delightful humour to her work.

Wolverine and the X-Men #4, by Jason Latour and Mahmud Asrar. At the New Xavier School, Goldballs (yay!) and Teen Scott are the last ones standing against Quentin Quire. Quire takes down Teen Scott, and then starts chatting up Goldballs, asking how he stays so sane. And asking if he ever swims in his gold balls. Teen Jean and X-23 attack, but he gives Laura flowers and starts making out with Jean. It’s all in his head, of course, courtesy of the Cuckoos. At the JGS, Idie refuses to let Beardo-Man kill Evan, Hellion thinks maybe they should, Rockslide, disagrees, so Hellion punches Rockslide and reaks his metal hand. Which is stupid. So, so stupid. Hellion’s a telekinetic. He could – and normally would – wrap a telekinetic field around his hands. It would let him punch harder, too. (Also, the hands seem to be attached to his wrists, which is wrong. They’re supposed to float free.) Evan’s in the World, talking to Fantomex. Heavy Metal Santa enters the school, and Armour grabs him. Back at Phoenix Corp, Wolverine finally finds Younge, who holds a Phoenix feather, and mentions when Wolverine was connected to the Phoenix in the Amazing Spider-Man and Wolverine mini (by Jason Aaron – a really good mini). This is kinda good. Younge and Duck Dynasty make for lame villains. Quire remains kind of annoying. Hellion’s hands are drawn wrong. Rockslide at least gets to be present, which is always nice, since Rockslide is awesome. I’m looking forward to this arc being over, and hoping we get to see more focus on the students who aren’t Quire. The art’s OK. Nothing particularly special. This book is just kinda . . . there.

Magneto #4, by Cullen Bunn and Javier Fernandez. Magneto’s out in the Adirondaks, and opens up a secret base there. Outside, a bus is driving down the highway with a bunch of mutant kids (visible mutants), being taken to the Farm. Magneto stops the bus and kills the humans. This seems to have been a bit of a flashback. Then we cut to a farm, with a whole lot of dead people, care of Magneto. It’s a Purifier lab. As he leaves, some Purifiers show up to attack him. Wearing metal armour. Against Magneto. He points out their stupidity. It is an awesome massacre. This issue’s very good. A great issue, showing Magneto’s determination and his brutality. His powers may be weakened, but he’s still an extremely dangerous man, and this issue shows why. He also gets a new base of operations, which is cool. The art’s good. Fernandez draws the violence really well.

All-New Doop #2, by Peter Milligan and David Lafuente. Now that Doop speaks English, he sees no reason why he and Kitty can’t get married. She still turns him down, and breaks his heart. The cold bitch! (I kid. I love Kitty.) He burrows away, but Kitty follows so she can explain. And she winds up in the Marginalia. The space between moments. He takes her to his favourite restaurant – Chateau Du Armpit Hair. He takes her to a Cinema of Emptiness, and then out dancing. And then shooting toy Sentinels. And then, finally, to another weird cinema, where he shows her talking to Rachel about being uncertain about sending the Teen X-Men back. Finally, she demands he bring her back. Then he films Teen Scott and Teen Jean talking, and Scott says he thought they could trust Kitty. Doop shows the footage to Kitty, who’s hurt by it, and decides to help them. This continues to be fun. Kitty seems to be falling for Doop, and who wouldn’t. (A lot better than Iceman, anyway.) The story is fun and goofy. The Doop-Speak, luckily, is kept to a minimum. A wise choice, if he’s going to get so much to say. I enjoy the Margins stuff. It’s a nice bit of meta-text. Allred is, of course, the definitive Doop artist, but Lafuente does a great job with him, too. It’s a very Allred-like take. This comic’s weird, but it’s great.

Deadpool Annual #2, by Christopher Hastings and Jacopo Camagni. Spider-Man smashes Deadpool into a roof. He seems to think it’s not really Deadpool, but DP shoots himself to prove it. Spider-Man explains that he’s been getting randomly attacked by people who appear and disappear, and it’s the Chameleon behind it. Spider-Man accosts some woman he thinks is the Chameleon, but Deadpool convinces him to let her go. Then she stabs him with a hypodermic needle. It actually was Chameleon. Deadpool knocks him out a window, then drags Spider-Man into a supply closet and changes into his costume. He goes around looking for the Chameleon, but the Chamelion still tricks him. So he goes around some more. He finds a purse-snatcher and mocks him for being a purse-snatcher in the superhero capital, but the snatcher says he’s been able to grab seven purses for every superhero sighting – rule of averages. Then he comes across a bunch of snakes. He follows them to a lab, where a snake-themed villain named the Master is starting some big scheme of conquest. Deadpool accidentally turns him and his snakes into a giant mouse. Go with it. After Deadpool stops the giant mouse, Chameleon shows up, and then Spider-Man shows up. This is pretty fun. Goofy and silly, but harmless fun. Nice writing, nice art – just an all-around good Annual.

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

Original Sin #2, by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato. Deep in the Earth, Emma, Black Panther and Ant-Man have found some terrified Moloids and a radiation trail. There’s a whole lot of dead monsters. In New York, Cap, Widow, Spider-Man and Wolverine are chasing a Mindless One through an office. It jumps out and lands in the back seat of Nick Fury’s flying car. The Mindless One hates having a mind, and wants to go back to ignorance. At Avengers Tower, Banner and Tony Stark (wearing his helmet, but no pants – Stark is weird sometimes) are doing some research. Tony wants to know where Strange is. He and Punisher are in another dimension, and Punisher is very uncomfortable. They find a giant Beast King, dead, with a big green bullet. In a penthouse, the bad guys are talking. And then the Avengers show up and suggest they surrender. Well, the Avengers and the X-Men. And Nova. And SHIELD. It’s a whole lot of heroes, really. And one of the villains comes out fighting. Exterminatrix, Noh-Varr’s old flame. Fight time! We get to find out who one of the other bad guys is, too. And it amused me. The book itself calls him a Z-List villain, and that’s pretty damned accurate. I won’t say who it is, but I love that they went with him. The book’s pretty good. Some good action. Deodato’s a great artist, of course. Big and bold, a bit dark and muddy in a way that enhances the work. So, the second issue is good. We’ll see if it can keep the momentum.

Elektra #2, by W. Haden Blackman and Michael Del Mundo. The freaky villain from the last issue talks about the pain he suffered getting the abilities of various animals, and now, from Bullseye. Elektra’s on Monster Island, tracking Cape Crow, and a pair of assassins chasing him. Scalphunter and Lady Bullseye. The two are taken down by a bomb Crow planted on a giant monster egg, and Elektra tells them to leave. Scalphunter gets attacked by the mother of the exploded egg, while Elektra takes on Lady Bullseye. It’s a gorgeous double-page spread, that does something particularly special – it shows movement and action, by showing the characters moving across the page. It’s a single panel, but a single panel with multiple images. Then there’s a few more panels of Elektra vs. Lady Bullseye. One guess who wins. This is the second week in a row Lady Bullseye got taken out. Sucks to be her. But Del Mundo does a great job with it. This series is really all about Del Mundo. That’s not to take away from Blackman – he’s doing a great job, writing an interesting story, and a good take on Elektra. But really, Del Mundo is just stealing the show. His style owes a lot to Bill Sienkewicz. Very much an ethereal, chaotic look. The action flows really, really well. And the creepy villain is really frigging creepy. Blackman and Del Mundo have really hit on something with this guy, because he’s creepy as hell.

And, finally, Amazing Spider-Man #2, by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos. We start in an apartment with no windows. A girl makes chicken marsala (from a box) and puts on a VHS of the second Spider-Man/Electro fight. She knows Spider-Man is Peter Parker. Silk! It’s the character who’s going to be part of Spider-Man’s Original Sin tie-in. Obviously. We all know it. She even has webbing she uses to switch off a lightswitch. Meanwhile, the cliffhanger from last issue is resolved as Peter just flat-out tells Anna Maria that he’s Spider-Man but has spent the past few months mind-swapped with Dr. Octopus. She takes it oddly well. She bakes some cookies while trying to process it, and then goes for a walk to continue trying to process it. Then Peter gets a call, with Beethoven’s Fifth as the ringtone. “On top of everything, he changed all my ringtones.” That’s great. Such a tiny, petty thing to get annoyed over, but it’s the tiny, petty things that are most frustrating. In the West Village, Electro stops off at the apartment of a girl named Francine, for a place to lay low. Peter’s at Avengers Tower, having brought some of the cookies Anna Maria made. Peter finds out Flash is Venom, and decks Captain America for never telling him. Then he goes to his lab at Parker Industries, where there’s serious problems he has no idea how to fix. Anna Maria comes by to help, though. (And gets Sajani to leave by saying she’s pregnant. I love Anna Maria.) And then Spider-Man fights Electro. This issue’s really good. I’m glad Anna Maria’s sticking around. She’s an amazing character. The fact that she’s a midget – a type of character who only ever appears as a joke – just makes her even better. But even if she was normal height, she’d be great. I grew up on Peter and MJ, but if he can’t be with MJ, I’d love it if he got together with Anna Maria.  The Avengers sub-plot has been fully tied up, which is nice. This is good. Funny, but with some nice drama, too. And Slott’s writing a surprisingly adult Peter (who still has terrible luck, such as accidentally webbing his pants on and not being able to remove them). I’m still not a fan of Ramos’ art. It’s just not for me. Overall, for Spider-Man fans, this is a return to form. Definitely worth picking up.

From → 2014, Uncategorized

  1. Amazing X-Men 7 was almost too entertaining. It takes great skill to somehow combine an alien baby, shopping, ruining Wolverine’s car, a goat chewing wires on a space ship and talks of junk food into one coherent story, and that’s the genius of Kathryn Immonen. I completely agree, Marvel needs to give her an ongoing.

    Good week for the X-Men in general, with the ultra-intense Uncanny X-Men 21, the building tension in X-Men 14, the tragic family situation in X-Factor 8 and Magneto taking on the Purifiers.

    The guy who wrote Young X-Men is taking over Adjectiveless X-Men? That’s just … why? That series was almost offensive in how it handled the young characters. I’m not sure I’m even willing to give him a chance.

  2. This is way off topic since She Hulk didn’t release this week, but you might be interested in this article. Not pleased, but interested –
    I refuse to financially support anything David Goyer is involved with ever again.

    • Yeah, I’ve seen that. Been talking about it in the TVTropes Marvel thread, and on CBR’s Marvel board. The short version: Arrogant, condescending, misogynistic bullshit like this has no place in the comic industry, and we need to make it clear that it has no place.

  3. Since Nightcrawler is gone off to his own series, how cool would it be to have Amazing X-Men become a series starring Spider-Man, Firestar, and Iceman all the time? It definitely needs something to differentiate itself from all the other X-Titles. I’d be done for that especially if Kathryn becomes the permanent writer.

    • I didn’t grow up with Amazing Spider-Friends, so the trio ultimately means nothing to me.

      As far as differentiating itself, my thought would be for it to be the Gold Team adventure book, WatXM to be the Gold Team staff book, and a new volume of New X-Men as the Gold Team student book. And then adjectiveless X-Men as being right at the centre of it all, focusing on all three things.

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