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X-Men comics (July 16, 2014)

July 16, 2014

This is a heavy week, so let’s get into it.

Uncanny X-Men #23, by Brian Bendis and Kris Anka. It starts a year ago, with a couple bickering before the woman is killed by a Skrull laser beam. Cut to the present, and She-Hulk is talking to a client on the phone about needing to prove damages, and that Spider-Man annoying him doesn’t count. Then she gets a package delivered to her. In Madripoor, Dazzler’s hunting to Mystique while Magneto, Emma and Illyana try to help. Alison is not doing well. At the New Xavier School, Scott is having a flashback to killing Xavier. Eva comes in to ask if he’s doing OK, and he asks if she’s ready to talk about what’s happened to her. He tells her the Cuckoos already told him, but he wants her to ask for help. She gets mad. Could this be the end of her crush? I hope not, her crush was adorable. She-Hulk visits the JGS to let them know some people need to be gathered for the reading of Xavier’s will. At the NXS, Hijack is welcomed back to the team. This is just a lot of great character moments. There’s a ton of drama, a little bit of humour, and a touch of sweet. It’s also really, really good. Bendis touches on the delicate mental states of Scott, Eva and Alison, while setting up what promises to be a huge deal for next issue. Anka’s art, as ever, is excellent. The highlight is probably Dazzler having a breakdown in the bathroom. He captures the anguish and the anger really well.

X-Men #16, by Brian Wood and Matteo Buffagni. In the med bay, Sprite and Primal wake up, and Hellion comes to tell them there’s a briefing in five minutes. Primal’s education seems to be coming along well – he’s able to use words now. Storm’s talking to Sabra, looking to get a lead on the Future and bring back Jubilee. Sabra suggests calling in the cavalry, and Storm says the Avengers should think about calling in the X-Men sometime. There’s a lot of activity going on at the school. Up in the Adirondacks, Jubilee’s being held in a compound. The Future wants Shogo. Jubilee says he’s her son. The X-Men head towards the house, and both sides prepare for war. Monet does a fly-by, and gets grabbed by some vines that she can’t break. Rachel sends in Psylocke with a team – the Bros from the last three issues (Hellion, Anole, Rockslide). They fight well. Another excellent issue. Wood shows exactly why the X-Men are such a great team. There’s a lot of organizational stuff, and it’s awesome. Then the action starts, and once again, we see why the X-Men are the elites. Storm shows great leadership, and Psylocke’s strike team is great. I love seeing some of the New X-Men getting something to do. The art is also excellent. It sets the mood and tone perfectly. I’m going to be so crushed when Wood leaves this book.

All-New X-Factor #11, by Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico. Snow welcomes back X-Factor, and congratulates them on a job well done, until Lorna notices Gambit’s missing. He’s being tortured for information. He does leak that he pissed off Snow, which tells Memento Mori everything he needs to know. He attacks Serval, but luckily, Snow bought Layla’s force field glove, and hooked it into the building. The building is protected. So Mori pulls out Gambit and threatens to kill him. Gambit takes it in stride. Georgia is sent out. But it’s just Danger, obviously. And then the team fights Mori. This is a good issue. The ending is very dramatic and sad. But, I don’t know, the issue didn’t really work for me, somehow. I’m not sure why, but something felt off about it. I’m still not keen on the art, but the writing felt a bit lacking, too. I can’t really place my finger on it, though.

X-Men 100th Anniversary Special, by Robin Furth and Jason Masters. I thought this was supposed to be by Jen Van Meter. I was disappointed when I got home and noticed it wasn’t. Oh well. The recap page explains how the X-Men became popular, and Scott was elected president. He also married Emma. The issue starts the night after the Inauguration. Scott’s stressed out, and Emma – who looks younger than she does now – helps him sleep. Then something seems to kill her, making her vanish completely. We cut back 8 hours, to the Inauguration Party. There’s lots of little moments for Bendis’ student X-Men, now all grown up. Scott’s a bit torn by becoming president. Back to the moment Emma died. Protestors outside see a flash of light, and storm the gates. Beast, Kitty and the Cuckoos go to check on Scott, and none of them remember Emma. Scott goes outside to talk to the protestors, and gets shot. He’s brought inside and healed by Triage, but a video of him blasting some protestors is put online. Still, he cares less about that than he does about Emma. Then it turns out that Emma’s not the only telepath who’s gone missing. And whatever took her starts erasing other people, too. Scott finds himself in the White Hot Room. This is good. Scott’s concern over Emma is really nice. I always thought they made a good couple, so it’s nice seeing them together again. I also liked seeing what comes of Scott’s current students. The overall concept is really interesting. There’s nothing in this issue that makes me want to see more, which is a bit of a shame. But that’s because it was a well-told, done-in-one story. Very good. The art’s really nice, too. Emma looks too young, but that’s my only complaint. Other than that, these older versions of all the characters look really cool. Irma’s punkish hairstyle is especially cool. She apparently gets a bit of an attitude. Kitty’s short hair doesn’t work. It jut doesn’t look good on her. But yeah, it’s a great book, even if it wasn’t done by Jen Van Meter.

Magneto #7, by Cullen Bunn and Gabriel Walta. Magneto’s in a cell in Hong Kong. He’s taken to a Pit – a mutant fight ring. Flashback to Briar telling him about something going on in Hong King, and lending him a private jet to get there. In the Pit, Magneto reflects that Briar doesn’t think he can do it, but that it’s not just his powers that make him a mutant. It’s a Predator X sent against him. Magneto winds up killing it. Then he kills the people behind the Pit. This remains an interesting book. Lots of Magneto narrating. It does get a bit much at times. The overall story is interesting. A nice little mystery is building. The art’s OK. This isn’t a book I’d buy, but it’s not bad.

There’s the X-Men comics. Now the others.

Ms. Marvel #6, by G. Willow Wilson and Jake Wyatt. Some of the Inventor’s bots are looking for Kamala, and she’s started going on patrol to keep them down. She attacks one after disguising herself as an old sofa. Awesome. It explodes, and then her brother calls to let her know their dad wants her to talk to the Sheikh. She tells the Sheikh she’s been sneaking out to help people. He tells her she should get some mentoring to be better at helping. Turns out he’s actually a really cool guy, despite her worries about him hating her. She goes to a comic shop for a Pony comic – Kamala’s a brony? Yes! – and hears growling in the giant pothole outside the shop. She switches to her costume, wishing she had theme music. She goes into the sewer and finds Sharks With Fricking Lasers. Then she comes face-to-face with a hologram of the Inventor. Who’s very touchy about being called a bird. It turns out he’s a clone of Thomas Edison with some cockatiel DNA accidentally mixed in. And then she meets Wolverine. Her reaction is adorable. This is such an amazing book. It’s so much fun. Kamala is probably the most adorable character ever. Her reaction to meeting Wolverine is priceless, and Wolverine’s reaction to her is amusing. Wyatt’s art is great. It’s a bit different from Alphona’s, but it’s probably more accessible, while still being cute. It’s also very expressive, which works wonderfully for the character. Buy this book. Buy it. Buy it. Buy it.

Silver Surfer #4, by Dan Slott and Michael Allred. We start at the Amity Rest Home in Jersey City. Dr. Strange and the Hulk are fighting classic horror movie monsters. (It’s Jersey City – where’s Ms. Marvel? I object!) Meanwhile, Silver Surfer is still taking Dawn home, but they’re stopped by the Guardians of the Galaxy. They want to check anything going to or leaving from Earth. Dawn mentions the Impericon, and Carol asks if it’s worth visiting. Surfer says he destroyed it. Carol’s not surprised. When they’re over the Earth, Dawn pulls a “No place like home,” and Surfer says he’s seen the movie thousands of times, and that his time spent on Earth made him aware of every piece of pop culture. He takes her back to Anchor Bay. When Eve opens the door, Surfer thinks she’s a Skrull. Heh. He gets introduced to her family. Dawn’s asked if space was more like Trek or Wars, and she says Wars, original trilogy, but when they started using too many muppets. Surfer is shocked and confused that no one knows who he is. This continues to be a delight. It’s weird and funny and sweet and just wonderful. The Guardians cameo is really minor, but I have a feeling it’s setting something up, and it is a fun scene. Surfer meeting Dawn’s family is hilarious. There’s also all sorts of weird things going on that he keeps not noticing. Slott’s still firing on all cylinders. And Allred still makes it all look great. This is definitely a book you should be buying. It’s too good to ignore. It’s so much fun.

Original Sin #6, by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato. Oubliette is complaining to her dad that they never should’ve gone back to Earth after leaving the moon. They’re on a fishing boat, and they stop over a rocket Midas had hidden in the ocean. On Fury’s station, there’s lots of blah blah blah, then Black Panther asks why one of Fury’s bullets was in the Watcher’s head. Cut back a few weeks, and Fury’s dying. The Watcher shows up, and Fury refuses to die. He explains to the heroes that his Infinity Formula’s used up, and he’s started aging rapidly. He wants one of the gathered heroes to replace him when he dies. On Earth, Tony Stark analyzes the LMD, and finds a signal they can follow. Blah. Whatever. Who cares? This is so dull and pointless. Aaron keeps dragging out the mysteries, for no damned reason. The story is boring, and the art is still dark and muddy. This is a poorly-told story. Just not good at all, on any level.

Original Sin Hulk vs. Iron Man #2, by Kieron Gillen and Luke Ross. We start with Tony Stark asking to buy a motel near where the Gamma bomb went off. After the former owner drives off (in Tony’s fancy car) Stark brings down his suit to do some investigation. At the Pentagon, Banner uses his SHIELD badge and the fact that his name is Banner to get into their records. Flashback to a few years ago, and General Ross asking Tony to meddle with the Gamma bomb. Later, Banner injects himself with something, which gets Arno’s attention. Banner wants to tweak Extremis. Tony tries to recall the night he tweaked the Gamma bomb. Banner refused to let Tony help, but Tony kept insisting, and Banner tells him off. This is another interesting issue. It seems like Tony did more to the bomb than we thought. Good writing, good art. Arno showing up is nice. But meh, I do have trouble caring about it. Probably just me.

Secret Avengers #5, by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh. First, I want to mention that, in the lower-right corner of the cover, there’s a Wolverine-fish. Coulson is angry at Hill, saying the Sokotra mission was a trap. She talks to MODOK, saying she wants some advice, but needing to know if she can trust him. He says I believes there’s a way to improve the world. Very interesting. He tells her a story about how AIM made him kill a monkey he’d befriended. We then cut to Spider-Woman talking to Vladimir. The sentient bomb. He mentions she’s an empath, which is news to her. Black Widow and Hill interrogate the guy who wanted to detonate Vladimir. Apparently, he was able to knock out a guard with bad poetry. They threaten to torture him. First, by starving him. Then, by sending him barbecue (he’s vegan). Then with waterboarding. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this issue. No action, but a lot of short, fascinating scenes of people talking. The humour is still toned down, and the drama ramped way up. I would’ve liked the Spider-Woman scene to go on a bit longer. The art does a good job augmenting the story. When MODOK tells Hill about his monkey friend, the layout is very odd and disjointed, and looks cool. Walsh also handles character expressions well. I also liked that Spider-Woman started out upside down when talking to Vlad – it was a nice touch. I won’t be reviewing this any more, but I do think it’s worth reading.

And I want to mention The Wicked + The Divine #2, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. It’s amazing. So damned good. The writing’s sharp and clever, the art’s gorgeous, the concept is fascinating. It’s an amazing book and you should be buying it.


Edit: I forgot one. Elektra #4, by Haden Blackman and Michael Del Mundo. Elektra and Bloody Lips are both seeing beautiful women – in Elektra’s case, her mother. When they touch the women, they get visions of what their lives could’ve been. Elektra would’ve been a diplomat and mother; Bloody Lips still would’ve killed his wife and kids. Elektra’s mother wants her to never kill another innocent. Bloody’s wife wants him to kill himself. Elektra realizes the spirit isn’t her mother, and attacks it. She wakes up, and saves Kento, the son of Cape Crow. Then they head north. Bloody Lips follows. This is another good issue. Very well-written. But as usual, Del Mundo steals the show. His art is gorgeous.


Edit 2: I forgot another one. Savage Hulk #2, by Alan Davis. Scott and Havok are dealing with some missiles while Iceman and Jean try to deal with Abomination. Elsewhere, Banner transforms into the Hulk. Abomination is threatening the X-Men, but the Hulk shows up to continue the fight they’d been having. Abomination tells Hulk to call him the strongest. Bad move. Hulk Is Strongest There Is, and he won’t let anyone forget it. Then Hulk changes back to Banner, and the X-Men bring him back to his lab. The last page is quite the cliffhanger. Alan Davis is always good, as writer and artist. The story’s fun, the dialogue sharp, and the art fantastic. Davis is great.


From → 2014

  1. I’ll give X-Men at least a few issues after Brian Wood leaves, but I’m not really looking forward to the replacement writer. This current storyline is turning out very well, and at last we see some of the Craig Kyle/Chris Yost new X-Men participating in major battles. It’s about time they get promoted considering everything these characters accomplished in that series.

    This week’s Uncanny X-men though … I’m pumped for this storyline, and the bathroom scene did help sell Dazzler’s upcoming new look a little. I’m still going to wait and see how he handles it though.

    Wow was this week’s Ms. Marvel good though.

    • I didn’t think UXM sold the new look itself. I’ll have to wait to see it on-panel to make a decision, but the image we saw of it is still a poor design, I think. I’m fine with Dazzler getting a more punk look, but it should still look cool. Still, that bathroom scene was brilliant.

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