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X-Men comics (January 6 2015)

January 7, 2015

The first new comics of 2015. Agent Carter was good last night. Lots of fun. And there’s a new Ant-Man trailer, and like all trailers, it’s pretty much exploded my newsfeed on here. Anyway, here’s today’s comics.

X-Men#23, by G. Willow Wilson and Roland Boschi. Storm is in the eye of a crazy storm. Six hours earlier, in Utah, at the Burning Tree festival. Gambit hits on a couple women, and then something explodes. He calls the school, where Jubilee is teaching Shogo to walk, and he tells her to get Storm. Storm and the psychics fly out, and she heads in to try to get the storm under control. The others like watching her in action, but then things go wrong. She loses control of the storm. Monet does a Fastball Special with Psylocke, who just gets zapped herself. Storm falls into the giant hole in the ground, trying to draw the big storm in after her, but it resists. She wakes up buried deep, and hallucinating about Wolverine. Even dead, the son of a bitch just won’t go away. Anyway, this is a solid issue. It’s really interesting. It’s not on the level of Wilson’s Ms. Marvel, of course, because that book is something very special. She does some good character work, and tells a very good superhero story. This differs from Ms. Marvel in that it’s kind of a classic superhero story, but Wilson writes it well. Storm’s reaction to waking up deep underground is done well – she can feel the panic attack coming on, until she’s talked out of it. Boschi’s art is OK. Not great, but OK. He’s not an artist I particularly care for. He’s got an odd style, lots of weird faces. The cover by the Dodsons makes me wish they’d done the interiors, too. Oh well.

All-New X-Factor #19, by Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico. Snow’s friend is asking to be allowed to leave, and Snow agrees, but asks him to give X-Factor time to retrieve his daughter’s body first. They’ve just seen a dead girl turn into a giant monster. They’re told to bow, and Polaris goes along with it, and the others follow her lead, except for Sunfire. He attacks, and quickly gets his ass handed to him. Polaris asks the monster what it’s doing, and it says it’s going to kill the inhabitants of the Old City. Then a fight breaks out. The monster goddess starts sucking everyone’s souls. Luckily, Danger has no soul. So she starts some slicing. She’s pretty scary when she gets in a mood. This issue was only OK. Light on humour, and bland action. I don’t like CDG’s art. I just don’t think his style is particularly strong. The fight feels like kind of a mess, tough to really tell what’s going on. And he’s not expressive, so he doesn’t even make up for it there. The weak art drags down the issue, especially because it’s such an action-driven issue, so it strongly relies on the art to succeed or fail. And in this case, I feel like it failed.

Storm #7, by Greg Pak and Al Barrionuevo. Beast, Nightcrawler and Rachel are all watching a TV report where the Senator on Storm’s plane says she nearly destroyed the plane. Apparently, Rachel wears her spiked jacket while watching TV. Just sitting on the couch, covered in spikes. So the three visit Storm telepathically while she’s unconscious in FBI custody. She tells them to look for Davis Harmon, the arms dealer behind the attack on the plane, and then tells them not to try to break her free, because she’s worried it’s a set-up. Rachel does show that there are protests to free Storm. In other countries, people are watching the news reports on her. Storm wakes up and talks to FBI Agent Robertson. Storm immediately tells her that Harmon was behind the attack. Robertson lets her know that Harmon died two years ago. So then Storm frees herself. She escapes into the crowd of protestors. This is a bit better. There’s a little more sense of direction. There’s some interesting stuff going on. Storm gets to be badass, and the fact that some of her actions in earlier issues are actually coming back up is a nice touch. It adds to the overall sense of there actually being a point to this book. Storm herself sounds a little more like herself than in some earlier issues, a little less casual. Barrionuevo’s art is nice. I’m still not sold yet on adding the book back to my pull list. It needs to show continued improvement. But it no longer feels pointless, at least.

Weapon X Program #5, by Charles Soule, Angel Unzueta and Iban Coello. Sharp is being watched by some soldiers, who are about to attack him. He attacks first, and beats them easily. He refuses Ogun’s suggestion of killing the last one, preferring to find out where they took the others. In the Gulf of Mexico, Neuro is talking to the woman behind it all. They’re in a place called Arcadia, where they’re trying to build a better future. With mutants! Sharp wants to go save his friends, Ogun doesn’t. In Arcadia, Neuro’s thrown into a cell with the others. Sharp threatens to kill himself rather than let Ogun control him, and they come to an agreement. In Arcadia, Neuro explains to the others why they were experimented on. They were used as subjects to test powers before they were given to more deserving individuals. And they were all given expiration dates. Sharp attacks, and tears through the place. Meh. Meh meh meh. This whole mini didn’t really grab my attention much, and this finale does nothing to make it more interesting. I don’t care much about the characters, or about the plot. I just don’t care. Maybe it’s because I don’t like Wolverine. But I think it’s because this just wasn’t particularly compelling. Oh well. And it leads, of course, into . . .

Wolverines #1, by Charles Soule and Nick Bradshaw. We start six months from now, with Mystique covered in blood, and about to enter a door while thinking about her destiny. In the present, the Wolverines team is fighting the Wrecking Crew. An hour ago, the team found Paradise in Nevada. The place where the Weapon X characters were experimented on. Endo hates seeing the place. Laura tells her that after they find what they’re looking for, they can burn it down again for fun. Laura does have an odd idea of fun. They see the Wrecking Crew arrive, and after some bickering, they head down to find what they’re looking for. Sabretooth and Shogun make up one team (with Shogun wondering what the hell is up with Sabretooth), Deathstrike and Skel make up another team (with Skel completely misunderstanding the relationship between Deathstrike and Wolverine), Junk is with Daken and Laura, and they find Wolverine’s body. Outside, Endo asks Mystique about changing shape. Inside, things are not going well. This is more meh. I hate Bradshaw’s art. The more I see it, the less I like it. It’s an unpleasant style, I find. Too cartoony, and not in a good way. Soule’s writing is OK here, but nothing particularly special. Some OK humour, especially Skel talking to Deathstrike. But overall, this book does nothing for me. Maybe fans of Wolverine will enjoy it. I’m not a fan of Wolverine, at all. So meh.

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #4, by Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli. Hawkeye’s free of the brainwashing, and demands Black Cat hand over the thumb drive with a list of SHIELD agents on it. Black Cat says she knows he’s not going to start shooting them with arrows, despite that literally being the exact thing he’s known for. He shoots Mary and another guy with arrows, because he’s running around with a bow and arrows and what else is he going to do. Kate busts in to help him out, too. Then Deadpool, wearing Hawkeye’s classic outfit, pulls a fly-by on Clint’s old Sky-cycle. But it has a broken stabilizer, so he crashes into a building across the street. So then the Hawkeye start kicking some ass. Mary starts burning them all, but Clint distracts her by saying she’s not a murderer, then he headbutts her. They catch up with Black Cat, and Deadpool grabs the thumb drive. Black Cat gets arrested, and the day is saved. This was a pretty fun mini. Some good comedy, some good action. It ends well. There’s a few forced jokes. At least there’s no Ooper jokes in this issue, but there is an absolutely nonsensical “Dawn of Justice” joke. It’s seriously just a “hey this is a thing that you know about so that makes it funny right?” bit. It’s stupid. But most of the jokes work.

That’s the X-Men. Here’s the rest.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. It starts with Squirrel Girl singing her theme song while beating up some muggers. It’s amazing. Then she talks to Tippy-Toe, her squirrel best friend, about moving into college, and moving out of her secret apartment in the attic of Avengers Mansion. She changes into regular clothes, since she’s decided to start doing the secret identity thing. She tucks her tail into her pants, giving her an awesome butt. She’s apparently going to attend ESU for computer science (and flicks a nut to foil another mugging). Another student sees her talking to Tippy-Toe, but since the guy doesn’t speak squirrel himself, he just sees a girl arguing with a squirrel. He asks if she needs help with all her boxes, since they look heavy. She drops the boxes to maintain the illusion of being a regular girl, but Tippy tells her that Squirrel Girl wouldn’t lie about not being able to carry the boxes herself. When SG gets to her room, her roommate is already there, and has brought a kitten. Yay kitty! Kitty kitty kitty! (The cat is named Mew, apparently named after Mewnir, Cat Thor’s hammer.) SG sees Kraven outside the window, and rushes off to fight him, using a card from Deadpool’s Guide to Supervillains to get the facts about him. They fight! And she beats him with words! In, like, a positive way. She doesn’t call him names until he cries and surrenders. She’s not mean. She just talks him into going after bigger game. This comic is great. It’s adorable! And hilarious! It’s just a fun, funny comic that doesn’t take itself seriously but also isn’t treating the character like a joke. Squirrel Girl is a huge dork, and also a huge sweetheart. Her attempt at a secret identity makes for some great comedy. I love Henderson’s art – a lot of people online hate it, but those people clearly just hate fun. I find SG looks cute, and Henderson draws the humour really well. Ryan North adds jokes to the bottom of each page, too, like Mew being named after Mewnir, or Kraven training to be a college administrator before going on a weekend safari getaway. Also, I would be genuinely surprised if Cat Thor: Cat God of Cat Thunder isn’t an existing fanfiction already. And I kinda want to read it. Anyway. Do yourself a favour and read this comic. It’s just great. You’ll love it, I promise.

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #2, by Kieron Gillen, Phil Jimenez, Marguerite Bennett and Stephanie Hans. Thor tells Angela to return her sister. Angela asks if Thor’s there to talk, or to lose. Angela’s pretty badass that way. We cut back to earlier, with Angela in Asgard, being welcomed by Odin, and introduced to Freyja, who’s giving birth, and not in a good mood. Freyja gives a quick history lesson about the Aesir and Vanir. Angela actually kinda likes Freyja. That doesn’t stop her from kidnapping the baby once she’s born. And that catches us up to the present, where Angela fights the Asgardians while Sera gets some magic ingredients by trading Maximus Clop. That’s a shame, I rather liked Maximus Clop. That’s an amazing name for a horse. We also learn that Sera apparently returned from the dead at some point. Either way, they escape. They head to New York for ice cream. Passionfruit, according to Heimdall. And now we get the Bennett/Hans pages! Yay Hans! Sera talks about Angela again. When Heven was locked away by Odin, they still found life, and they still made deals, and they still hunted, with Angela killing a thing that was hunting them, and was given its jawbone for a bow. She rescued a prince, and was given a snow-white deer, fast and strong. She fought and killed lots more monsters and jerks. Meanwhile, Heven was powered with Odin’s curse against them. But when the banishment ended, the engines started breaking down, and are now at risk of becoming a black hole. The Queen of Heven hired Angela to save Heven. Angela refused, seeing nothing the Queen could offer her. Another great comic. There’s a little more humour here, a little more of Gillen’s style, and it’s greatly appreciated. Angela’s a fun character – her love of fighting is actually a little endearing, in an odd way. Sera’s cool, too. The art is arguably the highlight, though. Jimenez’s work is gorgeous, with a great fantasy feel to it, and very expressive. And then Hans – Stephanie Hans alone is always worth the price of admission. Just insanely beautiful work. This book’s very good. Definitely worth reading.

Operation SIN #1, by Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis. I picked this up mostly because I like Kathryn Immonen, and I feel like she deserves more work from Marvel. Anyway. Peggy goes to bed, but before she can even drift off, her house is attacked. She’s more annoyed than anything, and she beats up the three attackers. One has a card from Howard Stark saying hi. The next day, she storms into Stark’s office (while also managing to get his secretary very flustered). They bicker and banter and he asks her to work for him with a guy he’s working with. Three days later, she arrives in Moscow, and meets her handler, Tania. They meet Howard at a bar, where Tania nervously excuses herself. Then they’re met by Woodrow McCord. The “Man On the Wall” guy from Original Sin. Because Marvel really liked the whole “Man On the Wall” idea Aaron came up with and are trying to shoe-horn it into as many books as they can before it becomes obvious that no one else gives a shit about it. Anyway, this comic’s not bad. Peggy’s spunky, Howard’s charming, the plot looks like it should be interesting. Immonen’s writing is sharp and Ellis’ art is muddy in a good way, fitting the story. I’ll need to think about whether I want to pick up any more of this mini, though. It’s good, but it didn’t really wow me.

Ant-Man #1, by Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas. Ant-Man is sneaking into a place, thinking about how being Ant-Man doesn’t seem all that impressive. But it has its advantages, with ants making it easy to get into tough places. There’s apparently ten thousand trillion ants on the planet, one for every million people. And he’s using them to help him commit burglary. Specifically, of Iron Man’s apartment. Cut back to earlier that day, with Ant-Man going to a job interview. It, uh, doesn’t go well. He makes kind of an ass of himself, actually. He tells the interviewer – and, thus, the reader – about his past as a burglar, and being sent to prison, which led to his divorce. And then about going back to burglary in order to get money to cure his daughter’s heart condition. And then becoming a member of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, being a superhero. He’s asked about a fairly long gap in his resume, and Lang says that was while he was dead. Tony Stark interrupts the interview, to tell Scott he’s not getting the job. Tony points out that Scott has a problem staying in one place for very long. He does agree to let Scott take part in a trial evaluation. Then Scott goes to walk Cassie home from school. They’re cute together. Then they get back to Cassie’s house, and Scott and his ex-wife argue. She doesn’t want Cassie following in his footsteps. A fair concern, given Cassie died for a little while. He goes home, which is a mess, then to the job interview, where he meets Prodigy (of the X-Men and Young Avengers), Victor Mancha and the new Beetle, who’s apparently reformed since Superior Foes ended. Then Tony comes in to give them their mission – an obstacle course, ending with a computer with a lock code they need to get. None of them do it. Which brings us to Scott breaking into Tony’s penthouse, to get the code. It’s a good debut issue. It’s very, very good. Scott has a lovable loser vibe going on, and there’s a lot of great funny moments. There’s a big twist at the end of the issue that’s excellent. I also liked seeing Prodigy, Victor and Beetle. Yay for those characters! And for Cassie. I like Cassie. The relationship between Scott and Cassie really is sweet, and I’m looking forward to seeing it explored more. There aren’t a lot of superhero parents, so this series should be really neat just for that angle.

Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #3, by Ales Kot and Marco Rudy (with a few pages by Michael Walsh). First, I want to say that the cover is so incredibly ’80s. Daisy tells Bucky about Ventolin Xtal, a member of the pacifist and telepathic Pao’ree race. She wants to abolish the monarchy on Mer-Z-Bow, which would destabilize the region and threaten the Earth. They reach Mer-Z-Bow, and he asks to meet the Queen for a date. Someone is watching them as they walk, and he laughs when Bucky slips on the floor and falls on his face. They meet the queen, and while Bucky talks to her, their escort asks if he can date Daisy, who declines. Outside, the guards have their perceptions changed, and the art looks a lot more comic booky. This is such a weird, weird book. The writing and the art are both bizarre. I like it, but it’s definitely gotta be hurting its sales. I’ll be honest, my favourite part is Rudy’s art. He does such bizarre and unique layouts, and they look cool, and the art itself is also weird but in a good way. But it’s also not a book I can actually recommend, because I can imagine most people wouldn’t like it, because it’s just so hugely different from the standard superhero comic. Plus, the writing could be better.

Avengers: No More Bullying has a bunch of stories. I won’t go through them. But I’ll say that it’s kind of a sweet book. It’s definitely aimed at young people, and it rather preachy, but that’s kinda the point, and it is done well. It probably is worth getting for kids. The stories are fun, with positive messages.

Legendary Star-Lord #7, by Sam Humphries and Freddie Williams, which I’m reviewing because Kitty. It starts with Peter’s ship, Lydia, finding Kitty after she crashed the Avengers space jet into an asteroid. They arrive at Mr. Knife’s flying fortress, which is heavily guarded and laid out like a maze. Kitty hates space. She thinks about the time she was stuck in a giant bullet, and she gets an idea. Inside, Peter’s arguing with his father. Outside, Peter’s ship dives towards the fortress, then does a sudden break, which launches Kitty out the front and through the fortress. She grabs Peter and then drops through the floor with him, and outside and back into the ship. Rescue accomplished! And now they get to kiss. Aww. Kitty was cool here. She’s always cool, but her plan here was pretty great. Insane, but great. The reference to her space bullet days was really nice, and a good reminder of one reason why she hates space so much. A pretty major reason for it. Good comic. Yay for Kitty!


From → 2015

  1. Still haven’t’ had time to watch Agent Carter, but I’m looking forward to when I do have time.

    Even if it’s not quite as good as Ms. Marvel yet, X-Men 23 is great. It also deals with Storm’s reaction to Wolverine’s death better than Storm’s solo series did.

    And yeah, while X-Factor was fun, it felt a bit rushed. It’s understandable considering the title’s cancellation, and the way the story concluded still works, but I’m pretty sure Peter David would have preferred more time to finish everything else in this series.

    I liked Wolverines 1 better than you did, but I fully agree that Nick Bradshaw’s art really clashes with the book’s tone.

    Ant Man 1 works very well as a standalone character study and anyone curious about Scott Lang should check it out. Fans of his should simply pick it up.

    Also, I’d say that I’m surprised how good Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is but then again, Kieron Gillen.

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