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X-Men comics for April 8 2015

April 8, 2015

I did my test for the Whitehorse job today. And now, comics!

Storm #10, by Greg Pak, Victor Ibanez, Al Barrionuevo and Neil Edwards. Everyone at the JGS is all excited about Storm coming back down, even though her coming and going should be something they’re used to. She gets back to work, including clearing out the mold problem. But there’s something down there that she and Beast don’t see. It bursts out of the ground, and Storm fries it, and we learn that it’s Kenji. One of Hope’s teammates, who tried to kill her and got killed instead. He says he woke up in a bottle in an underwater lab run by Harmon. He doesn’t seem to remember exactly what went down on Utopia, but says the X-Men treated him like a person. Rachel says he seems to be telling the truth, and Storm agrees, but she’s still cautious. In the New York tunnels, Callisto and Angie find more mold. Then they’re attacked. Callisto calls Storm, and she heads out to help. Then Forge calls to report problems he’s having. In Mexico, the same thing is happening to Marisol. It’s nice seeing Kenji again. Generation Hope wasn’t a popular book, but I enjoyed it, and Kenji was an interesting character. So it’s nice to see this callback to that. It might’ve been nicer if the other Generation Hope characters had more of a role in the issue. We’ll see if maybe they get to do something next issue, or if they’re still mostly ignored. It’s not like any of them other than Idie have gotten to matter worth a damn since that book ended, since so many writers are devoid of shits to give for existing teen mutant characters. Why should I expect to see Laurie talking to Kenji? They just fought together and actually teamed-up against Hope for a little while. Just because they’ve got that past relationship is no reason for a story about Kenji set at the school Laurie goes to to actually include any interactions between the two. Bleh. Beyond that, the story remains OK. It remains an adequate X-Men story that’s inexplicably set in a Storm solo title. Honestly, this series should’ve been X-Men Legacy or something. Or let Pak write Amazing X-Men. There’s just no reason for this specific book to exist as it does. He’s not doing anything that justifies these stories being done in a Storm solo title. The art is good. The three different artists have reasonably similar styles, so it’s not weird going from one to another. There’s a bit of muddiness, an occasional lack of detail. It’s not great art, but it’s not bad.

Deadpool #45, by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Mike Hawthorne. Deadpool’s on a plane, and somehow comes to the realization that Ultimatum is coming. Ellie’s grandmother is about to be killed, but she’s got a gun and kills the Ultimatum goon. At the Preston residence, some Ultimatum goons are attacked by skeletons. Michael is protecting the family. So is Ben Franklin’s Ghost. Adsit’s already killed his own hit squad, but took a gut shot in the process. Deadpool calls, is told everyone’s OK, and gets ready to initiate his plan. Ultimatum expects him to go off half-cocked, but nope. He’s developing a much deeper plan. He buys a small, dead farm, and then sends out an invitation to Ultimatum. His plan opens with Predator drones, and goes from there. When the Shriners attack him is when things just get weird. And then Deadpool dies. Twice, technically. This is probably too serious. I feel like Duggan and Posehn over-corrected from the “wacky and zany” Deadpool of the past few years. Here, he’s too self-reflecting, and worse, too serious. He’s not making enough jokes. He does make a few, here and there, but not enough. Deadpool is a character who needs a strong balance of humour and angst, and this book went a little too far to the angst end. Also, I don’t like Hawthorne’s art. I feel like it’s just too cartoonish for the book to work right. I should also note that, unsurprisingly, Deadpool’s “death” is a cop-out. I won’t spoil it, but . . . yeah, this isn’t something that will last. I figure the death will last roughly the length of Secret Wars. There’s also a half-dozen bonus stories, which I won’t go into detail for. There’s also a final “inventory” story, set in Infinity Gauntlet. He steals a Cosmic Cube for Thanos, and meets him on the roof in the Thanos-Copter. Deadpool steals the Gauntlet from him, and then decides to get back at everyone by throwing a roast. Howard the Duck tells him how roasts actually work, and takes the stand as MC. And then there’s lots of really, really lame jokes, culminating in Deadpool talking directly to the reader. Meh.

That’s the X-titles, here’s some non-X.

Captain Marvel #14, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez. Carol’s got the Vortex and is being chased by the Slaughter Squad, Thane and Mr Knife. Mr. Knife manages to trap her, and the only option she sees is submitting to the Vortex. But she decides against it. She doesn’t want to be the person she sees in the Vortex. She decides she can kick his ass without it, and she does. Easily, actually. Then she tries to talk Thane down. This is another character-focused issue, with almost no plot development. But like the ova tie-in, the character writing is solid. This one explores why Carol went into space – to find herself, to get a handle on her power. She compares it to taking out a car to see how fast it’ll go, and she says the Black Vortex is like dangling the keys to a Maserati in front of her. This car metaphor gets used a lot throughout the issue. The bit where she hides from Mr. Knife did feel weird, though. I mean, he’s an intergalactic crime lord. Yeah, he’s got fancy tech, but she shouldn’t be worried about him. It might’ve been cool if it was hinted that the Black Vortex was making her feel like she needed its power. Actually, it’s possible that was exactly what was going on, and it just wasn’t hinted strongly enough. I did like her rejecting the power boost, though. Lopez’s art is great. He actually handles motion very well. There are a couple of different panels of Carol jumping behind the Vortex, and both give a great sense of motion. I like Lopez’s work. He’s a solid artist. Next issue is one to be really excited about, though: Carol goes home!

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #5, by Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans. Angela and Sera outline their plan: Sneak into Heven, get to the city’s furnace, and use it to siphon Surtur’s power out of the baby. Hela recovers the chopped-up Disir so Odinson can hear what they’ve learned. The Guardians reach Heven, and start sneaking through the Anchorites (the male Angels). Asgard attacks, and just as the Guardians find the furnace, Odinson finds them. This kicks off the Bennett/Hans section, as Angela tries to explain the situation to Thor, but Thor refuses to believe. Fight! And holy crap! Stephanie Hans’ art is gorgeous, and Bennett writes a really cool song to go over the fight. This issue’s sub-story is actually part of the main story for once, and it’s still awesome. I love Hans’ art. It’s just stunning. Bennett’s definitely showing a lot of promise as a writer, and I have high hopes for when she writes the main story soon. Of course, I always love Kieron Gillen’s writing, and he throws in plenty of awesomeness here. There’s some great humour, and also some really epic lines. Sera gets the funniest line when she complains about things going wrong before she can even foreshadow it in dialogue. Sera’s awesome. I really like her. Also, I should probably say that Jimenez’s art is great, too. I mean, he’s no Stephanie Hans, but so few artists can be, and he’s still excellent at what he does. This is a great book, and one I really enjoy.

All-New Hawkeye #2, by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez. In the past, Clint and Barney find a carnival, and are spellbound. Their foster father finds them and starts beating Barney, but the Swordsman stops him. In the present, Kate has found the children of Project Communion. Kate releases them, which makes one of the Hydra scientists pretty scared. The kids start killing Hydra soldiers, because apparently, they are really, really dangerous. Clint gets attacked from behind. Back in the past, Swordsman kicks the jerkwad’s ass some more, and sends him away. Then the circus adopts Clint and Barney. This series is fantastic. A phenomenal balance between the superheroics of the present and the emotional drama of the past. The present is setting up a really interesting story with the three kids freed from Hydra. They’re weird and creepy and they’re going to end up doing something very, very bad, I can tell. The Hawkeyes are both well-written, and the indie art style is cool. But the real heart of the story is the past, with the gorgeous painted style that adds so much more punch to the story. The writing there is really powerful. The Swordsman comes across as a great guy, and the foster father as utter garbage. Lemire and Perez are really living up to the standards set by Fraction and Aja (and Wu, and other guest artists).

Ant-Man #4, by Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas. Scott’s having a mild meltdown about Cassie being kidnapped. Meanwhile, Augustine Cross is explaining to Dr. Sondheim that his father’s fancy pacemaker not only gave him great strength, it also gave him a limited healing factor. That healing factor, combined with cryostasis, has kept him in the same condition he was in seconds after his death. Sondheim says that the stress his father was under at the moment of his death means that, even with a new heart, it would fail and die. Augustine explains his plan to use the right heart. Cassie’s heart. Scott’s feeling hopeless, since the security systems at Cross are designed to keep him out, and Grizzly can’t just strong-arm in. But Grizzly has an idea: Super-Villains Anonymous. One of the members of Grizzly’s group is Machinesmith. Machinesmith is willing to help, but he wants a job. This is another great issue. This series is just excellent. Really clever, really funny, a really interesting story, solid character stuff. Spencer’s killing it. Rosanas is also doing a really good job on the art. It’s stylish and expressive. This is a great series, definitely worth reading.

SHIELD #4, by Mark Waid and Chris Sprouse. Coulson decides to call in Sue Storm for a mission. She gets a message while listening to Johnny blab on about an engine he’s designed. She goes to Henri’s, and goes into a changing booth to meet with Coulson. He needs her for an extraction mission, a guy who knows a lot of details about dealings between the owner of a diamond mine and Hydra. The guy they’re rescuing is at the bottom of the mine, 5 miles deep, in a cell fortified from the heavy radiation filling the bottom of the pit. When she gets there, she finds Mole Man also trying to get the guy. And then it turns out the guy has a bomb in his chest. Waid seems to have decided to use this series to do spotlights on assorted characters, including ones who aren’t even tied to SHIELD. He does a good job here with Invisible Woman. Her determination, in particular, comes through. She really is a powerhouse character, with insane amounts of versatility. We also get a little touch on Coulson knowing too much about the heroes he calls in, and how he hates having to use what he knows. Sprouse does a really good job on the art. I think this is the first time I’ve seen his art, and it’s very good. It’s a standard art style, but really pretty to look at. I’m looking forward to seeing more from him, because he’s very talented, and I’m certain he’s going to have a good career.

Howard the Duck #2, by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones. Howard’s not happy about being in an alien prison, along with Rocket. The two are brought to a scientist. He’s going to extract some DNA to make mates for them. Rocket spits in his face, and it’s acid. Part of his plan for escape. But he’s there to get something from the Collectors’ collection. He’s there for a Celestial Heart, the power source for an entire planet. Howard hates that he keeps getting caught up in crazy shit. He wants a normal life. The other Guardians show up. Meanwhile the Collector is off at CosmoCon. I don’t know, this book just doesn’t feel right. Howard’s a character who works great for social commentary. For high-stakes adventure? Not so much. This issue also feels like it was done purely as a “hey remember that Howard scene at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy the movie wasn’t that a great movie guys and the scene from that movie that was a movie so movie movie.” It just feels forced, taking time away from setting up an actual narrative in order to have Howard meet the Guardians. I’m also not entirely sure why Howard called Rocket a werewolf. Howard’s lived on Earth long enough to know what a raccoon is. This issue does not instill much faith in the series.

From → 2015, Uncategorized

  1. Good luck with getting the job.

    The internal narration in Captain Marvel 14 is what made the comic work. I’m not sure if Carol being afraid had more to do with Thane being on his way than just Mr. Knife duplicating himself, but I agree that she shouldn’t really be afraid of him. But her reason for rejecting the power of the Black Vortex still works. Definitely a better issue than Cyclops 12, both as a character-focused issue and a tie-in to the event.

    Angela: Asgard’s Assassin 5 is just great. Nothing more needs to be said about that series – it’s just great.

    I’m not sure how much longer I’m sticking with Ant Man. It’s good, very good, but I’m not quite a fan of the character. We’ll see.

    And of course All New Hawkeye 2 continues much of what worked in the first one. I didn’t like it quite as much, but the ominous ending is exciting and the backstory meshes with the Hydra invasion perfectly. I’ve read some of Jeff Lemire’s DC work and when he’s on his game, he’s brilliant.

  2. Hamburger Time permalink

    Holy tap-dancing crud, a non-white character created in the 2000s coming back from the dead!

    • Of course, it was a character who died a villain, and has been brought back as a villain, and will probably die again as a villain. That does change things a bit.

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