X-Men comics for November 4 2015
Uncanny X-Men #600, by Brian Bendis and various artists: Sara Pichelli, Mahmud Asrar, Stuart Immonen, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo, David Marquez and Frazer Irving. It starts with the X-Men throwing an intervention for Beast. He’s been doing a lot of bad stuff lately, and the X-Men are fed up with it. And then it’s time for flashbacks. Kitty talks to Colossus, to let him know that Illyana wants to talk to him. There’s been tension between them since the whole “she tricked him into making a deal with a demon to show him what a monster she is” thing from Gillen’s UXM run. And man, was that ever an amazing story. Anyway, of course Peter and Illyana make up. It’s sweet. And drawn well by Anka. He makes it really soft and sweet and touching. Then back to Beast bitching about being put on trial. Then another flashback, this time to the scene everyone was waiting to see: Iceman talking to Iceman about Iceman being gay. Adult Iceman acts like a bit of a douche throughout the whole scene. There’s a reason I don’t like Iceman, and it’s because he’s a douche. Anyway, Iceman decides to accept being gay. It’s an OK scene. The main thrust of the scene is that Iceman wanted a part of his life that he wasn’t persecuted for, and so he spent his whole life hiding that part of himself. And that is something that happens. A lot of people think it’s a weak argument, but it happens. It still happens. I still think most of the “hints” over the years weren’t actually meant as hints and are “squint really hard and you might manage to see something you want to see even though it’s not there” things. But Bendis does a reasonably good job selling the scene here. Another scene of Beast’s trial, then a flashback to the O5, with Jean saying she wants to leave the group. Angel thinks they should all take a break. Young Beast gets upset, but Jean talks to him and kisses him. Bleh. That’s a relationship I really don’t buy. Back to the trial, and Beast gets fed up and leaves. And then they find out about something in Washington, DC. Scott is doing a press conference. When all the X-Men shows up, he explains that that was the mutant revolution he wanted. All that mutants, gathered at the steps of the Capitol Building, the worst fears of humanity . . . and they’re doing nothing. United in peace. Yes! This is the kind of thing I want to see! Peaceful demonstrations. Getting public attention and making their case heard. That is what the X-Men should do. So that’s easily my favourite scene in the whole issue. It’s the kind of thing I love to see. The issue as a whole is good. Bendis does a good job with each scene, even if a couple of them do come across as set-up for upcoming comics. But it’s well-written. And most of the art is very good, though I do still dislike Bachalo’s style. He did the rally scene. Interestingly, the Utopians from the last ANXM arc are up with Scott. Karma! And Boom-Boom! And others, but those are the two that matter, though sadly, they don’t get to speak. I really wish Karma would land in another book. She’s too great to be so ignored. The issue also reprints an Iceman story from Bizarre Adventures #21. Presumably, it’s reprinted because it hints at his sexuality. But I read that story already (obviously), and I didn’t pick up on anything.
Extraordinary X-Men #1, by Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos. Storm is talking to Xavier, even though he’s not there. The preview was a fake-out. Iceman, in an ugly new costume (seriously, it’s hideous), comes in to let her know Illyana’s run into trouble in New Delhi. A new mutant, a young girl, is being menaced by a crowd Illyana saves her. Things at the school are bad. They’ve been bringing in a lot of mutants, trying to help them, and it’s too much. In Manhattan, Jean gets out of class, and the X-Men show up to ask her to come back. We learn that mutantkind is in bad shape. They’re being hunted and murdered, and there’s also a plague spreading through the mutant population, and no new mutants are being born. Because those are all completely original plots that I’ve never seen before. Bleh. How about something new, X-office? Colossus is running a farm in Russia – the one his family used to run, in fact. Illyana shows up to bring him back. Then we see Nightcrawler fighting some bad guys. Then back to Jean. To say this issue didn’t impress me would be an understatement. It’s really mediocre. Mediocre plot. Mediocre character work. Mediocre art. This is the flagship of the franchise? I’m already thinking about dropping it. This the only X-title I;m buying, and I’m thinking of dropping it. That’s how underwhelmed I was by this issue. That’s how little interest I have in the whole direction. This bold new direction of rehashing the same stories we’ve already seen. To be blunt, the “hated and feared” angle has grown more out-of-touch for years. Not because discrimination no longer exists, but because progress also exists, but the X-franchise is digging in its heels and saying that mutant rights can never gain even the tiniest little bit of progress, not without it being immediately flushed back down the crapper to make things worse than ever. And a plague? And no new mutants being born? Come on. We had the Legacy Virus for the entirety of the ’90s, and we had No More Mutants for years and it only ended, like, 3 years ago. Why do we have to deal with this shit again? So. Extraordinary X-Men is going to need to step its game way the hell up to keep me on board.
Deadpool #1, by Gerry Duggan and Mike Hawthorne. It starts with Deadpool in South Korea, breaking into an apartment and fighting White Fox. She beats him up, but then it turns out it’s actually Solo, working for Deadpool. She kisses him before he jumps out a window, and then she mentions she picked his pocket for the thing he was stealing. In New York, Fool Killer and Terror are also wearing Deadpool costumes. Two more Deadpools are at a Bat Mitzvah. Another kills a guy trying to steal from a museum (that one seems to be Slapstick, though I’m not sure why he now kills). Madcap is another Deadpool. The real Deadpool saves an IRS tax collector from a crazy guy, saying it’s because he saw the guy’s daughter on TV. Then we see Deadpool being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos. He goes to talk to his Heroes For Hire, which also includes Stingray. We check in with Shiklah, who’s in bed with both Werewolf By Night and a Medusa (not the Inhuman, but a woman with snakes for hair). This was meh. I’m not impressed with the Deadpool Corps. There are a few characters in there that I like, and they’re not written very well here, and I don’t think it’ll get better. Terror is the big one – he’s a really cool, complex character. He’s way too cool for this shit. Shiklah apparently being bisexual is the kind of thing I’d like to like, but it ends up being done as almost a gag here. Very little of the humour lands for me. And I just plain don’t much like the premise. Also, I still say the art is too bright and cartoonish for Deadpool. So, not much here that I like.
That’s the X-comics. I may as well talk about a couple other comics.
Hercules #1, by Dan Abnett and Luke Ross. A couple young guys go to the apartment where Hercules is living. With Gilgamesh crashing on his couch. The kids want to hire Hercules to help them. One of them has a sister dating a monster. A call comes in for Hercules from the Secretary-General, and decides to stop in and see the boyfriend on his way to whatever the Secretary-General needs. The boyfriend is an Urmut, some kind of weird demon thing. During the fight, Hercules sees Athena, but she doesn’t speak. This is a good comic. Hercules is well-written, coming across as smart and dedicated. It could’ve used a little more humour – Hercules is a funny guy, after all – and it maybe hammers the whole “world has changed” theme a little heavily. But still, it’s well-written and an interesting set-up. Ross’ art is predictably great. That’s no surprise. He’s always been a reliably great artist, doing equally well with talking scenes and action scenes. This is a really strong comic.
Vision #1, by Tom King and Gabriel Walta. The Visions have moved into a suburb in Arlington, VA. Vision is working as the Avengers’ man in the White House. Two neighbours pay a visit, with the wife bringing cookies, and the husband saying it’s stupid. The Visions – Vision, his wife, Virginia, and the twins, Viv and Vin – give a tour. The narration says that the husband and wife will be killed by one of the twins, and what they’ll think when they die. Vision and Virginia talk about them, and about their own purposes in life. The Visions settle into their community; Vision started his unofficial White House posting, hoping it would soon become official so he could make some money; Virginia isn’t sure what to do, and spends a lot of time exploring her memory. Eventually, the kids start school, and Virginia wants to know why. She seems sad about it. This comic is dark. It is seriously weird and creepy. The narration helps a lot with that. It’s like narration for Twilight Zone or something. It’s a very straightforward, matter-of-fact narration style, and it adds a layer of unreality. I’m not usually a fan of Walta’s art, but it works here. Again, it’s creepy in its straightforwardness. This is a really good comic.