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X-Men comics of November 18 2015

November 18, 2015

Pretty Deadly is back! Yes! Woot!

I want to talk first about Pretty Deadly #6, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios. It’s amazing. It does a time-skip several decades. So now, Sarah is an old woman on her death bed. Which is really, really sad, because I really liked Sarah. It looks like one of her sons will be a major character. And if I’m not mistaken, it looks like we’re at the time of WW1. Which is interesting. Regardless, what matters is that it’s still beautiful work. KSD’s writing still has a lyrical quality to it, especially in the wonderfully touching song about death. And Rios’ art is gorgeous, intense and intimate and more alive than any other artist. And we’ve still got Bones Bunny and Butterfly narrating the story! Yay for them! I like them. So it’s an amazing comic, and you should be reading it. Go buy it. Buy it now. Well, it’s a little late in the day now. And I don’t know when you work, so maybe you can’t get to the LCS. But on your next day off, go to your local comic shop, and pick up Pretty Deadly #6. (And grab Ms. Marvel #1 while you’re at it, because really, why would you not?)

Extraordinary X-Men #2, by Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos. Illyana and Colossus pop over to Amsterdam and visit Nightcrawler, but he’s gone, and his tail is on the floor. Up in Manitoba, Storm and Iceman meet Old Man Logan. (They’ve brought along Cerebra, a system Forge built and installed in a Sentinel shell. She seems nice.) Logan doesn’t want to join the X-Men, since he remembers killing them all. Then we go see Jean at college. She’s friends with a geeky boy, and they kiss. Because every guy wants Jean, and Jean wants every guy. They go outside and see a mutant being beaten up. Jean scares off the attackers, and her new boyfriend. That didn’t last long. And then the dude she saved turns out to be an Inhuman, and he’s not crazy about mutants, either. Because this is X-Men, so having anyone ever actually be fine with mutants is totally not allowed. Mutants are outsiders, and if there’s one thing history has shown us, it’s that outsiders never gain even the tiniest bit of acceptance. It’s all hopeless misery forever and things never get any better. ANYway. Illyana and Colossus track Nightcrawler to where he’s being held, and send Forge his tail. And now it’s a fight! The best part is Illyana being disappointed that Chimera’s energy-dragon-thing isn’t a real dragon. We also find out where X-Haven is. I won’t reveal exactly where it is, but I will say it’s not on Earth. This is something I need to talk about. This is bullshit. Total bullshit. This is giving up. This is miserable hopelessness and that is total frigging bullshit. Mutants represent outsiders. People who feel hated and oppressed. Typically, that means minorities, but it actually is more than that. But the problem is the franchise takes this “Things Never Get Better” attitude that’s completely at odds with reality. So mutants being forced to flee the Earth entirely? That is, to be blunt, really fucking stupid. It sends the message that, if you belong to a group that doesn’t have widespread acceptance yet, that you should just give up and isolate yourself as much as you possibly can because sure as hell no one will ever accept you. Just stick with your own group and don’t even try to work to make things better, because you’re destined to fail. That’s the message this book is sending, and it’s an offensively stupid message. It ignores reality. Progress is slow, yes, but it happens. But this book wants to pretend that, nope, progress doesn’t happen, and that’s bullshit, and honestly, I am giving serious consideration to just dropping this book because of it. In fact, I actually tweeted Jeff Lemire to ask if things will get at least a little better for mutants at some point. Because I’m tired of the constant doom’n’gloom for the franchise.

Deadpool #2, by Gerry Duggan and Mike Hawthorne. The Deadpools beat up some gang operating out of a guy’s house. It turns out to be a charity job, and the Deadpools aren’t happy about it. Deadpool tries to reassure him, then gets shot by an arrow with a cease-and-desist letter. Deadpool then gives his mercs a paying job in Chinatown. Slapstick is psychotic. Turns out the job is evicting innocent people, and some of the mercs feel bad. Others, less so. This issue is even weaker than the last one, truthfully, and makes me very sceptical of the mini coming up. One problem is that I don’t like how he writes the mercs. Especially Terror. Terror is a smart guy. Very smart, and very cultured. But Duggan writes him as being kind of a brute. It’s not Terror, at all. Slapstick was always a fun guy, but Duggan writes him as a depressed psycho. That’s way too much of a character shift. Not a single one of them is actually written in-character. There’s no explanation for why any one of them would work for Deadpool. Solo and Madcap always had causes, and money wasn’t a big deal to them. Stringray is a scientist and researcher, so why is he now a merc? I don’t believe for a second that Duggan can give any justification that maskes even the slightest bit of sense. So any time the focus is on them, the issue is just stupid crap. Also, I still don’t like Hawthorne’s art.

And that’s actually all for X-titles, but there’s a couple other comics worth talking about.

Ms. Marvel #1, by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa and Adrian Alphona. It starts with Ms. Marvel boasting about being an Avenger now. They fight a giant rat-villain. Then she falls asleep doing her homework. At school the next day, things are different. For one thing, Stark Industries rebuilt the damaged parts and built an awesome new science wing. Also, Loki’s goofy little golems are still hanging around. Which is pretty awesome. I absolutely approve of this development. Also, Zoe is now friends with Kamala and Nakia. And Bruno’s got a new girlfriend, Michaela (everyone calls her Mike). Awesomely, she’s a little chunky. Not fat, though I’m sure that, in real life, she’d be called fat. But she’s plump, and I love that. It’s so rare for superhero comics to show different body types. Even rarer for different female body types. And rarer still for people with larger bodies to be meant as serious and sympathetic characters. As a guy whose girlfriends have all been fat – and fatter than Mike is – I’m really glad to see a bigger woman getting to be both presented and a love interest (even if it is for a supporting character). I hope to see more of Mike. Anyway, Kamala feels bad about not realizing Bruno was dating a girl, and about missing her own chance with him. She and Bruno go to physics class, which is taught by a woman in a wheelchair. So even more diversity. Man, this is awesome. This book is really serious about promoting diversity in all its forms, and it’s wonderful. (Also, she has the best laser pointer ever.)  Bruno and Kamala talk after class, and we’ll just ignore the turtle wearing a helmet, and the cat sleeping on top of a golem. And then we see that Jersey City is changing. It’s being gentrified. So all our favourite familiar stores are gone, replaced by hipper places, and a billboard of Ms. Marvel talking about cleaning up Jersey. So Ms. Marvel has to investigate. I should also add that we learn where Bruno and Mike met. It involved Ms. Marvel chasing a giant frog. Because Ms. Marvel really is a wonderful comic. And Mike saved Bruno’s life! That’s really cool. It’s a great touch, the girl getting to save the guy, even when they’re both civilians. (Additional funny background gags: A kid wearing an octopus on his head. And a “Free Trampoline” poster, referencing that awesome Simpsons episode. I’m going to put a clip below this review.) Also, Mike has two moms. Diversity! This comic is delightful. It is a pure delight, from start to finish. It’s hilarious, but it also has such great drama. Very realistic drama, too. And then it throws in a giant frog. It’s great. This is one of Marvel’s best books. Wilson’s writing is great. Miyazawa and Alphona both do a great job on the art. It’s funny, their styles are pretty different, and yet, they don’t clash at all. I’m not sure how they manage it. It gives the book a very unique feel. Both have plenty of energy and humour and expressiveness. And, of course, this book is seriously dedicated to diversity in all its forms. We have diversity of race, of body type, we have a disabled person, and we have same-sex parents. So we’ve got a lot going on. And it’s really nice.

New Avengers #3, by Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval. We start on a world in the Andromeda Galaxy, with some aliens making plans. One of the Kree says the Skrull Empire has disintegrated since Galactus ate their world, and Hala’s destruction has put the Kree in the same position. The aliens are the Knights of the Infinite, a hybrid of Skrull and Kree. And they’re going to need Hulkling for what they have planned. M’ryn the Elder dismisses the two Knights with him, then gets fed on by Moridun, Ghost Wizard of the Fifth Cosmos. We saw him talking to the Maker last issue. He’s pretty Cthulu-esque. And then to AIM Island, and three separate conversations. Power Man doesn’t like Wiccan’s name, since Wiccan isn’t actually a Wiccan. Dr. Toni Ho talks to Pod, and wants to talk to Aikku, the pilot of the Pod armour, who’s pretty heartbroken after her girlfriend broke up with her. And Songbird realizes there’s a spy on AIM Island. And then a spaceship shows up. It’s the Knights, and they want Hulkling. Pod fires on them. So the Knights, who didn’t actually want a fight, just abduct him with magic, with Billy joining along. And now Power Man feels bad about calling him out on his name. This is another great issue. It’s cool that we get back to the old idea of Teddy being destined to rule space. That’s neat. I loved the downtime scenes – all three were great. I feel so bad for Pod now. The poor girl. She’s heartbroken. I understand where her ex is coming from. She’s not a bad person. But it’s still harsh, and it still sucks for Pod. There’s also, of course, plenty of good comedy in the issue, especially a moment near the end which I can’t talk about here because it’s a spoiler, but it made me laugh. Actually, I’ll say this: “Done.” “What?” Sandoval’s art is fine. I’m not a fan, but he does his thing well here. No real complaints about it. I’m loving this series.

And finally, Secret Wars Too. It has a ton of stories. Jonathan Hickman and Brian Churilla do a story of the writer retreat where Hickman explained Secret Wars to everyone else. He freaks out about not having an ending, then he talks to Doom. He promises Secret Wars will ship on time. So, he’s poking fun at his own delays. It’s kinda cute. Al Ewing and Jacopo Camagni do a story about Earth-617. It’s a lot like 616, but subtly different. We’re at Spider-Man’s origin, when he could’ve stopped a thief. This time, the thief is being chased by Thor, and Spider-Man helps. Back home, his family now lives in wealth suddenly, from money Uncle Ben stole from some guy. And now, Glider-Man is there to bring Ben to justice. And then things get weird as various superheroes with names that rhyme with “Spider-Man” show up talking about their uncles whose names rhyme with “Ben.” It’s . . . weird. Kath Leth and Brittney Williams do a Siege-based story, about Miss America and 1602 Kate. Kate wants pizza. So they go looking through different realms. They find Deadpool riding Devil Dinosaur. Then Wolverine fighting animals. A dead Galactus in Egyptia. A gender-swapped domain that America likes. Killville. Doomgard, with all the Thors, which both of them appreciate. And finally, Manhattan, where Kate gets pizza from Pizza Dog. Pizza Dog is what Kate was looking for. Now, she needs to find a Barton, so she can be disappointed. This story is adorable. It’s really fun. And it makes me even more excited for the Hellcat series by Leth and Williams. It’s going to be so great. Kyle Starks and Ramon Villalobos do a D-Man story. He’s accidentally summoned from the dead by a guy trying to summon a demon. He goes to the park for pies out of a truck. Then he fights the Serpent Society. He goes to Avengers Mansion, and Jarvis gives him a little pep talk about believing in himself. Then he and Rage become tag team partners in Unlimited Class Wrestling. It’s a cute story. I like D-Man. He became a joke character for a while, but he was pretty cool. I’m glad he’s back, actually. Rob Guillory does a story about Galactus’ food blog being hacked. He has Daredevil, She-Hulk and Spider-Man investigate. Jess and Spidey are sent to Earth-615 to look for the Ultimate Wi-Fier. It’s the Uncle Ben-a-verse, apparently, where everyone looks like Uncle Ben. And keeps saying “Malkovich,” for some reason. They fight the A-Ben-gers. It’s a weird story. Kinda fun, though. Ryan Browne does a Wolverine story. First, he beats three Cyclops’. Fuck you, Wolverine, you over-rated prick-hole. Then he gets attacked by Beardevil. Go Beardevil! Kill that bastard! Then Foggy Nelson attacks Beardevil. Then a bear version of Foggy Nelson takes Foggy out. Jean shows up looking for Wolverine, and the three Scotts ask her out, but she goes with Foggy Bearson instead. Well, you know, much as I love Scott, I can’t fault Jean here. Foggy Bearson has a bowtie. He is one suave guy. How can any woman resist him? It takes a real bear to rock a bowtie like that. And, finally, Eric Powell does a Doom story. He’s preparing for his performance. He chats with Miles Morales in the cafeteria, and explains the camera crew following him is for a documentary, Doom: Behind The Tyranny. He gets angry when Hulk and Panther make fun of him. This book’s pretty fun, overall. Anthologies usually are.

From → 2015

One Comment
  1. Yes, Pretty Deadly is back after a year+ long break, so its only fitting the story moves forward several decades. Everything that worked about the previous volume still works now – it’s a brilliant work of art that requires several readings to fully appreciate. It won’t be for everyone, but it’s good.

    I’m not sure how I feel about Extraordinary X-Men 2. Ignoring the story and its implications on mutants on Earth, it’s a good comic. The characterization is good (except that Jean Grey’s development during Bendis’s run seems to be at least partly ignored), the action is fun and the dialogue is well-written. That said, it feels like a repeat of a number of X-Men stories in the past, stories that have been told too many times already. It’s true that the X-Men are at their best with their backs against the wall, but there are other ways to do it. I’ll say this much though, the overall dark tone of Extraordinary X-Men is making me more excited for the more optimistic feel that All-New X-Men looks like it will have.

    Sounds like Deadpool 2’s pretty bad.

    Ms. Marvel 1 is good – nuff said.

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