X-Men comics for January 13 2016
Extraordinary X-Men #5, by Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado. So, Cyclops. Really messed-up. Jean tries to read his mind, but it’s not him, so Logan tries to kill him, but instead gets blasted out back up to the street. Good for Not-Scott (Nott?). I will always approve of Scott blasting Wolverine, regardless of context.
Anyway, the Inhuman DNA starts taking over the mutant DNA in the Nott, and Colossus – in human form – punches Sinister’s back hard enough to break it. Which is odd. Sinister’s pretty damn tough. Oh well. Iceman contains Nott, for Storm to deal with it. Meanwhile, Sinister’s head is taken off and put onto another body. Iceman helps an Inhuman whose weird claw legs got stuck under a bus. Logan stabs Nott, and its optic energy starts emerging from its new holes. So I guess Logan technically tore it some new eyes. And Sinister is fighting Colossus and saying mutants are inferior and are going to die. And with the day saved, Storm actually addresses the goddamn cameras.
Of course, there are problems with her speech, like the fact that she includes a threat in it. Still, it’s better than the X-Men just running away like they’re afraid the cameras will steal their souls. Now, if only Lemire will do more scenes like this – scenes where mutants talk to the press, do rallies, things like that – I might start buying this myself again, rather than reading a digital copy. This was definitely better than the first three issues, and there are some positive signs that it won’t just be Everything Is Awful For Minorities Forever And Progress Is Impossible And If You’re A Minority You Might As Well Just Hide From The World Forever Because No One Will Ever Like You. I really, really hope that continues. Because, seriously, fuck that noise. So if Lemire actually moves away from that, if Lemire actually moves towards showing a more nuanced take on minority issues, showing the positive and the negative, then I’ll actually start supporting the book again. This issue has nothing that actually pissed me off. A couple things that made me happy, and nothing that made me mad, so it’s already vastly better than anything in the first three issues. I do have one concern, though. I’m getting the impression that Xavier’s back. That’s disappointing. Xavier’s a dick. He’s better off dead. He works better as a martyr than he ever did as an actual mutant leader, what with him hiding the fact that he was a mutant until he was outed by a supervillain possessing him. So bleh to Xavier returning. I still dislike Ramos’ style. It’s not just that it’s cartoony, it’s that it’s very jagged. It’s a lot of sharp edges, and that generally turns me off. A very small number of artists do that in a way I enjoy. So the art really turns me off. Still, if Lemire makes this a book that’s actually got some positive messages in it, then I’ll be able to overlook the art. Though, he should really get around to saying what Scott did. This cute little mystery is just getting tiring. Cut the crap and just tell the readers what Scott did already. The next arc is in Weirdworld, so I doubt we’ll get answers there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we still get veiled references to it, which would just be incredibly obnoxious.
All-New X-Men #3, by Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Nolan Woodard. The Ghost of Cyclops have busted up a police station busting out their friend, and they’re all still hanging around, with Scott chewing them out for being idiots. They try to leave, but more cops have already gathered outside. A lot more. The ANXM are watching, and Laura says she can sneak in and handle it, but Beast holds off. Inside, the Ghosts are freaking out and fighting among themselves. The leader says they have hostages, which gives them leverage.
So the girls decide to turn themselves in before things get worse. Scott tells them not to go out, since they’ll just get shot. He tells them to lay on the floor and wait, but they refuse. The ANXM bust in to beat them up before the cops can go in. In the process, Iceman learns that Idie does both hot and cold, and it makes him feel inferior. Poor Iceman. She does make him feel better. It’s a pretty cute scene, actually. There’s also a really fun moment between Evan and the electric girl, when she asks if they can just sit the fight out. Then Beast accidentally uses the big stone guy to break down the wall so the cops can move in. Bad move, Beast. But before things can get tragic, Scott makes a Big Speech. So, this is a really good issue. A lot of fun, good character stuff, great action, a cool Cyclops Speech. The Ghosts end up being really cool, now that we see more of who each of them is. The art, of course, is excellent. It’s Mark Bagley. The man does not do bad art. Though parts of this issue – like the moment I posted above – aren’t up to his usual standard. He can do better. Still, Bagley’s bad is still pretty damn good. So this issue’s great, and the book’s worth reading. This is a bright, upbeat, optimistic title, but it’s still a smart one. It ties a little bit into current racial issues, especially the shooting of black kids. So, really good book.
All-New Wolverine #4, by Tom Taylor, David Lopez, David Navarrot and Nathan Fairbairn. Laura and her clones are in Strange’s house, where one of the clones thinks the cupboard is looking at her. Entirely possible, given it’s Strange’s house. None of them like the place, and it’s hilarious seeing it. Strange takes a look at each of them.
Strange takes Laura to speak in private about Logan, and we see a photo on the wall of Secret Defenders #1, an issue where Wolverine teamed up with Spider-Woman II, Nomad and Darkhawk to help Strange with something. It’s a cute little reference. Anyway, Strange is wondering if the girls deserve Laura’s protection, and she tells him to look at her, and we get glimpses of her past. And we see sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. Strange says she’s scary but the right person to replace Wolverine, and she mentions some guys on the Internet disagree. Heh, cute. It’s weird to me that there were people who complained about Laura becoming Wolverine, but people complain about everything. Their conversation is interrupted by Bellona, the angry clone, shooting the cupboard that kept winking at her. This broke the seal, which allows horrors to get in. This comic just got weird. A creature runs into the street, chased by Laura and the clones. They deal with it, but Zelda, the middle clone above, collapses, and they have to take her to the hospital, which gives us this panel.
This issue’s great. It’s just ridiculously fun for a Wolverine story. We still get some bits of darkness – Laura’s past, Zelda collapsing – but we also get the clones having no idea what to make of Strange’s house, we get a fight with a weird monster, and we get that magical hospital panel above. There’s a lot of humour here. There’s still some great character work, too, of course. And the art is really good. The clones are all very distinct, with their own expressions and body language. There’s actually a really funny panel of Laura smiling nervously, which is adorable simply because she never smiles nervously. This comic’s a delight. Definitely worth reading.
Uncanny Avengers #4, by Gerry Duggan, Ryan Stegman and Richard Isanove. Synapse is trying to get her grandfather, the crazy plant-controlling guy, to stand down, but he refuses, so she has to punch him. Meanwhile, the UA team is fighting weird dog-creature-things, and Rogue gives Deadpool a Fastball Special. Then Quicksilver gets Deadpool some ammo. And a gunshop owner who’s a big fan of Deadpool. At MIT, a serum’s been developed that could save everyone, and Quicksilver delivers it. Cable gets a psychic flash of Synapse killing her grandpa, and he rushes off to stop her. He tells the old dude that he has a serum to remove the Inhuman immunity to the plague he’s spreading. He blasts Synapse with it. And yes, he shoots her to deliver it, because Cable does everything with a giant gun. Needs to open a bottle of beer? Giant gun. Needs to change the channel on his TV? Giant gun. Needs to sew up a gunshot wound? Giant gun. Giant guns are his version of a hammer, and every problem is a nail to be shot with a giant gun. Anyway, gramps can’t let her die, so that’s the day saved. And then there’s an epilogue that’s a little surprising and unexpected, but still nice to see. This issue’s OK. There’s some good work with Synapse. Cable, too. The villain was a little underwhelming in general, but his defeat here was done fairly well, except for a weirdness where he stopped his plan to save his granddaughter, then said he was done with her. It felt off. “I can’t let you die! Next time I see you, you’ll die!” It’s kind of a cliche, honestly, and it never makes sense to me. Oh well. The art’s fine, I guess. Not a style I like, but it’s not distracting the way Ramos can be. It just does nothing for me.
That’s the X-titles, but there’s a couple other books to talk about.
Secret Wars #9, by Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina. Doom offers to give Black Panther and Namor their kingdoms back if they join him. Panther turns him to stone, which Namor shatters. Of course, Doom’s a god, so he quickly reforms and kills Namor. Elsewhere, Susan recognizes Reed as having killed Strange. Which is a bit of a sad moment. But he tells her Doom did it, and that he plans on putting things back the way they’re supposed to be. Then the Reeds go down to see the Molecule Man. Reed betrays Reed, so then Molecule Man eats Reed and puts Reed back to normal. In the meantime, Doom and T’Challa have been having a really messed-up fight, as befits gods. Doom wins, of course, but then realizes it was a distraction. He goes to confront Reed, and they have a big battle. Molecule Man takes his power back from Doom, so it’s a fair fight. Of course, it’s as much a verbal fight as physical. And Doom realizes that, if Reed had had the power, he could’ve done better. And then . . . the world’s over. And we’re actually back to New Avengers #1. But this time, it ends differently. And then . . . 8 months later. It’s certainly an interesting place that Reed, Sue and the kids – including the whole Future Foundation – have been left. It’s neat. This was a good finale to a good event. The Doom/Reed confrontation was good. It probably could’ve been a bit better – a bit more an exploration of them being reflections of each other – but it was still good. And I liked how everything was ultimately fixed. I also liked the optimism of the end of the issue, after the 8-month timeskip. Hickman’s run started with the words “Everything dies.” He ends it with “Everything lives.” It’s an obvious bookend – incredibly obvious – but it’s also an effective one. The bookend with New Avengers #1 was also really cool. It even ties into Captain Marvel’s upcoming direction, and the Ultimates. At least a little bit. Ribic’s art is great. The Doom/Panther battle is mostly done with single weird images that take up part of a page. It’s trippy and weird and very cool. And there’s also a Doom/Reed splash page that’s neat. So, yeah, this was a solid event, and a really good end to Hickman’s run. A good send-off, aside from the two remaining issues of S.H.I.E.L.D. that are supposed to come out any decade now.
All-New All-Different Avengers #3, by Mark Waid, Adam Kubert and Sonia Oback. It starts with the Avengers beating the crap out of Nova. Harsh, guys. But it turns out Nova was just having a nightmare as a result of almost drowning. It happens. In reality, when the tunnel flooded, the adults saved the kids. Weird how Cap actually managed to avoid being knocked out, when the tougher Nova and Miles were knocked out. Oh well. Vision also finds it odd that Thor knows CPR. Anyway, Iron Man tells the kids to stay put, but they refuse, with Miles saying they’re taking responsibility. Warbringer has found the third piece of his relic, and is ready to open a portal to his homeworld. Gryphon has his own plans, of course. He disappears, just before the Avengers attack. Iron Man comes up with a rather interesting plan. I enjoyed this issue. It was fun. Nova’s feelings of guilt over Warbringer attacking the planet were interesting. He should talk to Kamala about it. She could make him feel better by pointing out some of the other hundreds of times it’s happened to other heroes. Warbringer was stopped before he did any real damage, so it turned out fine. Of course, Nova’s guilt means we do end up getting a really cool Vision/Nova moment. It’s really cool, and it’ll be fun seeing where that goes. Seems like Waid has some interesting plans for Vision. I should also note that, while Ms. Marvel gets little to do here, she does get to be pretty adorable near the end. It’s pretty great. The book looks great. Kubert and Oback do a really good job together. Solid-looking comic. Overall, this certainly isn’t the best comic on the stands. But it’s pretty good. There’s some fun stuff in it, and it’s an enjoyable read, even if it’s not a memorable one.
I may as well mention Guardians of the Galaxy #4, or at least Kitty’s role in it. She phases Hala partly into the ground. Which is a very nasty way of attacking, though it doesn’t kill Hala. And that’s pretty much it. Though I do want to mention that Valerio Schiti is a damned fine artist, one of the best at Marvel.
And InSeXts! By Marguerite Bennett, Ariela Kristantina, Bryan Valenza and A Larger World. We open with lesbian sex. Always a good way to open a comic. Then Lady Bertram takes a walk with Colonel Fitzgerald, a married man who’s been hitting on her constantly. Once she has him alone, she turns into a freaky insect-human monster. No murder, though. Sad. And then we see her son-in-law, and his wife, who plan on ruining Lady. A little later, Lady saves a prostitute and a john from a monster. Interesting. This book remains great. There’s plenty of cleverness, plenty of sexiness, plenty of creepiness, and now, we get some excellent family politics drama! Bennett’s constructing a great story, and Kristantina and Valenza do a gorgeous job on the art. This comic’s great and you should read it.
Edit: So I didn’t even realize that Worst X-Man Ever #2 came out! Oops! So, Worst X-Men Ever #2, by Max Bemis, Michael Walsh and Ruth Redmond. Bailey, in his new fancy power armour, helps the X-Men fight off Purifiers. And by “help,” I mean he goes looking for Purifiers to beat up, but the one he finds starts crying and has a breakdown before Bailey can do anything. I feel really bad for that guy, actually. He didn’t want to be a Purifier but his Uncle Garth beats him and forced him into it. Poor guy. The guy then ends up suing Bailey, with She-Hulk representing him, but Bailey’s a minor so he can’t be thrown in prison. And his parents got stepped on, so someone at the school has to pay up, and the money comes out of Wolverine’s beer budget. And now the other kids don’t like Bailey. And he can’t get in to see Xavier for a pep talk, because he’s tied up with other students for the next month. I’m pretty sure most of Xavier’s advice to kids is, “Have you considered faking your death?” Anyway, Bailey gets advice from other people. Gambit’s advice is “steal something,” but luckily, Beast is better, and he’s had the idea of having Bailey intern with various offshoots. X-Force is less than pleasant. He annoys X-Factor. The New Mutants won’t shut up about when they were kids. He hangs with Beta Flight, and Sasquatch, who gets poutine with Beta Flight because Alpha Flight doesn’t have much to do. Which is so unfair. They should be fighting the Canadian government. Canonically the most evil government on Marvel Earth. We did the Weapon X Project, guys! We are so evil. Totally evil. Anyway, since those hang-outs failed, he sits on a log feeling sorry for himself until Rags comes to talk to him. She tells him his feelings are valid, and that sex with a girl will cheer him up. I . . . can’t say she’s wrong. I mean, I’m pretty sure getting laid would probably do wonders for my own feelings of crushing mediocrity. Of course, it’s not actually Rags. The cover should really clue readers in to that. This issue remains a lot of fun. A little less joy, but still tons of fun. It’s really funny, and Bailey is such a lovable loser who keeps winding up in bad situations. It’s great. The art’s great, too, very cartoony and expressive and fun. This series is just really, really good.