X-Men comics of February 3 2016
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My birthday’s on Saturday, as an early birthday present, I got two Emma Rios comics. One with her on line art, the other with her writing. There’s also other comics. So here’s the ones I’ll talk about.
Uncanny X-Men #3, by Cullen Bunn, Greg goddamn Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard. Psylocke and Magneto pass through an anti-mutant protest to get to a medical centre where Triage is working. Three Dark Riders attack, and Magneto goes out to meet them. And I will say this, he knows how to make an entrance. The guy just can’t help but be epic. Psylocke reads their minds while they’re distracted, and then Magneto nearly kills them, before they teleport away. Then we cut to Monet in Tibet, to meet with Shen Xorn. Man, couldn’t he have just died off-panel? Do we really need that brought back up? This issue . . . I don’t know. It feels like there’s not much to it. Land’s art is less distractingly awful than usual, which is the very definition of damning with faint praise. I still hate his art. The writing is fine, I suppose. Pretty bland, for the most part. I don’t know, this just feels like a weirdly flat issue. There’s not much to it. There’s some banter between Psylocke and Magneto, there’s a fight where Magneto’s supposed to be badass but we don’t really get to see much of that. I think that’s the problem: The fight was really boring. It was mostly Magneto floating in the air while the Dark Riders shoot at him, and then two panels of him tearing them apart. It needed to have more action in it. The best option probably would’ve been to leave out the Psylocke panels at that point, and show Magneto defending himself and throwing distraction attacks at the Riders, until he finally tore them apart. Make the fight exciting and dynamic, rather than just . . . people looking at each other. And then Shen Xorn showing up is kinda questionable. I guess writers think any concept can be redeemed. But I’m not really sure that’s the case with the whole Xorn retcon, Shen Xorn included. And I say that as someone who actually loved the “Xorn is Magneto” moment in Morrison’s New X-Men run. But oh well. Bunn actually did do a pretty good job with Shen Xorn here, admittedly. I actually kinda hope he does get the chance to offer the Dark Riders some tea. And I hope Greg Land leaves this book and an artist who isn’t awful comes on, instead,
Deadpool & the Mercs For Money #1, by Cullen Bunn, Salva Espin and GURU-eFX. So, I’ve talked a lot about how much I hate what Duggan did with the mercs in his Deadpool run. How he writes literally every single one of them horribly. All out of character. So does Bunn do better? The issue starts with them attacking a Beyond Corporation facility. Yay Nextwave shout-out. I love that it’s actually become canon. The mercs are all wearing their own outfits, rather than Deadpool costumes, so already, that’s good. Terror still sounds off. Still more a generic quipper, rather than the very cultured monster he’s supposed to be. And actually, I’m going to talk about Terror. I frigging love Terror. I’ve read his ’90s series, and it’s great stuff. He’s a fantastic character, really smart and cultured and clever, prone to wordplay over quips or insults. He’s just fascinating. So it pisses me off that Duggan and Bunn have turned him into a brute with a bad sense of humour. It’s frustrating. If Duggan wanted someone with a specific personality, he should’ve found a character whose personality fit. Instead, he grabbed Terror and made him sound not even the tiniest little bit like Terror. It would be like writing Black Panther as an inner-city thug. This character isn’t Terror. He’s Terror in name only. Because Terror has a specific personality, and Duggan and Bunn clearly haven’t put the damn work in to figure out his voice. So to hell with both of them. Do your frigging research, guys. Anyway, the mercs get what they came for and deliver it to their employers, who are all dead. Killed, it turns out, by . . . the Crazy Gang. OK, this, I approve of. I approve of everything from classic Captain Britain, and classic Excalibur. Anything from classic Alan Davis. Any Alan Davis, really. If Alan Davis did something, I approve of it being used. I really do love the Crazy Gang. They’re wonderful. This comic? Kinda meh. Don’t care, really. I still have no idea why a single one of these people would work for Deadpool. Several of them sound out-of-character. The plot itself is OK. Group paid to steal MacGuffin, another group hired to steal it from them. No problems there. If it was a different group of characters – a group that made some frigging sense – this would be a good comic. But this group of characters does not make sense. And I can’t get over that. So it kept me from being able to enjoy this comic.
Uncanny Avengers #5, by Gerry Duggan, Carlos Pacheco, Mariano Taibo, Dave Meikis and Richard Isanove. Deadpool, Rogue, Cable and Johnny crash a party yacht, looking for information on the Red Skull. There are a few villains there. They say they know nothing about the Skull, so Johnny starts to leave, saying Avengers business is concluded, but the X-Men still have some questions. Which is actually a pretty cool moment. They’re given a bank and the country of Bagalia. Cable tries to go back to the future, but it turns out that, in his last battle with Stryfe, a tachyon anchor was attached to him. He returns to the base, while the other three head to Bagalia. They find the security systems already disabled in the vault. Gambit, obviously. And I want to criticize Duggan here. He has Gambit say “thief.” We all know it’s “t’ief.” Very sloppy, Duggan. Shame on you. Anyway, the issue’s OK. I find it hard to care, really. I don’t care about this series. I’m only talking about it because it has Rogue and Cable, but I may stop, since Gambit won’t be a regular character. Good art, though. Pacheco’s great, and the inks and colours are also solid.
That’s the X-titles. Here’s other comics.
Captain Marvel #2, by Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Kris Anka and Matt Wilson. Carol, AF and Wendy are exploring the derelict ship. It’s very dark, so they all have flashlights. It kinda bugs me that Aurora shows no nervousness, and doesn’t glow. She’s afraid of the dark; that’s a core aspect of her personality. And glowing is a part of her power set. We even see it later in the issue, but she doesn’t do it here, and I don’t understand why she wouldn’t. So that’s disappointing. Oh well. Wendy, on the other hand, is delightfully eager to be exploring a dark alien spaceship. Then a bunch of weird little amoeba-like aliens pop up, splashing everyone and landing on them. And Wendy is still happy and excited. Apparently, she only has one mood, and that’s excited. Nothing brings her down, even being covered in gunk. I like Wendy. Also, poor Sasquatch’s fur gets matted with the mucus stuff, and no one wants to pull it off his butt. They find the engine room, and the crew – all dead, in failed stasis pods. We also get back to the Eridani situation, and it turns out they may not be the threat. The energy signature of the ship that blew up the asteroid was that of a short-range ship, which means it couldn’t have come from the Eridani world. It had to come from Earth or the station. Dun dun dun! Also, we see a little bit of Sasquatch’s intelligence, and touch on Sasquatch and Aurora being split up right now. I wonder if that’s going to become a subplot. This issue’s great. I loved it. We got to see more from Alpha Flight, which I always appreciate. They’re great characters. I’m not sold on their take on Aurora, personally, but I love their Puck, and their Sasquatch is good. Carol, of course, is great, as are Wendy and Brand, in her brief scenes. The story is interesting, and I’m curious to see where it’ll go. And I like the art. I know Anka has his detractors, and I understand why some people dislike his style. But I like it. I think it works well. He does some great facial expressions, and some good body language. And he includes a little bit of body diversity, too – there’s a chubby ensign, and Wendy’s a little curvy. So his women don’t all look alike, which is always a really nice touch. So, yeah, I’m really enjoying this series.
A-Force is great. It’s full of some hilarious moments. But the most important thing is that Dazzler is now into roller-derby! That is so perfect and I love it! I think I’ve actually thought in the past that Dazzler should do roller-derby. It’s great. I’m so happy about that, you have no idea. I’m going to be smiling for a while just about that alone.
Vision #4 starts with an absolutely bizarre reversal of the old Charlie Brown football gag. It’s so goddamn weird and I love that. Honestly, the opening scene, with Vision and his kids, is so sweet and nice. There’s still some slightly unsettling elements with their speech patterns, but for the most part, this opening scene is absolutely the sweetest scene in the series so far. And it’s actually followed by another really sweet scene at the school, when a guy – her lab partner – talks to her. He clearly likes her, and she seems to like him, too. Also, best line in the whole issue – possibly of the week: “Wife, I am listening. It is just that I am also fighting Giganto.” But aside from that, this issue’s also got a ton of great drama and a fantastic twist at the end. This series is amazing. You have to be reading this. It is too good not to read it. It’s brilliant work.
Not a review, but I do want to talk about Pretty Deadly #8, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles. It’s amazing. The art is gorgeous, of course. Rios and Bellaire are both amazing, the best at what they do. (So is Cowles, for that matter, but letterers run into the problem of not being noticed unless they screw up. He does do really great work, though, and makes choices that do enhance the story in very, very subtle ways.) So I love the look of Pretty Deadly. And the writing is killer. This issue has discussions of war and luck. The idea of luck actually plays a pretty big role in this issue, with two important lines of dialogue that really get into it: “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” Which is to say that what seems like bad luck can work out in your favour, and what looks like good luck can cause you problems. And, even better: “You don’t earn good fortune before you get it, fool. You earn it after.” That might now be one of my favourite lines from anywhere. It so perfectly encapsulates the reality of “good fortune.” People always want to pretend that good luck goes to those who’ve worked for it, but that’s so seldom true. Luck is random. It goes to whoever it wants. When it goes to you, it then becomes your responsibility to deserve its benefits. It’s a brilliant line.
And there’s Mirror #1, by Emma Rios and Hwei Lim. Apparently, Mirror has actually been expanded into an ongoing, which is awesome. Congratulations to Rios and Lim on that. It’s very interesting. Some really interesting stuff here, with magic, human-like animals, plots, and a tragic love story. Rios is showing some solid writing chops. And Lim’s art is great. Very manga-esque. She draws some great animal-people. I enjoyed this debut issue, so I’m in this for the long run.