X-Men comics of February 10 2016
All-New X-Men #4, by Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Nolan Woodard. It starts in Tokyo, with Angel and Laura going after a Demon Gang and declaring they are in love. Though Angel also clearly has some problems with what’s going on. Later on, we learn the X-Men are really popular in Tokyo, thanks to Scott’s great speech. A bunch of teen girls wants Scott’s autograph, and Laura impresses people by using tweezers to pull out bullets. Scott and Angel go for Ramen and talk about how miserable they are. We then cut to a park/zoo outside Paris that holds rare and exotic creatures. Basically, it’s a monster zoo. That’s awesome. The Blob beats up a thing that looks like a cross between a werewolf and a spider. The X-Men head to California for a forest fire, with Laura charging through the flames to rescue a firefighter.
Next, a hurricane in Thailand, where Laura rescues a puppy. And at a party, Iceman makes a dick of himself in front of a cute boy. Aw, poor Bobby. And then Angel and Laura have it out about Laura’s increasing tendency of putting herself in greater and greater danger. And then the Blob attacks a restaurant. This is great. It’s great stuff. We get some nice moments with most of the characters, but the bulk of the issue is Angel being unhappy seeing Laura throwing herself into danger so recklessly. He has a point, and he comes across sympathetically. It is a little odd for Laura, too – normally, she’s a lot smarter. She’s not Logan. She doesn’t lead with her face and rely on her toughness. She’s willing to make heavy use of her healing factor to do things she wouldn’t otherwise survive, but it’s all tactical. She’s a tactical fighter, which Hopeless doesn’t show. So while she gets to be really badass, I do disagree with his take on her. It’s fun, but it’s not right. That aside, the writing is great. As is the art. I love Bagley. Hennessy’s inks are great, too, of course, but Bagley’s line art is stellar. I really do love his work. The idea that anyone could dislike him confuses me, because there is nothing to dislike. Great expressions, great action, great everything. Woodard does a great job on the colours, too, capturing mood and tone and accentuating the art and the story. Aside from Laura being too reckless, this really is an excellent comic.
All-New Wolverine #5, by Tom Taylor, David Lopez, David Navarrot and Nathan Fairbairn. Laura’s trying to get the Ant-Man suit out of its storage tank, and Bellona tries to help by shooting the tank, but the Wasp zaps her. After Wasp calls Strange to tell him off for teleporting Wolverines in without calling ahead, Laura explains the situation. Can I just say how awesome Wasp is here? She’s awesome. We then cut to Mr. Chandler and Captain Mooney, in a secure bunker. Chandler reminds Mooney he wanted the situation dealt with discreetly, and explosions aren’t discreet. Really, that’s a really valuable lesson. Back to Wasp and Laura, who are small enough to be injected into Zelda’s bloodstream, so they can fight nanites. Unfortunately, destroying a nanite does send a “phone-home” to the bunker, so now they can be tracked. Wasp and Laura destroy enough of the nanites that Zelda wakes up, and Gabby gives the best explanation of what’s going on. I love Gabby. I want Gabby to explain everything. And then Zelda gets shot. This is great. As with the last issue, there’s a reminder that Laura and Logan are very different Wolverines, as someone more familiar with the old sees how different the new one is. This issue doesn’t do the out-of-place thing the last issue did, since Wasp’s world is much less odd than Strange’s. We do get to see Wasp rolling with the situation in a really funny way, though. She’s just a lot of fun here.
The humour is offset by a lot of tension, and by Laura still being a hardcore badass. The art remains excellent, as well. There’s some really good facial expressions and body language, and the action flows well. A panel when Laura comes out of Zelda’s body and moves towards Mooney is especially great, as is a panel where Zelda realizes a bullet wound hurts. The look on her face is perfect. Utter shock. (Also, Bellona smiling is hilarious. It looks so unnatural for her and it’s great.) This series is fantastic stuff.
Old Man Logan #2, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marco Maiolo. We start in the future, with a couple of Banner’s kids slaughtering cows. An old farmer is behind on his payments to the Hulk Gang, so his livestock is theirs. The farmer is killed next. Logan and his wife hear it happening, but she says there’s nothing he can do. Of course, his inaction eventually led to the Hulk Gang slaughtering his family. But now, he’s in the past, and he can stop the Hulk Gang, by killing Banner before he had kids. He hears the Hulk is helping with a traffic pile-up, and attacks. The fight is brutal. And it doesn’t go great for Logan. And of course, it was all pointless, anyway, since this isn’t Banner, it’s Amadeus Cho. By the way, I’m very excited for the guest star who shows up on the last page, and will be in the next issue. Especially because, damn, the art in that last splash page. This issue’s good. It’s well-written. Logan is strategic in his approach, but still gets his ass handed to him, because he’s an old man fighting a Hulk. Amadeus is cool, here. He’s fun. The stuff in the future is really good. Very effective. The art is the highlight, as usual. I love Sorrentino and Maiolo. Their work is so pretty, so atmospheric. It’s gorgeous art. It really is important to credit them together, too. Sorrentino’s lines wouldn’t be nearly as great without Maiolo’s colours; Maiolo might actually be the real star of the title. Either way, I love the art, though I will admit it doesn’t always lend itself well to the action. But for the most part, it does a good job with the action. So, good book.
Deadpool #7, by Gerry Duggan, Scott Koblish and Nick Filardi. Those are the creators on the main story, anyway. This is the 25th Anniversary of Deadpool’s first appearance, so it’s a Giant-Size issue. Deadpool and his mercs are gunning down some Hydra guys while Deadpool tells Foolkiller about his memory problems, since Foolkiller’s been taking Psychology 101 at ESU. Deadpool heads back to the HQ, and we get a diagram of the building. Then he goes to deal with a bunch of grudges he has against various people. He goes after the Hand, who don’t even know what they did to piss him off. Shiklah calls him home, and yells at him for never being there for her. Then they have sex. He leaves to continue his grudges, which include a guy who spoiled the end of that Harry Potter book where Snape kills Dumbledore. Fun fact: I have never read a Harry Potter book. I likely never will. Anyway, he has a flashback to the time he tried to get Dr. Samson to help him, then digs him up to yell at him. He goes on a multi-day party spree, filled with self-loathing. It’s yet another meh issue in a long line of meh issues. The comedy is weak, the story is stupid, the art is unappealing. There is just so little value to this. Then, the back-ups. A Terror story by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook. He’s on a mission, and talking on a radio to his manager, Ms. Primo. He talks a bit about having his dead lover’s hand encased in metal and permanently attached to his body. We find out his mission is the steal the Staff of N’Astirh. Hey! Nice! Callback to Inferno. Woot! He gets shot with a bazooka, and it cracks the casing on his metal hand, so he forgets his love. So this is apparently why he took the job from Deadpool. He’s still written wrong here. He doesn’t show enough culture, and his grammar is too casual. At least it tries to make sense of why he’s working for Deadpool, though. Still, not a great story. A Stingray story by Tim Seeley, Mike Norton and Veronica Gandini. A pirate named Black Patch has stolen some gold from a ship, and Stingray stops her, by getting hit by her waterski. The others make fun of him, so he leaves, and does another job. He calls Diane while he does it. They’re a really nice couple. They really are. I like their marriage. While he’s down there, we also see how competent he is. This is actually a good story. Stingray’s a minor character, but he’s a cool one. He’s been treated as something of a joke in Deadpool, as someone who’s not good at what he does. This one shows that he’s immensely competent underwater. But the real heart of the story is the conversation with his wife. It’s sweet. A Slapstick story by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, Danilo Beyruth and Veronica Gandini. He’s fighting robot Thors in tuxedos shooting at him. He spots a woman being dragged away by Thor-bots, and doesn’t recognize her, but he does start to remember her. She’s from a note he keeps finding. When he sees it, he gets flashes of her sad in a diner. Her name is June, and she seems to have a power that makes people forget her when they’re not looking at her. Someone has been reading Agent X – that book had a mutant with that exact power. Someone wants to use her to kill people, and she needs his help, and she hopes that his craziness might help him remember her. In the present, they’re attacked by Taskmaster. He wants to be her boyfriend, since his photgraphic reflexes allow him to remember her. It’s a pretty fun story. Really weird and silly and pretty fun. Not sold on the art, though. Not cartoony enough. A Masacre story by Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot and Jordie Bellaire. A couple American tourists in Mexico are acting like assholes, and a giant Swedish guy there for work tells them off, saying they don’t want Mexicans in their country but are more than happy to be assholes in Mexico. A priest comes out and stops him from killing them. A lot of the dialogue and narration is in Spanish, so I have no idea what most people said. Seems like an OK story. A Foolkiller story by Amy Chu, Emilio Laiso and Israel Silva. He’s trying to study psychology, while the others are being rambunctious. He explains why. After a mission, he started thinking about what he’d do if he got sidelined, and he spent some time seeing a therapist, who suggested he join a Vigilantes Support Group. He signed up for a program to help rehabilitate criminals. And he found out he liked helping people. So, he decided to go back to school to become a psychologist. The story ends with him graduating. Which, um . . . it’s really not that easy? It takes years. Like, actual years of study. Prior to the graduation, it’s a good story. But showing him graduate after a few weeks is ridiculous. And, finally, a Solo story by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto. It starts a year ago, with his girlfriend being annoyed about staying in a hotel because of Solo’s problems. Deadpool attacks him for taking merc jobs while dressed as him. Apparently, he just needed the extra money that comes from Deadpool’s merc rates. Deadpool decides to hire him. It’s a fun enough story, but Solo was never a mercenary. He was an anti-terror vigilante. Whatever, at least Noto’s art is work. It’s also an explanation of where the Mercs For Money program started.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #2, by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales and Jason Keith. As an aside, I’m noticing that Marvel is starting to get consistent about including inkers and colour artists on covers. Good for them. Now they need to start including them in solicits. (And letterers, too.) It starts with Peter having spilled black ink on his white shirt, right before he goes in camera. He covers it up by tying 4 ties together, which obviously gets questions. He says it’s a new fashion thing, the Amasscot. Which Anna Maria finds hilarious. I do love Anna Maria. Deadpool is researching Peter while in bed with Shiklah, and keeps using D-words to describe him. He’s good at alliteration. He talks to her about the job, and shows evidence sent to him that Parker Industries is involved in horrible stuff. Shiklah tells him to investigate himself, and then kill either Parker or the guy who sent the evidence. She’s also trying to get him to sex her. The next day, Deadpool is being a nuisance in order to get Spider-Man’s attention. He gets the attention of two Spider-Mans! Twice the Spider-Man, lucky him. And then the Goblins show up. Deadpool realizes it’s a mass hallucination, and uses his Dead-Buggy – which is very clearly a repainted Spider-Buggy and I am all over that – to get high enough to reach Spider-Man. He shoots the Webware watches Peter showed off at the earlier press conference, and the Spider-Mans stop hallucinating. Then they go to confront the one responsible. This is another great issue. Once again, Deadpool and Spider-Man play off each other really well. Deadpool is hilarious, but he’s also got a lot of depth to him. It’s clear he doesn’t want to kill without very, very good reason, and the fact that he doesn’t immediately trust anyone who would hire him is entirely sensible. Kelly writes the best Deadpool ever. He never stops making jokes, even when he’s deeply hurt, or homicidally angry. It’s the way he should be. The kinds of jokes he tells do a great way of showing his mood. The art also helps – there’s a scene at the end where the art becomes extremely dark and moody, which makes his jokes downright scary. The art is just really good in general. It’s got a nice cartoonishness that works well for both characters, but without going overboard. It’s still mostly conventional, which I feel is the best way to do Deadpool. It grounds him really well, which is necessary. It keeps him from being a joke character; he’s a serious character who tells jokes. So, yeah, I’m still loving this series.
That’s the X-titles, but there’s other stuff to talk about, too.
Ms. Marvel #4, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon and Ian Herring. We start with Aamir and his girlfriend, Tyesha, telling his parents they want to get married. His parents object, but Kamala is all over that. She loves Tyesha. Aoso, Kamala is wearing Wolverine slippers. I think that’s very important to note.
His parents are especially concerned about him marrying a non-Pakistani girl (though the fact that he’s unemployed is also a mark against him, and a totally valid point). In the end, Tyesha says she’s willing to stay with them until Aamir finishes his degree and they can get their own place. His parents like that idea – it’s very traditional – so they agree. Kamala’s thrown off by it, though. Iron Man calls to tell her about a stolen neurotoxin he wants her to track down. And there’s just all sorts of craziness in her life now and she doesn’t know how to deal. She goes after the bad guys, but she’s so tried that she has trouble with the handful of losers (who admit to working for Faustus, who’s still mad at her), and has to call in help. A social studies presentation the next day, on the bizarre Black Market economy of Jersey Port, goes poorly, and she goes to see Bruno, who’s managed to use tissue from Loki’s golems and made a living mannequin with the 3-D printer. And Kamala gets an idea. As always, this series is The Best. This is a great issue. I like Kamala’s family, so I’m always glad to see them get some focus. The wedding subplot looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. But we’re also seeing a lot more of the tough balancing act Kamala’s trying to do, and just how overwhelmed she is, and how it’s causing her to screw up everything. We also learn there are monkeys trained to hack into the GPS of cargo ships. I approve of this, especially as something we don’t actually see. So the comic’s great, with lots of drama and lots of comedy. The art’s great, too. There’s fewer visual gags than usual, but there are still a few here and there. But I do have one complaint. At one point, Kamala does what I’m guessing is supposed to the Vulcan Hand Salute. But she does it wrong. On the plus side: We see a Kamala in a longcoat and pirate hat. Jokes aside, though, it’s a really good art style. Really fun, nicely expressive, good action sequences. This comic remains one of the best things in existence.
Ultimates #4 is great. Carol gets some fancy armour! It’s awesome! And America and Monica are both capable of surviving the Neutral Zone without protection, because they’re both awesome. And the story is fantastic. Explores Adam’s resentment towards Anti-Man for killing his wife, cameo from Adam’s son stops him from killing Anti-Man. It’s a fantastic issue of an awesome, amazing series. And the art by Rocafort and Brown is so damned good. They are killing it.
Also, New Avengers is crazy and ridiculous and awesome. And the future Marvel Woman turns out to be Songbird’s daughter! Which . . . oh man. Oh man! Songbird is going to hook up with Max Brashear, isn’t she? Cool. Ooh, and that means that Toni is free to start a romance with Pod. And man, what a great issue. I love this bit, in particular:
That’s real heroism, right there. A lot of people objected to the first issue, where Billy came across as uncertain. The thing is, that makes me love Billy even more. Because we all get like this. We all have those feelings of self-doubt, even self-loathing. I live in that space. But, we fight through it. We keep going. We get out of bed and we live our lives even when it hurts. Even when all we want to do is lay there feeling miserable, we force ourselves to keep going. That’s heroism, right there. Every day that you live your life, you are a goddamn hero. So I love that Ewing is using Billy to explore that feeling. So, it’s a great issue.
Also, InSeXts #3, by Marguerite Bennett, Ariela Kristantina, Bryan Valenza and A Larger World is great. This is a deeply fucked-up series. It’s great. You should read it. Period-piece lesbian-romance body-horror. There’s something for everyone.
Edit: I just read ANAD Avengers #5. Oh man. The fanfic sequence at the beginning. Kamala writes a fanfic about Captain America and Thor, and in the fanfic, Thor is – of course – Captain Marvel. And then Juggernaut shows up to confess his own love for Thor. It is ridiculous and it is glorious and I want someone to write the whole fanfic. I so want it to happen. On the other hand, Kamala crying after being kicked out of the Avengers was pretty heartbreaking.
Also, Weirdworld is amazing. Read it. Gorgeous art and stellar writing, and gorgeous art. I know I mentioned the art twice but it’s because holy shit is this book ever gorgeous. Also, Morgan le Fay gets a complex characterization here. She shows a soft side, towards a sick old woman named Elizabeth. We don’t find out what their relationship is – friendship, or more – but they love each other. I like seeing Morgan written as being capable of love, and even it being a motivating factor for her.