X-Men comics for February 17 2016
Extraordinary X-Men #7, by Jeff Lemire, Victor Ibanez and Jay David Ramos. Jean and Storm enter Nightcrawler’s mind, specifically the memory of Xavier finding him. And in Weirdworld, the X-Men talk to Sunfire, who was bringing a bunch of mutants to America when they wound up in Weirdworld. Illyana tries to attack him, calling him a traitor over what he and Cyclops did. Naturally, What Cyclops Did is not explained, because telling us What Cyclops did would allow us to determine for ourselves if he was right or wrong, and some people might take his side. So, they continue the totally fucking obnoxious mystery. Fuck off, Marvel. Tell us what he did. Anyway, any argument is interrupted by ghosts. Back in the mindscape, we get a pirate ship, and then a giant ’70s Cyclops. In Weirdworld, Illyana confronts the sorcerer sending the ghosts, and he tries to kill her, but she stabs him. He says she’s going to do something bad. In the mindscape, Jean and Storm crawl into Cyclops’ visor, and end up in Germany again, but more recent. Some mutant kids are about to be killed, and Nightcrawler saves them. And we find out what broke him. It’s . . . unpleasant. This issue . . . ugh. This is not a good issue. Storm doesn’t sound at all like herself. The What Cyclops Did mystery remains stupid and irritating. It’s not intriguing, it’s bullshit. At least they didn’t drag out any longer what’s up with Nightcrawler – it only took 7 issues to reveal it. Great work, guys! The most interesting part of the issue is the stuff with Illyana, and the hints of the future with her. At least the art looked pretty nice. But hell, this series just won’t stay good.
That’s the only X-title, but there are other comics worth talking about.
Power Man & Iron Fist #1, by David Walker, Sanford Greene and Lee Loughridge. It starts with Luke on the phone to Jessica, saying he and Danny aren’t back together, they’re just taking care of a thing. That thing is picking up their old office manager, Jennie Royce, after she’s released from prison for murder. She’s had a rough time of it: She got beat up in prison for having worked for Heroes For Hire, and for having dated Crime-Buster, who evidently owed people money. So, yeah, not a fun time she had in prison. (As an aside, at the restaurant they eat at, among various photos of superheroes, there’s a photo of Jo Duffy. Aw. She made Power Man & Iron Fist a success back in the day, with a classic run on that title.) Anyway, they want to help her, and agree to retrieve a necklace that a bad guy took from a storage locker. When they find out who has it, Luke’s not happy. But Jessica has asked Luke to cut back on the swearing, so he says things like “fiddle-faddle,” which Fist finds hilarious. Turns out, the guy they need to talk to is Tombstone. Apparently, they know each other. Luke tries to get the necklace through very, very careful conversation, but Tombstone gets annoyed anyway, so it’s a fight. But, of course, there’s more going on than it seems. This is really good. A great kick-off to the series. Luke and Danny are both fun and play off each other really well, with Danny being all cheerful and friendly and joke-y, and Luke being more serious. Jessica’s cameo brings some fun stuff, as well. The story being set up is definitely interesting, and a classic Luke Cage foe returns in an interesting way. Walker’s writing is great. Greene’s art is good. It’s not a style I generally enjoy, but it’s good here. It does work. At the risk of saying something really racist, it’s got a hip-hop feel to it. It works well here. The colours are good, too. So, overall, the art doesn’t appeal to me, and it’s going to be very divisive, but I think it’s a good fit for the book. And the issue itself is definitely very good. I will be continuing to pick this up.
Avengers Standoff: Welcome To Pleasant Hill, by Nick Spencer, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna and Paul Mounts. Bucky is sneaking into a SHIELD facility, investigating an alert he received about a major threat. He gets a playback of what happened. A bunch of SHIELD scientists were working with weird energy, and it exploded. Then, he spots a little girl behind some debris. The recording cuts off when some SHIELD agents find Bucky. Then we get a recap of a statement Maria Hill gave about SHIELD’s Cosmic Cube program. Then a young man wakes up with amnesia, just outside Pleasant Hill. He’s examined by Dr. Selvig. And things are definitely sinister. The man steals a car and tries to escape, but gets run off the road, and runs into a force field generated by Stark tech. A couple weeks later, after three more failed escape attempts, he’s happy to live in Pleasant Hill. He talks to a psychiatrist, Dr. Bruce, who admits to having had anger issues in the past. Anyway, the escape attempts stopped after the guy met a weird girl who talked about purpose, and said Pleasant Hill was about giving people purpose before they went back into the world. A couple weeks later, a house catches fire, and he rushes in to save the baby who’s obviously still in there. Because burning buildings always have to have a baby in them. It’s, like, a law. A fire always needs someone yelling, “My baby is still in there!” So he saves the baby, but also meets someone else, who says it’s all a lie. And that’s where things get complicated. This is really cool. Interesting set-up. There’s a lot of red herrings throughout the issue, which is something I’m actually not really a fan of. But I do like the set-up here. The writing is solid, and ties very nicely into earlier in Spencer’s Captain America series. I’m interested in Pleasant Hill. It could be a good event. And, of course, you can never complain about Mark Bagley art. Never. The man deserves to be a legend. I would vastly prefer him on an event over someone like Hitch or Deodato. So, yeah, good issue.
Also, Bitch Planet #7. First, I need to say the back cover is the Best Thing Ever. Much praise to Laurenn McCubbin for that, because it is glorious. “Misandry Cosmetic! Destroy the patriarchy with your pretty, pretty face.” Seriously, this issue is worth picking up for the back cover alone. Luckily, the rest of the issue is fantastic, too. DeConnick, Le Andro, Fitzpatrick and Cowles are still doing dynamite work. This time around, we get to see some vulnerability from the women, and we get more of the blatant sexism and racism that makes this book a difficult but rewarding read. The creative team clearly put a lot of thought into this stuff. The issue starts with some black kids being shot for trespassing, and the white guard who did it doesn’t even show a moment’s remorse. On-the-nose? Sure. Doesn’t mean it isn’t worth showing. Because the guard is shown as feeling totally justified. KSD has an essay at the back talking about how terrorist groups believe they’re making the world a better place. It’s the old “everyone’s the hero of their own story” truth. The sexists and racists in this story don’t see themselves as bad guys; they think they’re totally right, and that they make the world a better place. It makes for a complex story, and it’s great. There’s also an essay from Angelica Jade Bastien about Vulnerability and the Strong Black Female Archetype, which is a great read.