X-Men comics of March 2 2016
Uncanny X-Men #4, by Cullen Bunn, Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard. Fantomex and Mystique meet at the Hellfire Club. Fantomex is there to meet with the Inner Circle, but Mystique says they’re busy and want the two of them to work together against Someday. By the way, there had been not be any children in the Inner Circle. The Hellfire Brats should all be forgotten forever until the end of time. They should never ever appear in a comic ever again. They should be banned from ever appearing again. Meanwhile, Triage talks to Magneto about the team going after the Dark Riders. And in Tibet, one of the Riders visits Shen Xorn, who offers some tea. He gets philosophical, until they actually try to kill him. Then he kills barrage and the other two teleport away for reinforcements. Then Psylocke, Monet, Sabretooth and Archangel attack their base. Weirdly, the Shen Xorn scene was my favourite part of this issue. The scene between Fantomex and Mystique was actually pretty fun – they play off each other pretty well. He doesn’t like her at all, and she takes a bit of pleasure in that. The Triage/Magneto scene is a little too self-serious. It’s an exposition scene, and reading it, it brought to mind something you might see in a trailer for a really gritty action movie. Like, the dialogue should have been read over really quick flashes of action and long shots of people looking really Serious, all taking place in a heavy grey colour scheme. OK, so the comic did include the grey colour scheme during that scene. But it didn’t feel like a conversation between two characters. It felt like the writer saying what was going on. It was just a clumsily-written scene. But the Shen Xorn scene – that was great. Maybe it’s because I actually love needlessly-convoluted continuity. I’m an X-Men fan, “needlessly-convoluted” is both motto and aspiration. So Bunn bringing in one of the most ridiculous examples of that makes me entirely too pleased. Beyond that, though, Shen Xorn just comes across really cool here. He’s so peaceful and philosophical, and then he just straight-up kills a guy. And then says they should have accepted the tea. It’s cool. The art here is less obnoxious than usual for Land. There’s less of the blatant recycling I know and loathe him for. I guess he found some new photos to trace. I will never like Greg Land’s art. But he’s managing to become less rage-inducing. So, progress?
Old Man Logan #3, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Well, artistically, this is quite the leap. From Land to Sorrentino/Maiolo? Quite the difference. Anyway, Logan is in Hawkeye’s apartment, staring down an arrow. Kate! Best Hawkeye! She asks why he’s old and not dead, and he says he’s from the future. He expects her to be surprised, but she has the best response ever:
That is perfect. This is why I love Kate. Anyway, he explains the future he comes from, and then passes out. And we get a flashback/flashforward to Logan’s past/future. This title is confusing that way. Either way, we see Logan and his family at a beach, with Logan throwing his daughter in a Fastball Special. All fun and games. His daughter sees something underwater, and Logan checks it out. Skeletons. Spider-Woman and Quicksilver, definitely, though I’m not sure who the third one is. They were playing right near where the Battle of Atlantis happened. He wakes up again in the present, and Kate offers to help him track down Mysterio. She’s bored and needs action.
This is so great. I always enjoy seeing Logan getting mocked, and Kate just does it so hilariously here. So they go look for Mysterio, and things get intense. This issue is fan-frigging-tastic. It’s intense, but with just the perfect amount of humour added in. Kate is amazing here. I mean, she’s amazing anywhere, but she’s especially amazing here. Lemire has even more fun with her than he does in her own title, and she plays off Logan really well. Even later on, when things take a more intense turn and she drops the humour, she makes a great foil for him, her concern and compassion contrasting with his rage and violence. And this issue continues Logan’s quick descent into brutal obsession. And the art here is also stunning. Sorrentino and Maiolo do what is probably my favourite Kate ever. And even aside from her, the art is amazing. Just gorgeous, gorgeous work. There’s some cool layouts, and a great flow to the action bits. This series is worth reading for the art alone, but Lemire is killing it on the writing, too.
Deadpool #8, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli and Ruth Redmond. We start with a montage of the Mercs doing various jobs, and then getting paid by Adsit. Deadpool himself is visiting the medical supply store that Butler used to run. He’s having hallucinations of Madcap. Then, he goes to a strip club to find a guy named Michael Logue. (In the process, he frees the women being held there against their will.) Logue comes out, and is scared of Deadpool. He admits to having worked for Butler, bagging and tagging Deadpool every once in a while. After Deadpool tells him to write a journal of everything he knows, he goes for a ride, and ends up in a little town he thinks he lived in. He heads back to the theatre the Avengers are based out of, and asks the computer where Sabretooth is. Then he goes tracking. This issue’s pretty good. Very intense. But Deadpool does make some jokes. That’s important. I’ve been unimpressed with the current volume because Deadpool wasn’t making jokes. Here, he does make some, which is appropriate. He should always be making jokes. The kind of jokes he’s making helps set tone. So, yeah, that was nice to see, and it elevated the issue in a big way. I also, for once, liked the art. I thought Lolli did a good job keeping it from getting too cartoonish. Deadpool works best with a fairly conventional art style, because it creates a better contrast. Contrast is key with the character. We get contrast here. This is, without any question, the best issue of the current volume, and one of the best issue’s of Duggan’s entire run.
Uncanny Avengers #6, by Gerry Duggan, Carlos Pacheco, Dave Meikis, Scott Hanna, Mariano Taibo, Antonio Fabela and Richard Isanove. Three inkers, and two colour artists. Weird. I wonder if Pacheco ran behind with the pencils, so the inking was split to make up that lost time? First thing to mention is Avengers Mansion has become a theme hotel. Also, Synapse refers to New Attilan as a reservation, and criticizes Medusa for keeping the Inhumans separated from humanity. And while there, Hellion shows up and wreaks havoc telekinetically. He was exposed to the T-Mist, and he plans on dying in New Attilan. Poor Hellion. Synapse shuts him off, and Medusa has him taken to the infirmary, promising Synapse they won’t punish him for his actions, given his sickness. Anyway, I just figured I should talk about Hellion showing up.
That’s the X-titles, but there are other comics to talk about.
A-Force #3, by G. Willow Wilson, Kelly Thompson, Jorge Molina and Matt Milla. Turns out Dazzler’s bitchin’ light show did nothing to Anti-Matter. The rest of the group tries to trap him in a science-thing, but that fails, and Nico gets blasted. Singularity gets Nico to cast a spell so Anti-Matter can’t track her, then teleports away with the group, while being characteristically adorable. Inside Singularity, the team debates their next move. And bicker, of course. Lots of bickering. The best moment:
She-Hulk yells at everyone to shut up. She also considered killing everyone and wearing their rib cages as hats. Singularity brings them to Carol’s space station, where Tempest and Wendy have come up with something that might destroy Anti-Matter. They debate that a bit, with Nico, Carol and She-Hulk all wanting one last chance at talking to it. The conversation is . . . rather interesting. And doesn’t go great. This is another great issue. The real point of the story is to see these women interacting, and it does that so well. She-Hulk and Carol, of course, have been friends for a while, so they have an easy camaraderie. Medusa’s kind of a bitch, but in the same vein as Emma Frost – she knows who and what she is and she makes no apologies for it, so you can’t help but love her. (And of course, she does still have a heart.) She conflicts especially well with Dazzler, who’s in a particularly snarky mood these days. The two clearly don’t think much of each other, and seeing them snipe at each other is wonderful. (When Medusa says she agrees with Dazzler, Dazzler says she’s re-considering her opinion.) And then Nico is someone who just refuses to be ignored. She actually comes across really well in this issue. She’s the youngest and least-experienced one there, but she’s not the least bit intimidated by the others and she holds herself as their equal. And I like that the others treat her as an equal. I mean, Medusa is a bit condescending towards her, but Medusa’s condescending towards everyone, so she’s treating Nico as equal to everyone else. The art is excellent. Molina and Milla do great work. Molina’s art is really expressive and dynamic, and Milla’s colours complement him perfectly and enhance the story. He makes Singularity and Anti-Matter both look amazing. This book is great, and I’d definitely encourage you to check it out if you’re not reading it.
Black Widow #1, by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson. Maria Hill puts out an announcement that Widow is now an enemy of SHIELD, and Widow fights her way through some people working in what looks like an office. She busts through a wall to a lunch room, and fights her way through some people wearing actual uniforms. She escapes, by blowing out a window and jumping. Out of the Helicarrier. She’s chased by agents in jetpacks, and one agent driving a flying car. Naturally, she steals one of the jetpacks, in mid-air. Because she’s the goddamn Black Widow. Then she steals a motorcycle for a high-speed chase (with the person chasing her in a flying car). This debut issue is definitely thrilling. It’s one long action sequence. The entire issue is an action sequence. Which isn’t a bad way to start a series, really. My understanding is that, with Black Widow, Samnee is doing a lot of the plotting, and Waid is primarily filling in dialogue. So, I imagine this series probably will be very action-heavy. Which is fine. That works for Black Widow. Lots of action, lots of intrigue, lots of secrets. Apparently, we won’t be getting any narration from Widow. We won’t be getting her inner thoughts. So she’s actually going to be kept at a distance from the readers. Which is kind of a cool idea. Regardless, this issue’s really exciting. Samnee and Wilson just wreck it. Really exciting action, and really great work on layouts. Samnee makes sure it all flows beautifully, to make it feel like it’s really moving. This is a great debut, and looks like it’ll be a great book.
Avengers: Standoff: Assault On Pleasant Hill: Alpha, by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz. On a Helicarrier, some SHIELD agents sneak into the empty Command Central. They’re there so they can hack into . . . football. It’s pretty great, actually. Bucky busts in and gets one of them to hack some things for him. Steve Rogers is trying to track Bucky down, to find out why Bucky keeps hitting SHIELD installations. Then, we switch over to Captain America, beating up the Green Skull, who is on his way to being one of my favourite random villains. I want him to keep showing up. The crowds, of course, still hate him, which leads to Sam delivering one of the greatest lines he will ever deliver: “I thought you’d like this one! He’s an environmentalist! You hate those guys!” That’s great. He gets a calls from the Whisperer for a face-to-face meeting. Meanwhile, Steve has tracked a clue Bucky left, to an old diner they used to hang out at in the Army. Bucky’s there, making bacon and eggs. And Sam goes to meet with the Whisperer, who is not – as Vegas guessed – a teenage Tony Stark. It’s Rick Jones! Turns out, after he stopped being A-Bomb, a side effect left him able to pick up new skills super-fast, for a little while. And he used it to become a hacker. Now, he and Bucky have both discovered that the Kobik program wasn’t shut down – SHIELD still has Cosmic Cube fragments. After Bucky leaves, Hill picks up Rogers, who is less than happy with her. She takes him to Pleasant Hill, while Sam calls the Avengers so they can make their own way there. Spencer’s doing great work with this event, so far. It’s early yet, of course, but the premise is an interesting one, and one that makes the actions the villains take somewhat sympathetic. Maria Hill is maybe a little more quippy than I’d like, but other than that, there’s some fun character stuff with everyone. There’s some interesting moral discussions. The art is really good, too. Saiz does solid work. It’s good superhero comic art – pretty much exactly what one would expect of a superhero comic, in the very best ways. This is looking like it’ll be a great event, overall.