X-Men comics of March 16 2016
All-New X-Men #6, by Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Nolan Woodard. We actually open on Idie, concerned about the possibility of the fight against the Blob damaging Notre Dame Cathedral. Despite her sentiments last issue, about being unsure if she can still believe in god, it seems she still feels a connection. She actually impresses Scott, too, because she’s great. Scott starts trying to come up with a plan, then he gets hit by a taxi. Turns out it’s being driven by the Toad. While Blob beats on Hank, Hank thinks about how he’s fallen behind the times. Laura’s on her way to the fight, but she’s distracted by Angel having broken up with her. Angel gets to the fight, and actually shows a little bit of a badass side. This is a good issue. There’s some great Idie stuff here, exploring her complicated relationship with her faith. It’s really nice stuff, a nice exploration of personal faith. There’s some good stuff with Hank, too, feeling like he’s a genius who’s behind the times. And, as I said, Angel gets to be a badass, which is incredibly rare for him. I mean, prior to his becoming Archangel, probably his most defining trait was being totally goddamn useless. Calling him useless was one of my favourite things to do when I was going through the ‘6os comics. But now Hopeless has made him not useless. It makes me very uncomfortable! Regardless, Hopeless is doing great character work. As for the art, it’s Bagley. Any comic with Bagley’s art is worth reading, for the art alone. Really good, expressive work. The man is a master at faces, and he also does a great job on action. Hennessy and Woodard complement him really well, and do a great job enhancing his work. As I keep saying, Bagley is one of the best in the business.
Extraordinary X-Men #8, by Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado. Storm is thinking about how wel things are going, and how she feels the X-Men are still losing. Logan comes in, talks to her, and they share a moment where they almost kiss before Forge interrupts. Some might find it weird that Storm almost kisses a guy who’s so much older than she is, and looks so much older. I would remind them that this has been the case since Claremont, where she kissed Naze. Age doesn’t bother her. (Which is part of why I think she should be outed as pansexual. Make it so it is individuals she’s attracted to, regardless of age, race or gender.) Forge says Cerebra has detected new mutants, which is, of course, supposed to be impossible. At a briefing, Cerebra says 600 new mutant signatures appeared in Tokyo. She sends Colossus with his students, Anole, Glob, Ernst and No-Girl. They teleport to Tokyo, where people take their pictures. Man, how amazing would it have been if those kids from the ’80s were there? Maybe they’re college-age now, and they’ve got their hero files on their smartphones. Dammit, that would’ve been great. Anyway, the team heads to the warehouse where the mutant signatures are located. And find Sugar Man! I like Sugar Man. He’s so weird and creepy. He’s created a bunch of mutant embryos, and plans on raising them to follow him. This story is . . . it’s OK, I guess. There’s nothing that angered me. But at the same time, it didn’t really thrill me. Part of that might be the art. I do not like Ramos’ style, at all. It’s not just that it’s cartoony, it’s that it’s got an angularity that I find unpleasant. The exaggerated proportions turn me off, too. In terms of the writing, I can’t really point to anything wrong with it. There’s a lot that really should excite me. Sugar Man! Time travel! Use of some of the students! And yet, I found myself kinda bored. I think a couple things play into it. First, I hate the “mutants are sterilized and dying of a plague” plot going on. It’s a rehash of other stories that had their own problems as it was. I’ve read “no new mutants” before, and not long ago. And speaking of no new mutants, that brings up the other problem I had: How frigging stupid are we supposed to think these characters are? We’re told that new mutants should be impossible, and then we’re told that 600 have popped up, all in the same city. The reader immediately figures out that something else is clearly going on, and yet, the characters still talk as though they think these are going to be normal new mutants. It defies any logic. Obviously, they couldn’t have predicted that Sugar Man had created mutant embryos. But none of them should have assumed for a second that these were just new mutants showing up. (My own guess was “alternate reality thing.”) So that kinda sucked me out of the story. So I didn’t dig this story. There’s also a second story, by Lemire, Victor Ibanez and Sotocolor. Illyana takes Sapna into New York, to go see Dr. Strange. I do have to say, the best part of Dr. Strange cameos is him explaining what he was doing before the characters got there. It’s always weird stuff. We also learn that Strange, along with Voodoo, Wanda and Shaman, helped Illyana move the JGS to Limbo. Strange does a scan on Sapna, and we learn her power is languages – she absorbs, translates and understands the languages of anyone and anything around her. So . . . she’s the new Cypher? Well, that makes it even more likely other writers won’t be using her. In any event, this story was a lot more interesting. Illyana and Sapna are both interesting, and I like seeing Sapna’s power get explained. That sort of thing appeals to me. There’s more advancement of Illyana’s plot. And Illyana is the most interesting-written character in this book, so I’m very interested in her plot. The art is better than the first story, but still not really my style. This isn’t the best I’ve seen from Ibanez, which may be down to inking. Faces look odd. I don’t really like it.
Deadpool & the Mercs For Money #2, by Cullen Bunn, Salva Espin and Guru-eFX. Various mercenaries – Crossfire, Lord Deathstrike, Puma (who, for some reason, is wearing a tank top and drinking in kind of a dingy bar, despite being a rich, dignified man, but hey, it’s already been made clear that getting the characterization of mercenary characters is a low priority with these Deadpool titles) and Taskmaster. They’ve all been hired to go after Deadpool and retrieve the busted-up Rigellian Recorder. Speaking of the Recorder, he’s being worked on by Stingray, who’s trying to figure out what his prophecies are all about. Deadpool calls, and then we cut to him being attacked by Crime Master and his minions, who are wannabes of Hawkeye, Spider-Man and Captain America. Elsewhere, Caroline Le Fay is meeting with Solo and Foolkiller. Hey, Caroline Le Fay! From Bunn’s Fearless Defenders series. I liked her. As for the issue, though, meh. So much meh. Ten gallons of meh in a five-gallon meh bag. Or something. The writing is just so bland and boring. The jokes fall flat. The plot isn’t particularly interesting, and Bunn’s not doing anything clever with it. He seems to mostly be trying to use this series to cram in as many cameos as he can, and that is almost never entertaining. The art is likewise boring to me. There’s no reason for this book to exist, and less reason to read it.
That’s the X-titles, but I’ll talk about a couple other comics, too.
Captain Marvel #3, by Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, Kris Anka, Felipe Smith and Matt Wilson. It starts with Carol in a Kree uniform, in a war zone, where she gets killed. Then she wakes up, where she’s tended to by . . . by this guy:
Yes. Yes yes yes. A kitty in a flying robot suit. All the yes. All of it. Anyway, Brand is interrogating Wendy, who’s accused of being a traitor, sabotaging the station. Brand also mentions that Wendy has a sick brother, and implies that Wendy may be taking money to sabotage the station, in order to cover medical expenses. Brand is cold. Carol is still getting weird visions, and thinks the alien ship must be the cause, so she orders it to be taken away. But the ship has started growing over the docking clamps, so they can’t be released. Also, her powers are on the fritz! This remains a solid series. The reveal of whose memories she’s experiencing is both obvious and a little disappointing. But the story remains intriguing. Carol is written well, as are Brand and Wendy. Puck is fun. Sasquatch and Aurora still don’t get much to do. The art is great, of course. I love Anka’s stye. He does an especially solid Brand, with her sneers. Captain Marvel is definitely worth getting.
Power Man & Iron Fist #2, by David Walker, Sanford Greene and Lee Loughridge. We start with snippets of various villains talking about the pair. Including Ruby Tuesday and Angar the Screamer, who seem to be on a date at a nice restaurant. I’m not sure why I like Ruby Tuesday so much. Maybe because she’s so ridiculous. She’s a woman with a featureless red orb for a head. Anyway, there’s also Rocket Racer and Hypno-Hustler, chatting while sitting in bathrooms stalls beside each other. That . . . is a weird pairing. But fun. Meanwhile, Luke and Danny are getting lunch. Danny wants them to get back together as a team. Luke does not want that. They’re found by Gorilla-Man and Black Tarantula. The fight is watched by Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen. What an awesome random cameo. Spider-Woman is hoping for Luke’s shirt to come off, because Spider-Woman is pretty great. This comic is great. It’s a lot of fun. Luke and Danny do have a fun chemistry, with Danny being really upbeat and excited, and Luke being calm and serious. They play off each other really well. Walker also has fun with all the other characters. There’s a lot of jokes about Tombstone’s whisper-voice being hard to understand. There’s random cameos from heroes and villains, including Spider-Woman objectifying the guys. (I’m wondering if that scene was actually meant as something of a nod to the controversy over the Spider-Woman cover, and the subsequent controversy over Frank Cho’s Spider-Gwen sketch. It feels like it might be playing off that whole thing. I could always be wrong, though.) One nice thing is that Walker seems to try hard to make the dialogue sound authentic. In the classic Power Man comics – and classic comics in general, and hell, even some comics today – characters who are from the streets tend to have very exaggerated ways of speaking. Here, they speak in “street” language, but it reads as authentic. Not that I would know, of course, but to me, at least, it seems like how people from these socio-economic groups would actually speak. I hate to phrase it as “talking street,” because that’s just . . . gross, but yeah, it does seem to be a fairly accurate depiction of that speech style. The art is good. Its not a style I enjoy, but it actually works really well on this title. It’s a nice mix of colourful and raw. It suits the tone of the book. This book’s great. Definitely worth reading.