X-Men comics of March 23 2016
Uncanny X-Men #5, by Cullen Bunn, Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Nolan Woodard. The Dark Riders are attacking Magneto and Triage. Magneto is fighting back. Triage gets stabbed, but Magneto fights off the Riders long enough for him to heal himself. By killing two of them. The rest of the team returns in time to save him from the others. During the fight, Monet mentions the T-Mists killed someone she cared about. I wonder who. Either way, once the Riders are defeated and chained up, Magneto blows up Genosha. The women take Triage to Limbo, then the full team heads to their new base: Magneto’s Savage Land fortress. The writing is fine. The art vacillates between “bad” and “obnoxious.” There are times where the recycled faces are distracting. To Land’s “credit,” this issue continues to use fewer recycled faces than usual. Doesn’t mean he’s getting better as an artist. Most likely, he’s just finally decided to find more material to trace. Bravo for him. The art is still static and boring and Land’s a hack. The writing, as I said, is fine. Nothing particularly special here. Doesn’t stand out much. It’s a boring issue, overall.
X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever #2, by Max Bemis, Michael Walsh and Ruth Redmond. Bailey, in a suit of power armour, tries to help in a fight against the Purifiers, but the X-Men are already handling them. He finds one Purifier running away, and when Bailey threatens him, the guy breaks down in tears, having a traumatic flashback to his childhood, where he was beaten by his uncle. The man then sues Bailey, and in order to avoid the scandal of a courtroom drama, the school has to take money from Wolverine’s beer budget. Bailey wants to talk to Xavier, but he’s busy, since there’s a thousand mutants at the school, and plenty of them need his help with existential crises. So Bailey instead tries talking to someone else, and Beast proposes interning with the spin-off teams. X-Force, whose violence terrifies him. X-Factor, who find him annoying. The New Mutants, who reminisce about when they were students. And Beta Flight, who don’t have much to do, so they get poutine. He feels down, so he goes into the woods behind the school, where Rags joins him, and flirts with him, and turns out to be Mystique. This is a good issue. The first half is a lot of fun. Really weird humour, but great. The scene where he’s talking to what he thinks is Rags is really nice. He talks about how it’s alienating to be a face in the crowd. To be so normal that no one notices you. It’s true. That sort of thing is rough. Being ostracized sucks, but it also sucks to not be noticed at all. To feel like a non-entity. A couple months back, in a pull list post, I linked to Fine On the Outside by Priscilla Ahn. It includes a key line. “I sit in my room/After-hours with the moon/And think of who knows my name/Would you cry if I died/Would you remember my face?” Being hated is terrible, but being ignored might be even worse. That feeling that no one will actually remember you? It’s a terrifying thought. So I like that Bailey wrestles with it here. He’s a character who’s easy to relate to, because of this. Wolverine, Gambit, Storm, Rogue – these are the kinds of people we wish we were. The badass outsiders who don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of them, who take the hatred and scorn thrown at them and tell the world, “You don’t like me? Well, tough shit, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere!” Bailey is who a lot of us fear we actually are: Just some dude. Some dude no one cares about. Just a nobody. And, uh, this is a good comic. I got on a bit of a tangent there.
That’s the X-titles, but I want to talk about other comics, too.
Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat! #3, by Kate Leth, Brittney Williams and Megan Wilson. It starts with Patsy getting a new job, at Tara’s tattoo parlour. Tara is Howard the Duck’s best friend in his current solo. Patsy’s going to handle the desk for Tara. And Tara shows Patsy how to use Tindr – it’s almost always swiping left. Howard comes in and chats, and reveals that Tara is a fan of Patsy’s comics. Patsy also talks to Howard about Casiolena, with them agreeing she’s basically like the Enchantress. It then cuts to the Enchantress, who’s having trouble recruiting villains, and who gets furious that Patsy is thwarting her. She tells Bailey, the girl with the bag from the first issue, to deal with Hellcat – “Don’t let that cat out of the bag!” Casiolena, you are the worst. And then back to Patsy, getting a Hellcat tattoo from Tara. Then she runs off to meet Jen for a meeting with Hedy Wolfe, but Bailey intercepts her for a fight. Also! Patsy’s ringtone is Demons by Sleigh Bells. This song:
Which is a frigging awesome song. “They’re gonna stand ’em up six by six by six” is the specific snippet that “plays” in the comic. This song, by the way, is in the final episode of the Jessica Jones Netflix show. This issue is so much fun. It’s wonderful. It’s so upbeat and cheerful and funny and adorable and just fun. Leth’s dialogue is full of great jokes. Williams’ art adds to the sense of fun, and is also just plain cute. This is such a great book. You should absolutely be reading this.
I want to talk briefly about Angela: Queen of Hel #6. First off, Angela and Sera make such a fun couple. They’re obnoxiously in love, and it’s wonderful. (Also, there’s a Hamilton reference, because apparently, everyone on the goddamn planet is obsessed with that show. I mean to check out the soundtrack at some point.) There’s also this wonderful piece on life:
And then we also get this:
The comic reaches maximum ridiculous with a Ramen monster, which Leah describes as “Miyazaki Nightmare Fuel,” and I can totally see it. The issue as a whole is full of meta-jokes and silly fun. I love it. It’s so great. The issue sadly confirms the series is ending – dialogue refers to it as the penultimate issue. I’ll miss this series, because it’s so wonderfully weird. This is a smart book. Full of allusions, wordplay and continuity. It’s also got some wonderfully heartwarming moments. Angela and Sera are a fantastic couple. This series ending means Marvel will be back to no LGBT-led solo titles, making it a great time to finally announce a Ms. America solo. They’ll also have no transgender characters showing up anywhere. That’s something they should get on. And speaking of Ms. America . . .
Ultimates #5 is great. First of all, I am a huge fan of that cover. That is a fantastic cover. And there’s some wonderful America stuff early on, as we flash back to her new girlfriend, Lisa, telling her to accept that people will help her. It’s a really sweet scene. MAC’s a very independent person – the result of taking care of herself and the multiverse since she was 6 – because she wanted to help people. Being helped sits wrong with her. But Lisa’s enough of a sweetie that she helps MAC accept it. Also, Al Ewing uses defibrilation correctly. He has Monica specify that MAC is going into arrhythmia, rather than saying she was going into cardiac arrest. Ewing’s smart like that. Which is also shown by a conversation between the Ultimates and Galactus about the nature of time. It’s made clear that the past shifts and slides the same way the future does. This is a really clever and cool idea. I love the big, cool ideas in this book, and the big stakes always at play. Ultimates is such a great book. I love it.
New Avengers #8 is great, too. A lot of fun. Hawkeye delivers a rather satisfying critique of SHIELD. Also, Bobby’s Champagne Robot is capable of knocking people out. Huh. Also, Songbird is a Claremont fan:
The issue as a whole is great. It’s lots of fun, with some cool action, and some neat twists. I liked it a lot.