X-Men comics of April 6 2016
Uncanny X-Men #6, with two stories. The first is by Cullen Bunn, Ken Lashley and Nolan Woodard. Psylocke is looking for some sign of Warren within Archangel’s mind. He pulls her into his mindscape. It’s a mess. Then the psychic Archangel turns into Warren. She’s sceptical of what she’s seeing, and he tells her it’s a prophecy, and that unless she stops him, the town of Green Ridge will be destroyed. Psylocke goes to Magneto to tell him what she saw. He suggests they visit the town, just the two of them. Meanwhile, Monet and Sabretooth are on a misison in New York. They’re waiting for someone who contacted her, but Sabretooth says they guy’s not coming. Then he picks up a scent, coming from the sewers. They go down, and Sabretooth is uncomfortable, reminded of the Massacre he took part in. Which is when Callisto attacks him! Yay Callisto! Get some vengeance! She also points out how well it’s traditionally gone for the X-Men when they’ve harboured him. Pretty good point, actually. I mean, they’re taken Sabretooth in before. And he’s always hurt them. Same when they’ve taken in Mystique. They’ve got a mixed history with former villains in general. M breaks up the fight, of course, and points out that Callisto isn’t fast enough to stop Monet from beating her up. Monet’s pretty awesome. She’s got some good snark, and the facial expressions actually match. Hurrah for artists who aren’t goddamn hacks! Callisto then reveals the Morlocks are dying again. And Magneto and Psylocke explore Green Ridge, Colorado. My favourite part is that the town being really nice and pleasant convinces them something evil is going on. Because of course there is. Nice town? Gotta be evil! And they’re right. It’s comics, so of course a nice town is a hotbed of evil. This story’s really good. There’s a lot of very interesting stuff going on here. And with the non-frustrating art, I can actually enjoy the writing. The art no longer undermines the writing, and now serves to enhance the story and the dialogue. Facial expressions are many and varied and subtle and complex! I should not be so happy to see that, but holy shit, after 5 issues of Land, it’s a a huge difference. It makes me think that the first 5 issues may have had better writing than I thought. Can we just not have Greg Land back on this title? Can we just not have Greg Land ever draw anything ever again? Anyway, enough bashing. The story’s solid. The Psylocke stuff is really interesting. There’s a lot of tension. The Archangel plot is looking interesting, and the mystery is being played out well. Note to EXM: This is how you tease out a mystery. You drop a few crumbs along the way, to keep the reader intrigued. You don’t just shout “HEY GUYS THERE’S THIS BIG MYSTERY SOMETHING HAPPENED SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED HEY GUYS DID WE TELL YOU ABOUT THIS BIG MYSTERY THING THAT HAPPENED!” The art, as I said, is excellent. Lashley does fine work. Facial expressions are complex and nuanced. I like how he draws Callisto. It’s very Paul Smith. I also like his Monet, who comes across as haughty, and who always seems annoyed at Sabretooth, rather than flirtatious. The second story is by Bunn, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov. Some people at the Fact Channel are having a roundtable discussion of Storm’s speech from EXM. A Senator is declaring mutants a menace, pointing to Magneto’s team specifically. Also, it turns out that Shaw is once again with the Hellfire Club. Well, that’s his hero period officially over with, then. Oh well. Magneto is paying a visit to Xorn, talking about the world being harsh to mutants and all that. This story is . . . less enjoyable. At least it doesn’t talk about What Cyclops Did, and instead talks about how Magneto’s creating more anti-mutant sentiment. Just the same, my own fatigue with “everyone hates mutants forever!” makes this story bothersome to me. I wish Val Cooper could have gotten more to say in defence of mutants. There needs to be more balance. There needs to be proof that, hey! There actually are people who are totally OK with mutants! But nope, it’s all hate, all the time, and there is absolutely no one on the side of mutants and they’re completely alone and holy shit they may as well just give up and leave the planet because back-sliding is all they ever get. So, yeah, this second story did not work for me.
Old Man Logan #4, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Old Man Rogers is confronting Old Man Logan, wanting to bring him in to ask a few questions. Kate warns Rogers that Logan’s unstable. Logan proves her right by refusing to go with Rogers. But an arrow and a shield bring him down. After a quick dream about his daughter being dead, he wakes up in Alberta. With Kate aiming another arrow at him. He promises to behave, and Rogers takes off the restraints. Turns out Logan was lying, and he keeps fighting. The fight has two neat layouts. One has a big star-shaped panel surrounded by smaller panels. The other has a maple leaf-shaped panel. Yay Canada! During the fight, he talks about the future he came from, and Rogers ends the fight and brings him into the cabin. Logan’s body is inside. This was good. Solid end to the arc, with Wolverine finally figuring out that he’s not in his own world’s past. It ends on an optimistic note. Rogers’ role here is pretty good; it’s cool seeing the two ageless heroes facing off, both now old. It’s interesting. As usual, though, the art is the real draw. Sorrentino does gorgeous work. Some really cool, interesting layouts. He also does fabric very well. It’s still pretty common for artists not to draw fabric. They draw naked bodies. But Sorrentino draws clothes. The fabric looks and works like fabric. There’s folds and creases. And Maiolo’s colours bring the line art to life. Lots of big splashes of colour, which are really effective. This is a gorgeous-looking book.
Deadpool #9, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli and Ruth Redmond. Deadpool and Sabretooth, fight! The fight starts brutal, and then a school bus drives past. Which does give Deadpool a chance to make a joke, yay. Deadpool asks why Sabretooth killed his parents, then gets hit by a car, and Sabretooth passes out thinking of his own dad. Who locked him in the basement and called him a monster. He also remembers helping Deadpool kill his parents. He thinks it might be good to take the blame for the deaths, so Deadpool doesn’t need to know the truth. He wakes up, being told off by Magneto. Sabretooth says he has to help Deadpool, and Magneto calls Deadpool an animal. Wrong words to use around Sabretooth. This was pretty good. There’s some comedy here to balance out the drama. Deadpool is a character who really does need both, and the balance has been off lately, leaning too far towards seriousness. This issue has Deadpool making some jokes. Sabretooth is handled well here, too. His heroic side comes in well, especially with him deciding to use his past evil to actually help Deadpool. It’s neat to see. The art is fine. It feels a little less cartoony than usual, which made it a lot more enjoyable. So on the whole, I actually enjoyed this issue. It’s a good one.
Uncanny Avengers #8, by Gerry Duggan, Ryan Stegman, Mark Morales, Dave Meikis and Richard Isanove. The mind-wiped Rogue is walking her dog through Pleasant Hill, feeling bored and depressed. She goes home, and makes a sandwich, which she cuts into triangles. The ‘X’ shape shakes her a little, and then she gets a phone call. She answers, and gets a flashback to when she first joined the X-Men, and Xavier said she’d be trained in psychic defence. He tells her the first step is to pick a warning her subconscious can use to signal her conscious mind, and she picks Xavier, who then proceeds to teach her how to detect an illusion. They go for a walk through the school, passing Nightcrawler. Logan comes in with some beer, and says that since he hasn’t slept, the 5 o’clock rule doesn’t apply. Logan was always clever that way. This is such a nice scene. It’s a nice callback to the Claremont era. A very nice reminder of that wonderful time. Really hits you in the nostalgia. Now that she’s remembered who she is, it’s time to help the others. Starting with Johnny Storm, who she lights on fire. Because Rogue does not screw around. Plus, even if she was wrong, the world would just be lighter one Chet. And no big loss there. What kind of name is Chet, anyway? No one named Chet brings anything to the world. (I’m joking, don’t set any Chets on fire, that would be bad.) Anyway, they head to the gym, and Kamala goes by on her bike, and wipes out. As Rogue tries to bring her back to herself, Kamala punches her. Kamala Khan punches Rogue. Living the Ms. Marvel dream, girl! Seriously, is there anything in this world more right than Ms. Marvel punching Rogue? It’s a pretty great scene. I get the feeling this scene was included so Duggan could write Kamala. Which I have no objections to. Kamala’s awesome. I’m sure every writer wants to use her. We also get a scene where Deadpool explains why Rogers added him to the Avengers. It’s . . . a pretty cool reason, actually. So, this is a fantastic issue. You know I’m not one to be nice about Uncanny Avengers. Ever since it started under Remender, I’ve been hard on it. But this? This issue works. It’s genuinely great character stuff. Rogue gets the bulk of that, of course, as we see how strong-willed she is, to be able to break through the illusion. The flashbacks to Xavier are really sweet, and make her awakening feel earned. This isn’t just some deal where she saw something and her immersion was broken. This was much better than that, and gave it a strong X-Men connection. It’s really good. The scene with Kamala was great, too – Rogue and Ms. Marvel! I like Kamala’s defensiveness of Carol. That is, in fact, one of the first things that breaks her immersion – she yells about how Rogue hurt Carol, and then wonders who Carol is. It’s a really cool touch that remembering her idol allows her to remember herself. Also, I like that Rogue actually approves of Kamala being Ms. Marvel. Rogue’s long respected Carol, and now, she shows that she also respects Kamala. And Vision gets a really brief but powerful moment, as does Deadpool. So, yeah, a lot of strong writing. The art’s good. It’s fine. I’m not a fan of Stegman, but it’s toned-down enough here for it to work for me. Yeah, this was just a stellar issue of the series.
That’s the X-titles, but there’s other comics to talk about.
Black Panther #1, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin. So, first thing I should mention is that the recap page confirms Shuri is dead. Which is a shame. She was cool. Anyway, T’Challa went to the Vibranium mound to praise the miners there, but they started revolting. Someone is behind it, but Panther loses her trail. We then head to the Golden City, Wakanda’s capital, where one Dora Milaje (in a blessedly modern outfit) is defending another, who’s been charged for killing a village’s chieftain who had been raping the girls of the village. The head of the Dora Milaje chooses to have the woman killed for breaking Wakanda’s laws, despite her reasons. There’s good reasoning on both sides. T’Challa returns home, and talks to the woman, his step-mother, about the strife facing Wakanda. Then we go to the woman who caused the riot. She says that she saw the agony, sadness and rage within the miners, and showed it to them. She says the people are ashamed of their king’s inability to protect them. And then it cuts to the Dora Milaje from earlier being broken out of prison, by the Dora Milaje who’d defended her. Turns out they’re lovers. LGBT presence, right in the first issue! Nice! And there’s also a very cool twist at the end of the issue that I’m hopeful about. Gotta say, this was fantastic. This is the first comic Coates has written, and he comes out strong. There’s a lot of great stuff going on here. Wakanda, to me, is always most interesting to me when it’s in political turmoil, and the Black Panther most interesting when dealing with political turmoil. As I said yesterday, I’m not a fan of monarchies, which is why I prefer Wakanda in turmoil. It’s even better here, for being an uprising of the people, rather than some guy trying to usurp the crown. Even better, while there’s definitely an antagonist, I get the impression she’s not a villain. She talks about wanting to liberate Wakanda. The people she’s working with may want to conquer the country or something, we’ll have to wait and see, but the woman causing the revolts definitely seems to believe she’s doing the right thing. And if it leads to more democratic reforms in Wakanda, then I’d say she’s right. Because seriously, screw monarchies. I also like the Dora Milaje subplot. Not just because it’s cool seeing a same-sex couple, but because the two characters are really interesting, and their sub-plot looks like it’s going to go to some really exciting places. The art is excellent, too. Stelfreeze strikes a good balance between traditional and modern, giving Wakanda a real sense of being a country split between the two worlds. He makes the Panther look sleek and dangerous. He draws facial expressions well, and also does a good job with action scenes. Martin’s colours are great, and accentuate the pencils very effectively. This is a great book. I definitely recommend it.
Spider-Women Alpha, by Robbie Thompson, Vanessa Del Rey and Jordie Bellaire. It starts with Spider-Gwen capturing a couple burglars, hile being spied on. Then she heads through a portal for brunch (while working on a song). Gwen and Silk are pretty awkward with each other. Silk also turns out to be pretty decent with babies, having helped with her younger brother. I enjoy little bits like that. Roger arrives to look after the baby, then the three head to Gwen’s Earth for brunch. The restaurant is called Clowntown. Silk loves it, having had a fried peanut butter cup dipped in butter. Silk goes to play in the ball pit, and Jessica explains to Gwen why Silk is the way she is. It’s a sad scene, especially when Silk overhears exactly the worst moment. Then they go to Starbucks for coffee, which delights Jessica. And then a superfight, because of course one happens. It’s a Super-Adaptoid, and Silk is really reckless and goes right after it.While the Spider-Women fight it, the guy who was spying on Gwen earlier steals her dimension-hopping bracelet. On a fun note, this issue refers to the main Marvel Universe as Earth-616. Because not everyone gives a damn about the memo. Honestly, trying to stop people from using Earth-616 is pointless. I know why editors disliked it, but it’s just the term people use. It won’t stop. Even writers are going to use it! So stop fighting it. Anyway, this was good. A good set-up for the event. I won’t be reviewing the rest of the crossover, but I did want to talk about this one. I don’t like Gwen here. She’s mean to Silk. Silk is a sweetheart and doesn’t deserve the meanness. Jessica is probably the best part of the issue. She’s got the sarcastic charm we all love from her, but she’s also got a very strong protective streak regarding Silk and Gwen. She’s the most adult of the bunch – Silk isn’t much younger, but spent a decade in a bunker, so that makes her a bit less emotionally-developed. So Jessica wants to check up on how the two are doing. She’s got a mothering side to her that comes across well. I especially like how she defends Silk, and explains that the shitty, shitty life Silk’s had has left her a bit messed-up, but that it’s remarkable just how well-adjusted Silk is. I do have a feeling that a fairly major element of this crossover will be Gwen and Silk getting to know each other better, and becoming friends. Which will be nice to see. Everyone should be friends with Silk, because she is such a sweetheart. I really like her. Which is a real testament to Thompson’s work with the character. The larger plot is interesting enough. But the stuff between the women is the real highlight. This is actually a pretty notable crossover. It’s rare for female characters to be at the centre of a non-X-Men crossover, especially one that actually gets Alpha and Omega issues. I do look forward to a time when we get an event written by a woman, though. Still, in the meantime, it’s nice to see Marvel making a real effort to make female characters central in non-X-Men stories. The art here is good, too. Del Ray does good work.
Vision #6 is so goddamn creepy. And good. I’m going to keep saying this: Read this series. It’s chilling and unsettling. Even the upbeat moments are unsettling. It is such a great series.
New Avengers #9 has a guy named Todd Ziller become the American Kaiju, a giant monster with American flags tattooed on its head and chest. And it shouts “Yuuu! Esssss! Aayyy!” And the Avengers fight it in a giant mecha. So, you know. That should really tell you everything you need to know about whether this comic is for you. And if it’s not for you, I’m not sure I want to know you. This comic is amazing.
Also, WicDiv is back! And frigging epic! The new issue is a jumping-on point, with explosions and ass-kicking and awesomeness.