X-Men comics of May 18 2016
All-New Wolverine #8, by Tom Taylor, Marcio Takara and Jordan Boyd. Off the coast of New Jersey, some sort of illicit deal is busted up by SHIELD. A woman involved in the deal opens the case she brought, and something is inside. Meanwhile, Laura and Gabby are walking Jonathan. Laura agrees not to send Gabby to school, but does order Twenty-Five with chicken. With all the flavour of Twenty-Five. Back at the apartment, Maria Hill calls, and can apparently force the phone to answer and put itself on speaker. Which is troubling. She also paid for their noodles, which was nice. Everyone appreciates free food! Laura agrees to talk, on the Helicarrier hovering above her building. By the way, on a totally random note, Laura and Gabby wear socks around their apartment. Not shoes, and not bare feet. Which seems to be how most characters in fiction, including comics, hang around their homes. I’m not sure why I noticed it here – maybe because the socks are pretty colourful – but I did notice it. And now I’m probably always going to be watching for that sort of thing in any comic I read. And now that I’ve mentioned it, you probably will be, too. You’re welcome. Anyway, turns out the box apparently ate the people from the deal, the SHIELD agents, and the boat. And Gabby enjoys her Twenty-Five with chicken. Gabby is so great. And we do find out exactly what the secret behind the box is. I won’t spoil it, except to say: Holy crap, there’s a villain who’s been busy lately. This is another great issue. It’s looking like it won’t be quite up to the standards of the first arc, but that was a pretty strong first arc. There’s still some great stuff here. Lots of great humour – Gabby is especially wonderful. The end of the issue is awesome, and sets up what should be a pretty great rest of the arc. The art is great. I really like Takara’s style. Very expressive, and some nice fluidity to it. Overall, while this issue is a bit of a dip in quality, it’s still really strong, and definitely worth checking out.
Old Man Logan #6, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Logan is woken by Maureen and her mom, asking if he’s seen the stray dog Maureen’s been feeding. Logan promises to look for him. As he goes looking, he narrates about how great a place the town is and how the rest of the world could learn from it. Shut up, Logan. Ugh, just shut up, with your stupid little “small communities are better than big ones” bullshit. I hate that kind of attitude. That is an elitist attitude. You think Toronto can learn from some little hamlet in the Northwest Territories? To hell with that. It’s not a matter of one being better than the other, it’s a matter of some people being better suited to some places. Sorry about that digression, but that little comment is the kind of shit I hate. Anyway, Logan finds the dead dog, and also finds a helicopter. Then the shooting starts. The Reavers have come to kill, starting with Bonebreaker. The one with tank treads for legs. This is good. It’s intense. I don’t often talk about colour art, because I suck, but Maiolo really does deserve immense praise for his work on this book. His colours look great, but what elevates it is the way he changes the colours to set tone for a panel. So in violent moments, the panel goes red. Also, the panel with the helicopter does a gorgeous job with the sun shining off the propellers. Maiolo is a stellar colour artist, and perhaps the best part of this series. Which is saying something, given Lemire and Sorrentino are both killing it, too. But yeah, much love to Maiolo.
Deadpool and the Mercs For Money #4, by Cullen Bunn, Salva Espin and Guru-eFX. Masacre is inside a trailer, watching over the Recorder, while the rest of the team is on the outside, fighting various bad guys, including the Hand, Slayback, the Orb and Big Wheel. Fighting fighting fighting, pathetic attempts at humour, lots of sucking. They get to a truckstop, where Taskmaster attacks. And the Zapata Brothers, and Bruiser. This book really is just throwing in whatever random villains Bunn can find by randomly clicking around the Marvel encyclopedia. That’s the main appeal of this comic: The shitty villain cameos. This comic sucks. It sucks hard. It’s awful. The story is shit, the characters are poorly-written, the jokes are so unfunny they don’t even qualify as jokes. This comic is utter shit and I don’t understand how anyone enjoys it. I genuinely don’t get it.
Deadpool: Last Days of Magic #1, by Gerry Duggan, Scott Koblish and Guru-eFX. Michael the Necromancer has lunch with his girlfriend and her parents. Her parents don’t like him, though the father likes Deadpool. Who then shows up to grab Michael and bring him to Monster Metropolis to help with a big magic problem. It’s under attack by the Empirikul. Brother Voodoo shows up to help, since Strange is busy. We also learn Ben Franklin is planning on moving onto the afterlife. (He also mentions that he and Clea once hooked up. Which is a thing that happened! Maybe! I think there was a retcon to suggest it was just in Strange’s imagination, but let’s be honest, everyone wants Clea to have been slipped a Benjamin.) Anyway, the monsters retreat behind a heavy door, with Shiklah furious about it. The Empirikul summon a Spell-Eater to finish them off. Deadpool tells Shiklah to lead the monsters into the catacombs for safety, while Deadpool, Voodoo and a few others hold the line. And Michael gets a mystic tome to help, though at a cost. This is actually pretty good. It’s a tie-in that makes sense, given Deadpool’s married to the queen of a city full of mystics. It’s perfectly reasonable to do a tie-in to the Dr. Strange story. And it’s handled fairly well, by focusing on a supporting character who fell by the wayside. And it uses the character to get some real emotional weight. Deadpool himself is still not very well-written, unfortunately. And I don’t like Koblish’s art. But the last few pages of the issue are very emotional, very effective. It’s some good work. Not a necessary read, but a worthwhile one, I think.
Uncanny Avengers #9, by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz and David Curiel. It opens at an auction (Brevoort’s!). Gambit is in the basement, planning on stealing a painting, and Rogue comes in to confront him. She asks if he was recently in Bagalia, but of course, he wasn’t. He flirts a little, because Gambit flirting with Rogue is a universal constant, and then asks if her Avengers team needs help. Rogue points out he’s pitching himself as an Avenger during a heist. He also says that once they find the Red Skull, she should call in the X-Men. Which is a good idea, actually – there’s a fair number of telepaths, most of the team has some degree of telepathic shielding, and they all want to kick the Skull right in his junk. Then she goes off and encounters Hank Pym, back from outer space. Yay for Hank Pym, but I’m running an X-Men blog, so that’s where I’m leaving off this review. The Rogue/Gambit scene was really nice. It was fun, and got their chemistry really well. The playfulness mixed with sincere appreciation. Duggan did a good job with them here.
That’s the X-Men and vaguely-X-affiliated stuff. A couple more comics I should talk about, though.
Power Man & Iron Fist #4, by David Walker, Sanford Greene and Lee Loughridge. We learn how Jennie and Mariah met in prison, in the prison library, and became friends. It’s sweet. It really is. It’s genuinely touching, and their friendship is easily the best part of this comic. So the comic splits between them and prison, and the fight in the present, with Mariah trying to talk Jennie down. The fight includes a Fistball Special. And Mariah calls Iron Fist “Chakra Kong,” “Kung Fu Grip,” “Hong Kong Phooey” and “Kung Fu Hustle.” These names are all on one page. Mariah’s a lot of fun. And this issue . . . guys, can we get a Jennie/Mariah comic? Just, like, the two of them being awesome friends? Can we have that? Because I think we need a little Jennie/Mariah friendship in our lives. I loved this issue. I like stories where the Magic Of Friendship wins the day. That is something I appreciate. So I love that Walker did it.
Silver Surfer #4, by Dan Slott, and Michael and Laura Allred. It’s a big battle, the Avengers vs. the Zenn-Lavians, for the life of the Silver Surfer. And it turns out that poor, blind, helpless Alicia knows how to kick ass. She’s actually an adept staff fighter. That’s amazing. The issue is, as usual, amazing. Not much room for fun, but there’s a lot of feels. Like, a lot of them. Slott and the Allreds do such an amazing job here, and they end on a really sweet note. Not gonna lie, it made me tear up. Silver Surfer is such an amazing book and you really should read it.
Civil War #0, by Brian Bendis, Olivier Coipel and Justin Ponsor. She-Hulk is presenting closing arguments in a case defending Jonathan Powers, the Jester. He’s on trial for talking to what he believed to be former acquaintances, in what turned out to be an entrapment scheme from federal agents. He’s on trial, not for something he did, but for something he may have done in the future. Bendis actually does a good job, laying out up-front, why that’s not a good policy. Meanwhile, in Latveria, War Machine is telling some rebels to stand down. Later, the president asks him to become the new Secretary of Defence. I think this scene would work a lot better if it didn’t happen less than a year before the president will be leaving office. The president also wants to start grooming Rhodey for an eventual White House run of his own. At Ohio State University, a kid named Ulysses tries asking out a cute girl, but then the Terrigen cloud shows up, and both Ulysses and the cute girl are affected. Then to the Triskelion, where Captain Marvel asks if Alpha Flight stopped an alien invasion. Turned out to be a bunch of drunk partying Shi’ar looking for “primitive love.” OK, yeah, that’s pretty great. I actually want to read that comic now. I want to read the issue where Alpha Flight finds a bunch of drunk Shi’ar and decide to join in the party. Anyway, Carol then goes to talk to Doc Samson. See, some might complain about Bendis bringing Samson back from the dead without an explanation. I would point out that it’s Marvel, and people come back from the dead all the time. “I got better” really is all the explanation needed at this point. Carol explains what the Ultimates are all about, comparing them to her cousin, a mother whose kids are always trying to kill each other. Carol says it’s accidents, but I know better. Kids are evil little bastards. Regardless, the mother spends all her time in some sort of panic, and Carol thinks it’s a lot like the lives superheroes lead. So the Ultimates are there to try to prevent the disasters, when possible. This is actually a really strong start to the event. But Bendis was always great at starting events. He usually lost steam in the middle, and fizzled to the finish. But this first issue is great stuff. He lays out the complicated questions at play – Jennifer advocating for second chances and for not punishing people for crimes they haven’t committed, while Carol talks about the need to have some way of keeping disasters from killing everyone. And he also lays the foundations of the plot, with Ulysses going through Terrigenesis. The idea of Rhodey going into politics is pretty interesting. Though the superhero who should be going into politics is Kitty Pryde. But yeah, I can definitely see Rhodey as Secretary of Defence. So yeah, this is a cool opening issue. And the art! OK, it’s Olivier Coipel, he doesn’t know how to draw poorly. He’s amazing. He’s so damned amazing. It’s gorgeous art. I love it. I also love how he draws women, because they’re not sexualized at all. They’re attractive, certainly, but they’re not sexualized. They don’t do weird poses, they don’t have their cleavage sticking out. Compare him to someone like Mike Deodato, whose women always have to have a cocked hip, or be showing their ass, or have their tits hanging out. In the scene where Carol and Samson are talking, Carol opens her suit a bit. But where a Deodato probably would’ve had her zip it down to her cleavage, Coipel just has her loosen the collar. It’s immensely effective at conveying the sense of someone who’s tense and trying to relax by letting down the professional air, but it’s effective because it’s small. And beyond that, he does strong facial expressions, and fantastic settings. Coipel is fantastic. So, yeah, good issue. But we’ll see how the event goes. We already know we’ll have the sheer nonsense of Thanos with a big gun.