X-Men comics of June 22 2016
Deadpool vs. Gambit #1, by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, Danilo Beyruth and Cris Peter. They’re both waiting in line for coffee when they spot each other, and immediately prepare to fight. There’s a flashback to their last meeting, which involved Spider-Man in a suit at a museum (a girl recognizes him because she’s his sixth-favourite boys’ superhero, and I kinda like this girl for her specificity), where he’s attacked by Daredevil (the girl’s 9th-favourite superhero for boys). They fight, and Spider-Man starts singing “Survivor,” since it’s stuck in his head since he heard the Punisher listening to it. As they fight, they also explain it as being a fairly standard hero vs. hero fight, giving the various reasons why heroes fight. The fight goes past a hipster market, where Matt Murdock and Peter Parker happen to be hanging out together. They swing into action, and learn they’ve apparently been causing all sorts of chaos. In reality, they’ve been antiquing. It was Deadpool and Gambit all along! Shock! Who could’ve expected that in a comic with their names on it! With the con over, they start fighting for real. And Deadpool starts singing a song from Hamilton. Which marks the second Marvel comic I can think of to have someone sing something from Hamilton. It begins. Anyway, this is actually a really fun comic. The humour is solid, which is always iffy with Deadpool. There’s some good pop culture references, and a couple great callbacks, with a guy they pass early in the comic singing “Survivor” when he re-appears later on. Spider-Man and Daredevil are really fun in their scenes, especially when they behave like a married couple. It’s a legitimately funny comic. Which is a pleasant surprise. There’s also a lot of jokes about hipsters, crammed into a few pages. The art is pretty good, too. Nothing too spectacular, but it’s solid work. It does the job.
And that’s the only X-title. But there’s other comics to talk about!
Ms. Marvel #8, by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring. It starts with a flashback to India in 1947, right after it won independence from Britain, and sectarian violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims. A lot of Muslims moved to the new state of Pakistan. This sounds like it’d be an interesting period to read up on, actually. Anyway, one family is about to move – a man, his wife, and his father. The wife sold her jewelry and hid the money in her wedding bangles. Which will look familiar as the bangles Ms. Marvel wears. And this prologue also gives a brilliant line: “Sometimes there is very little hope. But there is never no hope. Something, however small, remains.” A wonderful sentiment. In the present, Ms. Marvel goes to space to see Captain Marvel. They talk about Ulysses, and using him to stop crimes before they happen, which Kamala feels is like profiling, but which Carol says is different. Profiling is bad science, this is more specific and more accurate. Carol also asks Kamala to liaise with a team of volunteers who want to make use of Ulysses’ visions. And their first mission is to stop Hijinx, the leader of the Canadian Ninja Syndicate, before he can still a tank. And then, back at home, Kamala and Tyesha talk about what happened, with Tyesha expressing concerns about punishing people for crimes they haven’t committed yet. Of course, this is rendered kinda moot by the fact that he stole a goddamn tank and drove it around Jersey City. But still, there’s a lot of really good points raised. So there’s some really interesting stuff here. And good character work with Kamala, of course, as she struggles with the questions of right and wrong herself. I also really liked the scene with Tyesha because Tyesha’s great. And there’s a hug! I like when Kamala gets hugs. And the tank Hijinx steals is the greatest tank ever. That tank needs to be made into a toy. Look at it:
So, yeah, this remains one of the best comics Marvel’s putting out.
Ultimates #8, by Al Ewing, Kenneth Rocafort and Dan Brown. It shows how the Ultimates formed. Monica’s recruitment occurred while she and Carol fought Xarggu, a giant monster with an Easter Island head. Monica also recommended Ms. America. The US National Security Council has problems with the team, with one dicksack saying it looks like a Benetton ad. Which is pretty clearly a racist comment on the diversity of the team. Screw that guy. The issue then shows Ulysses’ vision about Thanos, and Carol preparing a team to deal with it. Monica suggests the strategy that was used in the FCBD comic: Swapping in and out, each person taking a couple shots and then making room for the next person. Which is actually a great strategy to use in general, and probably the only effective strategy against Thanos. And after that, we get the team’s reactions to Rhodey’s death. Monica says that America feels Rhodey died because she wasn’t good enough at her job. Monica blames herself for the strategy failing. And also for not frying Thanos’ brain. Because it’s good to get regular reminders that Monica is seriously hardcore. This is an odd issue, as quite a bit of it is taken up by flashbacks. But it’s really good. There’s some great stuff. The formation of the Ultimates was fun to see – the casualness of Monica and Carol fighting a big ’50s-style monster was a delight. We see some hints of intrigue with the NSC. And how the characters all react to Rhodey’s death is interesting to see. It’s a bit of a shame we don’t actually see America’s reaction here – it’s Monica explaining how America’s taking it – but she is going to get her own story for that, so it’s OK. I enjoyed this comic, as I always do.
Power Man & Iron Fist #5, by David Walker, Flaviano and John Rauch. The best character ever is Caller #2, the Wiki Editor, who corrects a radio host who keeps calling Luke Cage “Power Man.”
Seriously, is that not the best thing you’ve ever seen in a comic book? Accuracy matters! Anyway, the issue has some elements of a Rashomon plot, as multiple people tell the story of how a fight went between Luke and Danny against Manslaughter Marsdale. The rest of the issue includes the Power-Fist-Mobile, a lack of seatbelts, Marsdale singing about his love of hot dogs, and more glorious goofiness. This is such a great comic.
Nighthawk #2, by David Walker, Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain. It starts with a flashback to a cop beating the shit out of a black kid, only to get his own ass kicked by Nighthawk. It then cuts to the present, with Black Lives Matters protesters outside a courthouse, protesting a cop who shot and killed a kid. Nighthawk and Nightshade are disgusted by the cop, with Nightshade offering to kill him. Damn, I love Nightshade. The issue also has some more good racial politics in it, and some interesting detective stuff. This is such a great series. Nightshade is delightful, and I love the commentary on current culture. Like, early on, it has that stuff about a grand jury considering whether to indict a cop who killed an unarmed black kid. And you know, as soon as it’s brought up, how it’s going to go. I mean, this could be considered a spoiler, but . . . it’s not a spoiler, is it? Because it’s so predictable. When you see a grand jury considering whether to indict an officer who killed a black person, you already know how they’ll decide. They’ll decide the way they always decide.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain. This remains a fun, wonderful all-ages comic. This one has Lunella and Devil swap minds. So Devil is rampaging around the school in Lunella’s body, while Lunella wanders around in Devil’s body. It’s really cute and fun.
Bitch Planet #8, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Clayton Cowles. It remains a great book. We learn that Kogo is there looking for her sister, who is apparently a trans woman. We knew the series would have one. We see her, too. There’s a definite family resemblance. In fact, there’s multiple trans women. But you wanna know my favourite part of the issue? At one point, we see some security monitors. One is showing a riot. And, naturally, Penny Rolle is involved. Because Penny Rolle is goddamn awesome. Still: The trans women. They’re the reason this issue is so very late. This was due out a couple months ago. But DeConnick and De Landro were very wary of how they would deal with trans characters, because they didn’t want to screw it up. So they talked to consultants, to get more on the trans perspective. This issue does little enough with those characters, so far, but they’re going to be important on an ongoing basis, so I’m definitely fine with this issue being late if it means getting fantastic trans characters going forward. Because trans people don’t get enough representation. So it’ll be great to see them get some serious representation. There’s also a powerful essay from John Jennings about how the perception of black bodies harms black people. It’s great reading. There’s also an interview with Kelly Hinkle, founder of the Feminist Sticker Club. Which I’m giving some serious consideration in joining. There’s an essay from Mey Valdivia Rude on transgender representation in the media. Also, in the letters page, there’s a marriage proposal. Awww! I love things like that! And other letters that show the sense of community that makes Bitch Planet so wonderful to read. This is one of a few comics that I very strongly recommend getting in single issues, because it’s one of a few where you really do lose out on so much by trade-waiting.
Pretty Deadly #10, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles. It’s gorgeous. Writing and art both. And it makes a really powerful point: That fear is valuable. Fear saves more lives than courage. Wars are ended, not by courage, but by fear. It’s a really interesting idea. Courage has its value, but so does fear, and that’s worth remembering.