X-Men comics of June 29 2016
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). It’s apparently Heterosexual Pride Day, because sure, that’s a thing we need. A day where we, as straight people, can celebrate all the struggles we’ve overcome as a result of being straight. And as soon as someone tells me what struggles straight people have had to overcome, I’ll join in. But for now, comics!
Extraordinary X-Men #11, by Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado. The Venom symbiote has taken over Logan, so Jean goes into his mind to try to help him resist, but nope, it’s controlling him there, too. The rest of the X-Men are fighting. Storm says she needs a minute to think of a plan, and holy shit I hate how Lemire writes her. I really do. He writes her so horribly. He makes her incompetent. Kurt tells her she sometimes thinks too much. Which, no. That is not one of her weaknesses. She was always more than capable of acting quickly. She’s never been the type to be overwhelmed by circumstances. In X-Haven, meanwhile, Sapna leaves Illyana a note confessing to being evil and having visions of killing Illyana with her own Souldsword. Aw, Sapna. Poor girl. She leaves X-Haven, and starts running through Limbo, following a voice that leads her into a portal, promising to cure her. I’m sure that won’t go horribly wrong. Back in the future, Storm and Kurt go looking for Apocalypse and the ark that holds a bunch of mutant embryos. This issue is just . . . ugh. Ugh. So much ugh. Lemire writes, quite probably, the second-worst Storm ever. (The worst Storm will always go to Dickie, writer of that awful, awful, abominable Storm mini that showed how she and T’Challa met, and which turned her into a useless little twit who constantly needed to be rescued.) As usual with this series, the Sapna plot remains the one bright point. Lemire should leave EXM and write an Illyana solo series instead. Or whatever, I just think his EXM is shit.
Uncanny X-Men #9, by Cullen Bunn, Ken Lashley and Nolan Woodard. Mystique rescues Magneto from his cell. She also mentions that she always thought Magneto and Apocalypse are similar. It’s worth noting that, despite almost all adaptations making Mystique into Magneto’s right-hand-woman, they’ve never actually liked each other in the comics. On a more fun note, she mentions that as she changes shape, she also slightly changes her brain, including her personality and memories. That’s a clever take on her. I don’t think Bunn is the first to come up with it, but I do like it. And he is probably the first to have her add that she only holds onto the most important grudges, which is a pretty wonderfully Mystique line. Anyway, New York! Where Monet, Sabretooth and Callisto are fighting Emplate! Who explains he brought Monet there because he believes she can save him. And back to Magneto and Mystique kicking ass! They find Warren in agony as a piece of his body is body is removed. Yeesh. It’s nasty. This issue’s OK. As with the previous ones, the Monet/Empath plot is better than the Apocalypse Wars plot. I just the other day re-read Generation X #1, and I have very fond memories of that series, so callbacks to it make me happy. And it just feels like a better-written plot. The Apocalypse Wars plot has some solid character moments, but otherwise feels weak. Genocide is a boring antagonist. He honestly doesn’t seem like a very convincing threat. And the big cliffhanger at the end didn’t really do much to impress me, either. Ah, well. At least it’s about to end.
Worst X-Man Ever #5, by Max Bemis, Michael Walsh and Ruth Redmond. We’re in the future, which is ruled by Riches. Bailey says that every X-Men story ends in the apocalypse, and he’s kinda right. There are no good futures in the X-Men franchise. Bailey gets an invitation to a big party Riches is throwing, and he has nothing better to do, so he goes. When he gets there, he runs into Rags, the girl he used to have a thing for, who’s now dating Gambit. The text treats it as weird and inappropriate, which is cool to see. Bailey ends up at the “Worst X-Men Ever Table,” with Joseph, Maggott, Skin, X-Man and Cyclops. Aww, I like three of those guys. Scott’s awesome. And I always liked Skin and Maggott. They’re weird, but so what? Weird is cool! Joseph sucked, though, and X-Man was pretty dumb. He also runs into Miranda, who looks exactly the same. Which is good, because she’s adorable. She’s been traveling through Idea-Space. Bailey tells her how the world went to hell. Magneto and Quentin both got raw deals in the revolution, and honestly, I’m glad Quentin got shafted, because Quentin Quire sucks. Yeah, I said it, Quentin. Quire. Sucks. Then Miranda reveals that she’s secretly been revising the world for decades, to keep the heroes young and cool. Miranda is awesome. She is the most meta character ever, because she literally has the power of editorial fiat. “Bucky’s cool, I’m going to bring him back.” That’s great. She admits she can’t fix things here, so Bailey decides he’ll have to save the world himself. I love how the series ends. It’s this weirdly optimistic finale, in a cynical sort of way. This was such a great series. You really should check it out. It’s hilarious, and it’s meta as hell, which allows for some really cool ideas to be explored in ways that they can’t be explored in mainstream titles. So it’s a great read.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #6, by Scott Aukerman, Reilly Brown, Rick Magyar, Le Beau Underwood, Scott Hanna and Jason Keith. Deadpool is walking Shiklah’s little demon pet thing, and overhears a news report on a boombox, about a villain attacking the city. Deadpool goes to check it out, and finds out it’s the Salmon Stunt-Man, who’s not actually a villain. He’s there to let Deadpool know about the movie being made about him, and asks if he wants to do stunts for it. Deadpool goes to get Spider-Man’s help, since Spider-Man knows so much about Hollywood. So we get some commentary on superhero movies. Haha. The actor playing Deadpool, Donald Dryans, insists on more scenes where he can show his butt. Then Deadpool and the Salmon Stunt-Man fight. Meh. So very, very meh. It’s a stupid comic. It’s all “haha, movies, amirite?” And it’s just . . . it feels lazy, honestly. Just a whole lot of really obvious jokes. It was too safe to actually be funny. It had nothing unique or clever to say about any of it. Just a lot of jokes people have already made for years already anyway. Bleh to this.
That’s the X-titles. I’ll talk briefly about the other stuff I picked up today.
Black Panther #3, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin. There’s some interesting spiritual stuff first, then T’Challa talking to his mother about his doubts, and then the Midnight Angels declaring they’re going to build an army to protect the innocent, and Shuri in the spirit world with the Mother of All. It’s very much a middle issue, but as a middle issue, it’s great at what it has to do. It keeps the story moving forward, it keeps the themes clear in people’s minds, it keeps the tension escalating. There’s so many different things going on, yet it never feels cluttered, and there’s always a sense that it’s all going somewhere. The Midnight Angels are still the characters I’m most rooting for. And look: I’m pro-democracy. So I will always root for any group that fights for democracy and wants to take power away from monarchs. I know Black Panther’s the protagonist, the hero, and we’re supposed to root for him. And I hope he can prevent further bloodshed. But I want him to do it by ceding power to a democratically-elected parliament. Regardless, this series is excellent. Very smart, and very good-looking.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #9, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Tom Fowler and Rico Renzi. There’s also a page drawn by David Malki, about Mole Man. Did you know koi can live for hundreds of years, and are sometimes passed down as family heirlooms? Squirrel Girl fights Mole Man, because Mole Man blames her for Kraven fighting his monsters. She apologizes. And that stops any fighting. And after she shows she understands his anger about the surface world dumping things in his kingdom, he proposes to her. He wants her to be his Mole Ma’am. Mole Ma’am! Also, Koi Boi makes fish puns, like calling Doreen and Nancy “chums.” And Nancy slaps Mole Man and yells at him! Go Nancy! This is so much fun. It’s great! It’s just a pure delight from start to finish, with fun facts, great jokes, cute art, and just everything is wonderful. I love it.
Captain Marvel #6, by Christos and Ruth Gage, Kris Anka and Matt Wilson. Carol and Rhodey have sex. Then she has to deal with Board of Governors who she reports to. After, a Kree ambassador lets her know he has a possible lead on Dr. Minerva. Yay! I actually really like her. She was always cool. She’s got a pretty nasty plan going on. This is a good issue, with some very interesting stuff. I like the Board. It’s a cool idea, and I’d like to see more of them. And I’m always glad to see Dr. Minerva pop up, especially as a legitimate threat. By and large, this is a fairly conventional superhero comic, but it’s a very well-made one. Which is unsurprising, as that’s what Christos Gage does. I don’t know how he and Ruth divided writing duties here, but I’m a fan of Christos Gage, because he does do excellent superhero work. And I kinda feel like this series is a really good way of going about a Captain Marvel solo: You make her The Boss, a superhero whose full-time career is keeping the world safe. No need for a day job or a secret identity, because she doesn’t need those things. She is all about keeping people safe, so that’s what this book focuses on.
Mockingbird #4, by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk and Rachelle Rosenberg. Bobbi is in Kazakhstan to investigate mass die-offs of Saiga antelopes. A pathogen in the bloodstream is responsible. The same pathogen is in Bobbi’s bloodstream. A few days later, she’s in the ocean, sneaking into a secret sea lab owned by Total Idea Mechanics, or TIM. We also see her envisioning what a vacation would look like, which is three panels of her sitting on a beach reading books. The books are Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8, what looks like an issue of A-Force, and Nighthawk #1. Which, yeah, that’s awesome. Anyway, she sneaks into the TIM base, which apparently has incredibly lax security, as someone finds her in the women’s locker room and makes no attempt to raise an alarm. She’s there to rescue Hawkeye. Which leads to some wonderful interactions between them. Once again, this is really fun. This issue ups the science talk a little, which is great, because I love scientist Bobbi. I love when that gets focused on. The issue is also hilarious. There’s so many great jokes. The art is gorgeous. And we get a little more insight into the plot. We almost have the answers. Those will come next issue. And it’ll be great. This series is so great. I highly recommend it.
Silk #9, by Robbie Thompson, Stacey Lee and Ian Herring. Stacey Lee! I’ve missed her art! Silk and Black Cat break into Parker Industries to steal a device that sanitizes a room in minutes, which is very useful for burglars. Silk proves herself adorably bad at lying. But we get some wonderful stuff between Silk and Black Cat, with Black Cat explaining why she went bad. It’s actually a really poignant moment, and it shows that Black Cat is starting to genuinely trust Silk, which makes Silk feel horribly guilty. There’s a nice scene with her therapist, and I do love that Silk sees a therapist, because it’s so rare to see in a comic. We also see Cindy’s two friends, and we get a scene between Sik and Mockingbird. There’s a lot in this issue, and it’s all great, and it’s all things ramping up. It’s looking like next issue will be a battle between Silk and Black Cat. And honestly? I’m sad for that. Thompson’s been doing really good work making Black Cat complex, more than she is in other books where she’s just an evil crimelord. So it makes me sad that she’s presumably going to be dropped from this title. And also, Black Cat’s been pretty friendly to Silk, so Silk will be losing a friend. Also, I wish Lee would do more issues. Her art is so gorgeous! I love Ford’s art, too, and I want her to keep working at Marvel for a long time to come. But I really want Lee to do more than just occasional guest issues of Silk. She’s so good.
ANAD Avengers #11, by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig. They fight Annihilus, Thor is a hardcore badass, Iron Man saves the day with science, and it’s all very standard but enjoyable superhero comicry. This really is a throwback series, reminding me quite a bit of ’80s comics. Especially ’80s Avengers. More especially the Stern-era ’80s Avengers. That was a pretty good run, so when I say this reminds me of that run, I definitely mean it as a complement. This isn’t a series that’ll blow you away, but it’s reliably enjoyable superhero stuff.