X-Men comics July 13 2016
All-New X-Men #11, by Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Nolan Woodard. Evan and En Sabah enter a narrow pass in order to rescue Hank. There are no soldiers, which confuses En Sabah, until the Mystic shows up and touches him and makes him pass out. He creates a sandstorm to toss away Hank and Evan and get away with En Sabah, then the Sandstormers attack to prevent them from chasing him. Evan beats the crap out of them. It’s pretty great, actually. Evan wants to rescue En Sabah, but Hank stresses that messing with the timeline is a terrible idea. See, young Hank gets it! Evan doesn’t, and he attacks Baal, and sadly, we see little of the fight, but what’s there is intense. This finale isn’t quite as good as the previous parts of the story, but it’s still great. Evan’s desperation to save En Sabah is really sad to see, especially knowing he’s doomed to fail. Hank’s probably right about the fact that they can’t save En Sabah, but at the same time, he still looks like a jerk for refusing to try. It’s a real shame, and it’s sad and it’s great. The art is excellent. Bagley, Hennessy and Woodard work wonderfully together, and put out a gorgeous comic. I save this every month, but Bagley is one of the best in the business, expressive and dynamic and just great. This was an excellent arc, exploring issues of identity and predestination and stuff like that. Evan En Sabah’s interactions are really interesting, and the happier En Sabah is, the sadder it makes the reader. And, of course, we get all sorts of questions about whether Evan is destined to become Apocalypse, and if it can be avoided. This arc made me care more about Evan than I ever have before. I do hope that he doesn’t become Apocalypse. I think, if I were Marvel, I’d bring back Apocalypse, maybe in a big event next year, so that the X-Men can have him back as a villain while Evan gets to remain a hero.
Old Man Logan #8, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. It starts with a flashback, as Logan remembers how his world ended. A Helicarrier was dropped on Manhattan, by Magneto, flanked by Green Goblin, Enchantress and Hydra helicopters. Logan thinks it could happen any time. Jean assures him, no, it’s not going to happen. She reminds him that his world was very different. She suggests a road trip. We see more of the war in Logan’s past. In the present, Jean takes him to Manhattan. And by the way, can I just mention that this is awesome:
I love that Jean just casually holds up herself, Logan and a goddamn Sentinel, sitting in the air on a telekinetic platform. I love Jean being casually awesome. Also, holy shit look at that art. Sorrentino and Maiolo are amazing. Anyway, after New York, next up is Connecticut, where the Avengers fell. Then the old grounds of the Xavier School. Then Madripoor, for an awesome scene I don’t want to spoil but which I love. You know what? Screw it. This panel is too good not to share:
Look, Jubesverine is one of my favourite friendships, and I will always be happy when these two reunite. And when it’s as touching a moment as this? I don’t care about spoilers, I have to talk about it. Because look at that hug! This is a great issue. We see a little of how the villains conquered the US in Logan’s world. But it’s also really nice, the way Jean tries to reassure him that things are different, things are OK. It feels like Jean wants to take care of Logan, and that’s sweet. The art is, of course, gorgeous. Just stunning work, as always, from Sorrentino and Maiolo. And as I’ve said in previous months, it is vital to count them together. Maiolo is absolutely critical. He is every bit as much a part of the story as Sorrentino is. Any review that talks about the art and omits Maiolo is a bad review and the reviewer should be ashamed, because the colours are so. Goddamn. Good. This is such a gorgeous book. We get some stunning contrasts between the destruction of the villain war, and the peacefulness of the present. Both are just as stunning. Seeing Manhattan destroyed by a Helicarrier, and a handful of heroes battling in the ruins, looks great. Seeing a nice New York skyline also looks great. The characters look as good as the scenery, with expressions being perfect. And Jubilee looks Asian, without actually having the typical “tells” artists give Asian characters. It’s not an easy trick to achieve, but Sorrentino and Maiolo do it. It’s not just the colours, either, because the whole facial structure clearly marks her as Asian, in really subtle ways. Even without the colours, you’d be able to tell she’s Asian. OML is one of the few comics where I talk more about the art than the writing, and it’s because it’s some of the most gorgeous art you’ll find. Sorrentino and Maiolo are phenomenal.
Deadpool #15, by Gerry Duggan, Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot and Jordie Bellaire. The Mercs root around Deadpool’s office, and find he’s been cheating them. They’re angry, of course, and their anger ends up getting Foolkiller hurt. Meanwhile, Deadpool is sneaking into the Triskelion to kill Ulysses, since he resents the idea of someone being able to predict his actions. Of course, he doesn’t kill Ulysses. On his way out, Deadpool runs into Black Panther, and they fight, until Deadpool pops a smoke bomb so he can take a bathroom break. He pulls an Upper-Decker, where he poops in the tank. That’s not funny. At all. People who do that are absolute scum. They are immature douchebags who think making others suffer is hilarious, and they can go fuck themselves, and anyone who thinks it’s funny can go fuck themselves. I’m completely sincere about this. I think Duggan is awful for making this joke. Anyway, aside from that, this issue sucks. This series sucks. It sucks on all levels. It’s not funny, it’s not interesting, the Mercs are poorly written, the plot is stupid, the art is annoying, there’s just nothing about this series that makes it worth reading.
That’s the X-stuff. Here’s some other stuff.
Civil War II #3, by Brian Bendis, David Marquez, Olivier Coipel and Justin Ponsor. A trial is going on. Matt Murdock calls Carol Danvers to the stands, in her dress blues, which I honestly think is a great touch. Anyway, she’s there to talk about a confrontation with Bruce Banner. She and Stark found him in one of his secret labs. They take him outside, where a whooooole lot of heroes are standing around. Because that’s a great way of ensuring Banner stays calm and doesn’t Hulk out and smash everyone. In the present, the testimony alternate between Carol and Tony, while they detail the conversation with Banner, where they explain about Ulysses’ vision. They also learn that Banner’s been experimenting on himself with gamma radiation. Then Hawkeye shoots him with an arrow, and turns himself in. And it turns out the trial they’re at is for Hawkeye. Clint explains that Bruce asked him to do it, having met him months ago to give him a special arrow in case it looked like he would Hulk out again. Carol continues to stand by the use of Ulysses, Stark continues to blame Carol for his friends getting killed. Which, you know, is bullshit. War Machine was killed stopping Thanos. Banner was killed by Hawkeye acting under his own initiative. And it’s like . . . Carol’s still done nothing wrong. Literally nothing. I’m not sure why we’re supposed to side with Stark. We know that Ulysses’ visions are accurate, to at least some degree. So going to confront Banner about the possibility of him Hulking out was a good idea. Maybe they shouldn’t have brought an army of superheroes, but hey, whatever. Talking to Banner was still a good idea. No one could have possibly predicted that Hawkeye would kill him. (I mean, I guess Ulysses theoretically could have predicted it, but let’s let that slide.) So how is Carol to blame for Banner’s death? The next issue looks like it’ll have some reveals about how Ulysses’ power works, so maybe Bendis will finally actually get into the profiling aspect. But right now? Carol has been right, at least in the main title. I should note that the book looks great. Marquez does excellent work. The scene by Coipel is also excellent. And Ponsor’s colours are good. It’s a well-drawn book.
New Avengers #13, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov. Songbird is summoned to the SHIELD Helicarrier to meet with John Garrett and Dum-Dum Duggan. He tells her that Karnak saw, in one of Ulysses’ visions, a screen showing her giving a eulogy at Sunspot’s funeral, and he wants to know why, while she just wants to know what happens to Bobby. Garrett sics the Duggan-bots on her. Sunspot watches Hawkeye’s trial, and blames himself for not helping Clint earlier. Sam tells him why he’s wrong. He also mentions his wife and son, so it looks like they’re still a family. Aw, that’s nice. I also love the friendship between Sam and Bobby. They’re such BFFs and it’s great and I love these two. Sadly, their bonding is interrupted by an emergency call from Songbird. Sam grabs Max Brashear and Power Man and they take Stealth Zero to go to her rescue. It’s two pods dragged by Sam. Which is awesome. And we also get a scene of Toni Ho and Pod. Which includes some fascinating stuff. And I remain convinced that Pod and Toni need to be a couple. It needs to happen. Anyway, this issue’s really good. The tension continues to rise, and while there’s still some humour, it’s toned way down in favour of drama and tension, which is how it should be. Things are getting very exciting, and it’s really cool. One thing I found interesting: At one point, Bobby mentioned that Sam wasn’t the only ex-New Mutant on the island, and that their “mutual friend” could fill in if Sam wanted to spend more time with his family. I’m not sure who that could be referring to. But I am very much excited to find out. Dani? Warlock? Is it Shan? Probably not. Warlock would actually make a lot of sense. Or maybe it’s Amara? That’d be cool. Either way, I want to know. I also love the Toni/Pod scene. There are some really interesting ideas in there. It does continue to advance the Toni/Aikku shipping, with Toni calling Aikku a beautiful girl, and Aikku saying she hasn’t given up everything while we see Toni’s face reflected in her helmet, with a tear and a smile. Ewing is killing me with this ship-teasing. I need this ship to happen. The art is good. I do have a complaint about Bobby continuing to be drawn as Latino, rather than black. Bobby is black. He’s Afro-Brazilian. (Actually, he’s mixed-race, a black father and a white mother, but in the classic New Mutants, he was drawn very visibly as black. It was, in fact, a key part of his introductory scene.) I wish colourists would stop giving him lighter skin. It needs to stop. That aside, though, the art is really good. Medina’s not one of my favourites, but he’s always a reliably solid artist, always enjoyable.
Vision #9, by Tom King, Gabriel Walta and Jordie Bellaire. This is all about Victor. It starts with Virginia wondering where Vin is, while Vin is in pain from Victor trying to magnetically hold him. Then it goes through Victor’s history, his struggles to find a life that’s his, or if not his, at least one that makes him happy. And also his addiction to Vibranium. Apparently, holding Vibranium makes him feel good. And, man, this comic. The ending is not at all surprising. The ending of the previous issue made it clear what was going to happen. Just the same, holy crap, it’s tragic. It’s rough. Fun note: Before I read this, I read Insexts, which is intense. I followed up with WicDiv, which is full of insane action . . . and some tragedy. I suspect there are some months where this order would kill me. Just, like, actually straight-up murder me. Anyway! Vision! Why aren’t you reading it already! It’s one of the best comics Marvel has ever put out. Speaking of WicDiv, though: Man, I feel like Gillen just wants to see what McKelvie and especially Wilson will put up with. This issue is filled with all sorts of different crazy energy that all had to be in different colours, and if I heard that Matt Wilson snapped and went on a stabbing spree after he finished this issue, I would believe it and not blame him at all.
Power Man & Iron Fist #6, by David Walker, Flaviano and John Rauch. Luke, Danny and Jessica are watching a news report about the Project PEGASUS battle. I’m not sure where the footage comes from, but hey, we’ll let that slide. They’re all pretty shaken up by it. Luke feels terrible, because he’d had a beef with Rhodey a while ago that never got resolved. Danny’s hit hard by Jen being comatose, because at some point, after a battle, they’d kissed each other in the heat of the moment. This opening scene is powerful stuff, with some panels that are very much relevant to the tragedies that happen so often. Meanwhile, an old, ridiculous supervillain named Gamecock is being chased down in his civvies by Preemptive Strike, a a vigilante group. Funnily enough, he was supposed to have been killed back in 2001, in a Wolverine comic, by Puma. Anyway, they beat the shit out of him. After Luke and Danny visit the Triskelion, they talk about what’s going on. Neither of them are comfortable with any of it. Luke doesn’t have it in him to fight another Civil War. They both decide to sit it out. Ah, if only. Also, Luke gives a great bullshit explanation for why he used to wear a yellow costume. And then some people hire him to stop Preemptive Strike, which leads to a big battle. This is another great issue. There’s some great drama early on. There’s a lot of great drama throughout the issue, actually. There’s also some great jokes, including Luke making a terrible joke about Danny doing CARate (karate for cars). Luke is doing dad jokes now. Oh no. This Preemptive Strike group is somewhat interesting, with the way they target minor, forgotten supervillains who are out of the game. It’s cool. The art is good. It’s expressive and exaggerated in a way that works for the book. Rauch’s colours are very effective. This series is so great. You should be reading it.
Silk #10, by Robbie Thompson, Tana Ford and Ian Herring. Black Cat texts Silk to tell her to go to the Stark Building. Silk lets Mockingbird know, not knowing Black Cat is listening in. The mysterious guy who’s been following Silk shows up, but doesn’t tell her anything. What a jerk. Silk gets into the building, where Black Cat uses a teleporter to take her to a warehouse filled with villains. Fight! Black Cat attacks her, and Silk tries to talk her out of it. She insists that Black Cat isn’t all bad. Not gonna lie, this issue made me sad. I liked Silk and Black Cat. I liked their friendship. I genuinely hoped that maybe they’d find some way to work things through, and to still be friends, even if they couldn’t be allies any more. That would’ve been so great. But obviously, there was no way that could happen. Silk betrayed Black Cat, betrayed her trust, and that wasn’t going to be forgiven easily. Still, maybe it could still happen? Please?
Civil War II: Choosing Sides #2. Specifically, the story by Jeremy Whitley and Marguerite Bennett. At Rhodey’s funeral, Kate asks America how she’s doing. America asks if she wants to get out of there. Monica can’t stop thinking about Rhodey, and feeling guilty about his death, so she also leaves, thinking about the people she couldn’t save, and thinking about how easy it would be for her to let go and fade away into nothing. At a bar, Misty thinks about her similarities to Rhodes. The next day, she calls her mom, just to hear her mom, even though her mom is apparently very much a mom. Aww. She goes to a dojo she opened with Danny years ago, now being run by Silhouette. Nice to see her – she’s a great character. A disabled character who doesn’t have prosthetics or anything to offset the disability. She walks with crutches. And then we see Storm at the funeral, thinking about how funerals should be about celebrating life. So, hey, can we get Jeremy Whitley to write Storm? Three panels in, and he already gets her better than Lemire. After the funeral, she decides to check out Philadelphia, to learn about the city that made James Rhodes. It’s a great bit. It almost feels like a love-letter to the city. And it’s a great Storm story, focusing on how positive a person she is. Because I feel like that’s integral to Storm as a character. She is someone who embraces life. She likes having fun, and she’s open to so many different ways of doing that. Go to a baseball game, or eat a cheesesteak. And back to AmeriKate! America takes Kate on a tour of the multiverse, to realities where Rhodey is still alive. All four of these stories, brief as they are, are great. There’s some really powerful stuff, and it’s all optimistic. It’s all about fighting for life and making the world a better place, and it’s great. And all four of these women should get solos. All four of them. Give Monica Rambeau a solo where she’s determined to save as many lives as possible, and she’s constantly zipping from one disaster to the next. Give Misty a solo where she works in her community, running the dojo with Silhouette, and helping regular people. Give Storm a series where she’s full of life and joy, maybe one where she travels the world, learning about different places, and helping out in ways big and small. And give Ms. America a solo! Give her a series, Marvel! Make it happen already! Anyway. Loved this. There is also a Goliath story by Brandon Thomas and Marco Rudy. Worth noting that Brandon Thomas and Marco Rudy are both black. And Rudy is frigging insane. His art is so weird and I love it.
And a brief comment on last week’s Silver Surfer #