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X-Men comics of July 27 2016

July 27, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I wonder if I should come up with a better default intro than that? For now, comics!

Extraordinary X-Men #12, by Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado and Dono Sanchez-Almara. Magik is traveling through time to find the X-Men, and gets caught in one time period, where she’s warned that she needs to kill Sapna. Nooo, I like Sapna. In the far future, Storm is a little miffed that Kurt stabbed Apocalypse. Kurt says the ark, and its 600 mutant embryos, are all dead. As the world collapses, the X-Men defeat the Horsemen. Back in the not-quite-as-far future, Magik says she refuses to kill Sapna. Go, Magik! Save the young woman’s soul, the way you ultimately saved your own soul! Then she reaches the far future, and takes down Colossus. It’s, uh, it’s pretty badass. She just one-shots him with her big-ass sword. Then she takes the X-Men home, with Far-Future Apocalypse in tow. And with this issue, Apocalypse Wars comes to an end. And man, the EXM portion was just bland. The issue focusing on the kids was nice. The rest? Bleh. This issue does have Illyana being awesome, though, and that’s something I am always on board with. Illyana’s awesome. I am so invested in the Illyana/Sapna story, because it’s all about Illyana trying to, in essence, fix her own past. Not literally, of course, but Sapna is her, and she wants to spare Sapna the horrors Illyana’s gone through. That’s great stuff. The Apocalypse Wars stuff – meh. Honestly, it doesn’t really seem to have much point. It has some fairly notable changes for some of the characters – Anole’s bigger, No-Girl has a robot body, and Colossus is now a Horseman. But in terms of what the story is trying to say? I’ve got nothing. No real insight into any of the characters. No insight into the human condition. Just things that happen. And not even particularly interesting things. All in all, I am not at all impressed by this arc. And I still don’t like Ramos’ art.

Old Man Logan #9, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. In the present, in a Tokyo bar, “Patch” meets with a snitch to get some information on where Lady Deathstrike’s holed up. It’s a trap! Though I just love that Logan used the Patch persona. I guess just for fun, since he knows no one was ever fooled by it. Anyway, he kills people. Then we cut to the future – which is Logan’s past, because time travel! – and the Weapon X bunker, where Logan’s in bed with Maureen. The bunker is attacked by a Crimson Dynamo. Logan and Maureen flee. Back in the present, Logan reaches the town where Deathstrike is located. But things don’t go as he expected. This was good. It’s an interesting story, with some interest things going on. And, of course, the art. Sorrentino gets a little less to do in terms of action, which means not much in the way of neat layouts. But he and Maiolo still do amazing work, with some really intimate moments, and also creating a lot of tension. This is the first issue of an arc, so there’s a degree of set-up going on here, but it’s definitely looking like it’ll be an interesting arc.

X-Men ’92 #5, by Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, Corey Hamscher and Matt Milla. Scott and Jean are on their honeymoon in Alaska. Scott’s done with being a superhero, but Jean’s not sure she is. They go to bed, and then wake up in their costumes, surrounded by creepy people in robes. Ew. But it’s actually the Askani Brotherhood, and they’ve been brought to the future by Rachel. Siiiigh. I love The Adventures of Phoenix and Cyclops, too, but come on, we’ve read that story. Do you really need to do that story again? What am I saying, of course they do. I’m pretty sure this book would just randomly burst into flames if they ever tried to do an original story. Anyway, it’s a dystopic future ravaged by Apocalypse, with Sinister now in command as Apocalypse is off-world. So Rachel, Blaquesmith, Jean and Scott are going to go attack him and save the world, hurrah. They fight all sorts of enemies along the way, including robot Deadpools and turtle-looking guys. Also, a T-Rex with a Cyclops visor and optic blasts. And then when they reach Sinister’s Citadel, they come across the Essex-Men, a bunch of weird clones of Scott and Jean. And then it turns out the point of the whole adventure was to get Jean and Scott to the Citadel so Sinister could create Cable. Bleh. Bleeeeeh. This series bugs me so much. I know the whole point is to be homage, but homage can only go so far before it becomes annoying. Do something original. You’re allowed. You’re allowed to tell stories that aren’t just grabbing bits from other stories. You can do a story that’s an original idea. But nope, instead, it’s just retreads of stories we’ve already read, and that bores me, and I can’t enjoy this series.

And that’s all the X-titles, but there’s other stuff to talk about.

Civil War II #4, by Brian Bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. She-Hulk wakes up, and Carol tells her Clint killed Bruce, and that he’s been acquitted. Apparently, a poll shows 87% of people agree with the verdict. I guess a giant rage monster scares people? Huh. Crazy, right? News reporters talk about how Clint might be the most popular superhero in the world now. It then cuts to Tony Stark, who explains his problem with Ulysses. His view is that you can’t see a future that hasn’t happened yet. And he also thinks that visions of disasters have to be affecting Ulysses, and that as a result, he’s affecting the visions. And then he starts talking about what he learned from the scans of Ulysses’ brain. He says that his mind takes in information, and creates an algorithm of a possible future. And that as a result, it’s not 100% accurate. While this is going on, we see Captain Marvel and SHIELD arrest a woman, and when Carol opens the briefcase that was presumably supposed to have a bomb, it’s just a normal briefcase. Carol seems pretty shaken by this. And then we find out Tony was speaking to Steve Rogers, Carol, Strange, Beast, Medusa, Black Bolt and Black Panther. Carol uses an analogy of being told someone is talking about shooting people, and whether you check it out and wait to see what happens. Then she heads to the Triskelion to talk to the woman arrested earlier. This is the first time in this whole event where Carol does something wrong. She does go too far here. But it’s actually still done in a sympathetic way. It’s really easy to understand why she does it. And I suspect, given a little more time, she would’ve been talked out of it. Tony’s position is finally presented in a more effective way, that’s more reasonable than it had been, and Stark himself is more sympathetic than he was in the first three issues. The end of the issue does set up the actual war part of Civil War II. One moment I find hilarious at the end, though, is Tony saying Carol’s side is out-powered. On Carol’s side are Monica Rambeau, Blue Marvel, Storm, Magik and Jean Grey (among others). And yeah, Tony has Thor, Vision, Nova and Strange, among others. But, I mean, Monica Rambeau. And Aurora, actually, so two people with superspeed. Yeah, given who Carol has, I’m not sure they can be outpowered. Anyway, we’ll see where the story goes from here. I will say, as controversial as this opinion will be, I think Bendis is telling a good story here, and this issue does a better job. There’s some really interesting discussion of the issues, with the two sides laid out very effectively, both the pros and cons. Neither side have been presented as bad guys, at least so far, and the impression I’m getting is they won’t be presented as bad guys at any point. I know people like to hate on Bendis, and especially his events, but I genuinely thought Age of Ultron was good, and I think he’s doing good work here. Ponsor’s art is good, as well.

Ms. Marvel #9, by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring. We open a little over 16 years ago, with Kamala’s mother, still living in Pakistan, talking to her own mother about the impending move to New Jersey. It’s a really sweet scene, with Kamala’s mom being really scared, and Kamala’s grandmother being really reassuring, saying the women of their family are voyagers, and then passing on the bracelets. In the present, the group Ms. Marvel’s hanging with bust into Josh’s house to arrest him for a crime he hasn’t committed. It’s worth noting that this is the only series where this sort of thing is going on so far. It comes across as similar to the situation of the first Civil War, where writers could make the SHRA whatever they want. Anyway, Kamala’s pretty disillusioned. Poor girl. On the waterfront, the Corps has converted a warehouse into a prison. One that they don’t actually have any authority for. Nakia, Bruno and Zoe come in demanding Josh be set free. Yay them! Also, Zoe yells at Josh, and they have a really, really sweet conversation, which reveals that Zoe is gay and attracted to Nakia. Cool. That’s really cool. There’s also some really interesting discussions of the issues at the heart of CWII. But the best thing about the issue is the use of the supporting characters. Especially Josh and Zoe. Their conversation is really nice. Josh talks about how much it hurt when Zoe dumped him, while Zoe talks about her sexuality. And it’s really cool that there’s now a queer supporting character in Ms. Marvel. I look forward to seeing more of her and Nakia hanging out, and I’m so curious to see where Wilson’s going to go with that. Will Nakia be interested in dating Zoe? I wouldn’t think so, but then, until today, who would’ve thought Zoe would have a crush on Nakia? Whether Nakia’s interested or not, I do hope Zoe finds a nice girl to date. As for the art, it’s great. Very expressive. Alphona’s flashback section at the start is really emotionally evocative. Miyazawa’s work in the main story is cartoonish and expressive and cute and fun. Ms. Marvel remains one of the best comics Marvel is putting out, and an absolute must-read.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Tom Fowler and Rico Renzi. Everyone has opinions on how Squirrel Girl should go on a date with Mole Man. Nancy’s opinion is people should shut the hell up and mind their own business and not try to pimp a woman. Then Doreen and Nancy go to class and get a reminder that physics is amazing. After class, Squirrel Girl can’t get to the Mole Man’s tunnel through Central Park, because of too many reporters swarming the area. So Nancy decides she’ll go talk to Mole Man instead. Mole Man thinks Nancy is in love with Squirrel Girl, too, and trying to sabotage Mole Man’s chances with her. And man, I love Nancy. Mole Man tries to kidnap her, but she’s having none of that garbage. Nancy’s done the hostage thing before, and she found it not to her liking, and she’s not doing it again. Nancy’s awesome. And then Squirrel Girl goes to kick Mole Man’s ass. She burrows through the ground to reach him! Because squirrels dig holes, too! And the fight goes . . . interesting. Not even close to what anyone could possibly have expected. This issue’s great. I love this series so much. This issue really hammers at the problem with Internet Nice Guys, and how they’re actually jerks for thinking women are obligated to date them. Nancy is awesome, as she always is, because Nancy is just the best. There’s a ton of hilarious jokes, and there’s some really interesting tidbits of trivia, because that’s the kind of comic this is. And it’s just a blast. On a fun note, a 10-year-old girl sent in a letter saying Squirrel Girl should get a movie, pointing out, “She is way better than Superman and he has 9 movies.” That’s cute and made me laugh. This series is wonderful. And by the way, can I just talk about the outfits in this comic? Henderson gives characters the best outfits. They always look cool and cute.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #9, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain. Lunella is unhappy about being back in school. But she does see the Lego project as a potential way out for her. And there’s an amazing double-page splash of her getting super-into her Lego project while narrating about how the thing she’s most proud of building is herself. It’s amazing work from Bustos and Bonvillain, with great writing from Reeder and Montclare. Anyway, she later goes out to fight crime, but Captain Kree has already beaten her to it. He mostly just wanted to lure her out so he could attack her. Devil kicks him away and Lunella calls him Kid Kree. And then in school, Lunella and Marvin continually bicker, with Eduardo taking Lunella’s side and Zoe just wanting everyone to get along and behave. And then the last page. Oh man guys. Guys. The cliffhanger, guys. Next issue is going to be so good. This issue’s so good, too, of course. That spread of Lunella talking about how she built herself. That is so good. Unfortunately, being a double-page spread, the narration would be too small if I tried to post the page. So you should probably just go out and buy the issue, instead. In fact, why don’t you just read the whole series? It’s a good comic. I haven’t felt cheated of my $4.50 per issue (because I live in Canada). It’s a wonderful all-ages comic. Lots of heart. Disney should adapt it for an animated film. It’d be a great fit. And I have to say, I especially love the art of this series. Bustos and Bonvillain do such amazing work.

Mockingbird #5, by Chelsea Cain, Ibrahim Moustafa and Rachelle Rosenberg. Bobbi is assaulting a SHIELD medical clinic, using telekinesis to hold off zombies. Bobbi, of course, doesn’t have telekinesis. The virus in her system does. The zombies are a result of SHIELD scientists using the virus in Bobbi’s system to infect medical cadavers. The lead scientist defends herself by saying she has a lot of student loans, which, you know, fair enough. Who among us wouldn’t create rampaging zombies in order to pay down student loans? Luckily, there’s an experimental anti-viral in an R&D lab located above the gift shop. This leads to a cutaway diagram of the SHIELD medical facility, complete with lots of jokes. Bobbi uses yoga to smash a desk for clubs, then fights her way to the lab, though she stops in one room to talk to Howard the Duck and Spider-Miles for a bit, so they can help her reach the lab. This was really good. It’s a good finale to the arc, exploring the very n ature of viruses, and the role they play. Bobbi’s background as a biologist plays a strong role here, and I appreciate that. I like comics that have interesting facts mixed with clever jokes and exciting action. This book has all of them. Howard and Miles make for really fun cameos. I miss Niemczyk’s art here, but Moustafa does do great work, and it’s actually not much different from Niemczyk’s style. It’s still a fairly soft art style, with solid facial expressions to convey feelings. And the issue also has some fun with layouts in a couple bits, like when Bobbi is crawling through some maintenance ducts. There’s also a panel of Bobbi fighting through a room of zombies, conveying movement effectively by actually showing her in different positions in the panel. I’m a fan of that approach to fight scenes. Anyway, this is a great issue, and I should probably go back and read the whole arc again, as the issue suggests doing, in order to catch things I would’ve missed the first time.

Black Panther #4, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin. We open on a briefing. T’Challa’s told that Tetu was the instigator of the recent troubles, and that he was a former student of Changamire, a political dissident who was exiled by T’Chaka for exhortation against the monarchy. Then he’s told about the uprisings led by Ayo and Aneka. They’ve raised an army and killed the Man-Ape. They’re calling for elections. It’s a revolution. And I am on their side. The Queen Mother pays a visit to Changamire, so they can talk about Tetu, and about Wakanda. It’s a very interesting discussion. Elsewhere, Tetu is meeting with the Midnight Angels, offering an alliance. Then, a conversation between T’Challa and Ramonda, where she offers counsel on what it means to be king. And then the stakes are raised. And that last page – goddamn. Seriously, the last page of this issue is just so damn good. T’Challa makes a short but very memorable speech. I get the feeling it’s going to get quoted a lot by people talking about this series, because it is very much worthy of being quoted. I want to quote the best part here, but I don’t like doing end-of-issue spoilers. Hmm. Screw it, consider this a spoiler warning: “We are Wakanda. We will not be terrorized. We are terror itself.” Damn. The art is excellent, of course, as well. I actually think Stelfreeze gives the book an African feel. Like, when I look at the art, it kinda reminds me of African art. It’s subtle, but it’s there. And just in general, the art really transports you to central Africa, in a very effective way. This is a great series.

Captain Marvel #7, by Ruth and Christos Gage, Marco Failla and Matt Wilson. Side note: The cover names Anka as the artist. The cover is wrong. Anyway, a hearing is being held by Alpha Flight’s Board of Governors, with Carol accused of withholding intelligence. Specifically, Ulysses. She defends her choice in going after Thanos, and then talks about Tony Stark’s view of Ulysses. Which leads to a flashback where Carol heads to Attilan and Medusa tells her Ulysses is now filled with shame about his power, and feels responsible for Rhodey’s death. Carol talks to him, telling him it’s not his fault, and that they saved hundreds of lives because of the vision. He admits to having had another vision, of Dr. Minerva attacking Boston. This time, Carol was ready for her. With Alpha Flight and the Ultimates beside her. This is a good issue. I would’ve liked to have seen the Minerva stuff expanded more, personally. But of course, that wasn’t the story the Gages were telling. They were telling a story of Carol explaining Ulysses’ importance. And that story’s told well. It’s effective. Carol’s position is presented in a very positive light. Failla’s art is good. Very expressive faces. I like it. This is a solid comic.

New Avengers #14, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov. AIM’s base’s computers are taken over by O.M.N.I.T.R.O.N.I.C.U.S., which is still an awesome name, and it sets the defences to attack ‘Berto. He’s in a room full of weapons trying to hurt him. It takes him back to high school. Elsewhere in the base, the other New Revengers are attacking. White Tiger is attacked by . . . White Tiger. I just want to note that I frigging love Ava. Meanwhile, the Maker learns that the New Avengers played him. Oh, I love Three Steps Ahead ‘Berto. I also love the fact that Stealth Zero has a missile mode. This issue’s great. It’s fun, with all sorts of twists and turns, as is usual for this book. This is a series that excels at twists and turns. And at insanity, of course, and this book has plenty of that, too. There’s a lot of hilarious bits, and there’s plenty of moments where characters get to be badass. I love Bobby dodging lasers while sassing OMNITRONICUS. It’s fun. Medina’s art is great, too, and he does the action really well. This is a great series. I love it. I’ll be sad to see it end, though USAvengers looks like it should be a fun continuation.

All-New All-Different Avengers #12, by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig. With Spider-Miles still stuck in the Negative Zone, Vision does the only thing he can think of: He grabs the two Nega-Bands and clangs them together to swap places. Then Thor swaps places with him, but can’t damage Annihilus’ cannon. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Nadia is excited about the fact that she just hung out with the President and got some cool swag. Then Jan takes her for a day of having fun. I want this to be the entire issue. Just two awesome women hanging out and being happy and having fun. Back at the battle, Thor is swapped out for Ms. Marvel, who shrinks down to sneak inside the cannon. But the radiation overwhelms her, so Nova swaps in and just blows the damn thing up. This is a fine issue. It’s fine. This series is fine. Vision and Nova both get some good moments, and Ms. Marvel gets a bit of a nice moment, as well. And, of course, the Nadia/Janet scene was really nice. I really like that Janet likes Nadia. There’s not even a moment of hostility. It’s instant acceptance, and taking her for a fun day out. And like I said, I would read an entire issue of just the two Wasps hanging out. Still, while it’s a fine issue, it’s not an exemplary one. This is a series that’s fine. Totally inoffensive, not quite to the point of blandness. Largely enjoyable, but also largely forgettable. Ah well.

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From → 2016

One Comment
  1. Extraordinary X-Men 12 is the issue that convinced me to drop this series, making it the first flagship X-Men title i’m dropping since I started reading comics. It’s just boring. The individual fights take much longer than they should, like a full page just for the Cerebra Sentinal to blast Deadpool away. Why couldn’t jean Grey just telekenitically remove the venom symbiote from Logan? Why does Colossus need to be a horseman of Apocalypse now when in recent years, he’s been the Juggernaut, possessed by the Phoenix Force and been a fugitive from the law? Give him a break for once please. The only stuff I liked about this issue was Magik’s scenes. I’m convinced that Jeff Lemire would be better off writing a Magik solo series and would read that in a heartbeat.

    Old Man Logan 9 is a good setup for what could be a great story arc in Japan.

    Civil War II 4 is good. The debate scene is very well written, and I like how the art is used to show Hawkeye’s trial verdict, along with a radio show conversation exploring how the general public reacted. The 2 downsides I can think of is that 1 – we’re half-way through and this issue ends with the very beginning of the first big fight and 2 – each issue is $5 US.

    Ms. Marvel 9 does a great job at exploring the morality of the Civil War from a street level, while also giving pretty much Ms. Marvel’s entire supporting cast some sort of character development.

    Captain Marvel 7 does a great job at giving Carol Danvers’s stance in Civil War II some legitimacy, while also giving us a great dramatic moment between her and Ulysses.

    Forgot to pick up All-New All Different Avengers 12, but with such a big pull list (and no Marvel comics on my definite pull list for next week … somehow), that won’t be a huge problem. I could probably just pick up a copy next week. Your description sounds about right for the series as a whole though – it’s fun but nothing special.

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