X-Men comics of August 31 2016
All-New Wolverine Annual, by Tom Taylor, Marcio Takara and Mat Lopes. It opens with Gabby making Jonathan the Wolverine a costume.
Then Laura screams and jumps out a window. And I have to say, this panel cracks me up:
When Gabby checks on her, she says her name is Gwen. Meanwhile, the Mary Janes are playing a gig, but Gwen can’t drum, and runs outside, where she meets George Stacy. He takes her home, and is about to order a pizza, when the Gwen-verse Reed Richards lands his pretty wicked flying thing in their backyard. He suggests she get the Spider-Woman costume from upstairs. He explains what happened, and says she has 3 hours to find a way to reverse it. He sends her back to her own world to investigate. They track a scent to a secret lab, and fight Red Hornet, a woman in power armour. And Gwen snikts herself in the face. Turns out Red Hornet didn’t want Logan to be in the world any more, so she locked herself away and found a way to send him to another world, but because she shut herself away, she didn’t know he was dead. Turns out Wolverine killed her uncle, a superhero known as the Hornet. That happened after Wolverine was killed and resurrected by the Hand, in Enemy of the State. This is a wonderful comic. Lots of fun. It does good stuff with the mind-swap idea and them learning to adjust to each other’s powers. Funnily enough, both of them actually recognize their limits. Laura refuses to try web-swinging, since she figures she’d probably just fail and fall since she has no idea what she’s doing. And Gwen initially refuses to pop the claws. When she does decide to pop them . . . yeah, she really shouldn’t have. It’s hilarious. The most epic of fails. She fails so spectacularly that it ends the fight immediately as the Red Hornet thinks she’s about to be sick. Speaking of Red Hornet, I really like her. I like that her origin is tied into one of the sins of Logan’s past. It wasn’t something he did intentionally. He was mind-controlled at the time. But just the same, seeing that come back, seeing that it mattered to someone, is really nice to see. I genuinely hope we see more of Red Hornet. She seems like a fun mad scientist type. A good person, but also not someone who really thinks things through fully. The art’s really good. I like Takara. His work’s expressive. He does a really good job with the facial expressions here. Laura, in Gwen’s body, is less expressive than Gwen, in Laura’s body, which is really how it should be, and Takara handles it perfectly, which makes them distinctive from their normal selves. He also does a good job with action scenes, giving them nice flow. And I keep harping on Red Hornet, but I also want to mention she’s got a really good design. Mat Lopes does a great job with colours, too (and, again, a great job on Red Hornet’s armour). This is a ridiculous issue, but that’s why Annuals exist, and it’s a lot of fun, and you should read it.
Deadpool v. Gambit #4, by Bens Acker and Blacker, Danilo Beyruth and Cris Peter. It starts with a flashback. The Marauders have Wolverine surrounded, and Scrambler is about to screw up Wolverine’s healing factor, when the X-Men rescue him. Including Laura, who cuts off his hands and guts him. He wakes up in a hospital, and chats with a little girl named Esme. Jennifer Walters comes in as his attorney, offering to get him probation if he testifies against Scalphunter. He agrees. He avoids prison, starts dating the mother of the little girl, gets artificial hands and a job as a mechanic. Turns out his powers don’t just disrupt systems, but can be used to manipulate systems, like the artificial hands. Huh, interesting. Chalmers enlists Gambit and Deadpool to help him sell Scrambler some swampland, and then stuff happens and things get worse for Scrambler until getting better for him when we return to Deadpool and Gambit. This issue is, uh . . . I don’t know. It’s a good issue. It’s well-written, and does a good job making Scrambler sympathetic, while also exploring his power in new ways. But I’m not sure I buy it, to be honest. Not for Scrambler, who just seemed to delight in being an asshole too much. I suppose, with all the cloning, who knows what the real Scrambler was like, or if a clone might have felt different, or what. His powers are also changed drastically. He always had to touch people to scramble them, but here, he can do it from a distance. It’s necessary for the story, but makes me feel meh. Regardless, it’s a well-written story, nice emotional stuff, a great exploration of a character and a good redemption story. So, yeah, despite my fanboy whining, it is a good issue.
X-Men ’92 #6, by Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, Alti Firmansyah, Dono Sanchez Almara and Matt Milla. Up on the Peak, Brand is notified of an approaching ship. She teleports to Westchester, in the midst of Lilapalooza, as Lila introduces the Flaming Lips. Personal note: I’m not a fan of the Flaming Lips. Any time I’ve heard one of their songs, it’s done nothing for me. The X-Men are providing security for the festival. Lila mentions touring with Nightcat. Ah, Nightcat. A character who’s similar to Dazzler, in having been an attempt at cross-medium synergy, with a comic and a CD. Unlike Dazzler, it did get as far as releasing a CD. Still, the fact that you’ve never heard of Nightcat should tell you how successful that whole thing was. Anyway, Lila also mentions having a bounty on her head, but has to go up with the Toadies. Meanwhile, the kids have all been grounded, to make sure they’ve recovered from the whole vampire thing. Back at the show, Death’s Head shows up. Yay Death’s Head! I do love me some Death’s Head. He’s awesome. Also, Fabian Cortez is in the crowd in order to be a douche. Brand arrives to stop the fight and tell Death’s Head that Lila is off-limits as she’s petitioning for asylum. Then Cortez douches it up. This is fine. It’s X-Men ’92. So it’s the same bland humour and incessant references to other stories, along with ’90s pop culture, that you’d expect of this series. At least Death’s Head is in this arc. Death’s Head makes everything better just by being there. Yay for him. But the arc looks like it’s primarily going to be X-Men vs. Super-Powered Brood. Which is a story I just reviewed not long ago. Admittedly, I’m probably still being harder on this series than it really deserves, but I don’t care, I find this an obnoxious book.
That’s the X-titles, but here’s two other comics.
Ms. Marvel #10, by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa and Ian Herring. We start with a flashback to 9 years ago, when Kamala’s mom brought her to her first day of 2nd grade, even though Kamala wanted to watch Tween Mutant Samurai Turtles. Gotta be honest, I’m a little disappointed Wilson didn’t go with Tortoises. I mean, come on. A board indicates everyone thinks Rick needs to chill, a sign insists “Whoever smelt it dealt it,” a kid is reading a book titled “Poppa Bear Is Wanted For Questioning,” another child is dressed up as a pterodactyl. Yep, it’s an Alphona page. So many nice visual gags. Anyway, we also meet young Bruno! Learn that CPS took him from his mother’s care as a result of her drug problems, and his grandparents are struggling financially. Kamala’s parents decide to pay his activity fees so he can go on a field trip later, and send Kamala to play with him. Aww, they’re such sweet parents. I love the Khans. They’re great. And Kamala and Bruno become friends immediately. Yay them. Then, to the present, and Bruno is in the hospital, hooked up to a whole lot of machines. He’s hurt badly. He’s in a coma, and may not even survive, and if he does, he won’t be able to use his left hand, which is a problem since he’s left-handed. Man, poor Bruno. And Kamala’s hit by just how real all of what she’s been doing is. So she goes to confront the task force she was overseeing, and shut them down. Becky refuses. And she has power armour, somehow. Carol’s called in to break up the fight. Carol is way too heavily invested in making predictive justice work. The conversation between Carol and Kamala is great. Carol’s definitely in the wrong, but she’s still very sympathetic, and it’s easy to understand where she’s coming from, and why she’s so invested in predictive justice. This is a pretty emotional issue, all about Kamala trying to cope with what happened to Bruno, and trying to make things right. Seeing how they met is really sweet, and I like that Kamala considers herself family.
Silver Surfer #6/200, by Dan Slott and the Allreds. This is the 6th issue of the current volume, but the 200th issue of Silver Surfer overall. Anyway, it starts with Peter Parker in San Francisco, looking at fish that turn into people’s greatest fears. They seem to have something to do with the Silver Surfer. Meanwhile, the Surfer has taken Dawn to meet her mother. Dawn is less than happy. But she decides to talk to her mom, anyway. Things are initially tense, but get better when Dawn talks about the Silver Surfer. Meanwhile, Surfer and Spider-Man fight the shape-changing things. While Dawn continues to talk to her mother, and things go badly again. And, man, this issue starts off so fun, and then breaks my heart. Poor Dawn. The shape-changing fish plot is the kind of weird and ridiculous idea that makes this series fun, but Dawn meeting her mother is the real heart of the issue, and man. Highs and lows. When Dawn is talking about the adventures she’s had with the Surfer, it’s an emotional high. Her excitement and wonder and pure joy at what she’s seen and done, is infectious. But then it hits a specific beat, and it just drops, and it’s sad, and then the ending is just crushing. Slott and the Allreds continue to just blow it away every issue. This is such an amazing comic, so full of wonder and fun and emotion, and I really do love it, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Also, this issue has a letter from a 5-year-old girl saying she loves when her dad reads Silver Surfer to her, and that she’s sometimes scared of going to the bathroom because Galactus might be in there. Aww. That is adorable.
I may as well mention Choosing Sides #5, which my mom made me buy because Justin Trudeau is in it. I’m not joking, she made me buy it. I wasn’t interested in it, but she pushed the money at me and told me to buy it for her. Whatever. Sasquatch, Puck and Aurora are in Michigan to arrest Piledriver’s son. His son is going to kill Piledriver to get his magic powers, but it doesn’t work, and another dozen people are killed in the explosion. Later, they meet with Justin Trudeau, The Sexiest World Leader (the comic doesn’t call him that, but we all know it’s true, and we all know the other countries are jealous of our sexy leader), who’s critical of their actions. They’re Canadian superheroes on American soil arresting a teen for a crime he hadn’t committed. That is, admittedly, pretty questionable. His criticism includes a dig at the Maple Leafs, which I do enjoy. Later again, Trudeau meets Iron Man in a gym, for what is apparently a regular sparring session they have. OK, so, this might require some explanation for American readers. Justin Trudeau – the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau – once had a bit of an argument with a member of the Canadian Senate. They decided to settle their beef with a charity boxing match, which Trudeau won. So, yeah, Chip Zdarsky decided to have Justin Trudeau and Tony Stark be sparring partners. OK then. Stark wants Trudeau to order Alpha Flight to stand down. Justin decks Tony, and then says he needs to fight less. It’s a pretty OK story. It’s mostly just Zdarsky showing how much he loves Justin Trudeau, but considering how great Trudeau is, it’s hard to blame him.