X-Men comics of October 5 2016
Uncanny X-Men #14, by Cullen Bunn, Greg Land, Jay Leisten and David Curiel. Psylocke is still reading that dude’s mind, and learns of a plan to attack an anti-mutant rally. Magneto wants to know who’s behind it, but Psylocke refuses to fry the guy’s mind to find out. Monet has fewer scruples. Also? Fewer clothes.
I seldom swear on this blog, but seriously, fuck that image and everyone involved in it. Who actually thinks Monet would wear this . . . thing? Monet is all about class and elegance. This is not classy or elegant. It goes underneath something classy and elegant. This is something a woman wears in the bedroom to turn on her husband, it is not something any woman ever wears outside of that very specific context. So yeah, fuck that. Anyway, she bulls through the guy’s mind to find out who they’re looking for. Magneto head to the Someday Corporation to meet with Exodus. It’s a tense confrontation. Exodus thinks Magneto wants Exodus to rejoin him. I do actually like the confrontation between Magneto and Exodus. Bunn does a very good job with it. Exodus’ fanaticism is very much appropriate for him, while Magneto takes more of a moral high ground. The back-and-forth of the physical battle is cool, too. So that was cool. Exodus continues his 20-year trend of not really mattering at all. As a long-time X-Men reader, the Magneto/Exodus confrontation was cool. For anyone who isn’t a long-time X-Men reader, I’m pretty sure this whole thing will mean nothing. I’m still not entirely on board with how Bunn writes Monet. And while Land’s art is less awful than usual, less distracting than usual, I still hate his art, and how posed and static it is. So, while this book is better than it initially was, it’s still got a ways to go before it can be described as great.
Death of X #1, by Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule, Aaron Kuder and Morry Hollowell. We open a year ago, as an X-Men team – Scott, Emma, Illyana, Iceman, Goldballs and the Cuckoos – head for Muir Island. They got a message from Jamie Madrox. In Matsumoto, Japan, a group of Inhumans – Crystal, Gorgon, Iso, Flint, Naja and Grid – are there to watch the Terrigen Cloud pass over, with most of the city’s population also waiting for it. On Muir Island, there’s a weird green cloud, and Scott finds some blood on the ground. He also starts developing a cough. They find a dead mutant, covered in boils. In Japan, Crystal’s team finds some Hydra guys trying to steal cocoons. They have three gunships with them. Crystal says they have Hydra outnumbered. Crystal’s actually really awesome in this scene. Back on Muir, they find Madrox. A whole lot of dead dupes, and the original Madrox, who has enough time to say the Terrigen Mist did it, right before he dies. So, Madrox is dead. And they make a point of having him state outright that he’s the original, which seems unnecessary to me. It feels like they’re saying, “Hey! Did any of you like this character! Tough shit, because he is definitely, absolutely dead, beyond any question, with no chance of being brought back!” Of course, Madrox is the easiest character ever to bring back – just have him show up and say he’s the original, probably. Lemire and Soule tried hard to make sure that loophole would be closed, but it’s not like anyone out there would be upset at having this death ignored. There is not a single person who read this and went, “Yes, this is a fitting send-off for Madrox, and it shouldn’t be reversed at any point.” If he shows up alive and well next month, everyone will be fine with that, because this death is bullshit anyway. It’s an Event Death – they’re doing a big event, and they needed to kill off a C- or D-list character who people are generally aware of but who doesn’t have that large a fanbase. Bleh. Scott sends all the Muir data to Beast, then passes out. So, this issue? Meh. It actually has Goldballs come down with the Terrigen poisoning, which contradicts Spider-Man, where he seems just fine. It killed Madrox in order to have a shocking death. The issue is written well enough, I suppose. There’s some OK character work. The Inhuman stuff is done better than the X-Men stuff. I have a bit of a hunch that Lemire wrote the X-Men side of the issue while Soule wrote the Inhuman side. Because the Inhuman side is definitely better-written. The X-Men section is pretty bland and dull, on the whole, honestly. The art is nice. It’s a good-looking comic.The Muir scenes have a dark atmosphere, with the mist swirling around menacingly. The Japan scenes are bright, with good action. Still, I’ll be glad when this mini is over, and then when IvX ends, and we can get the hell away from “Mutants On the Verge of Extinction.”
All-New Wolverine #13, by Tom Taylor, Nik Virella, Scott Hanna and Michael Garland. It opens with Laura in Daylesville, surrounded by dead bodies. Then it flashes back 3 days ago, to Laura getting a mystery package with no return address. Laura opens it with a claw, because she’s a Wolverine, and dammit, if they can use a claw for something, they will. In the box is a vial with a label marked “TRIGGER.” Laura declares they’re leaving immediately. She brings their pelican statue, because she knew Gabby would want to bring it, because Gabby is childlike at times. But Gabby’s excited for the open road! Until they hit New York traffic, which makes even Gabby grumpy. Once they’re out of town, Laura says they’re going to a cabin in California. Laura says that’s how undead hordes happen. And we get a quick history of Laura! Then they reach the cabin, which is not a great place.
This is a great issue. It’s got quite a bit of humour and lightness, as is usual with the series, but there’s definitely an underlying tension. I mean, it opens with her having killed an entire village. So, yes, tension. But there’s also the trigger scent showing up at the start, and the recap of Laura’s origin, meant to indicate to readers that Bad Things will be happening in this arc. This issue is meant to ease readers into the darkness and tension of the arc. Taylor does a great job with that. And the art’s great! Virella’s a great artist. She’s good at both light and dark. She draws an adorable Jonathan, which is pretty important. Hanna’s colours are great, too, and complement the lines very well. This is great. This is still the best X-title out there, and I am very excited for this arc.
That’s the X-titles, but a couple other comics worth talking about:
Champions #1, by Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado. Quick note: I got the Skottie Young cover, because it was there, so why wouldn’t I get it? It’s a no-brainer. Kamala’s eating with her family, and mentions taking time off from after-school activities. So we go back 5 days, to the Avengers stopping the Wrecking Crew from smashing a train. Ms. Marvel is angry at all the property damage caused in the fight, and angry at the Avengers for not wanting to do anything to do any repairs. Back in the present, she texts Miles and Nova to meet her on a bridge. They think she wants to convince them to rejoin the team, after they quit out of anger over Civil War II. But she says she quit. She makes her pitch to form their own team. Out in Kentucky, Cho-Hulk is in a collapsed mine trying to rescue some trapped miners, and the trio comes in to help. With him recruited, they next go to Vision’s house, to see Viv. Turns out they play Battlesmite together online, and since she’s always online, via her built-in wi-fi, she can help to find problems needing solved. She finds them a human trafficking ring run by a clown who calls himself Pagliacci. Clowns. Frigging clowns, man. Once he’s beaten, Ms. Marvel actually makes a really great speech about enforcing justice without unjust force, which is pretty clearly intended as a commentary on all the people killed by police. This is a good issue. A solid debut. It gets into a problem with superheroes as a whole – the fact that they cause all sorts of property damage and then just leave – to justify why people might hate superheroes. (I’ve talked in the past about that. I will defend the citizens of the Marvel Universe, because superheroes are a terrifying concept, and they cause a lot of people a lot of trouble.) This series will be all about exploring that, and figuring out if there’s maybe a better way. It’s also a series about kids saving the world. Because, as much as old people like to bitch about The Kids Today, kids really are the ones who will have to deal with all the crap the older generations have dumped on them. I also like that the focus, at least for this issue, is more on small-scale things. Because those things matter. Saving miners, saving kidnapped girls? It’s important. It means a lot to the people saved, and their families and friends. So I really enjoy when superhero comics do focus on that sort of thing, rather than on saving the world from some massive threat. Give me superheroes just wanting to help regular people, doing good for the sake of doing good. I love that stuff. The characters are written well. The art . . . well, I can put up with it. It’s fine, I suppose, for this book. I’m not a fan of Ramos, I find his lines too heavy, with too many jagged edges. But I don’t think it’ll bother me too much here. So, yeah, good issue, and I’m looking forward to this series.
Insexts #8, by Marguerite Bennett, Ariela Kristantina, Jessica Kholinne and A Larger World. Paris! A graverobber is attacked by a gorgon/naga woman. Meanwhile, Lady Bertram is still in her cocoon, while Mariah looks after the cocoon and their son, Will, who’s grown up a bit. It’s been three years since the first volume. Mariah welcomes Will’s new governess, Phoebe, then sees her off temporarily. They’re attacked outside, by some guys who are after Phoebe. They accuse her of being a Haruspex. It’s an Ancient Roman thing, cutting out animal guts to read the future. Yeah, you’ve seen that sort of thing in comics or movies before. Now we know the word for it! Anyway, it turns out Phoebe is a stone-cold badass, as she decks one dude, who Mariah then mind-controls into stabbing his own eye. The other dudes run, because no shit, though Mariah does erase their memories of what happened. That night, Mariah reads Will the story of Pygmalion, and they both decide they don’t like the story. Nor should they! A man creates a woman who exists only to love him? It’s a pretty gross story, frankly. No wonder Mariah decides she doesn’t like it. Nice bit of feminist commentary, with that little moment. Anyway, Mariah then goes to wake Lady. And they have sex. This series is so good. It’s weird and creepy and funny and sexy and, you know, it’s kinda all the things women aren’t supposed to be. But it’s also smart and sweet, with gorgeous art. Kristantina and Kholinne are both great. I’m not particularly familiar with Kholinne – I think she only took over as colour artist on Insexts a couple issues ago, and I haven’t seen anything else she’s done, but she’s really impressing me on Insexts. The colours are lush and lovely. Oh hey, wait! She apparently did X-Treme X-Men! But yeah, I’m hoping for big things for her. She’s a great colour artist, I hope she gets more big projects to work on. She deserves success.