X-Men comics of October 26 2016
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So, before I get started, I actually want to talk about something. Over the past 8 months, Mockingbird has been a comic I’ve loved. I’ve talked, every month, about how great it is and how people should read it. It’s over now, of course. Yesterday, Chelsea Cain went on Twitter to talk about the harassment she’s received as a comics creator. Today, she just straight-up deleted her account. And it’s because assholes harassed her over a comic. Because she was a woman who had the audacity to write an unapologetically feminist comic. This is vile. And this is not uncommon. A lot of women have been driven out of comics entirely because of shit like this. And we, as fans, need to speak out against it. We need to speak out in defence of women – and people of colour, and other marginalized voices – and make it clear that the people who engage in harassment have no place in comics. They are not welcome in this hobby. Anyway. Here’s the new comics.
Extraordinary X-Men #15, by Jeff Lemire, Victor Ibanez, Guillermo Mogorron and Jay Ramos. Illyana wakes from a nightmare, and starts to cry about what’s happened with Sapna. It’s weird, seeing her cry. But it’s understandable, under the circumstances, given how much of herself she’s likely invested in Sapna. Storm cheers her up, and is pleased when Illyana threatens to kill her if she ever says Illyana cried. In Egypt, the X-kids are fighting Colossus. Then Cerebra shows up to grab Colossus, teleport him to X-Haven, and put him in a cage. Apocalypse is very smug. Storm and Illyana get back to the world with the weird guys who tried to kill them, and now we get some backstory. The World Eater eats worlds. It takes a host from a world, then uses that host to move to each world and consume it. It’s all explained through a gorgeous double-page spread. Back in X-Haven, Cerebra is bad at jokes, and Anole is trying to help Glob with Jean. And then bad stuff starts happening. Including another gorgeous splash of Sapna and the World-Eater. This issue is pretty decent. I still feel like the fight in the last issue, against the survivors of the World Eater, was unnecessary. I would have left them out of the previous issue almost entirely, and just had them introduced in this issue. The stuff with Apocalypse still kinda bores me. I think this issue did need a little more exploration of Illyana’s feelings about Sapna. We need a moment where Illyana acknowledges that she needs to save Sapna so she can feel like she can be saved herself. Hopefully we get that next issue. It’s obvious that’s what’s going on here, but I think we need to see Illyana admit it. The art is good. I have some trouble really getting into Ibanez’s style, but there are some pretty gorgeous panels here and there. I feel like Ibanez does Big Stuff very, very well. You need something epic? Ibanez will nail it. Quieter stuff, he doesn’t really do much for me. Still, he’s good. This is a good issue, on the whole.
Deadpool #21, by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli and Guru-eFX. Deadpool and Bob Agent of Hydra, dressed as Santas, rob a jewelry shop. Apparently, it’s a holiday tradition for them. Deadpool then gives the diamonds to a homeless guy. That done, Deadpool begins investigating Madcap. And also wonder if he should try putting a short cape on his costume. He goes to visit Preston, who has no information, then he gets a text that leads him to the Central Park Zoo, where he fights some crazed staff. And he does a Fastball Special with a penguin. The penguin Wolverines, obviously. This is actually really good. This is a Deadpool comic. There’s humour and drama. Finally! Finally, Duggan has managed to get the balance! It took him a while, but here, he’s done it. The humour isn’t obnoxious, but it’s definitely present, and it doesn’t lessen the drama and tension. This is what I’ve wanted of this book all along. So bravo to Duggan for managing it. The writing actually makes the art land better, too. I’ve never liked Lolli on this book, as I’ve found it too cartoonish. But somehow, I liked it here. And I think it’s down to Duggan’s writing putting me in a better mood. So, yeah, this was genuinely enjoyable, and I’m pleased about that. There’s also a second story, by Ian Doescher, Bruno Oliveira and Nick Filardi. The premise is it’s a lost Shakespeare play. I want to note that, on the title page, Heather Antos and Jordan White are given the roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, which I find cute. Alonso is Gravedigger-In-Chief. Anyway! Deadpool has no idea where he is, and he’s annoyed at speaking Shakespearean. Which means Iambic Pentameter. He kills Shakespeare, then finds a ghost claiming to be his father. It’s a Hamlet riff! After that, he gets beaten up by a couple women. One of them turns out to be Juliet, who wants the king dead so she can be with Romeo. The second woman is Lady Macbeth. After that encounter, he goes to the King, who is King Lear. Who beheads Deadpool, and is then chased off by a bear. Deadpool gets some help from Prospero, sends some messages to the characters he’s been dealing with, and then heads to a bordello to kill time. It’s really, really fun. It’s Doescher having a good time taking the piss out of Shakespeare, and it’s wonderful. He uses a lot of lines straight from the plays, and Deadpool’s dialogue is a perfect parody of the language. I really did love this. I genuinely cannot imagine a better Shakespearean Deadpool story. This one is perfect. Absolutely perfect. This entire issue is an absolutely delightful surprise. I’m so used to shitty Deadpool comics, so to come across a comic with one good Deadpool story and one amazing Deadpool story? That’s wonderful.
That’s the only X-stuff, but here’s other comics.
Civil War II #6, by Brian Bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. After the vision at the end of the last issue, Carol calls a ceasefire. Tony and Carol argue over Miles. Carol wants him to surrender into custody to make sure what they saw doesn’t happen, Tony wants him not treated like a criminal when he’s done nothing wrong. Captain Steve talks to Miles, and tells him to go home. She tries to stop Miles from leaving, but Ms. Marvel stops her. Hill then tries to arrest everyone on Tony’s side, and Black Panther says he can’t side with Carol any more. Strange teleports everyone away, then Medusa leaves. Star-Lord tells Carol she’s doing what she has to, and Groot joins them for a group hug. Tony’s group is in one of Fury’s old bunkers, and the kids all decide to leave, with Riri helping them out. I should note that Marquez does a pretty good job making Riri look like a teenager. Actually, he does a good job with the young heroes in general. But given controversy over artists drawing Riri looking like she’s in her 20s, I think it’s worth noting that Marquez doesn’t. This issue’s actually not bad. Carol looks a lot more wrong, but I do want to note that she’s still sympathetic. For all that people bitch about this event being character assassination, Bendis is working hard to make sure Carol’s position is understandable, and that she’s still very sympathetic as a character. Marquez deserves some credit for that, too, as he does such a fantastic job on her facial expressions. There’s a lot of depth to them, and you really do want to like her and cheer her up. You don’t want to see her defeated, you want to see her change her mind. Marquez and Ponsor make the book gorgeous to look at. And Bendis, for all the hate he gets, is continuing to do a genuinely solid job with the writing. I know a lot of people hate this whole event, but I’ve gotta say, I think Bendis, Marquez and Ponsor are legitimately doing really good work. (Of course, I also thought Age of Ultron was deeply underrated. That was a great event, and I don’t care what anyone says.)
Ms. Marvel #12, by G. Willow Wilson, Mirka Andolf and Ian Herring. After getting frisked by a TSA agent, Kamala gets on a plane for Pakistan. And right off the bat, Andolf, man. Andolf’s art is gorgeous. And Herring’s colours! This is a gorgeous issue. Just beautiful. I also want to mention that this issue made me miss by granny. My mom’s mom. I never knew my paternal grandparents. But I went to Scotland quite a few times to visit my mom’s family. All my grandparents are dead now, and I haven’t been back to Scotland in at least 15 years, and it makes me so sad. I want to go back. Anyway, she goes back to the apartment building where a whole lot of her family lives. There’s some brief tension with the boy whose room she’s being put up in, but they get over it quickly. Kamala does feel odd, feeling like she sticks out for being too American, while in America, she sticks out for being too Pakistani. The plight of the diaspora. Which is such a great touch. I love how much research Wilson must do for this book. I’m a white guy in a white country, so that sense of being an outsider isn’t something I have to deal with. But I’ve seen people talk about it. And I get a real sense of what it must be like. Wilson does such great work with all this kind of stuff. Then there’s an explosion and Kamala learns that water cartels have been blowing up municipal hydrants. Fun fact: Water cartels are a real thing in Pakistan. Kamala tries not to get involved as Ms. Marvel, but eventually, she realizes she has to. And you know what, given the past couple days, I feel like this panel is worth applying to comics:
So, yeah, Kamala goes out to fight crime. And meets a local hero, Red Dagger. This issue is so good. It’s so good. Sweet, and touching, and warm, and just good. The art is gorgeous. The writing is on-point, even by this book’s standards. Seriously, just read this series. It’s the best thing.
All-New All-Different Avengers #15, by Mark Waid, Adam Kubert and Paul Mounts. Thor asks Heimdall’s advice on CWII and predictive justice, so he tells a story of when Odinson came to him with a similar question, in the early days of the Avengers. Doom built a powerful weapon that he was going to use to conquer a neighbouring country, and the Avengers were split on whether to get involved. Thor asks Heimdall, who says they can win, but will be denied victory over Doom. They fight Doom, but predictably, things don’t go as they expected. In a really neat way. It’s a cool story, actually. Nice little throwback to the Silver Age. Captures that time perfectly.
Vision #12, by Tom King, Gabriel Walta and Jordie Bellaire. Oh, man. You know what? No recap. No review. Just a plea: Read this series. Get the two trades. This is one of the best things Marvel has ever done. It is chilling, and heartbreaking, and brilliant. This final issue is beautiful. It damned near broke me, which is why I had to follow it with Moon Girl, to allow me to feel joy again. But yeah, read. This. Book. If you only ever accept my recommendation on one book, make it this one. It is a goddamn masterpiece, from start to finish. It will wreck you, in the best possible ways.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #12, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain. Can I just start off by saying the cover is absolutely gorgeous? Reeder’s a fantastic artist, and this cover is one of the finest she’s done for this series. Anyway, Mel-Varr repeats his confession of love to Lunella, who’s not particularly happy about it. Mel-Varr talks about how he’s misunderstood by a culture that favours violence, and doesn’t think Lunella can understand him. And I want to make clear why I love Bustos and Bonvillain on this book, with this image of Devil Dinosaur staring in disbelief.
Anyway, she and Mel-Varr finish the project for the Lego Competition, which goes less than well when she swaps minds with Devil again, and Mel-Varr’s dad shows up, and things go generally pretty crazy. This book is wonderful. It’s fun. So much weirdness. But still lots of heart. And some great snark. And it’s just a good book and you should definitely be reading it. It made me feel happy. Do you want to see a flame-throwing cybernetic triceratops made out of Lego? Of course you do. This issue has one of those. So, yeah, this is worth reading.
Ultimates #12, by Al Ewing and Christian Ward. Conner Sims, Anti-Man, is off in space, feeling sorry for himself and wanting to be lost forever. But Galactus has use of him. And daaaaaamn, Christian Ward. So gorgeous. Anyway, then Earth, where Carol is in the White House waiting area, where Gyrich tells her the Ultimates program is done. Later, we see Carol meet up with Monica and Adam to view the wreckage of the Triskelion. Carol then goes to talk to America, who’s having lunch with Kate and Lisa. Yay! America shows her a world where the Future-Crime stuff worked. It’s a dystopia. Obviously. And Carol and America start smashing Doombots. America also apologizes for hitting Carol with a chair, and Carol says it’s fine. Awww, I like that they’re still friends. And I love this issue. It’s just a nice downtime issue, showing how Carol is dealing with the end of the Ultimates. And it’s really nice. The big crazy ideas get put to the side – aside from the beginning and epilogue, with Sims and Galactus – and it’s all about the human side. I do especially appreciate America getting so much focus in the issue, as she hasn’t gotten much throughout the series. This issue shows how nice she is. The art, as I said, is fantastic. Especially the Sims and Galactus stuff. Amazing. But Ward does great job with the quieter stuff, too. This is a great send-off to a great series . . . and a great prologue to the next volume.
New Avengers #17, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov. The Maker explains his thing. There’s a slice of him in every reality, put there by the Molecule Man, in order to make things happen. He wants to remerge all the universes, in order to make Eternity strong enough for the coming war. Huh. So that’s where the Big Crazy Ideas from Ultimates went this month. And then the President unmasks, and it’s Sunspot. Go Roberto! Meanwhile, the team is angry at Garrett for killing Roberto, but it was Hulkling posing as ‘Berto, and he put his brain somewhere safe. Shapeshifters. Wile the team fights Duggans, Aikku and Toni watch. Luckily, Toni has a plan. Back to Air Force One, where Maker drops hints about Nadia Pym. Ooooooh! And then it turns out Air Force One was Warlock. And ‘Berto? He’s still got his powers. Damn, this book is so good. It’s just so fun! It embraces madness so gleefully and I love it! It’s just one crazy moment after another, and every one makes you laugh and cheer. It’s ridiculous and awesome. So great.
Nighthawk #6, by David Walker, Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain. Nighthawk figures out Hanrahan is the one who’s been shipping guns to the True Patriot terrorists. Meanwhile, Hanrahan has been captured by the Revelator. And man, this issue ends on a seriously dark note. It also ends with Tilda never having gotten out in the field, which is a damn shame. But she was a delight all through the series and I hope that future writers pick up on Walker’s take on the character, because she’s just the best. This was a great series. I’ll miss it. But I’m on board for anything Walker does at Marvel.
Silver Surfer #7, by Dan Slott and the Allreds. Surfer takes Dawn to various amazing worlds. Like Trampoline World. Puppy-Bunny-Kitty Planet. A world with cotton candy trees. A world with creatures that love ballpits. She gets angry when she realizes he’s been taking her to safe worlds. He explains he just wants to stop hurting her, but she says she wants risks. So he takes her to the Cosmic Casino. There, they see Mephisto lose a fiddling contest. It’s amazing. It turns out the casino is run by the Gamemaster, and he decides Surfer and Dawn are good marks. So it comes down to a game of poker. This is, as usual, delightful. Honestly, this is one of the funnest books out there. So weird and wonderful.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #10, by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales (with Livesay, Jay Leisten and McGuinness) and Jason Keith. At Deadpool’s secret clubhouse, Deadpool is trying to find out what he can about Itsy-Bitsy, while Spider-Man pwns someone on Overwatch. Ha. Spider-Man has decided to embrace Deadpool’s attitude of just not caring. He’s also using a Spider-tracer to invite Patient Zero to them. He teleports in and blasts Deadpool in the groin. I am amused. Anyway, he says Itsy-Bitsy’s gone rogue. And then a couple speech bubbles get their placement screwed up. Oops. Anyway, before he can reveal who he is, Itsy-Bitsy kills him. Dammit, Kelly, I would hate you if that wasn’t such great trolling. Itsy-Bitsy makes fun of Patient Zero for being so ’90s, and I want to remind you what she looks like.
But you know what? The dialogue in this whole following fight scene is so good that I can’t even be mad at Itst-Bitsy any more. Is she a deeply problematic character? Holy shit, yes. But.
Look, I don’t like Itsy-Bitsy. She’s an OK concept – the powers of Spider-Man and Deadpool combined – but she’s sexualized to an uncomfortable degree. And I get that that’s part of the point. It’s supposed to make us uncomfortable. But I think it was a mistake. So I have problems with her. But the comic is just so fun. There’s so much great humour. So, yeah, I enjoyed this more than I figure I should have. But whatever.