X-Men comics of November 23 2016
All-New X-Men Annual has two stories. The first is by Sina Grace, Cory Smith and Andres Mossa. This one is about Idie. The team is at a mall in San Jose right now. Idie writes in her journal about the ways the others are relaxing. And some cute boy comments on her writing in a notebook. He’s . . . honestly kinda dickish about it? It comes across as negging. But he’s cute, so Idie agrees to go on a date with him.
He takes her to a pretty cool thing. It’s an organist playing over a silent movie. That’s a cute date idea! After, a couple guys walking past are being misogynistic, so the dude, Ronnie, tries to teach them a lesson. And gets his ass kicked. So Idie uses her power to scare them off. When she turns back to Ronnie, his face is melting. Turns out, he’s a mutant whose power allows him to shape his face. But now he has Terrigen poisoning, and it’s getting harder to control his face. Then one of the earlier jerks returns with his family. So Idie kicks their asses. One of the guys complains about her not fighting fair. Reminder that this was five big guys taking on a couple scrawny teenagers. I don’t think they get to complain about “fighting fair.” She responds to this complaint by just knocking them all the hell out, because she’s pretty awesome. She then calls up Storm to take Ronnie to X-Haven for any available treatment. And man, Smith really nails her entrance. I feel like Smith wasn’t sure when he’d get another chance to draw Storm, so he wanted to do what he wanted to do. I mean, Storm is a character who should always be bigger than life, someone who can’t help but be epic. So any time she shows up, even if just for a cameo, you’ve gotta give her a big moment. Also, here’s the single best panel of the story:
This was a fun story. A really fun Idie story. Very cute. As a 31-year-old man, I always feel weird about getting invested in teenage romances, but I don’t know, I just think it’s cute and sweet. Ronnie seemed like a nice guy, and Idie liked him, and she beat up some jerks. And it was just nice. Very low-key and enjoyable. A great cameo from Storm. Nice art. The art did a good job setting the tone for a story about a couple teens going on a date. Also, I liked the date idea. It was a good idea. Good job, Ronnie.
The second story is by Rex Ogle, Andrea Broccardo and Rachelle Rosenberg. And it’s Dani! Dani Moonstar! It starts with her describing what a panic attack feels like. Illyana takes Dani to LA, and man, I miss these two. I miss their friendship. They were so good, back in the old New Mutants. Seeing them together again, trading quips and remembering the old days, it feels so good. Dani, because of her Valkyrie Death-Sense power, is able to sense mutants inflicted with M-Pox. Then she can find them, and get them to X-Haven. But the trade-off is that she lives in a state of constant panic and fear. She goes into a nightclub, where everyone is marked by death. Lady Mastermind is there, and when she dies, she’ll take everyone in the club with her. Dani lets Lady mastermind into her head, so she can feel what Dani feels, and know that Dani understands her fear. This is a really nice story. I love Dani, and the idea of her suffering panic attacks because of her death-sight is a really cool idea. Ogle explores the idea of fear in a really good, interesting way. I don’t know if Ogle himself suffers panic attacks, but he does a fairly effective job describing them, making it a little easier to imagine what they’re like, and to understand that, if you don’t get them, you can’t know what they’re like. It made for a great story. And I loved seeing Dani again. She’s such a great character. I honestly don’t get how she isn’t always appearing somewhere. Writers should be fighting each other over her. The art in this story was great, too. Dani looks strong. Her anxiety could have been drawn better, though. I do feel like an opportunity was missed. Broccardo’s layouts are pretty conventional, and I think the story would’ve been served well by some different layouts. I think Marco Rudy would have been a perfect choice. He always does really weird, off-beat layouts, and I think he would’ve absolutely killed on a story about anxiety, because I think his layouts, and his overall art style, would work wonderfully for capturing the feel of fear and anxiety.) Broccardo’s a fine artist. But aside from the first page – which shows Dani in a small bubble surrounded by darkness, closing in on her, and then pulling back just a bit to show her in her own eyes, as a really cool image to show her screaming on the inside while staying strong on the outside – the art never really conveys the feel of the narration. Broccardo doesn’t venture far enough outside his comfort zone, keeps the art looking like normal superhero comic work, and while it looks good, it doesn’t fit the story the way it should. As an aside, you should keep your eyes open for Sweaty Palms, a comics anthology of stories about anxiety. It shouldn’t be too much longer. It looks very cool, and very much worth reading. Funny note: The book barely got funded by the deadline, so the last few days of the campaign were really tense and anxious for the creators and the backers. Because of course a book about anxiety was going to do what it could to make people nervous.
Death of X #4, by Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Aaron Kuder, Javier Garron, Jay Leisten, Jay David Ramos and Morry Hollowell. Outside Madrid, Scott and his team, with Alchemy, prepare to deal with the Terrigen cloud, while Magneto keeps Storm’s team and the Inhumans busy. Storm and Crystal figure out that the Terrigen cloud is at risk, so Crystal calls Medusa for support. Inferno blasts Sunfire and Alchemy out of the sky, and Alchemy gets hurt in the process. Screw you, Inferno, you dick. Alchemy’s cool. He doesn’t deserve to be dropped like that. Scott does give him one hell of a pep talk, though. Scott is very good at that. The Cuckoos take over some of the Nuhumans to keep Medusa, Black Bolt and Triton busy. Sunfire drops Alchemy into the mist so he can change it, but it, uh, didn’t seem to go as planned. Alchemy gets sick and dies. Then Scott goes into the cloud to speak to Medusa, and deliver a pretty great speech.
And then Black Bolt destroys him. And then it’s time for the funeral.
Storm’s eulogy is really nice, too. While Alex goes to talk to Emma. Alex still has half his face badly burned, by the way, which is cool. Alex doesn’t believe Scott was actually killed by Black Bolt. Suicide by Black Bolt doesn’t seem Scott’s style, so he wants Emma to tell him where Scott is. So, yeah, the theories were right.
I don’t normally spoil endings like this. But I am in this case. It was foreshadowed heavily enough that it won’t be a surprise to anyone, after all, and it’s worth talking about. The twist – that Scott wasn’t responsible for any of what happened – is a good one. It means that, when Marvel brings him back, he’s that much easier to redeem. But more than that, as a Scott fan, I like that his legacy has been co-opted by someone who then tainted it and made him hated. Ever since he turned revolutionary, I’ve felt that was the best way to go with him. Beyond that, it’s just a really cool idea, executed well. Whether the overall story works for you or not, this specific twist was done really well. As for the overall story . . . it was OK. It wasn’t bad. Mostly. I do dislike some of the choices in who helped Magneto fight Storm and Crystal. Wolfsbane? Really? You couldn’t have left her in peace with Father Madrox? (Also, the death of Madrox? Bullshit.) The art was a bit uneven, I thought, throughout the mini. I thought Kuder did a much better job than Garron. Honestly, Garron’s work might have bothered me less if it wasn’t shown beside Kuder’s. Because Kuder’s art is just fantastic. I don’t like Garron’s style in general – odd faces, it reminds me of Art Adams’ modern work – but Kuder is great. Really detailed, and really good. Look at Emma in that final screenshot. That is spectacular. Anyway! On the whole, I thought this mini was pretty good, and it was great for Emma. Excellent work done with her.
X-Men ’92 #9, by Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Alti Firmansyah and Matt Milla. The X-Men and X-Brood (along with Lila, Brand and Death’s Head) return to Earth in a stolen Shi’ar ship, but there’s a giant hand coming out of a portal. A Celestial named Xodus the Forgotten, as Apocalypse explains to his minions. Apparently, the Celestials are mutants of the M’kraan race, and Xodus took to murdering mutants on other worlds so they could never replace the Celestials. The other Celestials banished him to another dimension, but now, he’s coming back. Xodus’ other arm comes out of a portal above Lilapalooza. Blah blah blah, talk talk talk, President Kelly’s kind of a dick and says he doesn’t like the X-Men because they just solve the problems they create, which is kinda hard to argue. He calls up Apocalypse to help against Xodus instead, and Apocalypse asks the X-Men for their help. Bah, whatever, do not care. This is so boring. I just do not give a shit about this, at all. I don’t even care enough to make any jokes about it. It’s too boring to even make fun of. Being outright bad would actually be an improvement, because at least then it’d be interesting.
That’s the X-stuff, but here’s other stuff.
Civil War II #7, by Brian bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. But there’s also some pages by Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo! Woot! Anyway. Medusa is trying to talk to Ulysses about his evolving power, but he seems to be in the midst of another vision. He finds himself in the Wastelands. The world of Old Man Logan. And they got Sorrentino and Maiolo to do the art for this section, and yeeeees. So. Goddamn. Gorgeous. He almost gets killed by a Hulk, but Logan rips the Hulk apart first. Ulysses asks what year it is. Before we get an answer, though, it’s back to the present, with a double-page spread of the Miles-kills-Steverica vision, and Miles standing outside the Capitol Building. Back in the future, Logan says the Inhumans all left, because of something to do with Tony Stark. In the present, Carol and Maria Hill discuss Miles. In the future, Ulysses is pulled back before he can get answers from Logan. I gotta say, ugh, I don’t like this whole thing. I appreciate the gorgeous art. But the entire section with Ulysses and Logan feels like pointless filler. He learns nothing. Which means there was no point to any of it. I suspect it was thrown in just to fill the issue out so they could get it on store shelves. That’s honestly how the whole thing feels. In DC, Miles and Steve have a really nice chat. Then Carol joins them. And then Tony joins them. This issue’s pretty much a whole lotta nothin’. Nothing happens. Ulysses meets Old Man Logan and learns nothing. Carol and Hill talk about Miles, and decide nothing. Miles and Steve talk, and nothing. Carol joins them, and nothing is decided. There’s not even any worthwhile character exploration going on. The issue looks pretty, at least. Marquez and Ponsor do fantastic work. But the issue, as a whole, is totally frigging pointless. There’s no reason for this issue to exist. At all.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #13, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Leonard Kirk and Tamra Bonvillain. Lunella and Totally Awesome Hulk tell her parents that Lunella is the Smartest Person Alive. By the way: Amadeus, Hulk down. Don’t be sitting around someone’s kitchen as the Hulk. Hulk down. And put on a shirt. Anyway, Amadeus then takes Lunella to Rockefeller University, then talks with her while they walk through Lunella’s neighbourhood. The conversation is interrupted by Mole Man showing up, so fight! And the fight leaves her a little concerned. She wonders if maybe there’s a better way. Fighting and smashing just seems stupid to her. The next day, Lunella tries to figure out a way to control the mind-swap with Devil, and teleports herself into Leonard Kirk art on the moon. Looks like she’s a few years older, and has a moon base. A bunch of other genius-type heroes are there, too, helping her out with her stuff. This is really good. It’s cute. Lunella is truly insufferable, and it’s actually really fun. Now that she has proof of how smart she is, she’s more arrogant than ever. Which means we’re definitely building up to her getting some lessons in humility. But she’s also still feeling isolated and alone, and that’s still really sad. She’s still stuck in a public school, her parents still don’t understand her, and now that she’s joined the ranks of the superheroes, she’s starting to see problems with how superheroes operate, so she can’t even feel connected to them. So you really do feel bad for Lunella, even while you also think she’s kind of a brat. The art is wonderful. Bustos and Bonvillain are wonderful. So cute and adorable. The section drawn by Kirk is really good, too, as he does a good job copying Bustos’ style. He’s got his own twist on it, of course, but there’s a real similarity that I appreciate. I still love this comic.
Ultimates 2 #1, by Al Ewing and Travel Foreman. So, I’m just gonna leave this here:
So, right off the bat, holy shit big crazy cosmic stuff, and I love it. And then we find Adam in his lab, strapped to a machine that lets him expand his perceptions and consciousness, so he can see the way Monica sees it. He theorizes that, because she’s made of energy, she has a certain cosmic awareness that her mind automatically translates into something more familiar. Adam and Monica have a conversation that’s interrupted by Conner Sims, Anti-Man. Then we cut away from the fight to go to a diner in the middle of nowhere, where Carol meets with T’Challa, who’s disguised as Luke Charles, an old secret identity he used years and years and years ago. Nice callback. T’Challa tells Carol there are still ultimate problems needing to be solved. So, this issue. First off: Damn. Ewing and Foreman both kill it. Ewing’s writing is sharp and intelligent, with a lot of great ideas, a lot of big cosmic stuff that is immediately entrancing. The characterization is stellar for all the characters. Adam and Monica remain a really sweet couple, with Adam being a damned smooth talker. (Seriously, he delivers a speech about life being an experiment that makes us fall in love with the magic and beauty of the world, and I want to date him now.) The tension between Carol and T’Challa is also really good, especially as it’s underlined with a sense of respect and even friendship. Much as Carol resents T’Challa for ending the Ultimates program, you do get a real sense that she can’t really shake off her friendship with him. That scene is also the funniest in the issue, due entirely to the Luke Charles identity. T’Challa makes great use of it. So, yeah, the writing is great. And the art! Holy shit! I as disappointed to lose Kenneth Rocafort, but I am now 100% on board with Travel Foreman. He is amazing. The issue is gorgeous. He can do the big cosmic stuff as well as Rocafort, including the open layouts Rocafort brought to that stuff. And he also excels at people just talking. One thing I find interesting is how the art differs between the two tones. Foreman brings two very different art styles to the book, and sometimes, he blends them in brilliant ways. Here’s an example:
But do you see what I mean? The top panel is great. Great superhero comic style, works well for talking heads. But then the bottom panel has almost a more painted-looking style, much darker, much more intense. The contrasts make it that much better. Also, Foreman gives Monica some great dreads. So, yeah, gorgeous art and fantastic writing. This volume is off to a brilliant start. I am very much excited. I very highly recommend this book.
Captain Marvel #10, by Ruth and Christos Gage, Thony Silas and Matthew Wilson. Carol and Alpha Flight fight a bit, before guys with guns come in and arrest the Flight. Philippe Beauliu joins them in the interrogation room, as their legal representation. And it turns out that Beaulieu is someone very familiar: It’s the Master of the World! He kicks their asses and then smashes a wall so they’re sucked out into space. And he spends the whole time monologuing, because dammit, he is a proper villain. As it turns out, though, Carol had already suspected him, so she was just waiting for him to make his move. He now grabs Thundersword’s trophy and gains that power, so now it’s a real fight. While they fight, the Master asks how Carol found him out, and she says it’s because she knew Aurora wasn’t a traitor. She also delivers a hell of a speech on leadership. She also reminds him of the time she killed him. Anyone else remember that? When Carol straight-up killed the Master, during Busiek’s Avengers run? That was pretty awesome. Anyway, the fight is great. It’s really intense, with one hell of an end. And I should talk about something. So, when the Gages started this arc, they brought back Stewart Caldwell, Thundersword, a character Jim Shooter created in Secret Wars II as an insulting caricature of the brilliant Steve Gerber. A lot of people hate the character because of this (and also hate Shooter for it, which, you know, fair, Shooter should have at least apologized for it but I don’t think he ever did). People felt it was disrespectful of the Gages to bring Caldwell back, So I want to post this panel:
I love this. The Gages weren’t disrespecting Gerber; they were honouring him, by redeeming an insulting character based on him. This is the Gages saying that Gerber deserved better. I really appreciate that from them. I think it’s a wonderful gesture, and it helps to clean up, just a little, a real dark spot on Marvel’s history. Aside from that, though, this is a great issue. I really loved this. The Master of the World was always such a dorky villain, but the Gages gave him a great update. He’s fun, charming and charismatic, a villain who’s easy to enjoy. His plan was really clever, and his fight against Carol was thrilling – huge props to Silas and Wilson for that. Then, after the fight, there’s some really nice wrap-up, as Carol has really nice conversations with Gyrich and then Puck. I’m honestly going to miss Gyrich. He’s an ass, but he’s a fun ass. He’s always at his best when he’s a jerk with a good heart, when he gets to show some vulnerability while still being a pompous ass. It makes for such a weird and wonderful contrast. Then the stuff with Puck trying to cheer her up was really good, too. This was a great finale, and I am really excited to see what Stohl does with the character.
I’ll also mention that Snotgirl #4 is great, I have no idea where it’s going, Lottie’s self-absorption remains endearing, Leslie Hung has entirely too much fun with fashion, and it’s just a great comic.