X-Men comics of January 18 2017
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So, before I start on the reviews, something exciting happened. Last night, I started going through some of my favourite Marvel panels of 2016. Yes, I am very late on it. And it’ll take me forever to get through them. ANYWAY! Tana Ford and Stephanie Hans both ended up following me! Squee! That’s so exciting for me. I’m not worthy of their follows. They’re too good for me. But anyway! Comics!
All-New X-Men #17, by Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Nolan Woodard. Bobby and Romeo are on a date, and Bobby’s not paying attention to what’s ahead of him, so his ice slide hits a sign and they wipe out. Bobby heads back into his motel room, feeling stupid for not kissing Romeo, and the rest of the team is waiting to let him know that there’s an event going on so he and Romeo have to be enemies now. While Bobby argues with Hank, we get some flashbacks of the previous dates Bobby and Romeo have been on. First, running up a mountain. Then, laser tag. Then, a water park. These last two flashbacks take place while Bobby is helping with the invasion of New Attilan. If you guessed this was all building up to a Big Damn Smooch, you’re right.
This is a really good issue. Bobby and Romeo are both cute. Their dates are really sweet, and we do get a sense of them getting closer, and being really into each other. It’s cute. And it’s nice. And it does a good job tying into IvX, by exploring Bobby’s reaction to the whole thing. Spoiler: He doesn’t like it. He calls out Adult Cyclops, which still feels hollow to me, but I think my favourite bit is when he talks about how important the Terrigen Cloud is to the Inhumans. Of course Bobby would think that. Romeo is his first boyfriend, his first massive crush, so of course Bobby would get really deep into Inhuman stuff. Like, if you’re 15, and you’ve got it really hard for a Catholic, you are going to become a frigging expert on Catholicism. So I really like Bobby taking the Inhumans’ side here, even if he’s wrong, because seriously, poison cloud killing off mutants. As always, Bagley, Hennessy and Woodard are perfect together. Excellent art. Bagley is a master of facial expressions and body language. You can always tell exactly what characters are feeling. This is a great comic.
And that’s the only X-title, but here’s what I picked up.
Ultimates 2 #3, by Al Ewing, Travel Foreman and Dan Brown. It opens with Lt. Col. Tensen delivering a speech to a bunch of recruits who want to be Justice Warriors. One of the recruits makes fun of the whole thing. So Tensen knocks the guy on his ass, while still being very philosophical. I like this Tensen. I should note that, in the new universe, Tensen was a warrior named Justice, hence the name, but I’m pretty sure Ewing was also being intentional with the similarity to Social Justice Warrior. Philip Vogt comes to meet with Tensen, to talk about a recon and monitoring group. Tensen mentions the First Eternity Battalion, and dammit, now I want that mini. That sounds awesome. We then cut to the present, where Vogt is meeting with some of the Troubleshooters, including Tensen. And then – Cosmic! Galactus, Order, Chaos, and a dead Living Tribunal. Fight! Order and Chaos have realized they’re no longer constrained by the laws of the old Multiverse, and Galactus wants to stop them from taking over the new one. Tensen takes his team of Troubleshooters into Adam’s base, and they learn that Adam and Monica aren’t on Earth. And they recently met Anti-Man. The Cosmic Battle goes in an interesting direction. I absolutely love Ewing’s Take on Order and Chaos. They’re so fascinating. And Chaos is just a lot of fun. This continues to be a damned good series. I’m really enjoying what Ewing’s doing with the new universe characters, these new takes on them, fitting them into the Marvel Universe in really clever, subtle ways. It’s neat. The Cosmic stuff is fascinating, too, and what I find really interesting about it is the fact that he sees no need for a human perspective on it. Galactus, Order and Chaos argue and fight, and we don’t get all this through the eyes of the Silver Surfer or Quasar or Captain America or whatever. It’s gods fighting amongst themselves, and Ewing knows that doesn’t need a smaller character to be interesting, or even relatable. He writes the gods as characters in their own rights. So, yeah, I think it’s cool. Also, still great art. Foreman actually does an especially good job with the Troubleshooter stuff. The Tense stuff at the beginning. I’m still on the fence about the bigger stuff, with its CGI vibe, but when it comes to doing characters? Foreman’s excellent. Marvel should really be doing more to promote this as a Must-Read book. (On a side note: Starlin turned Adam Warlock into the Living Tribunal. And Ewing has now just straight-up murdered the Tribunal. I’m sure we’re all eagerly anticipating Starlin’s Infinity Correction to demonstrate how this was a mistake and Adam’s totally fine and alive and awesome and the only one awesomer than Adam Warlock is Thanos.)
USAvengers #2, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Aburtov. Speaking of Must-Reads. We open with Thanos having killed all Earth’s heroes. Turns out, this is Captain Danimerica’s back-story. Look, I have a theme with Captain America nicknames, OK? Samerica, Steverica, now Danimerica. Huh, I just realized I should use Stevemerica. Anyway! Danimerica is Danielle Cage, the daughter of Luke and Jessica. Luckily, the Black Widow managed to form a team to take Thanos down. Hulkling, Black Knight, Excalibur and Guillotine all stabbed him with their magic swords. That’s . . . pretty awesome, actually. Thanos’ attack was what Captain Marvel stopped, so clearly, she made the right call with Ulysses, in that case, and Tony was an asshole for getting all pissy about it. Screw Tony. Also! Dani mentions multi-versal adventures and team-ups with a dozen versions of herself! That sounds amazing! Dammit, Ewing, why do you keep teasing awesome stories I want to read? Anyway, she’s come back in time, chasing the Golden Skull. He’s been hitting some targets, but they’re not sure what his real goal is. But Roberto guesses where they can learn more: A conference of rich people in Miami. So the team goes down, looking fiiiiiine.
This really is a magical panel. And I love how Medina captures each character. ‘Berto, Toni and Maverick all look comfortable, because they know the value of looking good. Sam and Aikku look more awkward, because they’re both pretty down-to-earth people. And Doreen? Doreen’s rocking the tux because she knows she looks good. This issue is as good as the previous one. Dani’s cool. I like her backstory. It’s really neat stuff and hints at a ton of stories I want to read. (Most notably, it hints at an Eternity War. This isn’t the first time it’s been referenced. It’s definitely something Ewing wants to build up to. With any luck, it’ll be an actual event, somewhere down the line.) The Golden Skull is a thinly-veiled shot at Trump, which is great. I mean, Ewing created the character years ago. But him being Golden Skull? Perfect. There’s also this description:
So, yeah, Ewing’s turned the Golden Skull into a commentary on Trump. And it’s fun. I love the art. Medina does make Dani a little slimmer than other artists have. I prefer Ripped Dani, myself. Medina makes her more conventionally feminine, and it’s disappointing. But it’s still gorgeous art. Medina, Vlasco and Aburtov are top-notch at what they do. It’s nice to look at, and it conveys humour really well, when appropriate. Also, look at the team in their sweet-ass tuxes.
Mighty Captain Marvel #1, by Margaret Stohl, Ramon Rosanas and Michael Garland. Captain Marvel is fighting Hero Man, and they start to kiss. Turns out it’s a TV show, produced by Wacker Studios. Jessica Drew is delighted. Carol, less so, but it keeps Alpha Flight funded. Also, there’s a chair set aside for DeConnick. Aw, what a nice shout-out. It’s like they’re leaving an open invitation for her to come back any time. While Carol argues with the director, she gets a call from POTUS. Her ringtone, by the way, is, “Tell him, boy, bye.” Anyway, he lets her know there’s been an attack on an alien refugee camp. Army Rangers have taken hostages, including a little Kree girl. Carol goes to beat some ass and rescue the kid. So, uh, guys? This was really good. This was better than I expected. And I expected it to be good. This is really good. There’s a lot of humour, which has become something of a trademark for Captain Marvel, at this point. I will always love Jess taking joy in Carol’s suffering. I’m so glad Jess is still around. Brand and Puck are still great, too, and Wendy is still very sweet. As for Carol, she’s what she should be. Snarky, commanding, confident, self-questioning, frustrated at limitations placed on her, driven to help anyone she can. Very nuanced and complicated, basically. She makes a Star Wars joke, so there’s that. So Carol’s great. And Stohl’s building a very interesting story, very quickly. We’ve got the alien refugees fleeing the Chitauri, who are on a path for Earth (which also connects to events in Captain Stevemerica’s title), and we’ve got bounty hunters going after targets within the camps. An intriguing mystery, that. And we’ve got the Cap’n Marvel TV show, and I’m not gonna lie, I would love an entire issue of Carol, Jess, and a couple other characters doing an MST3K-style commentary on an episode. Make it an annual. Oh my god I want that annual so bad now. The art is also better than I’d expected. I wasn’t on board with Rosanas. But he did a solid job here. It’s very superheroic, but he also nails the comic beats, which isn’t a surprise, given his last project was Ant-Man. But it’s really good work. And Garland’s colours are solid. I’ll be honest, I still would’ve preferred an all-female creative team on this book, but I feel more confident now that Rosanas and Garland will deliver great work. And yeah, assuming Stohl stays on this book, I’ve got a feeling it’s gonna be a great run.
Patsy Walker aka Hellcat! #14, by Kate Leth, Brittney Williams and Rachelle Rosenberg. Patsy, Ian and Zoe are back at the apartment, and Ian and Zoe have a lot of tension. Zoe’s trying to sleep on the couch, but can’t sleep, and Ian’s not sleeping, so they talk. Zoe tries to get him into bed, but he refuses, and tells her she never accepted him, she abandoned him when he needed someone, and as soon as the whole thing with Black Cat is over, he wants her out of his life. Go, Ian. She was toxic, so cut her out. She looks crushed, which is actually a really nice touch, but Ian is 100% in the right here. In the morning, Jubilee shows up with coffee and pastries. She says she’s heard word that Black Cat was going after the super-people on the temp agency rolodex. Black Cat leads her gang in a bank robbery. When Patsy and the remaining gang check it out, Zoe notes that getting the claws off Black Cat will break the spell, and Patsy comes up with a plan. As always, this book is fun and adorable and wonderful. It was nice seeing Ian put his past with Zoe away. And his concern for Tom through the issue was really sweet. Obviously, we all root for Ian and Tom. They are the best couple. Hellcat’s great. Read it.
Black Panther World of Wakanda #3, by Roaxane Gay, Alitha Martinez, Roberto Poggi and Rachelle Rosenberg. Mistress Zola delivers a speech to the Dora Milaje about their decision to cut ties with T’Challa. Folami questions the decision. Aneka and Ayo request a leave of absence, with Aneka making the mistake of saying they’re friends. They’re more than that, and Ayo hates Aneka trying to hide it. Especially when Zola has made it clear all along that she knows what’s going on between them. Folami goes to Shuri and Ramonda, who are discussing T’Challa’s secrets. Folami says some of the Dora Milaje plan to betray Shuri. Ooh, Folami, you liar. Shuri doesn’t buy it for a second, and trusts the Dora Milaje implicitly. Luckily, someone else overheard, and tells Folami to get in contact with a guy named Aoko. In the airport, Aneka says she needs more time to adjust to what they are. In Central Park, they declare their love for each other. Aww. I like this issue. It doesn’t jump around in time, the way the previous issues did, so it’s a little more focused. It goes deeper into the relationship between Aneka and Ayo. And we also get more developments with Folami, who’s a really interesting character. I’ve been wanting to see more of her. I’m really looking forward to seeing where her subplot goes. But mostly, this issue’s all about the romance, and it’s sweet. You can’t help but root for these two crazy kids. The art’s nice. Not great, but nice. Faces are sometimes weird-looking, but there’s also some really pretty, romantic panels. Rosenberg’s colours are obviously on point. She’s amazing. I think Martinez’s style just isn’t for me, though. Still, while this may not be a classic comic, I’m enjoying the story.
Gamora #2, by Nicole Perlman, Marco Checchetto and Andres Mossa. Gamora is approaching the planet Ubliex, which is on the edge of a singularity. She’s also being chased by Badoon fighters. She uses the singularity’s accretion disk to kill the Badoon, but gets caught herself. On the planet, the Badoon Princess is being mugged. She’s mouthy. I like her. She completes her delivery of some drug to Klaxon, the guy the Badoon have hired to capture her. Gamora’s ship crashes, and L’Wit goes to check it out, and meets Gamora. So this issue feels like a step up, but it’s still not great. It’s trying very hard to be clever, and it feels a little cliched. L’Wit being a spunky drug runner rather than a pampered princess feels like it’s meant to be a surprising twist, but it’s not at all surprising. I do find myself liking her, but honestly, that’s more down to my own tastes than any real value in the character. She is bland and generic. “Spunky crime girl with a heart of gold!” It’s a really common idea, and Perlman doesn’t really bring a unique spin on it. The ansgt of the first issue is absent here, as Gamora is a mix of snark and murder. So that’s more enjoyable. I like the art, but once again, I take issue with L’Wit. Her design, once again, is really bland and generic. She’s a Cute Alien Girl, who looks mostly human, but with a slightly weird forehead. Bleh. I think it would’ve been far more interesting to make her look like a Badoon. Give her a very reptilian look. If anyone decides they don’t want to read the comic because one of the women isn’t hot? To hell with ’em. Give us alien chicks who look like aliens! It’s way more interesting than alien women all looking conventionally attractive by modern North American standards of beauty. That’s boring. We live in a time where people proudly jerk it to cartoon animals. I think we can deal with a weird-looking alien girl in our comics.
Mosaic #4, by Geoffrey Thorne, Khary Randolph, Thony Silas and Emilio Lopez. A Brand guy calls his boss on her vacation to let her know about the Morris situation. Morris, meanwhile, is in Spider-Man’s mind, and not having an easy time of it. Spider-Man thinks a lot of science thoughts. Awesomely, we also get snippets of panels from classic Spider-Man comics, using the actual art from the comics. Morris uses Peter’s brains to figure himself out. Then he’s attacked by Peter, defending against psychic intrusion. And Morris learns a lot more about what he does. He also disagrees with Uncle Ben’s Power and Responsibility line, and has a fairly interesting perspective of his own. Very selfish. He feels that special people rise to the top. If you’ve got a gift, you use it to go for as much as you can, as fast as you can. Morris isn’t a superhero. This series continues to be very intriguing. This issue has some space I feel is wasted, but it’s got a really good premise. Spider-Man is one of the biggest heroes, and a major part of that is his philosophy of responsibility. While I actually have issues of my own with the mantra, there is definitely value to it. Which is what makes this issue so valuable. Because it’s arguably the biggest superhero philosophy, it’s worth seeing Morris’ response to it, and seeing what his own philosophy is. It says so much about him. It shows what kind of person he is, and his outright contempt of the mantra displays his arrogance and his selfishness, and his utter faith in his own father, which is touching. The art is great, too. The psychic battle is fantastic, and really lets the team play around. So, yeah, great issue, and the series continues to develop really well.