X-Men comics of January 25 2017
IvX #3, by Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule, Javier Garron, Andres Mossa, Jay David Ramos and Clayton Cowles. Inferno keeps Logan busy while Iso goes to deal with Forge’s Terrigen-sucking device. Inferno actually shows he’s kind of a badass, by impaling himself on Logan’s claws, to keep him in place while Inferno flash-fries him, while Iso uses Forge’s pride to help her figure out how to destroy his machine. Iso’s clever. The rest of the main Inhumans are in Limbo, which Johnny recognizes from a previous visit. But has he ever actually been to Illyana’s Limbo? I don’t know that he has. He’s been to other Limbos, but I’m not sure he’s been to this one. Regardless, the Inhumans make plans. They’ll break out of their cage and find X-Haven and hope the NuHumans get them out. Outside, Iso calls Ms. Marvel to help round up some help to retake New Attilan. This issue is . . . ehhhh. It’s not great. It’s not really what it should be, honestly. Here’s the thing: This is a story about a marginalized group fighting for their very right to life. And yet, that’s not being explored anywhere near as much as it should be. Seriously, that’s a Big Frigging Deal, but the story isn’t really treating it as important. This issue is all about the Inhumans preparing to take the fight back to the people fighting for their frigging existence. There should be deep exploration of the roots of the conflict, but there’s not. There’s really not. Logan tells Inferno they’re fighting for their lives, and it’s just used to set-up a cool moment for an Inhuman. This story just isn’t using the premise in an interesting way. There should be discussions about how far each side should be willing to go, and whether the other side has valid points of their own. There should be Inhumans who side with the mutants because they recognize that giving them a choice between leaving their world or dying is a horrible thing to do. Instead . . . we get pretty much nothing. And it’s stupid, and it’s boring. That’s probably the worst part. The lack of in-depth exploration of the themes behind the story creates a boring story. Look, say what you will about Bendis, when he does an event, he knows what themes he’s exploring, and he explores the hell out of them. His events may have bad pacing, but they’re still smart and he still knows why the stories exist. With IvX, I get the feeling that Lemire and Soule don’t actually know why it exists, beyond having a story where the Inhumans and the X-Men fight each other. And that’s boring and it’s stupid and shallow and just so damn lame. The art’s OK, I guess, though I’m not really a fan of Garron. Nice colours, though, from Mossa and Ramos.
Extraordinary X-Men #18, by Jeff Lemire, Victor Ibanez, Andrea Sorrentino, Jay David Ramos, Marcelo Miaolo and Joe Caramagna. We open with Forge meditating, as he imagines the device in his head to destroy the Terrigen Cloud. He builds it, and Storm comes down to tell him to load it onto the jet. He gets angry at how short she’s being with him, and she yells at him that she’s planning a war. He concedes the point. On the plane, Forge and Logan chat. Forge asks if he was at the Mansion when Logan killed the X-Men. Not cool, Forge. Seriously, dick move. I get that you’re curious, but that’s not something Logan’s going to want to be reminded of. If he brings it up, then you can ask, but don’t just bring it up out of nowhere. Dick move. Logan does agree to talk about it, though, using art by Sorrentino and Maiolo, because damn right. Logan says he heard rumours about a Cheyenne Reservation in South Dakota that held out against the Rhino Gang. Logan and Forge arrive at their destination, and Storm teleports in to talk to Forge. This issue’s pretty nice. It’s a nice little look into what Forge is capable of. I like that he’s a total hardcore badass in Logan’s time, keeping his little patch of home safe from the bad guys. The two scenes with Storm are pretty nice, too. I still think it was a dick move on Forge’s part to bring up Logan killing the X-Men. I mean, come on. Don’t do that. The art . . . I’m not actually a fan of Ibanez’s art. I think he does a lot of strange faces. There’s a panel of Storm that’s just freaky. Always happy for Sorrentino/Maiolo, though.
That’s the X-stuff, here’s what else I read.
Black Panther #10, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Laura Martin and Joe Sabino. Shuri arrives for a pleasant conversation with Aneka. Until Ayo attacks. Shuri tells them that Wakanda can’t stand against both their revolution and Tetu’s invasion. She wants them to decline to help Tetu, and when he’s defeated, they’ll be given a fair hearing. She also notes that T’Challa is the most honorable man she’s ever known. Meanwhile, T’Challa’s in a war meeting, learning that Tetu’s army is only a day or two away. Back with the Midnight Angels, they discuss Shuri’s offer. The old woman advising them notes that they’ve built a nation, which is more difficult to justify attacking than Tetu’s terrorists. T’Challa goes to meet with Changamire, to talk. He wants Changamire to counter Zenzi, as a counter-inspiration. Clever. It’s a strong issue. The conversation between Shuri and the Angels is great. Really tense and really interesting. The conversation between T’Challa and Changamire is great, too, with some nice discussion of politics. This issue also sets up the climax for next issue, which should be pretty awesome. The art is good, too. I prefer Stelfreeze over Sprouse, but Sprouse and Story do good work together, and Martin’s colours remain rich and gorgeous. She’s an absolutely top-notch colour artist. All praise to her.
Hulk #2, by Mariko Tamaki, Nico Leon, Dalibor Talajic, Matt Milla and Cory Petit. Jen is going about her day. She’s dealing with her client’s eviction case, and trying to get back to normal, while also trying not to think about normal, because it’s a reminder that there was something other than normal. She goes to deal with Maise’s landlord, who’s a sexist dick. Then she goes to sit in the park, and kids play at being attacked by the Hulk, and a kid playing Hawkeye “kills” him. And she goes back to her office to try to ward off another panic attack with more cooking videos. Man, this series is so frigging good. If you’re interested in big fights and action sets, this book probably isn’t for you. But if you love great character-driven storytelling that explores trauma and anxiety, you will love this comic. It’s brilliant work. There’s still some humour. Like Jen noting that the sound of a man’s fury always calms her down. But there’s also all this tension, with her PTSD, and her attempts to be normal without thinking about being normal. It’s wonderful stuff, really emotional. And the art does a great job with it all, too. Leon and Milla just kill it. It’s just stellar. It’s nice and bright and colourful and normal when Jen’s feeling good. But then when the tension starts to sink in, it gets intense, and increasingly dark. And the aftermath, once she’s calmed back down, is still dark, but less tense, and more moody. But then Bradley, her super-gay assistant, is in colour, as a friend reaching out. It’s really effective. This is an excellent book. I might even go so far as to compare this to the Vision solo from last year, in terms of being a superhero title that’s more focused on human emotions than on superheroing. This isn’t on the same level as Vision, because what the hell is, but still, if you enjoyed Vision (and you’re insane if you didn’t because that thing was fucking PERFECTION), then you’ll enjoy this, too.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #15, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain and Travis Lanham. Lunella’s in her science class, being attacked by robots. She can’t beat them, so she’s trying to call for help. Devil is over at Coney Island, looking at the amusement park. Heh. Luckily, it’s Ironheart to the rescue. Lunella and Ironheart chase after the retreating robots. And Lunella runs into Dr. Doom! Who quickly vanishes. Then a cool conversation between Lunella and Riri, and Devil comes in carrying a big teddy bear in his mouth and oh man it’s the best thing. This is a really good issue. Riri’s charming. And man, I really love Lunella. She’s the best. And the art is adorable. Bustos and Bovillain really outdid themselves. Every issue is super-cute, but something about this issue was even cuter than usual and I loved it. I really do love this book and if you’re not reading it, you should, because this issue has a big flame-red T-Rex happily carrying a big teddy bear in its mouth.
Ghost Rider #3, by Felipe Smith, Danillo Beyruth, Jesus Aburtov (with Federico Blee, Morry Hollowell and Dono Sanchez Almara) and Joe Caramagna. Robbie goes after Hulk, thinking he’s Mr. Hyde. Which makes a good time for the monster Cho and Laura were chasing to pop up, just as Ghost Rider and Hulk teleport to the Arizona desert. Fight! And it’s a pretty awesome fight. During the fight, Ghost Rider gets an upgrade. Right before he turns it off and turns back to Robbie. They talk through their disagreement, and then go back to Hillrock Heights. Where the monster’s gone and Laura’s eating torta with Mad Dog. Which is hilarious. The monster apparently left as soon as Ghost Rider and Hulk did. This issue also features a brief cameo from Gabby and Jonathan The Unstoppable. Who’s drawn way more like a wolverine than in the actual Wolverine title. Still cute. I think wolverines are cute. Anyway, they track the monster to Las Vegas. And now it has Spider-powers. I wonder who it could have gotten those from. OK. So. More. Frigging. Ghost Rider. This is getting ridiculous. I get that Smith had this New Fantastic Four story he wanted to tell. And it’s a good story. It’s a fun story. But this is the first goddamn arc of a new volume of Ghost Rider. And the title character is getting entirely too little focus, and it’s frustrating. I mean, we do get Ghost Rider vs. Hulk, and it’s a really cool fight. But even that’s as much about the Hulk. And after, he just disappears from the story, aside from a one-page thing where his boss tells him not to ask questions about the new guy. This is such a stupid choice for the first arc. People who read the previous run are picking this up for more Robbie. People who are picking this up because Robbie was on SHIELD are picking it up for Robbie. No one came into this wanting to read about other characters who already have solos and team titles. I just do not get the logic behind making this the opning arc. I really don’t. The only thing I can think of is that they needed to rush it out ahead of an All-New Fantastic Four series, but I feel like, if that comic was coming any time soon, we’d have gotten the announcement by now. So they really could’ve done an actual frigging Ghost Rider story for the opening arc, and saved this for the second arc. But nope, apparently, we needed as little of the entire draw of the book in the opening arc as possible. So frustrating.
Animosity The Rise, by Marguerite Bennett, Juan Doe and Marshall Dillon. For the record, the very first page has a dog ripping a young boy’s throat out. That’s how this one-shot starts. That’s what kind of book Animosity is. Most of the issue is set at a wharf. You’ve got dolphins, a sea lion, foxes, a cat, seagulls and a crane. And they all wake up, and everything goes to shit. The dolphins start killing people, because dolphins are assholes. The crane attacks people. With the foxes, we learn the male has been cheating. Damn. The cat tells his owner it’s not her fault her guy left. And the sea lion rescues a woman who was about to be attacked by a dolphin, but gets her fin ripped off in revenge. The vet from the first issue tries to help her, and the next day, he’s in a detainment centre, and a gorgeous wolf lets him out, and tells him about some of what’s going on. Which is neat, we didn’t know this stuff. Chicago’s been bombed, New Delhi is burning, rats have taken control of Paris, planes are being knocked out of the sky by geese and ducks. Luckily, San Francisco is doing pretty well. The animals are well-organized and there’s been little violence. Still some. 144 000 died, and it’s considered a peaceful transition. Man, I love Animosity. So dark, but so great. Really smart. Doe’s art on this is excellent. He draws some great animals, and some great carnage. I do honestly love how Bennett takes the concept of talking animals and turns it into a horror, and an exploration of humanity, the good and the bad. It’s great, fascinating stuff.
Jem & the Holograms #23, by Kelly Thompson, Meredith McClaren, M. Victoria Robado and Shawn Lee. Fox abandoning the Holograms last issue right before they were set to perform has them scared, but Raya, of the Stingers, steps in to help. Much to the hilarious anger of the Misfits. Luckily, the Misfits have another plan. Said plan involves a giant cake with fireworks. A hundred fireworks. Which gives possibly the greatest panel of the week.
My Little Pony Friends Forever #36, by Christina Rice, Tony Fleecs.