X-Men Comics of February 22 2017
Extraordinary X-Men #19, by Jeff Lemire, Eric Koda, Morry Hollowell and Andrew Crossley. As the X-Men and the Inhumans are fighting, Sapna drags Illyana inside the Soulsword. Which is a neat trick. And really interesting visuals. It’s black. And it looks really cool. Sapna’s feeling lonely inside the sword, and wants Illyana to stay with her. Forever. So the issue is Illyana trying to convince Sapna that she can’t keep Illyana there. It’s kinda sweet. But, I don’t know, maybe too sappy? A little too much, with Illyana’s speeches to Sapna? I don’t know. It just didn’t quite click for me. It’s probably just me. It is well-written. And the art’s cool. I really like how Koda and Hollowell/Crossley do the world inside the Soulsword. Special credit to the colour artists, Hollowell and Crossley. I have no idea who did what, of course, but the colours inside the Soulsword are great. The darkness, and the light whenever energy is used, and it’s just great visual effects. So the art side of the issue definitely worked.
IvX #5, by Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Javier Garron and David Curiel. Karnak beats the crap out of Fantomex, which I imagine is very satisfying to many readers. He also finds Lockjaw. Meanwhile, Gorgon fights Colossus, and it’s more even, which is kind of a shame, honestly. I think it would’ve been much better to have Colossus fighting several of them at once. The others instead look for Black Bolt, who’s being guarded by Havok. I’m not totally on board with how his powers are done here. He does complain about the Inhumans using propaganda to make Cyclops look bad and convince the world he was a Hitler. He also says the fight isn’t really about Terrigen, it’s about Emma and Scott, but, like, no, I’m pretty sure it’s about the goddamn poison cloud killing mutants. I’m pretty sure that’s at the heart of the conflict. (Also, hey, if you don’t think it’s about Terrigen, why not tell Medusa, right there, that the Terrigen is going to kill all mutants within a couple weeks. This would be the time to tell her. And then give her a choice: Help the mutants, or fight to condemn them. But then, I guess having that sort of moral nuance just wouldn’t fit this story.) Back on Earth, the NuHumans have woken up Forge, and discussing the situation with him. And Lunella makes some improvements to his design for the Terrigen eater. Because she’s awesome like that. Good on the NuHumans for siding with the mutants, though they still have some doubts. This issue’s an improvement, but still has serious problems. I think Havok probably should’ve told Medusa about the fact that mutants are almost dead. (Hell, the Inhumans probably should’ve been told after being tossed in Limbo. Once Medusa and her people were subdued, there was really no reason not to explain the situation. And then it could’ve set up some really good moral discussion among the Inhumans.) I do appreciate the NuHumans deciding to help the mutants, though, once they know what’s going on. Lunella getting to show her smarts is always good to see, of course, and there’s a really good panel of Ms. Marvel jumping to Cyclops’ defence during a fight, in a reference to them being teammates. The art’s good. I don’t normally like Garron’s art, but it’s actually better than usual here. I think because there’s fewer facial close-ups than usual. There was just less of the stuff that turns me off about Garron. And Curiel’s colours are solid. So this issue is an overall improvement, and sets up what I’m hoping will be a pretty god finale.
That’s the X-stuff, here’s what else I picked up.
Black Panther #11, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse, Goran Sudzuka, Walden Wong, Karl Story, Roberto Poggi, Laura Martin, Matt Milla, Larry Molinar, Rachelle Rosenberg and Paul Mounts. Holy crap. That’s a lot of finishers and colour artists. Tuti’s forces are at the gate of the Golden City. So T’Challa raises the dead to defend the city. And Shuri turns her skin to stone, because she’s badass like that. Tetu and Zenzi are even more dangerous than it had been believed, so T’Challa orders his forces to fall back inside the city. And he has Changamire give a speech transmitted across Wakanda. Some of Tetu’s troops come back to their senses. Zenzi has the ones still under her influence kill them, and powers them up even further. So, Wakanda’s forces continue to fall back, and Tetu and his men follow. Right to their dooms. This issue is for the people who wanted more action in the book. This issue is pretty much all action. Shuri narrates it, and her narration is cool, but mostly, it’s a whole lot of ass-kicking, and it’s great. Very exciting. T’Challa’s plans are good. Between Changamire and the use of the dead, and continually luring Tetu further in, it’s clever stuff. But next issue is what I’m really excited for. This whole first year has been hammering home the point that No One Man should hold absolute power, and next issue is going to be the climax of all that, as T’Challa finally has to deal with the Midnight Angels. So that’ll be fascinating to see. Still, this issue’s really good. Really good art, all through. All the artists did great work and made for an exciting battle issue. Good stuff.
Hulk #3, by Mariko Tamaki, Nico Leon and Matt Milla. The cops are investigating the jerkass landlord’s death, and it’s shown on the local news, which Jen is watching. She receives some books from the reporter, Flo, still wanting to talk to her. Then she gets a call from Patsy, which leads to a rooftop conversation. Jen doesn’t want Patsy in her life right now, because she wants to feel like a regular person, and Patsy isn’t regular. It’s sad, but context makes it clear that Jen intends it to only be temporary, and Patsy is determined not to disappear on Jen, so it’s also sweet. A couple police officers talk to Maise, and I gotta say, Maise’s apartment building seems pretty amazing. There’s a pile of mannequin parts on a stairway. There’s someone writing a story on the hallway walls. It just seems like a super-weird place and that’s charming. Back in her life, Jen is researching Maise’s life. She used to be a happy, outgoing person, active in her community, until she was beaten nearly to death, and it changed her. So, Jen relates to her. This is a very quiet issue, even by the standards of this book. Jen is on the verge of a panic attack at one point, but Bradley interrupts and she calms down. The conversation between Jen and Patsy is really good. I like that Patsy agrees to give Jen some space, but has no intention of being cut out of Jen’s life for lonTheir friendship’s really nice, and I appreciate that Patsy’s not going to give up on it, and that Jen’s glad Patsy’s not going to give up. They may not be together right now, but they will be together again, because they’re true friends and nothing can keep them apart for long. Maise’s storyline is interesting. It just keeps escalating. Poor Maise. The art’s phenomenal. Leon and Milla work beautifully together. Really expressive, and really effective use of light and shadow. Also: Good clothes. It’s weird to point that out, but it’s true, Leon and Milla do clothes well. It really helps to make the book more authentic. This book is still the slowest of slow burns, but it’s also extremely well-made, and I highly recommend it.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #16, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain. Lunella is in the Astral Plane. It’s trippy. So Bustos and Bonvillain get to have a lot of fun with it, even if it is only briefly. She then wakes up in Dr. Strange’s house. She’s not impressed with him. And guys. Guys guys guys guys guys. Guys.
Oh my gosh. This is the best thing. It’s adorable. Anyway, Strange tells her she’s fine, and sends her home. It’s Halloween, so there’s a lot of kids in costumes. Including Zoe and Eduardo as Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. And then they run into Doom! Multiple Dooms. Gosh-darn Dr. Doom! Strange shows up to help, and Lunella takes a growing potion to become 30′ tall so she can kick some Doom-y ass, while she contemplates magic, and the rules it must have. This issue’s wonderful. DEVIL TINYSAUR, GUYS! Man. How can you not love that? He’s adorable every issue, but this one just takes it beyond adorable. So much squee, you guys. Strange’s cameo is really cool, handled really well, with him trying to impart some wisdom on her about keeping an open mind. And Doom’s attack is fun and that plot’s good. But mostly, this issue is all about Devil Tinysaur. I mean, come on! Best! Thing! Ever!
Mighty Captain Marvel #2, by Margaret Stohl, Ramon Rosanas and Michael Garland. Carol, Puck and Sasquatch are doing some work outside AFSS, while also singing MC Hammer, because really, life should just be a series of MC Hammer songs. Bean’s inside, being babysat by Chewie, and her eyes light up with stars which causes Carol’s powers to flare up. Which makes it an inconvenient time for the crew of the Cap’n Marvel show to arrive. And we get to meet the Alpha Flight cast! They combined Brand and Sasquatch into a green-furred dog! The filming freaks Bean out, and she screws up Carol’s powers again. This is a good issue. Really fun. I do love the Cap’n Marvel show subplot, and I hope it continues. But the main plot is Bean, and how she’s affecting Carol’s powers. Because it’s obvious she’s responsible. Though it’s also obvious she doesn’t mean to. Bean’s not bad. She can’t help being dangerous to Carol, which makes the whole thing sad. I would say I hope things turn out well, but Bean is a child and very cute and this is a YA book, so of course Bean will be OK. Stohl’s doing some good work here. Rosanas and Garland are doing good work on the art, too. It’s a good-looking comic. Very much a traditional art style, but in particular, Garland’s colours are excellent. Very bright and superheroic, but then there’s a chunk that’s set in very dim lighting, and Garland knocks it out of the park there. So I’m enjoying this volume of Captain Marvel, so far.
Ghost Rider #4, by Felipe Smith, Danillo Beyruth, Jesus Aburtov and Federico Blee. Ghost Rider busts up some criminal hideout. He’s pretty damn scary. But he doesn’t kill anyone. Despite Eli’s urging, Robbie holds back a little. The next day, Amadeus, Laura, Cindy, Coulson and May drive up to the garage Robbie works at. Robbie and Eli are watching Rabioso, with Eli saying they should kill him. Ramon argues with old gangmates still trying to bring him back in, and the conversation gets him so angry he yells at Gabe for putting his tools away. Robbie’s pretty furious when he finds out. And a subsequent scene brings up something interesting: All of the All-New New Fantastic Four have siblings. They all share that in common. Huh. So Robbie goes to talk to Ramon, and things get tense, especially when Ramon’s old buddies try a drive-by against him. Finally, finally, an issue of Ghost Rider that’s focused on Ghost Rider. And it’s great. The best issue so far, easily. There’s a lot of tension with Robbie still trying to fight Eli’s influence, and the Ramon subplot is really good, and seeing the Ghost Rider in action is frigging awesome. Beyruth and Aburtov make him terrifying. It’s so great. We do still get a little of the monster plot, but less of it, and I did enjoy the moment of the three heroes talking about their siblings. See, this is why they should totally form an All-New New Fantastic Four. They have things in common! And we’d get to see their siblings interacting, too! I mean, Gabe and Gabby would be pretty wonderful as friends, since they’re both so happy. Gabby would absolutely love Gabe. Anyway, this was great. Really cool issue. Robbie remains the best Ghost Rider.
Champions Monsters Unleashed, by Jeremy Whitley, Ted Brandt, Ro Stein and Frank D’Armata. It opens on a news report about protests over a Roxxon Oil pipeline. I have to think this is a reference to DAPL. Kamala wants to go get involved, Miles is less sure, then the news mentions that Roxxon’s hired super-powered contractors to break up the protests. The reporter is scared off by those contractors: The Freelancers. Who have cool designs. One of them’s a hot chubby girl! I already love her! And she makes the reporter believe her insides are full of snakes, which is pretty freaky and cool and I like that, too. The Champions confront them, and honestly, I love the Freelancers. They are amazing villains. And the fight is great, and there’s great character moments. This is great. It’s such a great comic. I love it. Whitley has great voices for the characters, much better than Waid. But just in general, the characters sound the way they should, aside from Viv, as Whitley is using Waid’s stupid unemotional take. (Though even there, Whitley’s take is closer to correct than Waid’s is.) And the Freelancers. Man. So good. So much fun. They’re not Whitley’s idea, of course. Waid and Ramos came up with them. But Whitley got to write them first, and I love them so much. They are delightful. So much fun. Might is a big, muscular girl who’s a total bully but is amusing about it. Panic’s a hot fat girl who’s full of pride and arrogance and it makes her great. Hotness is a guy who’s a complete idiot which makes him kind of amazing. Crush is a manipulative girl who keeps appealing to everyone’s pride and she’s so blatant but it keeps working and it makes her great. And then there’s Cursed Cass, who’s invulnerable and loves bombs. All she has is invulnerability, so she makes it work for her by blowing shit up. Which is so great. The Freelancers are all amazing. And it makes for such a fun comic. There’s so much humour. Whitley’s a really funny writer, and he absolutely kills it here. The art team, likewise, does an excellent job, with some nice physical comedy, and some nice expressiveness. This is great. You should definitely read it.
Occupy Avengers #4, by David Walker, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz and Wil Quintana. First, a recap of Tilda Johnson’s career and the fact that she’s awesome. Walker writes the greatest Tilda ever. Anyway, Nick Fury fires a rocket at Nighthawk. Clint talks Fury down with some old SHIELD confirmation codes. Funny note: Fury keeps chewing on a protein bar. It’s clearly meant as an homage to Fury’s old cigars, but since Marvel bans smoking, it’s protein bars, instead. That’s really clever. Clint then explains the situation to Fury (who is, obviously, an old Fury LMD). It was set to guard an old SHIELD bunker with parts for LMDs. It was attacked by people looking for LMD parts. And then it gets attacked again. And Tilda gets to show why she’s called Deadly Nightshade and it’s awesome. I love Tilda. This is a good issue. I’ll admit it could have used more of Tilda being Tilda. While we get her narration, it’s not really as snarky as her dialogue usually is under Walker. But she does get some good lines. The LMD plot is fairly interesting. We’ll see where that goes. And we’ll see how much the book continues to handle real-world issues while still advancing the LMD plot. Great writing, great art, this is a really good book.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #14, by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales and Jason Keith. Itsy-Bitsy keeps killing people, and every time Spider-Man and Deadpool fight her, she beats them. So, in a barn in Westchester, Nightcrawler has been called in to give them some fighting tips, and that leads to Deadpool and Spider-Man having it out over whether to kill Itsy-Bitsy. This is a really tense issue. Spider-Man’s on a dark path. And honestly, Nightcralwer’s presence only makes it feel that much darker. Because Kelly writes a more classic Nightcrawler. Not the more recent “stabbing people is cool” version from EXM, but more the 2000s religious version. Spider-Man and Nightcrawler have a long and endearing friendship, and Nightcrawler is there as Spidey’s friend, and it just makes it that much clearer how different Spidey is here. We also learn who Patient Zero is, and it’s a great reveal that I never even considered but which makes so much sense. Worth noting: As dark as this issue is, Deadpool still doesn’t stop making jokes. Because that’s just how Deadpool is. He makes jokes when he’s happy, when he’s angry, when he’s nervous. He can’t stop himself. But the jokes he’s making fit the tone of the scene, and show his mood. It’s a tough balance, but Kelly’s always managed to handle it perfectly. The art is good, too. It is pretty ’90s, but that works for the book, and it’s definitely exciting. I’m still very much enjoying this book . . . and will be skipping the next two issues, as they’re not Kelly/McGuinness.
Mosaic #5, by Geoffrey Thorne, Khary Randolph, Thony Silas, Andres Mossa and Emilio Lopez. Morris, in Spider-Man’s body, is watching the Brand Corp HQ, and remembering a moment from his childhood, where his father tried to find a sponsor for him. His father’s been manipulating him for years, and he’s mad about it and wants to talk to his dad about it. Meanwhile, something’s being done with Morris’ physical body, something that’s causing him pain, and he leaves Spider-Man’s body to figure it out. He returns to his own body, where Busey takes him out. But Morris is cleverer than Busey thought. This is . . . very intriguing. Kind of a dark issue. Morris uses his power in a pretty cool way at one point. Now that this first arc is over, I look forward to seeing what Morris does next. He can do pretty much whatever he wants now. So that should makes things more exciting. The art’s great, too. Solid comic.