X-Men comics of March 22 2017
Extraordinary X-Men #20, by Jeff Lemire, Victor Ibanez, Jay Ramos and Joe Caramagna. All the mutants who’d been staying at X-Haven in Limbo are being taken home. Storm is all emotional about it, and how she can’t believe it’s finally happening, and whatever. Then she asks Jean what her plans are, and that it might be time for a fresh start. Almost like a resurrection right right that’s what she means it’s so clever. No-Girl comes over to let Storm know she’s hearing a call for help, from South Dakota, and Logan and Forge take Jean, Anole and Glob to check it out. They get attacked by Wild Sentinels. Once they’re taken out, they find Cerebra’s head in a barn. No-Girl decides to give Cerebra her own future robot body, and go back to living as a brain in a floating jar. Because even for brains in jars, status quo is god. And then it ends on a softball game as a sign that the franchise is back to allowing happiness to exist, rather than simply being an unending chain of horrible events that threaten the future of the entirety of the mutant race. By the way, Marvel, can we go more than 5 years without another of those stories? How about just never going back to that well at all? Anyway, as a finale issue, this was . . . honestly kinda lame. It felt weirdly disjointed. And I think a lot of that is a reflection of Lemire trying to balance too many plots throughout the series. So he had to touch on a lot of them, briefly, but none of them were given the room they really needed. Which, again, is a pretty good summation of the series as a whole. So this issue just ends up feeling oddly unsatisfying. Also, it’s just a matter of personal taste, but I’m still not a fan of Ibanez’s art. His faces just look really weird to me. Like I said, though, that’s down to taste, and there’s nothing actually wrong with his work. The colours are good, too. This issue is officially the end of this era, and good riddance to it. It’s an era that will go down as largely forgettable. Not even really interesting enough to be remembered as bad. I mean, I’d like to give my thoughts on the past year or so of X-Men, but I barely remember any of it. So, yeah, I’m just relieved to see this crap end.
That’s the only X-title, but here’s what else I picked up.
Black Panther #12, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Scott Hanna, Laura Martin, Matt Milla and Joe Sabino. Changamire hosts a meeting to decide the future of Wakanda. T’Challa and his advisers meet with the Midnight Angels. There’s a whole lot of debate, about freedom and law and justice and duty. Once they’ve broken for the day, Aneka starts ranting about T’Challa, and it’s honestly kinda fun. She also calls him the Orphan King, in an insulting way, which bothers Changamire’s wife. Turns out, she’s an orphan. Changamire uses Aneka’s mistake as a teaching moment. I like Changamire. The guy never stops thinking, and he can’t turn off the teacher in him, and it’s really cool. He and his wife remind her of what T’Challa’s lost, and how much he’s been hurt. Meanwhile, T’Challa has a war meeting about Zenzi, then talks to Shuri, and says he never should have left her when Thanos attacked Wakanda, and also confesses to not being a king. And Shuri basically tells him he’s full of shit, and it’s great. At the risk of spoilers: It is decided that Wakanda will become a constitutional monarchy. T’Challa will still be king, but people will elect representatives who will be the main lawmakers. This is pretty much exactly what I was hoping would happen, and exactly what SHOULD have happened. I’ve talked in the past about how I’m not a fan of monarchies. It’s more accurate to say I’m not a fan of dictatorships, and monarchies, traditionally, have been dictatorships. Constitutional monarchies go a long way to limiting that. So, yeah, it’s great to see it go this way. And, of course, the issue also has some fantastic philosophical discussion, excellent characterization, and continues to make Wakanda feel very authentic. (Despite some jackass writing in to complain about the book having LGBTQ+ themes, which he feels is inappropriate in a book based in an African country. Which is a stupid position to take. Wakanda’s meant to be advanced and enlightened, of course they’d be totally fine with gay people, and there’s never been any indication otherwise.) The art, as well, is really good. I’m still loving this book, which is one of the smartest comics on the stands.
Hulk #4, by Mariko Tamaki, Nico Leon, Matt Milla and Cory Petit. Jen is thinking about bad days, and Maise’s PTSD from the beating she took a while ago. Maise still isn’t answering her phone. Bradley is still the best assistant. Jen heads out to see Maise, after dealing with a large woman being sued by a furniture store. The woman isn’t in the issue for long, just one page, but I already love her, and she sets a comedic tone for the next few pages as Jen gets to Maise’s building and isn’t particularly impressed. I goddamn love this apartment building. It is weird and creepy and terrifying and amazing. Buuuut then she actually talks to Maise and the feels start. This is a great issue. There’s some great comedy with Maise’s building, and then a cliffhanger that sets up a need for Jen to Hulk out (we don’t actually see her Hulk out yet, though). Jen’s attempt to empathize with Maise, to talk about her own recent trauma, was really good. It was pretty emotional. And it felt, at least to me, like Jen was reaching out to Maise as much for her own sake as for Maise’s. She knows what Maise went through, and wants Maise to know that, but beyond that, Maise knows what Jen went through. The art, as usual, is stellar. Leon gets to stretch his comedic muscles a little. He really does have fun with the apartment building. He gives it such an unsettling atmosphere, and it’s just so strange that you can’t help but laugh. And Jen’s expressions the whole time are priceless. And Milla continues to kill on colours. When the heaviness starts, they lay down some major creepiness. I won’t spoil the moment, but if you read the issue, you’ll know the exact moment I’m talking about. Because damn, those eyes. Hulk is just such a great book. The whole team is doing amazing work.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #17, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain and Travis Lanham. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one thing you need to know about this issue.
Anyway, Moon Girl’s with the X-Men – Storm, Logan, Forge, Kurt and Colossus – on a trip to White Plains. Forge has some equipment stashed at an old, closed-down mall. She wants to use a Cerebro he kept there, so she can find Doom. Wait, sorry, she’s looking for:
Lunella thinks the Gosh Darn Dr. Doom she encountered is from the past, or an alternate reality, and she can plug the Omni-Wave Generator into Cerebro to scan for him. The plan goes . . . something? The X-Men are changed into their ’80s costumes. Punk Storm! Lunella accidentally teleported them back to the ’80s, when the mall was still active, and fashion was horrible. Yeah, that’s right, ’80s fashion sucked. Anyway, Doom shows up to attack, and during the fight, we get this:
As always, this series is a delight. The X-Men are lots of fun here. Kurt’s written weird, complaining a lot at the start of the issue. But then we get Punk Storm, which was, and will always be, Best Storm. That aside, the main thrust of the issue is for Lunella to learn humility. To learn that she can’t do everything alone, and even that – brilliant as she is – she can still make mistakes. A major complaint about this book is that Lunella is arrogant and bratty. What these people often seem not to grasp is that, uh, yeah, that’s kinda the point, and that moving past that is a big part of her character arc. And it’s being handled really well. As good as the writing is, a lot of praise also needs to be heaped on the art. Bustos and Bonvillain are amazing. Bustos’ lines are so expressive and dynamic and fun. And Bonvillain’s colours are bright and colourful and enhances the lines so well. Bonvillain is a top-notch colour artist, one of the best in the industry right now. And comics are absolutely lousy with amazing colour artists, so that’s saying something. Every month, this comic is a visual treat. Which also has great writing. It’s such a good book. I hope it lasts for years to come.
Ultimates 2 #5, by Al Ewing, Travel Foreman, Dan Brown and Joe Sabino. First, we get The Life of Philip Vogt. Then, we move onto the fight on Taa II, between the Ultimates and the Troubleshooters. T’Challa, in nothing but a speedo, defeats Kathy Ling in her telekinetically-animated armour. Because he is legitimately that awesome. Monica frees herself from Terry Jessup’s mind control, by, uh . . . this.
She also takes out Indigo, who’d been keeping Carol busy, and asks if she gets to be Captain Marvel again. That just leaves Tensen. And America lays out why she doesn’t give a damn about his concerns, because she and her team have a damn job to do. It’s pretty awesome. She also mentions that she’s met quite a few Tensens over the years. Of course, with Tensen defeated, there is still the matter of Rodstvow. This issue is great, as the Ultimates get to show off their skills. T’Challa shows off his fighting skills, and Monica shows off her cleverness and willpower. America shows why she’s the boss, by tearing through Tensen’s defences with force and words. We do also get more development on the Eternity In Chains plot, including finding out who’s responsible. And it’s one hell of a reveal. I won’t spoil it, but . . . yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This issue sets up one hell of a conflict for the next issue. Ewing is still throwing around all sorts of big awesome concepts, while providing an emotional grounding through quieter character stuff (even amidst the big fights). The art is great. Foreman and Brown do weird really well. They really capture “forces beyond our understanding.” So it’s trippy and weird and just the right kind of disturbing. Great book.
Jem & the Misfits #3, by Kelly Thompson, Sophie Campbell (guest writer woot!), Jenn St. Onge, M. Victoria Robado and Shawn Lee. This issue: Blaze! The Misfits finish a rehearsal, and Blaze quickly leaves, to go to another, secret rehearsal with another, secret band. Gasp! Blaze is torn between two bands! Then, a flashback, to 7 years ago, when she and a friend went to see a singer, and Blaze decided she wanted to be a singer. Also, she liked country. Nope, that’s it, sorry, I don’t like Blaze any more. She’s a country fan, that’s my line in the sand. In the present, Blaze goes to the grocery store, and meets the singer who inspired her, Luna Dark. And Blaze is adorably flustered about meeting her. It’s so cute. Blaze is the best. And this issue’s great. Fun and full of feels and it demonstrates, once again, that Pizzazz is a sweetheart who cares about her friends. And Blaze is almost as cute as Stormer, and her complete and total lack of cool when she meets her idol is the most delightful thing. And the art is gorgeous and fun. The Jem comics are so good. Better than they have any right to be, honestly. You owe it to yourself to read them, because they are among the best comics coming out.