X-Men comics of March 29 2017
All-New X-Men #19, by Dennis Hopeless, Paco Diaz, Nolan Woodard and Cory Petit. Idie and Evan are remarking that it feels like the end of an era, and they’re both pretty relieved about it, because man, did this era ever suuuuuuck. I’m fine with Hopeless poking fun at the Terrigen poisoning and IvX and all that crap, because he had nothing to do with it. When writers do an event and then have self-aware little jokes in other comics they write? Yeah, that tends to piss me off. But Hopeless hasn’t done an event yet. I’m sure he will, at some point. And I’m sure it’ll be infuriating crap, because events. Anyway, Romeo and Bobby are lighting one of those shitty little motel barbeques, with Romeo teasing Bobby about his privilege. Angel pops in, and mentions that Laura’s still beating up hillbilly gangsters. Meanwhile, Scott is blasting a car. It knows what it did. Actually, it’s apparently there for target practice, because that’s just the kind of area the team is in. Jean talks to him, and he complains about the fact that Emma screwed up his life. Then it’s time for a team meeting of the O5, to bring them back to their own time. There’s an unexpected but rather neat twist. But really, there’s only one truly important moment to this issue:
This was kind of an odd issue. But it does pretty much tie up the plot thread of why the team can’t return to their own time, and justifies Marvel keeping them around as long as they want. (And since the X-Men franchise would much rather explore the minority struggle via a bunch of mostly-straight white people, these kids will be around forever. I mean, what’s the alternative? Explore the minority struggle using characters who belong to actual minority groups? Madness!) The justification does actually make sense, especially in the context of being a post-Secret Wars universe. Beyond that, we get some really good Scott/Jean stuff in this issue. While they don’t get back together as a couple – and I’m 100% behind the decision not to have them get back together – it does demonstrate how much they care for each other. And it shows that they work just as well as friends, and I am craving more of these two being best friends. The issue also touches on some of the other relationships in the book. Bobby/Romeo and Warren/Laura. It does a good job acting as a send-off for all Hopeless has done in the series. The art is really good. Would’ve been nice to have Bagley here to finish it off, since he drew so many issues. But Diaz is great, too. And the colours are great. So, yeah, this is a pretty good final issue. Better than the final issue of EXM, certainly.
Old Man Logan #20, by Jeff Lemire, Filipe Andrade, Jordan Boyd and Cory Petit. Logan is busting Asmodeus, a lame and forgotten old supervillain, out of prison. He brought Asmodeus’ magic doodads, having stolen them from Dr. Strange. Asmodeus teleports them out, to a storage locker in New Jersey, so they can do the spell and send Logan’s spirit into the past, which is actually the future, because time travel. This is a decent issue. It’s mostly just exposition, and I’m not sure all of it is necessary. I feel like chunkcs of it are just filler, to pad out the pages so Lemire could end the issue on the specific beat he wanted to end it on. And that drags the issue down. This issue’s too slow, with too little happening, with too little reason for that slowness. You could probably cut a third of what’s in the issue without losing anything of value. And then that space could be used for more story, instead. I like the art, at least, though Andrade isn’t for everyone. I really like the roughness of the style. I think it looks cool. But I get why some people don’t like it. Still, Andrade aside, this issue’s just OK. Pretty safe to skip, frankly.
X-Men Prime #1, by, um, a bunch of people. Deep breath. Written by Marc Guggenheim, Greg Pak and Cullen Bunn, art by Ken Lashley, Ibraim Roberson and Leonard Kirk (with Guillermo Ortego), colours by Morry Hollowell, Frank D’Armata and Michael Garland, letters by Joe Caramagna. We start in Chicago, with Kitty practising her dancing. Shit yes. I’d actually like to see Kitty hit up Chicago more often. Anyway, Storm pays her a visit, and jeez, that woman does not know how not to be dramatic.
Storm wants Kitty to rejoin the X-Men, and is thinking of quitting, herself, out of a feeling that she failed the dream by attacking the Inhumans. She also remarks that the Inhumans are really no different from mutants, and I’m not sure if that’s some sort of meta-commentary or just pointing out that they are pretty similar. Then we travel to Madripoor, where Deathstrike is hiding on a small ship, with a bunch of other women. A guy grabs a woman and starts to assault her, so Deathstrike murders him. Seems to me she probably could have done it without even needing to use her claws, but eh, slicing him up looks cool. When she gets to shore, she’s met by a woman offering her a job killing mutants. Back to Kitty and Storm, who are in the X-Mansion, which is still in Limbo. She finds Colossus is living in what used to be her old room. Ugh, I really hope Guggenheim doesn’t have them get back together. Kitty and Illyana, dammit! But after Colossus she then finds Shogo! And we get a line that hits entirely too close to home.
Kitty then heads to the Danger Room, where the O5 are debating their future, and the Scott/Warren/Jean triangle gets played out a little, to Jean’s irritation. So . . . are Laura and Warren breaking up? Is Bunn going to have them break up? Or did he just forget that Warren is dating Laura? And oh dear sweet merciful hell, is Bunn going to make the triangle a recurring element of Blue? Please, no, no, don’t do that, please, we don’t need that, no one needs that, please don’t do it, please don’t rehash that subplot from the ’60s. One thing that this section does make clear is that Bunn didn’t get the ANXM #19 script before he wrote this. There’s some stuff in here that’s directly addressed by that issue. That’s not Bunn’s fault, of course. I’d place the blame on the editor. But it does hurt this section a lot, just the same. Anyway, this whole thing was a message they left behind, and they’re already gone. And then Kitty goes to talk to Illyana. This is, eh, it’s a prologue set-up thing. It’s basically just a tease to get people interested in some of the new books. Specifically, in Gold, Blue and Weapon X. I do mostly like Guggenheim’s take on Kitty, though I’m disappointed at the tease of the Kitty/Colossus ship being a thing again. That aside, though, he does have a good handle on Kitty. The sense of humour is there, and the optimism, and the weird mix of being normal and exceptional. So he writes a good Kitty. Which, you know, great. The other X-Men are all done pretty well, too. This is, if I’m honest, very good character writing from Guggenheim. Which I’m sad to say, because I’m not fond of Guggenheim’s writing. He did some Wolverine stuff that was awful, and his Young X-Men pretty thoroughly ended the careers of the Academy X kids. I’m still pissed about that. If Guggenheim hadn’t done such a shitty job on that book, Dust might still be allowed to matter. Anyway, Gold does have some definite potential. Oddly, I’m now less confident about Blue, because uuuuuuugh, no frigging love triangle please! Jean does not need to always be in love triangles. It is entirely possible to write Jean Grey without two guys pining for her. Especially not Scott and Warren. We’ve had that story, first in the ’60s, and then in the ’80s when X-Factor launched. And then again during Bendis’ run on ANXM. And the thing is, the fact that Bunn put so much emphasis on that in this preview is even more worrying, because the characters sounded least themselves with those moments. So I’m now more optimistic about Gold, and more sceptical about Blue. And Weapon X, well, that section was fine, I guess. Not the best take on Deathstrike that I’ve seen, but also not the worst. We’ll see how it goes. Pak’s a writer I have trouble with anyway, for some reason. I’m honestly not sure what it is about his style that I have trouble getting into. He’s a good writer. Just not one I really enjoy. Anyway, overall, this is kind of a whatever issue.
That’s the X-stuff, here’s what else I read.
Mighty Captain Marvel #3, by Margaret Stohl, Ramon Rosanas, Michael Garland, Marcio Menyz and Joe Caramagna. Carol wakes up, buried beneath an ice mountain, and blows her way free. Once she’s out, she has a conversation with a Tony Stark AI, though not the one that’s been helping Riri. This one’s in charge of the base Carol’s looking for. Also, seeing Tony, even in AI form, makes Carol feel good. Until she finds out Tony had revoked her access to the base. And also has a monster as a perimeter defence system. She blows it up, then heads into the base with the guy who works there, Hopper. And we get some information on Carol’s power problems. Also, Hopper tries to flirt with Carol, who mentions being older than he is. The implication, to me, seems to be that’s probably around 40 or so. Which actually sounds about right, and I think it’s cool that Stohl actually went there, there. Also, Wendy has a massive crush on Hopper, and it’s adorable, and I hope Hopper sticks around just so those two crazy kids can get together. I liked this issue. There was a lot of fun stuff. We get a little bit of Carol talking about how awesome she is, and how deeply screwed-up her life has become. We get a cool fight with a giant ice monster. We get fun comic book science stuff. And we get some of Carol’s feelings about what happened to Tony. She clearly misses him, and wishes he was back. It’s nice to see. The art’s good. The Tony AI doesn’t really look enough like Tony, I found. (Stohl writes a perfect Tony AI, though.) Rosanas is a fine artist, but I’m not sure he’s doing this book any favours. He just doesn’t quite seem to fit it quite right. Still, I’m enjoying this series.
Ghost Rider #5, by Felipe Smith, Danilo Beyruth, Jesus Aburtov, Frederico Blee and Joe Caramagna. While Ghost Rider beats up some thugs, Ramon gets a call and rides off in a hurry. Ghost Rider gives chase, thinking Ramon’s off to kill people, but it turns out Ramon is just checking out the big monster. And it’s Robbie’s first look at the thing! And it’s getting more horrifying all the time, including spawning a monster that looks like Coulson. Teamwork kills it, but the main monster spits out another, so Ramon drives a flaming barrel of gas into it. And then Ghost Rider kills the thing. And . . . sigh. Yeah. Apparently, this is the final issue, with the already-solicited #6 not coming. I’m disappointed. But I’m not surprised. Who the hell thought this was a good idea for an opening arc? Seriously, how the hell did this happen? “Hey, Robbie Reyes got a lot of positive buzz on Agents of SHIELD. So how about we give him a new book, but – get this – Robbie barely fucking appears! Brilliant! Can’t fail!” It’s one of the most unbelievably stupid decisions I’ve seen a comic make. People wanted to read about Robbie. He was the draw of this series. Fans of All-New Ghost Rider wanted more Robbie. Fans of Agents of SHIELD wanted more Robbie. So why, why, WHY would you do an opening arc that’s largely devoid of Robbie? How does that happen? It’s like they wanted the book to fail. And it’s infuriating, because Robbie is such a great character, with a rich world around him, and I wanted to see more of that. But instead, I got Amadeus Cho flirting with Laura. I just cannot grasp how anyone involved at any level of this book could have thought this was a good idea. This was a terrible idea, and at this point, we’ll be lucky if Robbie shows up anywhere any time soon. I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if the next attempt at a Ghost Rider book uses another character. Because the utterly nonsensical idea that made this book fail isn’t going to be what gets blamed for the book’s failure – Robbie will be. “Well, we tried, but readers obviously just aren’t interested in Robbie.” Maybe if you’d actually included him in his own fucking title, people would have cared! But nope, clearly, the opening arc of Ghost Rider should be focused on Totally Awesome Hulk. Ugh.
Occupy Avengers #5, by David Walker, Gabriel Walta, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles. It starts woth three years of mysterious people killing people. That brings us to the present, and Dungston, a town whose economy seems to rely heavily on a fertilizer plant. A tow truck driver narrates his love of the town. There’s a mention of Clint being a bad liar, which, no, Clint is a fantastic liar. He once saved the Avengers with a lie. Clint’s a con man at heart, and it’s part of his charm. Though I suppose there is a difference between pulling a con and telling a lie. Anyway, what matters in this scene is that Tilda continues to flirt with Wolf. Also, everyone in town is suspicious of the team. There’s something odd about the town. And Walker brings in a new team member, and it is a deep cut. Wheels Wolinski. Who is Wheels Wolinski? He was a character in a series titled Wolfpack, that came out in ’87-’88. The series was . . . odd. And not particularly good. Or memorable. Also, there was never anything to suggest it was in the 616 continuity. No mentions of superheroes, and none of the characters appeared elsewhere. So Walker bringing a character from that book to join Occupy Avengers? Yeah. Deepest of deep cuts. Also, the twist to the issue is really cool. Not an original twist, but done in a cool way. Walta and Bellaire are the new art team on the title, and they do good work here. They give the town a creepy atmosphere. This is a good issue. I really enjoyed it.
Animosity #6, by Marguerite Bennett, Rafael De Latorre, Rob Schwager and Marshall Dillon. Jesse, Beth and Pallas fight . . . people? Who serve a dragon. Meanwhile, Sandor and the others are searching for the missing goat. Who was possibly taken by a dragon. Jesse wakes up in a barn, and the dragon turns out to be a lamb vulture. This is so good. Horrifying, and monstrous, and so good.
Insexts #10, by Marguerite Bennett, Ariela Kristantina, Jessica Kholinne and A Larger World. We get commentary on the arts trying to keep out women, so that men are allowed to define women. It’s strong stuff. It was definitely true at the time the issue takes place – 19th Century Paris – but anyone who thinks it isn’t still true today really needs to confront their privilege, because they are deluding themselves. It also includes an insect-woman having sex with her female lover. Because this is a very special series. Side note: Phoebe, the black woman artist introduced in this arc, also turns out to be trans. Which sparks some commentary on the harm caused by a lack of representation. Side note: Hey Hollywood! Stop casting men to play trans women, you misogynistic assholes! Just wanted to put that out there. Anyway, this issue’s great This whole series is very, very up-front with its commentary, and it’s very, very good. It’s all about women rejecting the notion of men having power over them, and reclaiming their power over themselves, which includes how they’re depicted in art. This arc is putting a very strong emphasis on the need for Own Voices.
Jem & the Holograms #24, by Kelly Thompson, Gisele Lagace, M. Victoria Robado and Shawn Lee. The Holograms in Hawaii! Shana’s now on bass, since Raya’s on drums. And it turns out the Holograms are staying right next to the Stingers. Drama! And a huge thing at the end of the issue! Game-changer! Game-changer I tell you! It’s a great series. Get the trades. Or read it on Comixology. So! Good!
Also, I finally got Mirror #6, by Emma Rios and Hwei Lim. A couple weeks late, because my shop forgot to order it before. Which is honestly understandable, because I’m guessing I’m the only person buying it. But I will buy anything Emma Rios does, so. And man, the art in this book is so gorgeous. Lim does amazing work. Rios’ writing is great, too. She’s getting better all the time.