X-Men comics of April 5 2017
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I remembered today to put in an order for “The Stone Heart” by Faith Erin Hicks. So I should be getting that in a couple weeks. Woot. But here’s what I’ve got this week.
X-Men Gold #1, by Marc Guggenheim, Ardian Syaf, Jay Leisten, Frank Martin and Cory Petit. It opens with some lady explaining that people hate and fear mutants more than other super-beings because the X-gene results in spontaneous enhancement. And, uh, yeah. This has always been pretty obvious. People are always going, “Well, what’s the difference between mutants and other superheroes?” And the difference is those other heroes got their abilities through external means, while mutants are born with their powers. Anyway, the X-Men are fighting Terrax. Kitty sets Storm and Rachel to get Terrax into the air. Logan jumps off a collapsing building to attack Terrax, which is pretty great, and Kitty phases the building so it doesn’t cause damage when it falls. Damn. OK, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t actually work like this, but:
With Terrax defeated and a skyscraper fallen, a lot of people are standing around looking at the X-Men, so Kitty, after saying she needs a beer, goes to talk to the public. Funnily, she’s actually going by Kitty Pryde. Which I like. I like that she doesn’t bother with a codename. She doesn’t need one. If she’s going to be the public face of the X-Men, it works if she doesn’t hide who she is. Then, back to the school, for softball. Fun fact: Storm apparently speaks Russian. Which is a nice touch. She and Colossus have been friends long enough, I like that she’s picked up some of his language. Anyway, during the game, a guy from the Mayor’s office comes by with an invoice for the first six months’ rent for the Mansion being in Central Park. Also, Logan points out how ridiculous it is that the Mansion is in Central Park:
Turns out, It’s about $3 million a month to keep a school in Central Park. And, you know what? That honestly feels like it’s on the cheap side. I’m betting there are penthouses overlooking Central Park that cost about that much. To actually live in a mansion in Central Park? Yeah, that’s not going to be cheap. We also see Rachel training in the Danger Room with Armour and Rockslide. Yay for the kids! I wish the Academy X kids could get their own book again. There’s also a scene of Kitty and Colossus, with Kitty saying she just wants to be friends. Good, that means she can hook up with Rachel, instead. Ah, who am I kidding, Guggenheim is definitely going to have Kitty and Colossus hook up. Anyway, this is a fine start to the series. They’re going for a vibe that blends classic and contemporary, and they hit that. It does, perhaps, harp on that a little too much. It keeps telling readers it’s trying to do both, and it feels a bit awkward. If I were being harsh, I could say it wallows in nostalgia while boasting about moving forward, but it’s not quite bad enough for that description to be accurate. Still, it gets close to that at times. Hopefully, with this first issue out of the way and the mission statement laid out, it can move on and not keep telling readers what it’s going for. Guggenheim does have a good handle on the characters. Rachel’s voice is a bit vague right now. It’ll probably take a couple more issues for her to really show her personality. Part of it is that, with the others, Guggenheim’s calling back to the ’80s, but with Rachel, he’s very intentionally moving her away from her past. The best thing we could get, I think, is some downtime of Kitty and Rachel hanging out. Maybe going shopping or something. Anyway, writing-wise, this is fine. In terms of art, it’s good. I’m not really used to Syaf’s style, and it’ll take me some time to get into it, but it’s good art. Of course, this series shipping bi-monthly, with alternating art teams, will probably make it tougher to get used to Syaf’s style. I do really hate that it’s shipping bi-monthly. It’s obnoxious, and it’s a bad business practice. I can see going bi-monthly for a few months in the summer, the way they did in the late ’80s. That would probably be fine. But in general, I find bi-monthly shipping to be harmful. So I’m really not happy about that decision. Regardless, this book’s fine. I still have my complaints – too much nostalgia, insufficient diversity, lack of Dani Moonstar, Logan being present – but what they’re going for, they do well, for the most part.
All-New Wolverine #19, by Tom Taylor, Leonard Kirk, Cory Hamscher, Michael Garland and Cory Petit. Laura and Gabby are on a yacht, trying to sneak to some stairs, when an asteroid lights up the sky and gets them shot by the guards. Ironheart stopped the asteroid from hitting Manhattan, but the guards were distracted by hit hitting Roosevelt Island, so Laura and Gabby could slash them up. The asteroid turns out to have been an alien escape pod, with an alien child who asked for Laura Kinney, right before dying. Laura knows nothing about any of this, because she’s completing her mission, finding some evil dude who’s been engaged in human trafficking. Hey, the operation they discovered in the previous arc, neat. The alien turns out to have been carrying a virus, so Ironheart calls for Roosevelt Island to be quarantined. Meanwhile, Gabby boasts that her suggestion of using bulletproof costumes was a good idea and worked well.
This was really good. It’s a really good Wolverine story. It ties nicely into the larger Marvel Universe, with Ironheart playing a major role, a notable cameo from Captain Marvel, and smaller cameos from Spider-Parker and Sam-Nova. And Fury, Jr., of course, is a part of the story, but he’s already shown up in this series, so he’s less notable here. Anyway, I like the use of the larger Marvel Universe. Laura and Gabby going after that human trafficker was fun. It was kind of a low-stakes thing, something simple for them, but also quite a bit of fun to watch. I also love that Gabby has convinced Laura that bullets suck, and that a bulletproof costume is a good idea. You’d think more superheroes would wear bulletproof costumes. Oh, the art. I should comment on that. It’s great! Leonard Kirk’s a good artist. Faces are strong and expressive, body language is good, action is done really well. There’s a panel of Gabby being annoyed, and even with the mask on, it’s clear that she’s annoyed. And it’s also hilarious, because Kirk handles comedy well. He had to, having worked on PAD’s X-Factor for a while. The colours are done really well, too. Nice work with both shadows and light. The costumes look really good. This series remains excellent and I high;y recommend it. Also: Laura is the best Wolverine and she should remain Wolverine forever, and anyone who says different is wrong.
Those are the X-titles, but here’s what else I picked up.
America #2, by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, Ming Doyle, Joe Rivera, Jose Villarrubia and Travis Lanham. America, having just punched Hitler, gets chewed out by Peggy Carter for screwing up some Allied plans that would have actually defeated Hitler. Peggy takes America down to her secret war room, and reveals that she knew America was coming. The whole thing is really mysterious. America herself is, if I’m honest, obnoxious here. Too many one-liners. Anyway, she punches her way back to her own time. The next day, America has to deal with some prep-school kids arriving at Sotomayor University and being idiots. After that, she goes with the Leeluu people to a lecture where Lunella’s speaking. And then there’s a riot. This was pretty good. America’s a more cheerful and energetic person than I’d like. I would prefer she be more sarcastic, hiding her optimism behind a veneer of cynicism. That’s the America I’m used to, and while I understand that she has to be presented a little differently in her solo compared to in teams, I do think they took it too far. She doesn’t feel enough like the character I fell in love with. Rivera does obviously bring a great deal of authenticity regarding America being Latina. I love that aspect of the book. And Lunella’s cameo is great. I love Lunella. She’s the best. The art is not really a style I enjoy. I’m just not a fan of Quinones style. It’s too cartoony for me. The colours do a really good job matching the tone of the art, though, I will grant that. On the whole, I’m finding myself a little on the fence about this. It’s not as good as I’d hoped. Rivera’s newness to comic writing is very clear. And I want to be generous and give her time to get used to it, but at the same time, there are gay Latinas who write comics, and Marvel instead went with someone who’s never written a comic before, and that’s frustrating to me. The next couple issues will include the X-Men, so I’ll at least stick around for those, and hopefully, things start to gel more by then.
Avengers #6, by Mark Waid, Mike Del Mundo, Marco D’Alfonso and Cory Petit. Vision and Future-Vision talk, with Future-Vision suggesting that, with how of his parts have been replaced, he may not be the same Vision. He specifically invokes Theseus’ Paradox: If every board on a ship is replaced, is it still the same ship? (My view: Yes. Yes it is. But that’s not really something I should get into while talking about an Avengers comic. Maybe if it was an X-Men comic, I’d be willing to go on a tangent that long.) 5000 years ago, one team of Avengers blows a fusion reactor and destroys Kang’s weapons cache. 5000 years in the future, Giant-Man and Wasp have their futures stolen, so the Avengers never existed. The Thors stop it by throwing Mjolnir at the alien with the time gun. That allows Hank to reverse it and get things back to normal, so that team can shut down Kang’s financial empire. And then to 2000 years in the future, where the last set of Avengers has been captured by Kang, from before he met the Avengers. Cap is trying to come up with a plan that allows them to escape and set off their bomb without changing history. She-Hulk, the lawyer, notes that changing history is exactly what they’re there to do. So Cap’s new plan is to just hit things. It’s a good plan. With all three teams successful, they attack Kang in his lair, and things get crazier. What a great finale. Lots of exciting stuff, with a really clever climax and resolution. Waid balances the comedy and drama really well, which helps to sell the classic feel of it. Meanwhile, Mike Del Mundo on art. Nothing more needs to be said. Del Mundo is frigging amazing and if you don’t enjoy his art then I just don’t understand you.
Hawkeye #5, by Kelly Thompson, Michael Walsh, Jordie Bellaire and Joe Sabino. Kate and Jessica Jones are interrogating Brad, an asshat, about a missing woman. Brad says he doesn’t know the girl, and that she’s not hot enough for him to date. Brad is an asshat. Kate wishes mediocre tacos on him. Harsh, Katie-Kate. They follow him to a swanky Sunset Boulevard party, and they get in when Jessica tells the guy at the door that Kate is Hawkeye. And inside, they find the missing girl. And something else. It’s a great issue. It’s really fun. Kate and Jessica have a fun chemistry, with Kate idolizing Jess, and Jess being as nice to Kate as she’s capable of being to anyone. Jess does get to show her competence as a PI, teaching Kate some of the realities of PI work. Brad’s douchiness is fun, too.Kate hates him so much, and it’s amusing. The mystery of the issue is intriguing. The art’s great. Really nice art. We continue to get those cool panels where Kate notices various things. I really like those panels. But we also get a cool sequence that shows her archery skills quickly and awesomely. Walsh is a great choice to fill-in for Romero. Their styles aren’t too different, so the tone remains consistent. It’s helped by Bellaire still doing colours. Everything is helped by Bellaire doing colours. Bellaire is the best. This is a great comic.
Jem & the Holograms #25, by Kelly Thompson, Gisele Lagace, M. Victoria Robado and Shawn Lee. The Holograms, with their dates, are at a Luau, having food. Jerrica just revealed to Rio that she’s Jem. He, uh, doesn’t take it well. This issue’s very dramatic. And gets intense by the end. But it’s still great. Still one of the best comics out there. Next issue, sadly, is the end of the series, though we already know there’s going to be, at the very least, an additional mini-series. We’ll see if Kelly Thompson keeps writing after that. I hope she does, because seriously, this series has been fantastic from the start. But hey, maybe it is time she passed the baton to someone else, to get a new vision on the book. (As long as they don’t break up Kimber and Stormer the precious babies must be protected.) Regardless: Go read the back-issues of this series. Get the trades or read it on Comixology or whatever. So. Good.