X-Men comics of April 12 2017
X-Men Blue #1, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matteo Buffagni, Matt Milla and Joe Caramagna. The team is on a mission. Bobby complains about the super-sonic jet being too slow, compared to Pickles, their Bamf from the previous volume. There’s a fancy yacht under attack by Black Tom, and also Scott mentions missing barber shops. They beat Tom easily enough, but he’s there with the Juggernaut. So that complicates things. Tom does tell Juggernaut not to kill them, though, so I’m glad Tom’s a nice guy these days. Juggernaut hates Scott, though, for killing Xavier. Even though it was a different Scott who did it. Also, Hank shows his mystic skills. And Jean gets mistaken for Kitty and Scarlet Witch. There are worse people she could be compared to. We also get a back-up story, by the same creative team, about a small town hunting a killer. They get attacked by a Wendigo, and most are killed, but a woman gets saved by a guy with claws. This issue’s . . . OK. It’s good. It’s fun. Black Tom is very charming. We get some hints of some of the team dynamics. Scott and hank have some tension, regarding Hank’s mystic abilities. Jean’s the leader now, though it actually mostly comes down to her doing what she normally does, but without Scott saying she should do it. She doesn’t do much in the way of giving direction to the others. I like the art more than the writing. There’s a real charm to the visuals. There’s a couple panels of Scott running from Juggernaut that are perfectly cartoonish. It’s a really good art style. Gives the book a light tone, but it can also get serious when it needs to. This issue does feel like it shares Gold’s mistake of being a bit too hung up on the past. The premise seems to be about the team going after various mutant threats, which will likely mean seeing a lot of classic villains, Bunn’s letter in the back mentions that a lot of mutants from all different eras will show up, the “things to come” preview page shows the original Generation X. And in general, the impression I get is very much a dive into nostalgia. And I’d like to see the franchise move beyond nostalgia. So I’m sure this will be a well-made series, but it has some elements I’m not keen on.
Weapon X #1, by Greg Pak, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata and Joe Caramagna. Old Man Logan’s out in the woods, and a young couple on a hike stumble across him. They turn out to be cyborgs, with claws like Deathstrike’s. Logan escapes, but he’s hurt pretty badly. Deathstrike is in a lab, in a tube made of “vibranium glass.” Keep in mind, vibranium is a metal. So vibranium glass doesn’t make much sense. But whatever! Someone comes in and puts a chunk of Logan’s flesh in another tube, while three more tubes are set for Sabretooth, Domino and Warpath. This is an OK start to the series. Pak does a good job establishing the threat, and he writes Logan well. Unfortunately, he’s saddled with Greg frigging Land. Who’s still awful, by the way. Just awful. He still recycles faces constantly. I have a hunch if I search for “old man” on Google Images, I’ll be able to find the source he used for Old Man Logan. Look, I’ve said a lot of crap about Land since I started this blog. I stand by all of it. Land sucks. And he continues to suck here. Static, boring, traced garbage. His art is distracting and draws me out of the story. I suppose, for the most part, it’s not actually as awful as it usually is. If this was someone’s first exposure to Land, they might actually enjoy it. But I’ve seen way too frigging much of Land’s art for me to ever enjoy it.
Old Man Logan #21, by Jeff Lemire, Eric Nguyen, Andres Mossa and Cory Petit. Back in the War of 1812, Logan was Canada’s best assassin, not that we needed him to kick the Americans’ asses back and burn down the White House. Yeah, that’s right, Yanks, bring it on, we’ll kick your asses again, but this time we’ll take over your country, provide single-payer health care, implement gun control and improve the social safety net. See how you like that, bitches. Anyway, Logan gets captured by American troops, and is brought to a nearby fort. Logan barely remembers being there, and has no idea what happens next, which is actually a pretty neat idea. He’s lived a long time. Been in a few wars. It makes sense that he’d have trouble remembering specific fights from that far back. In the fort, a General slashes his cheek, and Logan heals, which freaks them out. They also find the amulet Asmodeus used to send Logan back, so Logan decides it’s time to get free. This time, the amulet takes him to the Weapon X project. This is an OK issue. It’s kind of an odd arc. A tour through Logan’s past, I suppose, but not a deep one. The arc might read better when it’s complete, but honestly, I have a hunch this arc will end up being largely pointless and forgettable. If the point of it is to remind Logan that he has to move on from his past, well, he was already doing that, an arc that drops him back into his past doesn’t really help with it. Nice enough art. Very detailed. Good colouring. No complaints there.
That’s the X-stuff, here’s what else I picked up.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #19, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham. The recap page has Tony Stark explain why the myth of Icarus is stupid. (Flying higher wouldn’t cause the wings to melt, because higher altitudes are colder.) Anyway, first, a history lesson, back to 1947, with Grace Hopper being one of the team working on the Harvard Mark II, an early computer, and finding a dead moth is the cause of some problems. In actual fact, this is why computer errors are called bugs! The comic doesn’t mention that part, but yeah. I love learning via comic books! Anyway, Melissa reveals her grandmother made the moth fly into the computer, and that she was Melissa’s inspiration to control animals. Melissa also arranged to have Doreen, Tomas and Ken go to ESU, in the same Comp. Sci program. But now that she knows Doreen can’t stop her, she shrinks down her animal controlling machine, has a cockroach implant it in her ear (Erica Henderson insisted it be a cockroach for some reason, clearly she is a monster), and then she leaves. Also, we get more of Alfredo the Chicken and Chef Bear. Look, every month I tell you that this series is delightful. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s smart, educational, good-hearted, and just plain good. If you’re still not reading it, I don’t know what to tell you.
Unstoppable Wasp #4, by Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson and Joe Caramagna. Poundcakes is holding Priya’s mom and demanding protection money, so Nadia starts talking Poundcakes down. She’s really good at it. Unfortunately, outside, Jarvis recognizes Poundcakes’ partner, Letha, and thus, it’s time for a fight. And, uh, Nadia is really good at fighting, apparently. She knows Krav Maga. Once the Grapplers are down, Priya agrees to join Nadia’s think tank. The next day, she goes to meet with Matt Modok. Er, Murdock. About her immigration case. And then another run-in with Ying. Great issue. Previous issues have been all about the lightness and fun. This one reminds readers what it means that Nadia was raised in the Red Room. Reminder: They raised assassins. Nadia might be the most cheerful person in the world, but she was still trained to kill. Previous issues had her spouting “Nadia’s Neat Science Facts.” This one has “Nadia’s Neat Assassination Facts.” It’s actually kinda unsettling, which is presumably exactly what Whitley was going for. This issue brings some darkness, and it’s really cool. The fight is brutal and exciting. Charretier does a great job with it. You get a real sense of Nadia letting loose a deep well of intense anger. This is followed by her looking utterly depressed. And then contrasted with her back to her usual peppy self the next day. There’s some great expressiveness. There’s some more plot development on the Ying front, as well, and the next issue’s going to focus even more on that. So if you were turned off by the book being too bright and fluffy, well, maybe give it another try, because this issue is not that. Which isn’t to say there isn’t still plenty of fun and humour. There is. This is still an optimistic book. But this issue tones it down a bit and brings in more seriousness. And it’s a great comic.
Silver Surfer #10, by Dan Slott, Mike and Laura Allred and Joe Sabino. Surfer and Dawn are checking out a cosmic phenomenon that even the Surfer’s never seen, when he gets summoned by Galactus, Bringer of Life. Galactus needs Surfer’s help with the Alphex and the Omegron. At the beginning of time, all matter and energy existed with the Alpha/Omega, which Galactus’ vessel broke through when entering from the old reality. Surfer and Dawn take the two pieces to opposite ends of the universe. And man, there is some absolutely perfect use of blank space in a double-page spread, to signify the distance between Surfer and Dawn. This is another weird, cool issue, with clever ideas, some really touching emotional beats, and fantastic art. This book is just so good. Smart, and fun, and creative, and touching, and just so great. Like with Squirrel Girl, every time a new issue of Silver Surfer comes out, I talk about how amazing this series is. The Slott and the Allreds bring out the very best in each other, and they’re putting out one of the best comics out there. I don’t know what to say to convince you how much you need to be reading this series.
Black Panther & the Crew #1, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Butch Guice, Scott Hanna, Dan Brown and Joe Sabino. It opens in the Bronx in 1957. A guy named Tommy Manfredi wanted Harlem, so he hired the Lynx and his crew to clear out the gangsters already there. The Lynx’s crew was Flame, with fire powers, Brawl, a tank, the Gates, a sorceress, and Gloss, with some kind of bulletproof skin. The group was called the Crusade. In the present, Misty is reflecting on Lynx, real name Ezra, who’s just died, with black protesters blaming the police. So, there’s tension between the community and cops in Harlem. Shocking, I know, who would expect something like that in this day and age, what an unlikely premise for a story. Misty meets up with the Ezra’s niece and nephew, and their friend, Ororo. They talk about the tensions, and how suspicious Ezra’s death was, and Misty decides to do some investigating. This is a solid start. This issue’s all about setting up the mystery, through Misty. One thing that’s interesting is that it tries to explore the tension between minority communities and police through the perspective of a black cop. This kind of angle is tricky to do, but Coates, as a black man himself, has a little more leeway than a white writer would. And yeah yeah, “race shouldn’t matter” and whatever bullshit you want to toss out, but no, fuck you, race does matter when it comes to this shit. The story being told here is all about race. Race is at the very core of this story. And racial issues are a goddamn minefield. So a story like this absolutely benefits from a black writer. This shit isn’t theoretical to Coates, it’s personal. He’s an intellectual sort, he has a deep need to see as many sides of any given issue as he can, and he brings that here, to be sympathetic towards the police, without making protestors out as bad guys. It’s a tough line to walk, and he actually does it really well here, especially given the viewpoint character of the issue is an ex-cop. The art is great. Guice has been around for a while, but he’s got a timeless style. Hanna and Brown play that up. It’s very much an easy style to read and enjoy, and there’s no reason for anyone to dislike it. Of course, I’m sure the people who would “love” to support diverse titles will still hate the art style, because that seems to be the main excuse they use for not buying diverse titles. If they’re fine with the art, they’ll find something else to criticize so they can avoid buying a title by a black writer with a black cast, while still claiming that they totally support diversity.
Power Man & Iron Fist #15, by David Walker, Sanford Greene, Lee Loughridge and Clayton Cowles. We open on an explanation of the Grandmaster of Street Magic. Back in the ’30s, a guy tried to make himself that, but instead, he got turned into a demonic force, and every so often, someone tries to become Grandmaster and just gets taken over by the dude. Luke and Danny are inside the demonic realm, trying to pull Jennie back out, and Senor Magico gives them a hand. Alex and Mariah show up, so now, it’s go time. Tombstone and Mr. Fish also get involved. Danny uses his Iron Fist on a rocket. Which is pretty badass. Sadly, this is the final issue of PM&IF, though on the plus side, Walker will be carrying on with a Luke Cage solo. So yay for that. I’ll be picking that up. This issue does suffer, a bit, from feeling like an attempt to wrap up loose ends. It does make for a crazy final battle, which is a lot of fun, but at the same time, it feels a little rushed. Still, it’s a great finale to a great series. If you haven’t read the comic, I’d recommend checking out the trades. It’s a fun ride.
Mosaic #7, by Geoffrey Thorne, Bruno Oliveira, Emilio Lopez and Joe Sabino. Beast studies Morris, while Morris flirts with Iso. He’s definitely a lady’s man. He’s got game. Sadly, their flirting is interrupted by IvX. During the invasion of New Attilan, Morris is hit by Storm’s lightning, and it hurt him pretty bad. And then the Inhumans had him do more stuff, and he decided he was done with them, and he’s gone back to Fife. Who’s not very happy about it. This remains an interesting series. I think it’s finally caught up to the present, just in time for it to not lat much longer, unfortunately. Shame. There was a lot of potential to this book, but most of it will go unexplored. Still, I’ve been enjoying it. Morris is a cool character. He’s a total dick, but he has his reasons for being that way, and he’s still charming and fun. The art is really cool, too. It’s a good series, though I’ll say it might not be in the right genre. The superhero genre has certain requirements, and this book might have been better with more freedom to do its own thing, without having to pay attention to superhero genre conventions.
The Wicked + The Divine #28, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles. Cassandra learns about Woden. Woden’s a shit, but oddly, he’s a shit who still has principles. Amaterasu’s very hung up on being a goddess. Laura kinda hates herself. Baphomet’s having problems with the Morrigan. Sakhmet is terrifying when she’s angry. This issue is one hell of a climax to the first part of Imperial Phase. Very intense. There’s some serious stuff being shown here, and holy hot damn Sakhmet. Great use of black space on a pair of pages, which make the page turn even more horrifying. It’s a hell of an issue, and a hell of a series.