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X-Men comics of April 26 2017

April 27, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Too many comics today. Ugh. Well, let’s get to it.

X-Men Gold #2, by Marc Guggenheim, Ardian Syaf, Jay Leisten, Frank Martin and Cory Petit. It’s the X-Men vs. the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Which includes Magma (why the hell won’t Guggenheim stop making her awful?), Avalanche, Pyro, Masque, and some monster-mutant. Magma burns Logan – OK, so she’s not all bad – so Kitty has Kurt get him to safety, and since Colossus, Storm and Rachel are busy inside the burning building, that leaves her alone against them. So she calls in a Telekinetic Fastball Special. Colossus is the Wolverine here. Oh, also, Mesmero. The Brotherhood teleports away as SHIELD arrive, so Kitty has a sit-down with Nazi-Cap. He tells her that Lydia Nance, from the first issue, is making a big deal out of the attack. Kitty’s pretty sure the Pyro and Avalanche are new guys using old names. Kurt’s in Madripoor, Logan’s being held by Mesmero, and in New York, a mutant gets shot dead by a guy calling himself the X-Cutioner. Blah blah, more stuff, Lydia Nancne suggests deporting mutants, which makes no fucking sense in the goddamn slightest. The ones who aren’t American citizens? Sure, they can be deported. But you literally can’t deport American citizens. She talks about making a new mutant country, but the thing is, even if mutants reclaimed Genosha or something, the US still wouldn’t be able to forcibly send US citizens there. You can’t deport US citizens. The fact that Guggenheim has a character seriously suggest it is just laughable. Also, Kid Gladiator is worried about her proposal. Kid Gladiator is an alien prince, not a mutant. Also, Kid Gladiator’s immediate reaction to every problem is “I will punch it.” So the idea that he would be worried about some jackass lady wanting to deport mutants? No. But Guggenheim’s a hack, so what else is new. This issue is less good than the first one. Because here, we start getting into why I’ve hated Guggenheim’s other work. A lot of characters get piss-poor characterization. Also, he almost goes out of his way to not give a shit about the status quo of some characters. Kid Gladiator hasn’t even attended the school since before Secret Wars, and he’s written 100% wrong. Amara is a straight-up villain for absolutely no reason. The scene with Nazi-Cap seems to have been shoe-horned in just to detail the new Brotherhood, when it could’ve just as easily been done without him or SHIELD. And, of course, Guggenheim is still pushing the tired old “everyone hates mutants and their very personhood is under threat” angle that we’ve always gotten, because if you belong to a marginalized group, you should know that things never ever ever ever ever get better for you and you fight literally the exact same fight for decades with never even a single iota of progress. The art is OK< mostly, though Syaf is not good at drawing teens. Hardly worth talking about the art, considering we know Syaf only did the first four issues. But man, this series just pisses me off with its utter refusal to move forward. It’s still early, maybe we’ll see some new shit as it goes. Maybe we’ll get human supporting characters (because the franchise needs human supporting characters, holy hell does the franchise ever suck when there are no human supporting characters, why do X-writers refuse to include human supporting characters), maybe we’ll see some signs of mutant subculture, and support for mutant rights. But so far? This is tired, warmed-over Claremont shit, without Claremont’s charm or his knack for consistent character focus.

X-Men Blue #2, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla and Joe Caramagna. Two months ago, Jean met Magneto at a salvage yard, where she chews him out for repeatedly attacking the X-Men and the world. She’s not wrong. He tells her he’s decided that Xavier was right that mutants and humans have to co-exist. He even lets her read his mind to earn her trust. Now, the team is fighting against him. Jean telepathically boosts the powers of both Scott and Warren. So Magneto hits Scott with a train car. Turns out it was just a Danger Room session, which Jean erases so Magneto doesn’t know they’re training to fight him. Jean’s annoyed at Hank and Bobby missing the session, so Scott goes to talk to Hank, who’s kinda pissy. Warren tries to talk to Bobby, but Bobby’s leaving a voice message for Romeo, who’s apparently ghosting him. And Jean has a brief conversation with Magneto. And actually, before I get to fuller thoughts: I frigging LOVE Molina’s Jean. She looks so cute. There’s actually something almost anime-esque about her, and only her, and it’s just really cute. Anyway, the issue. It’s OK. Mostly exploring the mindsets of the characters. Jean’s views on Magneto, Hank’s changes from his magic, Bobby missing his boyfriend. And, of course, Warren and Hank both comment on Scott’s feelings for Jean, because Bunn really wants to push that angle, apparently. Bleh. Still, this issue doesn’t feel too tied up in the past, at least. There is some good character stuff. Jean and Magneto have a good chemistry, I look forward to more scenes of those two interacting. And the art’s great. Molina’s such a great artist. There is a really good expressiveness to the faces, body language is great, and Milla’s colours really help the art pop. I really like the art on this book. More than the writing, honestly. On the other hand, this is pretty much the perfect encapsulation of the X-Men:

X-Men Blue #2

It always is.

Weapon X #2, by Greg Pak, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Ibraim Roberson, Frank D’Armata and Joe Caramagna. In Arizona, Warpath is relaxing. He’s not sure if he should an X-Man, helping out with his reservation, or screwing around with his cousin in Flagstaff. All good options, and get a Native American writer on a Warpath solo, I will read the hell out of it. Anyway, helicopters show up and scare a herd of horses. He takes the helicopter down, but it was flown by remote, and the horses turn out to be cyborgs. Don’t trust horses. Apparently, Weapon X wants his healing factor. Because apparently, he has a healing factor. Which is new. At least, the idea that he has a healing factor on par with Logan or Sabretooth is new. Not sure I buy that – feels like Pak just trying to figure out how to justify including Warpath in the book. Not that I really mind, because Warpath is pretty awesome. Though I don’t like the flying. I always thought that giving him flight was a mistake, and I preferred when writers ignored it, but Pak makes use of it here. Meanwhile, Logan and Sabretooth are fighting cyborgs, too, ones that have had their senses and reflexes incorporated in. The issue’s not bad, writing-wise. the art is still Greg Land, so screw that. But the writing’s good. One thing I actually like is how human the Weapon X people we see are. They’re just regular people, doing something awful. It highlights that atrocities are seldom carried out by mustache-twirling villains who gloat about how evil they are. They’re done by people who get upset at working overtime because it’s their custody day with their kid. So I like that aspect. Logan and Sabretooth bickering is kinda fun, too. And Pak shows a good handle on Warpath. Pak does a good job on the writing. A shame he’s saddled with Greg Frigging Land.

Old Man Logan #22, by Jeff Lemire, Eric Nguyen, Andres Mossa and Cory Petit. Logan vs. Hulk and Wendigo. Logan just wants to get the amulet ad get out of that time, but Hulk wants to smash. He does finally manage to grab it, and next up, Jean going Dark Phoenix in Central Park! After that, killing Hand ninjas in Japan. Finally, something he can enjoy. Still not digging this arc. It’s just a series of “hey remember when this happened?” segments. It does see to be pushing a theme about not being able to change the past, about accepting things as they happened and just living life. But, as I said about the last issue, Logan’s been learning that lesson all along in the book, and an arc that’s just snapshots of classic stories just feels like a bad way to do the theme. Nguyen and Mossa do a killer job on the art, at least. So there’s that. But still, unless the next couple issues pull out something big, I just don’t see the point of this arc.

Those are the X-titles, but here’s what else I picked up.

Hulk #5, by Mariko Tamaki, Nico Leon, Matt Milla, Andrew Crossley and Cory Petit. We open with a flashback, to Jen in the hospital. She has an awkward conversation with Carol, then Bruce tells her everything will be fine, before getting an arrow to the head. That’s when she pretty well snapped, and found out her Hulk form wasn’t as stable as it used to be. So now to the present, and Jen’s being attacked by something in Maise’s apartment building. Maise and the other residents explain they found it and raised it to protect them from the dangers of the world. She tries to talk them down, to make them stop the creature. She’s, uh, not successful. This is probably the darkest issue of the series. The message, all through the issue, is, “I am not OK. You are not OK. No one is OK. The world is awful and no one is OK.” Which, you know, hard to argue sometimes. There are times it absolutely feels that way. So hey, since this book is all about personal feelings, why don’t I get personal for a moment? Last week, Ms. Marvel had the message that people are good. I believe that. I believe that, on the whole, people are good, and the world is a good place, and that the world will continue to get better. I believe that. But I have to force myself to believe it. It is a conscious decision. My natural instinct is towards cynicism. Deep down, I can’t beat that voice saying the world sucks and everything is meaningless. That’s my emotional belief. Intellectually, I am certain the world’s good. But man, there are days when it is really goddamn hard to hold onto that. And I suspect that’s true for a lot of people. So this issue’s cynicism hits hard. It’s very effective. When Jen says there’s plenty of hope, and Maise says even Jen doesn’t believe that? That hits hard. It’s a very powerful moment. Because it feels like it’s not just Jen’s optimism being challenged, it’s the reader’s optimism, too. Tamaki is doing such a phenomenal job. Also, the art is still excellent, too. Leon does a great job with facial expressions, and the colours do a really great job with tone-setting. The art team is doing such great work. This is such a good book, and I think it’s one that is so very worth reading.

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat! #17, by Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, Rachelle Rosenberg and Clayton Cowles. Patsy wakes up to a package from Jen. It includes a check for a lot of money, and a letter explaining it’s royalties from the Patsy Walker comics, and a tentative film option. She actually gets more emotionally worked up about Jen ending the letter with “love, Jen,” because she’s happy Jen is OK. Now that she’s rich, she decides to take Ian, Tom and Jubes to the mall. Jubilee at a mall. Yes. YES. Yes yes yes yes YES YES YES YES YES YES YES.

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat! #17

YEEEEEEESSSSSS!!!

There’s actually a page with cutouts. Like, a Patsy, and three possible outfits you can cut out and put on her. (Including a super-cute skirt and blouse.) Then the power goes out. When the lights come back up, they’re faced with the threat of – the Somnambulisters! They’re actually pretty adorable. Just a couple girls, one short and fat, the other tall and thin, and both of them super-cute. They’ve actually appeared before! And, man, the whole thing is just the cutest gosh-darn thing ever. This is, tragically, the final issue. It’s a shame, because the series really was a delight. Just so much fun. So positive, so cute and funny. The CWII issue brought in some heavy feels, which the series did keep up to the end after that. This final issue was really just a happy send-off to the run, embracing the pure joy and cuteness that won readers over in the first place. The Somnambulisters were the perfect “villains” for the final issue. Also, Leth used the opportunity provided by this final issue to get in a shot about her not being able to make Patsy queer. I wish Marvel’d had the guts to let her do it. But Leth did still try to make the series as queer as she could. The art was always adorable. Williams’ style is just the cutest, and the colours, from Wilson at the start and Rosenberg after that, were bright and cute, too. I’m really going to miss this series.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #18, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain and Travis Lanham. Lunella is gathering allies. She starts with the Killer Folk who came to this time with Devil. She promises not to send them back to their own time, if they help her. Then Ms. Marvel, Dr. Strange, Kid Kree and the Thing. At school, her teacher finishes a lesson on how Columbus proved the Earth was round. It’s worth remembering that pretty much everything this teacher says, while “common knowledge,” is false. Columbus didn’t prove the Earth was round. That was known long before Columbus was even born. After class, she goes to her lab, where her Doombot head yells at her. Then she swaps minds with Devil again, and realizes it’s the full moon that causes it. She does manage to reverse it. Meanwhile, Doombot is hilarious. Lunella remembers she was supposed to help her mom with the turkey dinner, and runs home, and gets there just in time to hear a news report about an army of Doctors Doom. So it’s time for Moon Girl vs. Doom in final battle! (The Killer Folk, Ms. Marvel, Kid Kree, Dr. Strange, Thing, Cho-Hulk, Ironheart and the X-Men are all there, too.) It actually pretty much skips the fight, which I find hilarious. This is a good finale to the arc, because it’s really about Lunella acknowledging that having friends is better than being alone. That being able to rely on other people is a strength. And also, that Devil is her best friend. I love their friendship. Sadly, this is Amy Reeder’s final issue on Moon Girl. She will be missed. Luckily, the rest of the creative team will stay in place. We’ll still get the amazing art from Bustos and Bonvillain. And they are a pretty big part of why this book’s so great. The art is so good. Devil is the cutest dinosaur ever. Anyway this book’s great and if you’re not reading it then why aren’t you reading it?

Black Panther #13, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Wilfredo Torres, Laura Martin, Andrew Crossley and Joe Sabino. T’Challa and Ororo are in a hotel room, and he talks about how the gods of Wakanda seem to have abandoned the country. He investigated rumours of monsters, and yep, there were snake-men running around the countryside. On the plus side, he got to beat the crap out of some monsters. But one of the monsters said the Orishas (the gods) are in flight. T’Challa wants Ororo’s perspective on gods. Which is weird. He figures that, because she was worshiped as a goddess, it might give her some special insight. She does mention that the worship of the people made her feel stronger, and that the same is likely true of any god. And the things Wakanda’s been through in recent years has likely taken a heavy toll on the faith of the people. Back in Wakanda, Shuri and Eden talk about the snake-men, and Shuri says they’re called the Simbi, and they once plagued the ancient Wakandans, enslaving them. Then T’Challa calls to help with another group of Simbi. This is good. The first year of this series was an exploration of politics. Here, we kick off an exploration of religion and faith, and I’m very intrigued to see how that goes. I’m guessing we’ll get more focus on T’Challa himself than the first year had. But Shuri and Eden are clearly going to remain major supporting characters, so yay them. It’s an interesting kick-off to the arc. Going way back to the pre-history of Wakanda, which is neat. On another note, it might just be me, but it felt like maybe Shuri was flirting a little with Eden? I would be down with Shuri and Eden getting together. They seem like they’d be a good couple. The art’s good. I miss Stelfreeze, but Torres still does good work, and Martin’s colours provide a good sense of artistic continuity. She’s great. This series remains very strong.

Ultimates 2 #6, by Al Ewing, Travel Foreman, Matt Yackey and Joe Sabino. History lesson! At the dawn of existence, there was only the First Firmament. It felt alone, so it created life. And those beings created their own servants, which worshiped the Firmament. But then another group – who look like the Celestials we all know – who decided they wanted the universe to grow and evolve. That led to war, and that war shattered the Firmament, and created the multiverse. The Firmament watched the multiverse age and die, which created another, then another., and so on, until the current Eternity. After the Secret War, when Eternity was re-created and weak, the Firmament captured him, and started sending out Aspirants to corrupt him. Including the Celestial Destroyer from CWII #1, by the way. And now, with Galactus corrupted to hunger, his plan has come together. Rodstvow taunts the Ultimates, who then team up to kick his ass. Monica and Adam actually merge together, which is neat. Not the first time Monica’s merged with someone – she merged with Carol during KSD’s Captain Marvel, and she merged with She-Hulk during Ewing’s own Mighty Avengers run. While the Ultimates fight Rodstvow, Terry lets the Troubleshooters know that Vogt wants them helping him, and mentioned the name Emmett Proudhawk. More history about the First Eternity Battalion! Emmett was the leader, but on a mission on Mount Wundagore, in a battle between beast-men and demons, and most of the team died, and when Tensen and Vogt awoke, they were connected to the Psi-Force. Tensen’s taught his own team to access the Psi-Force, and now, they combine their powers to summon Psi-Hawk. I love Ewing’s use of the New Universe concepts, in clever new ways. This is a great issue in general. The history of the First Firmament is really interesting, and also gives some great new insight into the Celestials. The teamwork against Rodstvow is fun, and the way he’s ultimately dealt with is awesome. The art’s great, with a few bits in particular being absolutely gorgeous. This book remains full of big cool cosmic ideas, and great character moments. It seems to get overlooked way more than it should be.

Mighty Captain Marvel #4, by Margaret Stohl, Brent Schoonover, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Michael Garland and Joe Caramagna. Carol’s been cut, and exposed to Hala blood, and now her powers are completely out of control. While she rampages, Mim captures Bean, and Carol gets knocked out. She wakes up strapped to a hospital bed. She stands up, taking the bed with her, which is a great touch. Jessica and Natasha are there to let her know what happened. Nat’s drinking a juice box. Why is Nat drinking a juice box something I like? Anyway, they let her know where Bean’s trail leads. The alien refugee camp here Carol found Bean. She finds a secret base nearby, and struggles to keep control while she looks for Bean and any other Hala kids there. And we meet the bad guy, Dr. Eve. One of those “the world isn’t black and white” types. And her secret weapon she’s been working on is pretty neat. This is a pretty good issue. Carol showing her heroic resolve, maintaining control past when she should have lost it. Some nice emotional weight to the climax. I do have to note the art, because Carol looks buff here. She looks built like a brick shithouse. Which I am 100% OK with. There’s no reason why she shouldn’t look that way. Female superheroes almost always look delicate. We’re getting a few more women allowed to look toned. But women who look thick? Incredibly rare. So seeing Carol looking like? Completely OK by me, and I would not mind the least if more artists drew her that way. Being built doesn’t make a woman unattractive, so let’s see more women with thick physiques presented as being attractive. So I really liked the art. I would’ve been fine with Stein and Brandt as the new art team going forward, but it looks like someone else will be taking over. As far as the writing goes, it’s fine. It’s a bit cheesy at times. But Stohl’s mostly doing well enough, and I do hope she stays on for a while, if only to give the book a consistent direction for a while.

Occupy Avengers #6, by David Walker, Gabriel Walta, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles. In Dungston, Iowa, guys are demanding that all the Skrulls in town be brought out to be executed. So Clint and his team have to fight them. They seem to have heightened reflexes, as one catches an arrow. Clint guess Kree bounty hunters. (He’s wrong, as we learn at the end.) While the fighting goes on, Clint’s van talks to Wheels, and says they can work together to save lives. The van creates a neural link, so Wheels can act as the brain to control the van’s weapons. And things continue to escalate. Another good issue. Some great action, some intriguing plot developments, and a pretty big emotional moment near the end. The art team is Walta/Bellaire. They work well together. Walta’s style generally isn’t my thing, but he’s good at what he does. And you can never complain about Bellaire’s colours. She\s the best. So, yeah, this is still a good series.

Jem & the Misfits #4, by Kelly Thompson, Jenn St. Onge, M. Victoria Robado and Shawn Lee. Roxy issue! She’s angry at Pizzazz for moving her bagels. She gets fed up and goes to the gym. There, a cute little girl asks for her autograph. Aw. I like that Roxy is nice to the kid. The Misfits, for all they’re obnoxious and often bad, really do love their fans, and I appreciate that about them. But something sets her off, and we get flashbacks. She was a scrapper as a kid, it turns out. She got sent to the principal’s office for fighting another girl. She also loved bagels back then, and even wanted them for supper. And then her dad bought her a drum set. Also, she had trouble reading. The narrative makes clear that she is not stupid. Her trouble with reading isn’t because she’s dumb. She’s smart. Then her dad died before he could help her get better, and her life kinda sucked, and she ran away. And in the present, she gets help from Jetta to write a note to the girl, and a pep talk to make her feel better. Roxy and Jetta are such a great friendship. This is a great issue. All these Misfits issues have been great, really humanizing them, even more than the main series did. The reveal here that Roxy’s functionally illiterate – that she’s gone most of her life hiding that she can’t read, finding ways to avoid reading – is pretty big, and very emotional. And the way the narrative repeatedly states that she’s not stupid is good. Thompson’s put a lot of effort into making sure the Jem comics are inclusive and positive, and this is part of that. There may be people reading these comics who have trouble reading. Maybe a kid who reads with her parents, or a teen or young adult who just finds comics easier to read than novels, and this issue reassures them that there’s nothing wrong with them, they are still smart, and they can learn. And, of course, the art is gorgeous, too. St. Onge is such a good fit for this series. Her style’s very cartoonish, which works, because Jem is a cartoon. And the characters are cartoonish. Robado’s colours are really good, too. Seriously, the Jem comics are legitimately among the best comics that have come out over the past few years, and if you’ve been sleeping on them, it’s time to catch up.

Bitch Planet #10, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Clayton Cowles. Last on this list, but it’s the first thing I read this week. It’s New Protectorate Day, and the High Father is about to give a speech. And on Bitch Planet, there’s fighting and killing and awesomeness, and President Doane is badass. And back at the speech, there’s some chaos. It’s a great issue. A little plot development on Bitch Planet, and a huge development at the end of the issue. There’s a couple really good character moments, too. And, of course, the back matter. As I keep saying, buy this series in floppies. The back matter is so damned important. KSD talks about how she felt after the election, Sarah Jaffe writes about emotional labour. And the letters, which are always very moving as people talk about what the book’s meant to them. It’s always great stuff. This series isn’t just great, it’s important, and I really can’t recommend it enough. Read it! (Where else will you ever see the phrase “SEXY, SEXY DTF FETUS”?)

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From → 2017

7 Comments
  1. Yeah, Kid Gladiator is way out of character in X-Men Gold 2, not to mention he’s supposed to be in space. I didn’t even remember that part. Also I didn’t think of the deporting American citizens angle. I was just distracted by how on the nose it was, and I try to avoid talking about politics online. I’m willing to wait and see if there’s a reason why Amarna is helping the new Brotherhood, but it better have a good explanation within the next couple of issues. Judging by this issue, I doubt there’s a good reason. The biggest problem I had with this issue is that there’s so much stuff going on that there isn’t room for dramatic moments to happen.

    I really enjoyed X-Men Blue 2 personally.

    Weapon X 2 sounds kind of fun. Too bad I’m not reading it because of Greg Land.

    I glanced at Old Man Logan 22 in the store, and it looked like a bit of a mess. It looked like Logan was warping into different places and times too fast to get any real bearing.

    Hulk 5 is just brilliant.

    I didn’t comment on Ultimates 2 6 because I only just found a copy of the fifth issue, but I have read it. It’s easily the best Marvel team book on the market right now, regardless of franchise.

    Due to a temporary shortage of money I didn’t pick up Bitch Planet 10 or Mighty Captain Marvel 4, but I do plan on picking them up soon, whether in a local store or ordering them online somewhere.

    • Two issues in, and X-Men Gold is already frustrating me. Not a great sign. As for Amara being with the Brotherhood, honestly, I think Guggenheim just sees her as a villain. Young X-Men had her turn Dust into glass. He just wants Amara to be a villain.

      • Well, I’m willing to give the series a couple more issues, but the bit about Amara is worrying. The excessive focus on Kitty Pryde is another concern, as much as I like Kitty.

  2. G'kar permalink

    At the end of Mighty Captain # 4 its seems like Doctor Eve is working with someone, so I wonder if she working with Hydra or if its someone else. IF it’s someone its someone else I guess we will have to wait until after secret empire to find out.

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