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X-Men comics of May 3 2017

May 3, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. I won’t be going. But here’s comics.

X-Men Gold #3, by Marc Guggenheim, Ardian Syaf, Craig Yeung, Jay Leisten, Frank Martin and Cory Petit. The issue opens with Logan again getting burned by Amara. On the one hand, I do hate that Guggenheim seems convinced that Amara should be kind of a shitty person. (I remember when she turned Dust into glass without a second thought.) On the other hand, I always approve of anyone hurting Logan. Back at the school, some of the students want to join the mission to fight the Brotherhood, and Kitty agrees to bring Armour and Rockslide, since they’re the toughest. They head to a Worthington Industries factory that’s condemned as a Superfund Site. Which means it’s really, really contaminated. I’d criticize Warren for letting that happen, but let’s be honest, it probably involved supervillains. Logan’s under Mesmero’s control, because he sucks, so Storm electrocutes him. Again, yay for Logan pain. Also, we learn what a “violent extraction” is. And we do find out Amara was under Mesmero’s control, so at least Guggenheim didn’t turn her into a villain. Though I still have a grudge against him for having her turn Dust into glass. No points for guessing who was behind this new Brotherhood. It was that Nance lady! The anti-mutant lady! What a shocking twist that is! Bleh. This series remains boring. There’s very little character stuff going on. Aside from Kitty, of course, who gets all sorts of moments where she gets to show off how great she is. And Rockslide gets to make a few jokes, and that’s always good to see. The writing here is just so bland. Kitty’s the only one who really gets a personality, and even she barely has one, really.”Order, snark, cool moment” is pretty much the extent of her personality, and that still manages to be more than anyone else gets. The art isn’t much better. Boring, often vague, little expressiveness. So, yeah, this book is pretty much as boring and pointless as I expected, given Marc Guggenheim is writing it.

Jean Grey #1, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Jay David Ramos and Travis Lanham. Jean and Pickles the Bamf are in Kyoto for a ramen brunch. If you’re going to have ramen, might as well do it right. Of course, by going to Kyoto, she guaranteed supervillains would show up. The Wrecking Crew, in this case, trying to get into an armoured truck. The fight is actually pretty funny, with Jean getting really embarrassed about smashing a shop, then getting annoyed enough at being called “girlie” to put the truck on top of a post. She goes into a shop to check on a civilian, and learns that projecting unicorns and puppies into someone’s mind tends to scare them. Then she goes to finish off the Wrecking Crew. I have to say, I really like the way Hopeless writes the Crew. They’re so casual about it all. Just three guys (Bulldozer’s absent) doing their job, even if that job happens to be stealing money. I also like the Thunderball seems a bit sad when they think Jean’s dead. He’s a good bad guy. Anyway, this is a really good debut. It does a great job explaining who Jean is. The opening pages tell readers which Jean she’s not, while the rest shows who she is. Which means kinda dorky, compassionate, and a monster when angered. The Wrecking Crew are a pretty effective set of villains for her to fight, being a genuine threat but still people her powers are effective against. Plus, they’re just always enjoyable, when they show up. I am a little disappointed that Hopeless is going with a Phoenix arc to launch the book (the previews give that away, so it’s not a spoiler). The cover to the next issue does have Rachel, Hope and Quentin, though, and Jean and Rachel interacting is something I’ve wanted to see. All we’ve ever gotten was a couple of very awkward moments of them passing each other in the JGS halls, back in Bendis’ run. And while that was some brilliant comedy, I have wanted to see more. (Wouldn’t mind seeing some Rachel/Teen Scott interactions, too.) And it’s been too long since Hope showed up. The art in the issue is really good. I’ve generally not been a big fan of Ibanez’s work, in the past. In the Storm solo, or in Extraordinary X-Men. But I really enjoy it here, for some reason. Faces maybe look a bit less blobby. He draws a very cute Jean. Ramos’ colours are stellar. Fantastic work from Ramos. Ibanez and Ramos have really figured out how to complement each other, and they’re definitely a great pair of collaborators.

That’s the X-titles, here’s other stuff.

Unstoppable Wasp #5, by Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson and Joe Caramagna. Jarvis is very serious about seatbelts. When Jarvis tells you to put on your seatbelt? Put on your goddamn seatbelt. Human time bomb or no, always wear a seatbelt in a moving car. Anyway, Nadia calls in the rest of her think tank to help with the bomb in Ying’s head. And we learn that, in the Marvel Universe, there’s a Lyft-type app called Lockjaw, which I find inexplicably delightful. I also love how weirded out the girls are by Ying, who shares Nadia’s matter-of-fact view towards being raised to be evil. I love Ying. She manages to embarrass Nadia, which should really be impossible. Nadia and Ying explain the situation to the rest of the girls, who all agree to help, with Taina being pretty excited about being involved in something so insanely dangerous. Taina’s an adrenaline junky, I think, which just makes her more endearing. There’s a pretty amazing double-page spread of the girls working throughout the day, which is shown by the colours changing, just a little, from one “slice” of day to the next. This is another great issue. It keeps up the balance of humour and drama the last couple issues have been building. Nadia and Ying are both still adorable, and the other girls are great, and Jarvis is Jarvis. There’s so much great humour, and seeing the girls starting to get to know each other is really nice, as they all bond, and not just over science. (Alexis and Priya bond over fashion.) And actually, I like that Jarvis and Alexis, despite not being scientists, are still there to do what they can to help. Jarvis by cleaning, Alexis gets them food. I like that. The art is great, too, very cute. There are a couple moments where Ying gets scary as a joke, and the art sells them perfectly. Characters are expressive and unique. The colours are excellent, particularly with the double-page spread. This book is excellent and I highly recommend it.

Hawkeye #6, by Kelly Thompson, Michael Walsh, Jordie Bellaire, Joe Sabino and Travis Lanham. Kate and Jessica are looking at blurry photos to figure out where they can find Rebecca Brown/Dhalia Dorian. They think about tracking Brad, but the transmitter they put on him is destroyed when he does his laundry, so that’s a bust. But they figure out that Dhalia was supposed to meet Brad at the Griffith Observatory. And at the meeting, Dhalia calls Brad an asshat, so she’s clearly not all bad. And then she turns into a dragon. Obviously. Even Kate’s not sure how they missed that. So it’s time to talk down a dragon, and I don’t normally post spoilers, but Lucky’s back! Kate got Lucky back! Yay! Pizza Dog! Anyway, another great issue. Jess plays off Kate really well, experienced and cynical and sarcastic to Kate’s optimism and eagerness and dorkiness. It makes for a fun dynamic, and allows Kate to learn more about what it means to be a PI. The twist of Dahlia being the dragon is pretty predictable, to the point where I’m genuinely not sure how Kate and Jessica didn’t figure it out, but eh, it’s fun, and it lets Kate talk down a dragon, so that’s cool. The art’s great. Walsh does good work. And Bellaire is Bellaire. She’s the best. One of the best, anyway. Seeing her name on the cover is always a relief, because you know the colours will be gorgeous. And they are! Yeah, this series is still great, and now, Lucky has been brought in, so it can only get better.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #17, by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, Walden Wong, Jason Keith Matt Yackey and Joe Sabino. Peter declares to Anna Maria that he’s done, Itsy-Bitsy explains her motivations (she used to feel weak, now she feels strong, and she’s killing to make a better world), and Deadpool wants to tell Spider-Man what he learned from Weasel. He thinks Spider-Man’s literal soul is in jeopardy. Spider-Man lets Deadpool know about a transmitter in his daughter’s house that will tell all Deadpool’s enemies know where she lives if he doesn’t go deactivate it. Then he and Itsy-Bitsy fight and debate morality. Itsy argues that people play god every day, that every decision they make creates a universe, which is actually true in the Marvel Multiverse. The fight’s pretty good. Some very intense moments. Itsy-Bitsy, as terrible a character she is, is also still a lot of fun. I actually kinda like her philosophy, even if it is demented. But this issue is really about Deadpool trying to save Spider-Man from himself, to talk him down from the dark place he’s been heading. It’s actually really good. Next issue is the finale of the Kelly/McGuinness run. I’ll be sad to see it go. It’s been great reading Kelly’s Deadpool again. I’ve missed him. He’ll always be my favourite take on the character, balancing humour and tension perfectly. And McGuinness’ art is a great match for this version of Deadpool, mostly conventional but with just a hint of cartoonishness.

Black Bolt #1, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward and Clayton Cowles. Black Bolt wakes up in a prison, with amnesia. He’s electrocuted back into unconsciousness. It happens a couple more times, with him remembering more about himself each time he wakes up. He breaks his bonds easily enough, but he’s still trapped in some prison. He hears a girl screaming, and goes to help her, but he’s too late and she dies. Then he gets attacked by Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man. All powers are blocked within the prison, though, so he’s not the Absorbing Man at the moment. Meaning it’s a fight of muscle and skill. This is a solid debut. The narration is very dramatic and tense. It elevates and separates Black Bolt, which makes the climax of the issue even more effective. Ahmed kills it here. He does a fantastic job. Which sucks, because now I have to keep reading a book about frigging Black Bolt of all characters. Ahmed’s writing is phenomenal. He’s new to writing comics, but you wouldn’t know it. He comes in like a pro. (I mean, he is a professional writer, and he’s long been a comic reader. But you get my point.) I’m always wary of non-comic writers coming in for Big Two comics, because so often, there’s a big learning curve. It doesn’t look like that’ll be the case here. Ahmed’s hit the ground running. Ward’s art is fantastic, too. Gorgeous work, with fantastic layouts. I hate to say this, but: Black Bolt is a great book, and one worth reading. Ugh.

There’s also Secret Empire #1, but . . . no. And I guess Champions #8 confirmed that Viv is a lesbian. Because bisexuals don’t exist. Does Waid remember that bisexuals exist? Either way, his absolutely atrocious writing of Viv is a major reason I dropped the book so early. Viv was an amazing character in the Vision series, and that run ended with her embracing life and emotion and reassuring her father that she was going to be OK. Then Waid came along and shit all over that beautiful ending by having her decide to lock her emotions away. Fuck that shit sideways.

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From → 2017

2 Comments
  1. X-Men Gold 3 exists. In one way, it’s not worth talking about beyond that. In another though, there are so many little things to point out in this issue that just don’t work. Each of the brotherhood members who are defeated are taken out with a single hit. It makes for an anti-climactic action scene. There’s no room whatsoever for character drama. The story is predictable. Kitty Pryde feels more like Cyclops than herself. Come to think of it, Armour doesn’t do anything in the action scene, making her appearance completely pointless. It just makes for an underwhelming comic, and I currently doubt that I’ll pick up issue 4.

    Jean Grey 1 on the other hand is pretty good. It’s a fun one-off story of sorts, but with an ending that gives the series a clear direction. I can see why the phoenix story might annoy some, but I’m fine with it. I just hope it’s not going where it seems to be right now.

    I’m with you on Secret Empire. Just no.

    And as much as Mark Waid is usually a really good writer, it sounds like he’s really not a good fit for Champions in its current form.

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