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X-Men comics of May 10 2017

May 11, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Well this took forever to do.

X-Men Blue #3, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Ray-Anthony Height, Matt Milla and Joe Caramagna. In Barcelona, the X-Men are getting their asses kicked by Sentinels who don’t want to fight. The Sentinels declare themselves fellow mutants, and a young woman named Belen, whose mutant power caused some destruction when it emerged, explains the Sentinels were helping her. The Sentinels then capture the X-Men to prove they mean the X-Men no harm. They’re brought to meet their master, Bastion. Yep, the ’90s dude, who’s a merger of Nimrod and Master Mold. Fun fact: Nimrod, at the time they merged, had been evolving beyond his core programming, and had become sentient, and was even moving away from hating mutants. I always considered it a shame that wasn’t allowed to be further explored. Anyway, Bastion explains that, the last time he was seen, he was nearly destroyed by Hope, but he shunted into the future at the last second, and saw that the mutant race was dying of Terrigen poisoning. Now, even with the cloud gone, mutant numbers are low, making them an endangered species. He wants to save mutants. Guess why! So, yeah, Bastion. Meh. I kinda liked him at the time, but he’s not exactly a great villain. Bunn does try to do something interesting by exploring the idea that a robot will try to maintain its utility function by creating the very problems it’s programmed to solve. That is more interesting than a killer robot trying to kill, but just the same, I’m pretty meh on Bastion, and I’m meh on over-reliance on older characters. This is definitely better than Gold, of course. Vastly superior. Better plotting, more creative ideas, better characertization. In every single way, the writing is so much better in Blue than in Gold. Blue has better art, too. Molina’s great. Cartoonish, but not so much that it would turn off most readers. Enough to be expressive. Oh, I should note that this issue ends on a really nice Jean/Scott moment, where he talks to her as a friend, and I really like that. I like Jean and Scott as friends. As exes who still deeply care for each other, but in a more platonic way. That’s a good way to go with them, and Bunn writing them that way here was appreciated.

Weapon X #3, by Greg Pak, Greg Land, Ibraim Roberson, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata and Joe Caramagna. Logan and Sabretooth are in a coffee shop, waiting for the cyborgs. When they spot them, Sabretooth buys a big-ass gun, and Logan breaks into the car rental place to track the car’s GPS. Meanwhile, in Baja California, Domino’s boating and looking for sunken treasure. The cyborgs show up, and the fight’s pretty fun. I wish it was more implausible, because I enjoy when Domino’s fights include bits that are absolutely ridiculous, but which you accept because of her power. This issue’s pretty straightforward. Pak’s handle on Domino isn’t quite as deep and interesting as his take on Warpath, but that’s not a big deal. Domino’s generally a more straightforward character. She likes money, she enjoys a good fight, she has a penchant for snark. She can be deeper than that, but it’s not at all disappointing when she’s that surface level. The fight itself is a lot of fun. It’s drawn by Roberson, and he does a good job. It feels a little more kinetic than Land’s fights always do, and Roberson is good at giving characters actual facial expressions, including nuanced ones. Land . . . yeah, he’s still Land. I actually want to show you something. The first image is on the bottom of one page, the second is at the top of the very next page.

Weapon X #3

Roberson.

Weapon X #3

LAAAAAND!

The sharp delineation between the two artists is incredibly jarring. And it makes clear how much less interesting Land’s style is. Especially since I’m pretty sure I could find other comics where Land has used literally that exact same face, right down to the exact same expression. Because Land has made a career out of constantly swiping himself. (And, of course, if you remove the colour, you could probably find whatever photo he traced.) Roberson is just so much more interesting and dynamic an artist than Land, and I wish he was the only artist, and Land wasn’t involved at all. That said, in terms of the story, this series has been getting better with each issue. Pak is doing a fine job, telling a fine story, and some of the art is great.

All-New Wolverine #20, by Tom Taylor, Leonard Kirk, Cory Hamscher, Marc Deering, Terry Pallot, Michael Garland, Chris Sotomayor and Cory Petit. After a quick historical lesson about Roosevelt Island once being used to contain the sick, mad and criminal from the rest of the city, and how it’s once again being used to contain sick people, we then get a page of various super-geniuses analyzing the plague the alien girl brought. Bobbi Morse is among those consulted! Yay! So is Nadia. Laura feels responsible for the dead alien girl, especially since the virus has been labelled the Laura Kinney Virus. Some of Stark’s drones monitoring the island start going out, so Laura heads off to investigate and feel like she’s doing something useful. Turns out, it’s Gabby, trying to sneak onto the island so she can help Laura. Because Gabby is the single most stubborn person on the planet. Back at the hospital, someone’s stealing the alien inside an ambulance, so chase scene. The thieves are an interesting reveal. So, this is a great issue. Which generally goes without saying, with this series. I really like how much this arc is connected to the Marvel Universe. Wolverine’s comics always worked best when they alternated between their own mythos and the wider universe. The characters used as experts are interesting choices. Bobbi! I love when writers remember that she’s a brilliant biologist! Gabby is, as always, her delightful self. The guest villain is a lot of fun. The art . . . that’s not as good. For the most part, Kirk does a good job. But there are bad panels. There are times where faces just look wrong. In one panel, Laura looks like an old woman, wrinkles and all. The art is just very uneven throughout the issue. Kirk can do better than this. He did a sub-par job here. Also, he doesn’t really make Laura and Gabby look similar enough. Normally, distinctive appearances are an odd complaint, but Gabby is a clone of Laura, so the two are supposed to look very similar, but they have pretty different facial structures here, as this context-less final panel demonstrates:

All-New Wolverine #20

I like this line.

Laura’s face is longe, Gabby’s is rounder, and while I’m normally entirely supportive of that kind of distinctiveness, it’s a bit bothersome when one is a clone of the other. Taylor’s still doing great work, and of course Garland’s colours are still solid, but Kirk is letting the book down right now. I still love it, though.

Old Man Logan #23, by Jeff Lemire, Eric Nguyen, Andres Mossa and Cory Petit. Asmodeus is meeting with some bad guys, auctioning off Logan’s services, since Logan’s consciousness isn’t in his body. There’s some AIM guys there; presumably, a branch that chose not to join Roberto’s restructuring. Logan, meanwhile, is in Madripoor. He wonders to himself why he ever thought an eyepatch would be a good disguise. Good question, Logan! It was always the silliest part of the Wolverine solo, even if it was kinda charming. And I always like seeing characters poke fun at it. Anyway, he tears up some Yakuza, then decides to put the eyepatch back on because he always liked it. Fair! You do you, Logan. Then he grabs the amulet again and winds up in the ’90s, during a softball game, and asks the X-Men to help him in the future. Again, it’s a fun issue. Again, there’s no real point to it, other than to remind readers that the Patch disguise was a thing. It’s a well-written, well-drawn waste of time. Next issue is the conclusion of the arc, and it’ll be where the emotional weight of the arc is. But I can’t help but feel like this arc could’ve cut basically the entirety of the last couple issues and just skipped straight to the next one, and that it would have been better for it. We didn’t need the tour of his past. It comes across as filler, or as self-indulgence, with Lemire just wanting to hit on all those points in his life, regardless of whether it actually worked for the story. But there is still the final issue, maybe I’ll change my mind.

That’s the X-titles, here’s the rest of my list.

Ms. Marvel #18, by G. Willow Wilson, Francesco Gaston, Ian Herring and Joe Caramagna. Bruno issue! He’s daydreaming about Ms. Marvel – and she’s wearing her costume, so it is her he’s fantasizing about, not Kamala, which would make for some pretty interesting psycho-analyzing – and gets rebuked by the teacher. He’s feeling stupid and useless in the Wakandan school. He’s used to being the smartest guy in class, but now, he’s in a class full of geniuses. And his busted arm means he’s having to learn to write with his non-dominant hand. Another student asks for his help impressing a girl. The guy, Kwezi, wants to steal some Vibranium. Over the course of the heist, Kwezi gets Bruno to believe in himself, less through motivational speeches, more by just not caring about Bruno being disabled. The heist, as all heists do, runs into some snags, but it obviously leads to some uplifting moments, because this is Ms. Marvel. This is a good issue. I like Bruno, so it’s nice to see an issue from his perspective, showing him coping with the injuries he sustained during the CWII arc. His struggles feel pretty authentic. Gaston’s art is really pretty. It’s very soft and pleasing to look at. Also nicely detailed. I would be totally OK with him coming back to do more issues of this book. Maybe spotlight issues for other members of the supporting cast? I would absolutely love a Nakia issue.

Silver Surfer #11, by Dan Slott, Michael and Laura Allred and Joe Sabino. On Earth, at the Greenwood Inn, the place is swamped with tourists. Eve, who’s 9 months pregnant, is chipping in to help out, until her water breaks. In space, Dawn suddenly thinks of Eve, and realizes her baby’s due soon, and that she and the Surfer need to return to Earth. Unfortunately, they’re a bit busy protecting a Space Bee Queen’s honey reserves from an attack by Bearbarians, and yes, bearbarians. They don’t look like barbarians. They’re just bears in jumpsuits, firing guns. But bearbarians.  After the battle, they start heading back to Earth, but get attacked by Warrior Zero, demanding a duel, and not taking no for an answer. Mostly, the issue’s fun. Dawn’s impatient to get home in time for her niece’s birth, Warrior Zero is amusingly persistent, and the Surfer’s attempts to evade a battle are a lot of fun. So the whole thing is a lot of fun . . . until a huge whammy on the very last page, which also makes some perfect use of black space. (The baby’s fine. Slott didn’t kill a baby. Just, you know, thought it was important to make that clear.) Speaking of the art, though, the Allreds, man. So good. I’m disappointed at how simple the design for the bearbarians is, but other than that quibble, the art is fantastic. And can I actually highlight Laura Allred’s colours? Because I think she deserves praise. Her colours are so bright and they really make the art pop. She makes a lot of great choices. She’s amazing. Everything about this series is amazing.

Black Panther & the Crew #2, by Yona Harvey, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Butch Guice, Mack Chater, Scott Hanna, Dan Brown and Joe Sabino. This issue marks the first time Storm has been written by a black woman, and that’s pretty damn notable, and it’s a shame it took this long, and it’s a shame Marvel doesn’t have more black women writing ongoings. But, the issue! It starts in 1955, in Indonesia, with Ezra Keith at an Asian-African Conference. He meets a guy offering power. The guy, Asim, has a folder about Metahumans. The ones we see are Captain America, Namor, Red Guardian, and Black Widow. Which is cool. A reminder that she’s older than she looks. It’s not something that comes up often, but yeah, she’s basically unaging. The art on the photo makes her look older than she would have been at this point, though. She would’ve been early 20s – 25 at the oldest – but she looks to be close to 30. Asim then mentions Wakanda. In the present, Storm and Misty are in Little Mogadishu, in Brooklyn, with Storm narrating about loss and the mutant life. They bust into a gang house, and Misty decides to let Storm show off a bit. They ask about a guy they’re looking for, and are told to ask Luke Cage. As they head up to talk to him, Storm talks about Ezra, recalling a time during the Outback Era. Apparently, she’d routinely pop into Harlem, getting to know her father’s city. Man, that’s an awesome detail to retcon in. I am 100% behind it. Logan was always going to Madripoor, Dazzler did gigs, so the idea that Storm also led a double life? Yeah, I can get behind that. Her story about living in Harlem is really good. It’s really cool stuff. I don’t know if Harvey’s been to Harlem, but she writes about it passionately here. She does a great job conveying what Harlem means to Storm, what it means to her to be among her people. Harvey’s Ororo is black, in a way she isn’t always. Ororo’s connection to Harlem has seldom been explored much, so to see it given so much focus here is really nice to see. Harvey does such a great job with the issue. You’ll note that I’m not giving Coates credit: That’s because, to my understanding, he didn’t write the issue. He’s co-writer, but I’m pretty sure he just co-plotted this issue, while the bulk of the writing was by Harvey. And she proves herself great at dialogue and characterization. I’ve noted, quite a few times, my concerns with non-comic writers being given jobs at Marvel. I want Harvey to keep writing comics, because she does a brilliant job here. The art is fantastic, too. Again, Harlem feels alive. There’s also a nice subtlety to expressions and body language. This series is shaping up to be spectacular. I’m giving it a very strong recommendation.

America #3, by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, Stacey Lee, Joe Rivera, Jose Villarrubia, Jordan Gibson and Travis Lanham. America’s flown off to find the Maltixans who’ve captured Lisa, but she doesn’t want to hurt them, since they’re just kids looking for someone to connect to. And she thinks back to her own experiences, finding communities of people who looked like her, that she could blend into. But she was always ultimately an outsider everywhere she went, until Lisa. She tries to punch to Maltixa, but instead, ends up in the middle of a fight between the X-Men and Juggernaut. Including Punk Storm! The best of all Storms! She takes America to her attic, where he art switches to Stacey Lee, and maaaaaaaaaan, I frigging love Stacey Lee’s art. She is amazing. Anyway, Storm tells America to listen for Lisa. America can’t concentrate by sitting still, she can only concentrate by fighting, and I’m preeetty sure we get an insight into her relationship with Yukio.

America #3

We all know why she has a safeword.

America even says she’s going to get the story behind that. I know there’s no way Marvel would actually let a writer confirm that Storm engaged in BDSM with Yukio, but . . . yeah, it definitely happened. So, this issue. I’ve been a bit disappointed with the book. I thought the first two issues had major pacing problems, and I wasn’t sold on Rivera’s take on America. I’m still not really on board with her take on America, but the plotting here is better (or maybe it just feels better because we got to see Stacey Lee draw Punk Storm). I enjoyed this issue a lot more, on the whole. Hopefully, this is a sign that Rivera’s growing into the medium. The next couple issues will be key, I think. If the book keeps up the quality in this issue, then I’ll be a lot more confident. Because I did really enjoy this. I thought it was a lot better. As I said, though, a big part of that might just have been Stacey Lee.  I frigging love Lee’s art. It is so pretty. And she does motion really well. And it’s pretty. Quinones’ art still isn’t a style I enjoy, but I minded it less here, too. I think I’m getting more accustomed to it. Plus, he drew America as a kid, and she was adorable, and that gets bonus points. As far as the writing goes, Rivera does do a nice job digging into America’s past, while hinting at how much potential power she has. So, yeah, there’s some really good work here.

Avengers #7, by Mark Waid, Jeremy Whitley, Phil Noto, Mike Del Mundo with Marco D’Alfonso, and Cory Petit. The Avengers are fighting some monster, with Nadia also getting in a sick burn on Spider-Man. Doom shows up to banish it, and Nadia completely geeks out, and is pretty adorable about it. He needs their help dealing with a magical problem in a place where he dares not go: A girls’ leadership camp. Nadia goes in to investigate. I gotta say, Doom and Nadia? Amazing. Her fan-girling is adorable, and it gets even better when she starts to actually relate to him on a personal level. It makes for such a fun issue. Also, a girls’ leadership camp where some of the girls decide demon-summoning and human sacrifice are what it takes to get ahead? Yep, that’s awesome. Oh, also! ALSO!

Avengers #7

Omigosh, yes.

Oh man. That is THE BEST. You gotta light marshmallows in fire. Don’t just keep them above the flame so they brown. Stick them in so they burn. Then blow them out and they are the most perfect thing ever. I miss roasting marshmallows in the fireplace. But, uh, yeah, the story’s wonderful. I’m not as big a fan of Noto’s art. It actually feels a bit too heavy and serious for the story. Also, I find his faces tend to be weirdly flat and emotionless, a lot of the time. The man is a fantastic artist, but I don’t like his style. I’m also not sure that Del Mundo’s colours are the best complement to the lines. I’m not very good at judging that sort of thing, I’ll admit, but I think the lines and colours clashed a little bit. Regardless, this is such a good, fun, cute issue. Waid’s been killing it on this book, and Whitley’s co-writing in this issue makes it even more fun, and this series is very definitely worth picking up.

Side note: I don’t read Renew Your Vows. But I guess they just finished a two-issue arc with the X-Men. Where Jean had a child with Logan, and Jubilee was a bad guy. Soooo . . . I’m feeling pretty good about not reading it, honestly, because to hell with both those things. My least-favourite ship in fiction, and a character I love being randomly awful. Miles and miles of nope. On the flip side, Rocket #1 has Tech-Net and that’s awesome. Tech-Net is wonderful.

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From → 2017

One Comment
  1. X-Men Blue is off to a great start. The characterization and their relationships feels spot on, the change in Bastion is one that could make him a more interesting villain. Although X-Men Blue 3 has a lot of exposition, it’s the good kind of exposition.

    All-New Wolverine 20 is great. The pacing is quick yet it doesn’t feel rushed. There’s a great balance between character drama, action and fun. The only problem is a couple panels here and there that make Laura look older than they should. And while it’s true that people’s faces tend to get less round as they get older, Gabby’s old enough that it shouldn’t be that noticeable of a difference in that last panel. But yeah, great line and overall great comic.

    Also, nice work on comparing those two Domino panels from Weapon X. The Robertson panel looks good. I don’t even know what kind of emotion Greg Land’s Domino panel is trying to convey, or what kind of image it could be traced from. Greg Land is the main reason I decided to not even check the comic out.

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