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X-Men comics of May 17 2017

May 18, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I hate working late on Wednesdays. Anyway, comics.

X-Men Gold #4, by Marc Guggenheim, R.B. Silva, Andriano Di Benedetto, Frank Martin and Cory Petit. Gambit is breaking into Nanostorm, Inc, and makes a card pun when he takes out some guards, because Gambit is good at two things: Thievery and bad card puns. Little known fact: Charging objects is actually a secondary mutation, his main power is bad card puns. Look, I just find Gambit’s constant card puns get obnoxious, OK? Anyway, Kitty, Rachel and Kurt fight some Serpent Society people. Kitty also mentions a meeting with City Hall about getting the mansion sewage and plumbing, and uh, hold on a minute, shouldn’t she have thought about that part before she moved the school into Central Park? Between this and the rent, I’m starting to wonder if Kitty thought about the whole thing at all before she decided to drop the school in Central Park. Logan and Storm are at the police morgue to investigate a mutant death. Storm’s got her old XSE badge, from Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men series. Shitty as that run was, the XSE idea was pretty cool, and I do actually think it’s cool for that to be brought back. They meet a Detective Mahoney, who a quick check reveals was co-created by Guggenheim in a 2007 return of Marvel Comics Presents. Fair enough on Guggenheim bringing him back here. Anyway, turns out there’s been a string of mutants being murdered using hardware that’s not even available to the military yet. Gambit brings the vial he stole to his client, Olivia Trask, grand-daughter of Bolivar. That guy seems to have family pop up every few years. On the plus side, she doesn’t really care about mutants, she just wants the sell the nanites to the military. This issue also has an appearance from Cecilia Reye, who was always awesome. And this is an odd thing for me to praise, but at one point, Colossus needs a moment to remember an English expression. In fiction, characters who have English as a second language always seem to be completely fluent, but in real life, anyone speaking a second language – hell, most people speaking their native language – will forget words from time to time. Anyway, this issue is actually better than the first three. It feels a little less desperate, in a way. The pacing feels more normal, less rushed. The art is fantastic. The art team does a great job, and I think it was just so nice to look at that it made me less harsh on the writing than I otherwise would be. It’s not that Syaf was a bad artist or anything, but Silva, Di Benedetto and Martin are just so good. All that said, the characterization is still lacking. We still get little real characterization. Kitty is still entertainingly snarky. But for the most part, characters are just there to say things. We don’t really get much insight into who they are. The dialogue is all surface-level. I don’t think it’s unfair to expect more by now. The one exception I’ll grant: Colossus revealing that he always paid attention when Kitty nerded-out on dates, because she was talking. Fine, that’s really sweet and he’s a good guy, even if I’d still much rather Kitty date his sister. But it’s a great line. It’s such a tiny moment, but it speaks volumes, and Guggenheim needs more of those, and he needs more character depth in general. I feel like Guggenheim is banking entirely too much on readers already knowing the characters and their relationships. All in all, this series remains superficial, though I do think the art has taken a step up.

Generation X #1, by Christina Strain, Amilcar Pinna, Felipe Sobreiro and Clayton Cowles. In Central Park, Jubilee and Chamber are looking for Shogo, who’s wandered off. Yay for Jubilee/Chamber friendship. I still want a Generation X reunion mini that brings back Synch (and Skin, too, why not). Also, yay for Momilee. I actually really love Jubilee as a mom. Anyway, she gets to the school, where Broo is greeting new students. We see some of the New X-Men kids, yay, and Glob is now wearing thick-ass glasses, complaining that he kept losing his contacts. One of the new kids, Nathaniel, bumps into Phoebe Cuckoo and reads her history. He has a psychometry power. Phoebe’s actually quite pleasant to him, aside from a little sarcasm, and she summons Ben Deeds to help him. Not gonna lie, I kinda hope Nathaniel is gay, because I feel like he and Benjamin would make a super cute couple. But back to Jubilee, who meets with Kitty. Yay for these two! Jubilee took over Kitty’s role as Team Kid, for the first few years of the ’90s, and for a while, Jubilee semi-disliked Kitty, so seeing them talking as friends makes me so happy. Ben and Nathaniel talk about Phoebe, with Ben making clear part of what I love about X-Men when he just casually mentions the Cuckoos all being cloned from Emma. Like, that’s a a pretty crazy thing. With the X-Men, it’s downright banal. Their conversation is sadly ended by Bling! being thrown through a wall by Quentin Quire, who’s upset at her for scuffing his fancy shoes. Gotta say, Quentin looks good in a suit. I don’t like Quentin, but damn, boy rocks a suit. Suddenly, ducks! Which is a pretty great phrase to type. And honestly, this page is just amazing:

Generation X #1

“SO MANY HONKS!” isn’t even the funniest thing here.

There’s a Kitty/Quentin moment that’s very interesting, and it’ll be interesting to see Quentin’s story explored in this book. This is a fantastic debut. OK, so, the art will turn some people off. I can’t say I enjoy it. I don’t like how Pinna draws faces. They’re oddly long and oddly blobby. Lips are huge. He does draw great ducks, so credit for that, and I hope he gets many more opportunities to draw ducks. Actually, with Nature Girl in the cast, he likely will get to draw plenty of animals, so that’ll be pretty great. But his figures and faces are odd-looking. Still, for me, the writing overcomes the problems with the art. The writing here is great. There’s some fantastic characterization here, of multiple characters. Strain gets into the heads of several characters, sometimes with just a couple lines. She writes a great Jubilee, though Jubilee is always awesome and I will fight anyone who says different. But she really is so good here. She comes across like an adult with no idea what she’s doing but doing it anyway. Like so many of us. She’s still optimistic and eager, but she’s a little older and a little more aware. And also a little flustered. We don’t learn much about Nathaniel here, but he seems interesting, and he seems like he’ll actually work really well as a new reader surrogate, reacting to the madness as the readers do. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this issue, setting up lots for Strain to explore. And it’s also incredibly fun. I also want to note that Strain does vastly more to explain the school’s new set-up in this one issue than Guggenheim has in 4 issues. The scene of Broo greeting people actually lays it out well. So, really, those three panels tell readers more about the school than Guggenheim has done in 4 issues, which is pretty sad. Regardless, this was the one Resurrxion title I was whole-heartedly excited about, and I was not disappointed. I’m recommending it.

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

Luke Cage #1, by David Walker, Nelson Blake, Marcio Menyz and Joe Sabino. Luke Cage saves a woman being held for ransom. She was being held for $5000. Which isn’t nothing, but it’s not kidnapping money. When he brings the girl home, he asks the father to employ one of his friends, looking for legitimate work but having trouble because of a record. Luke really is a good guy. He likes helping people. Then he gets a call, and has to go to New Orleans, for the funeral of Noah Burstein, the doctor who gave him his powers. Apparently, Noah killed himself. Luke meets with a father and son. The son had a rare, untreatable disorder that was reversed by Noah’s experiments. But it turns out that the experiments also came with side effects that make people lash out. And Noah’s assistant, Lenore, doesn’t think he killed himself. This is really good. Another solid debut issue. Walker does great work with Luke, as we already knew from Power Man & Iron Fist. He sets up an interesting plot, one which will probably have plenty of twists and turns. I’m gonna make a prediction now: Noah Burstein isn’t actually dead. The art is great. All the people who complained about the art in PM&IF, and used that as the reason they didn’t pick it up? I hope those people pick up this series. There is absolutely no reason for not liking the art here. It’s not stylized. It’s fairly conventional, but so competently done. It’s a unique style, but not one that’s far from the mainstream. Combined with the writing, this issue’s excellent, and it’s set to be an excellent series, one well worth picking up.

USAvengers #6, by Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov and Joe Caramagna. Sam is being brought back to Earth by a space-taxi. Which is a pretty wonderful idea. Space taxi! Why wouldn’t they exist? Anyway, they come out of warp right in the middle of Earth’s heroes fighting the Chitauri. Sam asks the cabbie to send word to Smasher, then jumps out to help. Sam’s great like that. He contacts Roberto on Earth, and then gets caught in the shockwave of an exploding space whale. The one that ate Quasar, actually, which Carol notes no one could have survived. Of course, we all know Quasar’s fine. She’ll make a big dramatic return in a middle issue, momentarily turning the tide, before things get bad again. Because that’s just how these things go. Anyway, Roberto wants to head up to space to help Sam but Steve Rogers tells him to stay put because Steve is a Nazi right now. Aikku expresses concern over Toni’s armour and guns getting bigger, but Toni declares she won’t kill anyone, and she’s not Tony Stark. Seems like she might resent him a little over what happened to her father. I hope we do get a Toni/Tony confrontation at some point. Seems like it’d be a fun confrontation to have. Anyway, this is a good issue. Ewing does a good job tying into Secret Empire. I kinda wish he didn’t have to, but meh, nature of the beast. The beast being Marvel and its events. Ewing does include some good character moments. Roberto’s worry about Sam, Toni’s insistence that she doesn’t kill like Stark. There’s a few good moments. Still, being a SE tie-in does feel like it dragged this issue down, just a bit. The art’s still amazing, though.

Ultimates 2 #7, by Al Ewing, Aud Koch, Dan Brown and Joe Sabino. The Ultimates, along with a bunch of other heroes, fight the Chitauri in orbit. The fight is actually really good, as they defend each other. Adam is also horrified at the sight of the Chitauri killing themselves against the planetary defence shield. All Carol’s justifications don’t make it easier for him to watch. Carol’s beating herself up about being tricked by Captain Nazi. Meanwhile, America’s been sent to find Galactus and hope he can get them through the shield. Monica makes her own attempt, by trying to merge with the shield, which is really cool. I love these displays of just how ridiculously powerful Monica is. It’s not just blowing up spaceships. She’s versatile. America’s meeting with Galactus is really interesting, too. This is a great issue. Again, I’m not happy about the book being sidetracked by Secret Empire, and it drags the book down a bit. But Ewing does some brilliant character work here, with four of the five members. (T’Challa’s not in the issue.) There’s some brilliant stuff, and I love seeing it, as the series has sometimes drifted a bit from the characters. The art’s really interesting. I don’t think I’ve seen anything by Koch before. Her style’s definitely not going to appeal to everyone. It is a bit of a strange style. But there’s a sense of scale to the art that is just captivating. There were panels that legitimately blew me away. The last page splash is stunning. So I do enjoy Koch’s style. I wouldn’t mind if she does more issues of Ultimates, because she does scale so well. I’d be hard-pressed to think of someone who evokes it as well as she does.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #20, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham. The mosquito is the deadliest animal in the world, and that includes humans. Tippy-Toe and some other squirrels offer to protect Squirrel Girl and her friends while they find a way to stop Melissa Morbeck. Who shows up dressed as Dr. Doom. Actually, it’s a bear dressed as Dr. Doom, with a mask that Melissa can talk through. It’s a Doombear! DOOMBEAR! Anyway, Melissa plans on pinning the blame for everything on Squirrel Girl. Then she’ll beat Squirrel Girl and gain everyone’s trust, allowing her to take over. I guess. Luckily, Doreen, Nancy and Mary come up with an idea. Also, we obviously get the conclusion of Chef Bear and Alfredo the Chicken. This is so good. So good. DOOMBEAR. Lots of animals! Lots of jokes! Doreen’s love of computer science! Mary is a great Future Supervillain. She is totally going to be a supervillain, and she’ll be great at it, and I really like her. Melissa’s really fun. There’s lots of animals. I just love this comic, OK?

The Wicked + The Divine 455 AD, by Kieron Gillen, Andre Araujo, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles. In 455 AD, the Vandals attacked Rome. Also, the Pantheon of that cycle was all dead, except one guy, who blows them up and becomes Emperor. He remembers Dionysus, and the love they shared. Ananke is angry at Lucifer for breaking the pact. He should be dead. What a shock that Lucifer doesn’t play by the rules. Ananke assures him that he will die. He will lose himself and die. And he does! And it’s messed up! This is a great one-shot. Very freaky. Very weird and unsettling. Araujo’s art is a good fit for the story. Very good.

Animosity #7, by Marguerite Bennett, Rafael de Latorre, Rob Schwager and Marshall Dillon. Pallas Cat attacks the vulture. Hot damn, you go, cat. Sandor arrives with reinforcements to defeat the vulture and save Jesse. With Sandor also getting some awesome lines, and an epic one-liner. Sandor is a frigging action hero. But man, this series is dark. And darker all the time. Like, who knew talking animals could be so frigging intense? Sandor, in particular. He starts off heroic, someone you root for. At this point, it’s clear that he is an absolutely ruthless bastard who will do whatever it damned well takes and then a little more to keep Jesse safe. There is no line he isn’t willing to cross. It’s chilling. And such an amazing read. You really should be reading this.

From → 2017

One Comment
  1. X-Men Gold 4 being a little bit better with actually good art isn’t enough for me to jump back on. Hopefully this is a sign that the series will improve from here though.

    I wouldn’t go so far to say that I loved Generation X 1, but I enjoyed it overall and there’s a lot of potential.

    I didn’t like Ultimates 2 7. To me, the whole thing felt like a forced Secret Empire tie-in that completely halted the main story.

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