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X-Men comics of January 3 2018

January 4, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Happy New Year! Saladin Ahmed is writing Exiles! With Blink, a chibi version of Wolverine, and a grizzled old vet version of Kamala Khan. I am excited. Ahmed is doing amazing work on Black Bolt (which I picked up this week but haven’t read yet), so I am totally down for this. Anyway, comics!

X-Men Gold #19, by Marc Guggenheim (the sexist hack), Diego Bernard, JP Mayer, Chris Sotomayor, and Cory Petit. X-Men vs. a god. And Logan vs. Gay Nazi Monster. That one ends with claws through the head, so I’m pretty sure the evil gay monster is dead. The god is tougher, but a reasonably cool plan is hatched and succeeds. And I don’t care about any of it, because Guggenheim gives no particular reason to care about any of it. It’s Grim People Talking Grimly About Grim Things. Yippee. Character development? What’s that? Why would anyone want to read about interpersonal conflict when they can read Ink saying the giant looks tough? Thrilling! Guggenheim sucks. He’s just a boring writer. Bland stories told blandly, with characters talking about the plot without actually providing any real insight into their personalities, and certainly not contributing to any interesting relationship dynamics or personal developments. Guggenheim fails to give the reader a reason to actually give a shit, beyond showing them familiar characters. But that’s boring. Yeah, I love Armour, but so what that she’s here? I love Armour because of how Whedon developed her over the course of Astonishing X-Men. But here, she’s flat. She’s static. She’s not undergoing any development or changes. She’s just . . . there. The entire cast is just there. The art’s fine. I have no strong emotions one way or the other on the art. With better writing, I might enjoy the art more. With better art . . . I still wouldn’t care about the writing. Because Guggenheim is a goddamn hack.

Astonishing X-Men #7, by Charles Soule, Phil Noto, and Clayton Cowles. Xavier has taken over Fantomex’s body, and wants to be called ‘X.’ He restores Warren’s mind in Archangel’s body, in time for Warren to stop a nuke dropped on London. The dude who ordered to bomb drop is pissed, which makes me wonder if maybe he’s Scottish. “X” psychically shows up, starts removing the psychic infection from London, and knocks out all the dudes in the war room, while also wiping their memories of the X-Men being there. Yep, definitely Xavier in there. He tells the others that Fantomex made the choice to let Xavier take over his body, and Betsy goes to the Astral Plane to check, and finds Fantomex happy. All in all, everything seems to be going quite well, everything’s fine and dandy, no problems on the horizon at all. I will say the end reveal is something I’d already guessed at. Not a surprise at all. Done well, though. I’ll admit to not being a Noto fan. I know, I know. He’s immensely talented. His art’s stylish and cool. But I also find it a bit flat and static. Not very expressive. But it’s just taste. In terms of the story, well, I don’t like “X.” It’s silly to me. But I’ve always found Xavier to be a bit of a dick, and I’d prefer he stay dead. I hope this series ends with him dead again. He works better dead, as a symbol. Also, if Warren’s going to be in control of his body again, I hope he can at least swap back and forth between his Angel and Archangel forms. I’d find that more interesting than just Warren being Archangel again, permanently, until the next time a writer decides to make him Angel again, and so on, and so on, forever and ever, because Big Two comics can never just move the hell on. Warren being permanently Archangel again would just feel like a retread, for the sake of nostalgia, which I hate. But other than all that, this is still pretty good. Soule writes good dialogue. The issue serves as a nice breather between two major threats. So it’s good.

Phoenix Resurrection #2, by Matthew Rosenberg, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. An astronaut’s working outside a space station and sees a flare on the moon. On Earth, a redhead telekinetically lifts things in her sleep while quoting part of her final speech to Scott on the moon from X-Men #137. As Jean leaves her house the next morning, she says hi to Jamie Madrox. The X-Men debate the return of the Phoenix, and the team’s momentary lack of psychics. Jean gets a new customer named Erik, who mentions being friends with her old teacher, with Jean asking if he means Mr. Claremont, which is a cute bit. Also, Jean asks what he wants to eat, he asks what she’d have if she could have anything, and she says the Lumberjack is her favourite. I don’t know if this is supposed to be teasing her attraction to Logan, but I’m gonna use it as an excuse to post this:

Always take any opportunity to reference that song. Anyway, Cable uses Cerebro, and it almost fries his brain. Back in the afterlife, I think Thunderbird is the diner’s cook, and Annie mentions Dr. MacTaggert, and man, so many dead people in the X-franchise. Also, the X-Men split into teams again to search areas associated with Jean and the Phoenix, with Dazzler, Pixie, Strong Guy, and Shatterstar getting to go into the sewers, which seems mean. Why send Dazzler into a sewer? Also, Strong Guy and Shatterstar both still have their facial hair. They’re dedicated to those looks, I guess. The issue also has a moment where Laura gets to give a nice reminder of how dangerous she is. And Iceman makes a terrible, terrible joke, but also gets a pretty good dig in at Boom-Boom that made me chuckle. I miss their caustic chemistry. Anyway, on the whole, I find this issue uneven. The Jean stuff is fascinating. She’s in an afterlife, full of other dead X-characters, and they’re all living a completely normal life, and it’s nice, but it’s also kinda unsettling. And honestly? I feel bad that the town’s going to have to end. It seems so nice, and Jean seems content there, and everyone else seems happy, but obviously, it won’t last. And that’s sad. Poor Jean, and poor other dead people. The stuff in the real world isn’t as good. A lot of Serious Talk about the situation. And for an issue that’s banking so hard on connecting it to the past, and especially to the Phoenix/Dark Phoenix Sagas, it’d be nice if the story worked harder to provide an emotional connection to that stuff. We see Jamaica Bay, but so what? Aside from Kurt calling it “unnerving,” we get no commentary from any of the X-Men who were in the shuttle crash. Cable’s in the book, but has nothing to say about his kinda-mom. Rachel’s not in the issue, of course, because she was written out last issue by being put in a coma. Which pisses me off. The way writers who use the Phoenix Force seem to feel the need to write around Rachel is annoying, because, like, why not let her play a role? How does that hurt? But I’m having serious problems with the real world portions, because I feel like it would be stronger with a couple of main focus characters to provide a real emotional grounding and connection to what’s going on. Rachel would’ve been pretty perfect for that, honestly, but I think going with Storm, Colossus and Kurt as the focal characters would’ve done wonders, too. They were there when Jean became Phoenix. They were there when she died on the moon. Logan was, too, but this is an older version, so he wouldn’t really fit as well. Regardless, I’m not impressed. Though the art’s great. I really like Pacheco. He does great work. Clean, crisp, expressive, good flow of action, and generally easy on the eyes. And Rachelle’s colours are always on point.

Iceman #9, by Sina Grace, Robert Gill, Ed Tadeo, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. Bobby invites Judah to Bobby’s going-away party before his move to LA. He also mentions he had a fight with Kitty, and compared her haircut to ’90s-era John Stamos, and it’s supposed to be bad, but I mean, any-era John Stamos is a pretty good comparison, I figure. Meanwhile, Idie and Mikaela, the girl with pointy spit, go clothes-shopping at a thrift store, to find an outfit for the party. They also talk about stuff and it’s a good scene. At the party, there’s lots of conversations. Including Kitty and Bobby arguing more. Kitty doesn’t think Bobby’s making a good decision in moving to LA, and doubts his motivations. Rictor hits on Bobby. And, of course, Daken and Zach show up and ruin the whole thing, along with Purifiers. And Daken uses his rapey pheromone powers on Judah, because Daken’s awful. He really is awful here. He’s a monster. He talks about the Apocalypse Seed in him, so I don’t know if that makes him worse than he’s recently been. Or maybe he can only be less awful when Laura’s around. Either way, he’s incredibly terrible here. Just a complete monster. It makes him less interesting and less entertaining, if I’m honest. Reminds me why I don’t like the character. The party is fun. Lots of fun stuff in it. I enjoy casual stuff like that. I wouldn’t have minded more of it. The art’s fine. I have no strong opinions on it.

Rogue & Gambit #1, by Kelly Thompson, Pere Perez, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. In a Latin American country, three people on the run get attacked. At the Mansion, Gambit insists on calling Ororo “Stormy,” which I love, and joins Rogue in a Danger Room scenario with old-school Sentinels, along with Psylocke, Pixie, and Armour. Pixie is a Rogue/Gambit shipper. Gambit really wants to get back with Rogue, she doesn’t want to repeat the past. Kitty has a mission for Rogue involving mutants vanishing. She wants Rogue and Gambit to pose as a couple in order to get in. And on the flight, Rogue implies Deadpool is a better kisser than Gambit. Wow. On the island, they get a great room, with super-friendly neighbours that make Rogue instantly suspicious. Which entertains me. Anyway. I’m split. On the one hand, I hate nostalgia. I hate the way Marvel, and especially the X-Men, keeps retreading the past. I think it’s not just a mistake, it’s dangerous. So I have an objection to the entire premise of the series. On the other hand, Kelly Thompson’s a phenomenal writer. And she does great work here. She does a great job at capturing two a pair of exes who have different views on their relationship. Gambit is stuck in the past. He’s not able to move past her. Rogue has moved on, but she can’t entirely shake her feelings for him, and she always has to force herself not to let his charm work on her. I’m hoping it doesn’t end with them back together, or even a tease that they could get back together. I’d much rather it end with Rogue telling Gambit it’s over and that he needs to move on. I’d be fine with Gambit not being able to move on, but I want it clear that Rogue has. We’ll see how it goes. Regardless, Thompson’s great. The art’s great, too. Bright and full of energy, and nails the tension between them. It does a lot to create the tone of the story. So it’s a charming comic, lots of fun, and worth reading, my hatred of nostalgia notwithstanding.

X-Men Grand Design #2, by Ed Piskor. You know what? It’s 3:30 am, and I work at 11:30, I need to go to bed, so I’m not going to talk about this one. It’s probably really cool and interesting and probably worth picking up.

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From → 2017

3 Comments
  1. When are they going to just either cancel X-Men Gold or replace the lead writer?

    So far, Phoenix Resurrection feels like it’s intentionally confusing. Not bad, not great, but there’s potential for it to go either way.

    I actually forgot that Rogue and Gambit released this week. Might just need to pick this up sometime soon.

  2. I’ve only been reading the Phoenix books and that’s only kind of some of the cool alt cover art more than the plot. But going off your reviews of some of the other books are we just wiping the slate completely clean and bringing the classic x-men back?
    Between Xavier and original Warren, Wolvie with an infinity stone and all that’s in Phoenix it seems so.
    On the one hand I agree with you that it would be nice for the story to move on but at the same time this new batch hasn’t really grabbed me at the moment.

    • Yeah, the X-Men franchise is definitely moving towards nostalgia and the past right now. Which is a shame, because nostalgia’s boring. The past’s been done. I’d much rather the franchise really embrace forward movement.

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