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X-Men comics of January 10 2018

January 11, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So Stan Lee has been accused of sexually harassing some nurses. So far, the main source of the allegations is the Daily Mail. Which leaves me torn. On the one hand, I believe women. Full stop, I believe women. But I’ll admit that I do hate to believe something coming from the Daily Mail. My first instinct is to wait for a more reputable source to investigate and report. That said, the thing I’m really interested in seeing is whether more women come forward. I wouldn’t be surprised, at all, sadly. If Lee did harass women, I’d hope that, now that an allegation has been made, more will come forward about it. We’ll see. But for now, comics! As usual, I’m sticking to the X-Men comics, because I worked until 11.

X-Men Blue #19, by Cullen Bunn, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rain Beredo, and Joe Caramagna. The X-Men see themselves fighting Magneto and the Brotherhood, but the Brotherhood looks dead, and Xavier walks into the fight to announce Magneto’s going to die. Then he and the X-Men bodyslide away. Back at the Mansion, Xavier checks on Xavier, comatose in Cerebro. The real X-Men, and Magneto, are semi-safe outside the timestream, to discuss the situation. The X-Men all think that the Evil X-Men are themselves, from further down the timeline. The reveal of who the Evil X-Men are is something that makes sense. I’m not sure how easy it would have been to guess, but once it’s revealed, it’s an “oh yeah” moment. It does make the “did we turn evil?” scene fall a little flatter. But at least they didn’t guess what was going on. Still, on the whole, this arc’s kinda disappointed me. I wonder if this is meant to put further doubts in their minds about whether to work with Magneto. I’d honestly be a little disappointed in that, because the premise had some definite potential, even if it never felt like the series has made much use of that potential. This entire series has felt largely like wasted potential, and this arc has been particularly bad for that. Cool guest stars who get little real exploration. A story that never felt like it was adequately building to anything. The reveal, while it makes sense, doesn’t really do enough to justify all the build-up, I feel. The whole thing just feels unsatisfying, somehow.

X-Men Gold Annual, by Marc Guggenheim, Leah Williams, Alitha Martinez, Craig Yeung, Jay David Ramos, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Cory Petit. The 30th Anniversary of Excalibur! One of the surviving D’Bari, who goes by the name Starhammer, and who’d previously tried to kill Rachel (in UXM #387, an issue I’ve read but have absolutely no recollection of, but a quick check reveals it was Jean he attacked back then). Anyway, he wants revenge. On Earth, a stork shows up with a delivery for Kitty. It’s a letter from Meggan, saying she and Brian just had a daughter. So Kitty, Kurt, and Rachel hop a plane to England. Martinez has loads of fun with the other passengers. In England, Brian has a beard. Also, Maggie is already speaking. And being philosophical.

X-Men Gold Annual #1

She is entirely too young to be making dad jokes.

The fact that everyone just accepts this pleases me, for some reason. Like, “Eh, talking babies isn’t the weirdest thing we’ve seen. Literally all of us have come back from death at least once.” Anyway, Starhammer attacks, and the fight does give us some pretty great lines.

X-Men Gold Annual #1

Brian’s sigh absolutely makes this panel.

Dammit, Kitty. Brian’s reaction is for all of us. Everyone who saw the joke coming, and were powerless to stop it. Just wonderful.

X-Men Gold Annual #1

I love comics.

Anyway, more fighting, some inter-dimensional stuff, Maggie not wanting Brian’s help with a gluon inhibitor. It’s a fun story. Captures the tone of Excalibur – madcap, but just rolling with it. There’s all sorts of dumb jokes, but there’s some nice moments, too. The sense of family between the two of them comes through. There’s a lotta love. One thing I want to note: I expected the story to do something with Maggie talking being strange. But nope. There’s absolutely nothing up with her. She’s just a three-month-old who’s already speaking, and also shares her father’s engineering talents. Why? Well, why not? Just look at who her parents are. The art’s good. Martinez is a talented artist. She does especially well with quieter stuff, but the action isn’t exactly lacking. Good colours, too. But hey, there’s also a back-up! By Monty Nero, Djibril Morissette-Phan, Michael Garland, and Cory Petit. A young girl is visiting her aunt in New York, and the girl wants to meet Storm. She loves the X-Men, and especially Storm. Girl’s got good taste. Kitty, Storm, Colossus, Armour, and Ink are fighting Fin Fang Foom. Randomly. Fin Fang Foom has popped up a lot in recent years. The girl’s too late to meet the X-Men there, so she tries the Mansion. And absolutely destroys Anole.

X-Men Gold Annual #1

That is COLD, girl!

The girl does, of course, get to meet Storm eventually. It’s sweet. It’s a cute story about a girl who loves the X-Men. A reminder that there actually are regular people who are totally OK with mutants. Something we still don’t see enough of. Beyond that, it’s just a cute story about a kid meeting her idol. And also, how her enthusiasm is infectious enough to catch her aunt up in it and see what the appeal is. It’s also the most brutal slam on Anole ever, and it’s just too brutal for me not to laugh at it. Poor Anole!

Phoenix: Resurrection #3, by Matthew Rosenberg, Joe Bennett, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. Jean dreams of the space shuttle crashing in Jamaica Bay, and of drowning, then wakes up in the supermarket, surrounded by more dead people. Like Gateway, and what looks like Psylocke’s original body, and I’m not completely sure who else. Out on Jamaica Bay, a father and son are fishing, and a whole bunch of dead fish float to the surface, followed by a flame funnel. The X-Men go check out Cockrum Hill Cemetery, and yay for that reference! They find Jean’s body missing. To be fair, her tombstone reads, “She will rise again.” So. In the fake world, Jean takes her car to the shop, with Mr. Patch as the mechanic. He hits on her, and she shoves him away. Good. This is how it should be. Rosenberg gets it. She even impales him with a screwdriver! Back in the real world, Kitty takes a team to get Emma to run Cerebro. Emma doesn’t bother. She just points them at New Mexico. This is getting better. The Jean stuff remains the highlight. It’s getting weirder and more unsettling. But the X-Men stuff has more emotional depth than the first two issues did. In particular, there’s a moment where Dani asks why Hank talks about “it” instead of “her,” and Hank reminds her that Jean was one of his best friends. Of course, Dani even being there, while appreciated, does bring back my point from last issue: The story is dragged down by not putting more focus on a core set of characters who can show their emotional reactions to Jean’s return. I stand by that criticism, and I feel it continues to drag this book down. On the plus side, Emma is wonderfully Emma. The art’s good. I do find Bennett draws people with weirdly large eyes. It makes them look permanently surprised. Some of them, anyway. His Emma looks good. Anyway, despite my complaints, this is an enjoyable comic, and this is the best issue yet.

Cable #153, by Ed Brisson, Jon Malin, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. It opens on a flashback in the 5300s, of Gideon returning to life, in a wasteland future. He finds the X-Mansion, and Cable’s arm. In the present, Cable’s team is being psychically overwhelmed. Doop erects a shield just long enough for the team to fight free. But then the base self-destructs. And Gideon confronts Selene and the other Externals. It goes poorly for Selene. Good issue. The fighting’s fun, there’s a cool Armour moment, Selene vs. Gideon is enjoyable. My one complaint about this whole arc is Blink having no personality in it. She’s Selene’s personal chauffeur. It does amuse me that Brisson and Malin brought back the Externals just to kill them all off again. By the end of this issue, only three are left. Well, 4. The last one isn’t named, but I would guess they mean Apocalypse. This isn’t some great story being told, but it’s a fun ’90s-style action-fest, and it’s good for what it is. Though the art is going to be divisive. Some people won’t be able to stand it, some people will absolutely love it.

Old Man Logan #33, by Ed Brisson, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin, Cory Petit. It starts with a flashback to when Logan and Mariko met, and he gave her a flower. Aw man. That was so nice, back in the day. I really did like their romance. Anyway, in the present, she tries to kill him. Can’t blame her. He escapes, and meets up with the Silver Samurai. The douchey young one who was almost killed earlier in the arc. Shingen tells Logan the drug breaks down and kills its hosts, but it takes a while, and Logan comes up with a plan. Which is then executed successfully. This issue’s OK. Wrapped up the Yashida Takeover plot real quick. But the big thing here is Mariko’s resurrection. She was always Logan’s best love interest, his real True Love. (Though she made a cuter couple with Mary Jane.) It will be interesting to see where that goes. If she stays alive, or dies again. (I’d like to think they wouldn’t just fridge her all over again. But I wouldn’t really be surprised if it happens. Maybe letting her go out more heroically, as a way of “making up” for her first death. Not that it would actually make it much better, of course.) If she does stay alive, will she and Logan get back together right away, or will she say she needs to go find out who she is, by herself? Honestly, I’m wary of any of these options. Mariko dying again is just fridging her again, and is kinda gross. But keeping her alive means an eternal Will-They-Won’t-They situation between her and Logan. There would always be that expectation that they’ll get back together, and it would only be a matter of time before a writer had it happen. But if they get together, it’d only be a matter of time before a writer broke them up. I feel like there’s no really good options here. But hey, we’ll see. No matter what happens, I know one thing: I still hate Deodato’s art.

. . . Screw it, I’ll still review more comics.

Ms. Marvel #26, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. Zoe discovers the true meaning of CrossFit: Punching dinosaurs. Not well, but still. Also, she’s very clever. Also, Naftali’s uncle might be putting Kamala’s secret identity at risk. And Harold is a badass old guy. The issue’s great. This is classic Ms. Marvel. Really fun, really funny, really sincere. This issue’s mostly about Zoe being awesome. Really awesome. She’s brave and noble and maybe doesn’t think things through as thoroughly as she should, but she’s trying. I love Zoe. And I love this book. And I love the art. Leon brings so much charm and character, and conveys so much humour. And Herring continued to be an unsung hero on this book. Phenomenal job on the colours, always. But issues like this really are why I love this series so much.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #28, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Squirrel Girl and Loki vs. Dormammu! And they win with GODDAMN GHOST SQUIRRELS. YES. This is a good comic.

She-Hulk #161, by Mariko Tamaki, Jahnoy Lindsay, Federico Blee, and Travis Lanham. It’s a good issue. Jen vs. Robyn. Hulk vs. Hulk. And Jen vs. Herself. Really good stuff.


From → 2017

  1. I found the X-men gold annual a little lacking. I loved Meggan in it and her reaction to her new child being a potential new super genius. Didn’t mind the hair and somehow hated the hair cut on Brian, so long as he kept his helmet on I was happy. In the end though I think it was because it was a self contained one and done x-men story that I was left, wanting. At least I assume that was the reason.

    As for Phoenix, that’s a good catch on Betsy’s original body I hadn’t thought of it that way and just thought they were starting to fill out the book with any x-men they could think of. I agree this one was better and agree again that it’s because we had one team to follow, while I wouldn’t have picked Dani to be on that team, and it sounds like you wouldn’t have either, I hope they just run with it now and use her as a compassionate but slightly distanced viewpoint on the unfolding story compared to say Beast who has a much closer and more intimate view on what’s happening.

    • I mean, it’s not that I wouldn’t have picked Dani. I’m always happy for more Dani. I just think the book’s swollen and always-shifting cast hurts it.

      • Completely agree, I’m just hoping they’ve learnt their lesson and will stick with the cast they have.

  2. A part of me wonders if this Stan Lee controversy is more to do with that he’s getting old, he grew up in a different time and he’s starting to slip back into those times. If it’s just a recent thing, it could just be that he’s going senile. I’ve personally known elderly people who become more childlike in their last few years. If that’s the case, it’s a lot more forgivable than say, Kevin Spacey, who’s got a lot of credible accusations of straight up child molestation. But I don’t like assuming anything with these controversies.

    Anyway, I missed picking up X-Men Blue a couple issues ago and I haven’t bothered to catch up since. It’s just been too much of a mixed bag, and by the sound of it, this week’s issue isn’t anything different. Doesn’t mean i won’t catch up – I just haven’t felt a desperate need to.

    Wait, was the annual an issue of X-Men Gold that’s actually not bad? Maybe not great, but not bad?

    Phoenix Resurrection 3 is probably the best issue so far, partly because the X-Men are getting closer to Jean Grey and the weirdness is picking up. Still, Jean Grey’s scenes are the real highlights, while the X-Men scenes are just too bloated with excessive characters. I can’t help but feel that it would work better with a tighter focus on at least some of the characters who will be in X-Men: Red.

    I like that Cable feels like a 90’s comic, but it’s not relying on nostalgia to be fun. It’s not anything special but it’s not trying to be either. It’s just a fun comic and that’s all there is to it.

    I really enjoyed She-Hulk 161, but I couldn’t help but feel like it could have dug a bit deeper into Robyn’s situation and how she got to this point.

    • Robyn definitely got shorter shrift than she deserved in She-Hulk. But alas.

      The Gold Annual did have Leah Williams co-writing, so that might be what elevated it. Also, it being a one-shot anniversary issue makes me go easier on it, I think.

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