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X-Men comics of January 24 2018

January 25, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I don’t talk about my personal life on here much, but I figure this is probably worth mentioning: My mom has breast cancer. Carcinoma in situ, which means it’s not spreading, it’s contained, and a simple surgery should get it all out. So I’m not particularly worried about it. But, it is goddamn cancer, so it’s still worth bringing up. But anyway, here’s comics.

X-Men Blue #20, by Cullen Bunn, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rain Beredo, and Joe Caramagna. So the X-Men in the past have been revealed as the future Brotherhood led by Xavier’s son, who points out that they’d just been trying to get the O5 to go back to their own time, and their absence left a void the Brotherhood could fill. He’s also angry at them for abandoning his father, and is looking forward to getting to know his dad. Bloodstorm responds by noting she didn’t abandon Xavier, she killed him, and you know? It’s fair that she wants that clarification. If you kill someone, I imagine you’d want that acknowledged, not lumped in with people who just didn’t call. I support you, Bloodstorm, in your desire to have your accomplishments acknowledged. Anyway, fighting happens. Jean frees Xavier. Hank brings in reinforcements from their time travel adventures, which is neat. I’m mildly disappointed Penance and Jimmy work together, as I preferred Penance glaring daggers at Jimmy. Also, a multiversal constant is that Emma Frost is Emma Frost.

X-Men Blue #20

Bless Emma Frost.

And then the O5 finally get to be reunited with their mentor, and it’s really nice. Albeit brief. It doesn’t last long, before – spoiler alert – the O5 return to the present. I call it a spoiler, but the solicits already told us they would. For all the endless speculation about whether the O5 are about to return to their own time, we still have no real reason to think it’s happening. Their next story arc is a big crossover with Venom, which starts . . . uh, this week. In the Annual. Will they return to their own time after that? Who knows? It’s the kind of thing they can pretty much keep up indefinitely. This issue does make clear they will return eventually, but it’s not like there’s a deadline. (It also makes clear they are, in fact, from the main universe’s past, not an alternate timeline.) But! The issue! It’s not a bad end to the arc. It’s an entertaining fight, though not a particularly even one, and not very long. The guest stars amount to nothing, aside from Emma being incapable of not stealing a scene. I liked the scene where they reunite with Xavier. I would’ve liked a couple more pages of it, actually. I think it needed a little more space to breathe, for a little more emotion to be slipped in. The scene felt a bit too short to be really effective. Which is a shame. Also, I still don’t like the future Brotherhood. On the whole, while this isn’t a bad end to the arc, it’s not a great end, either. Oh, the art’s good, though. Silva kinda reminds me of Stuart Immonen. There are similarities to their styles, and Beredo’s colours really accentuate those similarities. He’s a great colour artist, which is worth noting, since this came out on Colorist Appreciation Day. Beredo’s great, worth appreciating. And the art, on the whole, is really good, and makes the book more enjoyable.

X-Men Blue Annual, by Cullen Bunn, Edgar Salazar, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. A bounty hunter hunts some symbiotes. Scott gets a call from his dad, who says the Starjammers have been running security for some rock stars. Lila? Anyway, their conversation is interrupted by an attack on the Starjammers. By symbiotes. Jean assembles the team and they find Venom busting up a gun deal. They ask for his help, and the symbiote wants to help, but Eddie refuses, so the X-Men just attack, which goes poorly, until the symbiote puts Eddie to sleep. In space, Corsair’s cunning escape is foiled by a Poison’d Killer Thrill. The Poisons are the antagonists of the Venom-verse story that happened not long ago. Which I haven’t read. Anyway, the X-Men have taken Venom to the alien planet Corsair told Scott to go to, and as soon as they’re off Danger, Angel immediately flirts with a cute alien girl, and honestly, I’d love to see more of that. I totally buy that as a Warren trait. Always flirting with girls, but always in really nice ways, and almost always the girls flirting back. Just make that a recurring thing for Warren. So, this story will be fun to review, since I don’t plan on buying the Venom issues. I’ll only be reviewing the X-Men issues, which will make things so interesting. Anyway, this start for the crossover is OK. I’ll just say flat-out, this is not a story for me. It’s been a long time since I cared much about Venom. I’m not reading Mike Costa’s current Venom run. Maybe it’s one of the best books Marvel’s putting out. I don’t know. It’ll be a long time before I know. I don’t care enough about Venom to read the comic. So hey, how about a story? I’ve been gradually reading my way through as much of Marvel’s back catalogue as I can find without having to buy hard copies of anything. (Unlimited, poor design notwithstanding, is great.) And that’s included the various ’90s Venom minis. And holy crap, are they ever bad. They are so very, very ’90s. I actually had a couple of the minis, from when I was collecting back then. And man, it was cool when I was 10 or 11 or 12, but it did not hold up well. Which I knew before I re-read them. But man. Bad. And it’s a major reason why I just cannot care about Venom. I will never be able to get those ’90s comics out of my head. It’s the complete opposite of nostalgia. Some people will buy anything that has Darkhawk, just because they loved the Darkhawk series (even though it was mostly not great). I’m the opposite. Anyway, that’s why I can’t really enjoy this. I was mostly fine with the Scott stuff, and the Starjammer stuff. But its entire premise is a turn-off for me. I’ll never enjoy this, and I’m sorry I won’t be able to really review this comic as a result. I can’t be objective enough for it. I wasn’t impressed by this. I have many of the same complaints that I have about Blue as a whole, primarily that I want more character focus. There’s some pretty OK Scott stuff here, and hopefully we’ll get more throughout the arc. But I still felt disappointed. The art’s good. Nothing exceptional, but it’s quality storytelling, which is what matters most.

Legion #1, by Peter Milligan, Wilfredo Torres, Dan Brown, and Travis Lanham. David’s in Pennsylvania, where a hurricane is forming. Something’s been screwing with his balance, and it seems to involve a personality named Lord Trauma. Davis passes out, and gets taken to a hospital, where Lord Trauma reminds the doctors and nurses of past traumas. Then he turns his attention to David, who fights back by unleashing another personality, Joe Fury. Then he gets a ride which at least gets him to a motel, where he tries to sleep. But his personalities are all yelling at him for creating Lord Trauma, and to deal with him. David’s on his way to a psychotherapist, Hannah Jones, who’s currently treating a rock star named Cliff King, and something about him makes me think I’ve seen him in a comic before, but he’s not on the Marvel Wikia. So I’m probably wrong. Anyway, Hannah seems interesting. Though she lives in the Marvel Universe, and she dismisses weirdness as just hallucinations. Presumably, she wasn’t in New York during Inferno. I mean, it makes sense for a psychiatrist to view the world through that lens. But still, the scepticisim of people in the Marvel Universe, especially Marvel New York, always astonishes me. As for the issue as a whole, though. OK, so this isn’t fair to the book, but I can’t help but compare it to Simon Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy run which starred Legion, and which was bizarre and fascinating and had Blindfold. It was a great comic, even if David’s accent drove me goddamn nuts for its entire run. (His mother’s Israeli by way of Germany, and he was in Paris when he was rendered semi-catatonic, why did he have such a thick Scottish accent? Argh!) He has no accent here. But he also doesn’t have the charm he had under Spurrier. Legacy was such a great book, and a great Legion story. This one is . . . less so. Also, while I only actually watched the first two episodes of Legion, those two episodes were amazing, and this book doesn’t measure up to that, either. On the whole, this book ends up being . . . fine. It’s fine. It’s not bad. It’s not great. It’s just kinda there. And I’m maybe not being fair to it, because I’m holding it up against some spectacular work, rather than judging it solely on its own merits. But it’s hard to shake the comparisons. We’ll see how the rest of the mini goes. But this first issue didn’t impress me. The art didn’t wow me, either. Again, it’s totally fine art. But it’s not as weird as the art on Legacy. Which was an acquired taste, admittedly, but which worked really well for the series. The art here just kinda sits there. It tells the story without adding much to it. So, all in all, a disappointing start.

I just saw a Burger King ad teaching people about Net Neutrality via the Whopper, and I am angry that this is the world we live in now. This is a terrible world.

Phoenix Resurrection #4, by Matt Rosenberg, Ramon Rosanas, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. Jean wakes up in the ruins of her house, and doesn’t notice that it’s ruins. Her pleasant little town is completely on fire, except for what she sees. Josh Guthrie’s there, and Thornn, Feral’s sister. And I think a Bedlam brother? I might be wrong about that, it’s a black guy named Brian. The X-Me are gathered outside a bubble, trying to decide if they should go through a door. Hellion wants to kill the Phoenix. Because Hellion was never known for his keen tactical mind. Hellion was always a jackass and I always kinda disliked him. Anyway, they go into the bubble, and there’s fire, and dead people, and burning people, and crows. Or ravens. One or the other, I’ve never been able to tell the difference. And they also find a whole bunch of dead X-Men ready to fight them. Onyx is among them, and I totally forgot he died. Plenty of others, too, none of them speaking. While most of them fight, Kitty takes Lorna, Iceman, Logan, and Illyana, to look for whatever they can find. Interesting group. Logan takes great pleasure in stabbing a Madrox, which I do find hilarious. They find the diner, which is pristine with a blue sky above it, even as everywhere else is fire. Jean can’t see them, and she has a really, really good conversation with Annie. (Who ships her and Logan, but we’ll let that slide for now.) She talks about being followed home by a goddess, who was herself. Beast details his theory that the Phoenix is trying to incubate Jean, to prepare her for a merging, and they’re inside its egg. But before they can do anything, the Phoenix plops down on top of the diner. And man, it is a crazy visual.

Phoenix Resurrection #4

Hell of a visual.

That big panel is, I think, a good example of where this book was at its best. The mundane made unsettling. A flaming hellscape, and a giant firebird sitting atop a totally ordinary diner. It’s weird. It’s not how it’s Supposed To Be. And that makes it creepy, and really cool. And as with the rest of this series, the X-Men side of the story is weak, because of a lack of real emotional weight, while the Jean stuff is totally compelling. All through this issue, her diner uniform is shown as torn, hanging off her, and combined with the town going to hell around her, it really gets across that things are reaching a climax. Things feel more tense than ever. And then that conversation with Annie is just so good. Because it’s another bit of the mundane amidst major drama, and it’s just so quiet, but so meaningful. It’s a phenomenal scene, a real highlight of the whole mini. It’s all about her being groomed by the Phoenix, and whether she’s ready for what it offers. And it’s just a great scene. It makes me wish Rosenberg had brought that same weight to the X-Men sections, because he absolutely did not, and the series suffers for it. But the Jean stuff is excellent. The art’s great, too. Really sells the shitty state of the town. All the fire is creepy. The state of Jean’s outfit is also consistent. The tears stay the same across the panels and pages.

There’s a decision at the end that bugs me, just because of how I feel about a specific thing. I won’t say what it is. But yeah, I’m mildly bitter about it. Still. This issue’s another step up, and I’m interested in the conclusion.

From → 2017

  1. Phoenix #4 was probably the weakest issue of the series so far for me. It’s creepy at times, but it feels like very little was accomplished, with Jean mostly just wandering around frowning, while the X-Men have an inconsequential fight. And yes, the same end stuff bothered me too. Especially after #3 seemed to put a kibosh on this very thing…

    I’ve actually been reading Venom while avoiding Blue so I guess I’ll have to fill you in if something happens! Although for the record I’m no less keen on this story. Chiefly because, when it’s allowed to be itself, this Venom is a genuinely great book about toxic and codependent relationships…but it only just wrapped up an unwanted crossover with the main Spider-Man book, and we only get one regular issue before getting dragged into THIS crossover, which – despite being heavily based around symbiotes – has never factored into Venom before, because it’s Cullen Bunn’s stupid idea that Mike Costa was happily ignoring. Mutter, mumble, grrrr etc.

    Nitpick: The Legion-focused X-Men Legacy was written by Simon Spurrier, not Sam Humphries. That said, I decided to skip this new series for that very reason: Spurrier and his art partners left a mountain-sized mark on the character and nothing I’d seen indicated this would live up to it.

    Hope your mum gets through this okay.

    • I actually caught my Humphries error before I saw this and fixed it. Stupid mistake for me to make.

      Good to hear Venom’s been good. The Blue Annual did have the symbiote telling Eddie, “This is why nobody likes you.” So it had that going for it. But yeah, shame that the Venom series isn’t being allowed to be its own thing, and keeps getting dragged into crossovers.

  2. Sooner or later I’ll at least pick up the rest of the X-Men Blue story arc that just ended, but due to what are hopefully short-lived financial challenges, I’ve had to cut back. Blue is one of the casualties, and I did enjoy this story arc as far as I’ve read it. Can’t say I’m all that excited about the new team lineup starting in April though.

    Return of Jean Grey 4 is more balanced than the previous three issues, and all the Jean Grey stuff is still really good, but there are still way too many X-Men characters involved for a 5-issue miniseries like this. It feels like that’s really the only thing holding this miniseries back from being amazing.

  3. G'kar permalink

    Phoenix Resurrection # 4 was ok, although I didn’t like it as much as the other three issues. On a side note have you seen the first pictures of Brie Larson in costume yet, I think it looks pretty good even though it’s probably not the final look.

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