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X-Men comics of March 7 2018

March 7, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Sure would be nice if Fresh Start could start announcing the books that won’t be written by white dudes. Because so far, the announcements have been pretty white dude-heavy, and it’d be nice to get some word on books that’ll have other voices. But anyway, today’s comics.

X-Men Gold #23, by Marc Guggenheim, Thony Silas, Arif Prianto, and Cory Petit. Scythian, the lame Negative Zone god, rips his way into the main universe. Kitty’s X-Men team have been taken to The Box, a prison for mutants. On the one hand, it’s probably more reasonable than putting mutants in with a general population of a regular prison. On the other hand, of course there’s a prison specifically for mutants. Kitty’s put in a cell with Callisto, and she seems annoyed about it, but it’s been a long time since they’ve actually been enemies. They were never friends, but there’s no real reason for Kitty to be upset at being roomed with her. Storm and Rachel are in the cafeteria, being glared at by a bunch of women, and Rachel’s having flashbacks to her Hound days. Back at the school, Bobby’s already returned, to lead a new team, which includes Armour, Ink (UUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHH NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN THE TINIEST SHRED OF A SHIT ABOUT INK, GUGGENHEIM!), Amara, and Illyana. And Rogue. Back at the prison, Kurt and Piotr are kicking some ass in a big-ol’ prison brawl. And the new Pyro visits the school to try to make amends for his actions. Ugh, frigging Ink being dragged back in. I know he’s Guggenheim’s pet character, but he sucks. He’s a shitty, stupid, shitty character who’s shit. He was the worst part about Young X-Men, and that book had a lot wrong with it. On the plus side, it’s not like Guggenheim is actually taking any time at all to delve into any of the characters, so we don’t get more than a couple utterly banal lines from him, lines that could be spoken by literally any character. Which remains the case for basically every character in this entire book. You could swap out damned near every single character, and the book would remain exactly the same. The Rogue/Iceman scene is nice, I’ll grant that. Easily the best scene in the issue, and a contender for one of the best scenes in this entire series so far. Guggenheim does a decent job letting them play off each other. But other than that, the series remains boring, because Guggenheim remains a hack who’s incapable of giving the characters any particular depth. There’s no exploration of the relationships between them. There’s no way for any of them to actually grow and change. They’re just there to serve the plot Guggenheim came out with, and to bank off the nostalgia of older readers, and screw that noise. At least the art’s nice, though everyone’s faces look oddly flat, a lot of the time. But this is still a pointless comic.

X-Men Red #2, by Tom Taylor, Mahmud Asrar, Ive Svorcina, and Cory Petit. A girl named Trinity has been locked up in a small prison cell with no signals coming in. She did something that angered some powerful men, so now she’s being locked up. Trinary tells the guy locking her up that she’s going to email his search history to his mother, and damn, girl plays rough. That is just nasty. Anyway, the news is obviously talking about Jean’s apparent murder of a UK Ambassador the UN, and one newswoman actually suspects there’s more to it, and man, I like this woman. She news what world she lives in! Jean and her team have been given asylum in Wakanda, which Gabby is enjoying. And she meets Gentle. Jean gets a pre-recorded message from Trinary, who explains that she launched a cyber-attack to increase the pay of every woman in India, by stealing from the accounts of the 25 highest-paid CEOs in India. So, a trip to India, and Gabby miiiiight be into girls. She mentions not having processed some feelings for a girl on a bus. Neat. Also, the sequence of Laura, Gabby and Kurt sneaking into the prison is awesome. They’re very good at stealth. I like this issue. I already love Trinary. I mean, her cyber-attack was pretty epic. Good on her. And she’s clearly got foresight, considering she prepared her own escape before she got captured. I’m excited for more of her. I am a little disappointed that this issue doesn’t do more to push the mutant rights angle, the idea that Jean wanted to push. But I guess we have to get the team together first. I do hope we get more of the positive stuff. But Taylor’s also doing some fantastic character work. All the characters are well-written and complex. Gabby, as always, is an absolute delight. I really want more of her and Jean interacting. Gabby just seems to be somehow beyond Jean’s understanding, and Jean doesn’t try to fight that, and it’s fun. There’s good chemistry between everyone so far. The art’s great. Asrar’s lines have the right amount of details. Svorcina’s colours mesh well with the lines. It’s a good-looking title. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, despite a few nitpicks here and there. This looks like it’ll be the best team X-title. I’m excited.

Iceman #11, by Sina Grace, Robert Gill, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. Bobby daydreams about leading an X-Men team and smooching Judah, while Rictor talks to him about leading a team. They’re having an awkward date. At a place called Pho Gettaboutit, which is a pretty great name. Both of them keep thinking about their exes, and then Bobby’s mom calls him to deal with weird lights coming out of a neighbour’s house. Side note: I still don’t like Rictor’s weird ’70s mustache. They go to deal with the neighbour, who’s an anti-mutant mutant. And Bobby tries to talk him down. And a lot of the conversation is also applicable to coming to terms with one’s sexuality. Metaphor! The issue also has a bunch of flashbacks to earlier periods in Bobby’s life, moments from his childhood. Moments where he felt ashamed of being a mutant, swearing that he wasn’t one. I really like the art in the flashbacks. I think it’s Sina Grace who drew them, and they’ve got a great Silver Age feel to them. It works really well. Anyway, this is end of the Iceman solo. It had some good stuff. Grace did an effective job exploring Bobby coming to terms with being gay, and included some good metaphor stuff to further that. There was good character-driven storytelling. It fell flatter when it got into the superhero stuff. It clearly wasn’t what Grace really wanted to do with this book, so those bits suffered. But it was still good Iceman stuff. Good character work. Gill’s art, well, it’s down to personal taste, and I didn’t really enjoy it. Too many lines, I think, for my tastes. Especially on faces. So I didn’t really enjoy that, for the most part. But he’s a good visual storyteller. He did good work. Kind of a shame the book’s over. Though the biggest obstacle to me enjoying it was always my total apathy regarding Iceman.

Rogue & Gambit #3, by Kelly Thompson, Pere Perez, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. They’re asked what separates them, and they agree it’s trust, and that it comes down to Antarctica. After their first time together – Rogue’s first time at all – and then Gambit was forced to reveal his role in the Morlock Massacre, and Rogue abandoned him in Antarctica when he needed her most. After their session, they swim over to the bungalo of the couple they met the first day, but they’re gone. Suspicious! And here I was sure that couple was looking for some swinging. Anyway, Rogue talks to Gambit about how young she was when they met, and how he became everything to her, and it’s some strong stuff. And then they have sex. Something seems to be limiting their powers. And also messing with their memories, and making them not want to care about stuff they should really care about. They go check out a local hospital, which has an awful lot of people in the psychiatric ward. They head back to the secret lab they checked earlier, which they have only vague memories of, and there’s clones of them. Which means Rogue and Gambit vs. a bunch of Rogues and Gambits, which is a really fun fight. This is another great issue. This is a great mini. Really intriguing mysteries, and really fun banter. I don’t have quite the same fondness for the Rogue/Gambit ship as Thompson does, but she writes it brilliantly, and makes it easy to care. It makes it understandable why they keep gravitating back to each other, and why they keep breaking back up. Rogue, in particular, goes into a lot of depth on her complicated feelings about him. And it’s really good stuff. The art’s great, too. Perez and D’Armata do great work. Really bright and fun, with nice energy. The fight scene is thrilling. Also, the swimming scene is spectacular. Not very long, but yeah, gorgeous artwork there. I’ve loved this mini. I’m eager to see what Thompson’s next Marvel project will be. I’ve already told my LCS to order Nancy Drew, because in addition to Thompson, it’s got Jenn St-Onge on line art, and she’s fantastic.

And here’s what else I got:

Black Bolt #11, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, and Clayton Cowles. The Jailer has taken over Blinky. Poor Blinky! It kills Lash, which I’m fine with. Lash sucked. Black Bolt gets Titania out of there and she finds a couple of Lash’s minions, and tells them they need to go get a crew. And there’s a great conversation between Blinky and Ahura. And man, this is such a good issue. Really strong emphasis on the power of family, gorgeous prose, gorgeous art. One hell of a cliffhanger end. This series is phenomenal.

Hawkeye #16, by Kelly Thompson, Leo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino. Hawkeyes vs. Masque, Eden, and Minions! Johnny has powers! Lots of feels. Lots of fantastic fighting. Just so good. Such a brilliant series. So much fun, so much heart. Just so good. And this is a great finale, even if it came several hundred issues too soon. On the plus side, a letter from Thompson at the back promises Kate will be back in August, so whatever Thompson has lined up, Kate will be involved. So yay for that.

She-Hulk #163, by Mariko Tamaki, Diego Olortegui, Federico Blee, and Travis Lanham. Jen and Patsy chaperone the prom for one of Jen’s client’s kids. The girl is the first mutant to be elected Class President at any school in New York State. I tweeted this last week, when the preview went up, but: She-Hulk somehow managed to do more to show the advancement of mutant rights than 95% of X-stuff. This is the kind of thing that X-Men writers never even think about. They’re all still hung up on the idea that mutants need to hide who they are, but of course there are going to be mutants who are out there, open, and living their lives. Just like any other marginalized groups! Anyway, some jerkasses called Bio Rights are protesting the prom. Jen’s still figuring out some stuff with herself, having to deal with the assholes at her firm, and she kicks some racist ass. Patsy also helps with the ass-kicking, and is delightful about it. This is a great finale to a great series. I like this issue’s focus on how, much as some things still suck, some things are getting better. Slowly, but surely, and the youth are a big part of that, using their anger to fuel their fight for a better world. It’s great stuff. And the Jen/Patsy friendship remains one of the greatest friendships in comics. I’ll miss this series a lot.

Rise of the Black Panther #3, by Evan Narcisse, Paul Renaud, Stephane Paitreau, and Joe Sabino. T’Challa reveals Wakanda’s existence to the world, and a lot of people take notice. Wakanda’s invited world leaders to Wakanda, to show off their tech. And he fights the Winter Soldier, still a Russian assassin. It’s a good comic. Very entertaining.

From → 2018

  1. Ah, bollocks, I forgot Hulk today. Knew the pull list seemed too light. Ergh, I’ll get it tomorrow.

    Oh yeah, this week’s Venom brought ‘Poison X’ to a merciful conclusion. Summary: Jean has been taken over by a Poison, which is different from a symbiote because reasons (I had never paid attention to them before now) and means she’s definitely dead for reals. Whatever. Other Poisons show up and the goodies are basically helpless since the things can one-shot kill anyone wearing a symbiote, including the X-Men. Venom has to tell Cyclops that Jean isn’t Jean anymore about 5 times before it sinks in, which…seems about right, honestly. The Starjammers (the only goodies not wearing goo-suits) cover the retreat and Iceman tries making a ship-to-ship docking tube out of ice, which is nifty, but it gets broken halfway. Angel gets a Poison on his back but he escapes by using his fire-wings to burn his symbiote to death before it gets converted. And some more vague fighty stuff happens until the remaining X-Men and Venom escape to their ship and head for home, with Scott seeing a phantom of Poison Jean on the way. Meanwhile the Starjammers take the remaining symbiotes back to whatever their homeworld is, only to find it desolate since the Poisons already hit it and killed everything, and oh god we’re really going to have to sit through another damned event story about these things?

    Iceman had a pretty great final issue. Reminded me a lot of Walker’s last Luke Cage ish, where both had the feeling of an idea the writer had ages ago but had to put on the back burner, and only got ’round to it now since there wasn’t anything else left to take priority. The flashback parts were really interesting, and though it didn’t play with the same metaphor angle as the others, I especially dug the callback to UXM #600, with Bobby freaking the hell out after the chat with his teen self.

    Also made another of those ‘well the cover looks cool’ impulse purchases on the new Green Hornet #1 by Amy Chu. There’s still a devil in me that rubs its hands with glee at the inevitable internet pissing and moaning whenever a classic hero gets a legacy version of different gender and/or race, plus how cool does this look? Super cool. Sadly the interior art isn’t nearly up to the same standards, but the script is tight. I’ll give it an arc at least, see how it goes.

    R.e. Fresh Start – I don’t know what the overall tally is now, but a tweet that passed me by earlier in the week noted that, of the first 15 titles, only 1 had a woman writing it (and that’s Stohl writing basically the same book she already was, so it’s hardly ‘new’). Pathetic.

  2. Like you, I’m fairly apathetic towards Iceman. I glimpsed at a couple issues every now and then at the store, but was never interested enough to bother reading it.

    X-Men Red – great. I really enjoyed the stealth sequence, with Laura, Gabby and Nightcrawler doing what they do best. But that’s just one of many things that’s working well with this series so far.

    X-Men Gold – more like X-Men mold, because it’s about as exciting as staring at mold.

    I’ll miss Hawkeye … at least until August. Like Thompson’s other work, it’s been consistently fun from start to finish.

    I’ll also miss She-Hulk. This issue wasn’t completely what I expected, but its a satisfying conclusion to a series that managed to balance personal drama and fun very well.

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