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X-Men comics of June 7 2018

June 7, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Oh cool I forgot to actually post this last night. Good job, me. So, here’s my post. So Brandon Graham, a big name in indie comics, has been “canceled,” as the kids say. If a whole lot of people calling him out on being an asshole didn’t do it, his “diss track” comic sure destroyed any credibility he had. But it brings up an important point: Listen to people of colour, and to trans people. Both groups – particularly women in both groups – have been speaking out against him for a while. A garbage person could’ve been booted from comics so much earlier if only people had listened. But anyway, here’s some comics.

X-Men Red #5, by Tom Taylor, Mahmud Asrar, Rain Beredo, and Cory Petit. In Warsaw, the president signs a law against mutants, and a cop warns a mutant friend to take his son and leave the country. This is a good cop. I like this cop. He doesn’t hate mutants. Back in Louisiana, Gambit sneaks into a hospital room where the guy who shot the winged girl is being held. Jean, Kurt, and Trinary are all there, hoping to disable the Sentinel in the guy’s head, at which point the guy is filled with remorse at having killed someone. Poor guy. Jean promises to find out who used him, and to return to defend him. That’s nice. Then it’s off to meet a Sentinel with rainbows and flowers, for a ride to Poland, to save the mutants being hunted there. A fight breaks out, which Jean ends by momentarily merging the minds of the soldiers and the mutants, to show the soldiers who they’re attacking, which is a pretty cool idea.

X-Men Red #5

Damn, Jean fights dirty.

This is a great issue. It begins the push back against the anti-mutant narrative. It shows humans who aren’t hateful. It shows how familiarity breeds understanding and acceptance. It’s hopeful, in a way that so few X-Men comics ever actually manage to be. It’s nice to see. Makes me happy.

X-Men Red #5

One hell of a mission statement.

I’m hoping this ends up being a book that routinely shows humans that support mutants, because it’s something the franchise has always struggled to show. It’s time to get some optimism up in here.

X-Men Gold #29, by Marc Guggenheim, Geraldo Borges, Arif Prianto, David Marquez, Matthew Wilson, and Cory Petit. Once again, Marquez and Wilson for the flashback, to Kitty, at university, hearing about Piotr’s death from the Legacy Virus. In the present, Kitty finds Piotr and the Sentinel, too late, as the new Legacy Virus has already been launched. Sthorm heads out to stop them, helped by Alpha Flight. The new Pyro also helps, while standing on the outside of the Blackbird, and fine, I’ll acknowledge his dialogue there made me smile. There’s a last-second escape from the exploding station, the plague sphere are all destroyed, yadda yadda. Meh. This issue’s fine for what it is. It’s the heroes foiling the villains’ plan at the last moment, and random crap happening to try to keep the tension up. Absolute dumbest is this: At one point, a chunk of the station collapses, blocking the ship they planned to escape with. It also knocked out Rachel, Rogue, and Sasquatch. It conveniently hit the three people who could have lifted it, leaving the others conscious, so that Piotr could fight through pain and become steel so he could lift the debris. It’s meant to be an awesome moment for Piotr, but it ends up feeling so contrived that it’s impossible to take it seriously. At least this ends the arc, and it ends with Racist Lady locked up, so hopefully she’ll be out of the book forever and we can just goddamn stop with the lives of every mutant being in danger, and can move on to something that isn’t the most goddamn pessimistic view of the experiences of marginalized groups that you can have. (This isn’t just Guggenheim’s sin. So many X-writers pull this shit, and it never gets less tiring.) It’s not even that this issue is bad, aside from the debris magically knocking out only the people the plot needs to be knocked out. It’s just . . . there. It’s a comic. It features the X-Men. They save the day and save the mutant race. Yippee. The characterization throughout the rest of the series has been lackluster enough that I still can’t bring myself to care about anything in this issue, especially since it does nothing to try for more interesting characterization. The art’s fine. No complaints about it. Doesn’t elevate the story, doesn’t drag it down, just does a perfectly adequate job telling the story. The only rating you can really give this issue is a shrug emoji, but I don’t do emojis, so.

Astonishing X-Men #12, by Charles Soule, Gerardo Sandoval, Erick Arciniega, and Clayton Cowles. So I guess X wasn’t the Shadow King, but the Shadow King emerged from X, and X is still alive, sort of, but has become detached from events around him. Shadow King spews despair on the X-Men, which takes the fight out of them. Logan even stabs himself through the chest. Good for him. And I’ll be honest, that does feel like the only reasonable response to having someone spew on you. Psylocke is the last one standing, and even she falls. Then X stands up and continues the fight, with him and Psylocke asking for power from every psychic on the planet in order to save the day. It’s a solid finale to a solid series. I can’t say I’m really on board with X. Still not crazy about that. At least he considers himself to be different from Xavier, but still, it’s a way of bringing Xavier back. And walking, because of course he’s walking, disabled characters never stay disabled, they always get healed somehow. That’s a trope I could do without. But other than those grumblings, this is a good finale. Stuff about X-Men not giving up, represented by X, despite his head being cracked open, standing up. I actually really like Sandoval’s art here, which is surprising. I’m not generally a fan of his work. When he was on New Avengers with Ewing, I didn’t like his art. But something about it really works for this story. I think it lends a sense of unreality to what’s on the page. It makes me think of the Nocenti/JRJr Daredevil. I seldom enjoyed JRJr’s art, but I loved it on Daredevil, because it made everything look so damned weird. And that weirdness works for some stories. And I think this issue is one of those times where going weid, where going sharp and jagged and even unpleasant just enhances the story so much. I would be down with Sandoval doing more comics like this one, dealing with mindscapes and stuff like that. Or a horror comic, he’d probably rock a horror comic.

Weapon X #19, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Yildiray Cinay, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Domino and Deathstrike are following the trails left by Omega Red and Sabretooth, who have reached Omega Red’s target: A Russian general who opposes mutant camps. Omega Red’s supposed to kill her, Sabretooth points out that killing the general who doesn’t want to round up mutants seems like a bad idea. Also, Omega Red is still carrying the tiger kitten. It’s a good kitty. Meanwhile, Warpath gets all the Russian mutant prisoners onto the team’s plane, and learns about Logan’s healing factor getting weaker. Back with Sabretooth, he’s fighting Titanium Men and referencing lolcats. He actually shouts “I can haz cheeseburger.” Seriously. Also, the tiger remains a good kitty. Before Omega Red and kill the general, Domino and Deathstrike show up to stop him. And there’s more twists, and more bonding between Sabretooth and Omega Red, which is a weird friendship but I’m kinda digging it. This comic remains crazy fun. Sabretooth killing Titanium Men while protecting a tiger kitty is a definite highlight. Honestly, the tiger kitty itself is a highlight. Because it’s just there. There’s no particular plot purpose for it. It’s just Omega Red and Sabretooth deciding they like this tiger kitten, and being oddly protective of it, and I love it. Seriously, keep the kitty around, it can be the team’s mascot. It’s already given the prerequisite number of fucks, which is none. No fucks given. Which actually describes this series pretty well. Weapon X: No Fucks Given. Which makes for a hell of a fun ride.

Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost #2, by Charles Soule, Matteo Buffagni, Jim Charalampidis, and Joe Sabino. Cypher’s given the group a lot of leads on Wolverine, so they have him start filtering, while also trying to figure out how to handle his Internet addiction. There’s some banter between Misty and McGee, and an indication of something between them, and man, it was like two weeks ago that Misty and Falcon officially got back together, and now Soule’s trying to hook her up with another guy? Bleh. So, they go looking for leads. The best is a biker saying he beat up Wolverine, and got claw scars in the process, but McGee points out he’s got four scars and Logan only had 3 claws, and he tells the other bikers to look it up, and the panel of three bikers all checking their smartphones at once is kinda funny. Also, there are rangers in Saskatchewan being attacked by someone who might be Logan. Which results in an ending to the issue that I’m not terribly happy about. Bleh. But anyway, this is another decent issue. Detective work going on, which means talking to people. There’s some fun bits. But it’s not an issue that really blows me away. Not as good as the first issue, and it’s starting to feel more like the forced tie-in that it is. The art’s still good. Buffagni is a good match for a story like this. His style lends itself easily to detective stories, especially ones that are a bit darker. I could see him on  Noir-ish Misty Knight solo. This is my subtle way of saying I really want a Misty Knight solo. Seriously, Marvel, give Misty a solo. Regardless, this issue is mostly meh.

Dazzler: X-Song, by Magdalene Visaggio, Laura Braga, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. I got the Sienkewicz cover and I’m so happy. Goddamn. Not that Torque’s cover is bad, it’s very nice. But holy shit that Sienkewicz cover. When you can get something he drew, get it. Damn. Alison, who now leads a band called Lightbringr, is putting on a show, and people are excited. Including a couple of girls, one of whom is Inhuman. Some mutants waiting for the show talk trash about Inhumans. The show goes well, and Piotr shows up to invite Alison to rejoin the X-Men, which she declines, and it’s probably the right move. The Inhuman girl and her friend try to meet the band, but are harassed by some mutants. Who quickly get their asses handed to them by Alison, who will not put up with exclusionary bullshit. She learns they’re part of a group called Mutant Action, who want to keep Inhumans out of mutant spaces, and who go to all Alison’s shows. It escalates to a breaking point. This comic is not subtle. It is not trying to be subtle. It’s got a message, and it shouts that message loud and proud. And rightly so, given that message ultimately comes down to “don’t be a dick.” This issue is basically about the need for marginalized communities to stand together, and a denouncement of people from marginalized communities trying to exclude other marginalized groups. Given Visaggio is trans, the obvious analogy would be TERFs – Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists – who are indeed garbage people deserving to be criticized. I’m confident Visaggio was thinking bigger than that, though. Intersectionality is a big issue, after all, and affects all groups. And the way it’s done in this issue makes sense. Of course there’d be mutants who resent Inhumans, and of course some of them would be exclusionary pricks. And of course Alison would think that’s bullshit and would be all about inclusion and acceptance. And I gotta say, Visaggio writes Alison really well. She also writes Piotr really well. But she does such a great job with Alison. The art’s top-notch, too. Rosenberg does a fantastic job on the colours, which are so important in a Dazzler comic, with all the fancy lights. Braga’s got a really nice art style, one that breathes well. Also, there’s a gorgeous close-up of Alison smirking. Also also, love her look. It’s a cool outfit she wears. A little punk, with the face paint adding the glam touch that she needs. So, yeah, I love this comic. I need to check out more of Visaggio’s work, I just always keep forgetting.

Dazzler: X-Song #1

Good line.

And the non-X-title, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #31, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Ray-Anthony Height, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. The anti-smoking PSA issue. It opens with Lunella being very animated in telling a story about an altercation with Deadpool, which doesn’t keep her from being grounded for being home late. Which is adorable. Anyway, she tells her mom about how the neonicotninoids in bug sprays kill bees, and why bees are important, and her mom tells her not to smoke. And then everyone starts smoking, and even Lunella’s tempted. And it’s all because of Swarm, the Nazi bee, because superhero comics are often wonderful like that. This is good. It’s A Very Special Episode, but those aren’t inherently bad, and it’s handled well here. It helps, of course, that this is a book aimed at kids, where this kind of thing is both expected and arguably necessary. And Swarm is always a fun villain. He’s one of the few Nazi villains I enjoy, because his being a bee outranks his being a Nazi.

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From → 2018, Uncategorized

4 Comments
  1. Given that the slow-burn Weapon X ‘mystery’ team reveal from the August solicits (it’s like 85% the same team as next issue’s cover, just with one new lady, stop pretending it’s a big secret editors) has given the team new outfits in black-and-orange colours, I’m gonna assume the tiger cub is sticking around as their mascot. Beyond that, #19 was fun as usual. The lolcat bit was…unusual and could’ve done with better context (maybe Creed musing about how all those so-called ‘good guys’ say asinine crap during fights and he’s trying to match them) but it’s otherwise a good show of leaning him into a semi-respectable role, and Cinar continues to be great on the pencils.

    Oh thank god…I know you don’t look at them (because you’re smarter than me, clearly) but the reaction to Dazzler: X-Song on the CBR X-board was…frustrating, to say the least, to the point where I had to take a day away from the forums, and fully expected to be banned from my rather angry last post. According to them, because Black Bolt caused the T-mist and its ensuing era of misery, every single Inhuman is an elitist slave-owning xenophobic murderer, no exceptions, and any comic asking to feel sympathy for them is unacceptable. So, uh, the X-board membership is pretty much exactly the people Dazzler was standing against in this book? And of course none of them are capable of self-reflection. Even the ones whose opinions I previously respected. Hhhhhh. Still, I’m glad the issue worked for you. I thought it was great.

    Short week otherwise, but I did pick up Immortal Hulk #1, by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose and Paul Mounts. Slow-burn start — apart from an extremely scalding burn towards the NRA and one of the gun lobbies’ lesser-known miscarriages of justice – that ends…exactly how you’d think it would. But it does what it set out to do: reconfigure the Hulk into something scary and unpredictable, rather than just a strong superhero in purple pants. And the voice Ewing gives this Hulk is creepy as hell, falling somewhere between Joe Fixit and Hannibal Lecter.

    • There’s a few reasons I don’t go to CBR’s X-boards. They’re definitely extreme. I’m not surprised a comic asking them to think wouldn’t go over well.

      No surprise that Hulk is great, Ewing is a fantastic writer.

  2. I thought X-Men Red 5 was decent, but not quite great. Not entirely sure why i feel that way.

    I know that Wolverine is popular, but why do we need so many minis to cover his return? it’s beyond ridiculous at this point.

    • Logan’s been back for a full year now, and we’re getting 4 minis, plus Alpha and Omega issues, to herald his return, because the X-office is incapable of learning. “Hey, remember when we killed Logan because people were tired of how overexposed he was? Let’s over-expose his return.”

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