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X-Men comics of June 13 2018

June 14, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So Jay Edidin, comic editor and co-host of X-Plain the X-Men, recently came out against Dark Horse because their health insurance doesn’t cover anything related to gender dysphoria or transition. Which is pretty shitty of them. I’ve never really bought any of their comics, but I was planning on getting one coming up, by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford. Now, I’ll probably end up skipping it. No disrespect for Okorafor and Ford – both top-notch creators, and they’ve done good work together on short stories at Marvel – but meh, Imma support Edidin on this one. Plus, other people have talked about Dark Horse being downright gross when it comes to intimidating its employees into silence. It sounds like Dark Horse is run by assholes, so I’ll pass on them. Meanwhile Unstoppable Wasp is coming back! With Whitley being joined by Gurihiru! They are an amazing art team. Iceman’s coming back, too, but I still don’t actually care about Iceman, so. Unstoppable Wasp! Also, comics.

X-Men Blue #29, by Cullen Bunn, Nathan Stockman, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. I think Stockman will be the artist on the relaunched Iceman solo. I wonder if Bunn will give him anything to work with here regarding Iceman. I’m betting no. Let’s find out! Jimmy’s at a bar, and a pretty waitress flirts with him. The girl’s actually got some curves She’s not the typical rail-thin body type that almost all women in comics have. I appreciate Stockman drawing a woman who looks, well, normal. Anyway, her ex-boyfriend picks a fight with Jimmy, who tries to defuse the situation by buying a round of drinks. This . . . actually makes me think better of him as a character. Like, he was boring as hell since he came into the book, but offering to buy a round of drinks? Yeah, this is a character I can read. Then he turns into a Poison and starts attacking people, though he stops short of killing anyone, and he runs away, right into the X-Men. Jean tries to talk to him, but he Poisons out and attacks them some more. This is actually a really good issue. It’s a character-driven issue, about the inner turmoil Jimmy’s experiencing, and the X-Men’s hope to save him. There’s real drama, and real tension. It also hints at a Jimmy/Scott rivalry, but only on Jimmy’s part, as Scott really seems to have no personal problem with Jimmy, which amuses me. But the issue is mostly about Jimmy and Jean, with everyone else basically just there for the fight. I still think Jean/Jimmy is a bad ship, but whatever, Bunn still does a good job here, with Jean’s concern for Jimmy and her desire to help him, and Jimmy’s feelings for Jean keeping him from going homicidal. Bunn does a good job with some of the terrible ideas he’s saddled himself with. The art’s good. Stockman’s a good visual storyteller. His art keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, with some pretty good character work. So no complaints there. This is, on the whole, a good comic, and I’m glad to say that about X-Men Blue.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #4, by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, Michael Garland, and Clayton Cowles. After the plane they were on has crashed, the Mutants find Illyana. She says she couldn’t save the others on the plane, or Rictor. So, it’s time for his funeral, with Kitty helping Illyana get ready for it, while trying to cheer Illyana up. Shatterstar gives the eulogy, and invites Illyana to say a few words. But she’s too shaken. She’s really messed up about leading Rictor to his death. It’s very emotional. Then Rahne tries to kill Guido for killing her son. And . . . wait. Wait wait wait wait wait. Is that . . .

New Mutants Dead Souls #4

Maggott?!

Did Rosenberg and Gorham just casually insert Maggott into the background? Did they just casually reveal that Maggott’s alive? I’m not complaining if they did! Maggott’s awesome. People hated Maggott because he had a weird power but that’s exactly what made him so great. (The “obligatory-Afrikaans-slang” is actually a much more justifiable reason to hate him, though that’s less to do with Maggott and more to do with the writers.) Illyana tells Dani about Tran having escaped Shan’s soul, and asks why Dani, as a valkyrie, wasn’t helping to search for him. She knows that Dani’s not Dani. And none of what we’ve seen is what it seemed. Very cool twist. And three panels over two pages at the end that feature Karma. Woot. Because why would she be a bigger presence in a story about the brother she killed coming back from the dead. That remains my single biggest complaint with this series. It’s a great Karma story that has, for four straight issues, kept her sidelined. Four issues out of six where the obvious main character is barely an afterthought. That is bullshit. This is a well-made story. There’s some great emotional drama in this issue. A lot of weight. And a great twist at the end. It’s not the way I expected it to go, but it’s really clever. And I do also like the art. No judgment of people who don’t like it, it’s not going to be everyone’s thing, but I enjoy it, at least here. Roberto’s paler than he should be, which is unfortunately just how he’s coloured now. But Gorham and Garland handle the emotional aspects of the issue well. Very good character work. So it’s a very well-made issue. In a story that I have a massive complaint about. Seriously, if Karma doesn’t play a very substantive role in the final two issues, there’s a good chance I’ll just give up on Rosenberg entirely. It is 100% bullshit how he’s treated her in this story, and if that doesn’t change in a BIG way for the last two issues? Then I don’t think I can forgive Rosenberg. This is Karma’s story. The brother she killed has returned from the dead. It’s her story. There is absolutely no good reason for her not to be the main character, or at least one of the main characters. But she’s not. And that needs to change. The final two issues need Karma to get as much panel time as Illyana, or else what the hell is even the point of telling this story? We’ll see, I suppose. I tweeted these complaints, and I didn’t tag Rosenberg in, but he did end up responding anyway, and said that he has reasons why the story isn’t about Karma. So it’s looking doubtful that she will end up playing a significant role. Which is so fucking frustrating. She’s a great character who gets no use, and then a story that should be hers gets handed off to someone else instead. Handed off to a white girl, to boot. Queer women of colour get few enough stories as it is. Much as I love Illyana – and I do love her – it’s bullshit that she’s the lead of a story that belongs to a queer woman of colour. Ugh.

Domino #3, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Clayton Cowles. Domino, having just seen her friends blown up, slips into unconscious and remembers her childhood. She was in a lab, and the other kids in it were all gone, and one of the guys there took a taser to her.

Domino #3

Damn. Simone can write.

And then gave her a cat, which young Neena named Christmas. She wakes up again in the present, remembers her friends are dead, and goes after Topaz for vengeance. It doesn’t go well, we learn that Topaz’s hatred of Domino has something to do with the lab Domino was raised in, and we also learn Domino has a brother, Lazarus. And it turns out her friends aren’t as blown up as she thought, yay. And we also learn how Domino met Diamondback, and it’s a pretty fun little flashback. Also, the issue ends with her meeting someone else and she is adorably flustered at how hot he is. I don’t blame her. He is a sexy, sexy man. No spoiler, but he’s on the cover of the next issue, so . . . yeah. Anyway! Great issue! It’s cool to learn about Domino’s origin, and it’s dark as hell, which is about what one would expect. Even then, there’s some fun bits, especially when the evil lab guy threatens to kill her cat. You wouldn’t think that would result in something fun and satisfying, but it absolutely does. Domino’s rage and grief at losing her friends (or thinking she lost them) is really powerful. The art takes a step up. The action is phenomenal and where Baldeon shines. There’s a real sense of motion, and a brutality. But the flashbacks are killer. Baldeon and Aburtov do fantastic work. The grey colours add an eeriness that works well, and Baldeon’s lines are more understated, which makes the scenes so effective. This is just brilliant work from the whole creative team.

Hunt for Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #2, by Tom Taylor, R.B. Silva, Adriano di Benedetto, Guru-eFX, and Joe Sabino. In the past, after an explosion destroyed the building Logan was in, Iron Man searches the wreckage for any sign of him. And gets clawed through the head. Luckily, it was just a drone. Logan makes Iron Man promise not to use his dead body for any sort of experiments, and to stop anyone else from doing it. In the present, villains are trying to auction Dani Cage’s DNA, but none of the villains care, so Tony buys it. Then he bids on parts of the Z1, one of the first computers. Here’s the Wikipedia article. Tony heads back to the cabin to finalize the purchase of Dani’s DNA, and asks the seller if he has Logan’s DNA. And he does! He stole it from Sinister, who is very upset and teleports in to kill him. It doesn’t go as planned, and the sub starts to sink. It’s Spider-Man’s fault, but Jessica has the best solution. And there’s a surprise guest who’s actually not all that surprising in retrospect! I won’t spoil it, but yeah, really should’ve expected the character in this mini. Anyway, so far, this mini isn’t Taylor’s best work, and is probably the weakest of the Hunt for Loganverine minis. Sinister pops up out of nowhere, not that he’s ever really unwelcome, especially when he’s dressed dapper. Actually, he could’ve been dapperer. Which is actually a word? Holy shit. WordPress’ spellcheck recognizes dapperer. Awesome. Anyway, I wish Sinister looked even dapperer than he does here. Other than that, I’m fine with him popping up. But so far, this mini isn’t wowing me. There’s some fun dialogue and all, but the plot is bland. And man, the cliffhanger from last issue amounts to nothing, with not a single villain giving a shit about Dani Cage’s DNA. Not sure how I feel about that anti-climax. We’ll have to wait and see how the flashbacks really relate to current events, and how the mini as a whole unfolds. But so far, it’s just some fun dialogue and fantastic art. Silva’s doing great work on the art. For the most part. There are a few panels here and there that just look weird and unnatural. But not too many, and most of the book looks great.

Old Man Logan #41, by Ed Brisson, Francesco Manna, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. In Japan, Kraven buys Logan’s severed hand off the owners of the restaurant where he lost it. In New Jersey, Logan fights Roughhouse and Bloodscream. I remember when those two would be dangerous enough for an entire arc. Now, they’re minor goons he trashes in a random encounter to open a story. Turns out they were just there to get him outside so Kraven could tranq him. He’s decided that, with Logan being old and sick, it’s time to put him out of his misery. So, it’s a hunt in the Savage Land. And it’s fun. Kraven’s written well, here, a “noble” hunter who’s also still a murderer. It’s not as great as his Squirrel Girl characterization, but it’s still enjoyable. The idea of Kraven hunting Logan is a fun premise, and the Savage Land is a good setting for it. Manna’s art is very good. He doesn’t get to do much in the way of glorious vistas, which is a shame, because a Savage Land story without a glorious vista feels incomplete. But he does action well, so that’s something, at least. Great fight between Logan and Kraven. I look forward to seeing what Manna gets to do in the next issue. I’m hoping it’s insane.

Non-X-titles.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #33, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. I automatically typed “Erica Henderson” there before remembering she’s not on this book any more. Still sad. Anyway, the gang’s in an escape room with walls closing in, and Doreen has an idea based on something from her new novel. I have yet to read the first one, because I’m terrible. I do want to read it. I will read it at some point. Anyway, lots of escape rooms and jokes. And the villain is a classic(-ish) Marvel villain! He’s not a great one. But he’s connected to a great one. And it’s a great comic. I’m still getting used to Charm’s art, I still think he draws Doreen and Nancy too pretty.

Marvel Rising: Alpha #1, by Devin Grayson, Georges Duarte, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. A teen girl is really good at video games, which pisses off the guys she plays against, and they harass her. And I’m sure the people who bitch about “SJW comics” will love that. How much you wanna bet there’s already people bitching about it? Doreen continues teaching and figures out Kamala is a fanfic writer. While Kamala figures out Doreen is Squirrel Girl. It’s a good comic.

Exiles #4, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Chris O’Halloran, and Joe Caramagna. The Exiles are still alive after last issue’s nuclear bomb ending, but New Jersey and New York are gone. Blink and Kamala bond over their own worlds nuking themselves. Then a black man runs out asking for protection from slavers. And holy shit, Valkyrie does not like slavers. She gets scary mad. And then they meet Blackbeard the Pirate, the Thing, who’s fighting against slavery. With help from Sam Wilson and Misty Knight, or 17th century pirate captain versions of them. And there’s Rebecca Barnes, and Valkyrie immediately flirts with her, because of course she does. Another fun issue, and one which also has some commentary on America’s past. Slavery is something worth remembering. Seeing a bunch of heroes beat the crap out of slavers is pretty satisfying to see.

Quicksilver #2, by Saladin Ahmed, Eric Nguyen, Rico Renzi, C. Brunner, and Clayton Cowles. Quicksilver keeps fighting speed monsters who look like him and attack anyone he knows. And when one leads him back to a Romani camp, he thinks about how shitty his culture is treated. He’s not wrong. And he adopts a pet turtle that he calls Mr. Dibbles. It’s a good issue that pushes Quicksilver hard, in order to explore what makes him tick. His thoughts on his home, in a caravan, are really good. He’s proud of his heritage. And it also shows how hard he’s willing to push himself to save lives. Even a turtle. I hope he keeps Mr. Dibbles when this ends. I want him to be his permanent pet, wherever he goes. Anyway, yeah, this is good.

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From → 2018

5 Comments
  1. Domino #3 was, surprise-surprise, my highlight for the week. It’s a really dense issue, but Simone has such a measured hand for controlling tone that the book can swing from humour to horror to heartbreak and back again, one page at a time, and it all feels natural. I especially dug the way her scrap with Topaz works out; too often when superheroes have a ‘personal’ fight it comes off stagey, especially when the creators try too hard to make it deeply laced with metaphor…here, there’s just real, palpable loathing bleeding off the page (that panel where Topaz has pulled Domino up by her hair and Neena is giving her the evil eye is perfectly horrible) and, man, much though I’m looking forward to next issue’s promise of maximum sexiness, having to wait another month for Domino to get back to payback is gonna be torture.

    Oh, 2 things to point out about your write-up. One, Lazarus isn’t a new invention, he’s from the 2003 Domino miniseries (although he was implied to have died at the end). And the greyscale flashbacks in this issue aren’t actually by David Baldéon, that’s Anthony Piper. He seems to have made the faces a little more ‘stretched’ than his usual to mesh a little more with Baldéon’s style but there’s a definite distinction between the two’s work.

    Also-also we’re getting a Domino annual! That’s the only thing that made Iceman returning not my favourite news of the week. And they’re letting Dennis Hopeless put Domino with Colossus again – you just know he’s been chomping at the bit to get his hands on them again. I’d like to imagine his home-office walls are covered in ‘VENGEANCE ON GUGGENHEIM’ messages he carved in with a knife while cackling to himself.

    Think that was my only X-pull. Exiles #4 was indeed great, and much though I dug all instances of slavers being wailed on, my unquestioned highlight was THAT X-Men villain with THAT pun name and THAT goddamn amazing multi-layered double-page splash. Have I mentioned I love Javier Rodriguez before? If any reason was needed, just look there.

    Marvel Rising #1 (why is it both an Alpha and a #1?) was pretty good too. Videogame humour is a tricky thing to employ in comics because basically every videogame is trademarked and when you try and work around it with nudge-wink fake names it kinda drags the reader out of the story a little, but the creators did their best here – and that three-panel sequence with Squirrel Girl leaping over a not-quite barrel and making the Mario jumping sound with her mouth was delightful.

    • Huh, I may have missed the Domino mini. And I totally missed Piper’s name in the credits. Oops.

      That Exiles pun made me angry with how much I loved it. Best/Worst pun.

      Squirrel Girl having fun with the barrel jump was also a great moment. She’s such a dork.

      • The mini in question wasn’t a big seller so that’s probably fair. It did just recently get reprinted in trade for the first time since its release, because synergy, and I’m sure it’s on Marvel Unlimited. Worth looking up even without Simone dredging up parts of it here – the art, entirely by Brian Stelfreeze (pencils, inks AND colours), is career-best stuff.

  2. Sounds like I should check out the Domino series.

    I glanced at X-Men Blue, and it looked like a decent comic.

    Anyway, the only Marvel comic I picked up this week was Thor 1.

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