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X-Men comics of July 25 2018

July 25, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Life is awful and terrifying, hahahahaaaa. Comics!

X-Men Blue #32, by Cullen Bunn, Andrés Genolet, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. First, a flashback to the first X-Men/Magneto fight. Then, a current X-Men/Magneto fight. He wants to kill Emma in vengeance for the mutants he was forced to kill during the Mothervine thing. I appreciate that Emma, in her fine white suit, seems more annoyed than scared. Magneto’s also pretty pissed at them for leaving the planet. It’s a good fight. They find flaws in his force field, and Scott blasts him through it. Kind of a new thing. He’s not down long, though, and Jean has to get Pickles to teleport Emma away. Interestingly, for all this issue is a fight over Emma’s life, she doesn’t get much to do. A couple glib lines, and then she spends a lot of time with pipes wrapped around her throat trying to break her. A little disappointing, I could’ve done with more Emma, but “I could do with more Emma” is pretty much always true. And I understand why it was done this way. The issue was really about Magneto and the X-Men falling out. Magneto gave his thoughts on each of them, aside from Bloodstorm, and he’s got some interesting thoughts. Actually, he doesn’t have any opinion on Iceman, either, which is a pretty good reflection of how Iceman’s been treated throughout this entire run. Man, Bunn really, really did not care about Iceman. And one the one hand, it’s hard to blame him, because I’ve never cared about him, either. But at the same time, dude, he’s in your book, do something with him. Give him a focus issue now and then. Oh well. Magneto vs. Jean is the core of the issue, a battle of wills between them. Which is cool. Magneto and Jean have never had much of a relationship, for good or bad, so it’s been interesting, with this series, seeing a relationship between them. It’s too bad this series wasn’t more character-driven, because I definitely would’ve liked to see more of that. But the way the series was handled, there was a lot of moving from one fight to the next, without a lot of time to develop the character dynamics. This issue would’ve been a lot more powerful if Magneto’s relationships with these X-Men had had more development throughout the rest of the series. Even so, it’s a good issue. Good art. Genolet’s a new one to me, but he seems pretty good. I did notice a bit of a quirk with the way he draws mouths: He tends to have the right side of mouths open wider than the left. It happens a lot. Obviously, there are also plenty of panels where the whole mouth is open wide, but the right side opening wider happens often enough that, once you notice it, you can’t unsee it. It’s weird. Not bad, just weird. That aside, nothing stood out as awkward, and there was some good work with characters and with backgrounds. Genolet didn’t get to show a lot of emotions – mostly scowling – but I’m sure he does a good job with less angry emotions, and he handles action well. He makes the issue look intense. So, all in all, a good issue, before the series jumps into yet another event before the end.

Mr. and Mrs. X #1, by Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. The wedding! Laura offers to stab Gambit, Bling! provides rings, Laura in a short dress looks deeply wrong to me. Illyana thinks spiders are icky, which is hilarious and I agree. Jubilee is super into the wedding. And Mystique shows up for the wedding! It’s actually a really sweet moment between them. Rogue doesn’t trust Mystique, and Mystique completely understands, but still wants to be there for her daughter’s wedding, and Rogue hugs her. Rogue wears a power dampening collar for the wedding, and the honeymoon, which is reasonable. It’s something that’s been suggested so often by readers as a way for her to touch people when she wants, and I guess Thompson just decided to go with it. On the honeymoon, Rogue complains that they haven’t even left the bedroom yet, and then pretty much immediately has sex with Gambit again. The honeymoon is above some other planet, by the way. Then Kitty calls them with a mission. This comic is so much fun. So charming, so funny. Rogue and Gambit have great chemistry. There’s some really nice moments throughout the issue, touching on existing relationships between characters. There’s a lot of Gambit-bashing, which is always enjoyable.

Mr. and Mrs. X #1

No one wants to be on Team Gambit.

It’s just an absolute blast, with a lot of sweetness and love. And then they get their mission, and the plot gets started, and I’m intrigued. Next issue has Technet! Woot! The art is great. Really pushes the romantic angle well. Also does action really well. This is such a great comic, I highly recommend it. Just wonderful stuff.

X-23 #2, by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Sophie’s dead. Again. Laura gets woken up by Gabby for pancakes. Also, Jonathan eats at the table, which is probably a bad idea, but oh well. Laura and Gabby continue to argue about birthdays.

X-23 #2

I really like this bit.

Side note: Laura and Gabby have a Snikter claw sharpener. Also, Gabby is learning how to use nunchuks. The Cuckoos prepare to embark on their plan, which will mean leaving the school forever. Mindee isn’t entirely comfortable with it. She’s the good one. And I don’t normally post stuff from late in an issue, but this is gorgeous:

X-23 #2

Damn.

Cabal and Woodard kill it. That is spectacular. It’s cool and creepy and beautiful. I love this issue. There’s more tension between Laura and Gabby about the topic of birthdays. Gabby’s a bit of a brat about it, but Laura’s also being unreasonably strict about it. Because they’re different people. Laura, for all her growth, still has a cynical streak. She’s overcome her childhood, but it was still a shitty childhood, and so she views birthdays as being largely meaningless. Gabby’s optimistic, she’s a happy person, and a birthday appeals to her as a celebration of life. Laura dwells a bit on being a clone, still struggles to rise above that, so a birthday, to her, is a reminder of what she is. To Gabby, a birthday is something to help her feel more normal, something to affirm her personhood, regardless of her origin. People have birthdays, she’s a people, she should get a birthday. It’s a believable point of conflict for them. The Cuckoos, meanwhile, are also really compelling. I love Mindee. She’s the sweetest of the bunch, and it’s so sad seeing the others pretty much forcing her to go along with the plan.

X-23 #2

Poor Mindee.

The art’s very good. Cabal does such a good job with facial expressions throughout the issue, and in a story like this, that’s crucial. Gabby’s pout, or Mindee’s look of longing, he gives the characters personality. And he throws in a few little visual gags here and there. There’s a particularly interesting student (the same panel suggests the Cuckoos might have shoved someone down the stairs). The whole issue is a wonderful blend of comedy and drama that I just love. This is a great comic. (With the wrong title. Nope, not over it.)

Multiple Man #2, by Matthew Rosenberg, Andy MacDonald, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Other Madroxes from the future are taking Madrox back to the future to save the world, since he failed to save it by traveling to the present. 15 years in the future, Madrox is apparently kind of a despot. He and the other hims stop a couple Madrox cops from beating a kid, and then fight some more cops. They’re then taken to the Resistance, which seems to just be a kid in a small room in the sewers. Also, some Madroxes. And Forge’s severed head in a robot body. And hey, Layla! She’s the mother of the Resistance’s 15-year-old leader, Davey. Cool to see Layla again, even if she does confirm that the Terrigen cloud killed the Jamie she was married to. I still think that was cruel. Madrox got a happy ending, and then, just for the sake of a shock death, they killed him off. Bleh. After Layla tells him off, Jamie goes for a walk, sees posters of dead heroes (and Rosenberg), and sees an execution. And he comes up with a convoluted plan to fight against his tyrannical counterpart. This is . . . kinda hard to review, really. It’s weird. It’s fun. But is it good? Tough to say right now. We’ll have to see where the mini goes. I’ll admit, once again, that my bitterness over Dead Souls’ lack of Karma is clouding my opinion here. But the book’s funny, so your enjoyment of it will come down to whether the humour fits your tastes. There’s a certain detached nature to the humour, in both the writing and the art. I go back and forth on it. I like it, but I also thinks it becomes too much at times. The whole comic feels detached from itself. It’s weird. It could do with just a bit more sincerity, I think. Maybe that’ll come, though.

Hunt for Guyverine: Mystery In Madripoor #3, by Jim Zub, Thony Silas, Felipe Sobreiro, and Joe Sabino. Domino reflects on having a fun time with Logan. Which mostly involved lots of killing people, and then having sex. In the present, Domino, Kitty and Jubilee use one of Viper’s guys to sneak into Viper’s fortress to stop a satellite launch. Inside, Viper’s being told to launch the satellite despite the storm, and then Sapphire stumbles in, ranting about Logan being there. The fact that only she sees him, and his pinkish-purple colour, is probably a clue. Viper calls up Mindblast, who’s apparently in the process of raping Magneto, maybe? She’s sitting on his lap. It kinda looks like she was going to rape him. Then she and Knockout get attacked by Kitty and Jubilee. And Jubilee is still The Best.

Mystery In Madripoor #3

No one sasses quite like Jubilee.

Domino is also pretty great at the sass.

Mystery In Madripoor #3

Domino leaning a bit on the fourth wall with that ’90s girl comment.

This is, once again, a lot of fun. It’s a shameless cash-grab tie-in, but the creative team is clearly enjoying themselves. I still think a story about Kitty, Jubilee and Armour going to Madripoor for some mission would be one of the funnest things ever. Jubilee is just so good. She’s made of snark here and I enjoy that. I loved Jubilee as a teacher in Generation X, I think that was a really interesting angle for her, and she fit the role well. But I will always love seeing Jubilee jumping into fights and taunting bad guys. Kitty gets very little to do here, but Domino is good. Her recollections of “the bad old days” she spent with Logan. The story also escalates well, at the right times. The art is probably going to be divisive. I like it. I think it works for a story in Madripoor. A bit rough and wild, lots of energy and tension. It won’t be for everyone, and there have been comics where I haven’t enjoyed Silas’ lines, but here, it works. This issue makes me wish, once again, that this whole story had nothing to do with Logan. Oh well.

Old Man Logan #44, by Ed Brisson, Juan Ferreyra, and Cory Petit. Bullseye is interrogating Bullet, a Daredevil villain from the Nocenti/Romita days, a big bruiser whose kid was obsessed with the threat of nuclear war. Which reminds me: The Nocenti/Romita Daredevil run is spectacular and you should definitely read it. It is so. Frigging. Weird. But amazing. Anyway, Bullseye ‘s looking for information on Joy, the woman trying to kill him. She hired Bullet and Shotgun in a previous story. Joy and Logan are looking for Bullseye, and also check on Bullet. Bullet tells them to get his son somewhere safe, so Logan calls Glob, then rescue Shotgun from Bullseye. On a side note, Bullseye does kill Jet and Spit, two really minor guys from the Nocenti/Romita Daredevil. No big loss, they were actually more annoying than entertaining. Anyway, the best part of this issue is Bullet. Other than that? I don’t care. It’s Logan vs. Bullseye. Two characters I don’t care about. And a woman I know nothing about, wearing a generic Fancy Paramilitary Costume and wanting revenge. Yippee. We don’t even get that much action. This issue has so little actually going on in it, and I don’t care about it. The art’s fine. The roughness fits the story. But it’s not enough to save the story.

Wakanda Forever: X-Men, by Nnedi Okorafor, Ray Anthony-Height, Alberto Alburquerque, Juan Vlasco, Keith Champagne, Erick Arciniega, and Joe Sabino. By the way, I got the Skottie Young variant cover. It’s pretty adorable. I didn’t even know there was one until I saw it on the shelf. I love it. Years ago, when Nakia was training for the Dora Milaje, she went to a secret cave and performed a ritual where she saw an older version of herself and did a simple math problem. Then Storm, after visiting T’Challa, spots Nakia crying, and offers her comfort. It was ’70s Storm, and she was so nice to Nakia. And Nakia seemed to resent her for it. In the present, Ororo’s shopping to make a meal for T’Challa’s visit. Rogue and Kurt are with her.

Wakanda Forever: X-Men

And Rogue is kinda dirty.

Then Nakia comes in, and there’s a fight. This is really good. This is much better than the Spider-Man one. That one was fun, but this one’s got a lot more drama and excitement. The fight is great, with Ororo being particularly epic, as she should be. Storm is made of epicness.  Her hair looks great here. This is part of the value of having black artists drawing black characters. You get black hair. Storm seldom has black hair styles, and I gotta say, the braids look good on her. She works them. Rogue looks pretty damn good, too. The Mimic-23, the thing Nakia’s been using to attack people, also looks really cool here. It mimics Storm, so it immediately becomes badass and awesome. There’s a lot of fun character interactions. I want to especially highlight how Okorafor writes ’70s Storm different from modern Storm. ’70s Storm has the formality and innocence she had back then. Modern Storm is more casual, more relaxed, but also shows an attitude. It’s good work. The writing and art both just work better here, somehow. Maybe because it’s X-Men. I do love me some X-Men. The Dora Milaje themselves get less focus in this issue, especially Aneka and Ayo, though there’s a really sweet moment between Ororo and Okoye, showing their friendship and affection. But that’s fine. It’s still a great comic. I definitely enjoyed it.

There’s also X-Men: Grand Design, but I forgot to pre-order it, so I won’t be reading it for two weeks. But I’m pretty sure it covers the early ANAD X-Men days.

And the only non-X comic I got this week was Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #33, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain and Travis Lanham. Lunella and Devil have swapped minds, and now Devil is chasing Princess around the classroom, and it’s hilarious. This issue mostly focuses on the brain-swapping complication. It creates problems, and it’s funny. And then there’s one hell of a cliffhanger at the end. Very unexpected, and very interesting. As always, this is just a wonderful comic. A must-read, I would argue, if you have young children. But still loads of fun if you’re an old man like me.

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From → 2018

3 Comments
  1. I glanced at X-Men: Grand Design, and it looks like it retells the X-Men story from the All-New, All Different era up to the end of the Dark Phoenix Saga. It’s neat how it’s printed on old-style comic paper.

    Mr. and Mrs. X 1 and X-23 2 are both great, and for different reasons. I’ve only had a chance to read either of them once, so I didn’t get a chance to really look for Easter Eggs in X-23 2, but I look forward to getting that chance.

  2. The double-page in X-23 #2 just after the second scan you posted is a thing of twisted beauty, indeed. Rest of the issue’s good too. It’s a bit early to say this but I’m cottoning onto Tamaki’s Laura more than I did Taylor’s or any other post-Kyle/Yost writer; the juxtaposition between her glib chatter and her more formal, stilted, thoughtful inner monologue communicates the idea of a girl who’s spent a long time perfecting the art of pretend normalcy but still hasn’t let it get more than skin-deep.

    Mystery in Madripoor #3 was pretty wild. Nice to let Team Fun (Jubes and Dom) get the shine while Team Not That (mostly just Kitty) sorta skulks off to the side. It’s weird how the story seems to have resolved itself already with one more issue to go, though – most of the Femmes are down, and Magneto should have no issue stopping a rocket unless he forgets his entire gimmick. All that’s really left is whatever’s going on with Psylocke and Sapphire Styx, which is…what? I know Zub’s been talking up #4 as a big deal on Twitter and apparently there’s a ‘spoiler variant’ cover, so this can’t just be Betsy killing Sapphire and continuing as normal. For a while I figured they might actually pull the trigger on reverting the 90s body switcheroo, but I don’t see how you get there from here.

    Other stuff…Marvel 2-in-1 #8 was depressing as hell. Johnny and Ben have no powers, no family, no way home, and Johnny figured out Ben lied about trying to find Reed and Sue so they don’t even have each other anymore. Ending my tenure with Rosenberg’s Punisher at #228 (and #227 because I forgot that one). It’s very…can we call things ‘typical Rosenberg’ yet? Interesting story idea, really fun character beats sprinkled in but it never really comes alive like you want it to? That’s his Punisher. There’s great bits here, like Frank idly wondering if Winter Soldier can fix his armour with his ‘robot virus thing’ (Bucky: “Robot virus? Are you…do you think I’m Cable?”) or the way he punks Iron Man in #228, but the promise of what the Punisher could do with such a power advantage, and what that would mean for the rest of the world, isn’t answered satisfactorily. Oh yes, and with Venom #4, Donny Cates officially retcons Cullen Bunn’s previous history of the symbiotes so – praise be! – we don’t have to call them ‘Klyntars’ anymore. And the reason why they were mistakenly called that at all is surprisingly badass.

    • Laura’s inner monologue isn’t all formal, either, of course. Her “fascinate that” comment was pretty funny. But yeah, Tamaki writes a good Laura. And a really good Gabby.

      Matthew Rosenberg is a great writer who’s always kinda unsatisfying.

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