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X-Men comics of September 5 2018

September 5, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So my training at my new job is going well. But in more exciting news, I have a date this weekend. Yay! And man, that was quick. I knew it. I knew it wouldn’t take long to find a date in Ottawa. I hadn’t been on a date in the past two years in Cornwall, but in Ottawa, I got one within two weeks. She seems really cool. She liked the Jem comics, she was an animator on Wander Over Yonder and Star vs. the Forces of Evil, and she lifts weights so she can be big stronk woman. I’m really excited about this. But first, comics!

X-Men Gold #35, by Marc Guggenheim, Simone Buonfantino, Giovanni Valletta, Erick Aricniega, and Cory Petit. Aw, Bandini already left? That’s disappointing. Ororo’s been captured by a bunch of zombies, including her parents, and Uovu taunts her. She can’t beat him, and he tells her he’s going to kill her and bring her back as his slave. Honestly, I’m just glad to see he doesn’t care about marrying her. Refreshing change of pace. In New York, the team fights X-Cutioner, because Guggenheim needed the team to be doing something. They get summoned by Stormcaster, which creates a portal and returns to Storm. And man, I love a good smirk.

X-Men Gold #35

Even her smiles are epic.

The X-Men deal with the villagers while Storm beats the crap out of Uovu. And as a result of the battle, Stormcaster’s power is drained and it crumbles, never to be seen again, until another writer wants to score nostalgia points by bringing back plot points from the Asgardian Wars. I can’t say this issue did much for me. I think this whole arc suffers from being too short. It needed one more issue, I think, to really explore Storm’s feelings about her parents returning, and to show her bonding with them. As it is, the plot moves at a brisk pace, but it feels a bit flat. Hitting the points it has to hit, largely predictable, no surprises, and not enough emotional weight behind anything. It means that what could have been a powerful, emotional, epic story ends up being weirdly perfunctory and bland. Which is a shame. It’s not helped by the art, which is kinda inconsistent. The first half of the issue looks better than the second half. That smile is perfect, but there are few moments like that. The lightning looks a bit fatter than I would’ve liked. It’s somehow less impressive that way. Also, there’s one specific moment during the fight that was simply bad choreography. Storm hammers Uovu, and the next panel shows her having been knocked back, but Uovu doesn’t seem to have actually done anything to her. It’s a little thing, but those kinds of things are important. It took me out of the story for a moment. So the art is by no means bad, but there are little complaints I have about it. And, of course, I have much the same complaints I’ve always had about the writing, with it relying on reader familiarity with old stories to carry the emotional beats, rather than Guggenheim having any idea how to insert the emotional beats into the stories he’s telling.

Astonishing X-Men #15, by Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Land, Neil Edwards, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata, and Clayton Cowles. The group is gathered to discuss the fact that they just assaulted federal agents, and Dazzler gets spotted by a photographer who asks her why she’s hanging out with terrorists. They then grab a bus, much to Beast’s displeasure. Come on, Hank, it’s not the first time you’ve served on a team that had to grab a bus. Remember when the Avengers had to do it? That’s one of my all-time favourite Avengers moments. It’s wonderful. Alex admits that he thinks Bastion put something in him that the Reavers are looking for, and that he put together the team to protect him, which pisses the others off. Alison does offer him some comfort, though.

Astonishing X-Men #15

For certain values of “comfort.”

I love the Ali/Alex friendship. They play off each other so well. Alison is always so superior with him, and it’s really cute. Meanwhile, most of the named Reavers, who aren’t in government custody, are trying to figure out what to do about Pierce being captured by the government. Also, Pretty Boy makes a comment about wanting to marry Tom Cruise, so he might be bi? OK, sure, I can buy it. Warpath follows Alex to the Bar With No Name, and calls Alex out on his lie about gathering the team to protect himself. The others are at Piotr’s apartment, with Ali telling Piotr he needs to be more willing to open up and talk about what he’s going through. Then they’re attacked. That scene has Edwards on lines, and holy shit, the difference between him and Land is huge.

Astonishing X-Men #15

They don’t look traced from a magazine!

Greg Land aside, this is good. It’s good stuff. Some plot progress, combined with character developments. Good mix of humour and drama. Leans more towards humour, but not to the detriment of the story. Land, to be fair, is able to tell the story with the art. His style is still distracting, but nothing jumped out as bad visual storytelling. I still hate his art. And I’m also still mad at Rosenberg for what he did to Karma. No forgiveness for that.

Weapon X #23, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Yildiray Cinar, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Weapon X-Force vs. Deadpool. He’s working for the evil cult, but in fairness, he actually has a very good reason.

Weapon X #23

Good font choice is a key thing to look for in a religion.

Fighting! And quipping! And he blows up Monet with napalm. Deathstrike tries to use her nanites to get Deadpool out of Mentallo’s control, but he’s just there because he’s being paid. Monet gets pissed about her hair being damaged by the napalm, and punches him out of the building. Don’t mess with Monet’s hair. Then Domino teases Sabretooth and Monet for liking each other. It’s pretty great. And then more fighting, and the reveal of the real villain. This series remains largely dumb fun. It’s great. No complex themes being explored, no deep character analysis. Just lots of violence and quips. And it’s honestly just good fun. Deadpool is maybe a bit much here. Pak and Van Lente obviously just had a lot of fun writing him, so he kinda steals the show, which is a little disappointing. But I’ll allow it, because like I said, Pak and Van Lente are just enjoying themselves too much for me not to also enjoy myself. And the art’s great, too. Really exciting action. Could probably have been a bit more violent, honestly, but the action flows really well, and that’s the most important thing. Also, even after being burned by napalm, Monet looks awesome.

Old Man Logan Annual, by Ed Brisson, Simone Di Meo, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Cory Petit. This story’s set in the Wastelands of Old Man Logan’s time. A town gets attacked by a gang called the Punishers. Because of course a dark and gritty future is full of edgelord jackasses who idolize a mass murderer. When Logan arrives in the town, he’s blamed for the attack. He killed the Hulk Gang, which opened the way for the Punishers. He tracks them down, and after a slight complication involving a bullet to the skull, meets Frank Castle, still alive. And they launch an assault.

Old Man Logan Annual

It goes as you’d expect.

There is, however, one thing that stands out. Panhead, the leader of the Punishers, talks about how guys like Logan and Castle, the old heroes, let the world fall. They had a good life, and they let other people of their generation ruin it all, and make life an absolute shitshow for new generations. Which is actually pretty much exactly the state of the world today. The Baby Boomers had great lives, and they screwed the world up for everyone who’s come after them. It makes Panhead actually kinda sympathetic. Except he’s still a murderous douche. It’s an OK story. It’s Logan and Castle teaming up to kill people. Yippee. The fact that they’re old doesn’t really mean a lot, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a pretty straightforward story, with the only interesting thing being Panhead calling them out for letting the world go to shit. Still, it’s always frustrating when an important message like this is delivered by a villain. I’ve no doubt Brisson intended Panhead’s comments as a reflection on the way Millennials have been screwed over by Baby Boomers, and it seems to be an argument he thinks has validity. But it does feel hampered coming from the mouth of a villain. The art’s good. It definitely suits the story. Got a Western vibe to it, dirty and rough and moody. This is my first exposure to Di Meo’s art, and he’s a perfect match. It’ll be interesting to see if Marvel gives him more work, and what they’ll put him on.

There’s also a back-up story, by Ryan Cady, Hayden Sherman, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Cory Petit. It’s an Old Man Punisher story. He wipes out a bunch of dudes in a gang called the War Machines. Kinda disappointing how gangs in the Marvel future are all named after heroes or villains. It bores me. I know why writers do it, but I still don’t like it. After he wipes them out, he’s confronted by a smaller group, wielding various weapons. One guy’s got a couple of Dr. Octopus’ tentacles. While Punisher kills them, the leader runs for Punisher’s van, and opens it to find three coffins, belonging to Punisher’s family. Ew, dude, no, why. This does seem to be setting up a possible Old Man Punisher story, which, ugh, no thanks. Hard pass. I’ve never cared about the Punisher. Gun fetishist revenge fantasy murder-porn has never been my thing. Which means this story did nothing for me. If you like the Punisher? Yeah, you’ll probably dig this. Though traveling around with the corpses of his family is really weird. Again, the art fits the story, does a good job with tone. Great job done with fire and shadows, makes for some great intensity. Also a fairly interesting last-page reveal of antagonist, if the story does get continued. (Has it been confirmed as continuing? I honestly don’t remember.) Still, not at all for me.

And non-X-stuff.

Captain America #3, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, and Joe Caramagna. Steve is in a small town, talking to a guy about how the town was saved by Hydra, and is being kept alive by Power Enterprises. Steve then goes to talk to T’Challa and Okoye about the mine having no coal left. People are being paid to allow a terrorist cell to grow, basically. They’ve found the main Nuke hub, and they go in to shut it down. It’s a good comic. Exciting action. Still some good introspective narration. Still digging this series.

Quicksilver: No Surrender #5, by Saladin Ahmed, Eric Nguyen, Rico Renzi, and Clayton Cowles. Mirror Battle! And Pietro remembers that he likes things. Good finale to a good mini.

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From → 2018

6 Comments
  1. G'kar permalink

    Unfortunately, my comic shop didn’t have Astonishing X men # 15, but I thought the resent Captain America issue was ok. Anyway, have you seen the official Captain Marvel movie pictures yet? I thought Bries looked great in costume, though it looks like she isn’t going have her sash.

    • I saw the pictures. I still don’t think Brie is imposing enough. She looks slight. But I’ll reserve final judgment for the movie itself, which I’m still excited about.

  2. I’m a little hesitant to classify Weapon X #23 (man, they missed a golden opportunity for Laura to show up here) as purely dumb fun. Apart from bringing the series’ earlier threads together, the reveal of Spoiler Villain does bring up a potentially interesting point – the idea of a man so drunk on his hatred that he can’t understand he’s surrendered everything he loved. It doesn’t get a lot of space to breathe – much like the offhand note about state-sanctioned bigotry used as a shield to spare the government from public scrutiny back in the last arc – but it’s something I appreciate. Otherwise, the issue’s mostly a big fight, and Cinar’s got good choreography chops so it works. I like it whenever Deadpool’s jokes are at least a little amusing, and when Domino makes it clear she’s better than him and is done with his crap. Also, Monet should keep her hair that way after the burns heal up. It’s a good look for her.

    R.e. the Punisher, since you brought him up – I like Castle a lot but he’s SO EASY to get wrong. Castle driving around with his family’s coffins is very wrong. The only way Punisher really works is if you treat him like he’s a little self-aware, and that includes acknowledging (as his better writers have done) that he’s not really driven by the loss of his family anymore. He avenged them years ago. But he walked too far into the abyss doing it, and he knows there’s no way back. The one good thing I’ll say about this OML excursion is that I do dig it whenever Frank has to deal with copycats and knockoffs, because again, he knows what he does is wrong, and he doesn’t want it spreading around. I’m probably not doing a good job explaining this – if you do wind up curious one day, look up an academic/comics critic (a real one) named Kelly Kanayama, she’s put more thought into Punisher than any other human alive, and has a fun podcast about it to boot.

    Slow week otherwise. Immortal Hulk #5 felt like a step down since it was less about psychology and more about the series’ lore and arc. Interesting enough, and the villain reveal isn’t something I expected, but not the kind of thing I bought into this series for. At least they do throw a brief amount of Carol and Puck in there to establish how Sasquatch got from Captain Marvel to here. And Venom: First Host is a weekly series, I guess? I must’ve forgotten. Anyway, #2 has inconsistent art since Bagley was presumably running ragged, but it does tie in better with Costa’s previous run thematically: if the previous issues were about Eddie and the symbiote trying to recover their relationship while still making the same mistakes, this story is about the symbiote’s old ex he still cares for coming back into their lives at the worst possible moment. And yeah, the Kree dude I said was super cool last ish turns into a complete jackass here. Feels like I should’ve seen that coming.

    • I agree about Monet keeping her hair like that for a bit. She pulls the look off. Of course she does, she’s perfect, that means always looking good no matter what happens to her.

  3. X-Men Gold is almost over, isn’t it? If so, good.
    I’m looking forward to at least learning more about this “Uncanny” series coming up. The writing team looks good so far at least.

    The only thing stopping me from picking up Astonishing X-Men is Greg Land. That’s enough to turn me off of almost any book by any writer at this point.

    • One more issue of Gold. Blue, as well. Unfortunately, Uncanny is weekly, which I think is bullshit. It also has Matt Rosenberg, against whom I have sworn an eternal grudge for his treatment of Karma in the New Mutants: Dead Souls mini.

      And yeah, Astonishing would be a great book with a different artist.

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