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X-Men comics of September 12 2018

September 13, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I was out pretty late with my friend last night, so I didn’t have a chance to complete my reviews before I had to go to bed. Thus, a day late. Uh, not sure I really have anything to share this week. I have nothing in particular to talk about. Or, at least, nothing I’m comfortable talking about yet. There is one pretty big thing that’s been on my mind for a while, but I’m not ready to talk about it on here. I want to talk to a therapist first. I’m going to see about making an appointment once I’m out of training at work. It’s just scary, because it’s something that is life-changing that I’m wanting to do. If I can work up the determination to make an appointment with a therapist, then it’ll still probably be a few months before I’m willing to talk about it on here. But hey, feel free to take a guess at what’s been on my mind. I’ll even confirm it if you guess right. But for now, comics!

X-Men Blue #35, by Cullen Bunn, Marcus To, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. This takes place before Extermination. Jean and Jean are having coffee in Italy, as Teen Jean prepares to return to her own time. The Jeans get along well, with Teen Jean even saying she wishes she had more time to get to know Adult Jean better. Aww, it’s so sweet. Jean’s entire arc over the past few years has been a rejection of her destiny and her future self, and now she wants to get to know her future self. Meanwhile, the Hanks also talk, with Adult Hank admitting he was wrong to bring the O5 into the present. The Bobbys talk, with Adult Bobby saying Jean outing them the way she did was a bit messed up, which is something a lot of people have criticized about the whole thing. Even some people who supported the reveal of Bobby being gay took issue with the way Jean outed him. Teen Bobby’s a bit bummed about having to go back in the closet when he goes back to his time. The Warrens head to a temple in Tibet where Archangel has been taking care of the mutants that Xorn was taking care of. And Scott, of course, has no future version of himself to talk to. Throughout the issue, we also get glimpses of various futures if the O5 stay. Jean fights Galactus, Hank helps Goblyn Queen take over Limbo from Illyana, Warren kills Archangel to become Apocalypse’s new Death, and Bobby . . . goes on a date with a cute boy. Wow. Death and destruction and all is horri- oooh, that dude’s cute. Anyway, it’s a good issue. Everyone trying to get closure with their adult selves, and hating the fact that going back means undoing all they’ve learned, all the development they’ve had as individuals, and effectively killing themselves. And typing it out, wow, I don’t know if it’s intentional, but it really feels like a bit of commentary on the very nature of mainstream cape comics. Character development is never permanent; they always return to who they were. The O5 were a really interesting premise, an exploration of what a person might do when faced with who they’re going to become. It was a cool idea. I know a lot of people hated them from the start, but I liked them. I liked the idea behind them, and I thought Bendis mostly did interesting work with them. Hopeless’ work with them wasn’t quite as interesting, but was still good. Bunn’s work with them has been mostly mediocre, sadly. But I do like this quiet issue, and I like that all of them get some time. Warren got the shortest shrift here. The Bobby scene was pretty good. I do wish we’d gotten to see more of the Jeans before this story ran its course. I definitely would’ve loved to see them get a team-up issue, one that shows how they do differ. Ah, well. The issue benefits from Marcus To’s lines. The man’s damned good at what he does. Milla’s colours are an ideal match for To’s lines, too. But yeah, To does a great job with facial expressions, and just with camera angles, to keep things visually interesting, even in a talking-head issue. His spreads of the future are also gorgeous. Jean’s has gotta be a stand-out, unsurprisingly.

X-Men Blue #35

Daaaaaaaaang.

Bobby’s date is another great spread. All ice and light and cute boys. So, yeah, this was a really good issue.

X-23 #4, by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. The Cuckoos are trying to merge Esme with Gabby, but something goes wrong, possibly because of Laura’s presence. Laura tries to stop the process. But fails. Esme possesses Gabby. Laura wakes up outside, having been blown right out of the warehouse in the machine’s explosion. And there’s quite the interesting development in Laura’s head, while Esme makes plans to make the Cuckoos strong. This is good. Lots of plot developments. Really interesting stuff. Esme is quite menacing. Seeing Gabby act menacing is weird and creepy. Not gonna lie, I’m a little concerned about Irma. She’s so sweet, but the other Cuckoos are clearly getting impatient with her, and Esme’s not tolerating weakness. I hope nothing bad happens to her. The story is really interesting, and it’s getting tense. The art’s really good. As usual, Irma is easy to tell apart from the others, based solely on her facial expressions. She always has a different expression from the others. She’s more expressive in general, more emotive. Which is really cool, I like that touch. Also, this issue has a stellar opening.

X-23 #4

Clearly a fun bunch.

Love it. So the art’s great. And the writing’s great. And I’m really excited for the next issue. I’d love it if Irma became part of the supporting cast after this arc, insert a little Found Family stuff in there. The family theme, once again, is less prominent in this issue, but still pretty heavy. Regardless, it’s great stuff.

Domino #6, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Clayton Cowles. Adelbert, the dude that Domino fought/rescued in the first issue is very particular about omelettes. I love him. Outback takes Diamondback to a hospital, and one of the doctors doesn’t want to work on a mutant, which just gets her threatened by Outback. In Hong Kong, Domino and Shang-Chi ride, grab something to eat, talk about her power, and get attacked by Topaz, who’s angry about Desmond dying. Fight! Which includes one of the greatest pieces of battle banter ever.

Domino #6

I would watch this Disney movie.

And then the fight has one of the most intense endings, and does it with just words. Damn. Simone kills it. Just three sentences, and it’s so damn powerful. A reminder that Domino isn’t like other X-Men, that she lives her life by different rules, while also making clear how hard that life is for her. This arc absolutely nails the ending. Gives Domino a bittersweet victory, wraps up the loose ends, and is just so powerful. The art is better than usual, too. Baldeon outdid himself for this. He puts so much emotion and power into the lines. Blee’s colours do so much to enhance the mood, too. This is a perfect end to the arc.

Iceman #1, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Bobby’s taking a walk in Hell’s Kitchen – which he points out has gone from being crime-ridden to upscale – and comes across a guy fire-bombing a club. Seems like he’s a homophobe, given his one line of dialogue. And then he sees a paper with something about the Morlocks. The next day, as he has one of his ice-golems train his students – Anole, Idie, Michaela, Eye-Boy, Glob – he shows Kitty the flyer about a missing Morlock. The day after that, Iceman and Bishop head into the sewers to investigate. They find a dead Morlock, and a fight, between a couple Morlocks and some other mutants. After the small group is defeated, Iceman teams up with Madin, one of the Morlocks, to try to lure out the rest. And we get a pretty good point raised.

Iceman #1

Not even a little wrong about the school.

I like when mutants call out the school. The focus on training X-Men means the focus actually is on training mutants how to solve problems with violence. I’d love to see more alternatives to Xavier’s presented. Alternative mutant schools that aren’t training soldiers. (Maybe with teachers who are actually qualified to teach.) I mean, Iceman had his kids fighting a monster, even though one of the kids has “eyes” as his power, and another has “spit.” Do they really need to be taught monster-fighting? Maybe they could be taught, I don’t know, math? Social studies? What is Xavier’s English program like? Anyway, the plan works, and the mutant assailants are ambushed and surrounded, and one of them declares the only hope for mutants is to be and look more human. Hmmmm. I suppose that is a debate among marginalized communities. There are some who seek mainstream acceptance by trying to be more like the majority group. POCs acting white, queer people acting straight, that sort of thing. Still a bit iffy, but sure, OK. I see what Grace was going for, and since he actually does belong to a marginalized community, I’m sure he’s more aware of these kinds of debates than I am. That aside, the issue’s OK. Lots of Iceman making bad jokes. Bishop’s cool, but a bit under-used. The art’s fine. Doesn’t really stand out. It tells the story, it’s nice enough to look at, it absolutely does what it’s supposed to do. It just doesn’t do much beyond that, at least for me. People who actually know stuff about art are probably huge fans of Stockman and deeply admire his work. But all in all, my reaction to this issue, as with Iceman as a character, is mostly just a shrug.

Old Man Logan #47, by Ed Brisson, Damian Couceiro, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. A giant plant-monster is attacking Guardian. Shaman and Snowbird head off to help him, while Puck and Logan look for more plant killer. Guardian gets smacked by the plant, which then covers him. While Shaman and Snowbird free him, Shaman gets momentarily connected to the creature, and learns it’s an alien plant, its planet was attacked, it hitched a ride on one of the ships attacking, and it crashed into the water, and it’s just trying to survive. The plant killer plan hits a snag, so instead, Logan comes up with a plan involving fire. Fire is always a great plan. Enh, it’s a fun issue. Some fun Alpha Flight stuff. Wouldn’t have minded even more Alpha Flight focus, but that’s pretty much by default mood, so whatever. The story tries to draw a comparison between the creature and Logan, but I don’t know that I buy it. Whatever Brisson intended with the story, ultimately, all I got out of it was a reasonably entertaining Logan-teaming-with-Alpha-Flight adventure. With art that was a little inconsistent at times, but was mostly solid.

Old Man Logan #47

Why use a door when there’s a perfectly good window?

Couceiro has potential, he could be phenomenal, but it’ll be a couple more years before he’s there. I’m rooting for him, though. I hope he gets consistent work. He’s great now, but in a couple more years, he’ll be killer.

And the non-X-comics.

Ms. Marvel #34, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. Kamala apparently borrows her mass from time, which is pretty interesting. Shocker is actually not bad at science, neat to see that come up. but most important, Kamala gets to meet Singularity! Who remains adorable and helpful in a not-very-helpful way. I love Singularity and want more of her. Someone needs to put her back in an ongoing title, stat. Anyway, great issue. Weird, but great.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #36, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. A ghost silences New York. Squirrel Girl and Iron Man fight her. It’s fun.

Marvel Rising: Omega, by Devin Grayson, Georges Duarte, Roberto Di Salvo, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. It’s a lot of fun. America hits a robot with its own arm. Ms. Marvel pilots a dragon. Squirrel Girl is untouchable by murder traps. The team does a Donkey Kong challenge. There’s even a Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur cameo at the end! It’s a great issue. A great mini, which Marvel numbered in the absolute worst way imaginable

Champions #24, by Jim Zub, Sean Izaakse, Marcio Menyz, Erick Arciniega, and Clayton Cowles. This is The School Shooting Issue. It’s called – ugh – “Trigger Warning.” Ugh, no, guys, that’s awful. It’s a bad joke, and kind of a dick move. It ends up diminishing the value of trigger warnings, which was absolutely not what anyone involved intended, but it does. Beyond that, the issue doesn’t actually provide a trigger warning. The issue opens with a black page saying it’s a special issue. Which actually would’ve been the perfect place to put a content warning that it dealt with school shootings. Anyway, there’s a shooting at Miles’ school while he’s not there. Goldballs was injured in it. Riri’s reaction to the shooting is actually pretty great. She says she’s seen it before, people get sad and angry and then get over it, and nothing ever gets changed. Which is pretty much exactly the case. A couple weeks later, Kamala’s school has a shooting drill, which, as a Canadian, is honestly one of the most insane things I have ever heard of. Fire drills? Absolutely. Tornado and hurricane drills? If you live in areas that get those, then you’ve gotta do them. Shooting drills? Holy shit, US, you’re messed up. Anyway, this issue’s about how people feel in the aftermath of shootings. Miles feels guilty about not stopping it, and Kamala actually gives him a really nice pep talk about deciding between despair and hope. It’s pretty good stuff. The people who constantly whine about “Politics In Comics” were convinced this was going to be some kind of anti-gun screed, but it very much wasn’t. It didn’t talk about gun control at all, it didn’t get into statistics or anything like that. It just focused on how hard it is to keep going after something like that happens, and when someone you know gets hurt. Also, the art is fantastic. I’ve enjoyed Izaakse’s art on this book, but something about it was especially strong here.

Exiles #8, by Saladin Ahmed, Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera Jordan Gibson, Chris Sotomayor, Muntsa Vicente, and Joe Caramagna. Four colour artists credited, including Quinones. Jeez. Never a positive sign. Anyway, the Exiles are put on trial for saving the multiverse. This issue is mostly just a way to let each character exposit on their backstory. It’s still pretty fun.

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From → 2018

4 Comments
  1. Firstly, good fortune and health in dealing with the Stuff That Shall Not Be Named. Not taking the piss. It’s been way too long since I actively sought help with the troubles in my life and in retrospect that was stupid of me.

    Onto books – Domino #6 was great, as is now expected of this series. I was wondering exactly how this whole blood feud was gonna wrap up, and Simone does a damn good job communicating that this was the only possible ending, and that being the hero who’s got no problem pulling the trigger carries all manner of problems, not the least being deprived of Shang-Chi’s penis. Not to be too pedantic though, but her name is Outlaw, not Outback. Outback is a G.I. Joe, I think? Whatever, just the annual left and we can finally get issues not cursed with Greg Land covers, which is the only real weakness the book has now.

    X-23 #4 is the second issue in a row to strike me as a thin read. Important stuff happens but not with a great deal of momentum, and while Cabal’s pencils are excellent, his big-panel layouts make the pages fly by almost too fast for my liking. Feels like #3 and #4 could’ve been one issue without losing anything meaningful. Although the Brady Bunch parody might’ve been trimmed down…okay, maybe lose ONE meaningful thing.

    Exiles #8 was fine. Art was a big step-down from Rodriguez, and it mostly felt like a stopgap or maybe some kind of jump-on point for fresh readers. Bit early in the series for that, though.

    Iceman #1 leaned a bit too heavily on Bobby’s particular brand of comedy, to the point of smothering the message Grace was attempting to deliver. Still enjoyed it a bunch, though, and we got Jubilee carrying around a dad-joke swear jar, which makes sense, because the Xavier School is just lousy with olds who think they’re funny. Bobby gets the worst of it but pretty much all the Claremont crew can’t sell a punchline to save their lives.

    Also picked up the Journey Into Mystery: Birth of Krakoa one-shot, which probably isn’t X-Men relevant enough to count here. It’s essentially a throwback to Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, if there was ever an issue of that which read like a Godzilla movie. Fury and his pals are sent off to an unknown island that’s used as a nuclear test site, things go bad. It’s a nice read. I’ve never heard of Djibril Morissette-Phan, but (along with Rachelle Rosenberg’s colour work) he takes the deceptive simplicity of Chris Samnee but with the kind of noirish, blocky shadows that belong in a Garth Ennis war comic. And Dennis Hopeless…genuinely surprised me by completely abandoning his voice. You’ve read plenty of Hopeless’ stuff by now, you know how his books tend to sound – he’s a very ‘light’ writer, lots of conversational dialogue, groanworthy jokes, all that. None of it’s present here, instead we get mildly hokey Silver Age 3rd-person narration boxes and very terse, tense exchanges as the Howlers get broken down one way or another. It’s very good, basically, and after his more recent appearances as a visual gag, it’s good to remind ourselves of how mysterious and terrifying the idea of Krakoa is.

    Comment’s getting silly long, but how are you feeling about the early December solicit teases? I’m down for a new X-Force but my enthusiasm may waver based on how Extermination turns out, since it’s basically a direct follow-up and keeps Brisson on writing duties. And Miles Morales’ new book is by Saladin Ahmed AND Javier Garron, which is just an INSANE core team. Sad about that new Vision book getting cancelled, though. Really weird reasoning (or lack thereof) behind it.

    • Oh, JiM is Djibril? Nice. He’s done a few isolated issues here and there. A couple issues of All-New Wolverine, a couple issues of Ultimates.

      Yeah, I’m really bummed about Vision. I was so excited for that. Cain and Koch? Love them both. I’ll be getting Spider-Miles, for Ahmed. I really, REALLY do not like Garron’s art style. It completely turns me off. X-Force looks pretty cool. Still going to stick with reading it digitally; don’t care enough to let it take up space in my boxes.

  2. X-23 4 is well done in a lot of ways – it just felt a bit too short for its own good.

    Mrs. Marvel – They brought Singularity back? Nice. Looking forward to that trade now.

    Also I don’t feel like even guessing what’s going on with you, but I hope it all works out for you.

    • Singularity didn’t really get a whole lot to do in Ms. Marvel, but she was still adorable. I hope they team up again in the future.

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