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X-Men comics of October 10 2018

October 11, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So with all the time between calls at work, I’ve started re-reading the first book in Will Durant’s Story of Civilization. It’s over 900 pages. It’s a big-ass book. And it was written back in the ’30s, so it’s a little out of date, undoubtedly there’s some inaccurate information, and there’s certain words and attitudes that are a little uncomfortable now. But what I like about Durant’s books is that they’re not just biographies of powerful men. History books tend to focus on a small number of people fighting over who gets to wear the best hat, and they seldom give a whole lot of context to it. Durant goes into the other stuff. The art, the architecture, the diet, the fashion, the make-up, all the little stuff that makes up a culture and a civilization. And I find that stuff way more interesting than a series of names and dates, about this person doing this thing on this date and that person doing that thing on that date. So I enjoy Durant’s books. But anyway, comics!

X-23 #5, by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Marcio Fiorito, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Sophie and Irma are chatting in Laura’s head. Irma says that Esme’s going to go for Cerebro. Luckily, Beast is there to try to keep her away, using a big gun. But he was just an illusion, Sophie trying to distract Esme. Aw. I was so proud of Beast being such a badass. Alas. Anyway, confrontation! Laura calls out Esme as a murderer, Esme is unimpressed and snarks like a Cuckoo should.

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I like Laura acknowledging that Esme’s not entirely wrong.

It’s a good fight, physical and psychic. A satisfying conclusion the arc. Esme made for a great villain, she was menacing but also funny. I liked seeing the difference in the relationship Laura and Gabby have compared to the Cuckoos. It made for a good contrast. The love Laura and Gabby have, compared to the more contentious relationship of the Cuckoos. Kinda sad, really. Poor Cuckoos. But it was cool seeing the Cuckoos get a story. I like them. They’re interesting characters. The art’s good. Nice use of glowing eyes to show readers when Sophie is talking through Laura. Good use of body language and facial expressions, Laura looks buff which is always appreciated, and there are a couple good moments of visual comedy. And there’s not a lot of action, but what’s there is done really well.

Domino #7, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Clayton Cowles. In Barcelona, a guy’s been murdered and partially eaten, and a police sergeant thinks Atlanteans did it. Meanwhile, Diamondback and Outlaw want to re-open the casino on their casino boat. A Wakandan then arrives to hire them for a mission. In Norway. Where Outlaw¬† – who is not at all dressed for winter weather, because she’s got super-strength so I guess doesn’t notice the cold – gets bucked off her snowmobile. And then a little girl appears. And hey, quick break from the story to talk about an art nitpick: We almost never see anyone’s breath. It’s winter, it’s clearly below freezing, but Baldeon does a terrible job showing anyone’s breath. When we see characters from the front, their breath looks like it’s coming from behind them. Which is just bad. It’s a little thing, but it took me out of the story. And that’s when we can see their breath at all, and we sometimes can’t. Anyway, they follow the little girl into the forest, despite Diamondback’s warnings of trolls and other monsters. And they fight a ghost wedding. An undead bride and her bridesmaids. They’re creepy but also kinda fun. Especially with the bride constantly talking about food.

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I like this bride’s priorities.

We’ve got us a vampire arc! Sounds pretty fun. Including a guest star I won’t spoil, but he’s on the cover of the next issue, so. But yeah, this is fun. Less heavy than the first arc, but it’s still got some weight to it. As much as it needs, really. It is vampires, after all. The little dead girl was creepy. Also, Diamondback’s grandmother seems to have been a pretty creepy lady, telling her stories about Norwegian monsters. I’m curious if trolls will show up, given Domino’s scepticism when Diamondback mentioned them. You’d think she’d accept trolls. Like, she spent a while serving on a team with Dani Moonstar, an honest-to-Odin Valkyrie. Why would Domino doubt the existence of trolls? Why would she doubt the existence of anything at this point, honestly? The arbitrary scepticism of superheroes always baffles me. But whatever, it’s a minor thing. Domino and her posse are a lot of fun together. Great chemistry. The fact that Diamondback’s still showing her cleavage while wearing a parka is ridiculous. I guess her boobs don’t feel the cold. That, and my earlier nitpick about the breaths, aside, I’m pretty OK with Baldeon’s art here. His style is fun, but it’s also really good for creepy stuff like the vampires. On the whole, this is a fun start to the new arc, and I’m curious to see how it goes.

Iceman #2, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Emma wants Bobby’s help with a delicate family matter. Bobby wants to franchise a concession stand called Admiral Snackbar. (According to Wookiepedia there actually was a restaurant by that name in the Star Wars EU, because of course there was.) She tells him that she thinks her father is hurting her brother, one of the few people she loves, and Bobby finally agrees to help. This really is a week for blonde bitches having complicated family dynamics. Kitty tells him not to trust her, and Bobby has a very interesting way of proving that she’s being as sincere as she’s capable of being:

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Pretty sure Kitty will be jerking it to this mental image later.

Emma tells Bobby about her family. Her father being a controlling prick, Christian being a warm and cheerful young man who their father sent to conversion therapy and then put in a mental institution. And it turns out Daddy Frost is also a telepath. I also like this interaction:

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“Pretty white boys” is what gets me. The sass!

They bust into the house and find Christian, who’s quite calm and friendly, but Emma knows something’s wrong because he’s drinking wine and wearing a British-cut suit. By the goddess, I love Emma. “Wearing a British-cut suit was offensive enough,” she is just the snobbiest person ever and I love her for it. She is delightful. Anyway, turns out Christian’s killed dad. But Christian’s kinda in denial about it, and is using his powers to make a projection of the dad, who attacks Emma and Bobby. So Emma brings Christian into Bobby’s mind so Bobby can try to talk him down. And another great Emma line: “Do that thing you do where people think you’re pleasant.” Though Emma’s the one who actually gets to Christian, which is fitting. On a side note, apparently Dazzler also has a new single out in this issue. She doesn’t appear, it’s just a message on Bobby’s phone. Anyway, this is a really good issue. Grace writes a great Emma, classy and snarky and compassionate. An ice cold bitch who cares deeply. I love her. Bobby remains Bobby. I still struggle to give a damn about him. But he and Emma do have a relatively fun chemistry. It’ll be interesting to see if Christian shows up again. And seeing a Worst Case Scenario for coming out is interesting, though I don’t necessarily feel qualified to talk on that point. But it does show how lucky Bobby was with his parents. The art is not my style. It’s not bad, by any stretch. Stockman tells the story well, and it’s not a style that really distracts me. There aren’t weird blobby faces or anything. It’s just not a style that does anything for me. Just personal taste.

X-Men Black: Mojo, by Scott Aukerman, Nick Bradshaw, Andre Lima Araujo, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. The opening panels have been getting a looooot of attention online.

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Some pretty familiar commentary in there.

So, yeah, this is just straight-up calling out Comicsgate. I approve, because screw Comicsgate. They’re a hate group, a harassment campaign, who are mad that their hobby no longer caters almost exclusively to cishet white men. None of them even understand how the comics industry works, which is clear by the sheer number of comics creators who call out their lies. Screw Comicsgate. But anyway! The story! Mojo goes to a coffee shop to stalk a cute cool girl. He’s terrible at talking to her, but he runs into Glob, who tries to help him out. Mojo says how he first met the girl. He bumped into her and she called him a mewling, simpering dolt. So it’s clear why he likes her so much. Glob and Mojo walk through the neighbourhood, and while Mojo’s wearing a trenchcoat and fedora as a disguise, Glob’s wearing nothing, which is cool. I like that he’s just wandering around NYC, openly a mutant, and there are people who say hi to him. Then Mojo saves a little girl who was almost hit by a car while chasing her cat. And she thanks him with a kiss on the cheek. It’s sweet. When Glob and Mojo get back to the school, Major Domo launches the planned attack intended to kill the students. And sudden art change! From Bradshaw – whose style I hate, by the way, cannot stand his style – to Araujo. Anyway, it’s a Half-Sentient, a cross of a Mindless One and a Sentinel. It’s mostly Laura, Rockslide, and Mukus (created by Aukerman and Araujo) who fight it. Yay Laura! Then Major Domo brings in the cute girl, and Mojo finally decides he can’t stand by and let her be hurt. It’s a cute story. A positive message about how even ugly people deserve friendship and even love. I often feel ugly, so it’s a message that appeals to me. And stories about The Magic of Friendship make me happy, so Glob befriending Mojo and helping him to be slightly better was nice to see. The humour was mostly pretty good. The biggest problem I had with the comic was the art. Like I said, I cannot stand Bradshaw’s style. I can’t really put into words why it bothers me, but it absolutely turns me entirely off. Araujo’s style bothers me less. Most people will probably actually be more turned off by Araujo, but I don’t know, I don’t really mind it. I can’t say I’m a big fan of his work or anything, it’s still not a style I love, but I like it more than I like Bradshaw. Still, the story’s charming enough that I enjoyed the issue, on the whole, despite the art.

And the second part of the Apocalypse story, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Geraldo Borges, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit. Apocalypse is being pretty philosophical about being lost on a strange planet while his powers fail him and he becomes mortal. The life around him evolves incredibly fast, and he feels his mind slipping. And he ends up naked and chased by giant insects. Still an intriguing story being told.

So that’s the X-stuff, here’s the rest.

Ms. Marvel #35, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. More Singularity! I still miss her unique speech bubbles, but I’m just so happy to have her show up. Shocker is still lots of fun, but at the same time, he’s got pretty interesting viewpoints regarding breaking away from existing superhero conventions. He even proposes he and Ms. Marvel be a hero/anti-hero team-up. He’s really fun here. Bruno’s very smart. Kamala is very annoyed. The whole thing is really good. You know, it’s funny: Every so often, a writer comes along and decides they’re going to “redeem” Shocker’s reputation. They’re going to show that he can be a genuine threat. They usually do it by going kinda dark, making him more serious, showing him trying to kill someone or whatever. Wilson and Leon showcased his scientific genius, made him a legitimate challenge for Ms. Marvel, and still kept him goofy. And I’m really happy about that. Because he is goofy. He wears a quilt. He calls himself Shocker. His power basically makes him a walking vibrator. He’s so goofy. And he’s better when he’s goofy. So I like that Wilson could make him a threat while also keeping him goofy.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #37, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Squirrel Girl is dead! And her funeral’s got a great turn-out! And Black Widow really loves wearing black and I feel her. I have never related more to Black Widow than I do here. Anyway, it’s great. Really funny. The art in the sequence showing how Squirrel Girl died is great, it’s got this really cool retro feel. Really liked that part.

Exiles #9, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Muntsa Vicente, and Joe Caramagna. Blink is Aladdin! Iron Lad is the genie! Valkyrie i Ali Baba, and Becky her Good Wife. T’Challa is Sinbad. It’s a really cute issue. I liked it.

Captain America #4, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, and Joe Caramagna. Sharon Carter is in trouble in Alberia, with Cap on his way to find and rescue her. He kicks ass. Until he runs into Taskmaster. And all through, he narrates about the state of the country, and the state of himself. It’s good stuff. Coates and Yu are telling a good story, and Coates’ writing is really good here. Really smart stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments
  1. Only noticed on the train home that I didn’t pick up Black‘s Mojo issue, despite falling over (almost literally) laughing at the preview. Gah. They’ll probably still have copies next week.

    I was surprised how much I was into Iceman #2, since I have the exact opposite feelings for its main characters compared to you: Grace (and Hopeless with the O5 version before him) has really made me dig Bobby Drake, but it’s a rare day where I don’t want to take a shovel to Emma Frost’s face. This…may have been that rare day. It’s a good story, and while Stockman’s pencils are sorta workmanlike he knows what’s needed of him and he communicates the main beats more than adequately. That said, I am glad the Frost business is one-and-done so we can go onto more important things like (looks at next cover) homaging 80s cartoons. Yes.

    I’m currently torn between wanting the first page after the credits from Domino #7 on a t-shirt, or just going the whole hog and getting it tattooed somewhere. I’m terrified of needles but love Domino so it’s a tricky decision. Apart from that, and a certain other t-shirt design I badly need, this was a relatively low-stakes issue but a nice breather after the high drama of the Topaz arc conclusion. The thing about breath mist didn’t occur to me, although it probably should’ve since it’s brought up in-story in 2000AD’s current Fiends of the Eastern Front tale. (a bunch of Napoleonic War soldiers realize their new allies are vampyr because their breath isn’t frosting, on account of not breathing) Oh yes, and I’m quite glad the series has run long enough to get Greg Land off the covers. Not fully keen on #7’s but the one for #8 is 100% how you draw a vampire cover.

    X-23 #5 felt very rushed, which itself feels like a repercussion of #3 practically jogging in place. That left Tamaki with a lot of points to cross out in this arc conclusion, and while she does pull it off it kinda…I dunno, cheapens it a little? For a story with such a heavy opening and unpleasant material, it sure is depressingly easy to make Esme bugger off.

    Didn’t get much else, but Immortal Hulk #7 deserves a mention. It’s another ‘Hulk fights the Avengers’ thing, which almost always boil down to ‘Hulk is best and strongest and the Avengers suck at their jobs’, but since it’s Al Ewing it’s better than that. A lot of the issue is actually focused on very authentic presentation of people being evacuated from the nearby town for fear of collateral damage, and what fighting goes down works overtime to both demonstrate why this particular Hulk is dangerous, yet also show that the Avengers have done their homework and have a strategy…and it works! Plus, the last page reveal promises a very weird #8.

    And I did wind up seeing the Venom movie. It’s…difficult to grade. I think the movie as a whole is lame, but its presentation of Venom himself (themselves?) is strong enough to override it. Like seeing a live band with the greatest guitarist you’ve ever seen, and they’re so good you kinda stop caring that the rest are all amateurs who keep hitting the wrong notes. Probably not for you, then, but it looks like it might get a sequel and I feel it’s deserved, especially following up on the mid-credits’ promise of Carnage being played by Woody Harrelson wearing the worst wig I have ever seen in a professional film production ever.

    • I imagine I’ll probably watch Venom at some point on Netflix or whatever, but it’ll probably be a long while. The reactions I’ve seen on Twitter have been, ah, interesting.

  2. There’s one line Laura says in X-23 5 that bothers me, but otherwise it’s a really good comic. It’s the line where she says “You’ve taken the body of the one person I like in this world”. I guess the writer is forgetting about Gambit, Jean Grey, Jubilee, and the other friends and allies she’s made over the years. A much better line would have been somewhere on the lines of “You’ve taken the body of the only sister I’ve got left”. Not only is that a more emotional like, but it’s something the Stepford Cuckoos could understand. She’s usually known for that kind of pointed dialogue. But yeah, it’s otherwise a great comic.

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