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X-Men comics of November 7 2018

November 8, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My friend has a vlog. And apparently, some of her viewers want me to start my own vlog, and no, they absolutely do not want me to start my own vlog. They 100% do not want to watch my vlog. I would just talk about the X-Men. Entire episodes would be dedicated to me banging on the table and shouting about which X-Men are gay. (It’s all of them. All the X-Men are gay. Every single X-Man has been inside every other X-Man.) Anyway, I’m going to talk about the X-Men now.

X-Men Red #10, by Tom Taylor, Roge Antonio, Rain Beredo, and Cory Petit. It opens with “Jean” telling off humanity, and honestly, I kinda agree?

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I mean, as a nihilist, yeah, this is accurate.

A South Korean Helicarrier commander orders the Helicarrier to Genosha, to fight a mutant threat, and a dozen commercial flights also head there. They’re under “Jean’s” control. Obviously, it’s Cassandra Nova, and she expects Jean and her team to go fight here. Jean wants to find another way. The news talks about what’s happening, and I really, really love that Taylor presents the news as not being anti-mutant, with a scrawl showing some pro-mutant stories. I love the way Taylor makes clear that not all humans want to kill mutants. That there are regular people who support mutant rights. Anyway, Jean calls Stark to help develop a way to fight Nova, and then it’s off to save the world. With an ingenious plan. Jean’s very very clever. And has friends. This is so good. I love the rescue plan developed. This is, far and away, the most positive team X-title in a long time. The news reports defending mutants, Jean’s determination to save the day without violence, in order to show the world who the X-Men are. There’s so much here that’s so great. Good art, too. I’m really going to miss this series, it’s been really good and it deserved to run longer.

Weapon X #25, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Luca Pizzari, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Stryker’s still alive. Weapon X-Force kills him again. But he returns, since he’s still got his deal with the devil in place, so he swears he’ll get his revenge on them. So Weapon X-Force decide they need to get help from someone with some pull in Hell. Cut to Washington, where a Congressman is in electoral trouble after a video leaked of him in Vegas, and he asks for help from Azazel. Ugh, that guy. Also, Pak and Van Lente are not subtle, nor do they need to be:

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Republicans cheat to win.

I’m sure there’s going to be people bitching about this scene, about shoving politics into a comic. But I think it’s worth remembering that the Republican Party is a fascist party who lie, cheat and steal in order to win elections. Screw the Republican Party. Anyway! Mystique poses as his assistant to get close enough to ask his help. But Weapon X-Force gets impatient and bust in with threats.

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Poor Mystique, she deserves better teammates.

The fight goes poorly for them. In the course of the fight, Azazel also says that Sabretooth’s inversion hasn’t redeemed him and his evil’s all over his soul. I hate to admit this – I hate so much to admit this – but Azazel’s actually pretty fun here. I still think he’s a shitty character. I still think the story that introduced him was one of the worst stories in X-Men history, and I still think Aaron should’ve left him in the garbage heap. But Pak, Van Lente and Pizzari do a good job here, and give him a charm and menace he never had before, despite the efforts of other creative teams. These guys are good at what they do. I’m not sure it would work in any other book, either. This is an over-the-top comic that kinda encourages turning your brain off and just enjoying the ride. So Azazel is less irritating than he would be in a more straightforward comic. It also helps that Nightcrawler’s not involved. Mystique’s history with Azazel is obviously a big thing, but there’s no moralizing going on, there’s no nefarious plot of Azazel that needs to be stopped. He’s just doing his thing, and it’s so much more entertaining than some big scheme to try to take over the world or whatever. He just kinda wants to mess with people. On a personal note, I still headcanon Azazel as an actual demon, with most of that awful Austen story being Azazel entertaining himself by seeing how much bullshit he could get people to believe. (“I told them angels and demons were mutants! And they bought it! Priceless!”) The art’s great. Some excellent fight scenes. Also really good facial expressions on Mystique (who’s also drawn with pupils, which is unusual to see). But mostly, it’s those fights. Much as I hate Azazel on a conceptual level, Pak, Van Lente and Pizzari continue to make Weapon X a blast.

X-23 #6, by Mariko Tamaki, Georges Duarte, Chris O’Halloran, and Cory Petit. Gabby is undercover at a high school, posing as Roberta Boford. There’s a reason she’s undercover at a high school. The reason is less important than the fact that she’s there. She’s put a lot of work into her cover identity. Meanwhile, Laura is also undercover at the school, as Coach Claudia. They quickly find out the science club is led by an evil girl, who has a big robot, and whose evil plan is totally irrelevant.

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Voice of a generation, honestly.

Thus, robot fight. And Laura beats it up with basketballs. And this issue is straight-up ridiculous and I love it. Gabby is her usual delightful self. Laura looked like she was entirely too into character as a gym teacher. It’s a quick done-in-one, and while I would’ve loved seeing it stretched into a two-parter, it loses nothing by being a one-off. It uses its space efficiently, moving the plot along quickly without it feeling rushed, there’s some great humour, and it’s great. Just a nice breather issue between arcs, having some fun. Honestly, stretching it into two issues would’ve meant a lot of filler, it in no way needed a second issue. I just would’ve been happy reading more of Gabby and Laura undercover in a high school. It’s a fun premise, and Tamaki and Duarte have fun doing it.

Iceman #3, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Street Cart Named Desire Festival. That’s a pretty good pun. Based on Google, it doesn’t seem to be a real thing, so I think Grace is going to have to organize it now. Sorry, guy, but that’s the cost of coming up with a good pun name for something. Anyway, it’s a street card festival, which means food. Bobby’s there on a date. Peter Parker’s also there with MJ, and Angelica Jones is there with a guy named Dirk. She’s talking about a book she describes as “like Eat, Pray, Love, but with pirates,” and honestly I want to know what book she’s talking about. Her date doesn’t read. She should dump him. They do start talking about sports, they both like hockey. She’s from New Jersey, so I’m guessing she’s probably a Devils fan. Bobby and Angel say hi to each other, and Bobby’s date, Carlos, recognizes Angel as Firestar. Bobby and Carlos smooch, but then a car gets thrown, so Bobby and Angel rush off to fight an ice golem. Carlos almost gets killed, but Spider-Man saves him, to make the Amazing Friends re-union complete. Fight fight fight, and Firestar has no appreciation for classic comedy.

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13 forever!

Anyway, the ice golem was one of the Morlocks from the first issue, with some tech that transformed him. In the aftermath, Angel’s dumped by text, and Bobby dumps Carlos, and Peter gives a talk about the difficulties of finding love as a superhero. Anyway, yeah, this was fun. I never watched Amazing Friends, so I don’t have the nostalgia for it that others do, but I like when superheroes are friends. All three know each other, and they like each other. Spider-Man and Iceman share a love of bad jokes, and their team-ups are always painful as a result. Firestar makes an effective straightman for them. I liked the end of the issue, with the three of them just hanging out, talking about dating. I would read an entire issue of that, honestly. Related to that, Angel’s date seemed like a douche. In fairness to him, he did bring up something from her profile, and asked her about it. (Her profile says she’s into fitness, and he asked her about sports.) So I’ll give him credit for not just talking about himself, and for trying to find a common ground for them to talk about. I just dislike him for not reading. Reading’s great! I recently finished “P.S. I Still Love You,” by Jenny Han, and I enjoyed it. Really good YA novel, worth checking out. It’s the sequel to “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which I haven’t read, but which I probably should. Anyway, I highly recommend reading, I’d rank it way above dating, dating is terrible. The one problem with this issue is that it reminded me how much I miss having Firestar in an ongoing series. She’s a cool character, I’d love to see her used more. But I say that about a lot of characters, so it’s tough. Regardless, this was a very enjoyable issue. Even Stockman’s art bothered me less than usual. I’m not a fan of his style, it’s entirely a personal taste thing, but it didn’t look bad to me here.

Shatterstar #2, by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, flashback art by Gerardo Sandoval, colours by Carlos Lopez, letters by Cory Petit. Horus IV, a world where the people used to travel to other worlds, pretending to be gods, and engaging in combat. They’ve stopped traveling, but they still fight. But the people are bored and pay no attention to the gladiatorial contests. Luckily, Gradmaster’s there to entertain them, by airing the adventures of Shatterstar. Shatterstar needs help getting his tenants back from his ex, so he goes to his other ex, Rictor, who’s not happy to see him. Flashback to Mojoworld, when Shatterstar and Gringrave were a team, and also lovers. Also, Gringrave wore a wig. Huh. I honestly didn’t expect that. Also, I didn’t get last issue that she’s black, but it’s pretty clear in the flashback, she’s a black woman. Neat. In the present, Shatterstar asks if Rictor knows anyone who might have agreed to work for Mojo to capture the tenants. Rictor’s been operating an underground railroad for mutants, so he hears things. Including things about this guy:

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I will always love the weirdness of superhero comics.

And then there’s this and goddamn the Grandmaster is a hell of a narrator.

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I hope Shatterstar and Rictor get back together.

Also, Dean Drukman, the Dockmaster, is really good at his job. Give the guy credit, he may be helping villains engage in kidnapping, but he takes his job seriously. Gringrave wants to fight Shatterstar and Rictor, but Drukman tells her that stopping them is up to him and his security. This is phenomenal work. There’s a surprising tenderness, one you wouldn’t expect of Shatterstar, and that unexpected element really elevates the comic. There’s some great examination of the relationship between Shatterstar and Rictor, the way Rictor was the first to treat Shatterstar as something other than a weapon, to look inside him and help him be a person. They were always a good couple, but this is arguably the first time anyone’s tried to really make clear why they’re a good couple, and to do something with them as a couple. There’d been subtext for a while, before PAD decided to just make it text, and he did have some relationship drama (with Shatterstar being poly, or at least wanting an open relationship), but Seeley in this issue does a deep examination of them, and really sells them as a couple, even if they are currently broken up. I’m really hoping they do get back together. A key part of this arc is obviously going to be Shatterstar coming to terms with his past in the form of Gringrave, and probably try to mature him a little so he’s more emotionally equipped for a relationship. Regardless, Seeley and Villa (and Sandoval) are telling a hell of a story here. Great art, too. Sandoval’s rougher style works effectively for the flashbacks, to when Shatterstar was a rougher person. Villa’s style is modern and cool, and the fight scene’s good. All in all, this book is killing it.

Typhoid Fever: X-Men, by Clay McLeod Chapman, Will Robson, Danilo S. Beyruth, Rachelle Rosenberg, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Travis Lanham. I should note first that I haven’t read the Spider-Man one. But hey, I’m sure that won’t matter. Flashback to a young Mary finding a dead bird, trying to make it move, and she does! And also lights it on fire. In the present, flaming birds everywhere, until Iceman encases them in ice. The X-Men are there for Zachary, who is apparently the guy in the wheelchair she’s pushing along. He’s amplifying Typhoid’s power. There’s an implied history between Typhoid and the X-Men. She tries to seduce Iceman, but yeah, that doesn’t work, obviously. So instead she burns him. Then Spider-Man shows up and helps her. And she turns the world into a soap opera.

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She could do worse.

She manipulates the minds of the X-Men, and holds off Jean’s attempts to get into her own mind. This is, uh, OK, I guess? I don’t know, Typhoid doesn’t feel right to me here. Not just her power levels, but her personality. Nocenti’s Typhoid is he only take that’s ever really resonated with me. When guys write her, she never ends up feeling authentic. The first time I read the character was in Joe Kelly’s Deadpool run in the ’90s, and she was pretty cool there, because she was so twisted. But having since read Nocenti’s Daredevil, and a couple other Nocenti comics that featured Typhoid? Holy shit, she is a fascinating character. And so much of what makes her so compelling often ends up being lost when men write her. They might focus on the split personality, or the sexiness, or her just being a supervillain. But so often, they end up leaving out the feminism, and that’s the case here. Chapman focuses on her having been a soap star, making her downright obsessed with it. And it takes so much of the bite out of her. It downplays the elements of the character that act as social commentary, in favour of “bitches be crazy.” I’d love to see what another female writer would do with Typhoid. Can you imagine Chelsea Cain writing Typhoid Mary? Hot damn, that would be hot. Or Leah Williams would probably do a cutting take. Hell, get Jeremy Whitley on it, I’m sure he’d know to play up the right elements of the character, the things that make her so fascinating. This comic does not. Also, I hate the art. I hate Robson’s style. Hate it so much.

And non-X-Men, Champions #26, by Jim Zub, Max Dunbar, Nolan Woodard, and Clayton Cowles. The Master killed a dragon. Pretty impressive. Ms. Marvel holds her own against Modred the Mystic, also impressive. This arc is so cool. Zub and Dunbar are having a lot of fun with this D&D tale.
























From → 2018, Uncategorized

  1. I’m actually enjoying each issue of X-Men Red less and less, save for the previous issue. As much as I like Jean Grey and Gabby, I’m starting to get sick of pretty much every character besides them and Trinary being little more than wallpaper. Also the idea of a bunch of X-Men using Magneto helmets, while also trying to convince the world that the anti-human speech with Jean Grey’s images were faked, doesn’t exactly feel like the right move.

    X-23 6 is fun. It feels like the comic could have gone a lot further with the school setting (X-23: Target X 2 had Laura almost get into a fight, get sent to the principal’s office twice, have a dramatic conversation in the lunch room, and then steal the principal’s car after getting expelled, all in 6 pages).

    I don’t know anything about Typhoid Fever, so I didn’t bother checking the new comic out. Judging by the sound of it, Typhoid Mary: X-Men would not have been a good introduction.

    • I didn’t want to talk about the Magneto helmets in my review, since it was late enough in the issue, but yeah, that was a weird call. They couldn’t have changed the design a bit? Of course, changing the helmet design would’ve lessened the affect of the scene for the readers.

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