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X-Men comics of December 5 2018

December 5, 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). This is a hell of a week. So many comics. And even aside from the Marvel stuff, there’s the start of WicDiv’s final arc (and if you haven’t been following The Wicked + The Divine, then what’s wrong with you, it’s amazing), there’s more Snotgirl (a series that is weird and funny but still pretty tense, with gorgeous art), and the first issues of two new series I’ve been looking forward to. LaGuardia, by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford, looks great. Nnedi’s a fantastic writer, and I really like Tana Ford’s art, and also, she follows me on Twitter which still blows my mind. And there’s Die, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans. Gillen’s one of my favourite writers. Hans is my second-favourite artist (behind only Emma Rios) and also for some reason follows me on Twitter, which blows my mind even more than Ford following me. But anyway, yeah, some exciting new stuff, which it’ll take me a couple days to get around to. But for now, comics!

Uncanny X-Men #4, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, Pere Perez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. The school’s just been destroyed, and the X-Men appear dead. But they’re actually protected by Armour’s armour, while Jean and Psylocke make the Horsemen think they’re dead. Storm congratulates Armour on keeping them alive, but you know what would be a great way of thanking her? Making her a part of an X-team again, on a long-term basis. We’ll see if the X-office actually gives a damn about her once this event’s over. The Horsemen – Magneto, Angel, Blob, Omega Red – then return to their master, Nate Grey. He’s also the one who’s captured Kitty, a Senator, and Apocalypse. Kitty tries to talk to Nate, who then tells the whole world that he’s going to bring about a new order. The X-Men are concerned, and Legion is angry at them for not listening to him, and also nicely sums up why comics are amazing.

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Pretty straightforward, right?

Jean and Betsy put him to sleep, which bothers the kids, who think it’s unfair to do to someone who was trying to help. They get angry at not being listened to. And, I mean, I get their point, but, like, Legion was clearly not in a helpful state of mind? Letting him sleep off his mania was probably not a bad idea. Anyway, there’s more disasters to deal with, more arguing, and Laura wants to stab a megalodon. She doesn’t get to. Jean is mean. Anyway. So. The plot is still being executed in a fairly interesting manner. This issue benefits from not having anti-mutant protesters, thank you for small favours. The huge cast means there’s little room for any of them to get development, still with the exception of the kids, and I still have the same concern there: It’s only worth doing if there are long-term plans in place for them. If they’re going to go back to being wallpaper as soon as this event’s over, then quite honestly, their whole arc in this book is a waste of time. Plus, if I’m honest, Armour just feels kinda whiny. Beyond that? This is the best issue so far. Legion vs. X-Man is actually a really interesting idea for a fight, given, as the story notes, Legion was responsible for X-Man’s existence, and given what powerhouses both are. So that could be a cool confrontation. But mostly, I just really want the New X-Men to get more use after this event ends.

X-Men: The Exterminated, which SOMEHOW is releasing BEFORE the even actually ends, because that’s some brilliant planning right there. I get that delays happen, but come on, Marvel, if you’re going to delay the final issue of Extermination, delay the aftermath issue, too. Ugh, whatever. Two stories, first, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Neil Edwards, Jay Ramos, and Joe Sabino. Hope is giving some of the New X-Men a training room session against Apocalypse. Surprisingly, the group includes Metus, the antagonist from Cable’s most recent series. I’m maybe a little disappointed that he’s in the training session? Not every mutant needs to learn how to fight Apocalypse. Regardless, the kids do well, and Hope’s a good instructor. It’d be interesting to see a new New X-Men series, with Hope as the gruff team leader for a team mostly made up of the Academy X kids, now full-fledged X-Men going on missions. Or possibly tired of being overlooked by the older X-Men and striking out on their own. Look, I just want the New X-Men kids to get their own series again, and Hope would be a good addition to that group. Anyway, later, Bishop tries to pay his respects, but Hope still carries a grudge for the whole “trying to murder her” thing. He says sorry, but she still won’t forgive him, so unreasonable. Jean tries to offer Hope, if not comfort, then at least solidarity. Cable was Hope’s dad and Jean’s son, so they share a connection to him. And they also share a hug, before heading out to clean out some of Cable’s safehouses. In the first, they find Deadpool. It does not go well for him.

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Though the Kubler-Ross Model has some major problems.

Deadpool explains that he and Cable had a pact to clear each other’s safe houses when they die. Which is sensible, and a reminder of how close Cable and Deadpool were that Cable trusted him to do it. At another safe house, Hope makes fun of Cable’s giant X-Force-era shoulder pads, and Jean tells her everyone makes regrettable fashion choice, and I just want to note that Jean’s current costume isn’t particularly great. And now that I think about it, Hope could probably use a new costume. There’s nothing wrong with her current look. I kinda dig it, if I’m honest. But it’s probably time for her to try something else. And the final safe house is where the heavy emotional beats fall, obviously. It’s pretty clear where the story was, there’s no surprised, but it’s still a really good story about grief and moving on. Jean and Hope are good together. Jean clearly sees Hope as family, even though there’s not blood relations, and she’s such a good grandma. I love how nonsensical the Summers family is, and the way everyone in it just decides to roll with it. And as usual, I’d love to see more of Jean and Hope interacting in the future, because I always like seeing these kinds of weird family relationships. But yeah, this is a really good, sweet, touching story, and it’s really nice to get some follow-up focused on Cable’s remaining family.

Second, by Chris Claremont, Ramon Rosanas, Nolan Woodard, and Joe Sabino. This is narrated by Nathan, remembering a time when he was a baby in Alaska, and Scott was being really mopey (shock!), so Corsair had to talk to him. Scott starts to remember a childhood memory, but it slips from him. We get a Claremontian recap of Scott’s and Corsair’s backgrounds, then there’s an earthquake that puts Maddie and baby Nate in danger, which reminds Scott of what they mean to him. It’s a good story. It’s simple and sweet, and very much in the classic Claremont vein. Which honestly makes it kinda boring. I’ll admit, some of the impact of the story is lost because of knowledge of how things went later. But even beyond that, the story just feels light. Like there’s not actually much to it. It’s just kinda there, a perfectly serviceable ’80s-era X-Men story. I know that Claremont’s run was legendary, I love it too, and I know that it makes people excited every time he returns to write anything X-Men. But he doesn’t excite me any more. I still enjoy reading that classic run, but I think a lot of that has to do with it being from a different time. His writing worked great for the ’70s and ’80s. But superhero comics have changed. I would say they’ve actually evolved. The art, definitely, but the writing, as well. Claremont’s writing hasn’t changed to keep up with the times, he’s simply not up to the standard of current creators. Yeah, I said it. Chris Claremont is not as good at writing superhero comics as current superhero writers are. Yeah yeah, “burn the heretic” and all that, but it’s true, Claremont being the best writer in cape comics 30 years ago doesn’t translate to him being a great cape comic writer today. He still writes like it’s the ’80s, and it’s not, and even when his writing isn’t garbage *cough*X-Treme X-Men*cough* it’s still just not up to contemporary standards. So I didn’t dislike this story, I just didn’t care about it one way or the other, which is about the best it gets for Claremont’s X-Men work these days.

Shatterstar #3, by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, Gerardo Sandoval, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Shatterstar’s tenants are being led to an ampitheatre, but one, Tina, from our world, slips away and runs into Grandmaster, who gets back to the show. Shatterstar’s looking for Karl, the dog tenant, in Sah’damn. Clever, Seeley! He also gets hit on by some prostitutes. He then has a flashback, where he told Gringrave that he was being mated to Windsong, and Gringrave suggested they kill her so they can keep banging. Shatterstar throws her words back at her about having no attachments or feelings. In the present, Shatterstar finds Karl and rescues him from a dude who wanted to eat him. And in the meantime, Grandmaster gives Tina Cooke powers.

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Truly a name to inspire fear and awe.

I do like her new look. Not bad. Also, there’s a flashback that may or may not imply something about Spiral.

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This suggests Spiral is bi, which, y’know, makes sense.

There’s two ways of interpreting that, and both make equal sense for Spiral. One: Spiral occasionally has Gringrave kill people for entertainment, which is absolutely on-brand for Spiral, and definitely something she’d do. Two: Spiral occasionally calls up Gringrave for a booty call. I choose to believe it’s both. A little murder and a little bow-chicka-wow-wow. Anyway, this issue’s great. Grandmaster plays Tina Cooke so perfectly, and it’s really rough to see, because it’s obvious things won’t go the way she expects, but her desire to be special is too strong. Meanwhile, the flashbacks do a great job contrasting with the present day, a display of how much Shatterstar’s changed, and also showing why he fights. And, of course, it’s all building to what’s bound to be a powerful confrontation between Shatterstar and Gringrave. She’s retconned into his past, but the flashbacks allow their relationship to be built up effectively, so we’ll actually feel something when they confront each other. It’s the right way of doing something like this. Also, the fighting is great. Shatterstar vs. Deadair is an exciting fight, especially when Shatterstar jumps out a window to land on Deadair’s back in mid-air. Badass move, exactly what I would expect of Shatterstar. The art in both the present and the flashbacks is excellent, and different enough to provide a fantastic contrast. This is a great comic.

Merry X-Men Holiday Special. So, this is just a bunch of single-page quickies by various creators. Each page is a different day, from December 1st up until Christmas Day. Because of the nature of the comic, I won’t really say much about it, aside from briefly mentioning some of the ones that stand out to me. Claremont and the Dodsons do a single-page splash with 13 caption boxes of narration, because never in his entire career has Claremont learned the value of being concise. The point of the page is Kitty Pryde saying she’s going to run for president, an idea Claremont had in his X-Men: The End series. It’s an idea I do like, but man, Claremont really obsesses over his own shit. Soule and Browne do a quickie where Logan’s new hotclaws save Hanukkah (for one family), and honestly, stupid as the hotclaws are, it might be worth it for this story alone. Dr. Nemesis trolls Beast perfectly by giving Kavita Rao a Last Jedi script signed by Hamill and Ridley. Kelly Thompson and David Lopez have Rogue and Gambit defeated by one of their cats. Kurt gives Old Man Logan a photo of himself, as a tremendous callback to the time Logan gave Kurt a photo of himself. Al Ewing and PJ Holden do a story of Sam and Izzy on another planet celebrating its own winter solstice holiday, and Sam getting yelled at by a guy about The War On Glorpsday. Anthony Piper does a Domino story. No crazy luck, but she does murder a dude. Leah Williams and Marcio Takara show Betsy visiting her brother, now that she’s back in her English body. Vita Ayala and Pere Perez do one where Gabby gets a gift card for Steaks & Cakes, and WHY DOES THAT RESTAURANT NOT EXIST? Through the issue, it occasionally cuts to Jubilee, who spends a month trapped in Arcade’s Murdermall with Shogo. I mean, if you’re gonna trap an X-Man in a mall? Yeah, Jubilee’s the one who will absolutely thrive there. Though Arcade also calls her “the weakest X-Man,” and no, she is nowhere near the weakest X-Man. Anyway, not all the stories quite clicked for me, but most were great, some were brilliant, the whole thing is worth a read.

And the non-X-stuff!

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #38, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. A Nightmare On Yancy Street! No, really, that’s the title of the issue. People on Yancy St. are all having bad dreams. Including Lunella. This is a good start to the arc. I’m looking forward to this arc. BUT ALSO:

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BILL!

Actually, Don was the blue lobster, and he died, so I think Bonvillain may have just mixed them up, but whatever, it’s not a problem. What matters is Bustos and Bonvillain slipped him in as a cameo, and I am so happy.

West Coast Avengers #5, by Kelly Thompson, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Triona Farrell, and Joe Caramagna. Bridgette, the awesome dragon lady, is already back, and agrees with Gwenpool that Quire needs to stop leaving wet towels on the floor. Gwenpool and Quire have some genuine romantic tension, Clint and America actually work really well together, and Johnny and Ramone love each other. This issue actually gets pretty emotionally deep. Like, for all the Gwenpool/Quentin hatemance has been a lot of fun, this issue brings some great drama to it, and makes you invested in an actual romance between them. There seems to be some tension between Clint and America, though they’re both professional enough to be able to set it aside for what matters, and I really like seeing them work through a situation together. And the relationship between Johnny and Ramone is really sweet, they care for each other so much and it’s sweet to see. Adnd as an aside, Flirty America is really goddamn sexy. Anyway, this is great stuff.

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From → 2018, Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Uncanny X-Men 4 is for the most part, the best issue in the series. A fight between Legion and X-Man, with the X-Men caught in the middle, could be really good. There’s a clear direction going forward, even if there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding X-Man’s new power level and why he suddenly thinks so highly of himself. That said, I didn’t like how either Laura or Jean were written in this issue.

    The Exterminated is great. Such a touching issue. I almost completely forgot about the backup story until you mentioned it though.

    I found the X-Men Holiday Special mildly entertaining, with a couple great stories and a bunch more that, while fun, I forgot about seconds after reading them.

    My local shop ran out of West Coast Avengers, so I haven’t read it yet.

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