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X-Men comics of January 2 2019

January 2, 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Happy New Year, it’s already claimed Bob Einestein (Super Dave Osborn) and Mene Gene Okerlund. So it’s not off to the most promising start. 2018 wasn’t a bad year for me, personally. I’m still working at a call centre, but it’s a better one than the one I was at, and I moved to Ottawa, getting out of the shithole town I was in, and now I get to hang out with my friend regularly. My plan for 2019 is to prepare for 2020. I’m hoping to start therapy – I have a consultation in two weeks – so I can address some of my personal bullshit, and get to a place where I can start living a better, happier life in 2020. Here’s hoping. But for now, comics.

Uncanny X-Men #8, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. While Armour pounds the crap out of X-Man, the X-Men fight X-Man’s Horsemen. Kitty comes out of X-Man’s house with the Senator and Apocalypse. Back at the school, there’s a report on protests outside, and finally – FUCKING FINALLY! – we see people WHO DON’T HATE MUTANTS! There are still anti-mutant protesters, but there are also people with “Mutant Rights” signs. This should not be as much a relief to see as it actually is, but there you go, that’s what the X-office has accomplished over the past decade or so, even the slightest indication that there are humans who don’t want to personally execute mutants is a relief to see. And it only took this series until issue 8 to do it. It also turns out that Anole stole the mutant vaccine from Beast’s lab. Ugh, Anole should be past that shit already. Back at the big fight, Jean and Psylocke are getting ready to send Bishop into Legion’s head to get the kids out, but Kitty says that with Legion and X-Man contained, they have the time to figure out the proper way of dealing with the situation, and that as X-Men, the kids would understand. Which makes Kitty the first person in this series to treat the kids with the respect they deserve. She trusts them, she knows they can handle whatever they have to deal with, which is a level of respect that literally no one else has shown them in this entire series so far.

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Hell yeah they are.

And then Apocalypse tries to kill the comatose Legion. Also, Psylocke stabs Bishop through the brain with a sword. It’s in order to get him into Legion’s head and the Age of Apocalypse. There, Armour is still pissy, complaining that the X-Men have a history of failing to take care of their own. She cites Magik, Kitty, Havok, and Rogue. And she does have a point. It wasn’t the X-Men who saved Kitty from a space bullet, it was Magneto. The X-Men didn’t save Illyana, she had to save herself. The X-Men failed to help Rogue control her powers. And they didn’t seem to make much effort to find Havok to un-invert him, until his actions threatened the world, and then they completely turned their backs on him. Also, when Bishop tells Armour there’s better options than murder, she reminds him of Hope, and damn, that’s a burn. Anyway, things go from bad to worse, as they do. Aside from this panel:

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A fair reaction.

Anyway, this issue is another improvement. It actually addresses two of my biggest complaints: The lack of humans who support mutant rights, and the fact that no one puts any real trust in the New X-Men. Nice to see both of those things change a bit. Beyond that, there’s a fairly interesting discussion on what to do about Legion and X-Man, and Bishop gets some great character stuff here, still haunted by his own memories of the Age of Apocalypse. He’s handled well here. I also like Kitty, here. Wanting to put off saving the kids while they try to figure out a good solution for the X-Man situation is a tough call, which is what leadership needs, and the fact that she trusts the kids to take care of themselves is also a mark of a good leader. She knows what they’re capable of, she knows from her own experience that being young doesn’t mean being helpless. I’m glad she, at least, remembered that. The art’s good. That panel of Pixie reacting to Apocalypse might be the artistic highlight, it just really entertains me. But the art is solid all through the issue. Silva and Rosenberg do good work here. The first chunk of this series was kinda rough and turned me off, but it’s been doing some course-correction that’s starting to get me more on board.

Mr. and Mrs. X #7, by Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. Rogue bites Gambit’s butt. Mojo is the first person ever to hope for clowns. He’s tired of Rogue and Gambit’s bondage games, so spins the Wheel of Genre.

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Rogue & Gambit musical? That sounds intriguing.

It lands on Noir. Honestly, they’re not very good at Noir. They sneak into a place and beat up a bunch of people, which is pretty much what they do normally. They also flirt a lot. Again, as usual. Then Rogue absorbs him. As usual, loads of fun. There’s some good tension. Thompson has fun with Mojo. She writes him really well.

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Amazing, and kinda terrifying.

He’s also deeply menacing when he threatens Spiral late in the issue. It’s the kind of menace that’s so seldom really seen with him. He’s an idiot, but he’s an idiot with a lot of power, including the power to ruin the life of anyone who disobeys him, and he gets a line to Spiral that is a chilling reminder of that. It’s a small moment, but a fantastic one. Also, Major Domo being his usual sarcastically-obedient self. I love Major Domo. He’s great. So yeah, really good issue.

Shatterstar #4, by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, Gerardo Sanodval, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. The issue opens with Grandmaster narrating Tina Cooke’s dying moments, and holy crap. Way to make a death feel meaningful, in a way so few deaths manage. The narration here is brilliant. As is the art.

recurring (2)

A character we barely knew, and I’ve got tears.

Death is often used as a cheap ploy for drama. Seeley and Villa use this moment to make death truly matter. It’s brilliant work. Anyway, moments after Tina dies, Shatterstar arrives (with Pugsmasher, who’s carrying a dude’s head on a pike, Pugsmasher is kinda hardcore), ready to avenge her, to the crowd’s delight. Shatterstar hands Pugsmasher to Xeus, the gladiator who killed Tina, and tells him to keep the dog safe. It’s a really good moment. Shatterstar doesn’t blame Xeus, he’s been where Xeus is. Then he fights three of the remaining Death Sponsors, and one of them is named Cancellator, and just . . . Can we just take a moment to appreciate that name? Cancellator. There’s also Sweep Zweak and Lead-In, but Cancellator. Then, flashback! To Shatterstar defending himself against Sovereignshard’s ambush. He’s clever and brutal, though it turns out he’s also wrong, and Sovereignshard and his team weren’t there to kill him. And back in the present, Shatterstar’s killed the Death Sponsors, and Gringrave welcomes him back to the arena, so she can kill him for betraying her and taking away what they had. That confrontation has one of the most badass finishes I’ve come across. It involves a really messed-up variation on a move Shatterstar used in his first appearance. Damn, this series is REALLY GOOD, guys. The action’s exciting, but there’s so much emotion going on. Shatterstar doesn’t even express much emotion, but there’s a lot of emotion under the surface. Seeley and Villa are so subtle about it, and it’s so good. I’ll be honest, I was in no way prepared to love a mini about Shatterstar this much. I miiiiight have to get the physical issues, or at least the trade. Everything here just works so well. Seeley’s script, Villa’s lines, Sandoval’s lines in the flashbacks, the colours by Vlasco and Lopez. It’s all so good.

Wolverine: The Long Night #1, by Benajmin Percy, Marcio Takara, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. This is based on a podcast, which I won’t be listening to, because I am not the kind of person who can listen to podcasts. My mind drifts too much, or I want to be doing other stuff at the same time, or whatever, but I just can’t focus enough to listen to podcasts. I just don’t operate that way. So, comic. In Alaska, some hillbilly-looking fisherman is talking about a murder. He’d taken his boat out to haul some crabs, and found a big derelict corporate-owned fishing boat. He takes some of his crew on board, and find the hold full of dead people, with big slices taken out of their faces. They look like they were killed by Wolverine. Which is a very standard set-up for a story, people who look like they were killed by Wolverine but it turns out someone else did it.

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This is pretty gruesome, though.

The guy also found packages in the hold, which weren’t mentioned in the police report. Ad we find out he’s telling the story to a couple people in suits. One of them is a woman, and a woman in a suit is something I love, so I immediately like her. Her partner seems cool, too. They’re investigating the murders on the boat, and they learn there’s been other murders in the town. Which is called Burns, by the way. And it sure looks like Wolverine’s doing it. The woman visits the town coroner/funeral home director, which is a pretty good idea, honestly. Two birds, right? Then she and her partner meet up with the town sheriff, who’s kind of a dick to them. But it doesn’t seem like he’s a bad guy, he’s just an Alaskan cop who’s not happy about Feds sticking their noses into his town. Which is probably pretty common. Then they head out with a deputy named Bobby who’s a really nice kid, really loves Alaska. Also, the town has a cult, named The Aurora. They visit the one guy from the derelict ship who isn’t dead, because he’d called in sick, and he tells them about the new hire. Logan. And he’s certainly suspicious. This is good. Interesting cast of characters. I like that Logan’s absent from this issue. I hope that’s a trend that sticks for this series. Don’t let him take over the comic, let the focus stay on the regular people. Make Logan a thing that happens to the story, rather than the protagonist. It’d be way more interesting that way. The FBI agents (I’m pretty sure they’re FBI) are both interesting. I like the guy’s friendliness. The woman isn’t exactly unfriendly, but she’s less friendly than the guy. Different approaches, and they make a good pairing. Deputy Bobby, the rookie “peace officer,” is a charming addition, too, bringing a youthful energy and curiosity, and providing a good justification for the FBI agents to explain things. He’s an effective audience surrogate. The art’s great, obviously, it’s Marcio Takara. He’s always top-notch. He certainly gives us some grisly stuff here, getting to stretch his artistic muscles in a way superhero comics don’t usually allow him to. So yeah, this series is off to a good start. I’m looking forward to more.

And the non-X-stuff: Champions #1, by Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Marcio Menyz, Erick Arciniega, and Clayton Cowles. The Champions have gone international! Ms. Marvel’s a good judge of the abilities of the heroes they’re recruiting, which makes sense, she’s a superhero nerd. I love Locust, she’s so high-energy and full of big declarations, she’s trying so hard to be a classic superhero and it’s great. Riri tries to teach Viv not to kiss without permission, and Sam has a secret. Good issue. Good relaunch. It works really well.


From → 2019, Uncategorized

  1. SHIT, I forgot to pick up Shatterstar. I blame Marvel’s 5,000 different variants for the Conan relaunch making Forbidden Planet’s shelves a state.

    If you didn’t bring up that panel of Pixie and Apocalypse, I was gonna. Good stuff in the issue but it’s hard to beat any time Apocalypse wants to be casual but can’t because he’s Apocalypse. That does compensate for how weedy he’s being presented here; I don’t like to complain about characters being ‘nerfed’ or whatever because it makes me sound like the sort of person who unironically likes Dragon Ball and they’re all pathetic, but it’s kinda sad that we’ve gotten to the point where one (1) X-Men member can hold off Apocalypse without harm and it’s not even surprising. Big guy’s only slightly more threatening than Omega Red now. Beyond that, decent issue that moves stuff along well but I am way the hell ready for this to stop being a weekly.

    Still have some other things to read this week but Immortal Hulk #11 was another winner. In one issue, Al Ewing (1) smartly uses Hulk’s history as a semi-frequent Avenger to address how often (white) men are forgiven for their costly tantrums, (2) lets Joe Bennett draw nightmarish hollowed-out people because he didn’t freak us out before with Exploded Absorbing Man, (3) gives Puck of all characters the most badass moment of his whole printed career, (4) continues the ongoing mystery of how Banner’s dad is still around and what he’s up to, and (5) wrestles with the true meaning of Hell via one simple, terrible question – ‘Does God have a Hulk?’ It’s AMAZING.

    • I do like using Hulk’s endless ability to be forgiven for everything as a commentary on white male privilege. Also, Puck getting to be awesome is always good to see, because Puck’s awesome.

  2. I agree that the last few issues of Uncanny X-Men are better than the first batch. The series is definitely on the right track. That said, Uncanny X-Men 8 suffers from some pretty bad decompression. there’s no reason to skip over so many potential dramatic moments and interesting debates in a weekly series. That and the opening fight scene is really just the X-men fighting the horsemen, who are just standing around and taking hits. Makes for kind of a boring fight scene.

    I’m not a fan of Mojo, but Mr. and Mrs. X 7 is a lot of fun.

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