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X-Men comic of July 24 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Well, we’ve entered the Hickman era. So for the next little while, the only X-Men comics are his. Well, and Dead Man Logan. Of course Logan still gets a series. Anyway, let’s get into it.

House of X #1, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles. Over the past few months, the X-Men have been planting flowers. They even planted one on Mars. In the present, Xavier telepathically summons a bunch of ambassadors to a secret embassy. His new mutant nation has designer drugs that treat a wide range of health problems, but they’ll only be made available to nations that recognize his nation’s sovereignty. So it’s a safe bet the US will be out. I mean, you really think the pharmaceutical industry would let the US government do anything that would cut into their profits? Regardless, the ambassadors go in and meet with Magneto, there as Xavier’s representative. We then cut to the X-Men bringing some kids through a gateway to Krakoa, which is where the X-Men now live. It’s the new mutant nation. Cypher and Sage seem to be the main ones running the computer system linked up to Krakoa, and Doug has a Warlock arm, huh, wonder if that’ll be relevant in the upcoming New Mutants series. Cut to space, where a ship docks at the Forge, a large space station that one of the ship’s crew describes as humanity’s last chance. Karima Shapandar, Omega Sentinel, is there, and not very excited about the whole thing. Also, the Forge is built around a Mastermold attached to a bit of Sol’s Hammer, something Tony Stark made back in Hickman’s Avengers run. Back on Earth, Toad is now a skilled computer hacker?

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That gag never gets old.

Sabretooth is there, too, so someone’s already re-attached his head. The Thing and the Human Torch attack them. Then back to the tour of Krakoa, and maybe my favourite moment of the issue.

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Genuinely funny joke.

It’s a language that’s telepathically implanted into the minds of mutants when they arrive on Krakoa. Magneto notes that a distinct culture requires its own language. There’s some interesting discussions about the whole situation. Magneto notes mutants have never conquered a people and made slaves of their population. Though, I mean, his second appearance kinda did just that? But OK, we’ll let that slide. Back in Manhattan, Sabretooth gets caught by the Fantastic Four, and Scott comes out to greet them. He starts off by congratulating Ben on his marriage, which is honestly kinda sweet. I like when superheroes who don’t interact too often are still friendly. Scott wants to take Sabretooth back to Krakoa, the Fantastic Four disagree, so Scott decides to let them have him. I imagine it wasn’t a tough call. Sabretooth’s a dick. Also, Sue expresses some concern for what Xavier’s doing, but Scott’s response is great.

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Powerful words.

And then back to the tour for Magneto to do a last bit of posturing. So. This is well-made, certainly. Lots of big ideas, presented well. It sets the stage well for the rest of House of X. It does have the same problem I have with so much of Hickman’s work: The big ideas take precedence over smaller character work. I’m all about the characters, that’s the thing I love most, so comics like this tend to leave me a bit cold. There is some cool Magneto stuff, and we get a couple nice little moments with a couple other characters. But the issue’s main focus is on world-building. And there’s still actually quite a bit left to do. We see very little of Krakoa itself. Xavier’s barely in the issue, though obviously his new idea dominates the whole thing. The idea of a mutant homeland isn’t exactly new – X-Utopia from a few years back, Genosha a few years before that, even Avalon a few years before that. Krakoa is a cool variation on the idea. And a mutant homeland is a valuable idea. Mutants having a place where they’re safe is important. My one concern is pretty much always a concern I have: We still need to see non-hostile interactions with humans. China seems on-board with Xavier, which is cool, and France is interested. But I think it’s also important to see mutants living openly among humans. I think seeing a mutant culture develop is important, and I hope that’s part of what Hickman’s going to do. He touches on it with language. I want it to extend to arts, fashion, athletics, holidays, cuisine, and all the other things that make up a culture. I want to see all that stuff get explored. And not just in the form of info-graphs. This issue’s got a few of those in here, I guess to explain things that the audience needs to know but which would slow down the story to explain on-panel.

The short of it is, this is a good start, but Hickman’s writing doesn’t always click with me, so I’m not entirely sold yet.

And the non-X-comics.

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #5, by Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Juan Vlasco, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. I don’t like her new costume. I’m sorry, I just don’t like it. And, ugh, her parents had their memories of her secret identity erased. Uuuuuuuuggggghh WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY why would you do that? It’s just going to lead to a rehash of stories that have already been done? What does this add? So now she has to go back to worrying about hiding it from her parents, yippee, great, it’s not as if we didn’t get those stories already. It’s a terrible idea. It’s going back to an old, tired, worn-out trope, for the sake of cheap drama that we already got plenty of in Wilson’s run. I’m now giving real consideration to dropping the comic. I suppose I’ll stick around a couple more issues, but Ahmed’s seriously disappointed me on this series so far.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #45, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Devil’s in love, but his girlfriend’s been dead for millions of years, poor guy. Also, the Zoe/Eduardo relationship gets more attention here, with Zoe finally standing up for herself more.

Marvel Rising #5, by Nilah Magruder, Roberto Di Salvo, Georges Duarte, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. The Hudson River is a big fan of Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel.

Fearless #1, by LOTS OF PEOPLE. Three stories. First, by Seanan McGuire, Claire Roe, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Janice Chiang. Captain Marvel, Invisible Woman, and Storm all get invited to speak at a leadership camp for girls. All three are going about their normal routines before heading out. Sue is at home with Reed, Carol is cleaning space barnacles off the Alpha Flight station with a French woman I’m pretty sure is Aurora, and Storm . . . chases some guys out of a protected forest. Her daily routine consists of being epic. I love it. Anyway, seems like an intriguing story, and McGuire’s great, though I’m not big on Roe’s art style. I just find her faces weird and off-putting.

Second, by Leah Williams, Nina Vakueva, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Janice Chiang. Millie the Model story! A photo-shoot with other models and influencers. That’s it. That’s the story. It’s great. Lots of fun dialogue, one of them threatens to pee in front of everyone, Chili almost kills someone. It’s just a lot of fun.

And finally, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Janice Chiang. Elsa calls Jessica Jones to get her out of prison. It’s great. Short and sweet with an absolute killer of a last page. It made me want a new series based on the characters who appear. That’s all I’ll say (except it has Bestverine.).

Shuri #10, by Nnedi Okorafor, Rachael Stott, Carlos Lopez, and Joe Sabino. The end of the series. Shame. It was pretty good. I’ll admit, I like Okorafor’s prose more than I like her comics. And I also thought this series was hamstrung a little by the need to write Movie Shuri. I tend to think complaints of comics-movie synergy tend to be exaggerated, but in this case, it was definitely happening. Oh well. It was a fun comic.

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X-Men comics of July 17 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I hate summer. It’s too hot. Ugh. Well, we’ve finally reached the end of Rosenberg’s Uncanny X-Men. Sadly, we’ve also reached the end of Unstoppable Wasp. And just another week-and-a-half until I see Kiki’s Delivery Service in a theatre, yay. I remember a couple years ago, some Japanese noodle company did a commercial that was a fake trailer for Kiki’s Delivery Service 2. I’m still mad it wasn’t real, because it looked so cool. I would love for it to happen for real. Oh well. Here’s comics.

Uncanny X-Men #22, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, David Messina, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. Dani talks with Scott in the park about some very important matters.

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He’s been talking to Squirrel Girl.

He talks about mutation being a matter of survival, and how he’s beaten the odds. He’s not exactly happy about it. And he has no idea what to do now that humanity has forgotten mutants exist. Dani makes some comments about how the X-Men were always supporting characters in Scott’s stories, and I want to repeat again, calling out repetitive problems with the franchise is simply infuriating when done in a story that does the same shit. It’s like that caption that started the run, “Every X-Men story is the same,” in a story that didn’t actually try to do anything particularly new. I love Scott, but absolutely he’s dominated the franchise to a deeply problematic degree. The solution to that is to do a story where he doesn’t dominate the story. But this series wanted it both ways. It wanted to lampshade the things people criticize about the franchise, while still doing those same things. And that’s just frustrating. Anyway, after Dani’s done chewing Scott out, Alex comes out to help by telling Scott his self-doubt and self-pity have gotten old. Then, to Emma, and her new haircut.

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Honestly, she rocks the look.

Turns out Sinister was a clone, which I’m relieved at, because the idea that Sinister would actually put himself in danger without a dozen back-ups is just unbelievable. Outside, Scott and Alex are attacked by Sentinels, and Alex sacrifices himself blowing them up. And General Badguy, General WhyEvenBotherGivingTheGenericDickholeANameSinceNoOneWillEverCareAboutHim, shows up, with a Cerebro-style helmet protecting his mind. And hey, Madroxlock also sacrifices himself to stop the Sentinels, since they have pieces of Warlock in them. Which is meaningless, because General Villain just overrides it. Great how this heroic sacrifices is rendered completely irrelevant 10 seconds later. So worth it. Also, Madrox Prime dies. Cool cool, so much death that it stops having any impact at all. Logan kills General Villain, but the Sentinels are still attacking, so Scott and Logan prepare for one last ride, and then the X-Men return.

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Storm’s back for 5 seconds and she’s already being That Bitch.

I love Storm so much. Once the Sentinels are dealt with, Jean floats down to Scott so they can smooch. Boooo. Look, Scott and Jean were great together. But they drifted apart, they broke up, and that’s fine. That happens. The inability of so many writers to get over the ships from when they were growing up is so stupid and harmful. Nostalgia is bullshit. Let Scott and Jean be exes who love each other but recognize that they’re better off as friends. Also let them be supportive of each other as they date new people. Also, best moment of the explanation of Age of X-Man: “All of us were there . . . even Dani, somehow.” I actually love that little shrug of an explanation for that incongruity. The return of the X-Men also somehow grows out Emma’s hair again. Anyway, Scott destroys the Cerebro device that keeps mutants hidden from humanity, and aside from the fact that a whole shitload of people are dead, everything’s back to normal. Let’s see here: Loa, Blindfold, Rahne, Chamber, Sunspot, Madrox, Warlock (maybe?), Banshee (House of X preview confirms he’ll be back), Velocidad, Havok, Madrox, Dark Beast, Joseph (inexplicably), Shenobi Shaw, the Nasty Boys . . . who am I forgetting? Oh, he also depowered Juggernaut and left lllyana in her demonic form. But hey, at least Rosenberg also completely squandered a shit-ton of potentially compelling stories, so that’s something, right? What an absolute shitshow of a run. I’ve given Rosenberg a hard time for it, but I suspect a significant amount of blame should actually go to editorial. Regardless, it’s a shitty run, and I’m glad it’s over, and now I just want to know what X-titles Leah Williams and Vita Ayala will be writing.

Age of X-Man Omega, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Simone Buonfantino, Triona Farrell, and Clayton Cowles. X-Man explains how the world was created when his energies merged with the Life Seed. Meanwhile, Iceman comforts a scared kid and buys him a milkshake. Best possible version of Iceman? Anyway, he takes the kid to the Summers Institute, and we get some stuff going on there. Then over to the Danger Room, the riot in full force.

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There are two kinds of people in the world.

Bishop and the others try to figure out how to get to X-Sanctuary, they argue a bit, and Gabby has a solution.

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She generated the cowboy hat from sheer awesome.

Lorna takes it airborne, and they fly right into a fissure. They get to where Nate is talking to the X-Men. Nate’s also brought the X-Tracts there, and the X-Tracts try to argue that they’ve earned their utopia and should embrace it, while the X-Men are a little more mixed, with some arguing the real world may need them. Beast slaps a power-damper collar on Nate, and there’s fighting. Eye-Boy expresses his love for Nature Girl, and we learn the deal with the Age of X-Man version of Dani.

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Cool way of conveying the theme of this entire story.

Nate makes one last case that relationships ruin the X-Men, that they’re more selfless without them, and that we can give up the things we think define us. Some of the X-Men still want to stay in the fake world, so Bishop points out how screwed-up that world is, that there’s a secret police force and a sham resistance, and that utopias only work if the people in them never change or strive. Nate says ending the world requires killing him, and that it would also kill everyone else on that world. Magneto is willing to do that. Though, of course, there is a very interesting twist at the end. One I like. This was a great finale. Like, a fantastic finale. It explored questions of utopias, and of relationships, in interesting ways, with all sides having valid points, and all sides having doubts, and it didn’t end with everyone agreeing on what the best path was. It was a cool event. I wish some of the characters created for Age of X-Man could’ve carried over, but alas. Dani got good use here, and Bishop was great. I really, really want Bishop and Jean to become a couple in the main universe, honestly, they seemed really cute together in the Alpha issue. Also, I reeeeeeeaaaaaaaaally want Blob to continue trying to be a good person, trying to be worthy of Betsy. I want that so bad. Let Leah Williams keep writing him as a good good big boy. Man, for an event whose initial announcement had me rolling my eyes, Age of X-Man was mostly a treat, X-Tracts notwithstanding.

X-Force #10, by Ed Brisson, Dylan Burnett, Jesus Aburtov, and Cory Petit. Aliya and Tetherblood are still alive, though only barely in Aliya’s case. Also, Rachel’s awake and not in a very good mood. She reveals the truth to the MLA about how Stryfe killed their families and blamed it on Cable, so now he has them to deal with. Still, he refuses to retreat, so I guess minor props for that. More props to Boom-Boom, though, for being awesome.

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She just blew up Stryfe’s android, for the record.

Rachel telepathically beats the shit out of Stryfe, but Cable prevents her from killing him because it would screw with time too much. He and Rachel do erase Stryfe’s memory of the whole battle, before X-Force returns to their own time. This was . . . hmmm. This was a mixed bag of a run. On the one hand, I will never not be angry at male writers continually putting Rachel through stories where a male villain mind-controls her and then she breaks free and declares “never again” only for it to happen the very next time she appears. Yes, her telepathic beatdown on Stryfe is satisfying, and I’m glad Brisson didn’t do some shit where he took the victory from Rachel and had Cable be the one to defeat him instead. I’m relieved Rachel was the one who defeated Stryfe. But I would’ve been so much happier if she hadn’t fallen under his control at all. That entire subplot with Rachel ended up tainting the series as a whole. That subplot aside, though, for the most part, the comic was a lot of fun. I really liked the art. The roughness really enhanced everything. It may not be for everyone, it’s certainly not a conventional style, but whatever, X-Force was never supposed to be a conventional comic, really, right from the Simonson/Liefeld days. There was some really nice character beats here and there, with this issue having a couple of really good ones. There was some good comedy, with Boom-Boom always being Boom-Boom. She seems like she must be one of the funnest characters ever to write. Just bombs and snark. But yeah, Rachel mind-control subplot notwithstanding, it was a good series.

Domino: Hotshots #5, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Michael Shelfer, Jim Charalampidis, and Clayton Cowles. Cosmic-powered lady looking for revenge, good times, and Black Widow reveals why she came to Domino for this whole situation.

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Something we can all aspire to.

They fight. It, uh, doesn’t go great. Luckily, it’s White Fox to the rescue. She gives Domino the Creation Constellation, to give her the power to stop Geun the Executioner. And things get cosmic and weird but we do get to see Domino in a cowboy outfit. And then it’s a cosmic-powered fight. And a rushed finale. This issue needed maybe 3 more pages, I think. Just as an epilogue. As it is, the action finishes, and we get one page of wind-down. The lack of a wind-down felt unsatisfying. But the issue as a whole was really cool. Very cosmic, but also very human. It was a fun series. Shame it’s over. I hope we see more of the Hotshots hanging out in the future. They make for a fun group.

And the non-X-stuff.

Unstoppable Wasp #10, by Jeremy Whitley, Gurihiru, and Joe Caramagna. Nadia has now read Harry Potter. (I have not, nor do I ever plan to, especially with J.K. Rowling exposing herself as a TERF.) Also, Brilliance, Seeker, and Finesse have all joined GIRL. And there’s lots of excitement and lots of feels and all that.

Captain Marvel #8, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles. Someone turns the US against Carol for being half-Kree, and there’s a new hero named Star who is absolutely going to turn out to be a villain.

X-Men comics of July 10 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I finished Jessica Jones season 3. It was OK. Better, I would argue , than season 2. Thematically tighter, at least. Suffered from the same problem as most of the Marvel Netflix shows, in being longer than it needed to be, which resulted in a lot of filler. Hogarth’s sub-plot was the weakest link, as usual. Still, I mostly enjoyed it. But either way, there’s now comics.

Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #5, by Tim Seeley, Salva Espin, Israel Silva, and Travis Lanham. Eye-Boy tells the other X-Tracts about seeing Apocalypse meeting with Nate and admitting to sending Evan to die against Omega Red. Unveil then remembers Apocalypse telling her her powers could turn her into the Horseman of War. Apocalypse shows back up, and Eye-Boy punches him.

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“High scorer on Dig-Dug.”

Apocalypse reveals his true form, and it’s fight time. Dazzler blasts Apocalypse’s arm off. Dazzler is so frigging cool. But then he beats the crap out of them while shit-talking them. Colossus accuses him of taking him and Kitty from a life they shared, and Apocalypse lets him know that Kitty left him at the altar.

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Exactly! It was a schoolgirl crush she never got over.

Then Kitty stabs him in the chest with a Menorah. And Apocalypse says that watching Evan taught him love. Meh to that. And this series ends as mediocre as it started. It had potential. It could’ve been an interesting counter-culture story. But it never committed to that, and instead it just kinda meandered along, not doing much of anything. At no point did this mini justify its existence. It was, without any question, the weakest of the Age of X-Man minis.X-Tremists and Prisoner X were both fantastic, Nightcrawler and GeNext were both pretty good, Marvelous was OK, and X-Tracts existed. About the most you can say about it. It was a comic that was published. One with some badass moments for Dazzler.

Giant-Size X-Statix, by Peter Milligan, Michael and Laura Allred, and Nate Piekos. Huh, now that’s interesting. Marvel uses VC for all its lettering, but Piekos is with Blambot Studios. I wonder if that indicates any changes going forward, or if it’s only for this book. I’m guessing it’s just this book, but we’ll have to wait and see. Either way, X-Statix! I’ve started re-reading the old Milligan/Allreds X-Force X-Statix, and man, it is such a weird, brilliant comic. I don’t even want to review this issue, I just want to tell you to read it. It has Edie’s daughter, Katie! The issue where Edie met Katie was so good, so sweet and sad and emotional. I’m so happy to see her get brought back. Dead Girl gives Edie a chance to reveal the truth to Katie, about both her parentage and about being a mutant. Katie doesn’t take it well.

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Damn.

Also, Mr. Sensitive and Vivisector are still alive, having someone escaped death. Neat. Doop and Dead Girl recruit them for a new X-Statix, to stop a new team that perverts what X-Statix stood for. Also, Katie’s boyfriend demonstrates how open-minded he is by saying he once dated a girl with a Coldplay tattoo, and that jokes is amazing and I love it. This comic also introduces Mike Alicar, The A, son of the Anarchist; along with Phatty, the daughter of Phat. There’s also some interesting new antagonists. It’s really good. I’m excited for the X-Cellent launching soon. There’s a couple things I’m concerned about. For one thing, I don’t want Phatty’s body-positivity to be a joke, and there’s a couple bits that have me worried it might go that way. We’ll see. But Milligan’s a great writer, and the Allreds always bring out the absolute best in their collaborators. (I speak of them together, because I genuinely can’t imagine Mike’s pencils coloured by anyone else. Though I can imagine Laura’s colours over someone else’s pencils.) Milligan and the Allreds clearly have some things to say about the state of modern society, and I am here for it. And man, the Allreds are always worth checking out, the art is just so good.

Wolverine & Captain America: Weapon Plus #1, by Ethan Sacks, Diogenes Neves, Adriano Di Benedetto, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Cap’s in his old neighbourhood, and Logan crashes down in Eva, Fantomex’s ship that’s also his nervous system. Looks like Fantomex is dead.

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 Give exposition while you stab. Stabsposition.

They fight dudes while Fantomex’s hologram explains the situation. While a hipster records the fight on his phone. When Cap removes one soldier’s mask, it looks like him. Fantomex explains about Weapon Plus, and how they were inspired by Cap. There’s decades of disappearances of people Fantomex figured were used in experiments. His message leads them to an abandoned lab. There’s a tank holding a dolphin in a cybernetic suit. Another holds a messed-up bear that attacks. I’m taking this as proof that Cyber-Force came from the Weapon Plus program. The next secret facility has a mention of a Weapon XXX, which sounds like the porn parody that I now kiiiiinda want to see. Throughout the issue, there’s glimpses of a guy named Billy who, decades ago, wanted to be the next Captain America so he could fight the Commies. He’s still around. This is a pretty good start to the story. Lays down the important exposition smoothly, uses existing continuity on Weapon Plus to build the story. The fact that there is so much continuity has me wondering how good the story will be, though. More to the point, how original will it be. Is this going to be a story I haven’t read yet? Or is it going to be a retread of existing stories? And the most important question of all: Will Weapon II appear?

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Desperately want Weapon II to show up.

The art is great. Even if the story ends up being lacking – and it’s way too early to tell if that’ll be the case – it’ll at least look good, and that can make up for a lot. Neves’ style fits the story, giving it an action movie vibe. It works well here. Gives it just the right level of tension. I like it.

Secret Warps: Weapon Hex, by Al Ewing, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, Carlos Lopez, and Joe Caramagna. I’m writing about this one for the same reason I wrote about the Weapon Hex two-parter last year: That pun name. Anyway, she fights Mad Ghost and his Android Apes in Siberia.

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A noble goal, really.

He also controls Machine Mandrill, a combination of Machine Man and Mandrill. But the trigger spell kicks in and she loses control and tears it apart. Then she uses a spell to keep Mad Ghost solid, and demands to know why he kidnapped Speed Weasel, who uses that opportunity to show up. And, holy shit, the spell for getting info out of someone is called “Hex Position.” The puns! I love it! Anyway, Dr. Wyndham, Weapon Hex’s father, ordered Red Ghost to capture Speed Weasel and try to kill Weapon Hex. He’s part of the group of villains who’ve teamed up to deal with the heroes. She teleports Soldier Supreme and Ironhammer to her, using a spell called Hex Filtration. Clever. And this might be Soldier Supreme’s first time meeting Speed Weasel? Regardless, he sets up a pretty epic line.

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Awesome.

With them together, the villains attack, but Deathstrique and Dormammu Red fall quickly. He gets Inferno underway. And Weapon Hex uses Hex Terminate, which fails, but it’s another pun name that I very much approve of. Also: Hex-A-Gone, a teleport spell. Is this a good story? Honestly, not really? Is it a fun story? Oh dear gods yes, which is what it was going for. There isn’t really the space to make this a good story. It’s too rushed, and there’s no real depth it. But it’s absurd and ridiculous and full of terrible puns and it’s just loads of fun. It accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, which is to have a bunch of spells that are just punning on the word “Hex.” The whole thing is just fun, and sometimes, that’s all a story actually needs to be.

And the back-up, by Tim Seeley, Bob Quinn, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. Laura and Gavrill are in Saint-Esprit, QC, in a little diner, meeting with detective Greer Baptiste.

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I love Gavrill.

Anyway, Laura reveals that she knows Greer ate her partner, Shirlee Cartier. Greer is Wentigra. Laura reveals this riiiiight when Gavrill was about to take a bite of her burger, which is some good trolling from Laura, really. Laura offers to help, Greer says she loves being Wentigra, so Gavrill runs all the diner patrons home.

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Fun panel.

Another fun little story. Lots of Speed Weasel being cute. I love how Seeley portrays the sisterly relationship. Wentigra is also pretty cool. It’s fun.

There’s also Wolverine & Blade, but nah. It’s written by Marc Guggenheim, who is a hack. I flipped through it at the shop, and it looked pretty frigging awful, writing-wise.

And the non-X-stuff.

Ironheart #8, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Riri meets Dr. Strange, for information and snarking. My favourite part might be her not wanting to knock on his door. I totally get it. But yeah, their interactions are fun. This is a quiet issue. ONly a very brief fight when she first gets to the Sanctum, over in three pages. It’s mostly just dialogue. But it’s fun.

Champions #7, by Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. Sam and Kaldera infiltrate Nova HQ to get Sam’s helmet back, and there’s a lot less flirtation between them than I honestly expected. Also, Viv has a feedback error that seems to be her emotional side, and I do want it to lead to Viv becoming more emotional again. It infuriated me what Mark Waid did to Viv, ignoring the hopefulness she had at the end of the Vision solo in favour of her suppressing her emotions. It was insulting to the character, and to fans of the Vision series. I am still mad about it, and anything that gets Viv acting more like a normal teen is fine by me.

X-Men comics of July 3 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I went to Spider-Man: Far From Home yesterday. I enjoyed it. Very good. Really cool way of handling Mysterio, and his reveal was great. It was also really nice to see MJ get plenty to do. The action was very exciting. Also, that cameo in the mid-credits. The whole theatre cheered. Anyway, today is comics.

Uncanny X-Men #21, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. The X-Men break into the Hellfire Club.

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“A little from column A. . . .”

They find Emma inside. Elsewhere, Triage is being forced to heal ONE troops cut apart by Logan. He also manages to heal up Logan a bit, who was near-death after being subdued. Back at the Hellfire Club, there’s some entertaining banter between Emma and Alex, and then Hope puts a gun to the back of Emma’s head. Back at Logan, he finds Velocidad merged with Warlock, being used to create new Warlocks, and Logan mercy-kills him. So that’s another death. Of a POC, again. And I mean, it’s not like I ever actually liked Velocidad, he always came across as a douche. But still, more death. Oh, also, Banshee dies. Again. Because of fucking course he does, there weren’t enough deaths yet. Also, Evil General Guy turns off Illyana’s mutant power, which turns her into the Darkchild. And she takes the Gem of Cyttorak out of him and crushes it. And like, OK, Scott says that Illyana’s mutant power was what let her control the Darkchild. But that’s not actually true. It was her humanity that let her control it. It had nothing at all to do with her power. Illyana’s mutant power gave her a connection to Limbo, via her stepping discs. But the Darkchild isn’t directly part of her connection to Limbo, it’s the result of what Belasco did to her. So this retcon of her mutant power letting her control her Darkchild form is utter nonsense, coming out of nowhere. Not that that’s exactly out of the ordinary for this run. This issue, as usual, is well-made garbage. It’s not actually a poorly-made comic. It’s just infuriating in terms of the decisions made. It keeps going out of its way to piss me off. It keeps killing characters off, to the point where none of them are shocking any more. It is impossible to actually feel anything now when a character dies, because it’s just been too much. It is impossible to care about a damn thing happening in this comic, because it’s just a never-ending stream of death and misery, which is what the franchise as a whole has been since Decimation. The X-office needs to move the fuck on and actually allow some positivity into their stories, because as it is? I just do not give a shit about the misery any more.

Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #5, by Vita Ayala, German Peralta, Mike Spicer, and Joe Sabino. Riot! Bishop, Lorna, Dani, Hank, and Gabby take the opportunity to go Legion-hunting. In a cartoon hallway.

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Cue “Yakkity Sax.”

Legion sics his guards on them, so it’s a fight in a hallway full of doors that lead back to each other. It’s a pretty awesome fight. Gabby has fun, Lorna shows how dangerous she is.

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Never argue with Lorna.

Bishop, Hank, and Gabby continue on, find Legion, and during the fight, Legion turns into Shard to give them a hint to who’s behind it all. Then it’s time to deal with Legion. Great end to a great mini. This and X-Tremists were far and away the best of the Age of X-Man minis. Ayala used this book to explore prison and freedom and memory. Connection wasn’t as prominent a theme here as it was in other books, but that just let it look at things other books weren’t. And there was the sense of connection that can be built within incarceration. This mini also did a really compelling take on Bishop. I hope Ayala keeps using him in their next X-Men series, which I really hope they get. Give them Lorna, too, because they write Lorna as a major badass. Like, piss her off and she becomes unstoppable. Speaking of Lorna, I like the way Peralta had her just constantly surrounded by bits of metal. It was a cool touch. Peralta also clearly had fun with the hallway fight. Lots of cool bits in there. And the fight against Legion was also trippy and weird and cool, as it should be. Yeah, this mini was excellent.

Dead Man Logan #9, by Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Bruce, Jr. is fighting a robot, Dani Cage has a radiation gun pointed at her head, and Logan has no lungs. Logan still manages to take the robot down by electrocuting it. Then the three head to South Dakota to get Bruce, Jr. some medical aid. The remnants of the cult hunting Bruce, Jr. get found by Sabretooth. Safe bet they’re gonna die. In South Dakota, Logan meets in Forge, who’s got a nice little bunker where people are taken care of. Unconnected to the one Kate Bishop ran, I guess. Also, Speedball’s in Forge’s bunker, in a bubble, because his power’s out of control and if he bounces he’ll explode. And then the bunker is found. Decent issue. Logan and Forge catching up was nice. The cult stuff gets wrapped-up pretty quickly. The pacing of this issue feels weird. The stuff with the cult feels both long and short, somehow, and the rest of the issue just feels oddly long.¬† Actually, I think what throws me off is a couple pages that have timeskips, coming after each other. The lack of something in between a couple pages in particular throws the pacing off. I don’t know, it’s not a bad issue or anything, the pacing of it just didn’t quite click for me.

And the non-X-stuff.

Ms. Marvel Annual, by Magdalene Visaggio, Jon Lam Msassyk, and Joe Caramagna. Ms. Marvel vs. Super-Skrull! Also, a new minor villain, Shabang, who I love. She robs vintage clothing stores and makes explosions from her fists. She is great and I hope she gets more appearances, because I absolutely love minor villains. Everyone else gets excited about Doom or Magneto or Thanos or Dr. Octopus or other major villains, and I’m over here wanting the villain protagonist series about a woman who robs vintage clothing stores. Yes please, that is my kind of villain, just in it for the lulz.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #46, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Alberta has no rats, Ratatoskr am whale, and the day is saved through the power of John Locke. Man, I really hope Rachel gets to be an occasional supporting character in the next Squirrel Girl series, she’s so cool. I would read a series where she’s a part of the cast. Actually, wait, hold on! Hold on! So she stays in Canada at the end of the issue. So make her part of a new Alpha Flight. Come on, Marvel, you cowards!

Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #10, by Seanan McGuire, Takeshi Miyazawa, Rosi Kampe, Ian Herring, and Clayton Cowles. Swarm! This issue sees him upgrade from Nazi bees to Nazi bee dinosaur. This is why superhero comics exist.

X-Men comics of June 26 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert).

War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #3, by Matthew Rosenberg, Pere Perez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. Rahne tells Sabretooth to let Illyana go, and Hrimhari defends Rahne against him.

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I always enjoy seeing Sabretooth get wrecked.

With Creed out of the way, Rahne and Illyana (and Hrimhari) meet up with the others. Oh and hey, remember how we were told that Rahne was mad at Karma? Karma mentioned Rahne looking at her with anger in her eyes? Yeah, we see them hugging. I’m honestly annoyed at that. They head back to the baseball stadium, where Hrimhari explains that he promised Enchantress he’d stay out of the war. Then there’s fighting, and Sunspot crushes a gem that was restricting Illyana’s magic. And it kills him. Which was spoiled in the main series, but yeah, by my count, we’re now at 5 dead X-Men in Rosenberg’s run, plus quite a few villains. Is this how he wants to ensure his run gets remembered? Pure, simple body count? Creed’s forces are tricked into a portal to Limbo, then Rahne tears Creed’s throat out with her teeth and orders the wolves to leave. Good for her. A few days after this, she gets beaten to death by some random jackasses because Rosenberg wanted to make an incredibly weak comment on trans panic murder. Also, Illyana cuts Creed’s head off and kicks it into a portal. Nice. Too bad he’ll be back. I hate Sabretooth. Little reminder that, in addition to being a murderer, he’s also a rapist. Yeah, that gets overlooked a lot, but he’s totally a rapist, and I hate rapist characters, so fuck Sabretooth, kill the sack of shit and let him stay dead forever and ever. Anyway. This was better than the main series. Sunspot’s death is crap, but that aside, this was a mostly-well-written story, with some good tension, and some good emotional weight to Rahne’s decision. Though Dani gets depressingly little to do, given the whole point of the event. Rosenberg tries to get some pathos at the end with Dani mourning the fallen Valkyries, but she got little enough to do in the event that the end moment feels like it’s an attempt to play catch-up. At least this mini wasn’t all about the white guys, though.

Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #5, by Leah Williams, Georges Jeanty, Roberto Poggi, Jim Charalampidis, and Clayton Cowles. Jubilee issue! And right off the bat with some really powerfully relatable stuff.

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Very much yes.

So, yeah, this issue shows Jubilee remembering her son, and deciding to burn the fake world to the ground because she has nothing to lose. And it’s frigging awesome. It’s full of these super-heavy fees delivered in Jubilee’s style of affected detachment. There’s also a wonderful Blobsy moment. I really, really want this version of Blob to carry over to the main universe, at least for a while. Let him try to be this best possible version of himself, and let Betsy be there to support him in it. This issue is just fucking brilliant. Williams is a powerhouse writer. I think I’d rank this as the best of the Age of X-Man minis. Prisoner X is phenomenal, too, a close second, for many of the same reasons. But goddamn. Marvel should just give Williams full rein to do whatever she damned well wants to do. This issue is a killer finale to a killer mini, full of emotional moments but also some hilarious moments. She’s just got such a deep understanding of the characters, and of their emotional states. So. Fucking. Good.

Mr. and Mrs. X #12, by Kelly Thompson, Javier Pina, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. Candra needs to do a sacrifice to get her proper power levels back, and she tells Gambit to choose between Rogue or Bella Donna. But Gambit is more clever and more determined than anyone thought.

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Plus his knack for one-liners.

He frees himself, and gives Rogue a chance to free herself, and also a nice chance to demonstrate her newfound knowledge on how to control her power by controlling her fear. And that pretty much wraps that whole thing up, especially with Jean-Luc and Bella Donna also siding with Gambit and Rogue. Candra’s defeated, Gambit cements his status as King of the Thieves’ Guild, and there’s talk of babies. And that’s that. This series is over. Shame it had to end, I would’ve enjoyed more of it. I’m looking forward to whatever Marvel has lined up for Thompson next. There must be something, it’d be foolish of them not to keep her working for them. She brings so much charm and fun and heart to anything she works on. This series was a lot of fun, and Thompson successfully made me care for the Rogue/Gambit ship. Great art, too. Pere Perez is excellent.

Marvel Comics Presents #6, by Charles Soule, Paulo Siqueira, Oren Junior, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. 1995. Hey, opening on Talisman! Neat! She senses the Truth’s imminent return, and contacts Logan with the X-Men, who join him in Montserrat, at the eruption of Soufriere Hills. The fight goes poorly. A lot of them die, including Scott, Ororo, and Talisman. Then the newest of the French witches shows up, with magic claws.

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She’s even got his snarl.

Logan reasonably deduces she’s his daughter. I’m honestly meh on this installment. Killing the characters didn’t have quite the impact it should have. The fact that two women of colour died is also annoying, even though their deaths aren’t going to stick, given this story is set in the past. Also, this issue features a Deadpool story set in the ’90s that makes fun of the comics speculator boom. Additionally, a coffee shop called “Two Live Brew” and I AM SO MAD AT HOW MUCH I LIKE THAT JOKE.

Major X #6, by Rob Liefeld, Cory Hamscher, Adelso Corona, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., and Joe Sabino.

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. . . Fine. That’s pretty cool.

Anyway, it’s the end of the mini. This whole thing was a wild ride. Is it good? No, of course not, not even in the slightest. Is it enjoyable? Well, that depends on your own pleasure in the terrible. There are people who will love this mini as a trashfire. Others will just find it boring. For the most part, I found it boring and stupid. I didn’t care for it. But I have never understood Liefeld’s appeal.

Wolverine: Exit Wounds, which actually features 3 stories from different eras. First, by Larry Hama, Scot Eaton, Sean Parsons, Matt Milla, and Joe Sabino. This one is set in the Weapon X program, with the Professor, Dr. Cornelius, and Hines watching him remember stuff. He remembers confronting Creed over Silver Fox’s murder. He freaks out and has to be subdued. Then he’s sent out to kill wolves, and then sent out with the helmet on him to fight a bear, where he finally goes berserker, but doesn’t escape yet.

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Those wires get less reasonable every time they’re drawn.

I do find the wires funny. Take a guy with claws in his hands, cover him in wires, and send him to fight animals with more claws. Surely nothing could go wrong. Not like the wires are going to get ruined immediately. Honestly, this story is just weak. It provides no new insights, it’s just combining two frankly overtold Logan stories at once. It feels half-assed, like Hama didn’t really want to do a Wolverine story, but he had to, so he just tossed out the most generic Wolverine story possible. Nice art, though.

Second, by Chris Claremont, Salvador Larroca, Val Staples, and Joe Sabino. This one’s set after the Wolverine & Kitty Pryde mini. Logan takes Kitty and Yukio to a little restaurant to visit the wife of one of Logan’s endless old friends. Logan has a ridiculous number of old friends. Anyway, some ramen tyrant wants this woman’s recipes and to run her shop. And Logan makes some ramen.

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A pink apron and a cowboy hat. Fashion icon.

OK, Logan, knives are an actual thing, so why are you using your claws, which come out of your own body, to cut vegetable? That can’t be sanitary! Anyway, all snark aside, I like the way this story puts so much focus on the preparation of the food. I want more cape comics that make use of food. Less cool: the woman is descended from Logan. Ugh. Uuuuuuugh. What a stupid idea. That nonsense aside, it’s a fun little story. Light, low stakes, low tension, low drama, just a simple little story about food.

And finally, by Sam Kieth, Ronda Pattison, and Joe Sabino. Logan’s in some jungle, and he fights Venom.

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Kieth’s art is so charming.

It’s a nothing story, the draw here is entirely in the art. Luckily, Kieth’s art is great. So much energy and character. I love his style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X-Men comics of June 19 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I saw a bunny two nights in a row while walking home, so I’ve been pretty excited about that. I’ve also watched the first episode of Jessica Jones s3. I enjoyed it. It’s still going to take a while to get through the whole series. But it’s late, so let’s get to comics.

Uncanny X-Men #20, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. It opens with some kid having an allergic reaction to the mutant vaccine. The kind of reaction that includes vomiting blood. Oh great, justifying anti-vaxxer paranoia. (That’s a joke. But seriously, screw anti-vaxxers.) Meanwhile, the Nasty Boys are dead. You know what? Let’s go on a huge digression. I liked the Nasty Boys. I grew up on the ’90s cartoon, where they were Sinister’s minions instead of the Marauders. But they were cool. They were fun characters, with some weird powers. I think they deserve to get used as legitimate characters. They deserve better than to be YET A-GODDAMN-NOTHER set of mutants to be unceremoniously killed off by Rosenberg because it’s the only idea he has. And it turns out they were killed by – OF ALL FUCKING PEOPLE – the Upstarts. The goddamn Upstarts. You know who the Upstarts are? They were a group of mutant villains in the ’90s who were in a competition to kill other mutants for points as part of some kind of game, for a prize that was never actually explained, because it was one of those idiotic ’90s plots that was never planned out in the slightest, where no one involved in creating the story had any idea where it was actually going, because marketing said that mysterious plots were popular. The group here consists of Shinobi Shaw, Sienna Blaze (who I actually liked), Fitzroy (who SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS), and Cortez (who’s only interesting as a wild card vying for control of a villain group). Blaze seems to have very tight control of her powers now, which actually makes her less interesting. Her power being ridiculously destructive, and her being pretty much completely indifferent to the damage, was charming. Now? Rosenberg just makes her, and the Upstarts as a whole, so damn generic. Shinobi gives some spiel about mutants failing to survive humanity, and keeping some pawns away from the Hellfire Club, then he kills himself, because, again, Rosenberg has no other ideas for this entire run. It also turns out that Dark Beast has found a way to render the mutant vaccine obsolete. And Logan confronts Emma.

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He’s not wrong.

Also, I want to know who was the asshole who thought giving Marrow her Pretty design was a good idea. Who’s the asshole who misunderstands her character and her history to such an extent that they thought, hey, let’s go with her worst design. Mystique vs. Kwannon is a pretty cool fight, though. I dug it. And good use of headgames from Mystique to get the drop on Kwannon. And hey, it turns out that Dark Beast’s anti-vaccine has put 5 kids into comas. Shocking! And Illyana kills Dark Beast. Because sure, why the fuck not, let’s just kill more and more and more and more characters. Kill the entire fucking franchise, it’s clearly what Rosenberg wants to do. Just murder every character. Christ, how does this series continue to be so frustrating and annoying? I just don’t understand what the point of this series is? It’s just non-stop misery and murder. You need some fucking hope spots once in a goddamn while, but Rosenberg just keeps laying on the misery and murder. Not to mention continually misusing so many characters. Yeah, mostly characters that don’t have big fanbases, characters who get little use anyway, but they still deserve better than the pointless bullshit Rosenberg pulls with them. Holy shit, this series cannot end soon enough. At this point, I don’t even give a shit what Hickman does, it cannot be worse than this. It has to be better, just by default, because this series is rock-fucking-bottom.

Age of X-Man: NextGen #5, by Ed Brisson, Lucas Werneck, Jason Keith, and Clayton Cowles. Anole’s blown up the library, which automatically makes me dislike him. How dare he bomb a library. They are important safe spaces and community centres. The X-Tremists show up to arrest the kids, but they escape. They head to BC, where Glob’s pretty sure the Life Seed is supposed to be. Instead, they get captured by the X-Men, and sent to the Danger Room prison. Aw, poor kids. This was a pretty good finale to a pretty good mini. The most middling of the Age of X-Man minis. Not great, not bad, just adequate. Some pretty good stuff in it, but it didn’t have anything to elevate it to the greatness of X-Tremists or Prisoner X. It clearly focused on the theme of platonic, friendship love, as opposed to romantic love or familial love. But it didn’t quite feel like it pulled the theme off. It was OK, but not as good as it could have been.

Age of X-Man: Amazing Nightcrawler #5, by Seanan McGuire, Juan Frigeri, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Travis Lanham. Kurt vs. the entertainment industry, basically. He grabs TJ and Celeste and then goes back for Meggan, who’s still in Mystique’s form, being attacked by all the movie people we saw in this mini. Then Kurt, Meggan, and Celeste all have a deep conversation, where Celeste talks about how the Cuckoos have taken major risks to keep wiping Kurt and Meggan’s memories themselves, rather than the X-Tremists doing it. Because they want to keep their family together, and that includes Kurt and Meggan and the others at the studio. And a really sad sacrifice has to be made.

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Ow, my heart.

Really good finale to a really good mini. I’d rank it third of the Age of X-Man minis, though not a distant third. McGuire is really good. So much emotion and pathos. I like that the Cuckoos aren’t actually enemies. The enemy is the system they all live in that prohibits love, and the Cuckoos are just doing their best to protect the people they care about, even if they have to do some bad shit to do that. Also, when this reality ceases to exist, Tenia Jean will also cease to exist, and that’s frigging tragic.

And, since I couldn’t get to the comic shop today, I can’t talk about any of the other comics that came out.

X-Men comics of June 12 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Was late enough finishing last night that I didn’t feel like doing this post. So I did it today instead. So Breath of the Wild is getting a sequel. I hope Zelda’s playable in it. I’m still playing BotW. I’ve unlocked the whole map, done two Divine Beasts, and gotten a handful of memories, and the Master Sword. So I’m doing pretty OK. Still lots of game to go. I’ll wait until I finish it before I get Ultimate Alliance 3. Where I will almost certainly be maining Ms. Marvel. Hell yeah. Anyway, comics!

Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #5, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Marco Failla, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. Flashback! To the early days of the X-Men, but with Nate as a member. And Xavier’s not much of an expert on literature.

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This is actually false.

Shall I point him towards mythology? Just to start? We tend to treat Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey as the only legitimate way to tell a story, but it’s not, it’s one way to tell a story. A common way, especially in Western literature, but there are other options that are just as valid. Present Nate is watching the scene through one of the cracks in his world, and gets philosophical. Elsewhere, the other X-Men are helping investigate the murder of Moneta. Aww, that’s a shame, I liked Moneta. She’s awful. I wanted her to be moved to the real world and join Emma’s Hellfire Club. While they all argue over what to do, Nature Girl listens to the bacteria in Moneta’s body. Huh, neat. She gets to see a memory of Moneta going to a poetry club, asking around about Piotr, and confronting Apocalypse. Which leads to a memory of Nate changing Apocalypse to fit his new world. And then Apocalypse killed Moneta. Poor Moneta. She tells the others, so now there’s more debate about what to do. But they do know the world is fake. This is good, though I do have one notable complaint. This whole mini felt like it was building up for Laura to be key to breaking the illusion, but not really, no, it was actually Nature Girl who did it. Which is fine, Nature Girl’s cool. It just feels like a missed opportunity. It’s narratively unsatisfying that Laura didn’t play a bigger role in breaking Nate’s illusion. There’s still the Omega issue, I guess. But I’m somehow doubting she’ll be an integral character there. Oh well. Other than that, the issue’s good. Revelations are handled well, and some characters – particularly Laura – very much embrace who they really are. Kurt is reluctant to believe it all, which adds a fairly interesting element of conflict. Still, while this is a fine issue, Marvelous X-Men as a whole is probably the second-weakest of the Age of X-Man minis. Which was the weakest? Well, let’s get to that one.

Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #4, by Tim Seeley, Salva Espin, Israel Silva, and Travis Lanham. A nice little opening on Eye-Boy seeing glimpses of events all over the world, and then closes in on Genesis taking on Omega Red. In New York, Apocalypse is sermoning, and I’m not sure if the crowd is supposed to look entranced or if Espin just draws really creepy eyes. Piotr enters to talk to Kitty, and she takes him to her room for talking and smooching. Bleh.

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I do like the Menorah as Kitty’s connection to her true self.

I’m sorry to the Kitty/Piotr shippers, but I just do not like that ship. It’s creepy and uncomfortable. (Also, Illyana is the Rasputin that Kitty should be smooching.) Back to Russia, where Dazzler and Unveil are having some trouble convincing some farmers to leave the area of the fight against Omega Red, until Unveil convinces them to leave.

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Mind control is unethical, calling it something else makes it OK.

Genesis and Omega Red keep fighting, until Omega reveals that there’s all sorts of deception going on, and that Genesis was sent to retrieve Omega Red as Apocalypse’s weapon. And then he kills Evan. Aw, poor Evan. I want to state first off that I really do not like Espin’s art. At all. I do not like it in the least. So that definitely drags down my own personal enjoyment of this comic. Beyond that, though, this just isn’t a great series. It feels unfocused, and while I ca forgive that in Marvelous (as the main book of the event), I can’t forgive it in this series, which should have a strong focus and a clear point. Yes, it’s about love, in its different forms. But so are the other minis. And this one handles that theme in the least-compelling way. Kitty/Piotr is just predictable, and nothing about how it happens is at all surprising. It’s done because it has to be done, because Kitty and Piotr have to get together, because people are unable to get beyond their favourite ships from when they were growing up. That predictability makes that particular plot thread boring to me, especially since I don’t ship them. The Omega Red plot finally has a point, by showing that Apocalypse is a lot more sinister than he lets on. Which Marvelous also did this week. Ultimately, X-Tracts feels like it did the least to make itself worthwhile as a separate book. It tied most closely into Marvelous, but in the process, it did the most to repeat beats that were appearing in that book. Prisoner X dealt with something the main book didn’t, the prison for repeat offenders. X-Tremists showed us what that team does, and delved deeply into each of them, their mindsets and motivations, which the main book didn’t have time to do. NextGen shows us the school. Nightcrawler is focused on his on adventures, showing us a side of this world that the main book didn’t have space for. X-Tracts does none of that. We get little real insight into Dazzler or Unveil, or even, frankly, Eye-Boy. We spend very little time on the mission of the X-Tracts, of spreading love. We don’t get anything that truly sets this book apart from Marvelous, that does anything Marvelous wasn’t already doing. So on top of being the least-useful of the books, it’s also the one with, I would argue, the least-interesting story, and the least-compelling character exploration.

X-Force #9, by Ed Brisson, Dylan Burnett, Jesus Aburtov, and Cory Petit. Fighting. Until Blaquesmith slows time. While he tells X-Force where Cable is, Boom-Boom punches one of Stryfe’s goons a bunch of times. Boom-Boom seems like one of the funnest characters to write. Once X-Force gets to the prison, they split into two teams. Domino, Boom-Boom, Shatterstar, which is clearly Team Fun. Then Cannonball, Warpath, Deathlok, which is Team Mostly-Sensible. They’re the ones who find Cable, with his T-O virus out of control.

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See? Sensible. Where’s the fun in that?

Domino’s team tries to sneak up on Stryfe, but he’s a telepath, so that doesn’t go great. Meanwhile, throughout the issue, Rachel has someone in her head trying to free her. Mother Askani, it turns out. So Rachel helps herself break free. That’s actually kinda neat. So it’s about frigging time Rachel got free, I want her to be the one who kicks Stryfe’s ass next issue, and never do another story ever again where Rachel falls under a villain’s control. Rachel shouldn’t have had to break free, because she shouldn’t have fallen under Stryfe’s control, and she sure as ever-loving fuck never should’ve fallen under Ahab’s control. Anyway, my continued anger at that entire goddamn plot aside, this issue’s pretty decent. I can’t say it’s great. It’s got some fun moments. But it’s also just not really anything exceptional. I do like the art, I like how raw it is, and it works particularly great during action scenes. The art is probably my favourite thing about this series. The art, and Boom-Boom. She’s always delightful, and she continues to be wonderful this issue. But a lot of the story just feels somehow lacking. Maybe it’s because it’s Cable vs. Stryfe is kinda played out. Stryfe might be played out in general, for the moment. And we don’t even get his shining armour covered in spikes. He’s wearing rags, looking all post-apocalyptic. Which makes sense, since this is literally a few years post-Apocalypse. But still, there was a certain charm to Stryfe’s regular, ridiculous outfit, and this one lacks that charm. I don’t know, this series isn’t bad, but I just can’t say it’s particularly great or memorable.

Major X #5, by Rob Liefeld, Brent Peeples, Adelso Corona, Romula Fajardo, Jr., and Joe Sabino. Major X, M’koy, and the X-Ential teleport to Genosha, and are surrounded by Sentinels, under the X-Ential’s control. We also meet Aura.

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Very intimidating.

Then the X-Ential merges with Aura. And the Administrator, the bad guy from the past couple issues, attacks. Which is a bad idea, considering the army of Sentinels. In Atlantis, Namor uses the Horn of Proteus to summon a monster. And it turns out that Major X’s mother is Storm. The son of Cable and Storm. OK, so. Storm also had an alternate-reality child with T’Challa. So now we have a connection between T’Challa and the Summers Family. Neat. Actually, while I’m here, instead of talking about this comic, let’s talk about something more interesting. Alex Summers and Janet Van Dyne had an alternate-timeline daughter, connecting Janet to the Summers Family. Janet has officially adopted Nadia, who is the daughter of Hank Pym, so the Summers and Pym families have a connection. Vision married Wanda and had children with them, which leads to a link, however distant, between the Summers and Maximoff families. Mostly indirect, and involving time travel, alternate timelines, magic, robots, and other utter nonsense. I just felt it was worth noting. As for this comic? Look, it’s Liefeld, what do you want me to say?

Anyway! Non-X-stuff!

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. There’s a truly lovely use of Robert Frost’s famous Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. The issue is, and this may surprise you, wonderful.

Giant-Man #3, by Leah Williams, Marco Castiello, Rachelle Rosenberg and Joe Sabino. Moonstone! Cassie! Sea turtles! This is real good. Leah Williams is phenomenal. One of the best writers Marvel’s got. This mini was great, and this conclusion is fantastic. Williams does such a good job getting into the heads of the characters she writes.

Champions #6, by Jim Zub, Juanan Ramirez, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. Hummingbird! Nice! And I kiiiinda ship her with Viv? Based on a two-panel interaction? Actually, based on Viv brushing her hair behind her ear in a way that felt like “oh my gosh cute girl looking at me.” Also, Power Man gets to not die. Boy, does he ever not die.

Ironheart #7, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Wasp! Zombies! Lots of zombies! It’s really fun. This is a very good series.

sgoldbookblog

Lawyer by day, reader by night

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Kevin O'Leary Reviews Every Issue of Uncanny X-Men from the 1960s to the Present

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healed1337

For new comic book fans by a new comic book fan.