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Excalibur #9 (1989, June)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My pull list is up. Now, by Claremont, Davis, Neary, Wilcox, Orzechowski and Mas, “The Two-Edged Sword.”

The Two-Edged Sword

Excalibur had great covers.

Lockheed’s in the lighthouse, waiting for Excalibur to come home. He gets choked out by Shadowcat. But it’s not his Shadowcat. It’s a very different Excalibur who’s come. They have swastikas, and Captain Britain is called Hauptmann Englande (which should apparently be England). It’s a Nazi version of Excalibur! Searching for the Nazi version of Moira!

Excalibur #9

They do have good designs, though, dammit.

Over in the US, beneath the ruined Xavier school, Kitty is putting Brian through a workout. He’s straining a lot more than he should be. The weight-lifting exhausts him and leaves him out of breath. Next up is a test of reaction speed.

Excalibur #9

Ouch. Harsh, Kitty.

Then, another test. Which also goes well.

Excalibur #9

The flapping. Perfect.

Kitty chastises Brian for his subsequent (unheard) language, then tells Kurt that Brian’s not the only problem. While Brian runs a gauntlet to avoid getting paint-spritzed, we get a demonstration of what’s wrong with Meggan.

Excalibur #9

The sound effects are great.

Meggan’s involuntary and unconsciously shifting to look like those near her, which becomes a problem when Rachel pops in and the two start to merge until they rather forcibly separate. And smash the control room in the process. Kitty lets Brian know that his powers are deteriorating, and she doesn’t know why, but there’s other people they can consult. These concerns are put on hold by a call from Dai Thomas asking them to return.

In the London branch of the Hellfire Club, Nigel Frobisher is complaining about Courtney Ross. Who’s right behind him. (And who is actually Sat-Yr-9, who killed and replaced the real Courtney.) She’s very pleasant to him, and suggests a game. Cut the deck, high card wins. Nigel loses, he pays a pound. If he wins, he gets a weekend with her. He loses, and she changes the stakes. For every hand he wins, he gets a promotion, and he can withdraw anytime, but if he loses, he loses it all. He wins 100 000 pounds, and reaches the final bet. Courtney bets her job as VP of Fraser’s Bank. But if he loses, he’ll owe 1 million pounds. He loses. He says he can’t pay, she says he can and he will.

In the Tower of London, a tour is being given of the Gallery of Heroes, which includes a replica of Captain Britain’s original uniform. We all get a brief Who’s On First routine, but very brief.

Excalibur #9

Claremont used that routine a few times.

I’m glad the guy did start to explain it, rather than let it go on. Regardless, we’ll see these people again. But first:

Excalibur #9

Lizard-people!

Outside, the Nazi Excalibur sneaks onto the Tower grounds. They find where Alysande Stuart is interrogating Nazi-Moira. Shadowcat seems to tear the throat out of one guard. Harsh. Alistaire and Dai are dealing with the lizard-people (the father declares himself “a tax-paying tourist,” which . . . yep, he’s American, all right) and Alistaire senses that Alysande is in trouble. This ability to sense when his sister’s in danger is never brought up again. Rachel deals with the Nazi-Brian (and amazes Alistaire, who immediately falls in love with her). Kitty goes to investigate more, and gets taken out by Nazi-Shadowcat. She calls herself dead and a ghost, and Nazi-Callisto referred to her the same way. Pretty dark.

Anyway, Kitty being taken out distracts Rachel, which allows Nazi-Brian to punch her outside, and regular Brian decides he and Meggan need to join in. Nazi-Kurt takes out Good-Kurt, and Nazi-Meggan rejoins the group. On their way out, they’re stopped by Brian, wearing his old Captain Britain uniform, which doesn’t fit him any more. Cliffhanger!

It’s Excalibur. It’s great. Even the drama is tinged with humour. The Nazi version of Excalibur is fairly interesting. This version of Shadowcat is really tragic. (Honestly, I kinda wish she could have been rescued. Her having to exist on Nazi-World is really sad.) We actually get even better ideas of their personalities over the next couple issues. Brian and Meggan’s problems with their powers are an interesting sub-plot, and the next issue actually gives a very strong hint of the cause, for anyone who hadn’t already figured it out. There’s actually a hint here, as Brian says he’s been feeling better since getting back to England. The testing Brian goes through is a lot of fun. Seeing him get knocked around is always entertaining.

The art is Alan Davis. If you don’t love his art, then man, I just don’t understand you, and I’m not sure I want to.

Another excellent issue.

Pull List for May 10 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I haven’t seen GotG yet. Here’s what I’m reading tomorrow.

I’ll go to the store for: All-New Wolverine #20, by Tom Taylor, Leonard Kirk, Cory Hamscher, Michael Garland and Cory Petit; America #3, by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Jose Villarrubia and Travis Lanham; Avengers #7, by Mark Waid, Phil Noto, and I’m not sure who else; Black Panther & the Crew #2, by Yona Harvey, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Butch Guice, Scott Hanna, Dan Brown and Joe Sabino; Ms. Marvel #18, by G. Willow Wilson, Francesco Gaston, Ian Herring and Joe Caramagna; My Little Pony Legends of Magic #2, by Jeremy Whitley and Brenda Hickey; Silver Surfer #11, by Dan Slott, Michael and Laura Allred and Joe Sabino.

I’ll also review: Old Man Logan #23, by Jeff Lemire, Eric Nguyen, Andres Mossa and Cory Petit; Weapon X #3, by Greg Pak, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata and Joe Caramagna; X-Men Blue #3, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla and Joe Caramagna.

So that’s 7 comics I’m picking up, and 3 additional reviews. Middling week.

I should note that I’m guessing with some of the creators involved. There are no previews this week, because of FCBD. And because Marvel’s solicits omit the full creative teams, there’s nowhere to find the inkers, colour artists and letterers. Which is stupid. It seems to be a Diamond thing, but I honestly think that the major publishers should get Diamond to include the full creative team.

Anyway, it’s a fairly exciting week. The new arc of Wolverine had a solid start, and I’m loving the use of the wider Marvel Universe. America is going to include the X-Men, so yay for that. Avengers will be starting its second arc, and while I’ll miss Mike Del Mundo, Noto’s great, too, and Waid’s telling a great story. The Crew got off to a very strong start, and I’m very curious to see how Harvey writes Storm. Ms. Marvel will be focused on Bruno, and I always enjoy stories that focus on supporting characters. And Silver Surfer is Silver Surfer. It’s one of the best comics out there.

Still nothing to talk about. I should stop waiting to write these posts the night before I post them. It always ends with them feeling too short. Oh well. I wonder if my LCS will have any copies of the Secret Empire FCBD issue left. I don’t particularly care either way. If he has copies left, I may as well read it, but honestly, I just do not give a shit about Secret Empire. I don’t care one way or the other. Except to note that I think Marvel’s marketing of the event has been incredibly stupid, and comes across as painting Hydra as the guys the audience should be rooting for. And at a time when fascism is on the rise, that’s a really stupid approach for the marketing to take. They should be focusing on the resistance instead. (Of course, I don’t really understand the amount of marketing that goes into big franchises anyway. Like, people made up their minds months ago on whether they would read Secret Empire or not. Spending a ton of money promoting it feels like a waste of time, because people are already aware of it. The same thing happens with movies. The Avengers movies do not need a massive publicity blitz. Everyone is going to see those movies. That’s why I’m actually torn on how little publicity the Wonder Woman movie has gotten so far. On the one hand, it’s sexism. Like, it’s definitely sexism. If it was a male-led superhero movie, the ads would’ve started already. We wouldn’t be able to escape the hype for it. But right now, Wonder Woman’s getting way less publicity than a male-led superhero movie would be getting this close to its release. And that’s definitely sexism. But on the other hand, I don’t know if it really needs that much publicity anyway. A couple reminders a few days before it comes out, and yeah, everyone who wants to watch it will remember to go watch it. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how much publicity the movie gets closer to its release.)

Anyway, I guess that’ll do for this week.

Wolverine #8 (1989, June)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I hope you had a good Free Comic Book Day. But today, by Claremont, Buscema, Oliver and Bruzenak, “If It Ain’t Broke. . . .”

If It Ain't Broke . . .

Stylish!

Joe Fixit wakes up to a nice gift.

Wolverine #8

Oh yeah, this is a good one.

There’s also a threatening note telling him to leave town. Logan’s at the Princess Bar, waxing poetic about the bar and Madripoor. Lindsay McCabe is singing, and apparently doing a good job. Yet another of her hidden skills, I guess. Fixit bursts in, wearing a very nice suit. He wants to see Patch, to get some information. The people in the bar give them a very wide berth, while also betting on who will win the inevitable fight. Jessica bet that there wouldn’t be a fight, and notes that she knows him better than Police Chief Tai does. A hint that she knows he’s Logan? We know she knows. It’s revealed later that she knew all along. I’m just not sure if Claremont wanted us to think she knew. But it certainly seems that way.

Anyway, Logan and Fixit go outside, where Fixit gets splashed by a passing truck. He reacts by smashing the truck, which is filled with industrial sludge. Logan gives him some purple pants and takes him to a spa. Fixit gets attacked by guards, while Logan finds some girls being held as slaves. Fixit doesn’t like that. So he frees the women, then knocks down the building when its owner makes some threats. Then he gets to spend some time in a hot tub, being waited on by gorgeous women. But it’s a dream, and Banner was the one who got to enjoy himself. The women flee from him when he wakes up as Fixit.

Logan takes him to another place, some kind of estate. Logan cuts away the balcony, so Fixit drops into a cocaine factory. Right after the guy who runs the factory has finished explaining to another guy about how secure the factory is, and how they can fight off anyone who attacks, including Fixit.

Wolverine #8

Dude, he’s right behind you.

This, quite obviously, leads to a fight. And a reveal that the A-Team exists within the Marvel Universe.

Wolverine #8

See? He knows the A-Team guy. Canon!

Logan apologizes about Fixit’s suit, and explains that Fixit was set-up from the start. General Coy shows up, angry at Fixit for smashing up his operations, and saying that he was supposed to take out Tyger. Fixit says he doesn’t do mob hits, and he doesn’t like being lied to, and he’s leaving. But not without thanking Logan for his help.

Wolverine #8

Yay for Logan getting hurt.

It’s also pretty strongly implied that Fixit knows Patch is Logan. Logan takes him to the airport, for a westbound flight (to stay ahead of the sun and avoid turning back to Banner). The flight crew’s been instructed to take special care of him. But, naturally:

Wolverine #8

The only way it could end.

This is great. It’s an entire issue of Logan just trolling the Hulk, and it’s great. It’s a lot of fun. Fixit makes for a perfect patsy. He’s arrogant, violent and humourless, so he kinda deserves it, and he’s invulnerable, so he can handle it. So it works perfectly. The fact that Logan keeps tricking him into doing things he’d probably actually be pretty OK with doing makes it even better. Freeing slaves? Smashing a cocaine factory? Yeah, Fixit wouldn’t have any problem with that, and in fact, he does feel good about it, and yet, Logan tricks him into doing it just for shits and giggles. Because that’s basically what it comes down to: Logan wanted to have some fun. Everything he does, he does because it’s funny. He can’t beat the Hulk in a fight, so he just screws with him, and I appreciate that. So an entire issue of trolling is pretty fun to read.

And I like the art. John Buscema does good work here. As I said about the last issue, his work looks better when he inks himself.  Less severe, a bit smoother. I like it.

This issue isn’t an important one. It doesn’t have huge consequences going forward. It’s just good fun where Logan trolls the Incredible Hulk. So it’s pretty great and worth reading.

X-Factor #41 (1989, June)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Don’t forget that tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. But today, by Simonson, Adams, Milgrom, Vincent and Rosen, “Golden Boy!”

Golden Boy!

Yay for contest winners!

Oh, yeah, the contest. So, Marvel at one point ran a contest where readers would send in their ideas for new mutants, with the winning entry debuting in, um, New Mutants. Alchemy was the brainchild of Paul Betsow, though rather than New Mutants, his creation appeared in X-Factor. I wonder if Betsow is still reading comics. And how he feels about his character being sacrificed in Death of X. But, on with the issue!

A troll comes out of a tunnel and smells gold, so goes to check it out, while musing about how he misses the days of Vikings and Celts. He finds a young man studying chemistry. As he tries to remember the details of each element, the pen in his hand changes. From a regular pen, then to platinum, then to gold. I’m not sure why he’d have to remember the details of each element. What school would make you memorize atomic weight? I’m pretty sure labs have Periodic Tables of Elements on their walls. Any halfway-decent lab probably has books with loads of details about each element. But some schools are weird like that. Anyway, he goes down to supper, and the troll checks the pen to confirm it’s real gold, and decides to steal the kid. Whose name is Thomas Jones, by the way.

Now, to Ship! Sam’s running an obstacle course through Warlock, Dani’s head is still aching, Boom-Boom’s annoyed that Sam isn’t hitting on her. So she deals with her disappointment the only way she knows how.

X-Factor #41

Yes. Yes, she is nuts.

The only person not annoyed at her for this? Sam. Sam’s a good dude.

X-Factor #41

Well, the suspenders are kinda tacky.

Jean and Warren are talking, with Jean saying she’s absorbed Maddie and the Phoenix, and she feels a darkness inside her. Warren says she’ll always stand in the light, and I don’t know, I don’t like the way he’s putting her on a pedestal here. Back in London, the troll grabs Thomas, and says he’s going to make gold for him. As the troll’s dragging Thomas away, his mom comes in, and is pretty awesome.

X-Factor #41

Go, mom.

Back to Ship! Scott’s happy to have his son in his arms, Rictor trolls Bomm-Boom by vibrating her soda can so it explodes in her face when she opens it, and Jean checks how Dani’s feeling. Ship lets X-Factor know they’ve gotten a call from London, and the Mutants tell them to go save the kid, and promise to be good and not do anything dangerous. Jean notes the kids have always behaved responsibly. Uh, Jean? Do you know which kids you’re talking about? The Mutants ran away from their school on the regular to fight aliens and demons. And your own bunch of kids includes Boom-Boom. Do you honestly believe you can leave these kids alone for 10 minutes without something happening? So X-Factor rushes out to a plane Ship makes them, and decides to bring the baby along. To investigate a mutant giant. Um.

X-Factor #41

I share the kids’ expressions.

I don’t think diapers are the concern here, Jean. She justifies it by saying they’re only facing “one tiny, little giant.” But, like, that’s still wildly irresponsible. When they meet Mrs. Jones, she’s surprised by how tall they are, and at the fact that they have a baby with them. Because she’s a reasonable person.

X-Factor #41

Beast’s joke is still more reasonable than the truth.

Mrs. Jones actually believes he’s serious, but in her defence, she’s pretty clearly still in shock about her son being kidnapped. X-Factor finds a trail of gold leading beneath a bridge at the River Thames. They find a hidden door, and inside, tons of treasure. And five trolls. Named Phough, Phumm, Phay, Phee and Phy. One’s a shapeshifter (who quotes Ibsen), one’s a master of martial arts, one’s an Abominable Snowman from Mt. McKinley, one has wings. The trolls are very educated and eloquent. They’re an international association who plan to use economics to destroy human civilization. They’re going to have Tom Jones create more gold, causing inflation that ruins the English economy and causes people to flee the country. It’s not a great plan, but Beast explains why at the end of the next issue.

But this issue’s great. Tom Jones is a neat new character. The trolls are fun, and I love how it subverts expectations by making them educated. They’re ancient, why wouldn’t they have learned a lot over the centuries? So I like that. I also really love the early part of the issue, with the teams all together. X-Factor, X-Terminators and New Mutants. I always appreciate that sort of inter-connectedness. It makes it all feel more authentic. It’s a shame X-Factor never really got to spend time with the New Mutants, on-panel. Even since then, the original X-Men and New Mutants have had relatively few interactions. Sam joined the X-Men, and got to spend time with them that way. But the other New Mutants were largely kept on ancillary teams, and seldom worked with the original X-Men. Still, the couple scenes in this issue were really nice to see.

The writing in the issue is great. None of the problems that made it difficult for me to fully enjoy Simonson’s earlier issues are present here. The dialogue feels less melodramatic, and that makes it easier to read. The most melodramatic it gets is Jean and Warren talking about how things have changed, and about darkness and junk, but even that’s subdued, by Weezie’s standards. There’s some nice character moments. Scott’s love of his son is really nice. Jean thinking that bringing a baby along to investigate a dangerous mutant is, um, odd.

Arthur Adams on art. It looks great. I don’t like Adams’ more recent work. I think his style has evolved in some ways that I just find weird. But this was 1989, and he was still one of the best in the business back then. So the issue looks great. There’s some really good facial expressions, and some really good action bits.

So this is a really good issue, and sets up an even better one.

Unrelated to anything, but: Earlier, someone named Rocky let me know that apparently I have an impersonator on ComicBoards.com, trashing Ultimates 2. Check it out. I’m not even mad, honestly. That’s pretty cool. (Oh, right, I should mention that Tiamatty is a screen name I use on a couple forums. I’d never even heard of Comic Boards before this.) Does this mean I’m starting to make it?

X-Men comics of May 3 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. I won’t be going. But here’s comics.

X-Men Gold #3, by Marc Guggenheim, Ardian Syaf, Craig Yeung, Jay Leisten, Frank Martin and Cory Petit. The issue opens with Logan again getting burned by Amara. On the one hand, I do hate that Guggenheim seems convinced that Amara should be kind of a shitty person. (I remember when she turned Dust into glass without a second thought.) On the other hand, I always approve of anyone hurting Logan. Back at the school, some of the students want to join the mission to fight the Brotherhood, and Kitty agrees to bring Armour and Rockslide, since they’re the toughest. They head to a Worthington Industries factory that’s condemned as a Superfund Site. Which means it’s really, really contaminated. I’d criticize Warren for letting that happen, but let’s be honest, it probably involved supervillains. Logan’s under Mesmero’s control, because he sucks, so Storm electrocutes him. Again, yay for Logan pain. Also, we learn what a “violent extraction” is. And we do find out Amara was under Mesmero’s control, so at least Guggenheim didn’t turn her into a villain. Though I still have a grudge against him for having her turn Dust into glass. No points for guessing who was behind this new Brotherhood. It was that Nance lady! The anti-mutant lady! What a shocking twist that is! Bleh. This series remains boring. There’s very little character stuff going on. Aside from Kitty, of course, who gets all sorts of moments where she gets to show off how great she is. And Rockslide gets to make a few jokes, and that’s always good to see. The writing here is just so bland. Kitty’s the only one who really gets a personality, and even she barely has one, really.”Order, snark, cool moment” is pretty much the extent of her personality, and that still manages to be more than anyone else gets. The art isn’t much better. Boring, often vague, little expressiveness. So, yeah, this book is pretty much as boring and pointless as I expected, given Marc Guggenheim is writing it.

Jean Grey #1, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Jay David Ramos and Travis Lanham. Jean and Pickles the Bamf are in Kyoto for a ramen brunch. If you’re going to have ramen, might as well do it right. Of course, by going to Kyoto, she guaranteed supervillains would show up. The Wrecking Crew, in this case, trying to get into an armoured truck. The fight is actually pretty funny, with Jean getting really embarrassed about smashing a shop, then getting annoyed enough at being called “girlie” to put the truck on top of a post. She goes into a shop to check on a civilian, and learns that projecting unicorns and puppies into someone’s mind tends to scare them. Then she goes to finish off the Wrecking Crew. I have to say, I really like the way Hopeless writes the Crew. They’re so casual about it all. Just three guys (Bulldozer’s absent) doing their job, even if that job happens to be stealing money. I also like the Thunderball seems a bit sad when they think Jean’s dead. He’s a good bad guy. Anyway, this is a really good debut. It does a great job explaining who Jean is. The opening pages tell readers which Jean she’s not, while the rest shows who she is. Which means kinda dorky, compassionate, and a monster when angered. The Wrecking Crew are a pretty effective set of villains for her to fight, being a genuine threat but still people her powers are effective against. Plus, they’re just always enjoyable, when they show up. I am a little disappointed that Hopeless is going with a Phoenix arc to launch the book (the previews give that away, so it’s not a spoiler). The cover to the next issue does have Rachel, Hope and Quentin, though, and Jean and Rachel interacting is something I’ve wanted to see. All we’ve ever gotten was a couple of very awkward moments of them passing each other in the JGS halls, back in Bendis’ run. And while that was some brilliant comedy, I have wanted to see more. (Wouldn’t mind seeing some Rachel/Teen Scott interactions, too.) And it’s been too long since Hope showed up. The art in the issue is really good. I’ve generally not been a big fan of Ibanez’s work, in the past. In the Storm solo, or in Extraordinary X-Men. But I really enjoy it here, for some reason. Faces maybe look a bit less blobby. He draws a very cute Jean. Ramos’ colours are stellar. Fantastic work from Ramos. Ibanez and Ramos have really figured out how to complement each other, and they’re definitely a great pair of collaborators.

That’s the X-titles, here’s other stuff.

Unstoppable Wasp #5, by Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson and Joe Caramagna. Jarvis is very serious about seatbelts. When Jarvis tells you to put on your seatbelt? Put on your goddamn seatbelt. Human time bomb or no, always wear a seatbelt in a moving car. Anyway, Nadia calls in the rest of her think tank to help with the bomb in Ying’s head. And we learn that, in the Marvel Universe, there’s a Lyft-type app called Lockjaw, which I find inexplicably delightful. I also love how weirded out the girls are by Ying, who shares Nadia’s matter-of-fact view towards being raised to be evil. I love Ying. She manages to embarrass Nadia, which should really be impossible. Nadia and Ying explain the situation to the rest of the girls, who all agree to help, with Taina being pretty excited about being involved in something so insanely dangerous. Taina’s an adrenaline junky, I think, which just makes her more endearing. There’s a pretty amazing double-page spread of the girls working throughout the day, which is shown by the colours changing, just a little, from one “slice” of day to the next. This is another great issue. It keeps up the balance of humour and drama the last couple issues have been building. Nadia and Ying are both still adorable, and the other girls are great, and Jarvis is Jarvis. There’s so much great humour, and seeing the girls starting to get to know each other is really nice, as they all bond, and not just over science. (Alexis and Priya bond over fashion.) And actually, I like that Jarvis and Alexis, despite not being scientists, are still there to do what they can to help. Jarvis by cleaning, Alexis gets them food. I like that. The art is great, too, very cute. There are a couple moments where Ying gets scary as a joke, and the art sells them perfectly. Characters are expressive and unique. The colours are excellent, particularly with the double-page spread. This book is excellent and I highly recommend it.

Hawkeye #6, by Kelly Thompson, Michael Walsh, Jordie Bellaire, Joe Sabino and Travis Lanham. Kate and Jessica are looking at blurry photos to figure out where they can find Rebecca Brown/Dhalia Dorian. They think about tracking Brad, but the transmitter they put on him is destroyed when he does his laundry, so that’s a bust. But they figure out that Dhalia was supposed to meet Brad at the Griffith Observatory. And at the meeting, Dhalia calls Brad an asshat, so she’s clearly not all bad. And then she turns into a dragon. Obviously. Even Kate’s not sure how they missed that. So it’s time to talk down a dragon, and I don’t normally post spoilers, but Lucky’s back! Kate got Lucky back! Yay! Pizza Dog! Anyway, another great issue. Jess plays off Kate really well, experienced and cynical and sarcastic to Kate’s optimism and eagerness and dorkiness. It makes for a fun dynamic, and allows Kate to learn more about what it means to be a PI. The twist of Dahlia being the dragon is pretty predictable, to the point where I’m genuinely not sure how Kate and Jessica didn’t figure it out, but eh, it’s fun, and it lets Kate talk down a dragon, so that’s cool. The art’s great. Walsh does good work. And Bellaire is Bellaire. She’s the best. One of the best, anyway. Seeing her name on the cover is always a relief, because you know the colours will be gorgeous. And they are! Yeah, this series is still great, and now, Lucky has been brought in, so it can only get better.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #17, by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, Walden Wong, Jason Keith Matt Yackey and Joe Sabino. Peter declares to Anna Maria that he’s done, Itsy-Bitsy explains her motivations (she used to feel weak, now she feels strong, and she’s killing to make a better world), and Deadpool wants to tell Spider-Man what he learned from Weasel. He thinks Spider-Man’s literal soul is in jeopardy. Spider-Man lets Deadpool know about a transmitter in his daughter’s house that will tell all Deadpool’s enemies know where she lives if he doesn’t go deactivate it. Then he and Itsy-Bitsy fight and debate morality. Itsy argues that people play god every day, that every decision they make creates a universe, which is actually true in the Marvel Multiverse. The fight’s pretty good. Some very intense moments. Itsy-Bitsy, as terrible a character she is, is also still a lot of fun. I actually kinda like her philosophy, even if it is demented. But this issue is really about Deadpool trying to save Spider-Man from himself, to talk him down from the dark place he’s been heading. It’s actually really good. Next issue is the finale of the Kelly/McGuinness run. I’ll be sad to see it go. It’s been great reading Kelly’s Deadpool again. I’ve missed him. He’ll always be my favourite take on the character, balancing humour and tension perfectly. And McGuinness’ art is a great match for this version of Deadpool, mostly conventional but with just a hint of cartoonishness.

Black Bolt #1, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward and Clayton Cowles. Black Bolt wakes up in a prison, with amnesia. He’s electrocuted back into unconsciousness. It happens a couple more times, with him remembering more about himself each time he wakes up. He breaks his bonds easily enough, but he’s still trapped in some prison. He hears a girl screaming, and goes to help her, but he’s too late and she dies. Then he gets attacked by Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man. All powers are blocked within the prison, though, so he’s not the Absorbing Man at the moment. Meaning it’s a fight of muscle and skill. This is a solid debut. The narration is very dramatic and tense. It elevates and separates Black Bolt, which makes the climax of the issue even more effective. Ahmed kills it here. He does a fantastic job. Which sucks, because now I have to keep reading a book about frigging Black Bolt of all characters. Ahmed’s writing is phenomenal. He’s new to writing comics, but you wouldn’t know it. He comes in like a pro. (I mean, he is a professional writer, and he’s long been a comic reader. But you get my point.) I’m always wary of non-comic writers coming in for Big Two comics, because so often, there’s a big learning curve. It doesn’t look like that’ll be the case here. Ahmed’s hit the ground running. Ward’s art is fantastic, too. Gorgeous work, with fantastic layouts. I hate to say this, but: Black Bolt is a great book, and one worth reading. Ugh.

There’s also Secret Empire #1, but . . . no. And I guess Champions #8 confirmed that Viv is a lesbian. Because bisexuals don’t exist. Does Waid remember that bisexuals exist? Either way, his absolutely atrocious writing of Viv is a major reason I dropped the book so early. Viv was an amazing character in the Vision series, and that run ended with her embracing life and emotion and reassuring her father that she was going to be OK. Then Waid came along and shit all over that beautiful ending by having her decide to lock her emotions away. Fuck that shit sideways.

New Mutants #76 (1989, June)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My pull list is up. But now, by Simonson, Rich Buckler, Palmer, Oliver and Rosen, “Splash!”

Splash!

None of the Mutants have appropriate swimwear.

The Mutants are trying to figure out what they should do now that their school’s been blown up. (Dani’s riding Brightwind, and she expresses relief that he wasn’t hurt in the explosion. Subtle.) Rahne suggests they call their parents and head home, and Sam spots a mall and a payphone and figures there’s no harm landing in public. I can’t argue with him. Why not? Letting people see a bunch of mutants acting normal is a good way to alleviate their fears. A woman thinks they’re demons and demands they have over Illyana, so ‘Berto turns to Sunspot and yells at the woman. He, uh, he’s not good at alleviating fears. The Mutants argue over who calls first – none of them actually want to call home – and then leave when cops show up. Warlock suggests they go visit Ship and get some rest.

We cut to Ship, and the X-Terminators, who are going for a swim. Unlike the cover, they actually are wearing swimsuits. With the big bubble helmets, rather than the smaller masks that real divers wear, but hey, it’s a comic. The kids think it’s fun, and boast about tricking Ship into letting them do it by claiming it would be educational. I’ll be honest, I’d much rather read about the ocean in a book. I don’t like swimming. Anyway, they get attacked by sharks which is unlikely, but again, comics. Rictor scares them off with some vibrations. They also find a strange shell. Rictor actually has a pretty good guess about it.

New Mutants #76

Maybe you could ask the Atlanteans.

Atlantis isn’t really lost at this point. In fact, Atlantis had petitioned for membership in the UN. Plus, you know, occasional invasion attempts. So, yeah, at this point, calling Atlantis a “lost civilization” is weird. Even more hilarious, Boom-Boom doubts Atlantis’ existence. She really doesn’t watch the news, does she?

New Mutants #76

Namor, King of Atlantis, had served on the Avengers not long ago.

Anyway, they figure out it’s a horn, and try blowing into it. Boom-Boom’s the one who gets it to work.

New Mutants #76

Queen of Slapstick.

Great gag there. You’d almost think she did that intentionally. The horn summons a giant octopus that grabs Ship. The X-Terminators rush out to help, wearing their regular costumes, which I still think is impractical for fighting in water. The Mutants show up to help, too. Rusty is pretty blase about Dani having a flying horse, but given he lives in a spaceship, I suppose that’s reasonable. Boom-Boom is about to try blowing the horn again, figuring another blast might make it leave, but she’s stopped by Namor. Who thinks they stole the horn. Sam yells at Namor for leaving the Horn laying around in the first place, Rusty admits they should have done more research before blowing it, and Namor is impressed and agrees to help. Dani whips up some underwater suits for everyone, though it still looks like they’re just wearing their regular costumes, which are still impractical for underwater fighting.

Boom-Boom whips up a big time bomb while the others keep the monster distracted. Meanwhile, Illyana’s still asleep. A plan is developed: They’re going to blow up the octopus’ brain with TNT. Good plan. Wait, how are they going to light the TNT’s fuse underwater? Well, whatever, the octopus grabs Warlock (who’s taken a submarine form), and Namor is terrible at comforting children.

New Mutants #76

Does . . . Does Namor think they can all breathe water?

Sam, Rusty and Skids go into the octopus’ mouth to plant the TNT, and Rusty lights the fuse, and how the hell is it burning underwater? I just . . . how? Whatever, the plan works, Ship’s free, just in time for X-Factor’s return. Bobby expresses some confusion at seeing a flying horse. Come on, Bobby, don’t even act like you haven’t seen way weirder. I guess it would be kinda weird to get home and see a flying horse. Things are explained, Namor says he’s learned to take better care of ancient artifacts (how is that a lesson that someone needs to learn?), and X-Factor agrees to let the New Mutants stay on Ship.

This is kind of a fun issue. Just a big fight against a monster, with a cameo from Namor, who’s always fun. There’s not much in the way of plot or character development. It feels like a bit of a breather issue. With a giant octopus. And that’s appreciated. The book’s had a lot of heavy drama lately, so having an issue relatively free of drama, one that’s just about a bunch of kids fighting a big monster, is a nice change of pace to let readers catch their breath. The issue also formally introduces the X-Terminator kids into the cast of New Mutants. They’d met and interacted during Inferno, and teamed up a bit in the immediate aftermath, but now, the teams have fully merged, and they’ll stay together for the rest of the run, and into X-Force. (Though, of course, there will be more line-up changes. Some characters will leave before New Mutants ends, and a couple new people will join when it becomes X-Force.)

The art’s good. Buckler was always a solid artist. His most notable work was in the ’70s, where he did push the envelope a little, by the standards of the time. By 1989, he was no longer innovative, but he still did good work. He was reliable. And it was good art. Very house-style stuff, very much a classic comics style, but done well. And there was still Oliver’s colours making it look even better.

This isn’t one of the great issues of New Mutants, but it’s a good one.

Pull List for May 3 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Is it obnoxious for me to start my posts that way? Oh well.

I’ll go to the store for: Black Bolt #1, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward and Clayton Cowles; Hawkeye #6, by Kelly Thompson, Michael Walsh, Jordie Bellaire, Joe Sabino and Travis Lanham; My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #53, by James Asmus and Tony Fleecs; Spider-Man/Deadpool #17, by Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, Walden Wong, Jason Keith Matt Yackey and Joe Sabino; Unstoppable Wasp #5, by Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson and Joe Caramagna.

I’ll also review: Jean Grey #1, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Jay David Ramos and Travis Lanham; X-Men Gold #3, by Marc Guggenheim, Ardian Syaf, Craig Yeung, Jay Leisten, Frank Martin and Cory Petit.

So that’s 5 comics I’m picking up, and 2 additional reviews. Light week.

Hawkeye has more Kate/Jessica Jones, so that’ll be great. They’re fun together. And it’s just a fun book. Spider-Man/Deadpool is rushing towards its climax, and Kelly and McGuinness (and the others) have been doing great work, so it’ll be interesting to see how it ends. And Wasp has been a delightful series, and hopefully, this issue will keep up the added drama from last issue.

Black Bolt #1 is something I’m not overly excited about, to be honest. I’ve talked plenty about the need to support diverse titles and diverse creators. And I try to do that. So I’m going to at least pick up the first issue of Black Bolt, because it is being written by a Muslim-American. Just the same, the book’s going to have to be pretty damn good to keep me buying it, because I kinda hate Black Bolt as a character. He strikes me as being almost the embodiment of patriarchy. For a long, long time, he was the King of the Inhumans, the absolute monarch whose decisions were unquestioned, and obviously, as the patriarch, his decisions were always the right ones. He was the most powerful of the Inhumans, and the wisest, and the noblest, and just all-around the best, because, as patriarch, he had to be the best, to prove that he should be in charge, that it was his duty to be the king and to protect all the little people. Even his muteness played into that. It removed any obligation he may have had to explain anything he decided – how can he explain if he can’t talk, right? And his speech could literally shake the city. And it also meant that everyone else was obligated to figure out what his gestures meant. His being unable to speak removed him, and while it was meant to make him tragic, it also served as a way to place him above everyone else. The Ultimate Patriarch. But patriarchy sucks. And monarchy is a terrible system of government that exists primarily to exploit the masses for the glory of a small number of elites. So Black Bolt is basically designed for me to hate him. There is absolutely nothing about him that appeals to me. But . . . I want to support diverse creators. So I’ll pick up the first issue for Saladin Ahmed. And if the book doesn’t do much to blow me away, I’ll drop it, because fuck Black Bolt.

I’ve read a few things over the past few weeks, but haven’t written up reviews of them yet. I suck. I need to get around to it. I finished People of Colour Destroy! Horror, Scooter Girl, and Beyond Anthology. And I have yet to write up the reviews for any of them. I have a few days off, I’ll try to do it this week.

It’s Free Comic Book Day on Saturday. I won’t be bothering with it. I don’t give a shit about Secret Empire, and I don’t think there’s any other free comics I’d want. FCBD is a fantastic way of getting people into a comic shop, and hopefully get them to come back. But for people who already frequent comic shops? For Wednesday Warriors like myself? Not really as big a deal.

So, I forgot my mom’s birthday last week. Oops. It’s so stupid, I knew it was coming up, but I completely lost track of the entire month. Like, I was telling myself just a few days ago that I had time. “I’ll get her present a few days before.” Then, haha! Nope! I’m an idiot! It was a complete accident, and it was just losing track of the month, and not knowing when the hell in the month it was. Argh.

Anyway, that’ll do for this week.

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