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X-Men comics of November 1 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So apparently Mark Waid decided to make Viv black. That’s . . . kinda weird, honestly. I have no faith in him to handle it well, even assuming he isn’t about to kill her off, as speculated. Anyway, I’ll talk instead about comics I did read today.

Astonishing X-Men #5, by Charles Soule, Ramon Rosanas, Nolan Woodard, and Clayton Cowles. Xavier tells Rogue, Mystique and Fantomex what’s going on, with the match against the Shadow King, and the need to sacrifice Logan and Gambit to keep his own power from being stretched too thin. In the real world, Gambit is possessed by Shadow King, and he blows up the floor. Psylocke saves the soldiers Gambit’s trying to kill, and they try to arrest her, and man, where’s the damn gratitude? I thought the Brits were supposed to be polite! Back in the Astral Plane:

Astonishing X-Men #5

Mystique’s not wrong.

Xavier explains that, after his death, his spirit was collected by the Shadow King, and they did astral battle. They turned to battling with X-Men stories, involving time travel and plagues. Presumably, Soule making a joking reference to All-New X-Men and IvX. While Xavier explains all this, he also talks to Fantomex about the ability to change, with Fantomex noting he’s tried, but always reverts to default. More meta-commentary by Soule, I guess, which would go over better if, uh, he hadn’t started this series with Fantomex reverted to default. And back in the real world, the Shadow King starts spreading. Another good issue. This one’s a lot of exposition. But it’s handled well. It’s interesting stuff, and Rosanas’ art really enhances it. I’m not generally a fan of Rosanas, but here, I don’t know why, it’s phenomenal. I don’t know if it’s just Rosenberg’s colours complementing his lines perfectly. Because Rosenberg’s colours are perfect, I’ll say that. The colours are rich and gorgeous. And they definitely do bring out the best in Rosanas’ lines. But even aside from the colours, Rosanas just does a great job. He’s a really good fit for the Astral Plane stuff, and he provides images that make the exposition easier to read. Which isn’t always easy to do. There’s a lot of exposition here, and that can be really difficult to convey dynamically, but Soule, Rosanas and Rosenberg do manage it. This is far and away the best current comic with X-Men in its title.

Iceman #7, by Sina Grace, Robert Gill, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. Bobby’s parents have learned about the teen version running around. In LA, Iceman and the Champions fight replica Sentinels, and save the cute guy Bobby was on a date with. And then he makes an ice kaiju. He even specifically calls out Toho, the studio that produces Godzilla’s films. So, yeah, it’s an ice kaiju. Which is pretty neat, I guess. With the Sentinels destroyed, Bobby then celebrates with a small “yas kween.” He then continues his date with Judah, with froyo, and then Netflix’n’Chill. And coffee with his Champions friends the next day, which is probably my favourite scene, just for being superheroes hanging out. And he tells his first memory of the Black Widow, where he hit on her really, really obnoxiously. And Darkstar offers some comforting words.

Iceman #7

A wonderful sentiment.

Oh, Iceman also talks to the woman who made the replica Sentinels, and in the process, he fails at a Spider-Man “hang from the ceiling” thing, and it’s genuinely funny. Because it is absolutely something that someone would do. Admit it, if you had the opportunity, you would try the ceiling-hang thing. I know you would, because I would, too. So Bobby trying it, and failing at it, is just a perfectly authentic moment. Anyway, this is a really good issue. It’s honestly exactly what I enjoy in superhero comics: A strong focus on the human element. Yeah, there’s fight against some Sentinels, but they’re not real Sentinels, so the fight is pretty low-stakes, and mostly just a chance for some fun. Which is nice. Bobby hanging out with the Champions was great. The camaraderie between them all was nice to see. Some gentle teasing between them. Like friends who are happy to see each other again, after a while. There’s also a similarly nice scene back at the Mansion. Grace is really good at these human moments, and it’s enjoyable to read. The art tells the story well, even if it doesn’t really blow me away. I like Gill more than Vittorio, but I’m still mostly meh on it. It’s adequate. But a very good issue.

Old Man Logan #30, by Ed Brisson, Mike Deodato, Frank Martin, Andres Mossa, Chris Sotomayor, and Cory Petit. Flashback to Maestro bringing the Hulk Gang through a dimensional portal created by his reality’s Doom, and then to the present, where a kid is threatening to open a nuke and kill them all. Maestro tries to talk the kid into it, Logan tries to talk him into it, and Clint knocks the kid out with a concussion arrow, and I can’t say I blame him. Kids suck. Maestro gets back at Clint by dropping a truck on him. So Logan vs. Maestro, and Cambria gets involved, and the kids jump in, and there’s a lot of fighting. And it’s OK. An issue like this relies heavily on the art. And I just don’t like Deodato’s art. I find it stiff. I find a lot of the body proportions weird. And I just find the whole style vaguely unsettling. So, I find the issue pretty lacking. Though I wasn’t a fan of this entire arc. Dragging back the Hulk Gang from the original Old Man Logan storyline, some cliche and predictable handling of Cambria, and it just never felt like the story had anything interesting to say. It never really grabbed me. So, meh.

And the non-X-stuff.

Black Bolt #7, by Saladin Ahmed, Frazier Irving, and Clayton Cowles. Bolt’s having nightmares about his prison stint. Blinky is sleeping well enough. But then a monster shows up, and Londal the Rich, Blinky’s former captor, the man who tossed her in prison. Blinky’s nightmares, made manifest. Then Monsteroso wakes up scared, and bangs around, so Blinky and Bolt stay with him until he can fall asleep again. They drop him off on his home planet, and continue on to Earth, but they’re attacked along the way. This issue is a bit of a let-down, if I’m honest. It’s nowhere near the level of that opening arc. The plotting is a bit slapdash. There’s kinda just too much going on in this issue, and it doesn’t get to spend enough time on anything. The prose isn’t as rich as I’ve come to expect, the emotions not as powerful. Admittedly, that opening arc was frigging incredible, so it would be hard to follow, regardless. Still, this issue just didn’t really impress me like I’d hoped it would. Ah, well, we’ll see how the next arc does.

Power Pack #63, by Devin Grayson, Marika Cresta, Chris O’Halloran, and Joe Caramagna. Katie’s at school, and her teacher asks her questions about a speculative fiction story she turned in. Her story was actually about the Power Pack Inferno tie-in, which is neat. (Also, she’s wearing a “Friday I Love You” t-shirt, a reference to the Cure song “Friday I’m In Love” and to Power Pack’s spaceship friend, Friday. Great shirt!) Anyway, the teacher doesn’t think Katie’s story was particularly strong, because Katie’s story didn’t actually detail exactly who Carmody was or what happened in the story. The teacher read it as a former boss dropping by and being annoying. She suggests Katie make it crazier. So Katie gives those details. Though in this version of the story, the Bogeyman possesses Alex, so Power Pack has to stop him without hurting him. It’s really just a story about how much Katie loves Alex, and misses him, with him off exploring other dimensions. It’s a sweet, cute story. With some really lovely art. Cresta’s got such a great contemporary style. It actually reminds me quite a bit of June Brigman’s art. Not a direct similarity. But Cresta feels like a fitting contemporary successor to Brigman. If Power Pack does get another series, I’d definitely love to see Cresta continue on the art. And I think Grayson would do a good job as writer on a new Power Pack series. This issue wasn’t exactly what I hoped for. I wasn’t totally on board with it being a story Katie tells her teacher. But there were definite seeds of what always made Power Pack so special. The focus on family, specifically. I think Grayson could kill it on an actual Power Pack series. Even just a mini. We’ll see, I suppose.

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Pull List for November 1 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Happy Halloween! I’m wearing my Ms. Marvel t-shirt today. That’s as close as I get to a costume.

I’ll go to the store for: Black Bolt #7, by Saladin Ahmed, Frazier Irving, and Clayton Cowles; Power Pack #63, by Devin Grayson Marika Cresta, Chris O’Halloran, and a letterer.

I’ll also review: Astonishing X-Men #5, by Charles Soule, Ramon Rosanas; Iceman #7, by Sina Grace, Robert Gill, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino; Old Man Logan #30, by Ed Brisson, Mike Deodato, Andres Mossa, Chris Sotomayor, Frank Martin, and Cory Petit.

So that’s . . . wow. Just wow. Two comics I’m picking up. Wow. And three other reviews. Yeesh. I’d wonder if it’s even worth going for them, or if I should just put the two off until next week. But Black Bolt. And Power Pack. Dangit.

Why to get them: Black Bolt is just, straight-up, one of Marvel’s best comics right now. It is brilliant. Powerful and gorgeous and brilliant. Christian Ward is being replaced for this issue by Frazier Irving, whose style isn’t too dissimilar, and who is a stellar artist. As for Power Pack? I mean, it’s Power Pack. As far as I know, I haven’t read anything Grayson’s written. But I’ve heard good stuff. And Power Pack’s just great, so screw it, why not give the one-shot a chance, right? I’m dropping Avengers, so that clears up a spot on my pull list.

I’ve decided to drop Avengers. More accurately, I’ve decided to drop Mark Waid. It’s looking like he’s going to kill Viv, and to be blunt, fuck that noise. He’s done an incredibly awful job writing her, 100% missing the entire point of her character. He writes her like the Vision, an android hiding her emotions. But that’s not who she is. She is a teen girl. With the emotional extremes that come with that. This is the girl who obsessed over a boy saying she’s cool. She’s not emotionless. And the series ended with her embracing her emotions, which Waid decided to just take a big ol’ shit all over by having her declare in Champions that she turned off her emotions. She’s a great, fascinating character, and Waid turned her into Vision Jr, and is killing her off. Also, Champions is the diversity-focused youth book, and Waid managed to not include a single queer character. And he hinted that Viv is maybe queer, did absolutely nothing with that hint, and is now killing her off. What the shit? So, I’m just done with Waid. Not spending any more money on anything he does. Means I won’t be buying the weekly Avengers series, much as I love Ewing’s work. Of course, I’m not happy about it going weekly in the first place. I suppose it’s not too bad, since it’s a merger of three titles (plus one that was already canceled, and I notice that David Walker is the one writer who doesn’t get to be be part of the weekly series, and I am just shocked that the black guy doesn’t get to work on the main Avengers title.)

Might be time for me to start looking to expand my pull list a bit. Something for me to think about.

I’m probably going to see Thor this weekend, with my friend. It looks great. Hela!

I bought 3 more t-shirts. One’s an X, one is a Lila Cheney shirt, the other is Dazzler’s starburst.

Star Trek: Discovery is still great. I’m loving it.

The Gifted, I’m starting to sour on, just a bit. It avoids some cliches, but leans into others, and I find them distracting. Also, the fact that the persecuted minority with years of experience hiding from the law need help from the Perfect Privileged People who only started to give a shit about minority rights when it suddenly affected them? Meh. I’d appreciate waaaaay more calling out of their privilege. Because, again, they only gave a damn when it started affecting them. The father was totally fine sending mutants to prison and never giving them a second thought, while the mother was fine not even bothering with a first thought. But then their kids are mutants, and now they care, and we’re expected to think they’re so great and heroic. Actually, you know what might have been interesting? If the Struckers had belonged to a real-world minority. Instead of being the WASP-iest of WASPs, absolutely dripping with privilege, make them a minority who was fine with another minority being targeted. That is, after all, a very real thing, and very complicated, and something worth exploring. Of course, that only works with a diverse writers’ room. (Also the show should have an openly gay character. Like, come on. It’s not complicated. Hell, they should have an openly trans character, given the rate of violence they experience solely for who they are.)

That’s all I’ve got for this week.

Uncanny X-Men #251 (1989, November)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So November and December of 1989 were ridiculous. It’ll take me forever to get through them. But let’s get started. By Claremont, Silvestri, Green, Oliver, and Orzechowski, “Fever Dream.”

Fever Dream

This is one of the all-time great covers.

Logan’s been in better shape.

Uncanny X-Men #251

Hell of a splash page.

He’s been chained to a big wooden X, left outside. Pearce and the Reavers torture him a bit, and leave him out in the sun. A few of the Reavers are searching the base, after Reese thought he saw something. They find nothing, and the sensors can’t find anyone. Apparently, for some reason, Jubilee is invisible to the base’s sensors. I’m just gonna go ahead and say “magic” for that. Back outside, Wolverine sees Gateway, and the X-Men. Including himself. Rogue, Longshot and himself fade away. Havok blasts Storm. Then Psylocke, Reaver-ified. She pulls off her ksin, and is revealed as Sabretooth, and we find out what happened.

Wolverine, coming back from Madripoor, wasn’t given a gateway by Gateway. Instead, he had to drive out. When he got back, he was ambushed by the Reavers. Sabretooth then changes to Ogun, asking Logan why he isn’t fighting, and Logan says he’s tired. Ogun cuts Logan down, and the mask comes off to reveal Kitty’s face. She takes him up Gateway’s hill to show what happened to the rest of the team. After they returned from the Savage Land, and Alex declares it’s time they quit. Psylocke pulls out the Siege Perilous, for a series of farewells. Including a kiss between Betsy and Alex, because sure, why not. The Reavers finally get up top and ask where the others went, and Betsy has a simple answer:

Uncanny X-Men #251

She made fleeing into something badass.

Then Kitty turns into the Brood Queen to chomp on Logan. Pearce and the Reavers are there when he wakes up, holding wooden spikes, with Jubilee watching. And, man.

Uncanny X-Men #251

Intense.

Logan still doesn’t scream, to Pearce’s anger. But then Pearce has to head inside for the night, thanks to a sandstorm coming in. Logan is visited by visions of some of the women in his life: Storm, Phoenix, Mariko, and Carol Danvers. They all urge him to keep fighting, he tells them to leave him alone. Storm turns into a kid before vanishing, with a sudden downpour. Hallucination or not, Storm always has a sense of drama. Inside, a TV reports intense storms around the world, the worst of it being in Cairo, Illinois. Hint! Outside, despite the weather, Jubilee can’t stop watching Logan, wondering if she should help him, if it’s worth the risk. He, meanwhile, has decided to keep fighting.

Uncanny X-Men #251

This issue is so intense.

He does get free. To Jubilee’s shock and horror.

Uncanny X-Men #251

Awesome.

This is one hell of an issue. Chilling, at times. The torture Logan’s put through is brutal, with Pearce being utterly irredeemable trash. Logan’s visions of what happened in his absence are neat. Psylocke telepathically sending everyone through the Siege Perilous is quite a decision. She was a hard, calculating woman. She was willing to cross moral lines for the sake of her friends, even if it meant losing them, and it’s kinda cool. I liked this version of Psylocke, more than I like the Asian martial artist, if I’m honest. But yeah, this is it, the X-Men are done. The team’s completely disbanded. And it’ll take a while before they get back together. It’s an interesting way for the story to go, I’ll give it that much. It’s been building for a while, with the team getting whittled down over the past few issues. Here, Claremont pulls a trigger and finishes the whole team, with Logan being the last one left. But we also get Jubilee finally pulled into things, at the very end there, with Logan speaking to her.

Silvestri, Green and Oliver deserve a ton of the praise for this issue. Oliver always deserves a lot of praise, of course. But Silvestri did a great job with framing scenes. He knows what to show, and what not to show, for maximum impact. Not showing the crucifixion was the smart choice, as Jubilee’s reactions sell the horror even better than the actual impalement could have. It’s similar with Logan pulling free, showing just enough to be effective. It’s phenomenal work.

Such a great issue.

A couple other comics worth mentioning. Amazing Spider-Man #324, part 5 of a storyline called “The Assassin Nation Plot,” feature Sabretooth. He was behind an assassination that’s brought Symkaria close to war. In #324, Silver Sable and Captain America find him in Mexico, helping some bandits steal some artifacts. Sable goes after Sabretooth, and he cuts her up a bit, but she gets him to dive into a wall so it collapses on him. And it kills him. So he never showed up again.

I guess I can mention Fantastic Four Annual #22, the conclusion of the Atlantis Attacks event. Beast is there. And Storm and Marvel, as two of the Seven Brides of Set. Thing thinks about how he heard Storm was dead, but other than that, no one really comments on it, I guess because they figure “hero back from the dead” just isn’t that big a deal any more. Oh, they’re also all in West Coast Avengers Annual #4, which actually came out before the FF Annual. But Atlantis Attacks sucks, so who cares? On the other hand, that Annual does have Wasp and She-Hulk rating the Avengers Hunks, which is one of the silliest but best things.

And What If #6. What If the X-Men Lost Inferno? By Danny Fingeroth, Ron Lim, Keith Williams, Tom Vincent, and Gary Fields. It picks up after N’astirh’s defeat. This time, S’ym was there to absorb his power, and he formed an alliance with Madelyne. And they killed the X-Men and X-Factor, aside from Wolverine, who got out of the way in time. S’ym suggests keeping him as a pet, then Maddie and S’ym sacrifice little Nathan, allowing Limbo in, with no way to close the portal. So the world is conquered by the demons. Maddie and S’ym have become a couple, Wolverine herds humans for them. The resistance comes down a handful of mystics: Dr. Strange, Shaman, Jennifer Kale, Hellstrom, Margali Sazardos, Dr. Druid, Dakimh, and Baron Mordo. And a handful of other heroes: Spider-Man, Thor, the Captain, Human Torch, She-Hulk, and Shadowcat. An attack on their base results in a bunch of them dying. Strange, Mordo, Torch and Kitty escape, then Strange finds Rachel, still a mannequin, and restores her, so she can summon the Phoenix Force to purge the planet of the demons. Logan ends up killing Kitty in all the fighting, which snaps him back to normal. In time to get killed himself. Rachel is distracted long enough for Madelyne to take control of the Phoenix Force. But S’ym uses Logan’s skeleton to kill her, and Rachel uses the Phoenix Force to purge the world. It’s not a bad story, but I always found What If’s focus on events over character to be boring. It’s all about BIG TWISTS, and it actually ends up being boring. There’s no real emotional context to any of it. They make for poor stories. This one is better than most, but still lame.

Alpha Flight #75 (1989, October)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’m still sad about Silver Surfer ending. Such a beautiful series. Anyway, today, by Hudnall, Calimee, Manley, Sharen, and Chiang, “Tigers In the Rain.”

Tigers In the Rain

What a desperate cash-grab cover.

Something I want to note about the credits: Editor Carl Potts had apparently just gotten married. I wonder if that marriage has lasted all these years. But anyway, the issue. Giant-sized, for extra . . . I’m gonna say “fun”? I assume that’s what they wanted to go for. Puck, at his tall size is wandering, and sees Manhattan, and Alpha Flight fighting other heroes. The fight isn’t going well for them. Human Torch offers Talisman an opportunity to surrender, which is pretty nice of him. It’s probably because she’s an attractive woman. She politely declines, and freezes and shatters him. Meanwhile, Lil is fighting Wolverine and Colossus, and doing better than she has any real right to. She even dents Colossus’ face. It’s, uh, actually pretty messed-up.

Alpha Flight #75

Could’ve done without seeing this.

Puck shows up and makes Wolverine and Colossus burst into flame. He explains about the world they’re in being malleable, and how one’s thoughts can create anything. The rest of Alpha Flight is getting their second wind, but they’re still in trouble. Talisman gets saved by Elvis. Lil karate-chops Iron Man in half. And Shaman gets saved by Santa.

Alpha Flight #75

Action-movie Santa.

So recently, I read an anthology I backed on Kickstarter. It’s called Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. One of the stories, written by Alethea Kontis, is based on the Retired Pro’s Last Job trope. The story has a retired Santa get pulled into a missing children case. It’s a really good story, really well-told. A fun premise, but played straight, and made better for that. It’s a great anthology, and you should definitely check it out. Gun-toting Santa made me think of that story, and I figured I may as well have something positive to say somewhere in this post.

Anyway. Lil finishes off all the heroes they’re fighting, Puck tells the team they’re in the Dreamqueen’s dimension, and they all go home, bringing Puck with them. So now he’s back on Earth, tall, young and handsome. Which is so boring. He was cooler when he had dwarfism. When he was small, fast and hard, like his namesake. It’ll be a while yet before another writer catches onto that and makes him the way he should be again.

So this issue is pretty meh. Lots of fighting. The fighting is actually not too bad. Calimee was certainly not Marvel’s best or most dynamic artist of the time. (He also wasn’t the worst, if only because Rob Liefeld was working for Marvel.) His art could be a bit flat, a bit lacking in expression. There’s occasional awesome panels. But for the most part, it’s just adequate storytelling. You can tell what’s going on, but it doesn’t do much to impress. But this being such an action-heavy issue does result in there not being much character stuff going on, which is a shame, since that’s the kind of thing I enjoy most. There’s more hints of the Heather/Madison/Lil love triangle, and I can’t say I’m a fan of that. Frankly, under Hudnall, I’m not all that interested in any of three to begin with. They’re dull, and so is their romantic issues. So bleh on that.

It’s honestly hard thinking of anything to say about this, because it is just so bland. There isn’t enough there to actually talk about. It’s not even interesting enough to be bad. It simply exists. And part of that does come down to personal taste. Like I said, I’m all about character focus. Someone who loves action will probably enjoy this more than I did. But personally, I just can’t work up the energy to care one way or the other about this comic.

Read the Slott/Allred Silver Surfer run instead. Seriously so amazing, read it read it read it!

X-Men comics of October 25 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I figured, rather than posting this at 3 am, I’d set it to auto-post at 4 pm. Because why not?

X-Men Blue #14, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. Mojo tells people to post their suggestions for ways of killing the X-Men, and you know, given Mojo’s history of wanting to be seen as the only one with ideas, I have to give him credit for his willingness to use social media like this. It’s nice to see him keeping up with the times, you know? Jean’s team is fighting weird monsters, mash-ups of various X-villains. Jean gets stabbed, but doesn’t die, because she does try hard not to be like classic Jean. Sadly, there’s some ship-teasing between Jean and Jimmy, and uuuuuuuugh! No, Cullen! Bad! Mojo brings down more spires, which put Magneto, Polaris and Danger into the Mutant Massacre. Hey, neat. Magneto had to stay uninvolved in the original Massacre, so now he gets to kick some Marauder ass. Good for him. And then to Kitty’s team, caught in AvX. Which allows for a pretty great Longshot moment:

X-Men Blue #14

Though a “thwump” sound effect would’ve made it complete.

It made me chuckle, at least. Longshot teleports them away, to Mojo’s anger, which Major Domo takes in stride. Though I still miss the days of him insulting using nicknames for Mojo. “Oh bloated one” and the like. This Major Domo just doesn’t feel right without the snark. There are some other cool developments, as well. As usual, Bunn does a better job than Guggenheim. Funnier, smarter, more exciting, better character moments. Though uuuugh I am not at all a fan of the Jean/Jimmy ship. At all at all. Jimmy has all the personality of a cardboard cut-out of himself. Bad enough it’s a Jean/Wolverine ship, but Jimmy doesn’t even have Logan’s charm and charisma. Jimmy is just a big nothing. A void. And here’s Bunn teasing him with Jean. Because a Jean/Scott/Wolverine ship is a classic element, and Bunn’s run so far has been all about taking classic things and putting a more contemporary twist on them. But why, why did that love triangle have to be one of those things? Ugh. Other than that, though, this isn’t bad. Mojo is always entertaining. The art’s good. The fights are handled well. They’re exciting. And there’s some good expressive work. Both serious and comedic. And Molina nails that pair of panels of Spider-Man trying to attack Longshot. It’s a great gag moment.

Weapon X #10, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Marc Borstel, Ibraim Roberson, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Alba tells Weapon H to kill a couple homeless people. Meanwhile, Stryker-bot is in a tank, being taunted by Sabretooth, Domino and Deathstrike. They don’t like him. I wonder why. Deathstrike wants to crucify him, but Domino points out limbs are kind of a requirement to make that work. See, Domino’s smart, she thinks these things through. Logan demands information, and Stryker gives them some, and also says Alba is the real threat. Back to Weapon H, still resisting the command to kill. Logan, Laura and Domino check out the storage facility Stryker pointed them to. This remains a good series, though Laura still feels a little under-used. When she was brought it, it felt like kind of a big deal, but she hasn’t really done much, or had that much in terms of focus. She does get a very strong scene near the end of this issue, and I appreciated that. Honestly, the series has shifted the focus a little too much to Weapon H, which has meant less space for the team in general. Warpath’s getting the worst of that, with virtually nothing to do any more. And that sucks. All that said, this is still a very good series. Pak and his team are doing strong work. Weapon H actually is a good, sympathetic character. Stupid premise aside, he’s a good character, and his struggle to maintain his humanity is compelling. And Dr. Alba is a phenomenal villain. She is just so irredeemably evil. She just does not care about morality at all. It’s frightening. The art is a little uneven, but mostly good. It tells the story effectively, which is the important part. There’s no ambiguity at any points. So, while it’s easy to mock the Hulkverine idea, this is a very good book, one worth reading.

All-New Wolverine #26, by Tom Taylor, Juan Cabal, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Daken’s being tortured. It’s a pretty tense scene, though it ends with him freeing himself. Larua is at the house of her aunt and cousin, along with her mother, and Gabby. And Beast, who’s running tests on Laura’s mother. And Jonathan, wearing a Wolverine vest. Gabby has decided that, since Sarah is Laura’s mother, and since Gabby’s a clone of Laura, it means Sarah is Gabby’s mother.

All-New Wolverine #26

I would read this comic.

Sarah tells Laura thatthe Orphans of X are looking for the remains of the Muramasa Blade, Logan’s sword that could kill people with healing factors. Good issue. The parts with Daken are tense, enhanced by the 12-panel grid structure. It gives a great sense of immediacy to his pages. On the flip side, the pages with Laura and her family are nice. Her aunt and cousin don’t do much other than stand there, but it’s still nice seeing them again. Gabby, as usual, can’t stop stealing scenes, being her usual wonderful self. I love her plans for mother-daughter bonding. She’s put a lot of thought into it. Which is sweet , but also kinda sad, because she’s obviously thought about it so much because she never got to have a mom before. Poor Gabby. The Muramasa Blade stuff is, uh, not something I’m excited about. I wasn’t particularly a fan of that stuff at the time. I’m sure Taylor will handle it well, but . . . meh. But the Orphans of X plot is actually pretty interesting. And the art is really good. Jonathan is cute, and that’s the main bar by which I measure the art on this series. But yeah, Cabal and Woodard do great work. Cabal handles the 12-panel grids for Daken’s pages excellently. This series is great!

Jean Grey #8, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Chris Sotomayor, and Travis Lanham. The Jeans are deep in Emma’s mind, and a memory of the Morrison days. Teen Jean has no idea what the hell is going on, and Adult Jean is being remarkably little help, even though she’s trying to help. Then Quire attacks Jean with a bat. And Jean has to defend herself against various attacks. Which includes Adult Jean noting that she got used to the smell of Logan burning. Which is honestly hilarious to me. Also, here’s the best moment of the issue:

Jean Grey #8

An accurate summation of the Morrison era.

Also great: Beak and Angel.

Jean Grey #8

I’m with Angel.

Man, this is making me miss the Morrison run. Such a good run. With some great characters. Anyway, Jean’s running around leads to Scott and Emma in bed. And Jean being kinda grossed out. This issue is, um, interesting. Really good, though. The bickering of the Jeans is a lot of fun, and Teen Jean’s commentary on everything is amusing. The Morrison run really was a weird one. This issue was a fun reminder of just how weird. And how fun. Hopeless and Ibanez have a great time with it. There’s still an interesting plot beneath it all, but mostly, this issue entertains me for its commentary on the Morrison era. Jean’s disbelief at it all is pretty much perfect.

That’s the X-stuff, her’es quick thoughts on the other stuff I picked up.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #24, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, Dominike Stanton, Michael Shelfer, Ray-Anthony Height, and Travis Lanham. Lunella’s expecting guess, so she’s cleaning up her lab and missing Devil. And we get three stories! The first has art by Ray-Anthony Height, and I really like his style. It’s a good style. Lunella’s hair looks really frizzy and I like that. Anyway, the story has her sucked into an envelope where she meets Mojo and, more important, the X-Babies! She’s a huge star in Mojoworld. Home of the X-Babies! Not sure why they’re working with Mojo, but screw it, X-Babies!

Moon Girl #24

I am 100% on board with this.

Then Domo Stanton for a Ghost Riders team-up.

Moon Girl #24

Pennyfarthing!

Best part is his flame-‘stache. It’s amazing. And then Michael Shefler, for a team-up with Daredevil. He’s not sure a 9-year-old should be a superhero, though I’d just like to point out that Katie Power was only 4 or 5 when she became a superhero. Anyway, Daredevil, so there’s ninjas. There’s always ninjas. This is a good, fun comic. Bustos gets to relax for a bit while we see other artists do their takes on Lunella. And it is generally delightful.

Black Panther #166, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, Marc Deering, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino. Klaw backstory! He had a sister who heard voices, so she was given a lobotomy, which crushed Klaw, and now he wants to spread those voices to everyone. This is a good Klaw-focused issue. The whole thing is him talking to his dead sister, about voices and divinity and power, while preparing to attack Wakanda. It’s compelling stuff. The most compelling Klaw’s ever been. Humanizes him in a way I don’t think I’ve seen before, by showing what he was like as a human, as a kid. It’s great.

USAvengers #11, by Al Ewing, Paco Diaz, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna. Sam is definitely in space, even though it looks like a lovely American town. A town ruled by Ritchie Redwood, America’s Typical Teenager. And who is very clearly Archie. The USAvengers team, with SMasher’s help, is off to rescue him.And Asmasher is pretty sassy about Earth being a mess.  I’m glad to see Toni join along on the mission, and she says she can’t lead AIM from a desk But I still worry that she’s going to end up becoming, essentially, a civilian. Mission support, rather than an active superhero. That would be a shame. Marvel’s lacking adult female super-science superheroes, and Toni would be a perfect character to do more with in that kind of role. Anyway, their ship gets attacked by Space Gangsters. So this is clearly a good comic you should read.

Captain Marvel #125, by Margaret Stohl, Michele Bandini, Erick Arciniega, and Joe Caramagna. With the stations destroyed, Alpha Flight is grounded, on an indefinite furlough. Carol’s crashing with Jessica Drew, and gets another visit from Bean in enrgy form. She’s grown, and she’s speaking in complete, albeit confused, sentences. She has a dread warning. So Carol calls in her team, and it’s down to business. This is a pretty good issue. There’s a little more weight than previous issues. It still needs more. We’ll see how that goes. I like the art, though. Bandini’s great. It’s just a lovely style. Works for me better than Rosanas’ style did. Hopefully, this issue is an indication that the series is getting better.

America #8, by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Jordan Gibson, and Travis Lanham. She’s feeling good about having an abuela. And she moves in with Prodigy. And she’s flirting by phone with Magdalena, her ex. And then there’s an attack at the school, and the new Dean of Students is not the least bit sinister. But America gets to put on a stealthy outfit that looks sweet! And David gets to show what an awesome genius he is. I still don’t like Rivera’s voice for America. She still does not sound like America. Too emotional, when one of the things that made America stand out to me is just how controlled she is. And I also still don’t like Quinones’ art. So this series is still disappointing me, when I want to love it so damn much.

And, finally, Silver Surfer #14, by Dan Slott, Michael and Laura Allred, and Joe Sabino. I cried. Now that this series is over, if you haven’t read it yet, read this series. The whole run. It is wonderful. It is beautiful. It is one of the most perfect comics to exist. It will bring you to tears, sometimes from sadness, more often from joy, and awe at the sheer beauty of the story. I promise you, you will love this series. Read it. You know how the King/Walta/Bellaire Vision series was one of the most heartbreaking and soul-crushing comics out there? This Slott/Allreds Silver Surfer is the complete opposite. I’d argue equal in quality. But full of wonder and joy and moments that replenish your soul. I literally cannot recommend this highly enough. I’ve never been a particular fan of the Silver Surfer, but this has been one of my favourite comics . . . ever, really. It’s that good. So I implore you, if you haven’t read it yet, read it.

Pull List for October 25 2017; Marvel needs female super-science superheroes

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So hey, this’ll be my last pull list before Halloween. So Happy Halloween.

I’ll go to the store for: All-New Wolverine #26, by Tom Taylor, Juan Cabal; America #8, by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Jordan Gibson, and Travis Lanham; Black Panther #166, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, Marc Deering, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino; Mighty Captain Marvel #125, by Margaret Stohl, Michele Bandini, Erick Arciniega, and Joe Caramagna; Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #24, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, Dominike Stanton, Michael Shelfer, Ray-Anthony Height, and Travis Lanham; Silver Surfer #14, by Dan Slott, Michael and Laura Allred, and Joe Sabino; USAvengers #11, by Al Ewing, Paco Diaz, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna.

I’ll also review: Jean Grey #8, by Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez, Chris Sotomayor, and Travis Lanham; Weapon X #10, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Marc Borstel, Ibraim Roberson, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna; X-Men Blue #14, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina.

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

Why I’m getting each book: Wolverine’s last issue ended on one hell of a cliffhanger, and I’m expecting some heartbreaking stuff to come out of it. But it’ll be so good. America’s a book I’m giving a much greater chance than it deserves. But I’m sticking with it for now. Maybe Exterminatrix showing up will make things interesting. Black Panther’s a very intelligent book, and while I’ve never cared much about Klaw, Coates might manage to get me to care. Captain Marvel’s another book I’m too generous on, but this upcoming arc looks like it might be a bit heavier, which the book desperately needs. Moon Girl’s dropped Devil, which is so sad, but this issue has guest artists doing stories of Lunella having team-ups, and that just sounds wonderful. USAvengers is always fun, and Sam trapped in an Archie parody is going to be a delight. And Silver Surfer. The final issue. I am not ready. This series was such a wonderful adventure. This issue might break me. I’ll probably cry. Because Slott and the Allreds wrung feels out of me every issue, and now it’s over, and I don’t want it to be over!

I’ve been feeling a little burned out on my blog. Not satisfied with how I review issues. Finding it hard to get motivated to write on weekends. Plus, I actually do want to go back through aaaaallllllllll my current posts to add some images and stuff. I’ve made no headway on that. I’ve only done up to X-Men #26. Out of, uh, over 600 issues I’ve gotten through so far. So, you know, a long way to go. Plus, I kinda want to add characters to the Categories. Just seems like the thing to do. So, I don’t know. I need to think about this stuff. See if I can better motivate myself.

So Thor: Ragnarok looks pretty great. Getting great reviews. I resent that I’ll be watching it in the theatre. But Hela looks so damn cool. And it’ll be nice having a female villain in the MCU. The movies have avoided that so far. It almost happened in Iron Man 3, but marketing didn’t think boys would buy a female villain toy. Because marketing departments are run by misogynistic assholes.

Speaking of misogyny: Marvel’s history of not allowing female characters to be both super-geniuses and superheroes. Look at all their female geniuses. They’re almost all civilians or villains. The small number of them who are superheroes, their scientific backgrounds still get less focus than their male counterparts. Kitty and Bobbi are really the only two examples that spring to mind from before Secret Wars. Kitty’s a genius, and is especially good at computer hardware. How often does she get to show that off? When the X-Men need a tech solution, they go with Beast or Forge. Never Kitty. And Bobbi? She spent 20 years dead, and when she came back, her spy background got more focus than her bio-chemistry background, at least until her solo came along and reminded people that, oh yeah, she’s a scientist. Of course, post-Secret Wars, we have Lunella, Nadia and Riri. All of them still kids. And we have Toni Ho, who is awesome and who Marvel is likely to ignore.

For Marvel’s entire history, women were effectively banned from being super-scientists and superheroes. When a superhero showed up in a book as a technical consultant, it was always a dude. When a bunch of scientists got together to solve a problem, it was always a sausage-fest. I think Hickman’s Avengers run, during Time Runs Out, provides a perfect case study. Hickman had a bunch of super-geniuses working to find a solution to the Incursions. By TRO, that group: Reed, Stark, T’Challa, Banner, Brian Braddock, Amadeus, Beast, Pym. Notice something about that list? Yeah, sausage party. And that’s always been the case at Marvel. Men can be super-scientists and superheroes. Women can be one or the other. Never both.

And it’s misogynistic bullshit. And it needs to end. That trend needs to die in a fire. And it’s starting to. They’ve got Lunella, Nadia and Riri, all being considered as being as smart as any of those guys! And all children. And they’ve got Toni Ho, an adult woman, a queer woman of colour, even, who is a super-scientist and who, in USAvengers, was actively engaged in superheroics! And she’s not appeared in any other titles. And I have no expectation that she’ll be an active field member of the upcoming weekly Avengers team. Engima will be there, so I’m sure we’ll see Toni, but she’ll be left out of missions. She’ll provide support from HQ. She won’t be taking on another costumed identity and going out into the fray. She should. She is, in fact, the exact character Marvel should be pushing. A Queer Woman of Colour who is a super-scientist and a superhero. All the people who bitch and moan about how Marvel does diversity? None of the arguments they bring up can actually be applied to her. New character. Give her her own identity, and that complaint goes away. An adult character, rather than a kid. And she’s a complex character with motivations and fears, who isn’t defined by any one thing. She’s exactly what those people want, so Marvel should give her to them. Put her front and centre on a main Avengers team, and when they still find reasons to bitch about her, it’ll just show that they’re full of shit.

But, that won’t happen. Marvel’s going to let her fade into the background. Because they’re assholes.

Anyway, I guess that’s all I’ve got.

Excalibur #13 (1989, October)

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’ve been getting bad about updating. Oops. Well, today, by Claremont, Davis, Neary, Oliver, and Orzechowski, “The Marriage of True Minds.”

The Marriage of True Minds

Psh. He’s not so big.

Brian gets a new costume! Good for him. It’s not bad. Which doesn’t stop Kitty and Kurt from making fun of it. It’s also mentioned that the costume is better at absorbing England’s energies, which are required to power Brian’s powers. That’s why he got weak in New York, after Inferno. The costume actually used to belong to Captain Marshall, that world’s version of Captain Britain, before he died. Kitty talks to Alistaire, who’s still infatuated with Rachel, who still seems clueless to the whole triangle, and I’m still entertained by it all. We meet the Queen, who looks like an older, kinder version of Saturnyne. Kinda neat how she’s something of a multiversal constant.

Excalibur #13

“Cool” is one word for it, I suppose, Rachel.

I really like the next page:

Excalibur #13

There’s a lot going on here.

Obviously, Rachel and Meggan playing dress-up in the background is great. I also like everyone reacting to it. (And Meggan’s Big Hair is something.) But the argument between Kitty and the Queen is great, too. “You are impertinent!” “I’m an American!” Kitty’s patriotism is always fun. She just refuses to bow to power, and it’s cool. And I’m kinda with her. I don’t get the American fascination with monarchies. They did fight a war so they wouldn’t have to care, but then they obsess over them. It baffles me. Anyway, the Queen teleports away with Kitty, and the others go looking, and come across a small and goofy-looking guard surrounded by trolls.

Back on Earth, Gatecrasher has made an agreement with the Brighton city council to control the weather in exchange for being allowed to live on the pier. None of Technet are happy, but they don’t have much choice. And then Nigel returns to normal to offer Technet a contract, to rescue Jamie Braddock from Doc Croc. But back to the other world, where they’re preparing to do something to Kitty. Something that presumably involves magic, given this part:

Excalibur #13

Dark magic, bright soul. I like that.

The magic, of course, comes from Illyana, who lost it when she returned to being a child. And I once again want to remind people that Kitty and Illyana are, canonically, soulmates. Their actual souls are connected. It’s a real thing. Let them be lovers, dammit! Anyway, the Queen also muses that there are resonances to Kitty’s aura and character that remind her of herself. Claremont clearly wanted there to be some connection between Kitty and Saturnyne/Sat-YR-9. Shame that never really got explored in any greater depth.

Regardless, they start doing something to change Kitty, and Rachel hears Kitty’s psychic scream, and holy shit, do not get in the way of an angry redhead rescuing her girlfriend. The fight is stopped when Kitty comes out, a proper princess, ready to marry Prince William. The Queen sets a crew to repairing the train, but Alistaire has no idea how to get Widget to send it home.

Excalibur #13

A good team, but were they the Team Supreme?

Kitty and William are walking, with William missing the way Kitty used to be. She’s just like any princess now. They get attacked by trolls. Small ones, this time. When Kitty phases free, she returns to her normal self, but once the adventure’s past, she goes back to being proper. That night, as she sleeps, she’s attacked by a shadow monster. Meggan and Kurt manage to trace the monster back to where it came from. Turns out, it’s the princess they rescued last issue. Princess Kate. She was also responsible for the ogre and Shaitan last issue. All an elaborate scheme to get Billy to “rescue” her, because she loves him. Billy is stunned, and decides to marry her, instead. The Queen agrees, since it was what she wanted in the first place. Happy ending!

Good issue. Princess Kitty was kinda unsettling, because she was so not-herself. Kitty being improper, outspoken and rebellious is a huge part of her charm. It’s what makes her so endearing. So her being soft-spoken and proper is just weird. Meanwhile, her counterpart, Princess Kate, is also pretty awesome. She’s got a definite edge to her. I mean, she used black magic to fake her own kidnapping just so she could be rescued by the boy she likes. That’s pretty dedicated. I mean, it’s kind of a shame that she uses that determination to win over a cute boy, but still. Now that she’s got him, maybe she can turn her attention to other stuff, and start trying to reform the system of government or something. You never know, it could happen!

The art is Davis/Neary/Oliver. So it’s brilliant. So much personality, so much humour, so much awesomeness. It’s a great-looking comic.

Great issue in general.

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