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X-Men comics of November 28 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So I get a vacation next week. It’ll be my first actual vacation time in over 4 years, since I finished college. I never got vacation time at Walmart, because I was only part-time. I didn’t get vacation time at my last job, because it only came into effect after a year, which is exactly when I got laid off. So I get an actual week of vacation, where I can sit back, relax, and not have to worry about doing anything. I’m looking forward to it. But for now, comics.

Uncanny X-Men #3, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, Yildiray Cinar, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. Dinosaurs are about to run down anti-mutant protesters, Iceman and Bishop save them, and Bishop even gives one of them back his sign. Because he’s nice and because X-Men comics are all about Model Minority Politics bullshit. At least Cinar and Rosenberg put some blood on Laura. Nowhere near enough, I think she should be just covered in dino blood, but it’s better than her popping out of a T-Rex and being completely clean. Back at the school, the kids let Legion in. Jean takes her team to Kansas to help Storm’s team against the army of Madroxes. This takes us to the moment Jean saw in the first issue, and she decides to add her telepathy to Psylocke’s, so they can take the Madroxes out. Legion freaks out when he learns about the Madroxes, to the point of slamming his head on the floor.

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A 2018 mood.

And then there are more twists, though the twist at the end was something that’s actually been hyped for like two months now, so it’s not much of a surprise. So, this issue has plot development. So that’s good to see. Not much character development going on. Again, Armour gets pissy about the X-Men not letting her in on the action. Again, this will only be a character point worth exploring if it leads to these kids getting to be full-fledged X-Men in ongoing titles after this story ends. I feel like this is the writers lampshading the lack of respect the New X-Men get while knowing they’ll still get no respect when the story’s over, because the X-office would rather wallow in nostalgia and focus on all the same characters all the time. Some of my biggest complaints about the current story, I’ll save for later issues, because they’ll be more relevant there. But I will say that I’m seeing well-trod ground being trod again, doing a variation on a story they’ve done multiple variations on, which has become a massive issue with the X-Men franchise. They can’t stop telling stories they’ve already told, and it’s a bigger problem with the X-Men franchise than even Marvel’s other franchises, and it makes it increasingly less satisfying being an X-Men fan. Cool moments, with all the emotional context requiring a lot of prior experience with the franchise. And, of course, still giving plenty of panel space to people hating mutants, while ignoring the very existence of any human who supports human rights, because the franchise is still obsessed with that shit. The art’s fine here. I have no problem with Cinar. It’s mostly clear and easy to follow. Occasionally a bit muddier than I like, but not to the extent of being a turn-off. I suppose my biggest issue with Cinar’s art here is that I prefer when a story has a single artist, which weekly comics make impossible. One of many reasons I oppose weekly comics. Regardless, this series still isn’t impressing me.

Return of Loganverine #3, by Charles Soule, Declan Shalvey, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino. Jean’s found Logan, so she, Kitty and Storm are having a meeting to decide what to do about it. They figure he’s probably escaped Soteira and is on the run, and hasn’t called for help because:

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She’s not wrong. On either count.

Meanwhile, he and what’s-her-name have found Soteira City, and look for the woman’s son. Kitty, Jean, Storm, Nightcrawler, and, inexplicably, Iceman go to Soteira City to talk to him, but get attacked. (The reason I find it weird that Iceman’s there is because the idea was they’d take some of Logan’s closest friends, and Logan and Iceman were never particularly close. It’s not like they disliked each other, they were friends and all, but never close friends.) Anyway, they get attacked. Persephone, despite her threat to kill some mutants if the X-Men tried to interfere with her, decides not to kill any of the kids she’s captured, and I gotta be honest, I kinda like Persephone. She’s cheerful, and pragmatic. Kinda fun. Also, she’s excited for Wolverine vs. the X-Men. This isn’t bad. It’s not blowing me away, I’d rather see the character development moving along a bit quicker, with more space for the cages in Logan’s head. It was a reasonably interesting premise brought up in the first issue, and I expected it to be a bigger deal. It’s still present, just less than I expected. There’s still no explanation on Logan’s heating claws, and even Persephone is wondering what that’s about. But hey, they want to drag the mystery a little longer, whatever. It’s fine. The overall plot is fine. The character stuff is fine. It’s a perfectly fine Logan story. Which isn’t my jam, but that’s just me. In terms of the art, well, I don’t normally like Shalvey’s style, but it actually clicks for me here. For this particular story. I can’t say why, I’m not sure what it is that makes me like the art here when I haven’t liked it in other comics, but whatever the reason, I think Shalvey was a good choice to tell this story with Soule. Still, it’s a Logan comic, so my interest was always going to be limited.

Dead Man Logan #1, by Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Some X-Men, which include Glob and Forge, find Logan and Maestro in the snow, and take them back to the mansion. Logan wakes up 11 days later, with Cecilia and Glob present. She tells him he has 12 months to live.

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I actually really like Logan’s readiness to die.

Poor Glob, though, he doesn’t want Logan to go. Poor kid. Logan goes to the Bar With No Name to get info on where Mysterio is, and beats up a bunch of villains (who all give different answers on Mysterio’s current status quo, which is amusing). Interestingly, Miss Sinister is there, too. After Logan leaves, she murders Tarantula, after getting Mysterio’s location from his mind. Meanwhile, Hawkeye finds Logan to tell him where Mysterio is, and also get insulted.

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Trashing Clint will never go out of style.

Turns out Mysterio – specifically, Quentin Beck – is in a mental hospital, and doesn’t want to leave, even when Miss Sinister comes to him. And then she mentions that Logan’s coming to kill him. And she has plans for him. Good start to the maxi-series. Going back to the start, in a sense, with Logan once again searching for Mysterio to prevent what happened in his own world. A bit of full circle going on, which is handled well. Meanwhile, Forge is also up to something. I’m curious how this series will go. Tired as I am of Logan in general, it’s good getting this series, seeing Old Man Logan get a proper sendoff. Hopefully, he doesn’t get brought back in 5 years. This series is leading to his death, let him die, let him stay dead. The art works. As with Shalvey on Return, Henderson’s not generally my taste, but his work fits this series well. It’s got a rough, raw quality, and a certain gritty Western sensibility that fits Old Man Logan as a character. Hard to think of an artist who’s actually better-suited to this comic.

Weapon Hex #2, by Bens Acker and Blacker, Gerardo Sandoval, Victor Nava, Israel Silva, and Joe Caramagna. Weapon Hex has learned of her sister, Speed Weasel, and they hit it off pretty quickly. But they’ve still gotta deal with Hellhound. Who kills Bavel, the vampire cow, and then chops up Weapon Hex, and then grabs Speed Weasel.

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Master of Sick Burns.

Laura pretty awesomely reassembles herself. It’s so awesome. And then it’s more fighting as Wyndham tries to summon Mephichton. And things get crazier and crazier. Is this a particularly great comic? No, not really. Is it a ridiculously fun comic? Yes, absolutely. Laura reassembling herself, and healing from being reduced to ash, is awesome. And since we’ll never see Weapon Hex again, we can just enjoy how silly and fun it all is. It’s good stuff.

And the non-X-comics.

Ironheart #1, by Eve Ewing, Kevin Libranda, Luciano Vecchio, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. It’s phenomenal. Ewing proves that she deserves this book. She absolutely nails it. Excellent character exploration, clever humour, top-notch techno-babble, an expertly-crafted fight sequence, interesting story hooks being dropped, and respect for Deep Space 9! This is so good. There’s a scene near the end where Riri and Xavier, her neighbour in Chicago, talk on the phone for over an hour, about a whole bunch of topics, and it’s just such a great little bit of teen-ness. Clash is handled well as a villain, not really a threat to Ironheart, but presenting some challenges for her to overcome by out-thinking him. And the last page cliffhanger is really neat. The art’s excellent, too. Really good superhero comic art. It can sometimes be a bit of a risk, getting a prose writer to do a comic. It doesn’t always work out – Rivera ended up disappointing me on America, for example, both in not capturing the character’s voice properly and in not quite getting the hang of the medium – but Ewing is an example of how it can pay off. Her poetry writing is probably actually more relevant than her fiction writing, but yeah, this is just top-notch superhero comic work. I highly recommend this.

Black Panther #6, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jen Bartel, Triona Farrell, and Joe Sabino. Jen Bartel art! It’s gorgeous. The story is all about Emperor N’Jadaka confronting Bast, showing his history, and making him a greater threat than ever. It’s a good comic. With Jen Bartel art! Speaking of Jen Bartel, actually, I ordered a couple prints from her shop. I mentioned last week that I loved the new She-Ra series, right? (So good!) Bartel did a print of Catra in a tux, and another of Scorpia in a fancy black dress (both from the Princess Prom episode), and I bought both. Because I’m a sucker. But they’re both awesome. And Catra in a tux is such A Look. Anyway, it’s a treat getting her on this issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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X-Men comics of November 21 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Ugh, Black Friday weekend coming up. It’s going to be so busy. It’ll suck. In better news, I’ve finished She-Ra, and it’s so good. Such a great show. Really fun, great humour, great characters and character dynamics. Really positive, I liked the body diversity. The whole show is full of queer subtext, which made it even nicer when Spinnerella and Netossa were basically confirmed as girlfriends in the final episode. It’s a great show. I loved it. And now I’m watching Iron Fist season 2, which is . . . less enjoyable. But now, comics!

Uncanny X-Men #2, by Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna.Giant and extinct animals have popped up around the world, and various heroes have their hands full. The Rockies are lacking heroes, and see, this is why Iron Man formed the Initiative. Dinosaurs popping up in Montana wouldn’t be a problem if Montana had its own super-team. But noooo, one massive Skrull infiltration and a supervillain taking over the country, and suddenly having heroes everywhere is a bad idea. Anyway, a team prepares to head to Montana.

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Another day, another dinosaur.

Also, co-ed changing room? I don’t know, that seems iffy. I suppose most of them have probably seen each other naked at some point or another. Anyway, Jean senses Madrox in Kansas, and sends Storm there with a team. Jubilee is very upset that she doesn’t get to fight dinosaurs. Jubilee knows what’s cool. Back at the school Armour is angry that she and the other New X-Men were left behind again. She’s not wrong. On the other hand, I honestly find it hard to really enjoy this sub-plot because I know – I know, with 100% certainty – that it won’t actually end up leading anywhere. Oh, it’ll have a pay-off in this story, but once this event’s over? These kids will go back to not mattering. They’ll go back to being wallpaper. So a story where they complain about being wallpaper is really only worthwhile if it results in actual change, with them not being wallpaper any more. GIVE THEM AN ACTUAL FRIGGING SERIES AGAIN, X-OFFICE! I don’t give a shit about this lampshading about the New X-Men being ignored if it ends with them going right the hell back to being ignored. YOU MAKE THESE DAMN STORIES, YOU GET TO ACTUALLY CHANGE THINGS. But no, these bastards would rather ONCE AGAIN go back to Scott leading the X-Men and Logan being in a half-dozen comics a month than to actuallymake use of the New X-Men. And yeah yeah, maybe I’m just being cynical, maybe they actually will get another ongoing series, but the X-office has given me absolutely no reason, over the past several years, to believe that will be the case. Anyway, Beast is up at the smashed medical clinic, and overhears a couple cops complaining about muties, just to remind us that every single human being on the entire face of the planet hates mutants. Storm’s team fights a massive horde of Madroxes with weird bonus powers in Kansas, presumably his farm. And in Montana, Laura cuts her way out of a T-Rex’s stomach, because Laura is awesome. Best part is Jean being all concerned when Laura gets eaten, and Bishop saying, “Just give her a minute.” Like it’s the first time Laura’s been swallowed by something? Please. I do have one complaint about the moment, and it’s the lack of gore on her when she climbs out. Remember in Hopeless’ All-New X-Men run, Laura got eaten at one point, and when she cut herself free, she was just covered in gore. It was great. But Silva and Rosenberg leave her clean, which is disappointing. And OH HEY there’s an anti-mutant protest on the Xavier School front lawn, we don’t get enough anti-mutant protests, you know? So. Freaking. Tired. Knock it the hell off with this shit, X-office. We get the point, being a minority consists solely of people hating you for existing, no one is on your side, try something else already. Anyway, the issue. It doesn’t actually advance the plot at all, it just keeps throwing more dangers at the X-Men while reminding readers there’s A Mystery, and it’s Very Mysterious. Yippee. There are some fun character interactions, but it’s not like anything’s being done to advance any of the characters. Shit, even with the New X-Men, Armour’s pissy about being forgotten about by the X-Men, but the others have no real problem with it. (And, again, the only way this sub-plot is worth doing is if it leads to actual, ongoing use of the characters. If they get thrown back into limbo when this ends, then the sub-plot is an insulting waste of time.) Two issues into this relaunched UXM, and honestly, I’m already losing patience. Because, so far, there’s nothing really there. There’s some clever dialogue, a few cool moments. But there’s nothing really new yet. It’s still early. There’s time to wow me. Buuuuuuuuuuuut the solicits for #11 and 12 make clear that those two issues are going to be about Scott and Logan, so those issues will almost certainly piss me off (I love Scott, but he does not need to be the eternal leader of the X-Men, other characters exist, other characters can be allowed to lead the team). Sigh. At least some of the Age of X-Man minis look cool. I’ll be picking up X-Tremists, Nightcrawler, and Prisoner X, all based on the writers. I’m on the fence about Nextgen. I like the cast, but I haven’t read that much by Brisson, and what I’ve read hasn’t really blown me away. So I don’t know. I’ll figure it out later, I guess. But I’ll probably do that one digitally. As for UXM? At this point, it’s facing an uphill battle to win me over.

Astonishing X-Men #17, by Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata, and Clayton Cowles. The Reavers, now controlling Sentinels, think they’ve killed Havok’s team, and fly off. They were actually seeing holograms of the team, made by Dazzler. Nice, a callback to Eve of Extinction, when she used that trick against Magneto. Alex decides to call it quits, while the others call him out for it, and a window shows the Warlock’ed Dani and Strong Guy (and maybe Karma, maybe someone else, they’re really shadowy so it’s hard to tell), as a visual reference to Dead Souls, which would be cuter if I wasn’t still mad at that comic. The Reavers are attacking the X-Men, so Havok and his team go down to help out.

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Kitty REALLY likes how that laser feels.

The fight doesn’t go great, Banshee shows up and takes out one of the Sentinels, the Reaver who was riding it infects the nanotech Beast injected into Banshee to siphon off the Death Seed energy. Banshee loses control, so Dazzler just stands in front of him as he screams, because Dazzler is awesome. Case in point:

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Alison Blaire is a beast.

So that pretty much ends the fight. Piotr brushes off Kitty, Banshee declines any more experimentation now that he has his mind back. Alex and Ali have a really nice moment, I’ve missed their friendship. They crap on each other, but it’s always friendly, and there’s a lot of mutual respect. As for my opinions on the arc. Well, let’s set aside the art. My opinion on Greg Land is pretty well-established by now (I hate his art). So I won’t bother going on about that. In terms of the dialogue, it was good. Lots of funny bits. The story as a whole . . . mmmm, I’m mixed, I must admit. There’s a part of me that objects to the extent to which several team members were portrayed as losers. Alex admits he’s a bad leader, but he’s been a pretty successful leader on multiple occasions. I can buy that he’s a bad leader at this point in his life. That he’s in totally the wrong head-space to be a good leader. He just recently got over his Axis inversion, and given how often before he’s been a villain, whether through brainwashing or as part of a scheme, the fact that he’s not really acting the way he normally does is easy to reconcile. He’s forcing himself to be more irreverent than usual. Actually, no, I need to talk about the art, because that’s the real source of the dissonance for me. Alex has often been the kind of leader who makes jokes, but he usually had either a straight face or a subtle smirk for them. Land gave him the big grins, and that is what made the character feel less authentic to me. Rosenberg’s dialogue was fine, it largely fit the character, but Land’s art is not a good fit for Alex at all. Regardless, the Team of Misfits premise is handled well, as the arc shows them growing into a team, getting their shit together in time to save the day. Well, Dazzler had her shit together all along, and kicked the most ass, but that’s how it should be. Dazzler’s awesome. We’ve also got Banshee back more-or-less to normal, but in a way that gives the next writer to use him plenty of leeway in exactly what direction they take him. All in all, it was a good story, hampered by the art.

Weapon X #26, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Luca Pizzari, Roberto Di Salvo, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Sabretooth wakes up in a hospital room in Hell, and someone from accounting comes in about his bill. Turns out, she’s one of the Morlocks that he killed.

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Hey, small Hell, huh?

She tells him he’s going to be spending a very long time paying off the things he did when he was alive. He doesn’t think he belongs there, until he finds his son also there. Meanwhile, Deadpool’s idea of Hell is apparently bombing at a comedy open mic night. Domino’s Hell is having to listen to his jokes. They’re rescued by Omega Red and Mystique. Sabretooth wants to bring Graydon back out of Hell, Mystique isn’t on board with that idea. Which is fair, since she’s the one who killed him. And then the devil shows up, explains that Azazel is using his powers to keep their bodies frozen in time so their healing factors don’t revive them, and has no objection to them going after Stryker. It’s a good comic, with some good commentary on the characters. Domino calling out Deadpool was really satisfying, pointing out that his constant need to be the centre of attention ends up ruining whatever those around him are trying to do. It’s a definite problem with the character. But Sabretooth’s portion of the issue is the strongest. He’s forced to confront the fact that he is a monster. He wants to believe he doesn’t belong in Hell, even as he thinks about getting revenge on the people in the hospital, and plans on murdering someone who keeps screaming. He’s “inverted,” he’s trying to be a hero, but he’s still The Worst, and the moment he realizes that is really effective. The art is good, it effectively tells the story, including the right emotional beats. This issue’s less fun than usual, but it replaces that with more weight, so it’s just as good.

Mr. and Mrs. X #5, by Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. Rogue and Xandra are gone, which means the fight is over. The Imperial Guard and the Starjammers both leave, while Gambit and Cerise stay behind. Then a flashback to the fight, which was going poorly even before Deathbird showed up, but Xandra comes up with a plan. Which seems to go wrong, but it was an illusion. Naturally. Gambit’s not happy about it, though. He’s pissed that she didn’t warn him. She tries to calm him down, but then she accidentally absorbs him, along with Cerise and Xandra, until she puts the damper collar on. She’s pretty deep in shock, but Remy snaps her out of it by showing a pair of diamond rings Bling! gave him for the wedding. Remy’s a good husband. Thompson has sold me on the Rogue/Gambit ship. I was never really into it, but she does such a good job with it. This is another good issue, with Gambit, of all people, really giving Rogue a lesson on what a partnership is. So weird to see Gambit being the mature one. Feels wrong. But it’s sweet, because it shows just how much he loves her. She makes him a better person.

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Look how much they love each other.

Rogue’s power being more out-of-control than ever is an interesting development, we’ll see where that goes. Cerise and Xandra are now out of the book, but I hope we see them again, if not in this series, than in another one. Xandra gets to show how clever she is, with the plan for ending the fight by making everyone think she’s dead. I’ll miss Xandra. Oh, this issue also brings back Gambit’s cats. Yaaaaay! They’re good kitties. I like cats. I really like the art in this comic, too. Bazaldua and D’Armata draw very attractive people.

And the non-X-stuff.

West Coast Avengers #4,  by Kelly Thompson, Stafeno Caselli, Triona Farrell, and Joe Caramagna. Hawk-kate. Katehawk? Kate as a giant hawk. Not gonna lie, she rocks the look. Lots of action, lots of fun, America is now dating Ramone, Gwenpool and Quire continue their delightful hate-mance. Lots of great stuff. This is such a good series.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #37, by Brandon Montclare, Georges Duarte, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Christmas issue! With Santa as a guest star, because Santa is canonically real in the Marvel Universe. Superheroes have teamed up with him. My favourite Santa team-up was with Captain Marvel, just because of how she didn’t even bat an eye at Santa being real. This issue isn’t a Santa team-up. Instead, Lunella has to finish Santa’s job. And it’s really cute and fun and it’s just so good. I love it.

Shuri #2,  by Nnedi Okorafor, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino. It’s good. I enjoy it. It’s going to take me a little longer to adjust to it clearly being Movie Shuri, rather than Comics Shuri. But Okorafor has fun writing her. The story is fairly interesting, though it’s taking a weird detour with the next issue. I’m not sure about it right now, but I guess we’ll find out how it goes. Still, for the most part, I’m enjoying the series. But I’m more interested in LaGuardia, the Image comic Okorafor’s doing with Tana Ford. I get the impression it’ll be a lot more interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X-Men comics of November 14 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Stan “The Man” Lee. That one hurts. I legitimately took Monday off work to mourn. Celebrity deaths rarely mean much to me, but this one was personal. I’ve been reading Marvel for as long as I can remember. Funnily enough, it wasn’t until my 20s when I actually started reading any of Lee’s work, and I’ve always thought his stuff to be dated. But he was still Stan Lee. Co-creator of the Marvel Universe, and the guy who made comics cool. Even beyond his contributions as a writer, his work as an advocate for comics had a huge impact. He helped turn comics into a community. Marvel’s had a huge influence on who I am. So I owe a lot of who I am to Stan Lee. So, yeah, this one hit me hard. But life goes on. So, comics.

Uncanny X-Men #1, by Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Mahmud Asrar, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. Madrox asks Jean where Kitty is, and then Laura stabs him through the head. And then the whole team is killing Madroxes. But it was all in Jean’s head. She’s sitting at breakfast, where Laura is eating orange slices off her claws. Which can’t be hygienic, but she’s got a healing factor, so what does she care. Meanwhile, Kitty is taking some of the students to fight Forearm. The students aren’t impressed. Nor should they be, Forearm is a loser, but it’s part of his charm. Kitty phases through the plane’s controls, shorting them out, and keeps going, so the plane crashes. In Africa, Storm and Beast are dealing with unnatural rains and a brand-new lake that already has fish and plants. Back in the US, the kids are up against the MLF: Forearm, Samurai, Strobe, Dragoness, and Wildside. Strobe once melted Cable’s metal arm, and Dragoness is probably most notable for flirting with Cannonball. Samurai is most notable for being perhaps the least interesting member of the MLF. During the fight, Forearm says that the clinic they were attacking was making a vaccine to eliminate mutants. He also gets a pretty good shot in on Rockslide.

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I kinda want to see these two insult each other for a few pages.

Nightcrawler, Polaris, and Laura show up to end the fight. Which honestly feels like overkill. But hey, Fastball Special.

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At least the MLF had the sense to know they were boned.

In Manhattan, a politician is giving a speech about mutants being dangerous and the development of a vaccine to prevent the X-gene. Jubilee and Bishop are in the crowd, and I have to assume it’s a reference to Adam Reck’s Bish & Jubez comics. Why Marvel hasn’t hired him to do those as back-ups yet is beyond me. Anyway, I want more Jubilee and Bishop hanging out, they’ve got a good chemistry. Warren and Betsy are also there, and Betsy says that Jubilee is planning on throwing tomatoes, and I love Jubilee so much. Cannonball is there with Northstar, and Jean’s there with Bobby. After the Senator finishes up, Kitty’s supposed to go speak, but she’s still not there, so Madrox goes up instead. And then a swarm of Madroxes pop up. Fight! Psylocke uses telekinetic weapons, a sword and shield. Very English, she’s going back to her roots, that’s good. Since she doesn’t look Asian any more, she’s not using Asian weapons.

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This is pretty sexy, honestly.

And then things go from bad to worse, as they usually do. Soooo . . . kinda meh? It’s not bad. The mystery being developed is mysterious. Some fun character dynamics get touched on, there are some good character beats. There are some good jokes, as all three writers are funny. I really like Asrar’s art here. Asrar’s a weird artist for me. I go back and forth on him. Sometimes, I don’t like it. Sometimes, I do. This is one of the times I do. It looks really good. Rosenberg’s colours help a lot. She’s fantastic. I don’t know if she’s been nominated for an Eisner yet, but I guarantee, she’ll be getting those noms soon. She’s too good not to. Anyway, on the whole, I’m reserving judgment. This comis is by no means bad. It didn’t necessarily thrill me, but it didn’t turn me off. The test is going to be how I feel by the third issue, I think.

There are also back-ups. All have colours by Guru-eFX and letters by Joe Caramagna. They’re just showing what the characters were up to leading up to the rally. A Bishop one, by Matthew Rosenberg and Mirko Colak. He’s in civilian clothes, staking out a building where Dark Beast is holed up. Some guys sneak in and there’s a boom so Bishop runs in, but the action’s over by the time he gets there, and Dark Beast is gone. Bishop keeps searching, and a couple days later, finds Sugar Man. Hey! I actually like that guy. And now he’s dead. For now. I’m sure someone will bring him back at some point. Honestly pretty neutral on this story. It’s a decent enough Bishop story, I suppose.

A Jean story, by Kelly Thompson and Ibraim Roberson. Jean’s in a coffee shop, waiting for someone, and an old lady sits beside her, and they chat.

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She’s a ray of sunshine.

Jean agrees that the world sucks, but also thinks there’s still hope. The old lady disappears, and Storm joins Jean for coffee and disaster.

An Armour and Anole story, by Ed Brisson, Mark Bagley, and Andrew Hennessy. They’re sent into the sewers, and they’re pretty bitter about it. They complain about feeling unappreciated, and they’re right. They deserve better. All the New X-Men do. It’s been a long time since the X-office has given a shit about them. Anyway, Dark Beast attacks them, then runs off. And Anole and Armour get called in to help with the situation that Jean, Storm and Bishop are dealing with.

An epilogue, by Kelly Thompson, Mark Bagley, and Andrew Hennessy. The situation is dealt with, Anole and Armour are pissy when they get sent back to the sewers, Bishop is worried about his disaster-predicting thing no long working, Jean is upset over the death of the woman she’s talked to in the coffee shop, and I’m preeeeetty sure X-Man spies on her from the shadows. That’s my guess, seeing as we know Age of X-Man is the next event, and both Dark Beast and Sugar Man appeared and were scared of the one hunting them. Anyway, as a whole, the story is fine. It’s fine. Whatever.

Domino #8, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Clayton Cowles. On a totally random note: There’s a pretty decent chance that Gail Simone and Stjepan Seijic are going to do a Wonder Woman/Tomb Raider comic. Seijic posted some little cartoons of Wonder Woman ad Lara Croft flirting, Simone said she’d write the team-up comic, and it really seems like they might do it. But anyway, Domino! She’s not happy about having been hired to bring back a dude in a box, so she lets Morbius out, which results in a fight. Domino lets him drink some of her blood so he’ll be strong enough to tell them what’s going on. Vampires are infecting themselves with Morbius’ blood to spread his genetic disease among the human population in order to wipe out humanity. Which is, uh, not a good plan? Anyway, the four head to Barcelona to stop the plan. It’s a fun comic. There are a couple moments that are clearly meant to be tense but which aren’t tense at all, and which have zero tension to them. Those moments are disappointing. But Morbius is handled well. Awful but with a certain tragic nobility.

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You have to respect his honesty, right?

As for the art . . . well. I get why people don’t like it. It’s definitely odd, with long faces and proportions and all that. But Baldeon drew the women in a hotel room with their shoes off. Do you know how rare that is? For an artist to say, “Hey, they’re in a hotel room, maybe they shouldn’t be wearing shoes.” Because what kind of maniac walks around a hotel room with their shoes on? So I respect and appreciate Baldeon for thinking of that. Also, he got to draw a nude beach. He did not fill it with people the readers want to see nude. Again, that kind of authenticity helps.

And that’s actually all the X-stuff this week. So, the rest.

Ms. Marvel #36, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. Flashback! To the Silk Road in 1257! Side note: I’m waiting for the completion of a graphic novel about the Silk Road, A Voyage To Panjikant, by Marguerite Dabaie. She’d planned on releasing it a year ago, but there have been some delays. Health issues, other paid work, and if I’m not mistaken, her first book, The Hookah Girl, got picked up by a publisher, so I’m sure she had to do some work there. Anyway, I’m not upset about the delay, shit happens, and she’s still working on it, so it’s all cool. But Ms. Marvel. Yeah, this is a flashback, with Sir Brunello and Sir Joshua, mercenaries acting as guards for Lady Zoe and Lady Kamilah on the Silk Road. And they come across a fight between an Inhuman and a Skrull. And this is a really cute, sweet story. I love it. It’s so good.

Unstoppable Wasp #2, by Jeremy Whitley, Gurihiru, and Joe Caramagna. Bobbi and Ying working out science problems while sparring is wonderful. Nadia makes terrible puns while fighting a bull statue. And Nadia and Janet have their weekly date night. It involves a fancy French restaurant, followed by wrestling. It’s a great comic. Really cute and fun, but there’s some real drama going on, too. Also, Bobby and Ying bonding is really nice to see. They make a good pairing. It might be fun if Bobbi took on Ying as a protege, continuing to train her in being a scientist-superhero.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #38, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. Apparently, some urchins have been found to have lived for 200 years. Neat!

Exiles #10, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Muntsa Vicente, and Joe Caramagna. Caliph Doom! More Thousand-And-One Nights fun. I might want to read that sometime, actually. Anyway, I still find this comic fun. It’s not great, but it’s enjoyable.

Captain America #5, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Sunny Gho, and Joe Caramagna. Cap beats the crap out of Taskmaster. Which is impressive. He also recognizes Selene. He does his homework, even when it’s X-Men villains. Good for him. Good comic. Coates is building an interesting story, and he writes Steve well.

X-Men comics of November 7 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My friend has a vlog. And apparently, some of her viewers want me to start my own vlog, and no, they absolutely do not want me to start my own vlog. They 100% do not want to watch my vlog. I would just talk about the X-Men. Entire episodes would be dedicated to me banging on the table and shouting about which X-Men are gay. (It’s all of them. All the X-Men are gay. Every single X-Man has been inside every other X-Man.) Anyway, I’m going to talk about the X-Men now.

X-Men Red #10, by Tom Taylor, Roge Antonio, Rain Beredo, and Cory Petit. It opens with “Jean” telling off humanity, and honestly, I kinda agree?

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I mean, as a nihilist, yeah, this is accurate.

A South Korean Helicarrier commander orders the Helicarrier to Genosha, to fight a mutant threat, and a dozen commercial flights also head there. They’re under “Jean’s” control. Obviously, it’s Cassandra Nova, and she expects Jean and her team to go fight here. Jean wants to find another way. The news talks about what’s happening, and I really, really love that Taylor presents the news as not being anti-mutant, with a scrawl showing some pro-mutant stories. I love the way Taylor makes clear that not all humans want to kill mutants. That there are regular people who support mutant rights. Anyway, Jean calls Stark to help develop a way to fight Nova, and then it’s off to save the world. With an ingenious plan. Jean’s very very clever. And has friends. This is so good. I love the rescue plan developed. This is, far and away, the most positive team X-title in a long time. The news reports defending mutants, Jean’s determination to save the day without violence, in order to show the world who the X-Men are. There’s so much here that’s so great. Good art, too. I’m really going to miss this series, it’s been really good and it deserved to run longer.

Weapon X #25, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Luca Pizzari, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Stryker’s still alive. Weapon X-Force kills him again. But he returns, since he’s still got his deal with the devil in place, so he swears he’ll get his revenge on them. So Weapon X-Force decide they need to get help from someone with some pull in Hell. Cut to Washington, where a Congressman is in electoral trouble after a video leaked of him in Vegas, and he asks for help from Azazel. Ugh, that guy. Also, Pak and Van Lente are not subtle, nor do they need to be:

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Republicans cheat to win.

I’m sure there’s going to be people bitching about this scene, about shoving politics into a comic. But I think it’s worth remembering that the Republican Party is a fascist party who lie, cheat and steal in order to win elections. Screw the Republican Party. Anyway! Mystique poses as his assistant to get close enough to ask his help. But Weapon X-Force gets impatient and bust in with threats.

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Poor Mystique, she deserves better teammates.

The fight goes poorly for them. In the course of the fight, Azazel also says that Sabretooth’s inversion hasn’t redeemed him and his evil’s all over his soul. I hate to admit this – I hate so much to admit this – but Azazel’s actually pretty fun here. I still think he’s a shitty character. I still think the story that introduced him was one of the worst stories in X-Men history, and I still think Aaron should’ve left him in the garbage heap. But Pak, Van Lente and Pizzari do a good job here, and give him a charm and menace he never had before, despite the efforts of other creative teams. These guys are good at what they do. I’m not sure it would work in any other book, either. This is an over-the-top comic that kinda encourages turning your brain off and just enjoying the ride. So Azazel is less irritating than he would be in a more straightforward comic. It also helps that Nightcrawler’s not involved. Mystique’s history with Azazel is obviously a big thing, but there’s no moralizing going on, there’s no nefarious plot of Azazel that needs to be stopped. He’s just doing his thing, and it’s so much more entertaining than some big scheme to try to take over the world or whatever. He just kinda wants to mess with people. On a personal note, I still headcanon Azazel as an actual demon, with most of that awful Austen story being Azazel entertaining himself by seeing how much bullshit he could get people to believe. (“I told them angels and demons were mutants! And they bought it! Priceless!”) The art’s great. Some excellent fight scenes. Also really good facial expressions on Mystique (who’s also drawn with pupils, which is unusual to see). But mostly, it’s those fights. Much as I hate Azazel on a conceptual level, Pak, Van Lente and Pizzari continue to make Weapon X a blast.

X-23 #6, by Mariko Tamaki, Georges Duarte, Chris O’Halloran, and Cory Petit. Gabby is undercover at a high school, posing as Roberta Boford. There’s a reason she’s undercover at a high school. The reason is less important than the fact that she’s there. She’s put a lot of work into her cover identity. Meanwhile, Laura is also undercover at the school, as Coach Claudia. They quickly find out the science club is led by an evil girl, who has a big robot, and whose evil plan is totally irrelevant.

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Voice of a generation, honestly.

Thus, robot fight. And Laura beats it up with basketballs. And this issue is straight-up ridiculous and I love it. Gabby is her usual delightful self. Laura looked like she was entirely too into character as a gym teacher. It’s a quick done-in-one, and while I would’ve loved seeing it stretched into a two-parter, it loses nothing by being a one-off. It uses its space efficiently, moving the plot along quickly without it feeling rushed, there’s some great humour, and it’s great. Just a nice breather issue between arcs, having some fun. Honestly, stretching it into two issues would’ve meant a lot of filler, it in no way needed a second issue. I just would’ve been happy reading more of Gabby and Laura undercover in a high school. It’s a fun premise, and Tamaki and Duarte have fun doing it.

Iceman #3, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Street Cart Named Desire Festival. That’s a pretty good pun. Based on Google, it doesn’t seem to be a real thing, so I think Grace is going to have to organize it now. Sorry, guy, but that’s the cost of coming up with a good pun name for something. Anyway, it’s a street card festival, which means food. Bobby’s there on a date. Peter Parker’s also there with MJ, and Angelica Jones is there with a guy named Dirk. She’s talking about a book she describes as “like Eat, Pray, Love, but with pirates,” and honestly I want to know what book she’s talking about. Her date doesn’t read. She should dump him. They do start talking about sports, they both like hockey. She’s from New Jersey, so I’m guessing she’s probably a Devils fan. Bobby and Angel say hi to each other, and Bobby’s date, Carlos, recognizes Angel as Firestar. Bobby and Carlos smooch, but then a car gets thrown, so Bobby and Angel rush off to fight an ice golem. Carlos almost gets killed, but Spider-Man saves him, to make the Amazing Friends re-union complete. Fight fight fight, and Firestar has no appreciation for classic comedy.

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13 forever!

Anyway, the ice golem was one of the Morlocks from the first issue, with some tech that transformed him. In the aftermath, Angel’s dumped by text, and Bobby dumps Carlos, and Peter gives a talk about the difficulties of finding love as a superhero. Anyway, yeah, this was fun. I never watched Amazing Friends, so I don’t have the nostalgia for it that others do, but I like when superheroes are friends. All three know each other, and they like each other. Spider-Man and Iceman share a love of bad jokes, and their team-ups are always painful as a result. Firestar makes an effective straightman for them. I liked the end of the issue, with the three of them just hanging out, talking about dating. I would read an entire issue of that, honestly. Related to that, Angel’s date seemed like a douche. In fairness to him, he did bring up something from her profile, and asked her about it. (Her profile says she’s into fitness, and he asked her about sports.) So I’ll give him credit for not just talking about himself, and for trying to find a common ground for them to talk about. I just dislike him for not reading. Reading’s great! I recently finished “P.S. I Still Love You,” by Jenny Han, and I enjoyed it. Really good YA novel, worth checking out. It’s the sequel to “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which I haven’t read, but which I probably should. Anyway, I highly recommend reading, I’d rank it way above dating, dating is terrible. The one problem with this issue is that it reminded me how much I miss having Firestar in an ongoing series. She’s a cool character, I’d love to see her used more. But I say that about a lot of characters, so it’s tough. Regardless, this was a very enjoyable issue. Even Stockman’s art bothered me less than usual. I’m not a fan of his style, it’s entirely a personal taste thing, but it didn’t look bad to me here.

Shatterstar #2, by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, Juan Vlasco, flashback art by Gerardo Sandoval, colours by Carlos Lopez, letters by Cory Petit. Horus IV, a world where the people used to travel to other worlds, pretending to be gods, and engaging in combat. They’ve stopped traveling, but they still fight. But the people are bored and pay no attention to the gladiatorial contests. Luckily, Gradmaster’s there to entertain them, by airing the adventures of Shatterstar. Shatterstar needs help getting his tenants back from his ex, so he goes to his other ex, Rictor, who’s not happy to see him. Flashback to Mojoworld, when Shatterstar and Gringrave were a team, and also lovers. Also, Gringrave wore a wig. Huh. I honestly didn’t expect that. Also, I didn’t get last issue that she’s black, but it’s pretty clear in the flashback, she’s a black woman. Neat. In the present, Shatterstar asks if Rictor knows anyone who might have agreed to work for Mojo to capture the tenants. Rictor’s been operating an underground railroad for mutants, so he hears things. Including things about this guy:

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I will always love the weirdness of superhero comics.

And then there’s this and goddamn the Grandmaster is a hell of a narrator.

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I hope Shatterstar and Rictor get back together.

Also, Dean Drukman, the Dockmaster, is really good at his job. Give the guy credit, he may be helping villains engage in kidnapping, but he takes his job seriously. Gringrave wants to fight Shatterstar and Rictor, but Drukman tells her that stopping them is up to him and his security. This is phenomenal work. There’s a surprising tenderness, one you wouldn’t expect of Shatterstar, and that unexpected element really elevates the comic. There’s some great examination of the relationship between Shatterstar and Rictor, the way Rictor was the first to treat Shatterstar as something other than a weapon, to look inside him and help him be a person. They were always a good couple, but this is arguably the first time anyone’s tried to really make clear why they’re a good couple, and to do something with them as a couple. There’d been subtext for a while, before PAD decided to just make it text, and he did have some relationship drama (with Shatterstar being poly, or at least wanting an open relationship), but Seeley in this issue does a deep examination of them, and really sells them as a couple, even if they are currently broken up. I’m really hoping they do get back together. A key part of this arc is obviously going to be Shatterstar coming to terms with his past in the form of Gringrave, and probably try to mature him a little so he’s more emotionally equipped for a relationship. Regardless, Seeley and Villa (and Sandoval) are telling a hell of a story here. Great art, too. Sandoval’s rougher style works effectively for the flashbacks, to when Shatterstar was a rougher person. Villa’s style is modern and cool, and the fight scene’s good. All in all, this book is killing it.

Typhoid Fever: X-Men, by Clay McLeod Chapman, Will Robson, Danilo S. Beyruth, Rachelle Rosenberg, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Travis Lanham. I should note first that I haven’t read the Spider-Man one. But hey, I’m sure that won’t matter. Flashback to a young Mary finding a dead bird, trying to make it move, and she does! And also lights it on fire. In the present, flaming birds everywhere, until Iceman encases them in ice. The X-Men are there for Zachary, who is apparently the guy in the wheelchair she’s pushing along. He’s amplifying Typhoid’s power. There’s an implied history between Typhoid and the X-Men. She tries to seduce Iceman, but yeah, that doesn’t work, obviously. So instead she burns him. Then Spider-Man shows up and helps her. And she turns the world into a soap opera.

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She could do worse.

She manipulates the minds of the X-Men, and holds off Jean’s attempts to get into her own mind. This is, uh, OK, I guess? I don’t know, Typhoid doesn’t feel right to me here. Not just her power levels, but her personality. Nocenti’s Typhoid is he only take that’s ever really resonated with me. When guys write her, she never ends up feeling authentic. The first time I read the character was in Joe Kelly’s Deadpool run in the ’90s, and she was pretty cool there, because she was so twisted. But having since read Nocenti’s Daredevil, and a couple other Nocenti comics that featured Typhoid? Holy shit, she is a fascinating character. And so much of what makes her so compelling often ends up being lost when men write her. They might focus on the split personality, or the sexiness, or her just being a supervillain. But so often, they end up leaving out the feminism, and that’s the case here. Chapman focuses on her having been a soap star, making her downright obsessed with it. And it takes so much of the bite out of her. It downplays the elements of the character that act as social commentary, in favour of “bitches be crazy.” I’d love to see what another female writer would do with Typhoid. Can you imagine Chelsea Cain writing Typhoid Mary? Hot damn, that would be hot. Or Leah Williams would probably do a cutting take. Hell, get Jeremy Whitley on it, I’m sure he’d know to play up the right elements of the character, the things that make her so fascinating. This comic does not. Also, I hate the art. I hate Robson’s style. Hate it so much.

And non-X-Men, Champions #26, by Jim Zub, Max Dunbar, Nolan Woodard, and Clayton Cowles. The Master killed a dragon. Pretty impressive. Ms. Marvel holds her own against Modred the Mystic, also impressive. This arc is so cool. Zub and Dunbar are having a lot of fun with this D&D tale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X-Men comics of October 31 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So I read Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor. It’s really good. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend. She does such great world-building, and creates such human characters. Also, Okorafor’s proud enough of her Igbo heritage to call out the worst parts of it. Related to that: If you’re the kind of person who appreciates content warnings, then this book has damned near all of them. It goes into some very dark territory that’s deeply uncomfortable. But it’s also got love and friendship and hope. It’s a good novel. Very much worth checking out. Anyway, happy Halloween, here’s comics.

Extermination #4, by Ed Brisson, Pepe Larraz, Ario Anindito, Dexter Vines, Erick Arciniega, and Joe Sabino. Ahab prepares to attack Searebro, while the X-Men at the mansion are still recovering from being attacked. Cannonball’s taken Shatterstar there, while the rest of the team has found Young Cable. After Jean ends the fight, she demands answers of him, and he explains that Old Cable was risking the timeline by letting the O5 stay in the present, and if they don’t go back, Ahab’s going to kill one of them.

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Also, Mimic’s still alive. Not happy about having his wings taken from him, but wanting to help how he can. And Ahab reaches Searebro. And there’s a shocking last-page cliffhanger. We’ll see how that goes. This is OK. The confrontation with Young Cable is good. Teen Jean forcing answers out of him. I do have one major complaint. Rachel’s been reverted to being a Hound for Ahab. That is really messed-up, but worse, the nature of the story means it doesn’t actually amount to anything. It’s a huge deal, but the story does nothing with it. We should see her struggling. We should get an indication of how horrifying and traumatic it is for her. But nope, nothing. And I get it, there’s limited space. But Brisson didn’t have to have her turned into a Hound again. He could’ve had her get hurt when Ahab attacked the school. And then have her show up again in the final issue to help beat him. I wish more writers cared more about how the stories they write would affect more of the characters in them. Ugh. Other than that, yeah, this just isn’t as character-driven as I prefer. That’s me. The plot moves forward at a brisk pace, and there are some pretty good character moments – Brisson’s clearly got a lot of love for X-Force, and going by this issue, I’d wager he might even like them more than the main X-Men, as they definitely get the best moments. For example, this line from Boom-Boom:

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Spoiler alert: She’s not wrong.

The art’s good. No complaints there. I still love the pink used for Jean’s telekinesis. It’s a good shade of pink. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this story, it’s just not one that I’m particularly digging, and that’s down more to personal taste than anything else. I’ve enjoyed objectively worse stories.

X-Men Black: Emma Frost, by Leah Williams, Chris Bachalo, inks by Faucher, Vey, Livesay, Townsend, Mendoza and Bachalo, colours by Antonio Fabela, Dan Brown, Carlos Lopez, and Chris Bachalo, letters by Cory Petit. Wow. 6 inkers and 4 colour artists. Usually a sign of incredibly tight deadlines. Anyway, Emma meets Rogue and a few other X-Men in Malmart. Because Rogue thought it would be funny. And it is. Emma is perfectly out of place. It’s great. Anyway, Emma wants their help to destroy the Hellfire Club. And man, Williams writes a pretty great Emma.

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Spot on impressions.

While the X-Men attack various Hellfire Club chapters around the world, Emma goes where Sebastian Shaw is, and has some telepathic fun with the people in the office building. It’s a great sequence. Also, she uses her own diamond hand to amplify a laser to cut through an electronic lock, which is a pretty brilliant use of her power. Then, the confrontation with Shaw. Which is pretty epic. And goes in a very cool direction. This was one hell of a story. Williams’ Emma is cold, cunning, ruthless, but still cares about protecting those she believes deserve protection. She’ll do terrible things for a good cause. This story is Emma as an anti-villain, and it’s a perfectly sensible position for her to be in. I loved Emma as a hero, when she taught Generation X, or joined the X-Men. But I think that she also works perfectly as an anti-villain. Because she has the capacity and the willingness to do terrible things. She doesn’t have the same restraints as the other X-Men. But she also wants to make the world better. That’s how Williams depicts her here, and it’s so great. Also, the snark. Williams does wonderful snark. I’m not often a fan of Bachalo, but I do like his work a lot here. Maybe it’s the Gen X fan in me giving me a soft spot for his Emma, but I liked having him do this one. He gives her a lot of confidence, and an utter disregard for the harm she leaves in her wake. Leah Williams has been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason, and if Marvel has any sense, they’ll give her an ongoing X-title.

There’s also the last past of the Apocalypse back-up, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Geraldo Borges, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit. He’s back to normal, and he’s figured out that his DNA has been infused into the island he’s on, hence the advanced evolution. So he destroys it all. Pretty good story, overall.

Multiple Man #5, by Matthew Rosenberg, Andy MacDonald, Tamra Bonvillain, Travis Lanham. An evil future Madrox and his army of dupes is in the X-Mansion, where he poorly explains what’s going on. While he does, Bishop squeezes a trigger that keeps blowing up future dupes. But then the good Madrox and the heroic dupes re-appear in what had been the future but which has been blown up. They guess that Bishop’s blowing up futures. Back in the present the X-Men fight the army of dupes. The Prime Madrox finds his traitor dupe, who injects himself with a serum to make himself the Prime. And they fight, and then start absorbing each other. And things continue to be weird. And not really great. The end of the issue does show what the point of showing where the dupes got their powers was, sort of. Actually, not really. It still didn’t need to show all that. So that whole thing still ends up feeling like pointless filler. So much of this series amounted to nothing. New Mutants: Dead Souls was a well-crafted comic that pissed me off for what it wasn’t. This was a meandering mess of a comic that irritated me for what it was. There was less of the detachment that made the first few issues so boring, though there was still some. Honestly, this final issue might have been fine if the rest of the mini had been good. But because the rest of the mini was trash, this finale comes out as a wet fart.

Old Man Logan #50, by Ed Brisson, Ibraim Roberson, Neil Edwards, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Logan taunts Maestro while trying to inject himself with the Regenix so he can fight, but that doesn’t work. Maestro beats the crap out of him. Joshua, the kid who’d tried to help him, is taken to a doctor, having been shot by another guy in town for helping Logan. Joshua dies, and a woman finally has enough.

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Hell of a speech.

Later, Maestro is sitting on his bed, and a woman offers to help him relax. So, earlier in the arc, it was shown that Maestro’s taken some of the women of town for his harem. I made clear why I hated that. This? I’m fine with this. There will always be people who are attracted to power, and who will do what they have to to be close to it. That includes women who offer themselves to tyrants. I have no objection to that. It’s implied rape that I object to, which the earlier issue included. Maestro is told about the rumblings of revolution, and yells at the town while standing on Logan’s head. The people attack, as a distraction so Angela can get the Regenix to Logan. So, fight time! It’s a pretty good fight. I did like seeing the town rise up against Maestro, the small number of people fighting back against tyranny. That’s pretty authentic. There will always be people who won’t bow before tyrants, even as some will throw in completely with tyrants. So I did like that. The Logan and Maestro stuff, I didn’t really care. Even Maestro said he was tired of the fight. At least it was drawn well. The art in the issue is good, even if the characters bored me.

What if: Magik, by Leah Williams, Felipe Andrade, Chris O’Halloran, and Clayton Cowles. Dr. Strange finds a 15-year-old Illyana about to kill a would-be rapist.

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None more goth.

Once Dr. Strange uses his magic to scan her, he decides to help her, despite her repeated attempts to teleport away. She agrees to be his apprentice, and she learns how to wield her magic in a positive way. She struggles with creation magic, but does finally manage to create something, right when Belasco finds her. This is also a great comic. Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure. Illyana is so broken and it’s tragic, but she’s also pretty snarky. Strange is snarky, too, and they bounce off each other really well. I’d love to see them interact more. Their relationship in this issue is pretty heartwarming. Strange is such an awkward father-figure for Illyana and it’s really sweet. Belasco, when he shows up, is pretty menacing. But this comic’s mostly about Illyana dealing with a traumatic childhood and trying to get past it, to stop seeing herself as wicked because of what was done to her. There’s one scene, in particular, that gets extremely dark. Though it also has one of the funniest lines of the issue. Several of the funniest lines, actually. Andrade’s art is going to be divisive. A lot of people won’t like it. I do. I think it’s a really cool art style, one that portrays tone and mood really well. I like it a lot. As I said above: Marvel better realize what they’ve got with Leah Williams, and they’d better give her more work. Signing her to an exclusive contract would be a very smart move, because you can bet your ass that DC’s got their eyes on her, and if Marvel isn’t careful, DC’s going to poach her away from them.

And non-X-Men.

West Coast Avengers #3, by Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli, Triona Farrell, and Joe Caramagna. Gwenpool no longer has her powers. BRODOK turns out to be an incel. This comic is amazing and you should read it.

Black Panther #5, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel Acuna, and Joe Sabino. The rebellion has spent 5 years living on an ice planet; presumably, Coates was watching a lot of Star Wars when he wrote this arc. Nakia visits T’Challa, telling him they need to be ready to fight again. They also discuss their feelings for each other. This is the most character-driven issue of the series so far, and also the best. All about Nakia trying to convince T’Challa of who he is. It’s good stuff.

And I got last week’s issue of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur. It is delightful.

X-Men comics of October 24 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’ve had a cold the past few days. I bought a box of Kleenex on Thursday night, and it’s almost finished. So it’s been a fun week. I actually left work early twice (both approved, they don’t count as sick days, which is cool), so I’m going to have a pretty small paycheck in a couple weeks. Dammit. Anyway, here’s comics.

X-Men Red #9, by Tom Taylor, Roge Antontio, Rain Beredo, and Cory Petit. Rachel, possessed by Cassanda Nova, is on her way to Jean, and Jean is getting ready. Also, she tells Kurt she knew he was with Rachel, and Kurt admits he didn’t want to tell her because it seemed weird, and Jean just says the X-Men have gotten weirder than that. And she’s so right. It’s part of what I love about the X-Men. Every time you come across something totally bizarre, you remember something else and go, “Huh, OK, this actually isn’t so bad, honestly.” For example, Jean tells Gabby that, as Phoenix, she destroyed planets. Gabby relates:

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And then her pet wolverine expressed his appreciation for her.

Then Ororo sasses Jean about her shoulder pads, and they hug. I’ve missed their friendship. It’s a very sweet friendship they have. Jean then heads to Genosha to free Rachel, which means a fight! Meanwhile, Laura, Gabby, Trinary, and Gentle try to battle negative stories about mutants by finding positive ones. Gentle also tries to ask Trinary out, but he’s terrible at it, and Trinary misses his cues, and it’s pretty cute, but Gabby and Laura help. Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded, like, another year of the two being adorably awkward, but alas, the book only has a couple more issues anyway. Anyway, Jean convinces Cassandra to release Rachel by surrendering herself. And calls Rachel her daughter! Which is important. Jean actually long ago accepted Rachel. We don’t see them together anywhere near often enough, but Jean does consider Rachel her daughter. Some writers forget that, focus on the earlier awkwardness, but they got over that and now they’re family. Also, Rachel hits Cassandra with one hell of a punch.

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Daaaaaamn.

That is one of the most brutal shots I’ve seen in a superhero comic and I love it. I am so proud of Rachel. Also, the conversation at the end of the issue is so good. This is a great issue. The best part of the issue is Jean saying Cassandra is afraid. She speaks with such hope and optimism, and it’s really nice. I really like that. Also, the X-Men pushing positive stories about mutants is a cool idea. Gabby searches for videos of mutants with kitties and puppies. I want to see some of those videos. But yeah, that’s the kind of thing the X-Men should do. They should be trying to use the media to promote a better view of mutants. So I like that they’re doing it here. A lot of the cast does get little to do here, sadly. A lot of them never really got much to do. Nature of team books, I suppose, especially ones with relatively short runs. If Taylor had another 12 issues, he might have done more with the rest of the cast, as opposed to just the Jean focus the book had. Oh well. The art’s good. I’m not familiar with Antonio, but it looks like he’s done some DC stuff, and he does very good work. It’s mostly a straightforward superhero style, it’s not reinventing the wheel or anything, but it’s clean and clear, and he does a great job with facial expressions. And, of course, there’s that awesome punch. Man, I’m going to miss this comic when it’s gone. But it was an X-Men title that presented hope that things can change for mutants, and showed humans who don’t want to kill every single mutant. So of course it couldn’t last. Gotta go back to the status quo where every single human on the entire planet wants to personally murder any mutant they come across.

Return of Loganverine #2, by Charles Soule, Declan Shalvey, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino. Logan and Ana are on a speedboat, trying to catch up to the speedboat some Soteira guys are on with Ana’s son. Logan speculates they may be planning on using Ana’s son to spread a biological weapon, which is exactly what you want to tell a worried mother. Logan’s great at being reassuring. A couple Soteira guys jump off the boat to ambush Logan. Omega Red and Daken. Ana shoots Omega Red off the boat with a spear gun, and good on her. Then it’s Logan vs. Daken.

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Daken doesn’t need to speak to be a smart-ass.

It’s a nasty fight, which ends with Logan burning Daken and throwing him off the boat. Though he severs a fuel line in the process. Which is a great idea when you’re chasing someone on the open sea with no land in sight. He’s a great tactician, that Logan. Also, Ana smooches him, because of course she does. Bleh. The way women can never get enough of Logan bores me. But whatever. The issue. There’s not much to it. There’s virtually no plot development, since the whole issue is spent just chasing the bad guys. The fight is cool, but it doesn’t really accomplish anything. This issue ultimately feels pointless. The art’s nice, and the dialogue’s not bad, but nothing actually happens here. Logan doesn’t learn anything more about his past, we don’t learn anything new about Soteira, nothing actually happens. I care little enough about Logan’s return as it is, and this does nothing to change my mind.

X-Men Black: Juggernaut, by Robbie Thompson, Shawn Crystal, Rico Renzi, and Joe Caramagna. Juggernaut attacks the school, and finds the original X-Men, in their original costumes. He deduces that Xavier is making him see things, and then he sees a kid and chases him, with the X-Men having no clue what’s going on. Turns out Juggernaut’s actually in the Temple of Cyttorak, in Thailand, and he’s weak. His inner child tells him to let all his rage free, to make him stronger. Then he fights Cyttorak, which has happened so many times before.

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Juggernaut vs, Cyttorak, round 87.

I’ve read this story before. Cyttorak questions Cain’s worthiness to be his avatar, Cain beats Cyttorak up, Cyttorak agrees to let Cain keep being his avatar. This one doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, either. It’s probably the weakest of the Black issues so far. Yeah yeah, Juggernaut’s angry, great insight. We don’t get the social commentary of the Magneto issue, the funny sincerity of the Mojo issue, or the fascinating horror of the Mystique issue. This issue’s a little trippy, and that’s cool, but it still doesn’t bring anything particularly interesting to the table. I do really like the art, though. I like Crystal’s style a lot. It’s got a roughness to it, for lack of a better term, and I really dig it. It looks so cool. And it does work for a Juggernaut story, really gets across a sense of rage and violence. The colours work towards that purpose, too, with a loooot of red. So visually, it’s a great comic. It’s just not a terribly interesting story. Though, admittedly, part of that very well may just be because I have read similar stories before. Someone who hasn’t read those stories might be more excited.

And more of the Apocalypse back-up, by Zac Thompson, Ronnie Nadler, Geraldo Borges, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit. Apocalypse is an ape now, in a cage, with hunters examining him as a new specimen. A month later, the aliens experiment on another of the cavemen. Apocalypse tries to escape, and hurts some of the dudes, but gets his ass kicked and then gets put on the altar for experimentation. This part’s pretty cool. Really neat twist near the end. Apocalypse shows how cunning he is, his ability to adapt and to do what’s needed to survive. It’s pretty cool.

And I wanted to get Moon Girl, but my shop was short, so I’ll need to wait for them to get another copy. Should be next week.

X-Men comics of October 17 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So I’ve finally worked up the nerve to email another therapist, since the first one didn’t work out. She didn’t have any openings that fit my schedule. So I’ve tried another one. I keep telling myself I don’t need to see a therapist, but the fact that emailing one is so hard for me kinda feels like proof that I probably should see one. Anyway, hopefully it helps me. But for now, comics!

Astonishing X-Men #16, by Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata, and Clayton Cowles. Piotr’s being tortured, and Ali’s either angry or having an orgasm.

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It’s Greg Land, so it’s hard to tell.

That one guy is a philistine for not liking Dazzler, but that’s admittedly a pretty good burn. Ali pretends to be choking, and one of the dudes opens the chamber, because he clearly doesn’t watch enough TV. Come on, guy. Her escape attempt doesn’t last long, but Hank offers to work for ONE if they spare Ali. Meanwhile, Alex convinces the Reavers to agree to an alliance against ONE. But first they need to dig around in Alex’s brain to find something that’ll help them find where the ONE HQ is. So Havok, Warpath and the Reavers attack the government to rescue the other X-Men. In the process, there are Sentinels, and Colossus pulls a Fastball Special with Warpath. Who can already fly. So there’s fighting and quipping galore. It’s a fun comic. All sorts of poor decisions get made, which is always entertaining. The dialogue if snappy and the plot moves at a brisk pace, with some interesting twists here and there. And then there’s the art. I’m just not going to talk about it, OK? It’s Greg Land. If you don’t know my opinion on him yet, then I don’t know what to tell you. If this series had a better artist, it’d be great. As it is, it’s only OK. Ali’s a badass, Hank is annoyed at people thinking he’s changed sides, Piotr doesn’t get much to do here, Warpath hates everyone, and Alex is a lovable loser. Fun dynamics. Alex is best when he’s happy, or happy-ish. Writers sometimes try to make him serious and intense, but that just makes him Cyclops-lite. He’s better when he’s not that, and Rosenberg takes him about as far from being Scott as possible. Which makes for a better read.

Mr. and Mrs. X #4, by Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. Gambit’s been thoroughly searched for any lockpicks. But Rogue had one in her mouth. So he uses it to free himself, and then frees her. They find Xandra nearby, and she switches back from egg form, then uses her telepathy to make Rogue and Gambit look different. Xandra also remains adorable. They steal a ship, which is attacked by the Starjammers. They land, and Xandra knows Cerise, from all the time Cerise spent singing to her as a baby. Xandra offers to fix Rogue’s power, but Rogue refuses, and I really like her reasoning.

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That’s some really good reasoning from Rogue.

I like that it’s all about ensuring Rogue has agency. Thompson rejects the idea of an easy fix for Rogue, or of someone else fixing her, in favour of Rogue figuring it out for herself. Which is definitely true to Rogue’s character. And Gambit is very understanding and supportive and it’s sweet. Then the Imperial Guard attack. And Deathbird shows up. And it’s all very complicated. Another solid issue. Xandra is adorable and I hope we see more of her in the future. (The arc’s not over, we’ll see more of her next issue, but after that, I hope we see her in later stories, and not just in this book.) I do wish we got more Cerise, especially since she was apparently the one who primarily cared for Xandra. The scene where the two reunite is very sweet. There’s a lot of fun stuff, a lot of sweet stuff, some exciting action. And Rogue and Gambit work a a couple. Thompson has really sold me on them. Gambit is really sweet to her and I appreciate that. Not that he’s not also dirty with her, but he knows when to keep it appropriate. And, of course, Rogue is a badass. And I love the art. This issue has a spread of Gambit freeing himself from the shackles, and it looks good. But Rogue beating the crap out of Titan is really cool. He also does such a good job on facial expressions. He and Thompson do such good work together. I love this series.

Old Man Logan #49, by Ed Brisson, Ibraim Roberson, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Logan is dreaming about his family. The dream turns creepy when he sees them all as corpses. He wakes up naked in the woods, stumbles back into town, and a kid named Joshua helps him into a house to rest up a bit. Maestro sentences the two guards who captured Logan to death. Logan prepares to go stop it, but things don’t go as planned. This issue is better than the last one simply because it doesn’t include any of the implied rape last issue had. That’s a pretty low bar, though. Still, there’s not much to recommend the issue. The dream sequence wasn’t bad, and got creepy at the end, which was cool.

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That’s unsettling.

But the main story? I just don’t care. It’s a story about how people will turn on each other to please their own killer. And that’s done well. I liked that aspect of the story. But Logan and the Maestro are both really boring and I don’t care about them. The art’s great, though. Again, the dream sequence stands out for that, especially that last splash of the dream. I’ll admit that this issue is one where my own biases are probably making me too hard on it. It’s better than I think it is, I think. I just really don’t like Logan, and I’m not a fan of Maestro, who worked really well in the story he was introduced in, but who’s long since worn out his welcome.

X-Men Black: Mystique, by Seanan McGuire, Marco Failla, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna. Mystique is on a dinner date with a Senator, and makes him look bad solely for her own amusement. I kinda love that. She ruins a man’s career just to have some fun. But then she gets a bigger score. So the rest of the issue is her being incredibly devious while comparing what she does to art. And man, she is awful. She is just The Worst. And it’s so damned compelling. She’s ruthless, caring about no one. She kills, a lot, and she sets someone else up for the murders. It’s all so she can get some information from Trask Industries, info that’s supposed to be related to Mothervine. She wants to make sure it’s not in Trask’s hands. But in the process, she does some pretty awful things, with not an ounce of remorse. And it’s so fascinating to watch. She’s so devious, so clever, and she puts in a lot of work. She also gets to show how dangerous a fighter she is, but that’s an afterthought. The real highlight is just in watching her work, watching her be different people for different purposes, just to cover her trail. It’s a good demonstration of what makes her so dangerous.

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Cold.

Failla’s art is good. It tells the story, which is exactly what it needed to do. There was no need, in this story, for anything particularly fancy. Just telling the story. It’s not my favourite art style, but he’s good. Man, this story’s chilling and compelling. Great stuff.

And, more of the Apocalypse back-up, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Geraldo Borges, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit. Apocalypse is now a caveman, and fights some other cavemen. Still interesting. His mind slips away almost entirely here, and the fight against the cavemen is pretty wicked. It’s a good fight. He gets some good licks in against them.

And it’s not strictly speaking an X-Men title, but . . . Weapon Hex #1, by Bens Acker and Blacker, Gerardo Sandoval, Victor Nava, Israel Silva, and Joe Caramagna. I bought it (digitally) SOLELY on the strength of that pun name. It’s a good pun. I approve. On Mount Wundagore, a group of people is trying to provide Mephicthon with a blue lady to possess. It fails, but Sarah has an idea for their 23rd attempt: An imperfect vessel, grown within Sarah herself. Little Laura has a very interesting upbringing. She’s taught to fight by Hellhound, who seems to be a cross between Illyana and Sabretooth. She kills snakes when she’s two. At 5, she’s made to kill Peter Porker, thanks to a triggering spell. At 18, she fights Elsa Bladestone, leader of a group of atheistic extremists. Honestly, the whole thing is ridiculous and fun. Sarah and Herbert are a great goth couple.

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Bless their little goth hearts.

Sarah, of course, mellows greatly once she has Laura, same as she did in the 616. Spoiler alert: She meets the same fate. But the actual twist at the end of the issue made me very very happy, and all I’ll say is to remind you Weapon Hex is a cross between Scarlet Witch and X-23. Speaking of which, here’s Baby Laura:

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Aw, look at those tiny claws.

Sandoval’s art is a good fit for the story. It is such a weird,  crazy story, and Sandoval just enhances it. The comedy, darkness and drama are all enhanced by the art. I know he’s not for everyone, he does have a pretty strange style, but I dig it, especially here. It really works well. This comic is ridiculous, and it’s worth reading.

And the non-X-stuff.

Unstoppable Wasp #1, by Jeremy Whitley, Gurihiru, and Joe Caramagna. It’s back! Nadia and the agents of GIRL! There’s cuteness and fun and some pretty good drama. And an antagonist that I’m really excited about, and who sets up what might be a pretty dark upcoming story in this series. It’s great. And Gurihiru, of course, are amazing.

Shuri #1, by Nnedi Okorafor, Leonardo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino. It’s really good. Nnedi had the difficult task of merging the movie version of Shuri into the comic version. She did a good job. She’s probably more Movie Shuri than Comic Shuri, which is a bit of a shame because I was really enjoying Shuri in Coates’ series, but whatever. Nnedi still writes a good comic. Romero’s art is great, and there’s a flashback sequence that’s especially gorgeous. There’s clearly plans here for Shuri, and I’m very interested in seeing them play otu.

Life of Captain Marvel #4, by Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Erica D’Urrso, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. The Secret History of Carol’s mom. Turns out she’s Kree. And Carol’s half-Kree from birth, which is the real source of her powers. Not Mar-Vell. It’s an OK issue. But I’m more looking forward to Thompson’s run right now.

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