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X-Men comics of May 2 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Happy Free Comic Book Day! I saw Infinity War on Saturday. It was quite the movie. I think my favourite part was at the end, when my friend was like, “Wait, what? It’s over?” She was clearly not prepared for a cliffhanger. I was also entertained by how much she hated Thanos. I am never going to a movie on opening night ever again, though. The theatre was already full by the time we went in, so we got the worst seats available. Very very front, just a few feet from the screen, so my head was at an awkward angle the the whole time, and because of the curve of the screen, characters would sometimes looked warped. So I look forward to watching the movie again when it’s out on DVD, and I can watch it on my laptop. Anyway, here’s comics!

X-Men Gold #27, by Marc Guggenheim, Geraldo Borges, Arif Prianto, David Marquez, Matthew Wilson, and Cory Petit. It opens with a flashback (by Marquez and Wilson) to the classic X-Men #143, Kitty’s Demon, and the start of that story when Kitty kissed Piotr on the cheek, and aw, aren’t they cute, a 13-year-old and an 18-year-old, it’s definitely not creepy that Piotr had feelings for her back then, nope, totally appropriate. Always worth remembering that shit when modern writers try to sell us the idea that Kitty and Piotr are True Loves Forever or whatever shit. This ship started, in the early ’80s, as a 13-year-old and an 18-year-old. As best I can recall, Shooter mandated the relationship be sunk, and that was the right call to make, because Kitty was 13 and Piotr was 18. It is, and always was, a terrible ship, and the writers who refuse to let it go are nostalgia-ridden jackasses who don’t actually understand what a healthy relationship actually looks like, and yeah, that’s a harsh thing to say, but remember that the guy who cemented the ship in the modern era was Joss Whedon, who used his reputation as a feminist to hook up with women while he was married. BUT ANYWAY! Piotr’s been kidnapped. Back at the mansion, Storm is trying to get rid of her hammer, which refuses to leave. She’s worried about the potential of the hammer to corrupt her, and also comments on Rachel being more powerful, and Rachel snaps at her. I will reluctantly give credit as it being a well-written scene. Then the X-ladies learn about Piotr being taken and head out to investigate. Piotr’s in the Savage Land, and it turns out that Evil Lady’s plan is to use the traces of the Legacy Virus in his blood to create a new version of it that will kill mutants and holy shit no this is boring. “Let’s make a disease to wipe out mutants!” “Oh, you mean like all the other diseases that have been made to wipe out mutants? How original!” Kitty also expresses doubts about her impending marriage, and she should, because why the hell is a 20-something marrying a dude she had a crush on when she was goddamn 13 years old? Oh, and just to give you an indication of just how clever and original and full of ideas Guggenheim is, the issue ends with Piotr on a rocket being launched into space. Like the bullet Kitty was in, guys, it’s like the bullet Kitty was in, isn’t that clever and original, what a goddamn genius Guggenheim is, isn’t he? Ugh. I’m tired, guys. I’m tired of this comic. I’m tired of the shallow character work. I’m tired of the pushing of a bad ship. I’m tired of the retread of old ideas. There are occasional good moments, occasional pieces of good writing, but by and large, Guggenheim is a legitimately bad writer. He’s a bad writer. He is, and he always has been. And he keeps getting work. Because he’s managed to land himself in a position where he can’t fail. No matter how much he sucks, he’ll keep getting work. He’ll keep getting high-profile projects. He shouldn’t. No way should he get high-profile projects. But he’ll keep getting them. And other, vastly more talented writers will never get the opportunities he gets. Women and POC won’t get the opportunities he does. You think we’ll see Kelly Thompson writing a flagship X-Men comic any time in the next decade? Because I don’t see it happening. But Guggenheim gets to do it. And I am tired of it. Fuck Marc Guggenheim.

Astonishing X-Men #11, by Charles Soule, Ron Garney, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Proteus is spreading his influence, reaching out from his garden to other cities around the world. The X-Men continue to fight, while Psylocke and X work to stop his influence from spreading. Mystique, unsurprisingly, appears to Proteus as Moira. I miss Moira. Remember when the X-Men had human supporting characters? Anyway, that doesn’t work well. But it does weaken him, allowing Gambit, Rogue and Bishop to finish him off, in a well-orchestrated strategy. Meanwhile, Psylocke and X have to tap into the web of psychics around the world that Shadow King also tapped at the start of the series. This may come as a shock, but X had a secret plan. It’s quite the twist. Soule’s a good writer. There’s some good pathos with Proteus, the scene where Mystique appears to him as Moira is honestly really sad. Makes you feel so sorry for the poor kid. There’s not a lot of character stuff in this issue, but there’s been plenty of that throughout the rest of the series, and the fight strategy makes up for that, as does a fantastic twist. The art’s good. Very clear. Good fight choreography. He does some trippy visuals here and there, though he probably could’ve done a bit more there. But eh, no big deal. All in all, a solid issue, and I’m looking forward to the finale.

Weapon X #17, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Yildiray Cinar, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. In a Russian prison, a couple of mutants (one of them looks like a dolphin!) are making an escape, and run into Omega Red. Elsewhere, Logan declares Sabretooth is the team’s new field leader, since Logan needs time to recover from his birthday. It goes over well.

Weapon X #17

Commanding respect.

Logan then tells them their next mission. It involves SICKLE, Russia’s version of SHIELD, and I like that Pak and Van Lente don’t even try to come up with what SICKLE stands for. Sabretooth isn’t at all concerned about Omega Red, which is weird, because he’s had plenty of run-ins with Omega, himself. Also, Sabretooth’s got a job offer from the Foreigner, which, wow, been a while since he was relevant, I think. Sabretooth also makes a joke about Warpath and Domino hooking up, and Domino laughs. As always, lots of fun, but also some nice tension. There’s plenty of clever dialogue, but the book’s also building to something, and it’s looking like it’ll be pretty great. Omega Red seems to be in pretty poor mental shape, which is interesting. It’s good stuff. Good art, too. It’s a style that works well for the book, bringing a certain weight and darkness, even in more comedic beats. Which is what a book like this should feel like. So, this is still a good comic.

Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost #1, by Charles Soule, Matteo Buffagni, Jim Charalampidis, and Joe Sabino. Daredevil meets with Frank McGee, the Inhuman cop who’s too reasonable to have a stupid codename. During the conversation, McGee half-convinces himself the Red Sox might have murdered people he likes. Sports rivalries are interesting things. Also, when told Wolverine is missing, he asks which one, and good on him, and he remembers Albert! OK, Frank McGee is awesome. McGee agrees to help with the search, and Daredevil then goes to recruit Misty Knight, who’s at a bar, reading a book, and stops a robbery by crushing a billiards ball. Yep, that would be pretty intimidating, even for someone with a gun. Misty and Frank talk, and it’s a really good conversation. Soule’s good at dialogue. And then Misty takes them to recruit Cypher, who’s a bearded online conspiracy theorist now. Um . . . OK. I hate to like the idea, but I kinda dig the idea. This is good. It’s a cheap cash-in tie-in, but hey, the creative team does good work. They do what they can to make it a good read. There’s good dynamics between the characters, and the art’s good. And hey, Cypher’s in it. And he’s great. I love Cypher. So I like this comic. Even if Hunt For Wolverine is still a shitty cash-grab, and even if Logan still sucks ass.

Rogue & Gambit #5, by Kelly Thompson, Pere Perez, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. One hell of an opening, especially the double-page splash, which looks amazing, full of these little moments from Rogue and Gambit’s romance. And the fight against the golems continues, and it turns out Dr. Grand is also a golem. Rogue smashes her to absorb whatever memory’s inside her, and we get an origin. When she was young, she absorbed stuff from people around her, and created a duplicate of herself. And her name is Charmaine, did we already know that? Anyway, there’s something oddly sweet about how she and her duplicate interact. Her clone is so supportive. It’s nice. Having absorbed some of Lavish’s power from the golem, she starts absorbing her own clones, and then Lavish shows up with golems of all the people she’s had on the island, which is a bad idea, because that just super-charges Rogue. It’s a good finale to a series that, for probably the first time ever, made me care about the Rogue/Gambit ship. Lavish’s backstory is really cool, I loved that, and Rogue got a cool new cool here when she absorbed all the people. It was short-lived, obviously, but it looked wicked. The art’s great. Perez and D’Armata made a gorgeous-looking comic. The art is I think a big part of why Lavish’s backstory worked, she looked really cute and normal and then her clone was so cheerful and kind and it was all just really pretty. This was a great mini, and I’m really excited to see what Thompson’s next project is. If Marvel had any sense, they’d put her on a major title. Sadly, Marvel lacks such sense.

I also picked up Rise of the Black Panther #5, by Evan Narcisse, Javier Pina, Edgar Salazar, Keith Champagne, Stephane Paitreau, and Joe Sabino. There’s a Luke Cage cameo from back when he was Carl Lucas. And a Storm cameo, from before she joined the X-Men. The chemistry between Ororo and T’Challa is so easy, and so enjoyable. All in all, a good comic.


X-Men comics for April 25 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’ll probably be going to Avengers this weekend. My friend wants to go. I’m pretty sure she just wants to see more of Black Panther. Not that I blame her. I think this will be my first time seeing a movie opening weekend. Also, there’s apparently going to be a Studio Ghibli theme park opening in Japan in 2020. I want to go to that. But for now, comics.

X-Men Blue #26, by Cullen Bunn, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, Rain Beredo, and Joe Caramagna. The O5 are still adrift, trying to repair Danger. Except Scott, who continues to wallow in angst. On Earth, Mothervine’s made a bunch of new mutants. Beak’s been turned back into a mutant. Poor Beak. Also, apparently Unuscione was randomly hanging out in San Francisco? I don’t know, I have trouble buying her leading a civilian life. Anyway, Sentinels show up, and Polaris’ X-Men team arrives to beat them up. Unuscione’s new secondary mutation almost kills her, but Xorn talks her to safety, with help from Daken’s pheromones. Then a new version of the MLF, with Wildside, Blob, Toad, Dragoness, and I think it might be that Anima girl, the one Bendis made who makes monsters. Also, Mothervine is even more nefarious than we’d already been led to believe, because of course it is. And uh, as usual, I’m kinda meh on this. As usual, there’s precious little in the way of character drama, which is the thing I care most about. There’s also not actually all that much story advancement. Half the issue is a fight, but not an intense one, as the X-Men just tear through the Sentinels. Then a reminder that the secondary mutations that Mothervine creates are dangerous. Unuscione’s presence here doesn’t really do much for me. There’s nothing about her that feels like the classic Unuscione. She could be any random mutant. Hell, she doesn’t even really use her exo-skeleton. She uses energy blasts. So there’s no real reason to use her, specifically, in the role. She feels like a random choice. And it bothers me that she doesn’t feel more like herself, because why the hell choose her, specifically, if you’re not going to put in an effort to make her read like herself? If you’re going to have a character in a fairly important cameo, try to do something that really highlights who they are. Of course, none of the team get much that says who they are. It’s disappointing. The art is a little uneven, I think. Most of the time, it looks great, but there’s certain panels where it doesn’t look like the rest of the book. Also, at one point, Emma and Alex are talking telepathically, and Emma is drawn as though she’s yelling, to show her anger. And, like, no? I get what Silva was going for, trying to make two people speaking telepathically look more interesting, but I feel like less would’ve been more there. She wasn’t actually yelling, and she’s still trying to deceive the bad guys, so it’s just a poor storytelling decision by Silva. (On a larger note, I do also dislike the idea of Emma having a costume, a specific outfit that she wears all the time. I’d prefer she have an esthetic. I think Silva should’ve come up with an original outfit for her, and I think other artists should do the same, any time she appears. That complaint isn’t specific to Silva himself, just a thought I had.)

All-New Wolverine #34, by Tom Taylor, Ramon Rosanas, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Laura’s mission to invade Latveria and kill Doom gets some unexpected help: Captain Marvel and Hawkeye. So it’s one hell of a team, even if Laura didn’t want this team.

All-New Wolverine #34


Turns out the dome around Latveria blocks all non-Doom tech, so all their fancy tech is down, including Hill’s cybernetics, and Kate’s arrows, and Gabby’s laser-claws. Additional problem: Doom has cybernetics in every Latverian, so as soon as one of them sees the group, Doom knows they’re there. So he sends out Doombots, and Carol is very excited about a Fastball Special.

All-New Wolverine #34

Throwing Wolverines is just fun.

And hold on. Is this the first Fastball Special in this series? I think it might be. Am I forgetting an earlier use? Because I have a feeling this is the first one. Huh. Wow. Good on Laura for not over-using it and cheapening it. The rarer it is, the more it deserves to be a splash page, and this one earned that splash. Also, Hill had a special bullet, and I don’t want to say why it’s special, but oh man is it awesome. And it gives Gabby a great line. It’s great. And then the issue ends on a surprisingly sad note. Again, I don’t want to spoil it. But it’s a strong moment. This is a great issue. There’s a raising of the stakes at the end, but the core of the issue is seeing the characters interacting. Seeing hints of the relationships they’ve developed over unseen years. Indications that Gabby and Kate are good friends. Carol being there is really cool, too, and suggests to me that she and Laura are probably pretty good friends. Which makes sense. Also, Carol looks old. She still looks like a superhero, yeah, but Rosanas actually makes her look like she’s getting up there in age. Which is really good to see. There are times where Laura’s age shows, too. Good on Rosanas for being able to draw woman who look older than 30. That aside, the art’s good. Rosanas isn’t someone whose style I’m particularly fond of, but he does fine work here, there’s some really good visuals here and there. And the writing, of course, is excellent. This is a great penultimate issue to the run. Love it.

Legion #4, by Peter Milligan, Lee Ferguson, Dan Brown, and Travis Lanham. Dr. Hannah, with a gun held to her head by a Manly Man, uses her skills to expose his fear and ask for his help fighting Lord Trauma. In the real world, David’s fighting Trauma, and Hannah gets a cut on her head. The world inside his head starts to fall apart because of the battle, so Hannah convinces Tami to help her see what’s going on. And she makes Trauma afraid to keep fighting David for fear of them both dying. Aaaaaand, it’s still not actually all that interesting. It’s still not weird enough to be a good Legion comic. Neither the writing nor the art actually get particularly trippy, and with a character like Legion, you need to get trippy. You need to get unsettling, keep the audience unbalanced. I’ve been watching the first season of FX’s Legion series, only two episodes left, and holy crap does it ever do that. Just when you start to get used to what’s going on, it throws in something strange or creepy or just plain confusing. This comic doesn’t really accomplish that. It’s not creepy, and it’s not actually confusing. It’s very easy to follow, very linear. The art is very bright and pop styled, which doesn’t work well, either. While the series does improve with each other, it’s still ultimately bland and forgettable.

Hunt For Wolverine #1, two stories, both written by Charles Soule and lettered by Joe Sabino. The first has art by David Marquez and Rachelle Rosenberg. The Reavers find the cabin in Alberta where Logan’s statue was hidden. They’re in bad shape, damaged in jobs they failed to complete and didn’t get paid for, and they want to steal Logan’s body and sell it. An X-Men team consisting of Kitty, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Firestar show up, and we get a flashback to Reed Richards visiting Logan’s tomb with other X-Men to pay his respects and to insist that he did his best to reactivate Logan’s healing factor. He is suspiciously insistent. Scott, Storm, Beast and Colossus also discuss what the best thing to do with the statue was, and Colossus had an idea. Turns out Kitty phased Logan’s body out of the statue. Then there was a proper funeral for him. For some reason, despite her having basically no real relationship with Logan, Firestar was one of 9 people at the funeral. Why? Anyway, shockingly, Logan’s alive again. Who saw that coming. You’d almost think we’d seen him showing up in random comics for the past few months, like the attention whore he always was. Meh. It’s an OK story, I suppose. Firestar is a totally random character for Soule to include, and she contributes nothing. She probably could’ve been left out. There’s something almost sad about seeing the state the Reavers are in, though they do get a couple moments demonstrating how dangerous they still are. Still, this story is just build-up to something we already knew, because it was announced months ago, and has already happened. We’ll see how the Hunt For Wolverine minis go, I guess, but still, meh, it’s hard to care about this particular issue. The second has art by Paulo Siqueira,Walden Wong, and Ruth Redmond. Kitty visits Tony Stark to let him know what’s happened. I’m a little angry about something here. She tells him, “Wolverine’s gone.” The thing is, there’s already an amazing Wolverine running around. Kitty’s phrasing feels weirdly dismissive of her. The implication is that she’s not actually Wolverine, that there’s only one Wolverine. And screw that noise. Anyway, she’s also gone to Daredevil for help, for . . . some reason. Because Soule is writing Daredevil, maybe? Lady Deathstrike’s also learned about it, from a Reaver who escaped. The Reaver actually wanted her help busting the other Reavers out of Canadian prison. Yeah, they’re in jail in Canada. That’s gotta smart. Especially since Marvel Canada is hilariously evil, so the Reavers are totally boned. They’re going to become weapons for Department H. Actually, can that happen? Can we get some cool continuity with the Reavers, having been handed off to Alpha Flight, ending up in the hands of Department H, and being turned into weapons for the program? And Kitty puts together the X-Women to search for Logan in Madripoor, and Jubilee apparently loves Madripoor, because Jubilee is awesome. Anyway, this story is just setting up the four Hunt For Wolverine minis. For the record, the only one I’ll be collecting physically will be the Claws Of A Killer one, written by Mariko Tamaki, and I will be picking it up solely because it’s Mariko Tamaki. Other than that? Hard to care about them. I don’t care about Logan. I’ve never cared about him. So none of this actually excites me. Fuck Logan. Leave the bastard dead, I say. But nope, gotta push that goddamn cash cow. Even if it means screwing over the vastly more compelling Laura in the process, by reverting her to the X-23 name and an astonishingly terrible costume. (Her new costume is not bad, it is horrid. It is one of the worst re-designs I’ve seen, especially in recent years, when a lot of characters, and especially female characters, have been getting brilliant redesigns. Laura’s new costume is an abomination.) Anyway, the two best parts about this story are Kitty ruining Stark’s defensive systems, and Deathstrike not giving a shit about the Reavers. I especially love the second one. The art’s fine. But yeah, all in all, this entire comic is not worth spending the money, because it is 100% set-up for a bunch of minis. Screw it.

And the non-X-stuff.

Exiles #2, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Chris O’Halloran, and Joe Caramagna. Iron Lad thinks the destroyed Earths, or at least some of them, can be brought back. Which is good. Blink, Khan and Iron lad meet Valkyrie, merrily engaged in combat. She is very boisterous and it’s fun. And then to the next world, and Xavier’s Playtime Fun School For Gifted Youngsters. And it is . . . something. Pies. It’s really fun. Valkyrie is delightful. Li’l Wolvie is bizarre. There’s a lot of weird stuff and it’s great.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #30, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Devil’s back, and he’s adorable. He’s so dang happy to see Lunella and I love it. His smile. Bustos draws the best happy dinos. Also, Lunella hits herself with her own boxing glove. This is a fun issue. And I’m glad to have Devil back. Lunella and Devil are just so fun together. They make a wonderful team.

Marvel Rising #0, by Devin Grayson, Marco Failla, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. First, can I just note that I love the cover by Helen Chen? It’s gorgeous. And some great hair. Carol’s hair looks fantastic on the cover. So does Quake’s. But the comic! Nancy is a volunteer teaching some kids from Kamala’s school programming, and takes them on a field trip to to study old computer technology. And AIM attacks. So Doreen and Kamala both sneak away to change into their superhero identities, and that means TEAM-UP! Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel team-up! Yay! It’s taken entirely too long for them to team up. It’s a really cute issue. Short and sweet and fun.

X-Men comics of April 18 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Congratulations to Superman for Action Comics #1000, I suppose. I’m not a DC guy, but hey, that’s quite the milestone, so good on Supes. Anyway, here’s comics.

X-Men Gold #26, by Marc Guggenheim, Michele Bandini, Arif Prianto, David Marquez, Matthew Wilson, and Cory Petit. Kitty thinks back to when she first met Piotr, when she was 13 and he was 18, and she developed a crush on him, and she was 13 at the time, and he was 18 at the time, and let’s never forget how screwed up that was, and still is, and how stupid it is that old-ass fanboys like Whedon and Guggenheim are still hung up on a 30+-year-old crush between a 13-year-old and an 18-year old. Screw that noise. Anyway, the team is on a mission in Santo Marco to find Mesmero, who goes back into Rachel’s head again. Storm is still Sthorm, wielding her magic hammer. They take him to the mutant prison, where the warden is blatantly anti-mutant and throws out the crap about mutants replacing humans. Yeah yeah, every single human in the world hates mutants, I am fucking over that. Show me the humans who are totally OK with mutants! Give me the humans who are permanent parts of the supporting cast! Give me something more unique than “every single human in the world hates mutants.” That shit’s boring. Boring Evil Lady is in cahoots with Yet Another Goddamn Sentinel, and they have evil plans that I couldn’t care less about. Piotr tells Kurt he and Kitty have set a wedding date, and Kurt immediately takes him and a few other guys to Vegas for the bachelor party, before anything can happen to interrupt it. Which is a valid concern, but he should know by now that it doesn’t matter what he does, something will happen. It’s inevitable. Blaaaaaaaaaah. So boring! So shitty! Guggenheim sucks. He’s a shitty writer who doesn’t belong anywhere near an X-Men flagship title, because he doesn’t have a single thing to actually say. What the hell is the point of any of this, aside from him wanking a gross ship from over 30 years ago? I know I say this every two weeks, but Guggenheim’s run on Gold is legitimately one of the least interesting, most pointless things I have ever read. The average fanfic spends more time delving into characters and their relationships. Also, Kitty and Piotr talk about how they’ve been “dragging their feet” with the engagement. Didn’t they get engaged, like, 3 issues ago or something? It’s probably been, like, a month in-universe. There are couples who go straight from engaged to married in a few months, but a lot of couples wait years, even if they’ve already been dating and living together for several years at that point. A couple months is not “feet-dragging” by any reasonable standard. But Guggenheim’s a useless fucking hack who can’t come up with any other way to inject tension between characters. Also, can someone please take Storm away from this asshole? Because it doesn’t seem like he actually gives a shit about her. He gave her a magic hammer that gives her immense power, and her role in this issue is to hit Mesmero with some lightning and appear in a single panel so Rogue can compliment her look. That’s it. Storm getting godly power is kind of a big deal, and all it boils down to here is Rogue saying she looks good. And I know Guggenheim’s got some plan for Storm’s hammer, and I’m sure it will amount to nothing more than an attempt at a Cool Moment, but holy shit, can we get a fucking¬†hint of how Storm might feel about what’s going on? What am I saying, of course we can’t, because that would mean Guggenheim being competent enough as a writer to actually explore how characters feel about things going on, and to care enough about Storm to let her be something more than a glorified extra. And what makes this issue even worse is that I like the art. Bandini’s good. He’s got a talent for facial expressions, for showing how characters are feeling. And he’s saddled with a writer who doesn’t care about that. Bandini deserves better than this. The entire art team does. They’re doing good work, but they’re doing good work on a comic whose writing makes it garbage. Marc Guggenheim is a terrible fire and he should be banned from ever writing again. I don’t even want him writing grocery lists, because he’d probably make those terrible, too.

Edited to add: I’m not Jewish, so I didn’t catch this, but I saw Jay Edidin (of the X-Plain the X-Men podcast) note that Marc Guggenheim screwed up something else. When Kitty’s talking to her mom, she says that since her father’s dead, she asks her mother to walk her down the aisle. Her mom initially says that’s a father’s role. Jay said that, traditionally, in Jewish weddings, both parents walk their child down the aisle. It’s something that would be pretty easy to learn by doing even the tiniest bit of research on Jewish wedding traditions. But, as I keep saying, Marc Guggenheim is the hands-down worst writer Marvel has. So, clearly, he didn’t care enough to do that research. The weird thing is that Guggenheim is actually Jewish, which means he didn’t research his own goddamn faith’s wedding traditions. Which is insane. That’s how bad a writer Guggenheim is. He is so bad that it makes him not bother researching the wedding traditions of his own faith in the lead-up to the wedding of a character from that faith. Like, that’s Writing 101 shit. Do the research. Even if you think you already know all about something, do the research. But Guggenheim sucks, so he didn’t do the research.

Weapon X #16, by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Roland Boschi, Andrea Sorrentino, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Logan vs. Sabretooth, surroounded by monsters captured by Amadeus Cho. Logan’s unleashed, and is kicking Sabretooth’s ass, so Sabretooth frees the monsters. A wall is broken, and there’s kids playing soccer outside, and holy shit, why are monsters being kept so close to a place where kids play soccer? How does that happen? Anyway, Logan fights a hydra at one point, and uses a strategy straight out of Order of the Stick. Literally, it’s a strategy used in Order of the Stick. Also, we find out what happened to Sabretooth in Logan’s time. He’d gone feral, and Logan had to put him down, which he did pretty easily, since Sabretooth was all animal at that point, while it was the human part of him that made him dangerous. This is told in a three-page portion drawn by Sorrentino, gorgeously. Though without any of the trippy layouts he often does. Also, the resolution of this birthday brawl is pretty brilliant. I love it. This is a good issue. The fighting’s brutal, and the rivalry is actually presented really well. I like Logan verbally tearing Sabretooth down, pretty much demolishing Sabretooth’s entire philosophy. This issue also addresses Sabreooth’s inversion from Axis, stating that it’s still in effect. Even though he’s been a total psycho asshole this entire run. But OK, sure. So there’s some good writing. Boschi’s art is a bit odd. Inconsistent, I found. Sometimes looked good, sometimes looked rushed and messy in a bad way. I’m not a particular fan of his in the first place, but here, it just felt like half-assed most of it. I know he can do better than this, but he really did an inferior job here. I’m guessing he was just rushed. It happens. Regardless, while it hurts the story a little but, it’s still an enjoyable read.

Cable #156, by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, German Peralta, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. Flashback, to Cable’s last solo series, when he was a single dad raising Hope in the future while being hunted by Bishop. Right after the crossover where Hope met the X-Force line-up Laura was a part of, so she’s got questions about mutants. The thing that actually kinda sticks out to me about the opening scene is Cable mentioning Nate Grey as his half-brother, which is oddly sweet. Anyway, they’re in a future full of dead bodies, and find some hobos who kick Cable’s ass. Bishop shows up, and Hope grabs Cable’s gun and shoots Bishop, and remember, she was like 6 at this point. Later, Hope asks Cable about his parents, so he thinks about Slym and Redd. After the flashback, is that a lizard with a bionic arm? How does . . . what?! Look, I’m not complaining, I actually think it’s pretty amazing, but.

Cable #156

Why does this lizard have a bionic arm?

I want to know the story here. Who gave this lizard a bionic arm? Was it some guy’s pet, which got loose when the owner died? Are lizards really smart in the future? Is this the lizard equivalent of Misty Knight? Oh my god yes I am absolutely declaring this to be the post-apocalyptic hellscape future lizard version of Misty Knight. Canon, and you will not convince me otherwise. This lizard is the lead-in to Cable teaching Hope how to shoot a gun, which is really nice. Father-daughter bonding. Honestly, I love this issue. Seeing Cable and young Hope, seeing Cable teaching Hope, and telling her about his own family, and all that stuff. It’s just so good and pure. Though on a funny note, he mentions that Jean’s dead, like that was ever going to stick. It’d be nice if Hope did get to meet Adult Jean. Hope and Teen Jean got along really well, I’m curious how Hope would feel about the adult version. But yeah, this is such a great issue. The art does a good job evoking the style from that Cable series. I forget who the artist was on the bulk of that run, and I could look it up easily, but I’m not going to. Anyway, the art here has a similar feel to that, which I appreciate. I like Peralta more than I like the artist I’m not looking up. But this issue’s all about Dad-Cable, and I love it for that. Really good. Highlight of this entire series so far. Actually, one of the best issues of any of Cable’s series.

And the non-X-stuff.

Ms. Marvel #31, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. First, I want to start by saying the cover has “Khan You Feel The Love Tonight?” and I am simultaneously angry and happy at that pun. Anyway, Tyesha has her baby! Kamala’s an aunt! Malik Theodore Khan, a boy. And even Gabe is immediately enchanted. (Not me. I hate babies.) After, she goes out on patrol, and gets her first kiss. Red Dagger. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed, because with all the hype over the past couple years about Who Would Be Kamala’s First Kiss, I hoped that Zoe would plant a smooch on her just to get Kamala over first kiss drama. But hey, it’s fine. Red Dagger’s cute, and he’s nice, and he clearly likes her a lot and wants to support her, so I’m fine with this ship. And hey, Bruno’s also back, at exactly the most awkward time. With his Wakandan best friend, and look, I know it’s a big dramatic moment and everything, but the most important part of that moment is a pigeon whose mind is blown by a hovering suitcase. Anyway, Bruno being back means he and Kamala having to figure out how to be friends after she kinda-sorta got him crippled. Also! New girl from Connecticut, and she’s haughty and bitchy and I honestly kinda love her. There’s also Bruno’s friend being hilariously condescending about the US (he keeps calling it a “developing nation,” and the Imam at Kamala’s masjid is kind of a troll and the best. He’s a great dude. Anyway, it’s a really good issue, focused on Kamala’s personal life, which is exactly the kind of thing I love most, so it’s exactly the kind of issue I love reading. Such a great comic. Plus: This bird.

Ms. Marvel #31

As always, the pigeons are the real stars of this series.

Black Panther #172, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, Marc Deering, Walden Wong, Laura Martin, Matt Milla, and Joe Sabino. The Adversary! Shuri being badass in single combat against him! T’Challa makes Storm into a god. Not even an exaggeration, he has Wakanda imbue their faith in her, which makes her a god. Because, as always, T’Challa is the man with the plan. A cool finale to a cool year-long arc. An interesting exploration of religion and faith and gods. I enjoyed it.

X-Men comics for April 11 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). The Simpsons is out-dated and lost its relevance years ago. Here’s comics.

X-Men Red #3, by Tom Taylor, Mahmud Asrar, Ive Svorcina, and Cory Petit. Cassandra Nova pays a visit to the Xavier School. She cracks the sign, because she is petty, she groans at Kitty/Piotr drama and I am 100% with her on that. And she kills a young mutant who can see her, because she’s evil. I am . . . less on board with the murder. Oh, and she gives a drug to another mutant. In India, Sentinel. It blasts Gabby, so Trinary makes it sit down, which is pretty badass. Trinary is surprisingly powerful. She reprogrammed the Sentinel to remove its directive to kill mutants, something Juston Seyfert could never do, before he was killed in a book that was built around killing cool young characters with lots of potential. Anyway, they steal the Sentinel. Trinary then talks about spikes in anti-mutant sentiments, which leads to a scene in Louisiana where a young girl with wings confronts an angry mob, and gets rescued by Gambit. The angry mob is carrying garden torches, in a touch that’s pretty clearly meant to evoke the tiki torches wielded by the alt-right neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, and also makes pretty clear which side Taylor comes down on. He is firmly anti-Nazi. I’m sure the Comicsgate shitholes are frothing at the mouth about that panel. But screw those people. Anyway, wing-girl still gets shot. Which, frankly, she should probably be able to survive. It was a handgun, and while it wasn’t long-range or anything, a gutshot from a handgun isn’t instantly fatal. My understanding is that it’s actually not that difficult to survive that, if you get to a hospital reasonably quickly. Anyway, I generally enjoyed this issue. Trinary’s cool, but I would’ve liked to learn more about her as a person. She shows off her power a lot, but we don’t learn much about her personality. Which is a shame. Still, she reprograms a Sentinel with ease. And also gets a little freaked out at Gabby not being dead. Gabby continues to be the best. Honestly, this issue’s a bit of a let-down from the first two. For all that happens, not a lot happens. Not much character stuff, not much plot development. A bit disappointing. Still, as I said, I mostly enjoy it. Taylor’s still a good writer, the art’s still good, Asrar’s a good visual storyteller. I guess this issue does also bring in Gambit, which . . . yeah, it’s a pretty disappointing issue. (Ha! Gambit burn!)

X-Men Blue #25, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. Lorna has mixed feelings about killing an alternate version of Malice, and I suppose that’s reasonable. Killing is rough, even if it’s someone you hate. And it’s not like this version if Malice has the same odds of returning to life as the main Malice does. Then she’s reminded that the Raksha are basically all broken. Meanwhile, in Scotland, Alex continues pitching the future to Magneto, talking about how Mothervine will make mutants the dominant species. Magneto declines to join, and fights Alex, Emma, Miss Sinister, Bastion, and a whole bunch of tiny Sentinels. Emma gives Alex a psychic boost to his power, in order to take down Magneto. Good teamwork, actually. Magneto does slip away, though. And the bad guys launch their plan, so someone needs to stop them. Not bad. I really like the Magneto/Alex scene. It’s well-written, good tension between them, and both presenting their cases well. Obviously, we’re meant to side against Alex, but he still comes across as reasonable, not some frothing power-mad lunatic. He’s not old-school Magneto. Makes for a compelling scene. The fight is really good, too. Magneto is shown as powerful to the point of being overconfident about it, taking the bad guys apart with casual ease. Also, the image of him assembling a metal suit is pretty badass. Alex’s power-boost is cool, though his blasts could’ve looked cooler. But whatever, petty complaint. I still like the fight. The Lorna stuff at the start is fine, too, but I don’t know, it didn’t really resonate with me. The art’s good. Molina’s a talented artist. Except that I noticed kind of a limited set of facial expressions on a lot of characters. I feel like we got more tone and mood conveyed through Milla’s colours than Molina’s lines. I don’t know, might just be me. And I suppose the issue didn’t call for a particularly wide range of expressions. It’s a good-looking style, just felt a bit emotionally flat to me, but maybe I’m just crazy. Regardless, on the whole, this is a good issue.

There’s also a back-up feature, by Bunn, Mike Perkins, Andy Troy, and Caramagna. It’s about the remaining O5 and Venom, with Scott angsting about Jean being dead. Danger flies into a meteor storm that tears holes in her, and then the four find themselves in their original costumes at the mansion. Hank realizes Danger’s created an artificial environment for them to feel comfortable in as they die. Jean is there, too, which makes Scott not want to leave the simulation. It’s a kinda-sad story. But it’s still a pretty meh story, and I’m not a fan of Perkins’ art, which is a bit blobby for my tastes.

Old Man Logan #38, by Ed Brisson, Dalibor Talajic, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Bullseye takes the drive Kingpin wants back, and Sarah tells him he should help her take Fisk down, so Bullseye can run the city. As if Bullseye’s ever cared about being in charge. Do your homework, lady, the guy’s just out for laughs, which he gets by killing people. Logan tries to sneak away from the crowd gathered outside the grocery store where he fought Bullseye, but he gets spotted, and I’ll give credit to the dude in the crowd who shouts at him to go back to Canada. THAT guy did his homework. Anyway, he gets back to the apartment and gets in a car chase with Bullseye, and beats him up. He even threatens to kill Bullseye, who just points out that never works. Then he goes to Kingpin to learn what’s on the drive, and it is exactly what I expected. It is precisely what I predicted it to be, if you remember what my prediction was. So this is the least surprising twist ever. The confrontation between Logan and Kingpin is fairly cool. Good tension. Kingpin’s calmness and confidence is always cool. It’s where his true threat lies. Not in a physical fight, but using his influence to defeat his enemies. It’s cool. The art does a good job of carrying the store. It carries a lot of the tension. So not a surprising end to the arc, but handled well.

Domino #1, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, and Clayton Cowles. Domino gets a pug as a birthday present. The dog is all white, has a black spot over its left eye. Just like Domino. Then, flashback to how the day started, with her and Outlaw, aka Crazy Inez, on a job. They’re there to investigate timber piracy. Mafia-infiltrated timber piracy. And it turns out the job was a trap and she has to fight a monster. And almost gets run over by logging machinery, until her luck makes her trip and get mud in her cleavage, because Domino’s pretty sure her own power kinda hates her. Also, Inez pulls a Fastball Special with her. The monster turns out to be a mutant named Greywing, who complains that Domino and Inez look gorgeous and have cool powers, while he involuntarily turns into a monster. Fair gripe, but there’s no need to take it out on Domino and Inez. And Domino’s other partner on the job turns out to be Diamondback, who Domino thinks is a snob. And then Domino gets a surprise birthday party, which means loads of X-Men. And Dazzler sings. But all the happiness makes Domino remember her past, and that makes her feel like shit. Inez and Diamondback are actually really good in this issue. They’re sweet. And they’re really good friends to Domino. This is a good issue. Lots of fun, until an intense ending. Simone gives Domino a voice that balances all the different interpretations of her, which isn’t easy, because she’s a character who’s had a lot of wildly different interpretations. Simone strikes a good middle ground, making her fun, but with a deep darkness, as well. Baldeon’s art is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s very cartoonis, very exaggerated. Good for facial expressions, but definitely not for everyone. I’m . . . uncertain. I’m undecided on how I feel about his art. I can’t decide if I like it or not. Some panels, I really like. Some panels, I really don’t. The colour is good throughout. It’s a good start to the story, worth checking out.

That’s the X-stuff, here’s what else I got.

Exiles #1, by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Caramagna. Some fairly overwrought monologuing from the Unseen, Nick Fury. I think my problem is actually the lettering, here. It’s a bit too fancy, gets hard to read sometimes. Anyway, he says something is destroying universes. Didn’t we just do that 3 years ago? More interesting, Blink visits the Bahamas, and her family. A version of her family, really, since this Blink is from another reality. But aw, she has a family! Good for her! Then the Tallus summons her to the moon so Nick can tell her she has to save the multiverse, and with that, it’s a time-hopping she goes! First up, a post-apocalypse where the last Inhumans have taken refuge in Jersey City, under the protection of Khan. She uses her giant hand as a lie detector. Neat trick. Then her world gets eaten and she becomes the last survivor when the Tallus takes her and Blink out. Then a bright fancy future for Iron Lad. Not the Iron Lad from Young Avengers. This is an alternate version. Because he’s Kang, and nothing can ever be simple with Kang. The reveal of who the Time Eater is is pretty cool. This is a good start to the series. I’ve missed Blink, so much. She’s great here. I look forward to spending time getting to know Khan and the others, too. Valkyrie and Wolvie join next issue, I think, and that’ll be exciting. I’m not a fan of Rodriguez’s art. Personal taste. Can’t really explain why I don’t like it, but I don’t. Still, I’m on board with this series.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #31, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. This is Henderson’s last issue and I’m so sad! This issue opens with the gang fighting EpicCrimeZ, a criminal who livestreams his crimes, to make money from committing crimes. It’s a plan, you have to admit that. And then he hits Doreen and Nancy with a weapon that puts them in Hypertime. Which is neat. It lets them replace Bullseye’s guns with bananas, which is hilarious, but also, he can still use those as deadly projectiles, so. Anyway, the issue is just Doreen and Nancy saving lives while working on a time machine over the course of decades that pass in a single weekend, and it’s just. It’s so good. So wonderful. Doreen and Nancy are so good together. The best of all best friends. Their relationship has really been the heart of this series. So seeing them literally spend their entire lives together, and how strong their love for each other is all through that time, it’s so nice. (Also, I’ll be honest, I genuinely can’t tell if North and Henderson intended for them to come across as a couple, but they really came across as a couple, just the body language in a lot of the panels. I’m, like, 80% sure that it was intentional, that we’re supposed to read Doreen and Nancy as being in love, but it’s possible it’s just meant to be the kind of close friendship that looks like love.) I’m going to miss Henderson so much on this book. She had such an influence on the character of the series. She brought so much charm and energy and fun and love. I’m crushed that she’s off the book, but I have nothing but good wishes for her on whatever her next project is.

Champions #19, by Jim Zub, Sean Izaakse, Marcio Menyz, and Clayton Cowles. Nunavut! An Inuit girl checks out a strange new secret installation. She finds some colourful lady in a ball. The next morning, in New York, Nova chases the Fly and the Scorpion (the girl version). And then Spider-Miles catches them. They get a call from Ms. Marvel and go to see the new Champions HQ, which is a pretty cool jet. Nadia’s room has a G.I.R.L. poster, which is a nice touch, I miss her solo. She even name-drops them in a briefing! I really hope they show up, they were cool. I want to see how Shay and Ying are doing as a couple. Sadly, Viv has a conversation with Riri where she mentions disengaging her emotions, so that bullshit from Waid’s run is still carrying over. Ugh. Uuuuuuuugh. I loved Viv as an awkward teen girl in the Vision solo. As an emotionless teen? Boring. Still misses the core of her character. Ugh. Though her conversation with Riri is actually nice. I look forward to seeing their friendship develop. This is a pretty good start to the new run. We’ll see how it goes. The Waid run has left me really wary, still. Zub seems to have a better voice on some of the characters, but it’s early. I do like his Viv more than Waid’s, overall, but I’d still prefer her as someone who embraces her emotions. The Vision series left her in a spot where she embraced emotion, and then Waid shit all over that for the sake of having the Cold Unfeeling Android, and Zub has her specifically state her emotions are disabled, but she still acts more cheerful than she did in Waid’s run. Ms. Marvel doesn’t get much page time. Nadia is cute and happy, which is important. I like Zub’s take on Riri, too. She expresses concern about working on a team, and wonders if she belongs. I still want Riri to get a solo written by a black woman, by the by. I like Izaakse’s art far more than I ever liked Ramos’. It’s still got a little bit of a cartoonish vibe, but not as extreme as Ramos. Or actually, not as sharp. Ramos’ art style always felt pointy to me. Izaakse has a bit more natural a line style. His lines aren’t as heavy, and they flow better. But he does a phenomenal job at expressions and body language. Actually, special mention of Viv’s body language. At a couple different parts, she’s just randomly floating upside-down. Because if you can float, why wouldn’t you be upside-down? It’s a cute touch. And yeah, I just generally like the art style. Still, as I said, I’m worried about Champions, so we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

Falcon #7, by Rodney Barnes, Joshua Cassara, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Caramagna. Falcon vs. Vampires! Fun reminder: Nightwing is a vampire. Pretty sure he’s still a vampire. Did that get retconned, or is Redwing still a vampire? Also, Misty teams up with Blade to kill other vampires. He asks her on a date. He has poor timing, but to be fair, he doesn’t spend much time not killing vampires. But this is another solid issue. A shame this series is ending. Maybe if all the people who’d bitched that Sam should have been pushed as Falcon instead of as Captain America had actually tried the book, maybe this book would’ve done better. But I think we all know those people didn’t give a shit about Sam, they just wanted their old white guy back.

X-Men comics of April 4 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I got home to Bad Ass Bitches, by Meredith McClaren. Quite a treat, on this New Comic Book Day. It’s an art book, drawings she did of various female mythological creatures from around the world. And it is gorgeous. I cannot recommend enough that you check out her work. She is amazing. She’s Iniquitous Fish on Twitter and Tumblr, where the first post, right now, is a drawing of Chewie teaching Rey to swim. Note: She does a fair bit of mansmut. I do not say this as a warning, but as an enticement. Also, she’s currently working on a book about superhero sex lives, because she is a good and wonderful person who makes this world a better place. Anyway! Lots of comics today!

X-Men Gold #25, by Marc Guggenheim, Paulo Siqueira & Jose Luis, Cam Smith & Victor Olazaba, Arif Prianto, Java Tartaglia & Juan Fernandez, and Cory Petit. You know, I gotta say, the number of artists who work on X-Men Gold? Probably not a good sign. Generally, when you have this many artists involved, it’s because the book keeps coming real close to missing deadlines. Maybe – and this is a crazy idea, but stick with me – maybe a bi-weekly schedule that pushes art teams so hard isn’t actually a great thing to do. Setting aside all complaints about the quality of the series, the fact that it’s bi-weekly is just wrong. But anyway, let’s get into the content of the issue. Boring Negative Zone God Guy (henceforth BNZGG, because I give so few shits about him that I would rather type out an overly long insult than type his name) is in Paris. Illyana and Armour are in New York, fighting Rhino, a fight that ends rather predictably, with Illyana just sending Rhino to Limbo. I wouldn’t have minded seeing a little more fight, with Illyana and Armour playing with Rhino, but eh, minor thing. In prison, Storm is in her prison cell, having a panic attack over her claustrophobia. This lasts all of two panels before she gets over it and also overcomes her power damper. It is boring. But hey, Stormcaster, the hammer Loki gave her, then randomly decides to pay her a visit. Even though it was last seen being destroyed. Which I think would make for the second time it as destroyed? OK, I guess magic hammers have built-in justifications for coming back. Captain Britain and Meggan are already in Paris, fighting BNZGG, and the X-Men arrive to help. At the prison, Storm tells the warden she and the other X-Men are leaving, and Illyana brings them to Paris to help in the fight. And uuuuugh, it’s still all so boring. Storm getting pissed at being put in a small cell was OK, but still didn’t really amount to anything other than Look At This Cool Moment. There’s still no actual character development or exploration going on here. A story needs more than Cool Moments to be a good story. It needs to have shit to actually say, and Guggenheim has not a single damn thing to say with this book. And at the end there’s a “What are we going to do with 12 X-Men” joke, a callback to the end of Giant-Size X-Men #1, but the thing is, in 1975, 13 X-Men was a lot. Today, 12 X-Men is just two teams. Which is what this was, too: Two teams, teaming up. An incredibly common X-Men thing. So the joke makes no sense, and is there only because Guggenheim is an unoriginal hack who’s banking on people enjoying references to things they enjoyed. The cameo from Captain Britain and Meggan is nice, but again, doesn’t actually accomplish much. Stormbreaker showing up is . . . random. We’ll see if Guggenheim has any actual ideas for that, or if it was just “HEY GUYS remember the Asgard adventure where Storm got a hammer, do you remember that, wasn’t that a great story, you loved that story right, remember how great it was.” Given how utterly devoid of cleverness this entire run has been, I’m betting it’s the latter. That Guggenheim doesn’t actually have any clever ideas for anything involving the hammer, he just wanted to remind people that the Asgard adventures happened. The fight against BNZGG isn’t particularly exciting, either. Part of it is just how casual so much of the banter is. We get occasional dialogue about how dangerous he is, but no one actually seems all that concerned. The art doesn’t help there, either. No one looks concerned. BNZGG being so big means the “fight” mostly consists of X-Men standing on him and hitting him while he doesn’t react, which isn’t the most thrilling action. So ultimately, this is just incredibly boring.

Astonishing X-Men #10, by Charles Soule, Aco, David Lorenzo, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. The X-Men arrive in the small Scottish town where Proteus turned reality inside out. There’s dragons. And Logan says he “barely” stabbed X, which is pretty funny. Also, the others have voted Psylocke in charge, and she tells X they’re not killing anyone, while X says he’d drop a nuke on the town if he could. X isn’t the Xavier we remember. Which is interesting. The town has gotten pretty interesting. Also, Aco does a lot of panels. Anyway, fighting. This includes Rogue grabbing a shield and a battleaxe. It’s pretty sexy. It’s really only a single shot, but still. Barbarian Rogue. I would read that storyline. Yeah, an arc where a group of X-Men get caught up in a D&D adventure. Rogue’s a barbarian, of course. Jean as a wizard. Laura could be a Halfling fighter. Warren would definitely be a rogue. Dazzler’s obviously a bard, but she somehow still manages to be one of the most effective members of the party, and no one would be quite sure how. I’m going to stop there, but yeah, I like this idea, I want an arc of an X-Men comic that is entirely about a group doing a D&D adventure. (Get Tana Ford to draw it, because it’s kind of her thing.) Anyway, Proteus reveals his plan: To remake the Astral Plane, using the minds of many people to shape something special. It’s an interesting idea. This is a good issue. It doesn’t really advance the plot that much. A lot of the issue is banter and combat. But Soule does some very good character work. X’s comment about wanting to drop a nuke speaks volumes about who he is. It paints him as far more ruthless than Xavier was. There’s even some really good, subtle moments. When Mystique tells X that Psylocke is in charge, because none of them trust him, she’s got a sadistic smile. She takes pleasure in putting him down. Because that’s who she is. Soule is good at small moments that still give insight into the characters. And he continues to make Proteus fascinating. He becomes a lot more menacing here. The art’s good. Aco has some pretty distinctive layouts. Very busy, loads of little panels showing close-ups of things. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell exactly what we’re looking at, which isn’t great. The art itself is really good, he’s a talented artist, but it’s the layouts that will make or break this issue for most people. I was mostly fine with it. But I couldn’t really blame anyone who found it too distracting. Still, this remains a strong series.

New Mutants: Dead Souls #2, by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, Michael Garland, and Clayton Cowles. In Russia, researchers are about to be killed by something. A few days later, in New York, Rahne, Boom-Boom, Rictor, and Shatterstar are out for brunch, and talk about Illyana. Rictor doesn’t trust her. Rahne does. Tabby doesn’t care as long as she gets paid, and also, she’s a little drunk, and you know what, that’s fine. Being drunk at brunch is fine. Live your best life, Boom-Boom. Illyana and Guido ‘port in and grab the others for a mission, leaving Shatterstar behind, poor Shatterstar. And I have to say, I love the brunch scene. Love it. At one point, Rahne takes a piece of bacon off Rictor’s plate, and Rictor complains that she should have ordered bacon if she wanted bacon, and it’s just this perfectly human moment. And I live for that shit in superhero comics. It is just the most mundane thing in the world, and it’s wonderful. Anyway, to Russia, and the base, and Boom-Boom being Boom-Boom.

New Mutants Dead Souls #2

That’s what she said. (Couldn’t resist, sorry not sorry.)

And then they fight a Frost Giant. During the fight, Illyana uses her Soulsword to block the giant’s axe, which is a pretty badass moment. I also really like this moment:

New Mutants Dead Souls #2

Aside: Illyana rocks that black hood.

I like it because it makes me think of when they started out together. It makes me think of just how far their relationship’s progressed. Rahne started off not liking or trusting Illyana, and now, she does. It’s really cool to see that growth. And while I’m posting panels this one just makes me smile:

New Mutants Dead Souls #2


Oh, and we find out why one of the Russians dug up the Frost Giant, and maaaaaaaan, I am EXCITED. It is great news. It is something I have been clamouring for, for years. I won’t spoil it. But damn, I am psyched for where this series is going. So thrilled. Oh, and Illyana’s plan for defeating the Frost Giant is also one of the greatest plans ever. And the final splash page is also very exciting news. This is great. I love this issue. The brunch. The plot reveal. The fight against the Frost Giant.¬† The humour and the drama. All the character moments. This is some really strong writing. Actually, let me talk a bit about the fight. I said of X-Men Gold that the fight against BNZGG was boring partly because he was so big. Here, the New Mutants fight a giant, and it’s exciting. It’s done well, with plenty of tension, and plenty of back-and-forth. And the art team kills it throughout the issue. It’s really expressive, and I just love the art style. Gorham’s style works so well for this book. It’s got this weird balance of comedic and dramatic, and it matches the writing perfectly. Rosenberg, Gorham and Garland just make for such a great team, all complementing each other perfectly to tell a fantastic story. I definitely recommend this series.

All-New Wolverine #33, by Tom Taylor, Ramon Rosanas, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. It’s Madripoor in the future, and Wolverine stops a gun sale. Gabby is Wolverine in this timeline. Laura is Queen of Madripoor, and is going grey. Huh. Gabby’s also got a significant other, has kids, and was once stepped on by Thanos and turned into a puddle. Laura reveals that she’s dying, an imperfection in her genetic code. She also reveals Gabby and the kids are clear. And we also find out this is A Good Future, something we see entirely too few of in X-Men stories. There’s clearly been hard times, but the world is a good place, and I like to see that. I don’t care for cynicism about the future. For all the world sometimes seems to suck, I believe in progress. I believe things get better. So I like when that’s reflected in fiction. Anyway, before she dies, Laura wants to save Bellona, the remaining clone/sister. Oh, and to show how good this future is: President Kamala Khan. There’s also Grizzled Vet Maria Hill, which is neat. And there’s just a lot to like about this. A good future is such a refreshing idea for a superhero story. Grown-up Gabby is interesting. She’s different, a lot more mature, but also still very much Laura’s little sister. Old Woman Laura is actually not all that different from who she is today. She also has Penagos the Pelican statue on her desk. Penagos survives! Hurrah! This is a very intriguing start to the story, and I’m very curious to see where it goes from here. It’s Tom Taylor’s final arc, so that’s sad, but it looks like it’ll be a good arc to end with.

Rogue & Gambit #4, by Kelly Thompson, Pere Perez, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. Rogue and Gambit are on a table again, and Rogue uses the power of sass to keep the villain, Lavish, distracted long enough for Gambit to pick the lock on his wrist. And man, Rogue is amazing in this scene, managing to sass both Lavish and Emma. Also, Gambit is pretty awesome with the escape. But there’s still fighting. And during the fight, we get a flashback to Scott and Jean’s wedding, and the havoc over catching the garter to put on Rogue (since she caught the bouquet). Turns out the Rogue and Gambit golems have little bits of them inside them, and breaking them makes them relive some memories. Rogue relives one from soon after Captain America refused Gambit a spot on the Uncanny Avengers, and Gambit feeling hurt that Rogue didn’t trust him. As a result of absorbing the memories, they also get each other’s powers. And that gets us an awesome fight. Perez kills the layout. And yeah, this is a great issue. The memories we get are both really powerful, and the way they react to learning how the other felt was great to see. And it leads to a fantastic moment of weakness at the end, as they realize why they’ve been feeling so good during their time on the island. The art is also top-notch. As I said, Perez does great layouts, especially during the fight. One double-page spread, in particular, is sensational. But even the quieter moments are gorgeous. I was never really invested in the Rogue/Gambit ship, but this series has been getting me invested in it. Thompson and Perez are doing a really good job showing why it’s a relationship worth caring about. And they’re also just telling a really fun, really emotional story.

And non-X-stuff I picked up.

Black Bolt #12, by Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, and Clayton Cowles. Ahura and Blinkie visit Black Bolt’s memories of his childhood, and Black Bolt’s dad was a total bastard. Also, Absorbing Man’s alive again, and reunited with Titania, and it’s such a good scene. I love these two. They’re such a great couple, and Ahmed and Ward give them so much love and warmth. And this is such a great final issue. This has been one of the best Marvel comics of the past year, and I’m so sad to see it end, but it goes out strong, having told a complete and compelling story. If you haven’t read it yet, read it. Read this series. It is damned close to the King/Walta Vision series in terms of quality. Yeah, it’s that good. Just a brilliant, beautiful series.

Rise of the Black Panther #4, by Evan Narcisse, Javier Pina, Stephane Paitreau, and Joe Sabino. T’Challa blows up his throne just because a Doombot was sitting on it, and that is a pretty boss move. Also, N’Jadaka, Erik Killmonger, gets settled back into Wakanda. This is a good issue. There’s a lot of tension between T’Challa and Doom. Though the way Narcisse has Doom continually refer to himself in the third person gets old fast. He doesn’t do it that much. A lot, yes, but not as much as he does here. Still, aside from that, it’s an enjoyable issue.

X-Men comics of March 28 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I got the new Erika Wennerstrom solo CD today! I’ve been listening to it while writing this, and it’s great! Stand-out songs include all of them. I really love Erika Wennerstrom’s voice. She is such a powerful singer. The easy comparison is Janis Joplin. It’s not a pretty voice, it’s not even all that wide a range. But there’s so much strength. Oh, I should note that Wennerstrom is the singer for my favourite band, the Heartless Bastards, a blues-rock group. So Wennerstrom’s solo album’s got a mix of blues, country and rock. Just a bit of country in there, not too much, just a bit of flavouring. But yeah, great album, highly recommend it.

X-Men Blue #24, by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla (with Jay David Ramos), and Joe Caramagna. Shaw kicks Magneto’s ass, thanks to his power-up from Mothervine. Xorn politely declines the Ultimate Marauders’ recruitment offer, with Bloodstorm and Jimmy jumping in to help him. Storm summons bats. Neat! Back in Madripoor, Ultimate Malice has possessed Lorna, because Lorna just can’t get away from this crap. She beats the crap out of the Raksha. Shaw’s power-up ends up draining his own energy, and Lorna frees herself from Malice, but man, the Raksha get brutalized first. Still, I appreciate Bunn letting Lorna defeat Malice, even if I might have preferred it get a little more room to breathe. More of an actual struggle between Lorna and Malice. Lorna just kinda came back and kicked Malice out with ease, and I would’ve liked it if Malice had fought back. Not because I like Malice, but because I think it would’ve made Lorna’s victory more satisfying if it wasn’t so quick and casual. I’m also not really happy about the way the Raksha were so thoroughly destroyed. Bunn’s never really done anything with them. There was some potential, but Bunn’s had so many balls in the air, that a lot of them have ended up being largely wasted. The Raksha are among them. Meanwhile, Jimmy remains incredibly dull and pointless. Friggin’ Jimmy. But hey, Bloodstorm is awesome just standing there. There’s some other developments that are pretty OK, including Briar smack-talking Daken, and Daken getting smack-talked is one of my favourite things. Daken sucks. ANYWAY, on the whole, this is an OK issue, one that does advance the plot a little, and has a couple good moments for a couple characters. But it’s kinda too little plot for a plot-driven story, too little character for a character-driven story, too little action for an action-driven story, and doesn’t end up being particularly satisfying on any of those levels. On the plus side, it doesn’t have frigging symbiotes in it.

Old Man Logan #37, by Ed Brisson, Dalibor Talajic, Carlos Lopez, and Cory Petit. Logan’s paying a visit to Sarah Dewey, from the recent Kingpin mini. She wrote his biography. Logan wants her help taking Fisk down. And she is wasted. Totally drunk. Bullseye spots them getting groceries, and calls Fisk to ask if he should kill Sarah, and Fisk says no. I actually kinda like that. Sarah helped him, even if he was manipulating her the whole time. But he still remembers who’s been good to him, and he tries to be good to them, back. It’s very big of him. (And no, I don’t mean that as a pun.) Sarah talks about the work she did for Fisk, and then Bullseye attacks, having already killed a bunch of people. Personal note: I go back and forth on Bullseye. Sometimes, I find him a lot of fun. But I also often find myself irritated with the casual murder thing. Anyway, fight, while Logan sends Sarah to get the drive to her hacker friend. Who has a really nice apartment and that bothers Sarah, and that does admittedly amuse me. She wonders why a hacker doesn’t have a shitty, filthy apartment. Hollywood lied to her! The stuff with Sarah’s cool. I haven’t read that Kingpin mini, but she seems like a reasonably interesting character. All drunk and failing at snark because of it. It’s entertaining. The Logan/Bullseye fight is good, pretty even, with both getting their shots in. Talajic’s not the most dynamic artist, but it’s still a fairly well-choreographed fight. It’s a good issue, in a decent arc. Nothing spectacular, but it’s fine.

Legion #3, by Peter Milligan, Wilifredo Torres,, Marc Deering, Dan Brown, and Travis Lanham. Dr. Hannah is in the middle of a paranoia-storm in David’s mind. Hannah realizes it’s coming from Tami, the French woman personality, who fears that Hannah helping David will kill Tami. So Hannah’s actually starting to make use of her psychology skills, sort of. And we learn a little more about Lord Trauma. He was created back in the Muir Island Saga. And now that Hannah has a plan for treating David, she’s more excited about the whole situation she’s in. Good. She wants to unite the alternate personalities, but they’re a contentious bunch, and then one of them gets killed by Lord Trauma’s goons. But man, this book remains weirdly dull, which is the absolute worst thing that can be said about a comic like this. This should be a bizarre, trippy, endlessly fascinating comic, but it’s not. It just kinda moves along, not really doing anything all that interesting. Hannah is a largely flat character, still. It’s nice that she’s starting to get used to her situation and start applying her skills to it, but she’s still not all that deep as her own character. David himself is barely in the book, and his mindscape doesn’t actually say all that much about him, either. Lord Trauma is dull. I like Tami, but that might just be because she’s a cute woman with a French accent. The art doesn’t help, either. Torres is a good artist, with a really interesting style. But it’s not weird enough for this book. It needs more of a Sienkewicz vibe, and Torres doesn’t bring that vibe. You know, if this wasn’t a Legion title, it might be pretty OK. But as a Legion comic, it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t push hard enough. Which is very disappointing.

I also picked up:

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #29, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Side note: Much as I love Bustos, I miss Amy Reeder’s covers. A new villain named Cellar Dweller attacks with a bunch of weird monsters. And he’s captured Eduardo and Zoe. The Fantastic Three stop him, and then turn their attentions to the whole “impending end of the universe” deal. There’s also more Johnny/HERBIE banter that I love. Johnny’s hatred of HERBIE makes me smile. Also, Galactus and Silver Surfer being friends. Galactus appreciates the Surfer and that’s really nice. I like Golden Galactus, he’s a nice dude. And Lunella has a plan that ends in a last page worth rejoicing over. This series is so good. So weird and crazy and positive and good. With gorgeous art.

Black Panther #171, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino. Okoye is inserted into Asira’s mind, to help deal with the whole Ras the Exhorter thing. Panther and Thunderball have a plan for dealing with Klaw, and Panther also has some pretty nice words for Thunderball. I love how Coates has handled Thunderball here, really focusing on the scientist aspect that so few writers have ever really bothered with. Also, man the assault on Stane and Klaw’s headquarters is awesome. Black Panther vs. Klaw is a great fight, too. There’s also a pretty damn epic last-page reveal of who’s been behind everything. And it’s also X-Men-related! It’s awesome and exciting and I’m psyched to see Coates do the classic X-villain he’s brought in. This is another great issue. I really enjoy what Coates is doing on this series.

X-Men comics of March 21 2018

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Magdalene Visaggio is writing a Dazzler one-shot! Woot! I am excited for that. I just wish it was an ongoing. Dazzler deserves an ongoing, or at least a maxi-series. Also, Marvel Future Fight added Emma and Illyana. Yay! But . . . Illyana’s in her awful Bachalo hotpants. It’s a terrible look. But that’s what the game went with. Ugh. It also added new costumes for Cyclops and Loganverine. Storm, meanwhile, still only has one costume, her rather dull mid-2000s one, the bathing suit with, like, arm flaps or whatever? It’s one of her less-interesting looks. They need to introduce the Punk Storm costume. Her best look. Punk Storm Forever. I’ve actually got a really light week. Only two actual X-titles, and one non-X-title. I considered buying Weapon H on Comixology, but . . . I don’t want to. It was an OK arc of Weapon X, but even though it’s spun off from that, it’s not really an X-title. So, I’m skipping it. I’ll read it when it comes out on Unlimited. Anyway, here’s today.

X-Men Gold #24, by Marc Guggenheim, Thony Silas, Arif Prianto, Marcio Menyz, and Cory Petit. First, I do want to note that the David Nakayama cover is awesome. All that orange. Very striking. Anyway. Some big lady picks a fight with the X-ladies. (Her crew include Bliss, Electric Eve, and Animax. Huh, I don’t think I ever actually read that Morlocks series that Electric Eve came from. Some day.) The fight is short and, ultimately, pointless, as Kitty, Storm and Rachel just destroy the four women. Not even a fight. It is, frankly, boring. The fact that Kitty so effortlessly knocks out the big woman, who put Callisto in traction for a month, is just stupid. It is Guggenheim being a complete and utter fucking hack, thinking that Cool Moments are the most important thing you can do in a comic. If a good writer had done this, the fight would’ve been brutal, and would’ve had something to say about the characters other than “they fight good.” Just stop writing, Guggenheim, you jackass. Anyway, in new York, some villain from Duggan’s Uncanny Avengers run shows up. He controls spores. I don’t remember his name. I don’t care. I didn’t find that a particularly interesting arc of Uncanny Avengers. And Guggenheim is way less talented than Duggan, so the villain is infinitely less compelling here. Anyway, Iceman’s team fights him. Fight fight, blah blah, at least there’s an interesting moment where the new Pyro thinks plant-guy’s vines look like cancer, and they call Dr. Reyes to confirm it. I like seeing her . . . for all of two panels. And then the bland end to the fight. This issue sucks. Marc Guggenheim sucks. He is awful. How the hell does he keep getting work? Who the hell read this bland, by-the-books tripe and went, “Yes, this is what I want in a story.” It’s boring. The fight against the plant-guy is so by-the-numbers that it’s boring. The prison fight is one of the least-interesting fights I have ever seen in a superhero comic. And it’s not an art problem. Silas is a talented line artist, and Prianto and Menyz are both good colour artists. The art is fine. It’s as good as the script lets it be. The problems with this book rest entirely on the script. It is entirely a problem with Marc Guggenheim. He scripted The Dullest Fight Ever for Silas to draw. There was little Silas could actually do to make the fight more exciting. He did his best, but he had fuck-all to work with for that fight. And then in the “fight” against plant-guy, again, there just wasn’t that much to actually do. Silas also tries his best to make the characters expressive, but once again, the script calls for little in that department. Because Guggenheim is a god-awful writer. And, as always, we get absolutely no insight into any of the characters appearing in the comic. As always, Guggenheim’s focus is solely on the surface. Cool Moments, Cool Lines, with no actual meaning behind any of it. Guggenheim is, without question, the absolute worst writer working at Marvel right now. Hands down. Not even a competition. Everyone else at Marvel, even if I don’t particularly enjoy them, I can appreciate what they’re doing, and recognize their talent. Guggenheim? He’s just a shitty, shitty writer.

Cable #255, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, German Peralta, Jesus Aburtov, and Travis Lanham. It opens with what a flashback to when Cable was a kid, being raised by Redd and Slym, with techno-organics consuming people. In Osaka in 2049, Cable saves a little girl from Nimrod, who’s missing an arm. Cable stops him by infecting him with the T-O virus. That . . . seems like a bad idea. (Also: I still miss when Nimrod was a good guy who was evolving past his anti-mutant programming. That was cool.) He then takes the girl and her parents to a safehouse in 2070 Australia. And he gets to thinking about his own daughter. Who happens to be paying a visit to the school, in order to get some company for a while. That night, a T-O monster wearing Cable’s face attacks her. Cable visits her the next day, and sees her eye scarred up the same way his is. He tells her the monster is named Metus, and it’s been following him since he was a kid. Not very effectively, clearly, if it took this long for it to show up again. He and Hope also have a heart-to-heart about wanting to be in each other’s lives, and it’s really sweet. I like these two. They’re good together. And then, Cable vs. Metus! And flashbacks to fights we never saw. OK, so it was more effective at following than I thought, we just never saw those times. Anyway, this is OK. Metus is kind of lame. I get what they’re going for here, a villain based on the T-O virus that infects Cable. A story about the virus that’s more than just Cable struggling to keep it in check. I can appreciate that. But Metus just kinda bored me. It’s a somewhat generic villain, not much depth. It hates Cable because reasons, goes after Hope because villain, makes cliched villain statements, and is all-around not at all compelling. However, the Cable/Hope scene is really good. It’s touching, as they reunite and hug it out. I like that scene. It’s very good. The art’s good, too. Peralta and Aburtov mesh well, and generic as Metus is, the T-O stuff about it is handled well. There’s a liquidity to it that works. And there are certain points where it is genuinely gross and creepy. So, all in all, it is a good issue.

Ms. Marvel #28, by G. Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. Madness in Jersey. Giant iguana-monster rampaging. And a giant tortoise-monster rampaging. Captain Marvel goes to save the day, joined by Ms. Marvel’s friends. And Naftali finds Kamala at a fancy private school. With uniforms and everything. Apparently, she just wanted somewhere she could blend in. Naftali encourages her to go back and talk to her friends about the pressure she’s been feeling. Naftali’s a good dude. Zoe and Mike double-team a giant snake monster, because they’re awesome. And the return of Ms. Marvel! And Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel make up. and it’s nice and sweet. It’s a really good issue. Fun, sincere, great art, just a great comic. I love this series.


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