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X-Men comics of April 24 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So one more week until I’ll be going to see Endgame. Because screw opening weekend. I work weekends anyway. And it’s almost time for Ottawa Comic-Con, too. So it’ll be an exciting few weeks. And I finished Star Trek: Discovery season 2 last night. Really good. I hope we haven’t seen the last of that crew. They’re such a good cast. And I need more Tilly in my life. The second season of Cloak & Dagger’s been good so far. My Little Pony’s final season is off to a good start. And She-Ra’s back this weekend! All our favourite lesbians are returning! Anyway, I read comics.

War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1, by Matthew Rosenberg, Pere Perez, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Travis Lanham. A chunk of the team – Scott, Alex, Dani, Rahne, Illyana, Madrox – go after Nanny and Orphan-Maker.

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OK, that’s funny.

During the fight, Dani hears the call to battle. She grabs Illyana and teleports out. Later, Illyana returns to grab the others to help Dani. Which means fighting through Malekith’s army in New York. Things go great, obviously. Illyana grabs everyone else from the bar, including Hope and Banshee, who were supposed to be prisoners. So this is why they decide to let Hope be part of the team. Though she’s not at all interested in following Scott’s orders. You know what’s interesting? This is better than the main UXM. The art helps, I think – I like Perez far more than I like Larroca. I think it also helps that it has no hate-and-fear shit. On top of that, if the pace is a little rushed, it makes sense, given the situation. But the pacing still works better than in the main title, where shit just happens and then it’s on to the next shit happening and then more shit happens and oh hey look what’s happening it’s shit. The main title is Rosenberg trying to fit 5 years worth of story into one year. This is him just doing a tie-in to a big event. Simple. All he has to do is have the X-Men fight elves. They’ve dealt with Asgardian shit before. I would enjoy if more of the New Mutants present would reference their past experiences with Asgardian shit. Give Rahne a line about how much she hates Frost Giants. Or something like that. It’s also pretty disappointing that Dani disappeared for over half the issue. She’d better be the main focus for the next two issues. This is her bullshit, don’t let Scott and Alex keep hogging the spotlight. Because they did a lot of spotlight-hogging in this issue. Like, the covers all focused on the New Mutants, but aside from Dani getting a little bit of narration in the first four pages, the New Mutants didn’t actually get all that much attention here. Scott and Alex still got the lion’s share of the focus. Because of course they did. I’d like that to change in the next two issues, and for the New Mutants to get far more to do. But at least we have Pere Perez on art. He’s great. Really makes the characters live and breathe, and does excellent fight choreography. So his art automatically makes this better than the main series.

Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #3, by Leah Williams, Georges Jeanty, Roberto Poggi, Jim Charalampidis, and Clayton Cowles. Fred’s got it bad for Betsy, and who can blame him when she’s on her hands and knees on his table. They trade little looks the next day. And Betsy makes biscuits.

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This series is actually about baking snacks.

Moneta also accuses Betsy of working for La Resistance. Not because of the biscuits. Probably. Maybe? Anyway, there’s also still questions about what to do with Nezumi, the pregnant woman chained in their basement. Betsy visits Fred at home, and hates his taste in books. She talks about her insecurities regarding her body, her struggles with an eating disorder, it’s some really raw, powerful stuff. It adds some layers to Betsy, and it’s so sad and such good writing. Also:

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Leah freaking Williams, people.

I love it. That was perfect. A powerful, tear-jerking monologue about self-loathing and dissatisfaction with one’s appearance, followed by a brutally straightforward declaration of attraction. Just perfect. It’s why I love Williams. Emotionally heavy content mixed with shit-posting. She’s amazing. Put her on Uncanny X-Men. Let her have at least a 5-year run. I’d read her on UXM for 20 years, honestly, but at least give her 5 years as the architect of the X-Men line, and let her focus on the soap opera aspects that we all love about the X-Men. Anyway, this is great. Love the Blobsy content. Williams does a great job selling the ship. It’s easy to see why Betsy would care for Fred, he’s such a sweetie. Moneta becomes increasingly a problem, and she’s awful, but I still can’t help but like her and want to see her keep showing up in the mainstream universe as well. She is just so wonderfully terrible, while so convinced she’s in the right. It makes her a compelling antagonist. Ooooooh, she could join Emma’s new Hellfire Club! Her ruthless dedication to her vision of justice would let her fit right in there. Anyway, yeah, this is a fantastic series. So, so good. Williams is an absolute powerhouse writer and she needs an ongoing X-title, fast.

Mr. and Mrs. X #10, by Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. Revolution against Gambit, and as we saw in Captain Marvel, Rogue’s got a new handle on her powers. And she uses them to get Mojo’s memories of the girl he likes, hence his current interest in love stories. Meanwhile, Spiral tells Gambit to bring her what she hired him to get, and also insults him.

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I love Spiral.

I love how Thompson writes Spiral. So much snark. Also, Spiral is finally freed of Mojo’s control. For now, at least – I’ve no doubt she’ll be serving him again within 5 years. Her soul obligates her to help defeat Mojo, because souls are rude like that. This is a really fun end to the arc. Spiral being freed is nice, her still being a bitch is even better. I love Spiral, I hope Thompson gets to write her again. The reveal of what Gambit was actually searching for is neat. And Spiral notes that it’s rather interesting what he sees. May indicate Gambit wanting to start a family with Rogue. Which I’d actually be OK with. Mojo doesn’t get much focus in this issue, but the reference to his girlfriend is cool. And, of course, we do see Rogue in control of her power, even though we already saw that in Captain Marvel. Love the art. Bazaldua’s great, and meshes well with Thompson. Good good stuff.

Wolverine: The Long Night #4, by Benjamin Percy, Marcio Takara, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. As the cult leader talks on the radio about ley lines, people from the Aurora cult sneak into houses and steal lightbulbs. Meanwhile, the two FBI agents examine the guts of the captured bear, and find no human remains. The lady agent then goes to the hospital to check out the last woman supposedly injured by the ear, and finds it unlikely the bear injured her. The waitress from the local bar meets up with Logan, to express her displeasure that the explosion at the saw mill injured people. Logan doesn’t seem concerned about whether people are hurt, even killed, in the fight against the Langrocks. The male agent goes to talk to the kid of the injured woman, who saw her get attacked. He doesn’t help much, but the woman’s brother figures she was targeted because she’s a protest leader.

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I basically always side with Indigenous people.

The brother also mentions having read through the 1989 Encyclopedia Britannica. Nice. I am a huge fan of this guy, who I guess is named Sherman. And he talks about the Tarrack, a section of forest that the Indigenous people believed to be sacred and dangerous. Which is right where the female agent has been led by her tracker chip. And there’s also a very cool scene of Logan meeting with Sherman. This is a good story, gradually answering some mysteries while leaving a couple for the finale. Good investigative stuff going on. The agents are still really intriguing protagonists. This issue isn’t quite as good as the others, a little less characterization going on, a little more moving things towards a conclusion.

Marvel Comics Presents #4, by Charles Soule, Paulo Siqueira, Oren Junior, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. It’s the ’70s. Sylvie wakes up, and tells her husband The Truth is returning, and she has to deal with it. Logan’s in a NYC bar, and wow, ’70s.

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Those are some ’70s looks.

This time, they go to Bangladesh, the Bhola cyclone. Logan’s got his adamantium now. The Truth has blocked the road to prevent people getting to higher ground, so Logan clears a path while Sylvie fights The Truth. She wins, but it costs her her life. Pretty good installment. A bit predictable. Reads maybe too quickly, even for the format. But I do like the way each chapter steps closer to the present, and the way The Truth gets more dangerous each time. It’s doing a really good job building anticipation for the Present Day chapter. And, of course, Siqueira’s art is great in each chapter.

The non-X-stuff.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #42, by Brandon Montclare, Ray-Anthony Height, Le Beau Underwood, Nate Lovett, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. Moon Girl has figured out that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, and wants to talk science with him. But he doesn’t want to. So it’s a classic superhero-fight-then-team-up. It’s fun. I’d be down for more of them teaming up in the future.

Marvel Rising #2, by Nilah Magruder, Roberto Di Salvo, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. Kamala knows a surprising amount about Arthurian legend, Deadpool’s Guide To Supervillains trading cards show up so they are 100% canon, and Squirrel Girl prefers “tush push” over “butt dial.” And Morgan’s still great. Fun comic.

Ironheart #5, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Riri gets a needed win, and also a bunch of kids. This is a very strong series. Ewing and Vecchio are telling a hell of a story. There’s a lot of heart. And the book’s also willing to call Riri out on some things. Riri got a lot of heat when she debuted, and while most of that was definitely rooted in misogynoir, there were some problems with the way Bendis introduced her, and the way he wrote her. But any problems she had under Bendis are completely absent here. Ewing’s really impressing me.

Black Widow #4, by Jen and Sylvia Soska, Flaviano, Veronica Gandini, and Joe Caramagna. Holy shit. Black Widow is SCARY. Seriously, this book is brutal.

Thanos #1, by Tini Howard, Ariel Olivetti, Antonio Fabela, and Joe Caramagna. Thanos was in a pretty bad way before he found Gamora. Emotionally speaking. He just wasn’t himself. He was suffering ennui. Luckily for him, Death led him to Gamora. Anyway, this is good, I liked him.

Black Panther #11, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kev Walker, Marc Deering, Java Tartaglia, and Joe Sabino. Bast tells the rebellion how useless they are, and how she’s going to make them less so. It’s a good issue. We’re starting to get some answers to a few questions, and I imagine next issue will have more.

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X-Men comics of April 17 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert).

Uncanny X-Men #16, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. Scott hands over the MLF to Captain America, minus Hope and Banshee. They talk a bit about trust, and the after, Alex calls Scott out for lying to Cap. He thinks Scott’s going down a wrong path. Then Scott gathers the team to announce he’s stepping down as leader. Dani suggests they go democratic. Illyana then suggests that all sins should be forgiven, which is SO FUCKING STUPID WHEN THE WOMAN WHO LITERALLY USED HER AS A MURDER WEAPON IS RIGHT THERE! Like, is Rosenberg really going to just sweep that shit under the rug? Are you fucking kidding me? What the hell was the point in turning Shan into a supervillain when he’s not going to bother dealing with the fallout? This is stupid. It is so goddamned stupid. It is shit writing. Straight-up, that is bad writing, it’s setting up something that should lead to immense inter-personal tension and drama only to immediately drop it. Look, I hated what Rosenberg did with Karma in Dead Souls, but I hated it because it felt like she didn’t get to be a part of what should have been her story. A lot of the major elements – the idea that Tranh’s been influencing her, his desire to be free of her, even Shan not wanting him loose – those were things I’d wanted to see for years. I just hated the execution of it. Even Shan using Illyana as a murder weapon isn’t actually bad in itself, it was only bad because of the way it was handled. And now we’re just supposed to pretend it didn’t even happen? Fuck you, Rosenberg. If you’re going to do shit like that, then commit to it. Show fallout from it. Show that Illyana is rightly angry at Shan. Show her outright threatening to kill Shan. Show the other New Mutants expressing their disappointment in Shan’s willingness to use Illyana that way. Don’t just say, “Nah, they’re all cool now, it’s fine, no problems at all.” Holy shit. So frigging stupid. Anyway, they then go to deal with Magneto and the Brotherhood, who are attacking a military base, but it’s not actually Magneto, it’s Joseph. And Hope and Banshee are now working with the X-Men. And Rahne also quit before the mission, but that’s OK, it just means we get a last-page reveal where Dani senses Rahne being killed, because we need a reminder that things are dangerous for mutants. Rosenberg went an entire issue without killing someone, so he was getting restless, I guess. And he also kills Joseph, who’s dying for, like, the third or fourth time now.

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Of frigging course she is.

Rosenberg seems to be under the illusion that twists and shocks are what make a good X-Men story, but you know what people love about the X-Men? The soap opera shit. You know what this book entirely lacks? Soap opera shit. Remember when Rogue joined the team, and everyone was really suspicious of her, and outright hostile to her for what she did to Carol Danvers? Watching Rogue earn their forgiveness, trust, and friendship made for a great story. And Rosenberg uses this issue to declare that we can expect absolutely nothing like that to happen here. Yeah, Alex bitches a little at Scott, whatever. Everyone’s totally fine with Hope being there, despite the previous issue having her assassinate a politician (and shoot Scott in the head, but most of them have probably fantasized about doing that once or twice themselves). And again, Shan used Illyana as a murder weapon, and not only has that still not even been mentioned, but Illyana is the one who declares that no one can hold a grudge. Let’s also remember that Shan re-absored Tranh, and Illyana was certain that Tranh had been influencing Shan for years, so there’s a very valid reason to doubt how much Shan can be trusted. It would make for some great, compelling drama. But instead, we get fucking Joseph. Yeah, that’s much better. Christ. Not even a good take on Joseph. It’s Joseph trying to be Magneto, rather than Joseph being the hero Magneto could’ve been, which was the actual point of Joseph as a character. Having him trying to be Magneto makes him vastly less compelling. There’s no point in using him if you’re not going to make him who he actually is. Ugh. I hate this run on UXM.

Age of X-Man: NextGen #3, by Ed Brisson, Marcus To, Jason Keith, and Clayton Cowles. Armour and Glob try to confront Anole about what happened at the house fire, but Angel sends them to their classes. Rockslide asks Professor Madison Jeffries about the Life Seed, and is given a book that Rockslide is sure wasn’t in the library records. In the Civil Management class, Sunfire teaches the kids about Unveil, and Pixie suspects Armour is taking it. Rockslide talks to Glob about the book being too convenient, and Glob tells him he’s right, that the world isn’t real and they’re trying to cover that up. And then Armour manages to confront Anole, and things quickly go south.

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Doors have long been the X-Men’s greatest nemeses.

It’s a good issue. The plot continues to move along at a good pace. There’s good character moments. Rockslide growing suspicious of the teachers, and Pixie’s concern for Armour. Man, we need a new volume of New X-Men, because these characters are so good. Armour and Pixie make for a really good friendship. I really like it, Pixie really cares about Armour and wants to help her. I love good friendships in comics. And this comic’s all about friendship. Friends trying to help and protect each other. And also Shark-Girl really likes Nightcrawler’s Mission Mutation movies. And Marcus To’s so good. I love his art. I’ve loved it since that New Warriors series he did a few years back. He’s great, and just keeps getting better. He’s very strong at facial expressions, especially Anole, who is honestly just a visual delight all the time because of his facial expressions. Yeah, this is a really good comic.

Age of X-Man: Amazing Nightcrawler #3, by Seanan McGuire, Juan Frigeri, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Travis Lanham. Mystique knees Kurt right in the groin. She escapes him, but leaves behind a folder with files about Tenia Jean. Aw man, TJ, but different. I miss Talia Josephine! I know she showed up in Ahmed’s Exiles, but still, I miss her. At rehearsal the next day, Kurt’s distracted, and talks to Meggan about TJ. She’s uncomfortable about the whole thing.

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Great speech.

But she does agree to help him. They ask Celeste for help finding TJ, and then Irma gets them to Portland, with a mall tour. Which runs into a complication. And this is another great issue! Strong handling of the theme of family, and the risks one takes for family. Kurt is willing to risk it all to meet his daughter. Meggan loves him, he’s her family, so she’s willing to risk it all to help him, even though she clearly understands, more than he does, the problems that come with having a family. I’m very curious about Mystique, though. I’m curious what the Age of X-Man Mystique is like. She’s clever, clearly, getting past the studio’s security, able to handle herself in a fight against Kurt, and manages to escape him. But is she good or bad? How manipulative is she? Does she have any sort of ulterior motive, or is she trying to help her son? I’m curious to see which way McGuire and Frigeri go with this Mystique. And I’m eager for TJ, even if it’s not classic TJ. But I hope she’s at least got some of TJ’s attitude, even if she is only 4. Anyway, yeah, the point is I’m enjoying this series.

Major X #2, by Rob Liefeld, Brent Peeples, Scott Hanna, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., and Joe Sabino. Some background on – sigh – the “X-Istence.” The mutant utopia on another world. Hate, death, blah blah blah, they fled to another world. There’s also Atlanteans there, led by Nomar, because Liefeld is great at names. There was tension between the Atlanteans and the X-Ential, a tense meeting took place, and three days later, the X-Ential disappeared, and the world with him. Cable joins Major X, his son, on the mission to look for the X-Ential. They go to Graymalkin, and holy shit, Sharkskin.

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Liefeld’s a good writer. Also, wow, deep cut.

He was in the New Mutants tie-in to Atlantis Attacks, waaaaaaaay back 30 years ago. This is a character who hasn’t been seen in 30 years. Eel and Undertow, his teammates, are also there. Kinda neat, actually. Yes, they’re stupid characters, but it’s fun seeing them pop up, even just for a quick fight scene. Anyway, this comic sucks. Liefeld’s a bad writer. The art’s not too bad. Better than the writing. But this is still a bad comic, to the surprise of no one. But I can’t hate it. It’s bad, but it’s harmless. When you compare it to a certain other comic that came out today, it’s just harmless fun. Turn your brain off and laugh. Whatever.

And the non-X-stuff.

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #2, by Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Juan Vlasco, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. Kamala is swole, has a smiting hand.

West Coast Avengers #10, by Kelly Thompson, Moy R., Triona Farrell, and Joe Caramagna. The series finale. A shame, because we were right on the verge of Kate, Johnny and Noh-Varr entering a three-way relationship, and I was ready for it. But alas, no. Anyway, I’ll miss this fun, weird comic.

Shuri #7, by Vita Ayala, Paul Davidson, Triona Farrell, and Joe Sabino. I think Ms. Marvel has a slight girl-crush on Shuri. Also, lots of good kids all around. And Graviton’s entertaining.

X-Men comics of April 10 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Wow, last Wednesday was rough for me. Got horribly sick. I’m better now, though. To quickly go through the non-X-stuff I read lat week: Marvel Team-Up #1 was really fun, Champions #4 was really good, Captain America #9 was really good, Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #7 was really fun. But now, this week’s comics.

Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #3, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Marco Failla, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. There’s a superstorm making landfall in the Bahamas, which means it’s up to Storm to stop it.

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This is a fantastic splash page.

During the rescue operations, Storm also calls Magneto out for avoiding her. And then he continues to avoid her. When the team gets back home, Apocalypse is in Vancouver, on TV, talking about love. The X-Men keep debating what to do, with X-Man saying it’s important to listen to what’s being said. He’s the dude who created this anti-boning dystopia in the first place, and he’s saying they need to listen to the pro-boning lobby. After more debate, they decide that some of them will publicly take an anti-boning stance. As everyone retreats to do their own things, Nate takes in a nice view.

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True enlightenment was the friends we didn’t bone along the way.

And Storm finally confronts Magneto about his visions of another world from last issue. He wants privacy, so they go up and she creates a lightning storm around them, which even Magneto finds a bit theatrical. I keep saying, Storm is the single most dramatic character in the Marvel Universe. Anyway, she admits to also having visions, in this case of the crap with the Terrigen Mists. Ugh, what a terrible story for her to have flashbacks to. I feel bad for her. And their discussion includes a brilliant line from Magneto.

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That is one hell of a line.

And then there’s a confrontation with Nate that’s really good. This is a great issue. More plot focus, and some really good character focus with Storm and Magneto. There’s a strong theme here of the human need to make bonds. We also get a good justification for why Nate opposes close bonds, as he narrates about seeing ourselves as others see us, instead of being able to see ourselves the way we choose to. Which is a bit more reasonable than just being anti-boning. A couple other characters get little moments, too, but this is mostly about Storm, Magneto, and Nate, and that tight focus helps a lot. Great art, too. Failla’s excellent.

Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #2, by Tim Seeley, Salva Espin, Israel Silva, and Travis Lanham. A flashback to Unveil and Apocalypse springing Kitty from prison, and helping him take a boy he turned into his son. She comes out of her memory, and talks to Apocalypse about the menorah. He says it represents faith and community. Over in Kazakhstan, Genesis has heard rumours about something happening near old testing sites, and special security brought in to deal with a threat.

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Nice entrance.

Cut back to Apocalypse and Kitty, who’ve just finished their first gathering in Central Park, the one seen in Marvelous X-Men. Turns out the Evan from that gathering was an illusion. Back to Kazakhstan! And Eye-Boy turns out to be a genuine badass in this reality!

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Trevor the action hero. Didn’t know I needed this.

And at one point, he also winks with, like, 5 eyes at once. Sadly, his badass moment isn’t The hints that Apocalypse isn’t quite as good as he presents himself is cool. The hint of him doing dark shit. Interested in seeing where that goes, and whether Kitty might have to take him down. Another interesting note is Eye-Boy’s animosity towards Genesis, as he sees Evan as only being there to get his dad’s approval, rather than being a True Believer. Trevor’s got a bit of a purist side to him that’s interesting. Every movement has people like that. Every community. So I’m glad to see it represented here, too. Also, the Siberian and his team! I liked them. One dude spat littler dudes out of his mouth and it’s such a weird power that I love. They’re all weird and fun, I wouldn’t mind if they got imported into the main universe, we could use some fresh villains. The issue ends on a pretty intense note, too, gearing up for more intense stuff going forward. I’m not a fan of the art. Silva draws distractingly large mouths. I just don’t enjoy his style. That’s fine, it’s not for me, people who do enjoy his stuff should love it here, as he does do some really cool moments.

X-Force #6, by Ed Brisson, Damian Couceiro, Erick Arciniega, and Cory Petit. Flashback to Ahab, badly injured, ending up in Transia and being taken by Constantin. In the future, Stryfe and his team find Cable’s safe house. Stryfe expresses all sorts of self-doubts, then heads to the past, chasing after Cable, and bolstering Transia in order to build up an army of mutants.

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I’d join him.

He also learns that Rachel’s been detained. Oh cool, so she’s used as a pawn by Stryfe to get at Cable, cool cool, love how much respect Rachel gets as a character. It’s time for a ban on men writing Rachel. Let women write Rachel from now on. They literally could not possibly do a worse job. Anyway, Stryfe tries to build the new recruits into an army, through lies and murder. The issue’s OK. It shows what Stryfe was up to. Reminds us how evil he is. Yippee. Whatever. I don’t care, honestly. Partly, I am just so damn angry at the way Rachel’s being treated. I am furious that rescuing her wasn’t the X-Men’s #1 priority coming out of Extermination, she’s one of them, it is downright insulting to her that the response to her becoming a Hound again pretty much boiled down to a shrug and, “enh, she’ll be fine.” It reflects the X-office itself not particularly giving a shit about the character, or putting even a moment’s thought into the trauma she goes through. What I want is for her to be released from being a Hound, and to then get a solo series, written by a woman, that is all about PTSD and recovering from severe trauma. Mariko Tamaki, or Leah Williams, or Seanan McGuire, or Nnedi Okorafor, or just whatever woman who has a deep love of Rachel Summers and a desire to explore her trauma. That’s the comic I want to read. Not some bullshit where she’s forced to hunt mutants and used as a pawn to capture Cable. That’s bullshit. And at this point, it’s just about the only thing I can actually focus on with this book.

X-23 #11, by Mariko Tamaki, Diego Olortegui, Walden Wong, Chris O’Halloran, and Cory Petit. Laura and Gabby break into a lab, though Gabby’s bored and a little petulant the whole time. As they fight through security guards, Gabby picks up a scent and wants to investigate, but Laura says they need to leave. Gabby chooses to investigate. A bunch of trucks get away, leaving only a scent that smelled like Laura and Gabby. When they get home, they have a huge fight, with Laura angry at Gabby for ignoring her orders, and Gabby angry that Laura never asks what she wants. Laura decided on the no-more-clones thing without asking Gabby. It’s a big fight.

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Oof.

It’s honestly heartbreaking. Laura and Gabby love each other so much, but Laura doesn’t really know how to communicate. Gabby has a fair complaint – they’re a team, but Laura treats Gabby like a sidekick. Expects her to follow her orders without question. But you feel for Laura, because she just doesn’t know what she’s doing, much as she tries. So seeing them so at odds is hard to see, but at the same time, it’s probably necessary. I’m actually hoping we get to see Gabby appearing somewhere without Laura. Not just in Prisoner X, but in the regular universe. Gabby deserves a chance to be out from her sister’s shadow a bit. So as hard as this issue is, I have hopes for what it might set up after this series ends with the next issue.

Dead Man Logan #6, by Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. Logan apologizes to Captain America for almost killing him, though Cap disagrees that Logan would’ve killed him. Which I actually laughed at. Then he heads up to Vancouver to say goodbye to Mariko. I’m still angry that she was brought back as a badass fighter. Totally missed the entire point of her character. Though at least she says she doesn’t want to fight.

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USE A COASTER, LOGAN, YOU’RE NOT AN ANIMAL!

Holy shit, Brisson’s voice for Mariko is terrible. He’s not writing Mariko. He’s writing a generic Strong Female Character. Like, I would struggle to think of an instance where a character sounded less like themself. Brisson’s Mariko is genuinely one of the worst takes I have ever seen on any character, and it’s a reminder that too many writers have no idea what it actually means to write a strong female character. Anyway, Logan asks her to keep an eye on this time’s Maureen, make sure she gets a chance at the kind of life Logan’s Maureen didn’t get. Then he goes to a bar to talk to himself. There’s a narration box where he says he feels like he was keeping Regular Logan’s seat warm, and I’ll be honest, that’s a big part of why Regular Logan’s return means so little. His seat never had a chance to cool down. The conversation between the Logans is good, though, especially the moment where Old Logan really accepts that his family’s dead, and never coming back. It’s a very sad moment.

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Play some sad music.

Also, they get into a bar brawl. Because they’re kinda obligated to. And then it’s goodbyes and it’s very emotional. This issue’s a really good wrap-up of Old Man Logan’s time in the present. Some really emotional moments. Great sense of finality, at least for this phase of the story. There’s still the second half of the maxi, now that he’s back in his time. While I don’t particularly care about Regular Logan, the conversation between the two is done really well. No fighting or arguing or pointless garbage. They’ve both lived weird lives, so they accept the situation, and just talk. So, yeah, good issue all around.

And the non-X-stuff.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #43, by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, and Travis Lanham. War of the Realms tie-in! Loki sends Squirrel Girl to Canada to fight Frost Giants. And she gets an amazing new winter costume.

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SO GOOD!

Unstoppable Wasp #6, by Jeremy Whitley, Alti Firmansyah, Espen Grundentjern, and Joe Caramagna. Nadia asks Taina’s forgiveness, Ying meets Shay’s mom, Priya is a plant psychic. This comic is sweet and cute and has some really sad bits but also some really heartwarming bits, and it’s all great.

Captain Marvel #4, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles. Carol vs. Rogue! Neither of them want to fight, but Rogue is being mind-controlled. She also has her expanded absorbing powers, letting her drain Carol from a distance. Seems like that’s something that she’s keeping. Bit of a spoiler for Mr. and Mrs. X, which is kinda unfortunate.

And I haven’t read it, but Gomi and Bill the Lobster made a cameo in Avengers: No Road Home. To which I say hell yeah about time. And they’re recognized as heavy-hitters, showing up working with Blue Marvel, America Chavez, Toni Ho, Wasp (Nadia), and Living Lightning. That’s a hell of a team. I would read that team’s ongoing.

X-Men comics of April 3 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). In personal news, I’m going to be looking at a new apartment next Tuesday. $775 for a shitty little basement bachelor. Doesn’t even have a stove. But at least it would be my own place, rather than just renting a room from some random old lady. And new She-Ra on April 26! Woot! I am excited for that. I’ve been waiting for the second season since I finished the first one. And this Saturday is the beginning of the final season for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which is sad. I kinda hope that, with the series ending, they take the opportunity to have someone come out as openly gay. For now, though, comics.

Uncanny X-Men #15, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. Shan confesses to Dark Beast about her sense of guilt, as she was responsible for the Warlockification of the other girls, and Dark Beast offers to help. Wow, Rosenberg’s just going to make Karma an idiot as well as a murderer. Cool cool, so glad Rosenberg likes her so much and is using her so well. Bleh. Meanwhile, Captain America is trying to offer the X-Men his help, saying Val Cooper can’t be trusted, that the X-Men need to be discreet and stay out of the public eye. In other words, do the exact opposite of what’s actually required for civil rights movements to succeed. Real helpful, Steve, sit the hell down. Then the team heads off to where they think Hope’s MLF is hitting next, and Chamber shows the proper way of dealing with anti-mutant protesters.

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Always Punch Nazis.

The MLF calls out the X-Men as “puppets of the human elite,” and they’re not wrong. The biggest problem the X-Men have always had is their dedication to respectability politics. They need to be out in the streets, blocking traffic, being a nuisance, demanding attention. Scott talks to Hope about Cable, then Logan ambushes her from behind and she accidentally shoots Scott in the head. Right through the visor. And then Logan stabs Hope, though she does survive. Scott, of course, survives the headshot, though he loses an eye. Also, the girls are rid of the transmode virus. Funnily enough, I just last night noted on Twitter that Karma and Dani, the two WOC on the team, are the ones made to look inhuman. The two white girls who were infected with the same thing got to keep their normal appearances, but the non-white women both looked alien and Other. I wondered if it was something Rosenberg planned to do something with, and figured it probably wasn’t. Turns out, I was right, he had no plans for that angle. Probably for the best, I honestly wouldn’t trust him with an angle like that, but still. It was weird that for a few issues, the only non-white people on the team were also the only ones who didn’t even look normal. This issue does also touch on Karma’s guilt at betraying her friends, but the scene doesn’t have the weight it should. We needed earlier scenes of the others, especially Illyana, showing resentment towards her. It would’ve made her sense of guilt and shame a little more impactful. I’m also annoyed we didn’t get to see an sort of discussion before Dark Beast’s offer was accepted off-panel. Rosenberg’s trying to do a lot of things here, and it means that a lot of it ends up getting very short shrift. The scene with Cap probably should’ve been put off a bit longer, to give a little more space to the team discussing Dark Beast’s offer. The conversation Scott and Hope had about Cable . . . it was well-written, but somehow felt out-of-place. I would’ve liked it more if Hope had just told him what she was doing had nothing to do with Cable, and was just a matter of doing what needed done.  Of course, assassinating that anti-mutant politician lady is just going to make things even goddamn worse for mutants, I’m sure. Also, Logan attempting to kill Hope because she shot Scott seems a bit silly, seeing as Logan attacking her is what made her shoot. Additional note: I’ll be genuinely pissed if Val Cooper does betray the team. For a long time, Val was one of the pro-mutant humans in the government. She was ruthless but she was still trying to help mutants. If Rosenberg has one of the most prominent pro-mutant human characters end up betraying mutants, it would be a colossal dick move. The franchise needs more humans who support mutants, not fewer. So, yeah, I still have lots of complaints. As for the art, it’s Larroca, I’m just not a fan of his style. Never have been. Just doesn’t appeal to me. He’s a competent storyteller, there’s just always been an emotional flatness to his art that turns me off.

Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #2, by Vita Ayala, German Peralta, Mike Spicer, and Joe Sabino. Psylocke visits Warden Forge, who tells her he thinks Bishop can be redeemed. Psylocke reminds him that his job is to incarcerate, not rehabilitate. So Forge is now vastly more sympathetic, while the Age of X-Man as a whole gets another layer of sucking ass. Prison should have a focus on rehabilitation, the biggest problem with the real-world justice system in most countries is that it’s focused on punishment over rehab, which leads to people who are basically permanent prisoners. Anyway! Bishop tries to talk to some people in the courtyard, but they harass him instead. He’s an X-Man, a cop. He goes into the commons, to talk to Lorna, who has hidden depths.

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Not totally sure that’s an ability, but OK.

Lorna tells him off, and Gabby says the X-Men were the ones who brought Lorna in, which Bishop has no memory of. Gabby also reveals that she’s the one who accidentally convinced Lorna she’s in a straitjacket. Then he gets into a fight with Beast, which ends with Beast offering some advice. And then we get this:

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Vita, no.

Bishop talks some more to Dani, about their memories of another world. Then, Shard! And things get very interesting. This comic is really good. Ayala is telling a really good prison story. There’s nothing exploitative going on, no attempts at shock value or anything like that. Bishop gets roughed up a bit, but there’s no murder attempt, no shower scene, nothing like that. People in prison just don’t like the ex-cop. It’s expected. But Ayala also uses the story to criticize punishment-based justice systems, and rightly so. Prisons, especially in the US, exist solely to lock people up, mostly people from marginalized communities. (Side note: For-profit prisons are a fucking abomination and should be abolished.) It’s not about inmates “paying their debt to society,” it’s about oppressing black people. So I think it’s no accident that the protagonist of this series is a black man. Psylocke telling Forge that the prison is there solely for incarceration is a really good scene. And I’m very much intrigued by what’s happening with Shard. Her death, in Bishop’s turn-of-the-century solo, was bullshit. It wasn’t a good series, and Shard’s treatment throughout was especially bad. Kinda hope this series brings her back. Even if it doesn’t, the comic’s doing some really interesting stuff with her, that has me excited. Solid art in this comic, too. Peralta keeps things visually interesting. This is a really good comic. Best X-title of the week, by a wide margin.

Domino: Hotshots #2, by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Jim Charalampidis, and Clayton Cowles.

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Omigosh, I love Inez more than ever now.

Now, she’s infected with some kind of Celestial code that gives her Celestial memories. But she’s fine. Totally fine.

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Totally normal thing to say.

Meanwhile, Deadpool’s threatening to team, and Black Widow is threatening back. Her dialogue suggests a lack of prior encounters, and that can’t be right. They must have run into each other, right? A quick Google search brings up a story in Way’s Deadpool run where he teamed up with the Secret Avengers, but Way’s run was so bad it’s no surprise everyone would forget it happened. But I would’ve thought they would’ve had other encounters, too. Huh. Anyway, the women all pound the shit out of Deadpool, until he gets fed up, which is exactly what Domino was worried would happen. She knows him, and she knows how dangerous he is, especially when he stops making jokes. And I gotta say, the Domino/Deadpool friendship is a wonderful one. I would love to see them on a team together, with their friendship as a major element. And let Simone write the book, because she writes the hell out of him in this issue. She wrote him before, of course, though the title was changed to “Agent X” shortly into her run. And she does such a good job with him in this issue. He’s hilarious, but also heartbreaking, which is exactly what Deadpool should be. Once Domino calms him down, he says Stark hired him to retrieve the artifact. He also joins the team. Domino then makes everyone swear that the goal is to destroy the artifact, not to bring it to any government. This is really good. Some great escalations on several fronts. Simone absolutely nails Deadpool, it’ll be a real shame if she doesn’t get another chance to write him. Shit, let her take over his solo again, with Skottie Young leaving. We’d be guaranteed to get Domino and Outlaw showing up, and I’d be fascinated to see what else she would do with the character. She gets him, with Domino saying, “He always reminds me of a broken heart.” Which is such a good line about him! That gets so deep to the core of the character. But OK, moving on to other stuff. There’s also some good leadership tension between Domino and Black Widow, which I enjoyed. And, of course, Simone continues to make Outlaw one of the best characters out there. Those opening panels about her. So good. And as with last issue, Baldeon’s art is great. It’s a lot more conventional than his art on the Domino ongoing, which gives it a wider appeal. This issue was fantastic.

. . . Fiiiiiiiine. Major X #1, by Rob Liefeld, Adelso Corona, Dan Fraga, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., and Joe Sabino. Yes, I am taking it upon myself to discuss Rob Liefeld’s new X-Men comic, so you don’t have to. The things I do for this blog. Well, maybe it won’t be so bad, let’s stay optimistic, right? Major X is a time traveler, one who’s arrived right around the formation of X-Force. Cable and Major X fight a bit, until Major X cuts off Cable’s metal hand to get his attention. And we get some backstory. He comes from an alternate future where mutants moved to another world, an “X-Ential” is key to their existence, and something’s happened to it, so now their world’s collapsing, and Major X and M’koy only escape by using the untested warp drive on his motorcycle. Back in the past, Logan attacks Major X, and Major X is winning, until Cable shoots him in the back. Not very sporting. Major X asks for their help, and then Dreadpool attacks. And then it’s Deadpool to the rescue. And then Major X is revealed as Cable’s biracial son. So, Liefeld did the pencils on this comic, so I’ll spare you any panels. You’re welcome. As for the story, I have to admit, I’m more mixed than I expected. I mean, it’s not good. Like, at all. Liefeld’s never been much better as a writer than as an artist, so this isn’t a good comic. It’s got some painful cliches in it. But there are also bits that are just so ridiculous that I can’t help but be amused. Deadpool vs. Dreadpool is probably the highlight of the issue. But yeah, on the whole, this comic is bad, it’s just a matter of opinion on whether it’s so-bad-it’s-good. I lean towards it being just bad, but we’ll see if it improves with better artists in the next few issues.

And I didn’t read anything else because I felt sick.

X-Men comics of March 27 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My best friend’s birthday is tomorrow. Or today, I guess, though it’s not a new day until I go to bed. I took her to Red Lobster for dinner tonight, because she wanted to take advantage of LobsterFest. I may as well also take this opportunity to promote her YouTube channel, where I make occasional appearances. Such as this one. Where you can see just how incredibly awkward I am. But enough of that, comics!

Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2, by Leah Williams, Georges Jeanty, Roberto Poggi, Jim Charalampidis, and Clayton Cowles. After Psylocke comforts a kid with a scraped knee, Blob tells the team their assignment for the day. There’s been a bunch of wildfires, so they’re doing a controlled burn for the X-Men to put out. Jubilee likes burning things. Later, when everyone else has left, Betsy talks to Fred about his attraction towards her, and offers to erase those feelings. He freaks out, and starts calling in sick, and Moneta decides to take over planning duties. To a resounding lack of interest from anyone else. She’s convinced there’s something going on, the others don’t care.

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Williams clearly had too much fun with Moneta.

Moneta and Jubilee go to interrogate Nezumi, and Jubilee’s shocked at the conditions Nezumi’s kept in, and Nezumi shouts at her about complicity. Meanwhile, Betsy visits Fred. There’s a lot going on in this issue, and it’s great. Better than the first issue. The focus is on Blobsy, and the scene where he talks about his feelings for her is really, really good. Really emotional. Sells the Blobsy ship so well. It’s a shame Blob’s going to go back to being a douche when this is over, because Age of X-Man Fred is so good, polite, cultured, an just such a great guy. And that mustache he’s got is top-quality and looks great on him. The other side of the issue is the stuff with Nezumi. In particular, her calling out Jubilee for complicity in what’s being done to her is fantastic. Damning indictment of police, really. Nezumi’s especially disgusted at Jubilee letting another Asian women suffer. And yeah, she makes great points about police being complicit in the abuses perpetrated by other police. While the X-Tremists are the protagonists of this series, they’re not exactly being portrayed as heroes. They’re not necessarily bad people, but they’re not the most responsible authority figures, and there’s no question that’s intentional on Williams’ part. Cops aren’t really there to protect people, they’re there to preserve existing power structures, and that’s definitely central to how this book portrays the X-Tremists. The fact that their mission in this issue is to create a fake emergency for the X-Men to fix in order to show people that the X-Men are doing things is a huge thing. Also, I love Moneta. She’s great.

X-Force #5, by Ed Brisson, Damian Couceiro, Jesus Aburtov, and Cory Petit. So, Warpath’s not dead. Only dying. He’d damned well better not actually die. But yeah, Stryfe and the MLF are fighting X-Force. Seems like it might be a younger version of Stryfe, too, considering he doesn’t recognize the name ‘Cable.’ And we get a flashback to the future. Nathan and his Clan Chosen fighting the New Canaanites, and something weird happens where two of them vanish and a third turns into someone else. Blaquesmith shows up to explain that ripples are changing time.

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Blaquesmith using the “I’m supervising” excuse to avoid work.

They head to a hidden safehouse Cable will have built in the past as an adult, and the system tells them about the O5 being taken out of their own time, and Young Nathan goes back to correct things. Detected by Stryfe. So, the “secret origin” of Kid Cable is not particularly clever or surprising. It basically comes down to him losing everyone, and Blaquesmith sending him back in time. I don’t know, it’s not like there’s anything wrong with the backstory, it’s just not really all that compelling. A lot of it feels like a rehash of Regular Cable’s backstory. But somehow less interesting. It somehow made me care less about Kid Cable. Maybe it’s just me, I’m totally willing to admit it might just be me, but yeah, this issue did absolutely nothing for me. Like, my big take-away is that Warpath’s not dead yet. Beyond that? I just found myself completely uninvested. I think the problem is that we spend no time with Cable’s people before they die, so we have no reason to care about them, and given that was arguably the emotional core of the issue? It’s just not all that impacting. Pretty meh, even for this series.

Mr. and Mrs. X #9, by Kelly Thompson, Oscar Bazaldua, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Sabino. Gambit is pulling a heist. For a very special prize.

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SPIDER-BABY AAAAHHHHHHHHH KILL IT WITH FIRE!

That is so unsettling. Meanwhile, Spiral defends Rogue’s body while Rogue explores her mind to find a way to control her powers. That means going back through her memories of people she’s absorbed. Meanwhile, Gambit joins a rebellion. Rogue realizes her lack of control over her power is tied to fear. She was always afraid, and it kept her from controlling her power. Which is the main focus of this issue. It’s all about Rogue realizing what all her past problems with her powers have had in common. Confronting that fear, realizing it’s something she needs to learn to live with, and to deal with in a healthy way. Really good stuff. The paralyzing effects of fear is something I need to learn to deal with, too, honestly. So, it makes for a very good issue.

Marvel Comics Presents #3, continuing the Logan story by Charles Soule, Paulo Siqueira, Oren Junior, Frank D’Armata, and Joe Caramagna. It’s 1962, Nevada, at a nuclear testing ground, and the demon, the Truth, reappears. Sylvie and Logan beat it back again. Then Sylvie takes Logan to Paris, so they can get to know each other.

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Which of course leads to this.

When I screenshot comics, I give them filenames that make it easy for me to remember what’s in them, even without opening them. I called this one “obviously.” Because it was supremely obvious this was where it was going to go. Though there’s narration implying she didn’t really want to do it, but that it was her duty. Which honestly makes the sex less annoying. I do get tired of the fact that every single woman in the entire Marvel Universe apparently wants to have sex with Logan, so it’s nice when women aren’t all that into him that way. Beyond that, there is a nice moment where Sylvie expresses doubt about how to live a life that’s always under the shadow of horror, and Logan tells her it’s just about grabbing any happiness that comes along. That was what led to the sex. I suspect Sylvie just needed him to knock her up so she could have a daughter to continue the fight against the Truth in a couple decades. Regardless, this isn’t bad. It’s a pretty good installment to the story.

And the non-X-titles I picked up:

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #41, by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, and Travis Lanham. All anyone should need to know about this comic is this panel:

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Dinosaur in a hammock, holding a teddy bear.

Marvel Rising #1, by Nilah Magruder, Roberto Di Salvo, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles. A college tour leads to a fight against people doing car-jousting, and why is that not a thing we can watch on TV? Also, Morgan Le Fey! I love her. One of my favourite villains. I’m in on this series.

Ironheart #4, by Eve Ewing, Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla, and Clayton Cowles. Midnight Fire invites Riri to join the Ten Rings. She politely declines.

Black Widow #3, by Jen and Sylvia Soska, Flaviano, Veronica Gandini, and Joe Caramagna. Dark. Tense. Good.

Black Panther #10, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kev Walker, Java Tartaglia, Stephane Paitreau, and Joe Sabino. Twists!

X-Men comics of March 20 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Speaking of Twitter, the other night, I tweeted a thread of unpopular X-Men opinions which turned out to be pretty popular. Christina Strain even retweeted one of my tweets, about the need for more mutants who don’t have combat-oriented powers. She also liked my tweet about more X-Men needing to come out as queer. Anyway, I shit-talked the X-Men franchise and got a hundred new Twitter followers out of it, which amuses me greatly. X-Men fandom is never happier than when it’s complaining. Anyway, let’s start with a comic I’ve complained a lot about.

Uncanny X-Men #14, by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX, and Joe Caramagna. We get panels of Reaper on the run interspersed with Val Cooper meeting Scott and Logan. Reaper gets captured by Scott’s team while Scott asks Val Cooper to provide information that can be used to fight bad mutants. Because, at a time when mutants are being hunted and killed, mutants hunting other mutants is definitely the best approach.

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And that’s done so much to advance the mutant cause, hasn’t it?

Ah, gotta love the X-Men’s obsession with respectability politics. Reaper’s captured by Illyana, Dani, and Wolfsbane, then interrogated by Scott and Jamie. Hope reached out to him to join the MLF, but he declined, since he doesn’t have powers any more. Scott then goes to talk to Dark Beast, who’s under guard by Karma. I am so glad she’s in this book, she’s getting such great stuff done with her. Ugh. I know it’s early. I know there’s time for Rosenberg to do something interesting with her. But holy shit, I wish he’d at least frigging hint at it already. Anyway, Dark Beast tells Scott where to find some Marauders. Scrambler messes up Rahne’s T-O virus. Illyana and Dani settle Rahne down while all the men chase Scrambler, with Logan getting a knife to the eye from Callisto. Who then complaints that his skull chipped the blade. Callisto is the smartest person in this series so far. She then leads the group to the tunnels, where another Morlock Massacre has happened, because why bother coming up with new ideas when writing the flagship X-Men title. And Chamber chews Scott out again, and then tells him to take care of the survivors. Then a mission to Chernaya. Another month, another issue of UXM that does nothing the least bit original or interesting. Another issue with no character exploration going on. I don’t get the point of this series yet. What statement is it trying to make? Why is this the story they want to tell? What’s the main unifying theme behind it? Why was this the cast that was chosen? What are these characters meant to bring? Like, you’ve got Dani Moonstar in the case, a character defined by her sense of independence, her instinctive questioning of authority figures, and we see none of that here. And it’s much the same problem with Shan, Rahne and Illyana. They’re in the book, but they have no real personality. I’m sure Rosenberg likes the characters, but I don’t think he knows what the hell to do with them right now, and I think this series would be better if we had more character stuff going on early. And it looks like Chamber’s joining the cast, and I love Chamber, but it means even less room for anything to be done with the women, in a franchise where the women are the most interesting characters. Relationships betwee characters are being completely ignored, because Rosenberg would rather harp on about how things are bad for mutants. It’s boring. Also, I don’t like Larroca’s art. Personal taste, he’s good at what he does, I’ve just always found there’s a certain lack of emotional depth. So yeah, this series remains a total waste of time.

Age of X-Man: Nextgen #2, by Ed Brisson, Marcus To, Jason Keith, and Clayton Cowles. Armour wakes up in Glob’s room, covered in wax, with no recollection of what happened. The benchmarks of a great night.

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I think she’s open to a second date.

Meanwhile, Anole wakes up to find a vial of Unveil on his desk, which he breathes in. Glob explains to Armour about the world being fake. When she meets the others for breakfast – sporting a cool new super-short haircut that looks pretty cute – she talks to Bling!, who says she was studying in the library all night, even though Armour remembers her at the house fire. Suspicious! Armour goes to talk to Glob, who explains that he thinks his bio-wax has been protecting him from the mindwipes everyone else gets hit with. Meanwhile, Glob, at Anole’s request, is trying to look up some specific information in the library, about the Life Seed. Side note, Skids is the librarian! Also, when Anole meets with his group of radicals, it includes Maggott and Transonic. Both cool characters. And this is a good comic. I’m digging it. Good reason given for why Glob remembers things others don’t. Armour and Rockslide doing some investigation and starting to realize there’s something weird is cool. Also, Armour’s haircut is cute. Very butch. And, of course, there’s Anole falling in with radicals. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going with, with some youth not willing to just accept what they’re told any more, and I look forward to seeing that spread. I’m enjoying this.

Age of X-Man: Amazing Nightcrawler #2, by Seanan Mcguire, Juan Frigeri, Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Travis Lanham. Kurt and Meggan wake up, sober and a little freaked out. Kurt wants to tell someone about what they did, but Meggan says it would be a bad idea and would just lose them all their jobs. He goes outside, and saves a kid about to be hit by a car, and realizes the world needs the X-Men to look up to. He goes back to Meggan, and agrees to keep it a secret, and when she confesses she might be in love, he agrees to also try to continue a relationship.  He then heads to the studio for a meeting with some people from a rival studio, Mastermind Studios. He’s meeting Regan, Hellion, Surge, and Phoebe Cuckoo. Yay Surge. She’s awesome and deserves to get some use again. Regan wants a merger, Kurt refuses, and Regan accuses the X-Men of operating a monopoly in movies. Funny this comic should come out the day it became official that Disney acquired all Fox’s entertainment properties.

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Definitely doesn’t make me think of any specific current situation.

Later, on a set, the ceiling collapses on them. He figures Regan is trying to sabotage them, and decides they should deal with it themselves rather than involving the X-Men. Then Meggan invites him to a sex club. OK, not actually a sex club, but it’s a club where people are touching and interested in sex. Of course, with this being a Seanan McGuire comic, there are plenty of same-sex couples in the bar. She’s the kind of person who’d insist on that. It definitely makes a nice touch. In a story about forbidden love, it’s always worth remembering people whose love is forbidden in the real world. There’s a lot to love in this comic. Some fun show business politics. Kurt and Meggan are a cute couple. I do wish the supporting cast got more to do. There’s some real sad bits with the Cuckoos, but Magma and Kylun don’t get to do enough. I want more of them. Oh well, minor complaints. I do like Kurt deciding that hiding his sins is important for what his image means to others. I imagine it’s the same reason a lot of stars over the decades have hidden their sexualities. Always a tough question, I imagine. It’s becoming more common, now, for celebrities to admit when they’re queer. But there’s undoubtedly still plenty who keep it a secret, either because they want to maintain their privacy or because they think it’d be bad for their careers. Certainly, men who are in particularly hyper-masculine careers would have to consider that. So it’s sad seeing Kurt having to weigh those considerations. It makes for a compelling story. The art’s great. Nice work with facial expressions, and especially with subtle ones. Really good comic.

And Wolverine: Infinity Watch #2 came out, but . . . still nope. Still can’t read it. I just can’t do it. I don’t care.

Non-X-stuff:

Captain Marvel #3, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles. Som is Son of Machus, the son of Nuclear Man. Nuclear Man wants to marry Carol. He doesn’t want to be like his dad. He’s a good kid and I like him and I hope he survives through this. Also, Carol is a very effective leader. And Hazmat is cranky that another Jen has joined them, with Jennifer Walters arriving. I still love you more, Hazmat.  Anyway, it’s a really good comic as a group of women train to be an army to take down patriarchy and rescue their men-folks. I enjoy it a lot. And next issue, Rogue!

West Coast Avengers #9, by Kelly Thompson, Gang Hyuk Lim, Triona Farrell, and Joe Caramagna. Ramone’s mother was Dora Milaje. Explains where Johnny got the Vibranium piercings, and also makes Ramone a stone-cold badass. And also she has Vibranium-based powers. And I’m preeeeeeetty sure Noh-Varr might have a crush on Johnny. I don’t blame him. Another really fun issue.

And, digitally, Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter #3, by Kelly Thompson (again), Mattia De Iulis, Felipe Andrade, Stephane Paitreau, and Cory Petit. It’s really creepy! The art is Andrade at first, and then there’s an awesome moment where it shifts to De Iulis. It’s really effective. And it’s a great conclusion to Purple Daughter. It’s really powerful stuff. Really great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X-Men comics of March 13 2019

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). So I saw Captain Marvel tonight. I liked it. It was good. Fun. Good performances all around. Cool handling of the Skrulls. Goose was cute. I would’ve liked more Minn-Erva. The Captain Marvel uniform looks awesome on-screen, and Carol looks epic when she gets glowy. I thought it did a good job borrowing different elements from Carol’s history. The memory loss, most particularly. I also really liked the cameos for Stan Lee and Kelly Sue DeConnick. Also, ’90s music! So, yeah, I liked it. But now, comics.

Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #2, by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Marco Failla, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. In Central Park, Apocalypse is delivering a speech on the power of love. He brings out his son, Genesis, and shocks the crowd by kissing Genesis on the forehead. Some of the crowd decide to vandalize a nearby statue of Logan, which results in Laura having a memory of fighting beside him, and in her haze, she cuts one of the people in the crowd. That leads to a riot, which Apocalypse quells by preaching that love is not war. After, back home, the X-Men debate what to do about Apocalypse and his followers, without coming to any conclusions. They also tell Department X to keep an eye on things. Including Moneta!

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More comic stories need to revolve around cookies.

And, of course, other characters are having their own flashes of their real lives. More and more hints of X-Man’s world slowly coming apart. So, one thing I’ll note about this book is that, of all the Age of X-Man titles, it has the toughest job. The others are all allowed to do their own things, but this is the main one, so it’s the one telling the main story. That leaves it less overall freedom. It also means it ends up tying into the others more than they tie into this one. But this is a lot better than the first issue. It’s actually getting into a story now. There’s plenty of good character moments. The scene with the X-Tremists, while entertaining, felt unnecessary. Obviously, wait and see, they may be going somewhere with them. I just feel like it took a couple pages away from the core cast. Still, it’s a minor thing, and only a tentative criticism. Other than that, there’s good work here. Lots of developments. Good art, too. I like how thick Laura looks. She’s usually drawn really thin and lithe, but she’s Logan’s clone, so I always thought she should be short and stocky, like he is. And that’s how Failla draws her. So I appreciate that. He also gives us Blob picking blueberries off a tree, so kudos on that.

Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts, by Tim Seeley, Salva Espin, Israel Silva, and Travis Lanham. The story starts in Kazakhstan, where a couple mutants are investigating why a town’s residents are getting sick. And it turns out the Tongue of Czernobog is killing everything within a certain radius. And then to New York, and Greenwich Valley, and a concert.

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Beatnik Dazzler is already an icon.

She’s even got an audience of black-clad beatniks who applaud by snapping.

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Screw mutants, this is the real threat to mankind.

Anyway, she gets a summons from Apocalypse. Meanwhile, Eye-Boy and Kitty are on a job. They find a Menorah! Kitty doesn’t recognize it. That’s so sad. She does get a flash of Hanukkah as a kid. Then Eye-Boy kisses her, but she rejects him, since he’s just a kid.

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Too bad Illyana, Rachel, and Karma are all not in this world.

Anyway, they then get summoned by Apocalypse, as well. Genesis is checking on the flyers that are going to be sent out advertising the Central Park meet-up, and the flyers left out the ‘R’ in ‘Embrace,’ so clearly, he shouldn’t have gone with the lowest estimate. Apocalypse and his Riders arrive, and do a ceremony where they breathe in the vapors of a woman named Unveil. And Apocalypse actually uses the “Turn on, tune in, drop out” phrase. Amazing. Anyway, this is a lot of fun. This issue’s just introducing the cast, but it’s done really well. It’s an interesting set of characters. Mod Eye-Boy is really charming. Still dorky, which is good. I’m intrigued by Unveil. I look forward to learning more about her. She seems cool. She’s from Barbados, I guess. Genesis is kinda whiny. Desperate to prove himself to his dad. But I’m sure he’ll get better. I am curious to see if this book will have any romantic relationships. The women are all adults and the men are mostly teens, aside from Apocalypse himself. I very much doubt we’ll get an Eye-Boy/Genesis ship, or a Dazzler/Unveil one. Though there is a kinda flirty moment between them, where Dazzler calls Unveil “pleasingly smooth.” She’s referring to the way Unveil’s power works, yes, but, I mean. “Pleasingly smooth.” And I don’t know, I think it’s a shame how few of the titles have canonically queer characters, limiting their opportunities to actually include queer relationships in their big story about forbidden love. And romantic love isn’t the only kind that’s forbidden, of course, but still. I’d like for the big event about love being forbidden to have some examples of characters whose relationships would legitimately be forbidden in the real world. So Dazzler/Unveil would be cool to see. Or Genesis/Eye-Boy. Or, shit, do both. Sadly, we’ll probably get neither. Oh well. I’m not a fan of the art. I just don’t like how Espin draws faces. I never have. I imagine I never will. His style just absolutely does not appeal to me. Even so, I enjoyed the issue.

Uncanny X-Men: Winter’s End #1, by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, Federico Blee, and Joe Sabino. Iceman helps with some flooding in Delaware, and gets told off by an anti-mutant bigot. Because of course he does. Then he heads back to the mansion, for his birthday. Michaela, Spit Girl, tells him she’s leaving the X-Men, because she feels she’s not making a difference. I feel like Bobby should point out that she’s like 16 and doesn’t need to be making an impact when her only responsibility is to get an education, but he tries to tell her she acts like she doesn’t matter. The X-Men are all at the Java A Go-Go for Bobby’s part. Hey, nice callback. Darkveil’s there, too. She used to go by Shade, before it was decided to bring her back. She introduced Bernard the Poet. Yay! But back at the school, Future Ice-Master tells Bobby that he’s going to hook up with Daken and accidentally help him conquer the universe. Fighting, then Jean shows up to see whatès keeping Bobby.

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Something that’s needed said for a while.

That’s catharsis for the people upset at the way Jean outed him. His continued ranting then dips into hilarious:

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I mean when you phrase it like that.

Before swinging back to catharsis.

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Cue straight guy writer focusing on all this stuff.

He gets a pretty good rant. And Ice-Master is convinced. And then accompanies Bobby to his birthday party. It’s a good comic. A nice sign-off for Grace. He gets to leave Bobby on a high note. His rant was pretty satisfying. Also, I like Grace basically telling all the Bobby/Daken shippers, “No, what? You know that’s a terrible idea, right? Do I have to actually explain why that’s a terrible idea?” There’s lots of nice nods to stories from throughout Grace’s runs on Iceman. It’s good. I’m not a fan of Stockman’s art, it’s just not an art style I enjoy, but he is a good visual storyteller, and that’s really the most important thing. So yeah, good finale. And now the next straight dude to write X-Men will just ignore all the character development, because permanent character development is an illusion.

X-Force #4, by Ed Brisson, Dylan Burnett, Jesus Aburtov, and Cory Petit. Ahab, having attacked Deathlok, is using Deathlok’s probability generator to figure out how much time he has before X-Force arrives. When Cable and Domino find the near-dead Deathlok, who mentions a “her” Cable is searching for.

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Domino does anger better than Cable.

Rachel, obviously. I am still furious at her being turned into a Hound again. It’s repetitive bullshit, and frankly, it smacks of misogyny. Anyway, General Constantin, in a suit of armour, attacks Ahab. Meanwhile, the mutant prisoners join the fight against Constantin’s soldiers. The group break up the Constantin/Ahab fight, and Ahab tells Cable he’s doomed Rachel. Oh, and there’s also a shocking death, and you know, normally I wouldn’t spoil a late-issue death, but . . . Warpath. It’s Warpath. Hey, you know how many people of colour this team had? One. You know how many it has now? None. Yep, this book has now managed to kill off its only person of colour. And yet another POC X-Man has been killed. Warpath will probably be brought back. Hell, maybe even in this series. But holy shit, the X-office is on a fucking murder spree lately, and it’s not the least bit surprising who’s bearing the brunt of that. The X-franchise is so frustrating. Mutants are an allegory for marginalized communities, so of course 90% of the characters who get any focus are white. And of course characters from real marginalized communities get marginalized within the franchise, and put at a higher risk of having horrible things happen to them. Bad enough what was done with Rachel – get her the fuck out of the hands of male writers, especially male writers who are hung up on nostalgia, especially male writers hung up on nostalgia who want to have her mentally violated, fucking ENOUGH with Rachel being mentally violated, any writer who pitches that idea should be goddamn fired on the goddamn spot – but now we’ve also got yet another POC character getting killed for cheap drama. And that’s all it is. It is 100% cheap drama. It’s a frigging shock value death, and it makes this entire series worse. Like, I was enjoying this. It was fun. I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaated the Rachel stuff, still, but that aside, I was enjoying this comic. And then he killed Warpath on the second-to-last page. And I don’t enjoy this comic any more. To hell with this damn thing, and frankly, to hell with Brisson.

X-23 #10, by Mariko Tamaki, Diego Olortegui, Walden Wong, Chris O’Halloran, and Cory Petit. Robert Chandler explains to Laura his evil plan: Manufacture killers designed to die before they can rebel, which he will sell for lots and lots of money. He’s basically the Apple of assassin manufacturers. Then he sets a whole bunch of them to kill her. Luckily, Gabby shows up with the cyborg she’d managed to convince to help her.

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FastGabb Special, or Gabball Special?

Sadly, the issue gets tragic after that. Still awesome and badass. But X-Assassin was too good for this world, it seems. It’s a great end to the arc. Phenomenal work with Gabby and X-Assassin. There’s so much heart. Genuine affection between them. And while I obviously hate to see Gabby cry, I think the story provided some valuable development for her. This arc also created real tension between Laura and Gabby, which is important, and it looks like it’s going to lead to Gabby wanting to do her own thing next issue. That should be really good. So yeah, sad as this issue is, it’s a great issue.

Dead Man Logan #5, by Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson, Nolan Woodard, and Cory Petit. The X-Men attack a Neo-Hydra base, and their plane gets shot down, because it had been 5 minutes since they lost a jet. The team starts kicking Neo-Hydra ass, and Mysterio sneaks in to warn Sin and Miss Sinister that the X-Men are there. Sin reveals she never actually cared about conquering and dividing the world, she just wanted to see some chaos and have some fun, and now she’s excited for a chance to kill some X-Men. On the one hand, I like that her main motivation is having a good time. On the other hand, she really thinks she’s going to kill any X-Men? Like, maybe if Surge or Prodigy or Mercury were among them, she might kill one of them. Sin and Crossbones head out, and Crossbones is immediately shot to hell by Neo-Hydra goons who see him as Logan. Hell yeah, Mysterio.

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Mysterio’s finest moment.

Mysterio hopes to sneak off with Miss Sinister, while Sin just wants someone to die. She does get to shoot Logan a lot. He still manages to seemingly kill Mysterio. Seemingly. Good issue. The fight’s fun. Mysterio getting over on Crossbones was awesome. Loved that. Crossbones spent a couple issues threatening to kill him, and then Mysterio destroys him. Always happy to see a neo-Nazi dirtbag get wrecked. Sin is awful, too, but at least she’s fun in this arc. This does seem to be the end of the Mysterio arc, and it was a good one. Soon, Logan will be going back to the Wasteland, and that should be interesting. Yeah, all in all, this has been a fun comic.

Wolverine: The Long Night #3, by Benjamin Percy, Marcio Takara, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna. A hunter tells the male FBI guy about spotting Logan running with some wolves, but also says that bear attacks are way more common than statistics indicate, because nobody in Alaska reports anything. Meanwhile, the female FBI agent talks to a bartender named Mallory, about a fight that broke out between Logan and some of the crew from the fishing ship Logan had been working on.

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Good way of judging a bar’s quality.

The two FBI agents, and the local deputy sheriff, head to meet Mr. Langrock, the town’s rich dude. The lady agent doesn’t seem to like his dogs. Super-friendly golden retrievers. Langrock makes a point of noting the breed’s loyalty, which isn’t suspicious at all. Does seem like he has something to hide, but if he does, he’s honestly really good at it. After the agents piss him off by asking about smuggling on his boats, they head back to their motel, where they each have their own way of continuing the investigation.

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I really like this guy.

The lady, meanwhile, has found out that Langrock’s son took Logan from the prison he’d been sent to after the bar fight, asked Logan to work for him as an enforcer, and now Logan plans on basically bringing down the town. More interesting detective work, no mysteries unraveled yet but some clues to a few, and definitely some theories. It’s a lot of intriguing stuff. The art’s great. I love Takara’s lines. And he’s a great visual storyteller. So yeah, this is a good series, mostly because, so far, Logan hasn’t been a major character.

That’s the X-stuff, here’s non-X-stuff.

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1, by Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Juan Vlasco, Ian Herring, and Joe Caramagna. I didn’t even realize Ian Herring was staying on. Awesome. His colours defined the book’s visual style for the past few years, him staying on will really help keep the feel of the character. Anyway, she beats up a dude named Deathbringer, then tells Nakia her origin story. And her dad now knows she’s Ms. Marvel. Nice. All in all, this new era’s off to a good start. Ahmed’s got a good handle on the characters’ voices, the art is excellent, the initial story seems interesting. Good start.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #42, by Ryan North and a bunch of artists. It’s Squirrel Girl’s 50th issue! So there’s line art from Derek Charm, Naomi Franquiz, and ERICA HENDERSON! Woot! And also Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham, as usual. But Henderson’s pitching in! I’ve missed her on this series. And it’s a delight to see her work again. This is a really fun issue where Squirrel Girl fights Kang in three times. Old Lady Doreen, Present Squirrel Girl, and 10-year-old Doreen. It’s a great issue. Also, I am 100% convinced that Nancy and Doreen are a couple. Nancy isn’t in a lot of this issue, but they do have a particular couple scenes at the end of the issue that only serve to reinforce my belief that they are in love and belong together.

Shuri #6, by Vita Ayala, Paul Davidson, Triona Farrell, and Joe Sabino. Shuri tracks the space grasshopper’s energy to Brooklyn, allowing her to team up with Spider-Miles. Though she was actually detecting energy put off by some kids gauntlets. Still, Spider-Miles team-up. With a trip to Coles High School. Kamala’s school! Man, Ayala and Davidson got to do one hell of a team-up. They lucked out. I really like Ayala here. Honestly, I think I like how they write Shuri more than I do Okorafor’s take. They write her more mature, I think it strikes a better balance between Movie Shuri and Comic Shuri. Of course, Ayala does benefit from getting to follow up on Okorafor’s work, and also from only having to do a couple fill-in issues. But yeah, I really like Ayala’s work on this. Marvel should definitely keep Ayala busy, if possible, because they’re a really good writer.

Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #6, by Seanan McGuire, Takeshi Miyazawa, Ian Herring, and Clayton Cowles. Gwen becomes a hero for hire, and the dialogue and art in this comic are just so dang charming and fun. It’s just fun.

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