uncanny x-men

This Week’s Best

spider-man batman superman reviewsI read about 30 new books a week. This is a pretty good sized haul considering that the overwhelming majority of books I read are from Marvel and DC and are super hero books. It’s not like all I like is Big Two capes books it’s just that these stories work in this format for me the most. The rest of what I read comes in trade paper back for me. Since Marvel and DC books are so interconnected, I like to keep up.

That all said, I’ve been dropping more DC books than I have in a long time and picking up many more Marvel books. It’s been widely reported that DC is losing market share as well as critical acclaim as the New 52 continues. The Batman books have been the only DC books that have consistently stayed at the top of my pile. Animal Man and Aquaman have and continue to be some of my favorite books while Scott Snyder leaving Swamp Thing has me worried. Either way, here are the standouts from this week:

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_5Uncanny X-Men #5

Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Frasier Irving

This is starting to really feel like an X-Men book now. It’s a totally new era but what makes X-Men books work is all intact here. Enemies from all sides, love triangles, mysteries, an all powerful villain, humans fearing them, in-fighting, new mutants, powers not working…this really has it all! This was billed as the true flagship X-Men book before it came out and I found that hard to believe. Wolverine and the X-Men felt like the true flagship book to me. Then I thought about it more. Wolverine and the X-Men represents the Morrison-era X-Men style of a book while Uncanny X-Men represents the more classic X-Men team. Uncanny has more baggage and is the outlaw team with a manageable roster. I think both styles work and are just as legitimate. This issue let the action die down just a bit in order for the interactions to have their place. The expansion of this team feels organic and really has me wanting more.

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Batman-Inc-10-variantBatman Incorporated #10

DC Comics

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artists: Chris Burnham & Jason Masters

While not my favorite issue recently, Batman Inc. books are still some of the best on the shelves. This one felt a bit slow till the last page and somewhat redundant but I see why Morrison made these choices. With three issues left in his HUGE run on Batman, this issue brought in elements from a variety of his past stories that are all going to build towards the finale. I love the idea that Batman is pulling out all the stops to take on Leviathan. Incorporating his Batbots, the Suit of Sarrows, and the Man-Bat Serum to give him the edge he needs makes this feel as big as it should be. The Al Ghul “family” is coming apart and it’s going to be a factor for the future of Batman. This had one of the best last pages of a Batman book that I can remember. If this was a Rocky movie, it’s where you would hear his theme music starting up. Game on!

Avengers_Arena_Vol_1_8Avengers Arena #8

Marvel Comics

Writer: Dennis Hopeless

Artist: Kev Walker

Last issue took time away from the main story (which had one crazy ending) to give us the set-up of Arcade to the way we find him in issue #1. This issue takes us back to the scene of Kid Briton’s death and we see how everyone is dealing with it. With as many characters with powers there are in this book, this never feels like a super hero book. These teens are confused real sounding characters who are way out of their element. This title grows on me with each issue. Once I got over if this whole story was happening in a virtual reality or not I finally fully committed to what’s been going on. Combining all these eras of Marvel teens from every corner of the Marvel U really works because the cliches feel very tenuous and alliances feel strained throughout. I’ve read many of these characters in the titles they came from so the accumulation of all those stories really enhances this for me. As a Darkhawk fan from the 90s as well as someone who has never missed a Runaways appearance, this book had a great twist for me. I recommend this book to non super hero fans as well as seasoned Marvel Zombies. There’s really something for everyone here and Kev Walker’s art is always crisp and approachable.

This week’s Worst

X-Termination_Vol_1_2

X-Termination #2 – Conclusion

Marvel Comics

Writers: David Lapham, Marjorie Liu, Greg Pak
Artists: David Lopez, Guillermo Mogorron, Raul Valdes, Matteo Lolli, Don Ho, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Carlos Cuevas, Allen Martinez
It’s really rare that I use this space as a place to complain about comics. For the most part, I’m dedicated to talking about what I like in comics and letting people know about it. This storyline and this issue (in particular) is awful. Uncoordinated collaborative writing and art made this feel like the obvious editorially mandated story that it was. Two so/so X-Men books that everyone knew would be canceled crossover with the least important X-Men title (Astonishing) to combine into a really basic story that ends two titles. Extreme X-Men was the new version of the Exiles which means it was a reality jumping title that was basically Sliders meets the X-Men. Crossing that title with Age of Apocalypse makes sense because that’s another alternate reality X-Men title with low sales. The contributions made by the various artists seem rushed and are very inconsistent from page to page. It was jarring. The ending was obvious from the from the first page and it felt like everyone was just going through the motions. The upshot is that I will be picking up two less mediocre books from now on so at least there’s that.

Marvel’s Newest Chapter

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Marvel Now is here!

Between October 2012 and February 2013, Marvel is providing a new Marvel Now title to pick up each week. This is not a reboot, just a jumping on point for new and lapsed readers to pick up these books. New number one issues, new costumes, and new status quo these comics should be approachable and get you hooked.

Many have been released already and I would like to grade what has come out so far. I’m going to skip Marvel Now! Point One and A+X for now and go right into the books that matter.

When grading these books, I needed criteria. The best criteria would be Marve’s own, in my opinion. I’m using a 1 to 5 star rating with 5 being the best. Here is what I am looking for:

1. Approachable to a new reader. Could anyone who liked the recent Marvel Movies pick this book up as their first comic and enjoy it?

2. New status quo. Is this new enough to warrant this new labeling and reboot?

3. New cover designs. Covers will be less dogmatic (logos always on the top) and look more like movie posters.

4. New looks. We have been promised new costumes for established characters.

Round 1

Uncanny Avengers #1

comics relaunch number onecomic book reviews podcasts

The first Marvel Now book is also suppose to be the flagship title.

This book marries the popular Avengers and X-Men franchises in a book that directly follows AvX. Cyclops’s words really got to Captain America on the Avenger’s attitude towards mutants. This team is the result. The team members chosen for this team are really deliberate. Choosing Havok as the leader of the team really works for me because it gives the character a chance to rise to the next level. Scarlet Witch has the most to make up with the mutant community. Rogue, on the other hand, has historically had a problem with the Avengers (attacking them in her very first appearance). Cap and Thor make the team legitimate and Wolverine has been set up as the new Professor X.

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That’s the team that has to take on a renewed threat of the Red Skull. Like this team, his agenda is a logical merging of mutant-related issues post AvX for this Avengers villain. In fact, his hatred of mutants is so obvious it’s surprising it hasn’t happened before. My biggest problem is that there have already been publishing delays on a book that is suppose to be the flagship to this initiative. Cassaday’s art is perfect for this book and will contribute to a great trade paper back. Here’s hoping the delays don’t hurt interest in this book with all the new first issues premiering.

Approachable:

If you have not read AT LEAST AvX, this story makes no sense. A lot of these characters are not introduced in this book. This might work well for lapsed readers (who have at least read House of M) but readers new to comics would be lost.

New Status-Que:

This book has a mission beyond fighting super villains. They are also trying to work on human/mutant public relations. That’s something new for an Avengers book. Adding mutants to the roster, however, is something the team has done since issue 16 of the first volume.

New Cover Designs: 

With all the variants, it makes this less cut and dry. That said, almost ever John Cassaday cover looks like a blockbuster movie poster. This should be the benchmark for Marvel Now covers. These should sell books.

New Looks:

Everyone’s costumes look similar to their iconic looks but slightly streamlined. Thor’s fingerless gloves and spiked wristbands look weird (am I the first to notice?). I’m going to go out on a limb and admit that I really like the revamps to Havok, Scarlet Witch, and Rogues’s looks. Streamlined without looking like New 52 armor.

All New X-Men #1

marvel now comicsThe premise of this story really threw me when I first heard about it. Time travel and the X-Men is not a new plot device. Days of Future Past and The Age of Apocalypse hinge on the idea of time travel and it’s affect on mutants. Characters like Bishop and Cable are both long standing time travelers within the X-Men camp. That said, the idea that Beast would travel back to the beginnings of the X-Men to change his present has the potential for very large implications to the Marvel Universe.

Could this be a way to get a New 52 style reboot to the X-Men universe? We’ll have to wait and see. This book covers three different camps statues quos quite well. The Jean Grey School of X-Men reacting to Cyclops new outlaw X-Men as well as the original team in the past. The connection to all of these teams is Beast. He is really the soul of the X-Men now and was possibly most affected by Cyclops’s AvX decision and rejects him the most.marvel now uncanny x-men

This book really shows the status quo change for the X-Men by introducing Scott’s “Uncanny X-Men” team and goals and how they fit into that of the Jean Grey School’s. Beast’s revelation on his mutation, how he traveled through time, and where it goes from here provide enough mysteries to have readers needing to pick up the next issue. This is another example of a post AvX book that picks up right where that series left off.

Approachable:

Another book that comes our of AvX. Actually, this book comes out of AvX Consequences. You don’t know how things got like this without those books. However, there is so much exposition from different angles that you know what’s going on and you know what’s at stake.

New Status-Que:

This is actually the first appearance of Cyclops’s new Uncanny X-Men Team and what they are about (AvX Consequences is like a prequel). Besides that, the idea that the original team is going to interact with this era feels BIG in what could happen.

New Cover Designs:

I feel that these are traditional but also well composed covers. Besides the first issue wrap-around, the upcoming covers don’t really tell you much about what’s happening in the books.

New Looks:

Costume revamps have yet to come into play in this book. It seems like come of these characters will be getting new looks eventually (Cyclops’s Magneto style helmet) but it won’t be happening in this series first.

Fear Cyclops And His X-Men

Marvel Now will relaunch Uncanny X-Men once again. This relaunch by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo takes the last relaunch’s Extinction Team concept somewhere a little different. Coming out of AvX Consequences, Cyclops and his fellow fugitive ex-Extinction Team members Magneto, Emma Frost, and Magik around the world in search of new mutants. Bendis promises to take Magneto to a different place than we’ve seen as well as breaking up Cyclops and Emma’s relationship.

comics magnetoHe says that this team is not a “Dark X-Men” but with the changes to Cyclops and the attitudes of Magik and Emma Frost, it seems like the voice of compassion in this group is Magneto (and that’s saying something!). The end of AvX Consequences has Cyclops ominously telling Wolverine and the Avengers that he will be protecting mutantkind from now on.

With this core group of mutants as well as some new characters, this team looks like it will be carving out it’s own legacy. I think this team could handle a few more established mutants to balance out the team, however. With many of the more popular characters already appearing or soon to be appearing in Wolverine and the X-Men, Cable and X-Force, Uncanny

X-Force, Astonishing X-Men, X-Factor, Uncanny Avengers, and any other book I’m forgetting…who’s left?

uncanny x-men bendis

Exodus

Exodus on the X-Men? Sounds crazy, right? Well, he WAS a member in the Age of Apocalypse Universe! Besides that alternate version, Exodus famously followed behind Magneto for a long time. Last we saw him, he wished to unify all mutants, cared little about humans, and was locked in Utopia. With Danger freeing all the prisoners, he’s free and looking for a cause to join. This is the only incarnation of the 616 X-Men that I could see Exodus joining.x-man new mutants comics

X-Man

Nate Grey could really work on this team. He’s from a world even darker than the one mutants find themselves in now so he’s far from an idealist. He’s had to make hard decisions to protect his group before. His connection to his universe’s Cyclops and Magneto might help make it easier for him to follow them as well. Nate needs help getting his TK abilities working again and Emma could help with that. I think he’s be a great fit.

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Jubilee

Jubilee’s new attitude and powerset fits this new X-Team. As a vampire, she would probably bond with Magik. The only part I’m not sure about is if non-mutants will be allowed on this team. Sure, she WAS a mutant but she isn’t one any longer. Unless she gets her powers back? Danger was offered a position on the team by Cyclops. So maybe mutant allies like Jubilee have a place on this team.

marvel comics uncanny

Random

It’s about time for him, right? He’s been on the edge of mutant affairs for 20 years and has yet to really be fleshed out. He’s pragmatic, good in a fight, and follows anyone loud enough to give him orders. This character is still around and has plenty of potential.

These are just a few unclaimed mutants that I feel would shine on this new version of the flagship X-Men title. Let’s see where this group goes and evolves into over time. Who do you think would fit on this team?