X-Men #12

So after my MANY COMPLAINTS about last issue… my hangs ups have almost all seemed to be addressed this time around.

Selene Gallio’s name was spelled right, Monet and Karima looked like two separate people, they addressed who was where (with a role call, which seemed like a response to complaints that I -and seemingly others- had last time).

The “Meanwhile” was still a “Before” (Quentin Quire was on the plane telepathically combating the Sentinels..

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at no point “Meanwhile” could QQ have been at the school with John Sublime last issue ..anyway…

In Japan, Ana Cortes bites the dust (at the close of #11 she stabbed herself through the gut with a sword). And there’s a slightly baffling scene of Madelyne Pryor’s resurrection. And then they introduce who’s on the inbound X-Jet.. which Rachel groans at. And it comes off as BWood being annoyed at readers being annoyed last issue -but I’m so vain, I think this issue is in direct response to me. Anyway; Storm, Rachel, Psylocke, Money, Karima got a tip about Lady Deathstrike’s whereabouts …from Ana. 

Arkea’s the queen bee of the hive mind so they decide to shut her down. They know she’s still recruiting and know it is likely that both the Black Queen and Red Queen have joined up.Monet crashes through the building (again) but instead of heading right for Arkea she goes to get some revenge on Amora while Psylocke has a rematch against Typhoid Mary. Rachel doesn’t get a rematch against Selene (long ago, Rachel faced off with her but Wolverine injured Rachel to take her out of the fight so that she wouldn’t be a murderer) but instead gets attacked by her mother’s genetic clone. 

But Storm negotiates. She tells Madelyne and Selene to just walk away and go elsewhere, just let the X-Men take care of Arkea. 

You don’t span decades with X-Men wanting you dead- or in Selene’s case; centuries- and survive without being a little self serving. They just got their lives back… so they walk away. 

Monet grabs Arkea’s host Reiko (after Arkea goes batshit and makes a run at Storm) and Karima shoots her with a weapon specially engineered by John Sublime. Then Karima says she’s taking a gig with Sabra and Gabriel. 

Okay… This time I liked Anka’s art fine. Maybe the last issue was just rushed, I don’t know. It looked better. The characters were distinct, the lines were clean. The backgrounds were stylishly sparse. 

Then we get to this dubious “Meanwhile”

Cessily and Roxy finally get their issues worked through…

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Mann’s art is so good! Paul Mounts colors are so good! This picture that I took with my smartphone in my crappily lit den does it o service. It’s really just gorgeous. This little side mission was certainly fun albeit somewhat convoluted. Look at the ripples! Look at the facial expressions. It’s so good!

Jubilee makes some comments to Julian that aren’t quite suitable for work. Anyway, Sentinels handled. 

I actually kinda dig Quentin Quire, he reminds me of my high school friends. He can come around if he wants.

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Is Jubilee actually gonna do vampire-y stuff. I feel like they’ve been teasing me with this for 8 months. 

This is one of my fave series, I’m glad to see it was back on track this month. I did think it was weird that Selene and Madelyne just walked off, now there are two big bads on the loose, I’m sure they will be popping up somewhere soon. This was a much better issue, I’m still a little baffled about the way the story is being split up.. but I’m okay with it as long as there is consistency and cohesion between the two plots. 

X-Men #11

I was so pumped for this issue. #10 left us with a masterfully executed cliffhanger: Mach 1 Sentinels rising from the ocean with Jubilee, Bling!, Quentin, Mercury, etc., waiting to take them on. Ana Cortes is finding herself in over her head with the Arkea situation. Arkea is ready to unleash some Omega Level dames.

Issue #11/Ghosts part 2 picks up with Ana and Amora having an a debate between and within themselves about what they are about to do.  They do it, of course. They’re bad girls and they’re outclassed, there’s no turning back. Held in Stasis, her soul distributed into the very air of a contain cell -reassembled by Amora: Lady Selene/The Black Queen/the oldest mutant.

And after that it starts to get hairy. Wait, is it hairy? Or is it just Anka’s weird art style?

No seriously. Is that a hairy armpit or is it just sketch lines?

No seriously. Is that a hairy armpit or is it just sketch lines?

I mean, if Selene Gallio (not Gallo, not Galio -as it has been spelled in the past 2 issues) who debatably came to life before the middle ages and before disposable razors doesn’t change her beauty routine to fit patriarchal fashion standards that’s fine by me.

But that’s not the only time that they art was a distraction.

When we leave the bad girls to see the good girls they are on the Cortes Yacht. Some were there last issue. Some were new arrivals. So I saw this:

Look at the top left + bottom right.

Look at the top left + bottom right.

Since we can barely see any of their attire and have no distinguishing facial features for some reason I could only gather that Monet was talking to herself somehow. Next page I figured out it was Karima. No one addressed her by name and in the last issue she was on the plane.

Anyway, on the yacht the girls put together that Yuriko was dead, Arkea was dead maybe they’re recruiting more dead mutants. Monet figures this out employed logic that is a complete stretch yet somehow EXACTLY what’s happening. They contact Sabra who confirms that there have been buyers for the genetic material of both Maddie Pryor and Selene (and apparently no one else, for some reason) (and also WHY would this be for sale? How is it not in their vault?).

At the Jean Grey School: Quentin Quire is babysitting John Sublime. QQ is everyone’s high school’s too-cool, punk rock nerd and he’s fanpoodling at John Sublime for being such a big bad. Sublime sees Shogo go by with Storm’s daughter from the future who never went back after BotA and somehow everyone was okay with that. Sublime says ominously, “Check your books Quire for a nasty example of a serial killer called ‘The Future’ something just reminded me of him.”

In Japan, Typhoid Mary and Lady Deathstrike are playing with swords. Ana’s in control and the cracks in her sanity get deeper. She asks Mary to kill her, she’s in over her head. She wanted power. She wanted to be popular. Maybe she wanted to meet Cyclops (I don’t know). But Arkea, her plan, it’s too much. Mary refuses. Ana goes at Mary, says she’ll force her if she has to.

Arkea enters, says “spare us your dramatics” and tells her that Maddie’s consciousness is primed. The plan is to add the consciousness of Jean Grey’s genetic clone into the same host as Yuriko? Ana’s already got too many voices in her head. So she ups the dramatics and impales herself on her samurai sword. To be continued..

SOMEHOW there’s a MEANWHILE

(it’s really a BEFORE)

Clay Mann did the art here and it was the best looking. We’re back to Catalina Island. Pixie and Bling! are taking out a Sentinel. Bling! gets dragged into the ocean, Mercury summons Pixie back to the plane and goes to save Roxy. Hellion and Jubilee are working on another. Quentin Quire is in the plane (see how it’s a “before”, not a “meanwhile”?) Karima is also in the plane and now in the last pages we find out that Pixie transported her to the yacht (but we didn’t see Pixie on the yacht). Jubilee turned into mist to escape the fist of a Sentinel and didn’t rematerialize… dun dun dun

Clay Mann’s art is fantastic, by the way. Shout out to Seth Mann and Paul Mounts, too. The layers are perfect. The water looks like actual water. Lights and lasers stand out above really REALLY ON POINT fight scenes.

Look at Pixie's laser, look at Bling!'s sparkle, look at all that STUFF in the background.

Look at Pixie’s laser, look at Bling!’s sparkle, look at all that STUFF in the background. All their pages are like that.

WHAT was happening with the timing in this issue? So QQ goes back to the Jean Grey School and doesn’t say anything about Jubes? Maybe… Maybe he wouldn’t say anything, but no one there seemed concerned. Wood really wanted to dual cliffhangers to work. And they would have. If Karima wasn’t on the yacht and Quire wasn’t the one with Sublime. Maybe it still “works” …technically. So much cool stuff happened this issue I just wish it wasn’t foolishly bogged down with spelling errors (yeah, I nitpick, and what?), trying to decipher who is talking and why/how they got there, and whether something is ‘meanwhile’ or “before”. I shouldn’t have to do that.

But, eff yeah; Black Queen! So, that forgives a lot.

X-Men 10.NOW or X-Men GHOSTS #1

Marvel, srsly why are we numbering things like this? STOP.That small gripe aside, I was so pumped for this issue! 

Art by both Kris Anka and Clay Mann.

A mobbed up rich girl from Columbia and a deadly assassin from Osaka are Lady Deathstrike. She’s teamed up with the re-empowered Amora the Enchantress and Typhoid Mary to wage war as the New Sisterhood against the X-Men. They need recruits, they need powerhouses, they need to resurrect the dead.

But so do the X-Men. Monet, who got thrashed by Amora last issue quips about another take and then joins Psylocke and Storm. 

Ana Cortes is fighting herself, it’s not as fun as she thought it would be to be a super villain. 

Pixie and Rockslide are collecting the Arkea bomb that she was sent into space after the attack on the school in the earlier issues. And Rachel and Beast are running tests on Sublime, Rachel and Sublime squash their romance while Monet and Psylocke follow a bad lead and end up on an empty yacht. 

Arkea finds new recruits. Lady Deathstrike/Ana/Yuriko protests.. Arkea drops the hammer, Lady Deathstrike is an inferior specimen. Arkea is using her for resources and she threatens her. She requests even more female firepower;

Madelyne Pryor

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Genetic clone of Jean Grey created by Mister Sinister who once married Scott Summers. AKA Red Queen, AKA Goblin Queen. Mother of Cable.

Selene Gallio

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AKA Black Queen. Oldest mutant. Rachel Grey once tried to kill Selene (Wolverine stopped her by critically injuring Rachel so she wouldn’t be a murderer.. oh, jeez. I think Rachel is getting a re-match). Heavy duty telepath, sorceress and psychic vampire. 

So the S-Class Supreme mutants are coming out!

Oh yeah, and there are still Mark 1 Sentinels rising out of the ocean. Jubilee, Bling!, Hellion and Pixie are on the beach of Catalina Island to handle it while Karima, Quentin Quire and Mercury track from the plane… but the plan changes on the fly when Sentinels start repairing themselves.

Cliff hanger!

Great art, great set up. Glad to see Jubes back out in the field! But Vampires vs. Giant Robots?? hmmm… 

This book continues to fascinate and Ana’s about to realize that she bit off more than she can chew once Madelyne Pryor and Selene Gallio get up in this.