Uncanny X-Men #21

There’s so much that’s immediately good about this issue. Cyclops isn’t in control of his powers and he’s attacking the Jean Grey School, Magik tries to mitigate and turns into a demonfaced monster raiser. Storm keeps collected.

And fans are treated to a full page spread of Storm showcasing her badass powers. Stellar.

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Then Dazzler (not really Dazzler, really Mystique) shows up to collect Cyclops. 

In Madripoor: the Blob fiends for mutant growth hormone (that they are harvesting from the real Dazzler). Magneto finds him and sees what has been done to Dazzler. Magneto almost scalpels the Blobs face off, but he relents, remembering long past events he lets the Blob run off and he tends to Dazzler.

The phony Dazzler is pushing the X-Men to hand over Scott Summers to SHIELD. It’s Maria Hill who tells Beast that he has an hour to straighten out what has gone wrong with Cyclops. The helicarrier is poised to attack as back up… but it suddenly starts firing. Beast takes Cyclops and Magik to his lab in hope to find what is seeking to destroy them. Quentin Quire (who I have some affection for because he reminds me of my gawky and grungy punkrock nerd boy high school friends) grabs Maria Hill by the head and asks her what’s up. 

And at the end of the issue: Beast has found who is behind the attacks, but it isn’t revealed to the reader. The villain is hidden in a spacesuit.

Chris Bachalo’s art is a little weird, there’s 4 inkers which I think adds to the weirdness. Hank McCoy looks more bizarre than usual. The facial expressions are on point, the action scenes are legit: easy to follow but very detailed. Cyclops shut the heck up this issue. That’s weird. The focus was mainly on the action (with one brief emo hiatus to see Emma Frost pensively fretting for Scott Summers).

Predictions for next issue: Who is in the spacesuit?

Secret Avengers #2

Best Buddies Coulson and Fury are drifting through space. Widow, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye are on their way to save their butts. There’s a lot of bickering. Spider-Woman is not ready for space. “But we’re in a car and we’re flying to space and cars don’t fly in space unless they are miracle cars and is this a miracle car we clearly need a –” “No. we don’t need a miracle. All we need is will… imagination.. …a dependable team of scientists. ..and a big red button.”

Back on Helicarrier Iliad, where Maria Hill has taken a bullet to the hand and is being held hostage by the Latverian assassin who has just told her that his parents died because of SHIELD’s actions. Collateral murder. She’s defenseless. Meanwhile, MODOK is watching SHIELD satellites fall from the sky. Another scientist (with an exposed brain) asks MODOK what they should do about the more pressing and nearby issue with Director Hill. MODOK decides to save her, because he’s an ego maniac.

Coulson + Fury = bro time in outerspace/drifting toward the sun. MODOK = watching satellites. Black Widow, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman make it the the smash up space station that Coulson and Fury fell out of and assess the situation. And fix things, and it turns out they needed Hawkeye after all! The satellites stop falling and MODOK saves Maria Hill by taking down the assassin with a trained lab rat and a syringe. It’s super cute and silly. “CLAP FOR MODOK!” 

Maria’s not impressed.

Then Coulson and Fury, who are resigned to death but still cracking jokes are scooped up by Widow, Spider Woman and Hawkeye (of all people) in a nanobot blanket that MODOK designed. MODOK is genuinely surprised that Maria spied on him and copied his work.

“This is the secret Avengers, there are no rules.” -Maria Hill

This series kicks so much ass. It’s witty and zany. Ales Kot arms everyone with witty but distinct dialogue, I get to read Coulson lines in Clark Gregg’s voice, Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson do and excellent job of keeping the art clear, crisp, colorful and expressive. The bright colors and Hawkeye’s dopey facial expressions really emphasize the fun feel of this one. Everyone has really expressive eyes, a feat since it’s very cartoony. 

Black Widow is a total bad ass, I like her as a mentor for the new Secret Avenger: Spider-Woman. I like the 50-50 female/male split. Ummm… + MODOK. 

 

Secret Avengers #1

Save the Empire!

“Run the mission. Don’t get seen. Save the world.”

SHIELD director Maria Hill has assembled a black ops squad to deal with things that cannot publically involve the Avengers. Maria selects Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, Spider-Woman and Black Widow. …and SHIELD informant turned developer MODOK. …And Hawkeye accidentally joins up.

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Coulson and Nick Fury are sent to a space station where they end up in over their heads with THE Fury (an immensely powerful cybiote programmed to exterminate all life). This interrupts Black Widow and Siper-Woman’s spa day. …Well, TECHNICALLY Hawkeye accidentally busting in to escape AIM agents does (there’s a lot of nip slips covered up by ‘classic hero stickers’ it’s really fun). Natasha Romanova had been trying to teach Jessica Drew how to unwind when all hell broke loose. 

Maria Hill sends the trio to space to assist Coulson and Fury while Maria and MODOK get blindsided by a Latverian Hitman. 

So there’s a bunch of things happening at once. I’m at least peripherally aware of these characters. Sneaked in snippets of backstory were all that I really needed here. Maria Hill is doing a lot, maybe too much, and it shows. Hawkeye stumbles comedically through life threatening situations. Coulson is more reckless than the decisive Nick Fury.  MODOK is always being MODOK. It was funny. Very Funny. 

I’m really into Michael Walsh’s quirkier art style, Matthew Wilson adds the colors and its somewhere between looking like 80s comics and a Samurai Jack cartoon. It’s really awesome, that’s the kind of thing I like, some people enjoy more realistic interpretations… Well, I don’t. It carries along Ales Kot’s somewhat slapstick and action packed script perfectly. 

And it was fun to see Coulson in the books. 

Avengers World #1

I picked this up after a lengthy “what’s good in comics” conversation with the owner of my local comic shop. The issue itself was interesting and entertaining but not super “new reader friendly” ..I definitely fall into that category. I have NEVER read Avengers, I didn’t read INFINITY (also written by Avengers World scribe Jonathan Hickman)

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This Avengers team is quite expansive 16 Avengers 

Of those I have adequate knowledge of: Bruce Banner, Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, Black Widow, Captain Marvel and Hawkeye.

I am vaguely aware of: Spider Woman

And know less than nothing about: Falcon, Hyperion, Smasher, Nightmask, Cannonball, Sunspot, Starbrand and Shang-Chi.

So as far as connection to the characters I am at a disadvantage. 

The art by Stefano Caselli is rather typical of modern comics; all the guys are super buff and the girls are all sucking it in and showing off their assets -which isn’t alway bad: the style makes sense for Black Widow who uses her looks to distract her foes… but it makes much less sense for SHIELD director Maria Hill.  Caselli’s art shines when dealing with more expressive characters like Bruce Banner or Starbrand. I also think that Hulk in a metal suit is as stupid as wolverine with a gun…

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As he has here… *sigh* Oh, Marvel.

As for the plot: the Avengers return to earth and there are threats from all around the globe. A city where all inhabitants have disappeared, the Hand, AIM island, a string of natural disasters along the eastern seaboard, Madripoor is rioting …the world is a mess. Everything is connected to one major foe…

Battle of the Atom- Chapters 8 and 9

I’m so behind on these! Sorry comic book fans!!

But I’m back and ready to review the final chapters of these time travellers’ antics. 

Chapter 7 ended with Wolverine in peril, his regenerative ability is lost and is dying at the hands of his very blue son from the future (which I can only assume is a child with Mystique, since he’s blue and a shapeshifter).

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Battle of the Atom chapter 8 AKA Uncanny X-Men #13

By page 2 I’m already baffled, Psylocke who was kicking all their asses just last issue has joined up with the IceHulk and Xavier/Xavier’s grandson?! But wait, it was it’s really Wolverine’s son, Raze, that everyone thought was old Kitty Pryde! He takes two of the original X-Men (young Henry McCoy and Iceman) in order to send them back in time.

Epic fighting ensues between the mutant crews. Xavier calls Krakoa, the island who walks like a man, to swallow up Cyclops, future Jubilee, Magneto, etc. 

With all the original X-Men in one place they start up the time cube. Jean sheds a tear for her younger self and they prepare to send everyone back to the past. Until Magik storms in, but Jean and Raze threaten to make short work of her. Jean tries to get her to kill herself, with the quip thrown in, “Spoiler, you’re going to eventually.”

But the time cube is not working! Raze gives it a test run, but it doesn’t work for the originals. Future Beast’s idea is that their “younger selves have created such a complicated space/time paradox by coming here and staying here that the normal laws of space and time no longer apply to them.”

The best part is future Jean Grey’s look of shock and horror and utter confusion.

Not my favorite issue by a long shot, but there were great fight scenes with Ilyana. There were dozens of X-Men running around and I still don’t know what happened to Wolverine. And none of my girls from my fave X-Men book showed up! 

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This is an AMAZING cover! Look at all the action!!

Cyclops gets mindf^$ked by future Jean Grey in the Xorn mask. It’s good writing. Cyclops, Magik, future Jubilee, Emma Frost and such infiltrate the Jean Grey school and attempt to find the future X-Men who are really the future Brotherhood. But Cyclops runs into Wolverine, Jubes + Shogo, Rachel, Psylocke, Rogue, et al. Wolverine is okay somehow! I mean, I figured he would be, but how?! 

After finding out that no one is as they seem, Kitty and the others get suspicious and Jubilee says, “They’re the good guys, they have to be. I mean, look at them. One of them is me.” Beast refutes that, since he was recently betrayed by his future self. And Kitty’s future self was really a shapeshifter who attacked Wolverine. And Iceman has 2 future incarnations with 2 completely different agendas.

Wolverine’s rant settles the matter, “Wiccan there saved me. Healed me after I got gutted by …by a son I’m apparently gonna have some day… …with Mystique. I am never having sex again. And they’re right. We don’t have time for this.

SHIELD is tracking time anomalies that are centered around the Jean Grey school. Agent Dazzler (who was to be the first mutant president and the ensuing backlash drove Xorn/Jean Grey, future Beast, etc to go back to the past). But the future Brotherhood and Original X-Men attack the Cape Citadel military base!

They purposely chose this location to draw out the millions of other X-Men. After a cursory fight with human soldiers, the others show up.

Angel: “I’m so confused. Which side are we even fighting on now?”

Most of them start fighting their future selves or future children. The art here is hilarious and epic. The Brotherhood is hopelessly outnumbered and defeat is almost certain …until SHIELD Commander Maria Hill shows up with droves of agents and breaks up the party. 

SHIELD “loses control” of the weapons systems on the helicarriers and all X-Men are threatened.