I originally planned to take this full week off of reviewing comics because working retail during the Christmas season is a nightmare, not to mention they released a slew of comics on Christmas Eve. But it turns out I feel the need to talk about last week’s releases anyway, so here we go. I’ve read all of these twice now, so this will be a post full of quick reviews for each of them.
The comics I picked up on Christmas Eve include the All New X-Men Annual, Logan Legacy 7, Cyclops 8, She Hulk 11, Magneto 13, All New X-Factor 18 and Uncanny X-Men 29. So it was a very Marvel filled week, with only one comic that isn’t X-Men related. It’s also worth noting that I read three comics this week with an artist by the first name of Javier. Marvel really needs to learn how to spread out their comics better. It seems that all the other titles I normally read from other companies were delayed until next year, and that’s unfortunate.
Before we get into the reviews, I might as well mention some of the things I received for Christmas. In comics, I got Deadpool Classics volume 10 (the second half of Gail Simone’s Deadpool run, along with a few other writers in between) and Dan Abnett’s first volume of Guardians of the Galaxy. They’re both good for different reasons. I also received a few movies, one being Citizen Kane (which I’ve actually never seen) and a whole bunch of peanut brittle. I like peanuts. Over the next three days I also plan to have three posts about my favourite things of the year, with my personal favourite comics talked about this coming Wednesday. With no plans to pick up any comics this coming Wednesday, I need some sort of comic related post. I was considering SHIELD 1 by Mark Waid, but with so many new books in the new year that I plan to at least check out, a book about SHIELD agents is low on my priority list even if it’s written by someone as good as Mark Waid.
Anyway, on with the mini reviews. There’s a separate post for Logan Legacy 7 because in the process of writing it, that basically became a full review.
The All New X-Men Annual is great in every way that the Uncanny X-Men Annual is. Starring Eva Bell lost in time, this one is filled with marvelous art by Andrea Sorrentino that encompasses big looking scenes for numerous alternate timelines and very well drawn facial expressions. The one panel where Eva is racing through time, struggling to find the future where she married and had a child is particularly breathtaking.
The writing is also great, not only exploring the disruptions Eva is causing while travelling in time, but the emotional trauma of unintentionally wiping a child from existence. The cameo from Morgana Le Fay is also nice, showing that even in her desperation to get home, Eva is heroic enough to leave the villain in the prehistoric era where she was banished to. In other words, this is a strong contender for the comic of the week that I read.
Cyclops 8 is good. It continues Scott Summer’s undercover stint with the pirates that captured his father. There’s a lot of tension in this story arc so far, and the potential romance between Cyclops and the alien girl on the enemy pirate ship is charming. This particular issue even includes a bit of build-up for the upcoming Black Vortex crossover. It’s a shame that this is two story arcs that feel similar to Greg Rucka’s 5 issue run, but at least the Starjammers are still showing up and may still have an effect in the overall story. I honestly don’t have much to say about this one apart from the fact that it’s pretty good and that Javier Garron’s art is great. It’s fun watching teenaged Cyclops work his tactical mind while trying to balance between acting as a space pirate while not betraying his heroic nature. If you like Cyclops, you should at least give this series a chance.
She Hulk 11 is fantastic. She Hulk and Titania have quite the historic rivalry, so here’s an issue-long fight between them. I could end this review with that, but there’s actually quite a bit of story development within this fight. The mystery behind the blue file is revealed, along with the strangeness that is She Hulk’s paralegal expert and her pet monkey, or whatever that thing is now. Javier Pulido’s art isn’t for everyone, but he really does this fight scene well. It emphasises how strong both characters are, makes good use of simultaneous panels when someone is smashed through a series of walls and makes good use of facial expressions to capture She Hulk and Titania’s rage. This is my other candidate for the best comic of the week. In case you read this Charles Soule, thank you for writing such a fantastic series about my favourite Hulk, and I hope you can do it again sometime.
Magneto 13 is fascinating. This issue is all about Briar Raleigh, a mysterious woman who appeared seemingly out of nowhere to help Magneto in his quest to protect mutants. At first she seemed very suspicious, being someone who was permanently injured in an older Magneto attack. But it turns out she’s actually a bit of a cultist follower, the same way Charles Manson still has followers. This makes her such an interesting character, and in a creepy way that perfectly fits this titles overall mood. The probably fake Magneto tales from other cultist followers only increases this comic’s overall quality. Magneto fans in general should check this series out, and this is actually a good starting point even though Magneto himself barely shows up.
All New X-Factor 18 is delightful. One thing Peter David has excelled with in this series is all the awkward situations he throws in between different X-Factor members. This issue may actually have the most hilariously awkward moment yet. Even ignoring that, the story is great, the action is fun and the art by Carmine Di Giandomencio is good. It’s a shame this series is getting cancelled, because it’s getting better with each issue. This issue is proof that when David is on his game, there are very few writers who can touch his brilliance.
Uncanny X-Men 29 is good. This is yet another case where both the solicitation and the cover are a bit misleading – Marvel seems to be doing that to Brian Michael Bendis a lot lately so I’m through blaming him. This continues exactly where Uncanny 29 ended, with Cyclops speaking with the absolute mutant powerhouse known as Matthew Malloy when Magneto showed up to challenge him. The debate between the three of them gets very heated, making for a surprisingly intense issue despite the fact that there’s very little action. The debate amongst the students at the new Xavier school is equally compelling, with Eva coming up with a potential solution and the others strongly disagreeing with her. And at last, there’s a very entertaining scene between Magik and Dr. Strange to lighten the mood for a bit while simultaneously advancing the story.
Chris Bachalo’s art can be confusing when he draws action, but it works well for an issue like this. I’m still not a fan but I’d rather see him draw a talking issue than one that’s full of action scenes. This whole storyline has been full of both drama bombs and intense situations, and with the cliffhanger ending, there’s no telling how it will end. If you’re an X-Men fan who hasn’t tried out Bendis’ X-Men run yet (that also goes for All New X-Men), you really should. Of the two, Uncanny has the faster moving storyline and the clearer direction at this point in time.