New Comic Day hangover

Big week this week with both of my DC books coming out, a few X-Books here and there and…what am I forgetting…oh yeah!  Second Coming ended!  How about that?  On the list this week:

  •  Booster Gold #35 in which our hero gets tossed directly into a caper from the past with Blue Beetle.
  •  Justice League: Generation Lost #5 in which the team takes a moment to interact and declare their mission statement.
  •  X-Men: Second Coming #2 in which the X-Men deal with the costs of their victory.
  •  X-Men: Hellbound #3 in which the time killing battle ends since the teleporters can return.
  •  Uncanny X-Men: Heroic Age in which the X-Men get welcomed into the new bright and shiny Marvel U.
  •  X-Women #1 in which scantily clad women make sexy poses.
  •  And X-Force: Sex and Violence #1 in which a story that doesn’t need to be told gets told.

 There will be analysis after the jump and said analysis will contain SPOILERS.

Booster Gold
One of the more notable creations of the original Giffen/DeMatteis run of Justice League was the friendship of lifetime goofballs Blue Beetle and Booster Gold.  With the two writers returning to some of the characters that made them infamous in the DCU, you’d think that a Beetle/Booster reunion would be in the cards.  Unfortunately, Beetle has been dead for some time…but that’s not really a problem when your book’s hero’s whole shtick is time travel.  So Booster heads back into the past and gets himself pulled into one of Beetle’s money-making schemes, but allows the nostalgia to cloud his judgment and go along for the ride.

This is clearly an example of Giffen and DeMatteis doing a story they want to tell, despite Beetle’s dead-ness.  And I’m all for it – Ted Kord remains my favorite superhero, after all.  The problem with this issue is that the writers seem to be enjoying it a bit too much, and because of it the dialogue balloons (no pun intended) into needless proportions in some places.  Mini series by the two including I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League and Defenders also struggled from this.  There’s simply too much banter flying around all the time and it makes it difficult to pick up a sense of pacing while going through it.

Also featured here is the return of Goldstar, Booster’s sister, who despite being pulled back into the book in the last issue of Dan Jurgens’s run had yet to actually show up here.  It’s exactly what you would suspect the reasoning to be – she had been exploring her new time – so no complaints.  She says pretty quickly that she won’t be a hero anymore which causes me to wonder what role she will play in the book.  I doubt Giffen and DeMatteis will let it go.

But this is the two enjoying themselves and what their property used to be.  Mister Miracle and Big Barda – still living in the suburbs trying to escape the insanity of their lives – get lassoed in and it looks to be a fun – albeit longwinded – ride.

Justice League: Generation Lost
With the 5th week knocking the every-other week pace off, it feels like forever since the last issue came out (while it’s actually only been three weeks).  This issue has Max Lord explain that he reunited the JLI because he feels the world needs them and he’s trying to do them right.  The team doesn’t buy it for a second, but take a moment to interact with one another so all can get into the mindset to join the fight.  And since there are six people around, everyone chooses a buddy and gets down to it.

Booster Gold and the new Blue Beetle have met before, but there’s always an awkward air between them.  After all, Jaime’s predecessor was Booster’s best friend.  I’m thinking the same thing would happen if I ever met him.  But Booster realizes Jaime’s potential and the two decide to fight together.  Captain Atom confronts Ice about her unwillingness to fight and we finally get to deal with Ice’s feelings about dying, which is something you actually don’t get a lot of despite all the resurrections in comics.  To round things off, Rocket Red spends some poor English moments with Fire, who has to constantly correct his American-isms, much in the spirit of the original Rocket Red who died several years back.  I have warmed quickly to the new Rocket Red and love that they’ve managed to recapture the anti-capitalism stereotype of the original one, even 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Same deal as usual – 26 issue series will require a slower pace – but this issue is pretty good.  And it’s got art from the ever-reliable Aaron Lopresti, one of the cleaner artists on this book.

X-Men: Second Coming
I’ll be hitting on the whole crossover in an upcoming post, but we’ll look at this issue.  Split up into four chapters – each done by the creative team of the four tie-in comics – the team begins recovering from the battle and we take a look at some of the injuries that have piled up.  Colossus has his arm fixed, Hellion (now missing both of his hands) makes some snappy comments, and Karma gets a cyborg-ish prosthetic leg.  We still don’t get any word on just where Elixir (who in theory could take care of all of these with the greatest of ease) has been the entire time, nor do we get confirmations on just who died and who survived.  My main question is the status of the Vanisher, who when last seen was bleeding out from multiple gunshot wounds, though not officially mentioned as dead. 

We get a funeral for Cable (who is apparently being buried rather than chucked into an incinerator like Nightcrawler) in which Cyclops finally breaks down over the death of his son and Hope delivers the prerequisite speech in his honor.  And Cyclops finally breaks up X-Force after catching hell from pretty much every veteran X-Man, but Wolverine decides that it’s needed after all.  His new team is made up of Psylocke, Archangel, Deadpool (of course) and Fantomex.  I have my reservations, but I’ll wait until October to see how the new book turns out.

The art here has four different teams, all with their strengths and weaknesses.  My main problem is the inconsistent way Rogue’s costume is drawn.  Someone pick a design and pass it on.  Is her shirt zipped or unzipped?  Does she wear a scarf or not?  How about the weird skirt-thing?  Settle on something.  There’s also a scene between Wolverine and X-23 in which X doesn’t look anything like she normally does, sporting shorter hair and a jean jacket, but you can chalk that one up to Greg Land.  He also draws Storm notably white, just colored differently than the others.  But again, I’m simply nitpicking.  Actually, I greatly enjoyed the X-23 scene, as Wolverine forced her to choose what she wants to do with her life, and all she could come up with was wanting him to tell her what to do.  I won’t be buying her ongoing series by Marjorie Liu, but it has a good setup here.

The final page of the issue, in which Cyclops spots five new mutant signatures with Cerebra, is exactly what this series needs.  With the reemergence of new mutants, it shows that everything they just went through – including the deaths of Cable and Nightcrawler – was worth it.  While Hope’s deal is still vague (she basically can manifest any mutant power she wants) it shows that the whole thing was worth it – which up until this point wasn’t entirely certain.  I am looking forward to Five Lights in Uncanny X-Men.

X-Men: Hellbound
With the dome surrounding San Francisco now gone, the story set up to keep the surviving teleporters from simply getting everyone out of the city can come to a close.  There’s not a whole lot to this issue, other than both Cannonball and Anole getting truly badass moments much needed by both characters.  The gist is that the corruption of Limbo allowed Gambit’s repressed Death persona (from the Apocalypse story waaaay back in Peter Milligan’s run) to manifest, also corrupting Northstar and Dazzler.  This forced Cannonball to not only try to keep the kids alive, but fight three experienced X-Men himself.  And he performs admirably.  While numerous X-Men now have seen Gambit’s corruption, everyone chalks it up to Limbo and doesn’t give it another thought.  I’ll have to look this up, but this rather mod squad team may have been picked specifically because it doesn’t have anyone who actually saw Gambit while he was a Horseman of Apocalypse.

But end of story, Pixie decides not to kill Illyana, there’s a big fight and the good guys win.  Pixie finally puts aside her hatred for Illyana taking a chunk of her soul and the two agree to help one another find the pieces of themselves lost.  Methinks a mini will eventually come from this, and I’m actually interested enough in it to buy it.

Uncanny X-Men: Heroic Age
You may have heard this already, but Marvel has finally had enough of the dark storylines running for years now and has put the Marvel U back in its bright and shiny status quo where heroes are celebrated for punching villains in the face.  The X-Men have never been particularly celebrated, but this issue makes an attempt to at least try to put them into a somewhat happy place.  To do so, we get a three tier story of Cyclops, Beast and Hope that, unlike other anthology titles, actually intersects like a regular comic rather than giving three separate stories.  Oh, and the entire issue is written by Uncanny writer Matt Fraction, so that helps too.

Distracted by Beast’s decision to leave the X-Men (again), Cyclops retreats to the Savage Land to blow off some steam where he is found by Steve Rogers and the two go over what has happened to the mutant race lately.  Rogers wants to honor Cyclops for what he did not just for the people of San Francisco, but for the entire mutant race.  Therefore, Cyclops is invited to Washington and given the Medal of Freedom by the President of the United States, honoring the X-Men for their heroics for pretty much the first time ever.  It was a more-than-welcome scene and one long past due.  To celebrate, the X-Men leave their exile to Utopia and move back to San Francisco, with the city having a huge party to welcome them home.  An oddly cheery move for the most depressing angle of the Marvel U.

Beast’s story is not so fun, as he tries to spend time with his girlfriend Abigail Brand, but when she doesn’t show up he ends up running into Molly (Princess Powerful) of the Runaways.  Yes, this meet up comes off as forced, but we’ll play along.  Basically, Beast uses her to explain his thoughts on leaving the X-Men and she basically calls him a big jerk for doing it.  The two make up and Beast gets some hope for the first time in a long while.  This would make more sense for a return to the X-Men, but with Beast joining the Secret Avengers, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.  I suppose this is to achieve closure with his departure, but it really doesn’t work that way.  I wish the time had been spent on another character.

Hope’s story focuses on an unresolved plot thread of just who her parents were.  When Hope debuted, her entire town was attacked by the Marauders and the Purifiers.  It was never explained just who her parents were, or even if they’re still alive.  While Cyclops initially tries to put her on a team to go after the five new mutants, she instead insists on looking for her parents.  Cyclops realizes that he’s doing to her what was for so long done to him, and agrees with her that both of them should be able to choose their own directions.  So with that we lose the resentment of Hope towards Cyclops and we get a future storyline going down.

All in all this was a perfectly fine book and served well as an epilogue to Second Coming and a preview of Five Lights.  The Beast bit was rather unnecessary, but the new outlook for both Cyclops and Hope was welcome, and allows Five Lights to kick off without needing this bit of setup.

X-Women
This actually came out last week, but my girlfriend didn’t get until now, so I didn’t see it then.  Sorry about that.  This is a rather gratuitous comic made specifically to allow Italian artist Milo Manara to draw the ladies of the X-World all sexy-like.  The story, written by X-Men sage Chris Claremont, is notably dated (featuring both Rachel Summers and Kitty Pryde amongst its cast) as this has been apparently a longtime in the works, but really you’re not buying this comic for the story, are you?

I myself am not familiar with Milo Manara, but I have been assured that this is some of his lower-key work.  And by ‘lower-key’ I mean that all the girls are wearing clothing and not having sex.  Despite that (which I’m sure disappoints some of the more graphic Deviant artists out there), the book is downright pretty to look at.  And my normal artist nitpicks – notably Psylocke not looking Asian and Storm not looking African – are not a problem here.  It’s just a damn pretty book.  And even the story from Claremont is fine if you’re trying to fool others into believing that’s why you own the book.

X-Force: Sex and Violence
Not so well off is this issue, kicking off a three-issue mini-series to end the run of writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost on X-Force.  This actually is a story that should have come earlier, but it looks like that there was no room for it in the schedule or maybe it was never intended to be in the main run of the title.  Either way we have an earlier story of Domino getting into trouble with the Assassin’s Guild (of Gambit history) and Wolverine getting mad at her for it.  Then there’s a gratuitous fight scene in which Wolverine and Domino start making out in the middle of.  And if that comes off as silly to you here, then imagine seeing the full splash page of it in the comic.

To me, few things have seemed as forced as the apparent relationship between Wolverine and Domino.  The basis was set up in a throwaway line in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men in which Emma Frost commented off-hand that during a mission for X-Corp, Wolverine and Domino took the opportunity of a bit of downtime to satisfy some urges with one another.  I think the term ‘animal sounds’ may have been used, but the memory’s a bit fuzzy on that one.  From that, Domino was brought into X-Force as a character that Wolverine legitimately cared about…but it doesn’t really work.  Relationships with Wolverine don’t work out specifically because the character is Wolverine.  And I’m not sure if this is still the case, but I believe he had a girlfriend of his own over in Wolverine: Weapon X.

This simply doesn’t work and comes off as silly in many places.  It doesn’t fit in with the rest of the X-Men line and seems to be out specifically to yank another $12 from readers.  And I also question the usage of Elixir in this story, because it once again made me question where the hell he is while Karma and Hellion are now running around with missing appendages.

Next week

  •  New Mutants #15 kicks off “Fall of the New Mutants”.
  • X-Factor #207 finally allows the team to get back to their own agenda.
  • And I just might pick up the Phoenix Force Handbook just so I can understand the damn concept.
  • Oh, and Astonishing X-Men #35 has begun its slide down the schedule, getting bumped two weeks to August 11.
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