eXaminations, 6/4/14 releases

I will tell you one thing, fair reader – moving sucks.  There are few things I’d rather do less than move.  Used car shopping comes to mind.  Anyway, the dear lady love and I have just moved into our very first house.  Isn’t that exciting?  Be excited for us.

Anyway, now that I’m mostly settled in (not at all) I suppose it’s time to take a look at what came out this week.  Here’s what we’ll be looking out.

  • All-New X-Factor #9 in which we get some Gambit focus.
  • Amazing X-Men #8 in which we get new writers Kyle & Yost taking  over for Jason Aaron.
  • Amazing X-Men Annual #1 in which I make fun of Marvel for putting out a regular issue and an Annual on the same week.
  • Cyclops #2 in which I get to stop complaining about Corsair.

As always, there will be SPOILERS so if that bothers you, stop here.

All-New X-Factor #9
Last issue we saw Polaris take the team on an un-approved mission to save a girl who’s only real problem was that she was a teenager who was using the Internet to get some pity attention.  In my day, my friends would do it by posting up an AIM away message that said “Don’t ask.” and then wait around waiting for someone to ask about it.  Actually,  come to think of it, some of them use Facebook statuses to keep doing it and we’re all around the age of 30 now.

ANYWAY, while the girl thought there was nothing wrong with her, her father disagreed and sent her off with X-Factor to deal with her.  That was last issue.  This issue, the team takes her home and find that she was actually adopted and take her to meet her real mother, only to find that her actual father is some kind of villain who has been looking for her.  Cue the fight.

But that’s actually not the important thing here.  Instead, this is a character moment where each team member gets a little personal moment.  As it turns out, Polaris has the confidence that her predecessors Madrox and Havok lacked, but doesn’t exactly have as much common sense.  And that’s not unexpected – Polaris has never been a character known for her balanced mindset.  Instead, the voice of reason is coming from her big bro Quicksilver, who as you recall has joined the team on the request of Havok for this particular reason.  And with all the crap he’s done, it’s nice to see that he’s mellowed without losing the cocky persona that makes him Quicksilver.

But the cover point is Gambit who is still dealing with whether he belongs here.  The main point of the character has always been battling his true nature as a thief with his strong desire to be a hero.  This is the type of thing that always got ignored when all he ever did was pine for Rogue as she constantly and repeatedly threw him down.  It’s the main reason I cannot stand Rogue – seriously one of my top five most hated X-Characters.  Anyway, Gambit lets lose and uses his super-charm at a bar only to sleep with the boss’s wife – not knowing who she was.  Ruh-roh.

Peter David’s new X-Factor is doing what his previous ones have always excelled at – grabbing up a handful of underused characters and making them shine.  This is a good read.

Amazing X-Men #8
It’s funny that Marvel can launch a BRAND NEW X-Men title with its major selling point being its writer, only for the writer to be gone just one storyline in.  But that’s what’s happened with Jason Aaron and one cannot help but think it was planned this way as a bait-and-switch to get enough of an audience to warrant JUST ONE MORE X-Men book.  And as most of the X-Men books, there’s really no point to this one even existing.  I suppose you could call it the Storm-led X-Men hero book, but that’s also what Adjectiveless’s point is, since remember people it WAS NOT JUST AN ALL-GIRLS TEAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE SEXY.  I got a lot of hell for calling it on that.  Except I was totally right.

Anyway, in Pointless X-Men #8, we get new writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost making their return to the X-Books as a team for the first time since they ended their X-Force run with the rather awful Necrosha a few years back.  In case you had forgotten these guys, they do excellent character work but they have a huge problem with killing characters.  In fact, I can’t think of a single story they’ve done that has not killed off at least one character.  Here, they go one page and kill off some side character, which actually leads to the entire plot.  By the end, it looks like both Guardian and Vindicator of Alpha Flight get killed.  But of course, they have likely become Wendigos, because that’s the storyline.

Of course, if you remember the Alpha Flight mini from a few years ago, you’ll remember that Vindicator has abandoned Alpha Flight and Guardian to raise their daughter, but as is the Marvel way now, as long as you don’t mention it, chances are you can simply ignore it if it means getting the storyline where you want it.  Call it the Brian Bendis Method.  But really, if anyone besides me gave a damn about Alpha Flight, that rather excellent mini might have become an ongoing.  But mad props to see Puck shacking up with Talisman.

Anywho, we get Colossus returning to the X-Men, which actually raises a flag.  Remember that Colossus was one of the Phoenix Five and went on the run after the close of AvX.  Unlike the other three who remained in the X-Line (bye, Namor), Colossus is welcomed back with open arms while all of the others get labeled MONSTER and MURDERER.  But then again, he was possessed by Juggernaut and kind of just there and out of the picture before everything went to hell, so I guess its good.  And we get an X-Team with Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus.  So that’s good.

Amazing X-Men Annual #1
I’ve made fun of Marvel’s scheduling (or lack thereof) so many times that it’s not really fun anymore, but you’d think that even they would know that if they don’t want to burn out their readership and get stronger sales, they should not be putting out an annual on the same week as an actual issue of the book.  But of course when you toss out three issues a month every month, you have to put it somewhere.

Anyway, this is a throwaway story about Storm in Africa.  If you like Storm in Africa books, then by all means this is the book for you.  But for me, they always seem to drag until the final splash page in which Storm announces that she is Storm and has a mystic moment in which she defeats the Spirit Monster or whatnot.  And this book gets one.  Because it’s a Storm in Africa story and they are the worst.

The back story has a bunch of different random nameless characters talking about how much they adore Firestar since she’s the hot new character that this book is trying to get over.  Remember when everyone loved Pixie so much?  Wasn’t that fun?

The difference here is that Firestar actually is a very developed character.  While she’s getting treated as the pretty young rookie girl (because every X-Book just HAS to have a pretty young rookie girl), Firestar has been around forever – much longer than half of the established X-Men characters.  She was a Hellion, an Avenger, and has done a ton.  But in true Marvel faction, they don’t give readers any places to go look up what she’s done in the past.  Instead she gets to be the pretty young rookie.

Anyway, save your money on this one.

Cyclops #2
So now that our story is established, we have a moment of Cyclops and Corsair heading to Mos Eisley a shady space-port for some shady reason.  My biggest issue with Trial of Jean Grey is that Corsair just showed up with the Starjammers without anyone saying a word about it.  Even Hepzibah was back with him, with no mention that she had become a member of the X-Men on Earth because he had  been dead.

Anyway, finally we get the realization that quite likely all is not what it seems.  Corsair shows up at an old black market buddy’s shop to ask about getting a refill of something he had been injecting into his arm.  The buddy mentions finally that Corsair had apparently been killed, with him giving the classic “I got better” line.  We’re not told what the stuff is, but since his supply gets smashed at the end of the issue, we likely will shortly be figuring it out.  If Corsair isn’t actually the real Corsair, this book’s premise will be done very quickly.  But of course to me it seems like it’s being written with the expectation that it won’t last long.  No X-Men solo books ever do.

As for Cyke himself, we get a little moment with Cyclops shining through with his potential, since after all even at this age he has been getting trained by Kitty Pryde and has some combat skills to him.  There was some tension built up if you put aside the fact that he waits until he’s absolutely driven into a corner before using his optic blasts, which doesn’t really make a lot of sense.  But that’s not important – it’s a fun issue for what’s a fun book.  Definitely recommended.

Next Week

  • All-New X-Men #28 with…um…I don’t remember.
  • Nightcrawler #3 which means I’ve missed an issue.
  • Uncanny X-Men Special #1 which is probably a whole lot of nothing for $5.
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