Aloha, X-fans! Marvel decided to save up all their X-titles from last week for one Sentinel-sized week this week. While there were a few books that rose to the top of the heap, let’s see what SpidermanGeek, Infinite Speech, and the Comic Book Clergyman thought of them.
All-New X-Men #30
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Welcome back, Sara Pichelli! For those of you who listen to us on Tales from the Water Cooler, you know we are HUGE Pichelli fans, so it’s good to see her back in the saddle on a Bendis-written tale. But before we go there, let’s talk about the great cover by Stuart Immonen. It immediately grabs you and flips you upside down with the lip-locked X-23 and Angel. This is a really good example of inverting the viewer and inviting them into what I think is an issue that has all the hallmarks of a great X-Men comic.
First, Bendis has X-23 and Angel on a little getaway. Bendis really shines in these types of scenarios. The dialogue between Laura and Warren feels so genuine. We can understand both characters reluctance yet acceptance in falling for the other. X-23’s doubt and insecurity truly shine. This only sets up an even more complicated dynamic when Cyclops returns and finds X-23 in the arms of his teammate, while Jean waits in the wings for him, and Hank for her. Almost everyone in this book is romantically linked, and it really works well.
One of the long-standing relational tensions has been Jean Grey and Emma Frost. Their dislike over the years is right up there with Cyclops and Wolverine’s frenemy connection. However, Bendis flips this on its head in this issue. Now that young Jean Grey is there and is being trained by Emma, it provides an opportunity to change the dynamic. Bendis does this flawlessly.
Finally, we get a little bit of the holographic relationship between Kitty and Peter Quill. I don’t know where that relationship will go, but I’m invested. The end of the book leads us to the story brewing in Uncanny X-Men where that team is dealing with Xavier’s will.
Overall, this book is nothing but relationships, but that’s what Bendis is good at writing. He never takes things too far, but always provides a realistic, deep, and complicated dynamic between the characters. It’s everything about the X-men that I love.
Back to Pichelli, she just fits here. Her work makes everyone look their correct age. She masters the character acting which displays the perfect emotion that Bendis is suggesting. Along with Marte Gracia’s colors, and this book is appealing on every single level.
As hard as I am on the other X-books, this one is one of the best I’ve ever read. Keep it up! –JJ
Amazing X-Men #10
Writer(s): Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Artist: Carlo Barberi & Iban Coello
Kyle and Yost have made this Wendigo outbreak one of the better if not the best that the fans have encountered in some time. From the way it all began to how things have played out since you have no choice but to enjoy this story. The fur is flying in every direction but Alpha Flight, X-Men, and even Avengers are attempting to contain and stop the Wendigo outbreak. Now those three teams boast some pretty large rosters and the best part is that Yost and Kyle juggle all of the characters fairly well. Everyone plays their role and at no point does it seemed like there are too many characters in any given scene. Plus, we get Rockslide in this issue!
There is also a very noticeable and welcome tone in the story with Nightcrawler being back on the team. There’s some very good and well timed humor providing one of the best scenes in the issue. During the battle the guys are giving reasons why they refuse to throw up and as usual Nightcrawler has the most valid reason why not. When events start to shift towards the more serious it’s just as smooth and it is revealed how this problem might be solved.
Whenever the visuals are split between artists it makes me nervous. However, this was one of those instances where there wasn’t a drastic difference to where it interrupted the flow of the story. Both artists handle the huge cast and chaotic action while moving the story at an even more frantic pace. Though my only concern is the reveal shot of the main villain since he too closely resembles another bad guy that recently died in another X-Men title. Hopefully the similarities are just visual and nothing more.
Amazing X-Men continues with this story arc so lets hope it ends just as strong and sticks the landing! – IS
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Harvey Tolibao
The issue I’ve been waiting for! X-Men #18 marks the debut of a new creative team. I’ve always supported the idea of an all-female X-Men team. It has tons of potential for unique stories and for being appealing to female readers. So let’s take a look at who will follow Brian Wood’s run on the series.
Marc Guggenheim kicks off the story with a quick two-page flashback to when the Majestrix Shi’ar sent a death squad to hunt down and kill the “Grey genome” (as in, Jean Grey). It turns out the reader is reliving a memory with Rachel Grey. It’s a simple and effective way to situate the reader in the general direction that the writer is taking this story before snapping us back to the present as the X-ladies battle a cloud of evolved viruses that A.I.M. has developed and released. The action sequence serves to showcase the team dynamic as well as the characters’ individual power sets. Guggenheim makes it quite easy for new readers to jump on with him in his first issue. By the time page 7 of the story comes around, we’re ready for the main plot to kick off at The PEAK, the orbital space station headquarters of S.W.O.R.D.
Harvey Tolibao has been around for Marvel fans to enjoy since his first work for the publisher back in 2007 on the Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Annual. If I had to describe his style, I would say that it’s a mixture of influences from Frank Quitely and fellow Filipino, Leinil Francis Yu. At first glance, I admit that I wasn’t overly impressed with the overall look of the book, but after soaking it in for a while and admiring the extreme amount of subtle details found in each panel, I can see that a lot of work has been put forth by Tolibao. This might account for the need to employ two inkers on this issue. Aside from some minor inconsistencies in facial features and some wooden looking expressions, there is a lot to like about the artwork here. I’ll be keeping an eye out for Tolibao.
The bottom line is that X-Men #18 has a new creative team and a new direction. Guggenheim reaches back into X-Men lore to further explore their dealings with the Shi’ar and so far shows promise for great adventure as well as character progression for the all-female roster. Even though this issue didn’t manage to absolutely wow me, it has me excited for what’s coming next from Marc and Harvey. –SG
What did you think about this week’s X-books? Let us know below! You can check out more X-Piles right here!