New Mutants #43
Writer: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Kieron Gillen
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Exiled part 5, the conclusion is here. The New Mutants find out that one of two ways to break the Disir’s curse is to have one of them wed Sigurd. The other option is to kill Sigurd, but predictably, the heroes opt out.
This final act was all rather silly. The wedding played out like a bad family reunion. Dani Moonstar’s main gripe is the chauvinistic nature of the curse’s loophole. I’m all for equality between sexes, but her feminism was a tad overbearing and a lot annoying. Just let them marry so they can break the curse and everyone goes home happy and alive. Sheesh. The only positive outcome is Mephisto new grudge with Loki, which I’m sure Journey Into Mystery fans will have fun with in later stories.
The writing team kind of phoned in the ending though. It was as predictable as a Hollywood rom-com. The art by Di Giandomenico is on par with the previous 4 parts of this story. It’s quite enjoyable to the eye. Vibrant colors, great inking & dynamic action sequences. No complaints here.
All in all, Exiled was a decent cross-title story arc that caters more to the Journey Into Mystery fans over the New Mutants fans. Dani Moonstar is the only member of this group to have any sort of meaningful role, while her teammates did nothing more than provide a punchline and a punch at the appropriate time. –SG
Cover: 5/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 5/10
When I heard that Jason Aaron was leaving this title, I couldn’t imagine someone doing a better job. Then along comes Cullen Bunn and my hope is regenerated like a piece of Wolverine’s brain! Speaking of that, this issue reveals that Dr. Rot has decided to do something that no other villain has yet thought of…scooping out chunks of Logan’s gray matter and making horrific creatures to torment the costumed Canadian.
It’s disgusting ideas like this that make Bunn’s take on this story so enjoyable…in a gruesome, car-wreck-sorta way. He has decided to take what Aaron did in creating the highly disturbed Dr. Rot and taking it up a few notches. Wolverine is up against something not only physically challenging, but highly psychologically damaging. Dr. Rot has found a way to tap into Logan’s Weapon X brainwashing, which hasn’t been done since Logan got his memories back, to make Logan his plaything. He’s also found a way to create a huge machine full of brains, although we don’t know yet what his endgame is.
To add some tension to the story, the FBI and Logan’s ex-girlfriend Melita Garner are hot on the trail, and it appears they are going to stumble into Dr. Rot’s house of horrors. The story continues to creep upwards in a way that I have a feeling is going to pay off big.
But none of this story would work without the extraordinary pencils of Paul Pelletier, who’s praises I can’t stop singing. His detail is gory, his character acting is superb, and he can even make psychotic killers look hot. Marvel needs to make way for Pelletier to draw the big stories, as this arc is showing the breadth of images he can draw. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists. In addition to the great interior art, Chris Samnee is doing covers, which is also delightful in a dreadful sort of way.
If you’re a gory horror fan, or just love seeing a vulnerable Wolverine, you need to be reading this story! –JJ
Cover: 7.5/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 10/10 Relevance: 7/10
Wolverine & The X-Men #11
Writers: Jason Aaron
Artist: Nick Bradshaw
AvX tie-in! The Avengers and The X-Men desperately scour the globe looking for Hope Summers, but unbeknownst to them, she has seeked out Wolverine, asking for his help to get to the moon so she can accept the Phoenix Force and become its avatar.
Jason Aaron is a good Wolverine writer. He simply “gets” the character. Some might say that Wolverine has grown soft in the last decade or so, but if you had done nothing but kill and watch people die for the better part of a century, you’d eventually get tired of it and want it to stop. Logan carries the burden of being the only one who can stop Hope if she loses control of the Phoenix. This is all too familiar territory for the seasoned X-man, as he relives memories of Jean Grey’s final moments. This all leads to Logan ultimately deciding to not let history repeat itself as he faces the truth about his ability to kill for the greater good in this situation.
In the midst of it all, we get Avengers fighting X-Men. The highlight fight is between Red Hulk and Iceman at Wundagore Mountain. Iceman makes use of his “Ice Dupes” once again and pulls another trick out of his proverbial hat to lay the smack down on Rulk.
Nick Bradshaw delivers the goods on art duties once again. This is what a superhero comic book should look like. I’m reminded of Arthur Adams’ run on Generation X .
Wolverine & The X-Men has been one of the top X-books as of late, running neck and neck with X-Men Legacy and Uncanny X-Force, leaving the Astonishing, Uncanny and adjectiveless X-Men titles in the dust. –SG
Cover: 7/10 Writing: 7/10 Art: 8/10 Relevance: 9/10
Oh, Victor Gischler, it’s been a great run. You revitalized the “adjectiveless” franchise, you reintroduced vampires to the X-Men mythos, and you have rolled with every punch the X-office has thrown at you. And now your run is coming to an end. I wish it wasn’t true, and for the Comicattack.net X-Men fans, I give you thanks for all you’ve done and wish you all the best on your future endeavors. And thanks for always retweeting the X-Piles reviews to all your followers (unlike that ungrateful Kieron Gillen, who actually complained about us tweeting him!).
Remember when final issues on a run, especially a 30-issue run, ended with fireworks and congratulations? I guess Marvel isn’t doing that these days. Gischler’s run ends quietly with this issue, with Will Conrad providing pencils.
What’s great about this issue is the focus on Pixie. I wish Gischler had more time with her as it seems this story could have set her up for some great development. He does a great job of reminding us that even though Pixie is a relatively new X-Man, she’s been trained by Wolverine, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Storm, and that makes her a potentially well-equipped future leader of the X-Men. Pixie shows she has some gifts in making quick decisions, and Gischler does a good job of shining the spotlight on her even though the book also features Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men.
The only negative in terms of story is that characters like Spider-Man seem superfluous. There’s almost too much fluff in this story.
On the art side, Will Conrad usually does a good job with Gischler’s scripts, but this time his work looks rushed and awkward. His cover lacks his usual attention to detail and there are many panels that also lack his best work. Specifically, his Spider-Man looks stiff.
I wish there had been some fanfare for Gischler, as I think his take on the X-Men has been fun. I hope Brian Wood wears the mantle well. –JJ
Cover: 4/10 Writing: 6/10 Art: 5/10 Relevance: 3/10
There’s no denying that the X-Men are getting the short shrift in the whole AvX debacle. There are plenty of reasons for this…the Avengers just had one of the most successful summer movies of all time, poor writing, racism (yeah, I said it), so going into another Avengers-sided fight was about to wear me out. At the end of last issue, the Avengers looked to be getting the upper hand, with Iron Man showing up to help out the team of Falcon, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight.
I’m glad to say that Christos Gage is a much more fair writer, and I think Marvel should have put him in charge of AvX.
I’m not just saying that because the X-Men get some well-deserved shots into the ridiculously out-of-character Avengers, but because he makes the fights actually believable. Both sides take heavy shots here, from Gambit getting blasted by Iron Man, to Falcon getting taken down by Rogue.
Rogue is front-and-center again in this issue, and proves why she is such an asset to the X-Men. Basically, she takes on this group of Avengers by herself, absorbing She-Hulk and allowing Jen’s rage to take over. Rogue is at her best when she is out-of-control, and Gage does a good job of creating conflict within her. The climax of this issue comes when Kitty tells Rogue she can go all out on Iron Man because Tony is using this suit remotely and there’s not a living person inside of it.
Rafa Sandoval is proving to be a great trade-off artist for David Baldeon on this book. I’d be happy with the two of them switching arcs indefinitely. Sandoval has a bit of Steve McNiven in him, with a twist of Clay Mann. The inks are detailed and rendered well. He effectively uses both huge splash panels to display big action and various angles to show the choreography of the fight. It’s action packed and fun art.
This is the kind of battle we want to see and it’s good to see the X-Men get a decisive mark in the win column. Go Team X-Men! –JJ
Cover: 8/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 9/10
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: Good stories with good art get my top pick and out of this bunch, Wolverine #307 is the one with both.
SpidermanGeek: X-Men Legacy #267. Finally, somebody is giving us the Rogue that fans have been longing for; the take-no-prisoners, ass kicking southern belle.