September 20, 2010

The Uncanny X-Piles IX

Welcome back X-fans to The Uncanny X-Piles! Each week Jeff and Andy review the week’s most X-cellent comics, and this time around that includes Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine, Deadpool, New Mutants, Thunderbolts, X-23, and X-Factor!

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #3
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Adam Kubert

I wonder what the meeting was like when Jason Aaron pitched this series. “Ok, here it is…Spidey, Wolvie, bat-shit craziness.” That’s exactly what this book is. But in the best possible way. Peter and Logan have been trapped in time, but that’s not even the insane part. In this issue, Aaron actually kills Wolverine. Seriously. Wolverine really dies in this issue. After blasting a planet-sized Dr. Doom with a gun that contains the Phoenix force (I can’t believe I actually wrote that sentence), Logan turns into a bucket of meat and adamantium…literally. So Spider-Man does what anyone would do…he uses the Cosmic Cube to resurrect him! I love how wasteful Aaron is with the concept of time. Peter spends weeks, if not months figuring out how to use the Cube, and Kubert’s art depict that time in simply 4 or 5 panels. These heroes have been lost in time for years at this point, and while my continuity radar tends to go off in cases like these (although it’s unclear if Astonishing books are in-continuity), I really don’t mind because this is just such a good story. Adam Kubert is still at the top of his game, even after all these years. He has such a consistent style. Not to mention the TRIPLE-PAGE-SPREAD of Wolverine confronting Planet Doom!!! Finally, in the end, Aaron leaves us with yet another crazy cliffhanger…Peter and Logan have to fight the other’s past self. If you’re not reading this, you’re missing a fun and exciting roller coaster ride! -JJ

Deadpool #27
Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Carlo Barberi

This series just got good again! After a few nonsensical story arcs, Deadpool is back in prime form as Daniel Way and Carlo Barberi put together the best issue of this series since ol’Wade joined the X-Men. The comedic timing was there and the art was bright and bloody. Basically Wade runs into an Arabic terrorist arms dealer, but before he can throw down with him for not allowing Wade to buy a delicious burrito loaded with preservatives, he has to deal with a squad of guys armed to the teeth who also possess regenerative abilities! Eventually, after they all shoot each other in the head a bunch of times and cut off extremities, some surprise guests arrive to shut down the terrorist: The Secret Avengers! Or at least three of’em in Cap, Black Widow, and Moon Knight. This issue was worth the cover price when this happened: DEADPOOL: “…Captain America? DUDE! I thought you were dead!” and then Rogers K.O.’s him with a punch to the face. Awesome! While knocked out, we get a brief flash back scene where a young Wade idolizes Cap. When he comes to, Wade saves the day and Steve makes him an unexpected proposition- to join the Secret Avengers! I love ‘Pool’s inner monologue at this point, “Well…? Answer him, idiot! That guy punched Hitler in the face!” This is a fun issue, and if the arc where Deadpool joined the X-Men is any indication of where this story is headed, I have three words for you: Pick it up! –AL

New Mutants #17
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Leonard Kirk

After last month’s risky, but successful move to give back-story to this arc’s new villains, the Muties are back in full action! This issue picks up right where #15 left off, with the New Mutants partying after the events of Second Coming, only to get interrupted by Illyana who pulls them all back to Limbo. This story has some really big moments, including a further look on the kiss between Sam and Dani, the team wandering for weeks throughout Limbo and confronting Witchfire, and the captured Pixie making the villains hallucinate and do horrible things. Wells just gets the New Mutants. For years, X-fans have wanted a book that grows these characters up and makes them a real team of X-Men. Not as teachers of new characters, not as second-tier players, but as honest-to-God X-Men, and Wells is delivering it. He’s doing it also by staying true to the original series and bringing in long-left plot lines and following up on them in creative ways. Kirk’s art is pretty safe for a book like this. Some of his faces need work, but overall, his panels accomplish the visual demands. Dave Wilkins’ covers are incredible, though, and I wish we could see his art on an interior book soon. Where other X-books may fail (*coughUncannycough*), New Mutants is working like a well-oiled machine. -JJ

Thunderbolts #148
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Declan Shalvey

What a great series this has been since the new direction with issue #144. This issue is a tie-in to the Shadowland event going on in the Daredevil books, which takes place on the streets of New York. Luke Cage is one of the featured players in Shadowland, and since he’s the leader of the Thunderbolts, it only makes sense that they’d get involved in the event at some point. The opening portion here is expo- we get the reason why Luke needs to re-enter Shadowland, and it’s due to a character I’m not wholly familiar with. Then we cut to The Raft where the Thunderbolts members are experiencing some rare downtime in prison- it’s loaded with meaty character moments. I especially liked the part where Crossbones, Ghost, and Juggernaut were being trash talked by some fellow inmates. Juggs backs up his boy Crossbones, and as you can imagine, things didn’t go so well for those trash talkin’ loud mouths. Cage brings the T-Bolts on a mission into Shadowland where he needs a man rescued, and if The Hand’s buildings get destroyed and lots of ninja get killed in the process, than so be it! Sounds like the perfect job description for them, right? A new artist signs on in this one, and while I initially didn’t like his style as much as Kev Walker’s, I came to realize it fits much better with the whole Shadowland theme. I love how Parker writes Juggs in this series; he has a wholesome “go with the flow,” “whatever” attitude. He knows he can F shit up if he has to, so why get angry? It makes sense. Although what didn’t make a whole lotta sense to me was when one super charged Hand ninja knocked the wind out of Marko. Hah! Even so, it was cool to see the ‘Bolts kick the crap out of the Hand. Can’t wait for next issue! -AL

X-23 #1
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Will Conrad

If you skipped this one X-fans, shame on you! You’re going to have a tough time finding a copy too because the first printing is already sold out and unavailable from Diamond. Which is justified because the issue was very well done- from the art, to the writing, it doesn’t disappoint. It would seem the through line of the series is that Wolverine wants X-23 to be his right hand ‘man’ in Hell. She obviously doesn’t want this, but the confused and directionless state she finds her life in isn’t helping things. Add to the fact that her friends from the New X-Men are giving her crap for being on X-Force, and you have a young girl who doesn’t have much going for her right now. Enter Cyclops who steps in to not only apologize for using Laura for what she does best (killing!), but to also give her a new mission in life; help out de-powered mutants at a shelter for wayward souls. Of course, things aren’t that easy as her presence in the place really, shall we say, heats things up!

Will Conrad’s art in this debut issue is downright sick! It’s detailed and every panel is packed with visuals. His inking really compliments the pencils too, and the colors set the right mood. I only hope he can keep this up for awhile and not bail on the series a few issues in. The same goes for writer Marjorie Liu. She pens a very coherent script here loaded with plenty of character moments that have substance, but I question how long she’ll be on this title. I hope it’s for awhile, however, she had to bail on the Black Widow ongoing after only 5 issues despite fans loving her work there (including me). If that happens with this series, I will feel cheated. Liu has a nice handle on X-23, and you really care for her as a person. Plus, she writes the surrounding X-characters pretty well too; there’s a touching scene with X and Storm, plus the moments with her and Hellion felt very genuine. I thought Surge was written a little too bitchy for my tastes, but it still fits with her character. If you can find this issue at your LCS (good luck!) I highly recommend giving it a shot. Any seasoned or rookie X-fan will take to it. -AL

X-Factor #209
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Emanuela Luppacchino

Peter David needs to win an award for writing the most consistently awesome Marvel book. Once again, he nails it with this issue, these characters, and a pretty intriguing storyline. The team follows Hela and Pip to Las Vegas and hilarity ensues. There’s something for every character in Las Vegas. Of course, Guido ends up in a strip club, Shatterstar ends up fighting actors like he was back in Mojo’s world, and Longshot uses his powers to win big in the casinos. David has finally been given some latitude to use other Marvel characters in this book, using Hela and Pip the Troll, and this month Jane Foster shows up, perhaps signaling a Thor team-up soon. The pace of the book is exciting, even though there’s not a lot of fighting, and it feels like things are really heating up. The subplot of Rahne and Rictor has me hooked and I’m thankful that David is keeping that on the burner. Luppacchino’s art is not really my favorite, but I think it’s more because of a pretty bland inker. Like Leonard Kirk in New Mutants, there’s nothing particularly wrong with his line work, but I do rather miss the darker tones of previous artists. Also like New Mutants and Dave Wilkins, the covers by David Yardin have been great! I want some interior work by him! X-Factor is simply great and I think you will find that my reviews of it will be just as consistent in praise as Peter David’s handling of this book. -JJ

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:

Andy: Oof, this one’s tough. Thunderbolts and X-23 are worthy candidates, but X-Factor #209 stood above the rest. I thought the art and writing were spot on.
Jeff: Because of the downright wackiness, I have to go with Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #3.

For previous installments of The Uncanny X-Piles, click here! For all things X-Men, visit this link!

Jeff Jackson

Andy Liegl



  1. Eli

    Yeah this Thunderbolts book is really awesome. Solid writing, good characters, and some good action in the prison — no, not that kind. Its become one of my favorite Marvel books.

  2. My favorites this week were X-Factor and Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine, so good job on your picks of the week. X-23 and Deadpool were also very good and New Mutants was all right. Over all a good week for X-Piles fans.

  3. I only got X-Factor, so technically that’s my favorite by default. However, I thought X-Factor was fantastic this week. The cast is fun, the writing is great, and I actually liked the art. This is a consistently good X-book.

  4. Capekiller

    T-Bolts was my pick of the week. But I really loved seeing Rogers knock Deadpool out!

  5. Jeff Jackson

    Regret of the week….not getting X-23. Sounds like I should pick up the 2nd printing. Good review, Andy!

  6. Capekiller

    I actually didn’t like X-23 believe it or not….

  7. Really? What didn’t you like about it?

  8. Capekiller

    As an X-23 fan I felt like it had nothing new to offer me. It was like it was menat for people who had never met the character before. Just too old hat for me…

  9. I didn’t get that vibe; but I did think it was a good introductory issue for people who may not be familiar with Laura. I thought it was a good first issue- resolving (or beginning to resolve) Laura’s return to the mainstream X-Men, apart from X-Force, and setting up what’s to come.

  10. Jeff Jackson

    That’s the funny thing. I have not been a fan of X-23 apart from her inclusion in New X-Men and X-Force. I like her with the team. But that’s why I want to pick up this issue, because I didn’t know so many other X-Men would show up.

  11. Billy

    Sad I didn’t order X-23… 🙁

  12. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by billy dunleavy, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: Check out this week's edition of THE UNCANNY X-PILES! #comics #marvel #xmen […]

  13. […] to the Xth edition of The Uncanny X-Piles! Each week, X-gurus Andy and Jeff delve into the world of the X-Men because like mutants, both Andy […]

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