November 24, 2010

The Uncanny X-Piles XVIII

It’s time for another edition of The Uncanny X-Piles, reviewing last week’s books of X-Cellence!

Daken: Dark Wolverine #3
Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Finally, Daken has found some direction! …I think. My major gripe with the titular character is that he has just kind of…been there. He has lacked focus and any real character direction; constantly flip-flopping his ideals, and continually confusing us readers as to what his motives truly are. Maybe that’s the point? Regardless, while this series has been much of the same, after this issue it feels like it’s going somewhere. The Dark Wolverine series that preceded this one didn’t feel that way: it came off as forced, unnecessary, aimless, and ultimately boring.┬áBut here Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu have given Daken some drive. After a brief flashback scene between him and longtime rival/father figure, Romulus, Daken realizes that in order to truly control those around him, he needs to make himself disappear- literally. So he fakes his own death, surprisingly saddening Mystique, and even worrying his sometimes allies, the Fantastic Four, in the process. This may come as a surprise to someone who has not been reading Daken’s story lately; what does Mystique and the F4 have to do with anything? Well, we have discovered that there is some deep seeded sexual tension between Raven and Daken, (which is hot, but also uncomfortable considering she has slept with Wolverine), and in the Dark Wolverine series Daken befriended the F4 in order to toy with Norman Osborn when he was a member of the Dark Avengers. He became particularly tight with Johnny Storm. Probably because both share a knack for manipulating sexy women… and probably because Daken found Johnny attractive in his “hot pants.” Needless to say, Daken really isn’t dead, but everyone close to him thinks he is, thus allowing him the freedom to really set his master plan into motion. After all, who’s going to try and stop a dead man? What this master plan entails is any one’s guess, and knowing Daken we probably won’t find out anytime soon, but for the first time that feels ok. If you’ve ever been interested in Daken but weren’t sure where to start reading about him, begin with this series. It’s surprisingly well done. –AL

Deadpool MAX #2
David Lapham
Artist: Kyle Baker

Ok, I take it all back. I ripped this title a new one in my review of #1, but this issue has really provided a nice dosage of redemption. It’s actually pretty funny. I even laughed out loud a few times. It’s rude and crude though, and if there are any people out there who are still worried about Disney “PG-ing” up Marvel, I will slap them silly with this comic because it provides the best evidence against that notion. Here is the opening line as spoken by a busty and voluptuous blond shrink to Deadpool, “Am I not the sexiest fucking woman you have ever seen in your miserable fucking life.” And that’s just the opening line. It gets better. “I want you deep inside me, you luscious hunk of man meat,” she later purrs. Of course there’s a hilarious twist to all this, but it’s not revealed before ‘Pool and this hot “shrink” do it, much to the delight of a mental patient who happily watches on from the window. There’s also a very horny old lady who has got the hots for Bob, some naughty racist words, and of course, good old fashioned killing. Speaking of Bob the sidekick, poor, poor Bob who constantly seems to get his hurt on, takes a cactus to the face in this one, and some other nasty looking things to another bodily area. Ouch. However, to top it all off with the weirdness, we’re led to believe that Wade, as a little boy, had some sort of sexual encounter with his mother involving her bosoms and oranges. I could be wrong on this, but it would appear as if that’s what was being eluded to. Which, of course, is fucking disturbing. ┬áThis series is definitely for mature readers only, and if you have a sick and twisted sense of humor, you’ll love it. Otherwise, stay away. Stay far, far away. -AL

Hulk #27
Jeff Parker
Artist: Gabriel Hardman

There aren’t many bad things you can say about Jeff Parker’s run on this series so far. Coming from someone who has never really been a Hulk fan before- let alone a Red Hulk fan- and that should mean something. Parker loads this series with stand out character moments (like the relationship between Bruce and Ross) and witty dialogue (like when Thor admitted he enjoyed punching the Red Hulk in the face); sure, Hardman’s stellar art definitely helps make things enjoyable, as his story telling greatly compliments Parker’s script. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that too many people are writing this series off because A) They hate Red Hulk for some reason, or B) Jeph Loeb’s previous 24 issue run on the character tired people of him. I can [sort of] understand these sentiments, but don’t be that guy who judges a book by its cover; you should feel safe, excited even, giving an issue of this series a go. Essentially, at the end of World War Hulks, The Leader, Klaw, and M.O.D.O.K. enacted multiple “Scorched Earth” policies in the face of defeat, and now Banner, Steve Rogers, and Red Hulk are trying to foil them all. Their most recent threat takes them to the ocean depths, and Namor arrives on the scene to aid Red Hulk in taking care of the problem. It’s obvious the two have issues from the get go, but they work together to combat a common foe. However, once the evil plan is thwarted, and Red Hulk saves Namor’s tail fin, the King of Atlantis turns on his ally. To be blunt, it was kind of a dick move. I mean, I know Namor has always been somewhat of a jerkwad, but here he sucker punches Ross for a silly reason. Once again, Namor shows that he really needs to get the knots out of his speedo. The issue ends with Namor punching and shattering Ross’s deep sea face mask, so we’ll see how that turns out for him next issue. My guess? It’ll be time for a deep sea fish fry. -AL

Thunderbolts #150
Jeff Parker
Artist: Kev Walker

This series has been going strong since the reboot started with #144, and is further evidence at how awesome a writer Jeff Parker is (didn’t I just say that?). Essentially, the primary Avengers (Thor, Cap, and Iron Man) visit The Raft to evaluate the Thunderbolts and their progress in Luke Cage’s “rehab” system. Moonstone has to stay behind though due to her uncontrollable desires (she has the hots for the Holy Trinity, plus she also overstepped her boundaries in the Shadowland tie-in), and when Ghost, Juggernaut, and Crossbones meet up with the Big Three, things get crazy. First of all let us not forget that Crossbones is the guy who “killed” Steve Rogers, and Ghost recently gave Tony Stark hell in Invincible Iron Man; yet here the heroes are, ready to play teacher/guidance counsellor to these criminals on the path to redemption. One of the more comedic moments was when Thor entered the women’s wing of The Raft. All the ladies went nuts and clearly wanted…well, his nuts. Anyway, the trio of anti-heroes attempt an escape; Ghost teleports everyone into an alternate dimension, including the Avengers, and some well played out fights ensue. Steve Rogers vs. Crossbones. Juggs vs. Cage and Thor. Iron Man vs. Ghost. Yeah, great match ups without a doubt, and artist Kev Walker definitely brings his A game to the table! Juggs totally holds his own, but Thor gives him a good licking, destroying his helmet, and chipping the bejeezus out of his armor. But Juggs fights back and doesn’t go down. Ghost actually ends up getting the drop on Iron Man, and even though Crossbones wails on Steve, Rogers still finds a way to come out on top. Right when things are about to get out of hand, the fray comes to a grinding halt with Cage realizing that these guys may actually be positively benefiting from the T-Bolts program (thanks to some introspective reflections provided by a lake in the alternate dimension), and that pounding on them does nothing to help their cause. It sounds hokey, I know, but it really doesn’t come off that way in the issue; it’s actually rather endearing. Um, I have a question: is Jeff Parker the most under-rated Marvel writer? I think so my good man. I think so. Also included in this 96 page issue is a reprint of Thunderbolts #1 from 1997, and a brief summary of the team from then until now. Pick it up if you haven’t; it’s a great jumping on point for this series, or just a solid one-shot read. –AL

X-23 #3
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artists: Will Conrad & Sana Takeda

The end of X-23’s first arc ended a little disappointing to me. The real draw to this book for me is Laura’s connection to the New X-Men, which started strong in the first two issues. I also was looking forward to X-23 playing a role in the Wolverine Goes to Hell storyline. At the end of last issue, it appears Laura is in Hell, too, and is going to have to fight her way out. However, we find in this issue that the demon who is controlling Logan is really messing with her mind and she’s not in Hell at all, but is being pulled in her mindscape to serve as this demon’s minion. However, she emerges from the temptation to be controlled by yet another person, so she breaks away and eventually breaks away from the X-Men. While I understand that Liu is trying to put Laura on her own track, and that she needs to define herself away from the X-Men, I am going to miss Laura on the team. I am glad to know that Gambit will be showing up as a supporting character, and I really hope Hellion makes regular appearances. The real treat of this book was Sana Takeda’s flashback sequences. There’s one scene in Laura’s mind where she is conditioned to kill a puppy and if she doesn’t, she’s forced to watch its torture. Makes you realize how screwed up a character she really is. But Takeda does a great job creating some dynamic panels in a manga-type style. I’m not crazy about Will Conrad’s art, and this was only highlighted in the contrast to Takeda. I’m going to hang on to this title for a little while longer, especially because Miss Sinister is rearing her red-diamoned forehead next issue. -JJ

X-Factor #211
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino

After last month’s break in the story, we get back to Madrox and Co. in Las Vegas fighting viking zombies. You heard me right. Viking Zombies. Peter David hasn’t written a big action issue in a while, and this is pretty much all this issue is. Which is great! David does such a great job writing compelling characters and their interpersonal relationships, but it’s good to know he can make creative ways to have them battle. Really, not much happens in this issue other than a big fight, showcasing what all X-Factor can do. Longshot, Shatterstar, Guido, Siryn, and even Layla Miller all show off the reason they make a great fighting team! But add to the mix the Mighty Thor, and you’ve got quite a team-up. I really like how David has intermingled the Marvel Universe into this book recently, and he does it seamlessly. He even does a good job of making someone like Thor mix up the verbal quips with the rest of the cast. Lupacchino’s art is stronger this issue, although I would still really love to see David Yardin on interiors as well as covers. X-Factor continues to be a strong book, and even though nothing really stood out in this issue, it was a fun read, and yet again a read I can count on to be consistently excellent every month. -JJ

X-Men #5
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Paco Medina

So, you may not know this, but I’m a priest. My buddy Andy here is an Iceman fan. So what do you get when you put Iceman and a priest together? A Frozen-Holy-Water-Mutant-Who-Destroys-Vampires! That right there makes this my pick of the week! This issue was great! Of course we all knew that Cyclops was up to something when they injected Wolverine with something and sent him off by himself to fight the vamps. But even though we knew Wolverine wasn’t going to be a vampire forever, I didn’t know how cool they were going to do the switchback. In this issue, you have a scene almost out of Braveheart with our heroes hopelessly outnumbered by an army of the undead. But Cyclops has the perfect plan in place and just like he said last issue, the bay would be filled with vampire corpses. Wolverine ends up being a sleeper agent of sorts, who’s healing factor is controlled by Cyclops. Once Cyclops turns it back on, Wolverine is one mad mutant and starts destroying Xarus’ boys. The whole book is just a great fight and Paco Medina once again does a fantastic job on every detail of this book. Gischler’s handling of the team is great, too, from neat ideas like the Iceman thing to the Wolverine reveal to Cyclop’s first line of defense being all the mutants that can’t be bitten. He continually does things that make great sense. There’s still one more issue in this arc, and it looks like the one loose end to tie up is Dracula. I’m still not sure why Cyclops resurrected Dracula, but I have a feeling Gischler’s gonna take care of that next time. Right now, this is the strongest X-Men-proper book out there, so if you’re tired of Fraction’s attempts at juggling the X-Men, look no further than here for the new flagship X-book. -JJ

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
X-Men #5 was just full of creamy X-goodness!
Andy: Another tough week. I could pick any of these issues, but I’m going to go with Deadpool MAX #2. I disliked #1 so much, yet this issue had me cracking up.

To check out previous editions of The Uncanny X-Piles, click here!

Jeff Jackson

Andy Liegl



  1. Jeff Jackson

    I know it’s not fair, but I haven’t read anything from Jeff Parker since First Class, which I really hated. It’s good to hear that he’s getting better.

  2. Did you hate the mini or the ongoing Jeff? I actually thought the mini was decent for what it was. The ongoing got horrible real quick if you ask me and I ended up giving the ones I had away.

  3. Jeff Jackson

    It was the ongoing that lost me.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: #Marvel fans, check out the latest edition of The Uncanny X-Piles! #comics #xmen […]

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