Giant-Size X-ual Healing: Don’t Be a Madison, Plus Other Lessons in a Recap of All of Last Week’s X-Men Comics [8/1/18]

Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.

We’re trying something new this week!

Let us level with you, readers. 24-hour comics news is a cutthroat business. It’s also a quantity-over-quality business. A typical weekly dose of X-ual Healing: The Weekly X-Men Recap Column weighs in at a minimum of 3,000 words (this one is 3,987 words). And it will ultimately garner less clicks (and thus less ad revenue from Bleeding Cool’s outlandishly obtrusive pop-ups) than a 300-word article making fun of Justice League that took far less effort to write. We get paid the same for both, so you can do the math there.

As a result, we’ve typically broken up our weekly recaps of everything that happens in the X-Men comics that came out that week into one article per comic, even though that is obviously less useful for a reader. And in the grand scheme of thing, breaking this up into 6 or 7 articles, formatting it, and adding filler to each one can end up taking 2 extra hours anyway. So why not just spend that 2 hours writing different clickbait articles — ones that require less effort and will probably get more clicks anyway — and publish all of the X-Men recaps in one giant-sized column, like we would have done in the first place if our souls hadn’t long-ago been sucked out of our bodies and used as fuel for the never-ending inferno of online comics news? Consider it our gift to you, dear reader, to make up for all the clickbaiting we’re going to do the rest of the week.

If you’re new to the column, and you’re wondering what the hell we’re blathering on about, first of all, go @#$% yourself. Second, welcome to X-ual Healing! The concept is simple: we read all of the X-Men comics that came out last week and tell you what happened in the ones you might have missed, in case you’re not a millionaire and can’t afford to purchase upwards of 40 comic books a month to keep up with your favorite mutants. We’ll also make some jokes and link to some relevant back issues on Marvel Unlimited. Each week, we’ll also pick the X-book that we found personally to be the most satisfying and award it the Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the Week, the most coveted award in all of weekly X-Men comic recaps.

Sound good? No? Well, too bad. You already clicked, so you might as well settle in.


ASTONISHING X-MEN #14
MATTHEW ROSENBERG (W) • GREG LAND (A/C)
RETURN OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR VARIANT COVER BY ADAM KUBERT
• Welcome back to the X-Men stage, the incomparable…the amazing…the uncanny…DAZZLER!
• The Reavers are hunting random mutants, so Havok and Beast must save a former X-Man.
• But these Reavers aren’t completely as they seem!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Picking up right where the previous issue left off, Beast unleashes Banshee on the attacking Reavers. Havok notices that something isn’t quite right with Banshee, and a caption box helpfully explains he’s been in a coma since he was brought back to life by Apocalypse’s Death Seed (ew) in Uncanny Avengers #23. Beast has been trying to cure him, but it hasn’t been too successful. All Banshee does when he’s not shrieking at enemies is stand around silently. Plus, he’s not looking so well.

When Warpath crashes through a window and joins the fray, the X-Men win. Unfortunately, all the Reavers are dead. X-pository dialogue gets us up to speed. Kitty Pryde asked Warpath to keep an eye on Havok because he only recently became cured of his AXIS inversion, which had made him into a villain for several super-mega-crossover event cycles. Beast knows of someone else desperate enough to join Havok’s X-team, so Havok and Warpath go to visit Colossus, who has been drinking heavily since his wedding got bait-and-switched by Marvel Editorial. Colossus agrees to join the team once he learns Kitty won’t have anything to do with it.

They go get some burgers and call Beast, who explains he’s been fired from his University job and also that he found a list of targets in one of the Reavers’ brains and he knows who the next target will be. The gang all head to a Dazzler concert, in fact, a retro Dazzler concert celebrating the anniversary of the release of her album, Sounds of Light and Fury. That’s why she dresses up in her disco gear and long blonde wig onstage, even though she has short black hair and wears regular clothes.

Oh @#$%, that album came out in 1983. That was 35 years ago, which puts every X-person in the room in at least their 50s! Somebody come up with a Marvel time excuse and win a no-prize before Rosenberg and Land get fired for violating Marvel’s “no superheroes can be older than late twenties” rule! Was there a short-lived disco revival circa 2014 or so that we could pretend that album and costume are from? In any case, Dazzler would love to join Havok’s team, but the X-Men aren’t there for Dazzler. It was her roadie, Forge, who was next on the target list. Dazzler is not pleased about this and calls them out for sexism.

She does have a point. But making reference to the sexism makes it okay because it’s self-aware, right? Heheh. Heh… Heh.

Forge doesn’t want to join the team, so Havok and friends leave, but in the alley outside the club they run into a group of armed assailants who they take to be the Reavers. A fight breaks out, and Havok’s X-Men are losing until Dazzler joins, having donned her stage costume and wig, and turns the tide. Now Dazzler joins the team, and if you thought you were going to get through this book without at least one shot up Dazzler’s butt crack by Greg Land, you’ve set yourself up for disappointment, dear reader.

All’s well that ends well, except for one problem. The attackers apparently weren’t Reavers. They were federal agents.

Rosenberg and Land are killing it, and Land’s “photo referencing” is only especially noticeable on occasion. Our only fear is that by the time this book finishing establishing its premise, it will be time for the Uncanny X-Men reboot and possibly time for this one to end. Time will tell.


X-MEN GOLD #33
MARC GUGGENHEIM (W)
Michele Bandini (A)
Cover by Phil Noto
• Storm returns to the Kenyan village that once worshipped her as a goddess!
• But now, with her Stormcaster hammer, it’s true…isn’t it?
• The truth about Storm’s Asgardian hammer is revealed here!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

It’s time for a Storm-centric story as X-Men Gold races toward its conclusion. We start out with a flashback to explain how Storm got her Thor hammer back during the Cruel and Unusual storyline (starting in X-Men Gold #23). In the village in Kenya where the people used to worship Storm back when she wasn’t too cool to hang out there, a new religion has sprung up and its followers are persecuting the Storm believers. One of those believers is Ainet, an old woman who you know was like a surrogate mother to Storm. Guess what: she’s gonna die. Before she does, she wishes that Storm could be a real goddess, and this awakens the hammer in Asgard, which flies to Storm (who was in jail at the time) and we all remember what happened from there.

At the Xavier Institute, Jean Grey and Dr. Cecilia Reyes give Prestige an examination, psychically and physically, to make sure she’s okay after Mesmero messed with her mind. Apparently, she’s perfectly fine now. Kitty doesn’t want to answer whether Rachel can still be on the team though. If you think Kitty is being a total hardass here, you should see how mean she’s been to Havok in Astonishing X-Men. At the Wakandan embassy, a diplomat tells Storm that Ainet is dead.

The villagers in Uzuri are now being forced into a death cult. Storm isn’t about to let some death cult kill her sorta-mother that only appeared in two issues before now and steal her followers, of course. Back at the mansion, she tells Kitty she’s heading to Africa, and no one can come alone because of reasons, most importantly that the story dictates it. Meanwhile, Rachel and Kurt go to lunch and Rachel dumps him while she deals with her hound issues.

In Uzuri, Storm meets an old woman named Hiari who seems afraid to talk about the death cult in a negative way. She calls it a valid religion, and explains that the people worship a god called Uovo, which Storm points out means “evil” in Swahili. As Storm visits Ainet’s grave, a shadowy figure in a nearby hut holds his followers back from attacking. Instead, he wants to get Storm to join his cause. Storm apologizes to Ainet’s grave about not inviting her to the wedding, or to any other appearance in any issue in the last twenty years. Storm, you are a terrible sorta-daughter. Storm vows to set things right in the village.

Hiari leads Storm to the hut where Uovo is hiding out. Storm summons her hammer and is all like “let’s fight” but Uovo decides has a peace offering instead. He’s brought her real parents back from the dead. That’s actually a pretty nice gesture, Uovo. Maybe you’re not so bad after all.

X-Men Gold isn’t long for this world, but it’s nice to see Storm get to take center stage for a bit before it ends.


WEAPON X #21
GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE (W)
RICARDO LOPEZ ORTIZ (A)
Cover by RAHZZAH
THE EXPLOSIVE CONCLUSION OF “TEAM WEAPON X”!
• What began as a team of circumstance reaches its only logical conclusion: A GRAVE!
• Warpath and Old Man Logan aren’t long for this world, but will Sabretooth rally the rest of the team or sign their epitaph himself?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

When we last left our heroes (term used loosely), Warpath was extremely upset with Sabretooth for leading Weapon X in attacking the Russian version of SHIELD, SICKLE. Sabretooth was supposed to lead Weapon X to take down Omega Red, but they ended up teaming up with him instead, alongside Russian mutant General Zaslon, to overthrow SICKLE’s director, and Omega Red’s brother, Vassily. Most importantly, Sabretooth and Omega Rad have co-adopted a pet tiger cub.

The issue starts with, and consists mostly of, a battle between Sabretooth and Warpath, between Omega Red and his brother, and between Weapon X and the Winter Guard. Not much comes of all the fighting besides the origin of the Weapon X-Force name.

Eventually, Vassily Rossovich escapes into his bunker, pursued by Kotik (that’s the tiger’s name). Inside, Rossovich nearly kills Kotik, but he’s interrupted by Sabretooth and Warpath crashing through.

Warpath’s problem with Sabretooth is that he’s a psycho killer, which is a fair point. But Sabretooth insists that he’s changed, and he has a pet tiger to prove it.

Their argument has to take a back seat, however, because Old Man Logan is getting weaker by the second as the original Wolverine’s big return in the Return of Wolverine event miniseries gets closer. He’s flying Weapon X’s Blackbird, and he must have dozed off because it’s about to crash. Meanwhile, in the bunker, General Zaslon confronts and kills Director Rossovich. She appoints herself new head of SICKLE. She orders the Winter Guard to stand down, and Weapon X are now heroes.

Warpath catches the plane and rescues Logan. Logan gives him a big speech about how Sabretooth is trying to change. Meanwhile, with Warpath out of the picture, Sabretooth tells the new Weapon X-Force team — Lady Deathstrike, Omega Red, Domino, and Koblic — that they’re back in the mercenary business. He reveals that they’ll be working for Foreigner, the mercenary he had been skyping with previous issues. Except, it’s not really Foreigner. It’s Mystique.

The art in this comic is quite bold by Marvel and DC standards. It’s heavily stylized, and really well-suited to chaotic action. We don’t want to talk about the art too much lest someone get the mistaken that this is a review meant to contain intelligent insights, rather than a recap, but Marvel has locked down a unique art team here with Ricardo Lopez Ortiz and Drank D’Armata, and hopefully they don’t… *checks solicits* ah nevermind, Ortiz is gone next issue and Marvel doesn’t bother to list colorists on their website. Well, hopefully those two team up on something else down the line.


HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: Weapon Lost #4 (of 4)
CHARLES SOULE (W) • MATTEO BUFFAGNI (A)
COVER BY GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
VARIANT COVER BY RON GARNEY
WEAPON FOUND?
Logan was turned into a weapon long ago — controlled, experimented on, but ultimately lost. Now, Daredevil and his crew learn what happens if someone else takes up that weapon…
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99

Last issue, our heroes, Daredevil, Misty Knight, and Frank, entered a building where they had previously interviewed a person who claimed to have spotted Wolverine, only for the building to blow up. Daredevil narrates the explosion, how Misty Knight’s shield saved them from dying but they were still blown out through the wall six stories up. Daredevil used his cane to catch a wall and grab Misty, and Misty used her bionic arm to grab Frank. Then they rescued anyone else trapped in the building, with Cypher coordinating from their plane.

Afterward, Frank reveals that his Inhuman power is camera eyes, and he took a photo of the apartment before it exploded, including the body of the man they went to find. X-pository dialog recaps how the man posted online about seeing Wolverine but then denied it later. Frank thinks they should talk to his boss, so they head to the office of Soteira — the shadowy organization that keeps popping up in all these Hunt for Wolverine (But Don’t Find Him) minis — which is in Chicago. There, they find Soteira staff wiping hard drives. Frank crashes through a window on his flying motorcycle (yes he has a flying motorcycle), with Cypher on the back.

As Cypher hacks the computers, a Soteira black ops kill team invades the office and starts shooting. Daredevil, Misty, and Frank protect Cypher for as long as possible, and then they all escape in the Skycharger. Luckily, Cypher was able to get all the files on Wolverine, including a video that appears to show Wolverine offering to do anything Soteira wants him to do.

Daredevil tells the others the job is over. He calls Kitty Pryde to fill her in on the details, but first he noticed Cypher had pickpocketed his phone to feed his internet addiction. Daredevil agrees to help Doug get over that. Kitty informs Daredevil that this story isn’t over yet, because all of the search teams from the individual Hunt for Wolverine (But Don’t Find Him) minis will meet up in the Hunt for Wolverine (But Don’t Find Him): Dead Ends one-shot, so if you were reading any of these, you’ll need to buy that one too. Well, you know what they say about comic book readers: there’s one born every minute.


DEADPOOL #3
SKOTTIE YOUNG (w) • NIC KLEIN (A/C)
RETURN OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR VARIANT COVER BY ROB LIEFELD
THE BATTLE FOR PLANET EARTH!
• That escalated quickly.
• Deadpool’s got a plan, and those usually work out flawlessly, so everyone, don’t worry! Earth is TOTALLY GOING TO BE FINE.
• But, uh, just in case, anyone have an extra spaceship or a teleporter or some interstellar conveyance? I’m sure Deadpool’s got it in hand, just, you know, better safe than sorry…
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99

The world is being threatened by an invasion from Groffon the Regurger, a giant cosmic threat that barfs on people, which pretty much sums up this Deadpool reboot. Deadpool has the only weapon that can stop it, but Deadpool doesn’t remember how to get it to work. That’s where we left off last issue, and that’s where we pick up in this one, with Deadpool failing to get the device to work and Marvel’s other heroes complaining about how Deadpool sucks. Well, sure, if they’ve only been reading this book.

Deadpool tries desperately to remember how to use the device, but sadly, the previous series, Despicable Deadpool, ended with Deadpool wiping all his own memories. Should have thought that through. Deadpool tries everything, to no avail.

Groffon barfs on Deadpool, and though he survives, he’s surrounded by Groffon’s minions. Negasonic Teenage Warhead saves the day though. Deadpool grabs one of the severed arms of a Groffon minion and attaches it to his own arm, which was severed, and uses it to turn on the device. Deadpool has Colossus (all the Marvel heroes are fighting off the invasion, but the ones most closely associated with the Deadpool movieverse are the ones close by) Fastball Specials him at Groffon, and he blasts and kills it.

All of Groffon’s minions also die, so the day is saved. Deadpool walks in, naked, on an Avengers press conference to take credit for saving the day. Later, Deadpool is all over the news, which really helps the mercenary business pick up. Business is booming and everyone wants to hire Deadpool, but he’s not in the office. Instead, he’s on a spaceship visiting King Lokk, some kind of cosmic gangster who Deadpool paid to have Groffon invade the Earth, just so he could save it. Deadpool pays King Lokk, and then tries to haggle for a deal, so Lokk teleports him back to his office.

Ok, so those first three issues were getting the premise firmly established then? Maybe now it will really hit its stride, by which we mean be at least as good as the Deadpool Assassin mini-series that’s running concurrently.


X-MEN GOLD ANNUAL #2
SEANAN MCGUIRE (W) • MARCO FAILLA (A)
COVER BY DJIBRIL MORISSETTE-PHAN
VARIANT COVER BY EMA LUPACCHINO
Your favorite X-Man KITTY PRYDE just made the biggest decision of her tumultuous romantic life, but what set her on that course? Before Peter, Peter, or…Peter, there was Kitty’s FIRST kiss! Hugo and Nebula Award-winning writer Seanan McGuire (InCryptid, October Daye, Wayward Children series) and artist Marco Failla (MS. MARVEL, ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, Harley Quinn) reveal the secrets of young Kitty’s summer at Camp Maplebrook in a story with more teen mutant angst and camp hijinks than can be contained in a regular-sized issue! Kitty’s kept this tale to herself for years – be the first to find out why!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99

This annual takes place soon after Kitty first joined the X-Men. She’s 14 years old, and she signed herself up for Summer camp. Kitty feels guilty about leaving the X-Men to be a kid, but Storm, who visits her bedroom to see her off, tells her she deserves the experience. Kitty is just worried she won’t be able to interact with normal people anymore now that she’s saved the universe with the X-Men.

Kitty has gone to this camp every Summer for years, and when she arrives, she’s greeted by her best friends, Madison and Sarah.

No one was named Madison in 1981. Fun fact: the name didn’t become popular until 1985, because of the movie Splash. But it’s Marvel time, so Kitty’s first year with the X-Men happened in like 2012. Other references throughout the book, like cellphones, a Nintendo DS, and a thin notebook computer further solidify the Marvel timeline. Rosenberg and Land could learn a lesson from this!

Anyway, Kitty enjoys camp with her friends, but she finds herself with way too much energy. She’s used to X-Men training in the Danger Room, and regular camp activities aren’t cutting it. She also lost her phone somehow in the last few days, and she wants to look for it on the hiking trail. So she sneaks out in the middle of the night and does some superhero training in the woods. While there, some junior camp counselors pass by and Kitty overhears them talking about stealing from the kids’ cabins. They’ve been doing it for years, and Kitty remembers all the past times people have had their personal items stolen from their cabins. We also see some strange lights in the woods, but Kitty doesn’t notice them.

Kitty follows the junior counselors back to their cabin, finds the storeroom which apparently has all the junk they’ve stolen for years, and returns to everyone while they’re sleeping. The next day, everyone is happy to find their belongings, and the junior counselors are pissed. Kitty decides to pay them a visit the next night, dressed up as a ghost, to scare them off from stealing again. It works too well, because the next day, the counselors claim they were threatened by a mutant. Mutant bigotry is rampant throughout the camp, apparently, including amongst Kitty’s best friends.

Kitty storms off and meets a kid named Asher, though she doesn’t know his name. No one was named Asher in 1982 either. Asher is kind of a dick. He thinks Kitty is a popular girl and assumes she’s an anti-mutant bigot. He tells her off. As he gets angrier, the strange swirling lights from the other night in the forest appear. Kitty is distracted and Asher disappears. At Camp later, Kitty is bullied for being a mutant sympathizer. She runs off to the woods again and notices some junior counselors hunting for the mutant. It’s not her they’re looking for. It’s Asher. Kitty saves Asher and reveals herself to be a mutant. Asher is a mutant too, and he makes the swirly lights, which he calls “will-o-wisps.” Kitty and Asher kiss…

…but he breaks it off because he’s afraid having mutant babies is a crime. Damn, dude. You’re fourteen. Jump the gun much?

Asher is still a dick, pointing out that he has pointy ears so he can’t hide in plain site like Kitty. (Well, technically, he kind of can since he has long hair that covers them, but whatever. He storms off. Kitty is upset.

The next day, Kitty’s friends apologize for their anti-mutant bigotry. Kitty points out that the thieves and bullies were all human. They’re friends again. At a campfire later, one of Asher’s will-o-wisps lands in Kitty’s hand, which she takes as an apology. Kitty leaves camp, validated in her choice to dedicating her life to making the world better as an X-Man.

This issue served more as a warm-up/try-out for young adult author Seanan McGuire, a huge X-Men fan who is going to be writing more comics for Marvel. And if this is what she’s going to bring to the table, Marvel might actually have a hope of attracting readers younger than 40, which most would consider a good thing. Maybe Disney will stop outsourcing all their kids comics to Dark Horse and IDW then. In either case, if it’s up to us here at X-ual Healing, McGuire can stay! (It’s not, but we’re betting she stays anyway.)


We Want Your Letters

Got something to say about the X-Men, past, present, future, apocalyptic future, future past, or anything in between? Send us an email at judeterror (at) bleedingcool (dot) com and mark it okay to print, and we might run it here in a future column.


Further Reading

ComiXology is having a Matthew Rosenberg fire sale. Looks like he’s already in trouble for screwing up “Marvel time” and now they’re looking to get rid of all his stuff. Well, it was a nice ride while it lasted, wasn’t it, Rosenberg?

If you read X-Men Vol. 2 #77 and #78, you’ll have read every appearance of Ainet before she was killed off in the latest issue of X-Men Gold.

Want some classic Dazzler? Well, too bad! Other than issue #1 and issue #40 (a Secret Wars II tie-in), the original Dazzler series is not on Marvel Unlimited. Unbelievable, but true. That series is ripe for an omnibus (and thus a restoration and digital editions). Someone get on that! Until then, get copies of Dazzler #29 here while they last!

Read more X-ual Healing here:

About Jude Terror

A prophecy says that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero will come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events.

Scourge of Rich Johnston, maker of puns, and seeker of the Snyder Cut, Jude Terror, sadly, is not the hero comics needs right now... but he's the one the industry deserves.

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