So we’re nearing the end of the year, which means it’s time for us to prepare the first annual X-ual Healing Awards, where we’ll celebrate the things we liked best about the X-Men comics in 2018. X-ual Healing is a column of the people, so we feel that the X-ual Healing Awards should represent not only our own feelings on the X-books, but yours as well. So before we put together a list of categories and nominees for next week, we want your feedback.
Here’s the award categories we’re thinking of:
- Best Ongoing X-Book
- Best X-Mini-Series
- Best X-One-Shot
- Best Cover
- Favorite Classic Character
- Breakout Character
- Most Claremontian X-Comic
- Favorite Writer
- Favorite Artist
- Favorite Colorist
- Favorite Letterer
- SeXiest X-Hookup
- Greatest Cyclops Moment
- Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the Year
We may add some more, so feel free to suggest categories as well as nominees for these. We’ll take your feedback into account when listing the nominees next week, and then you’ll vote on those nominees to decide the winners (except Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the year — that one’s all ours). Sound good? Great!
You can post your feedback right in the comments, or feel free to email us
Now let’s recap the X-books that came out last week…
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.
Uncanny X-Men #5
(W) Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson, Matthew Rosenberg (A) R. B. Silva (CA) Elizabeth Torque
X-MEN DISASSEMBLED CONTINUES!
Just when things didn’t look like they could get worse… The ride of the Four Horsemen of Salvation? The coming of X-Man? And…a return to the AGE OF APOCALYPSE? The weekly epic that threatens to leave the X-Men in tatters rolls on toward its explosive conclusion!
In Shops: Dec 12, 2018
As the X-Men battle the Four Horsemen of Salvation, X-Man moderates a political debate between his captives Kitty Pryde and Apocalypse. Kitty thinks that mutants should show the world how not to hate by example, but Apocalypse thinks Kitty is naive. X-man is a “both sides” kind of guy, so after hearing them out, he decides to let Apocalypse choose his next course of action, so Apocalypse suggests that Nate eliminate religion from the world by taking out holy locations including the Vatican, Mecca, and Thiruvananthapuram. Kitty is horrified, but Nate explains that she’s on his advisory council and should have spoken up if she disagreed with Apocalypse’s plan.
Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico, where Jean Grey’s team of X-men have chased Blob and Omega Red away from the oil rig where they were killing Roxxon workers, the entire rig has been reclaimed by nature, which is both scary and beautiful at the same time. Back at the mansion, Beast discovers that someone has stolen the mutant vaccine from his lab, while outside, Multiple Man, Legion, and the X-kids break into Cerebro so Legion can use it to find X-Man’s location. He does, but with an evil smirk on his face. They decide to go take X-Man down, which probably will not work out well.
In Chernaya, Storm’s team of X-Men try to contain a situation created by Magneto and Angel, who have removed all the guns from a clash between soldiers and civilians, which hasn’t necessarily stopped the fighting, just evened the odds. Polaris and Magneto have a family spat in which Polaris wrecks the nice X-Man statue Magneto made out of the gunmetal. As the X-Men are unable to talk Warren out of being all evil, they execute a plan where Cannonball (he’s nigh invulnerable when he’s blastin’) blasts Angel into space to weaken him, then brings him back down to Earth where Psylocke uses he new psychic claymore (the focused totality of her powers) to unleash the Archangel inside him. This does free him from X-Man’s control, but he’s none-too-pleased about it, having always been pretty moody about the whole angel of death thing.
It gets worse and worse for the X-Men every week, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
(W) Mariko Tamaki (A) Diego Olortegui (CA) Ashley Witter
AN ALL-NEW ARC BEGINS
A series of gruesome murders. A killer who disappears without a trace. Laura and Gabby are on the hunt. But when Laura comes face-to-face with the mysterious X-Assassin, nothing is as it seems…
In Shops: Dec 12, 2018
Laura and Gabby embark on a new story arc, investigating the murder of a genetic scientist alongside the NYPD. The murder is connected to several similar ones they’ve investigated recently, so someone is killing clone experts. They identify the likely next victim, Dr. Erwin Davies, and stake out his apartment. Sure enough, some kind of robo-ninja-assassin attacks, but the sisters are waiting for him. They manage to stop it, only to learn that it’s some kind of cyborg clone from the same genetic material as them. With the help of the Beast, they lock the cyborg up in The Tank, a prison for superpowered individuals run by the government while they try to figure out what to do next. Unfortunately, a bunch of soldiers bust in the wall to break the cyborg out as the issue ends on a cliffhanger.
This series is really going all in on the clone stuff, but in a good way with an Orphan Black kinda vibe rather than a Clone Saga one. This issue also featured some great Gabby moments, like her eating gelato during the stakeout and threatening a random passerby for littering.
Weapon X #27
(W) Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente (A) Luca Pizzari, Alberto Alburquerque, Ibraim Roberson, Roberto Di Salvo (CA) Rahzzah
WEAPONS OF SELF-DESTRUCTION!
• Two roads diverged in a blood-soaked wood. For a time, Sabretooth took the one less traveled. In this issue, he pays for it.
• Everything changes here.
In Shops: Dec 12, 2018
The first of two series finales hit this week in Weapon X #27. Sabretooth, Mystique, Omega Red, Domino, and Deadpool are in hell, where they went to kill William Stryker for good before his cult raises him from the dead again to kill more mutants. While there, they’ve found Sabretooth and Mystique’s son, Graydon Creed, and Sabretooth has vowed to bring him out of hell alive. The demon Marduk Kurios doesn’t intend to stop them, probably because, being a master of foreshadowing, he knows this is going to end badly for Sabretooth.
Sabretooth leads the team to Stryker’s hell castle, where they learn that Vanisher and his cult are sacrificing themselves to bring Stryker back. Sabretooth sends the rest of X-Force back to the land of the living (where Deathstrike and Monet were waiting) to stop Vanisher on that side while he battles Stryker. Unfortunately, Stryker manages to send Vanisher some kickass demon powers, and he’s going to kill Weapon X-Force, forcing Sabretooth to make a decision: stay and stop Stryker, or go back and save his friends.
He opts for the latter, but in a mental battle with Vanisher, is forced to give up his humanity in order to stop him. Vanisher still gets the upper hand and forces Sabretooth into the sacrifice pit, but Sabretooth turns the tables, pushing Graydon through the veil and back to life, using up the sacrifice to save his son instead of letting Stryker back. That takes care of Vanisher too, so the day is saved… but Sabretooth is trapped in hell!
Not for long, though, as Kurios decides he doesn’t want Sabretooth in his beast-like state, so he sends him back to life like that so he can revert to his old ways and re-earn his place in hell again.
So, Sabretooth is a bad guy again, that’s the point of this? Kinda sucks, as Sabretooth’s character development in Weapon X has been pretty great so far. And with Omega Red gone off to be a Horsemen for Nate Grey, who gets control of the baby tiger? Hopefully this gets answered in a mini-series or something.
X-Men Red #11
(W) Tom Taylor (A) Roge Antonia (CA) Jenny Frison
The X-Men have battled valiantly against their powerful psychic foe, Cassandra Nova, since the moment she framed Jean Grey for murder on the world stage. They have been hunted. They have been hated. And now…they can fight no more.
In Shops: Dec 12, 2018
And here’s the second series finale, though thanks to its monthly shipping schedule, X-Men Red hasn’t had nearly as much space as Weapon X to establish itself, ending after just 11 issues. The story picks up on Genosha, where Jean Grey has led a joint team of all the X-Men and all the Avengers (all wearing telepathy-blocking Magneto helmets) to stop Cassandra Nova, who plans to use a captured Helicarrier to blow up the island, killing a bunch of people, and ensuring that humans and mutants will go to war. If you’re wondering how characters like Namor are involved here when he’s gone totally evil over in Avengers, the recap page helpfully tells us this story takes place before Avengers #700.
So anyway, despite the might of all these assembled heroes, Nova has a pretty good plan. The helicarrier apparently contains 6 nuclear reactors, so she blows up one of them, sending the ship hurtling toward Genosha, with the other five sure to make a big boom and kill everyone. Nightcrawler teleports Gentle to the Helicarrier, where he uses his powers to absorb and control the damage from the destroyed reactor. Meanwhile, Jean loses her helmet and goes toe to toe with Nova in a psychic battle, while Gambit hatches a plan to save the day: he’s going to charge up the helicarrier with his powers so the whole thing can be harmlessly exploded (not sure how that solves the problem, but we’ll go with it). Also meanwhile, Nightcrawler and Gabby execute another plan, which is to teleport Gabby’s fist into Nova’s brain, where Gabby unleashes a reprogrammed nano-sentinel.
As Gambit charges up the ship, Thor rescues Gentle as the other heroes get the humans off the island and out of danger. Thor then flies Gambit and Gentle away as the helicarrier explodes. Back on the ground, Cassandra Nova suddenly feels really bad about everything she’s done. The nano-sentinel has repaired her capacity for empathy, so now she has a conscience (they’re overrated). Jean ends the comic by making another speech at the U.N. about mutant/human solidarity, and the series ends on the same optimistic note on which it began.
X-Men Red has been a great comic, and the near-universal praise it’s received reflects that. The only beef we have with it is that it shipped monthly, and therefore felt like it got quickly out of sync with all the bi-weekly and weekly X-Men series and Marvel’s general continuity, as evidenced by the out-of-date Avengers lineup and all of that. But that’s really the fault of all those other series, not X-Men Red for shipping with a sensible schedule, along with Marvel’s lack of care about how all this stuff fits together. X-Men Red, as a matter of fact, made the effort to at least place this in the timeline, something we never got with Astonishing X-Men, which had similar comparative pacing issues. And that’s the kind of “going the X-tra mile” we appreciate.
For the last time, X-Men Red takes home the most coveted weekly grilled meat-themed award in comics, the Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the Week!
Congratulations to the creative team.
Next week, we’ll ask you to vote for your favorite X-stuff of the year! Plus, we’ll recap some X-books. See you then!
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