It was a shockingly good week for X-books last week, so let’s get right to the recaps…
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 #15
(W) Matthew Rosenberg (A/CA) Salvador Larroca
Cyclops and the X-Men have set out to save mutantkind…but the Mutant Liberation Front isn’t going to just wait for it to happen! Led by one of the X-Men’s own, the MLF is willing to do whatever it takes to stop mutant oppression…even kill any mutant who stands in their way…
In Shops: Apr 03, 2019
In the basement of the X-Men’s new headquarters, Harry’s Hideaway, Dark Beast has a chat with Karma about her transmode virus infection. He offers to help her. Upstairs, Captain America has come to talk with Cyclops. He claims to want to help, telling Cyclops he can’t trust Val Cooper and advising him to keep the X-Men’s operations out of the public eye. He’d also be willing to take possession of certain furry prisoners Cyclops might be keeping in the basement. He gives Cyclops his card and leaves. Wolverine tells Cyclops he shouldn’t trust him.
The X-Men get a text from Hope Summers on Reaper’s phone. If you read last issue, you know that the X-Men captured Reaper and learned that, though he declined to join the new Mutant Liberation Front, Hope promised to call him before their next job in case he changed his mind. The X-Men head to a Humans for Humanity rally where anti-mutant politician Prestel from a few issues back is speaking. The MLF shows up and a brawl ensues. During the melee, Cyclops follows zombie Banshee up to a rooftop where Hope is about to shoot Prestel with a sniper rifle. That never ends well.
Cyclops confronts Hope, who chews him out for failing Cable. Hope orders Banshee to attack Prestel, Cyclops blasts Banshee, and then Hope shoots Cyclops right in the visor as Wolverine jumps out of nowhere and attacks her. Hope takes Cyclops’ optic blasts power and uses it on Wolverine, then grabs her rifle, puts Prestel in her sights, and fires. We don’t see a body, but Hope claims she accomplished her mission… as Wolverine stabs her through the chest (Wolverine loves stabbing redheads in the chest).
Cyclops wakes up later in the basement of Harry’s hideaway, having been treated by Dark Beast. Unfortunately, he’s lost one of his eyes to the wound, making him a literal cyclops. Alex talks with Cyclops and reveals that Karma and Dani Moonstar allowed Dark Beast to experiment on them while Cyclops was out of commission. Cyclops is enraged and tries to attack Dark Beast, but his skull is still cracked and he can’t use his optic blasts. Havok jumps to his defense, threatening Dark Beast. It’s all okay though… Shan and Dani are actually cured! It turns out Dark Beast discovered Warlock spread his infection across several of the New Mutants so as to avoid completely overwriting any of them. Dark Beast removed Warlock and put him into a new host, a dupe of Jamie Madrox. The new Warlock asks Cyclops to kill him.
This was a great issue, not just the best issue of Matthew Rosenberg and Salvador Larroca’s run, but also the best X-Men and X-related comic Rosenberg has written so far. Cyclops and Wolverine rightfully distrusting Captain America, Dark Beast calling Cyclops “Scotty” and acting innocent and helpful when we know damn well he’s up to something nasty, The MLF deriding the X-Men as corporate sellouts (feeling guilty, Rosenberg?), Wolverine stabbing Hope, the Warlock reveal… so much happened in this comic that had me grinning like an idiot. Cyclops feels like he’s really starting to get in over his head, nearly dying again this issue, suffering a permanent injury. Wolverine and Havok acting overprotective of him is the perfect reaction to this. Hopefully this run continues for a long time and these storylines and characters are allowed time to build some long-term momentum, as it has the potential to be a classic run if it doesn’t get rebooted when HiX-Men comes out and continues at this level of quality storytelling.
This book is the Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the Week!
And that’s with some really stiff competition (no pun intended). The next two books could easily have won this week too, if I were in a different sort of mood. Congratulations to the creative team.
Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #1
(W) Vita Ayala (A) German Peralta (CA) Patrick Zircher
THE AGE OF X-MAN CONTINUES!
• Bishop must navigate between the various mutant gangs to find the truth beyond the walls of the prison.
• Can Bishop trust the other inmates, like Polaris?
• Or will he have to break out solo?
In Shops: Apr 03, 2019
Department X’s Psylocke visits Warden Forge at the Danger Room prison. Forge tells her he thinks Bishop can be redeemed, but Psylocke shuts him down. Bishop had too much sex with Jean Grey and now he has to be imprisoned for life. In the prison, Bishop makes the rounds asking the prisoners if they know anything about the note that was left in cell at the end of the last issue which said “The dream is real, the reality false. Get out.” Of course, all the other prisoners hate him because he was an X-Man, so that doesn’t go well.
We do get some X-position from Honey Badger, who explains that the reason Polaris acts so weird is because when she was taken down by the X-Men, they messed up her mind. Now Polaris believes she’s wearing a straightjacket even though she isn’t, a suggestion which Honey Badger takes credit for. Bishop doesn’t remember the X-Men taking down Polaris, though both Polaris and Honey Badger do. Bishop then runs into Beast, and another scuffle between the two ensues, but at the end, Beast reads Bishop’s note and helps him, telling him he didn’t write it or know who did, but that Bishop should be careful who he asks.
Bishop then goes to see Dani Moonstar, and the two chat about their memories of the real world. Dani doesn’t know who wrote the note either, however, and she runs off scared when Bishop begins seeing and talking to his sister, Shard, again (or some kind of entity that has taken her form), while hearing laughter coming from nowhere. In Forge’s office, Forge tells one of the silent Cobra Commander guards that run the place to “do it.” In the common room of the prison, Shard says she doesn’t know who wrote the note, and then invites three past versions of Bishop to appear and kick the crap out of the real Bishop as the environment turns surreal around him. The issue ends with guards dragging an unconscious Bishop back to his cell.
Another great issue here for the sleeper hit of Age of X-Man. The slowly building psychological horror was not what I expected from an Age of X-Man mini, but it works great here and this book is revitalizing Bishop as an important X-Men character. I didn’t know I needed this comic, but now that I’ve had it, I don’t know that I want to live in a world where it doesn’t exist. Can Bishop get a solo (or team leader) book with this creative team when Age of X-Man is over?
Major X #1
(W) Rob Liefeld (A/CA) Rob Liefeld
WHO IS MAJOR X?
• A mysterious new player enters the Marvel Universe and the X-Men are in his crosshairs!
• What is his mission and how can the man known as Cable hope to stop him?
• Writer/artist Rob Liefeld introduces a new wrinkle in the saga of Marvel’s Mightiest Mutants!
• The Mystery of MAJOR X continues in issue #2 as he forges a union with Cable – and races against time to save mutantkind from certain devastation!
In Shops: Apr 03, 2019
Oh, man. This comic.
If you read the first appearance of this character in Spider-Man/Deadpool #47 and wanted to know more about him, this is the book for you.
Major X, a mysterious man with mysterious powers from a mysterious alternate future (so basically every Rob Liefeld character ever) has beaten down X-Force in their 1990s heyday, and now he stands over a defeated Cable, demanding to know what year it is. He’s got a grey version of The Beast with him, who we will later learn is called, I @#$% you not, “M’Koy.” Cable gets up and the three have a very Liefeldian battle until Major X cuts off Cable’s metal hand. It turns out the Major is here to ask for help, though he has a funny way of asking.
We then cut to a flashback to The X-istence, the alternate dimension where Major X is from. This dimension has a lot of rocky terrain and cliffs because Liefeld likes to draw those. Major X is riding a motorcycle called the Motherbike as captions explain that the X-istence is a sanctuary for mutants created by someone called The X-ential after a period of mutant wars. But Major X is afraid that the X-ential is getting fragile and could die, which would spell disaster for this mutant utopia. Major X gets a call from his headquarters and learns that The X-istence is collapsing and The X-ential is missing. Just then, he’s jumped by M’Koy, who was sent by the X-ential to find him. Major X believes The X-ential actually wanted to save M’koy from the collapsing reality and his own demise. They both hop on the Motherbike and warp to the 1990s X-books, which is where we started this issue. We’re treated to a glimpse of some totally Liefeld characters that populate the X-istence as Major X flees the collapsing world.
Back in the “now” (or technically the “then”), Wolverine shows up to battle with Major X and M’Koy. During their battle, we learn that Major X has an adamatium sword forged from the future dead Wolverine’s melted bones because of course he does. They battle to a standstill when Cable recovers, shoots Major X, and threatens to kill him if Major X doesn’t explain what the hell is going on. Major X, who probably should have done this in the first place, gives a brief explanation of his backstory. But before they can agree to a team-up, the party is interrupted by — and once again I @#$% you not — “Dreadpool.”
By this point, the rest of X-Force is awake again, so they all fight with Dreadpool, but Dreadpool gets the upper hand and begins quoting Blue Oyster Cult lyrics to Cable (again, not making this up). Dreadpool also takes out M’Koy and Wolverine, leaving just Major X… but then Deadpool shows up and beats up Dreadpool until Dreadpool teleports away, vowing revenge. Now, Major X explains that he needs X-Force’s help to save The X-Istence and removes his helmet to reveal he is Cable’s son, Alexander Nathanial Summers. And holy @#$%, this issue is over, but I could read a zillion more pages of this.
Yes, every single one of Liefeld’s most well-known tendencies is on display here like Major X’s balls in his extra-tight pants, but that’s what makes it so much fun. I literally laughed out loud several times while reading this. I agree with the general principle that comics should move forward, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to celebrate the past, and this comic captures the spirit of the Liefeld era of New Mutants and X-Force perfectly. Should the entire line return to that era in 2019? Of course not. (X-Men comics by young creators right now are heavily driven by 90s nostalgia, but don’t tell the kids that — they get upset with you on the Twitter). But there’s plenty of room in Marvel’s, let’s generously call it “expansive,” line of X-Men comics for one or two books that relive past glories. Now give us a Claremont one next, please!
(W) Skottie Young (A/CA) Scott Hepburn
DEADPOOL: BONELESS AND EXTRA CRISPY!
• Good Night has removed Deadpool’s bones!
• What has Good Night been doing since Deadpool killed his parents?
• I know the answer. It’s…it’s kinda messed up, you guys.
In Shops: Apr 03, 2019
GoodNight, the grown-up version of the young boy whose parents Deadpool murdered in a Batman origin homage has captured Deadpool, removed his bones from his body, and intends to kill him for revenge, but not before recapping his entire origin story. After Deadpool murdered his parents, a mysterious person in a hoodie offered to help him get revenge if GoodNight would follow his instructions, which GoodNight does. That starts with taking credit for his parent’s murder and being sent to Juvenile Detention, which hardens him up. That was just the beginning though, because hoodie guy shows up when GoodNight is released at age 18 and teleports him to various places and times in history, each helping GoodNight train for his eventual battle with Deadpool.
This culminates in GoodNight slaying a dragon, at which point hoodie guy pulls back his hood to reveal he’s Weasel, out to kill Deadpool for backstory reasons that don’t really matter here but which you can read about in the early issues of Spider-Man/Deadpool on Marvel Unlimited if you so desire. Weasel sends GoodNight to hell where Mephisto forces him to fight and kill demon versions of his dead parents. With that taken care of, GoodNight is finally ready to take on Deadpool, which brings us back to where this issue started.
Unfortunately, all of that recapping gave Deadpool time to grow his bones back, and he is ready to fight GoodNight… but the x-position also took up too much time, so that fight will have to happen next issue.
This comic is exhausting, and not in a good way like Major X. No offense to anyone involved, but I’ll personally be happy to see this rebooted. It’s not really fair to the book, to be honest, because I don’t care for it and yet I have to read it for this column, which only serves to make me resent it more. So take it with a grain of salt, I guess. Out of the three comics featuring Deadpool this week though, this one is without a doubt the worst.
Domino: Hotshots #2
(W) Gail Simone (A) David Baldeon (CA) R. B. Silva, D’Armata, Frank
NOW WITH 100% MORE DEADPOOL!
• Six undercover, highly trained, armed-to-teeth women are hunting a device from space that changes life as we know it… wait, who invited Wade?!
In Shops: Apr 03, 2019
We pick up where last issue left off, with Deadpool facing down the Hotshots, interested in obtaining the Celestial artifact they’re all chasing. Nobody seems to notice that Outlaw is infected by the artifact from the battle last issue, though they do notice she’s acting strangely (since she can see all of the history of the universe). Domino tries to prevent things from escalating into a brawl, but you know how that goes. A few pages of fighting happen before Domino defuses things by appealing to her friendship with Deadpool.
Deadpool reveals that it’s Tony Stark who hired him to obtain the artifact. The Hotshots and Deadpool hop on Atlas Bear’s Wakandan ship to chase the artifact, but before they take off, Domino makes Black Widow, White Fox, and Atlas Bear swear they will help destroy the artifact and not try to steal it for their governments. They all reluctantly agree, and so they take off, though nobody really knows how they’re going to do that.
Mid-flight, Tony Stark contacts the ship and tells the Hotshots to back off. When they refuse, Stark tries to gain control of the ship and also sends unmanned Iron Man suits to attack them. A battle ensues, and Domino eventually tells Diamondback to cut loose to destroy the suits. She does, but it destroys the ship and they’re heading for a crash as the issue ends.
Good issue, even if it feels a little too decompressed. The Hotshots basically started where they were last issue, got in a plane, and didn’t even get where they were going before the issue ended. The pacing didn’t feel too slow though because there was a lot of fighting and inner monologuing from Domino to give the story some meat. The version of Deadpool in this comic is also the least annoying of all current versions of Deadpool, and yes, that includes Dreadpool. I’m certain that Black Widow, White Fox, and Atlas Bear are all going to betray Domino and company and make a play for the artifact, and I’m also concerned with what’s going to happen to Outlaw, so there’s plenty to look forward to in the remaining three issues of this mini-series, and hopefully more to come after that.
That’s all for this week, folks. If you want more, learn how Jordan White retconned the wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, plus more in AiPT’s X-Men Monday column. Next week’s X-books include Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #2, Marvelous X-Men #3, Dead Man Logan #6, X-Force #6, and X-23 #11.
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