Tag Archives: Hank McCoy

Review: Uncanny X-Force #25 – Final Execution Begins!

Uncanny X-Force #25
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Mike McKone, Dean White [Color Art]

The latest Uncanny X-Men story arc, “Final Execution,” kicks off with the team in a state of upheaval.

Psylocke, having processed the toll being on a mutant kill squad is taking on her psyche, is leaving the team after “satisfying her curiosity” with a one-night stand with Fantomex. Fantomex, on the other hand, is leaving because no more Warren [See last year’s epic “Dark Angel Saga”] means no more money–and he’s probably sulking over being spurned by Psylocke.

Meanwhile, there’s a mysterious figure at the Jean Grey School targeting Genesis, the reformed clone of Apocalypse, and Deadpool has gone down while on a mission–which is a big deal following Deadpool #54, where Wade [YOU SHOULD READ Deadpool #54 AND FIND OUT INSTEAD OF LETTING ME SPOIL IT].

Anyways, this all culminates in a sort-of return of a long-dead X-villain.

Overall, this is a great start to Rick Remender’s latest major X-Force story arc. With a title like “Final Execution,” there are a lot of inferences that can be made. The way things have developed with all the characters on the team, as well as the people around them, will surely only help to further speculation about what that title refers to.

Regardless, Rick Remender has crafted an excellent first part to this storyline with an art team that rivals the work on any other issues of the book, and the two back-up stories are a nice look at Remender’s earlier work with artist Jerome Opeña on stories starring Wolverine and Deadpool, respectively.

STORY: 9.5/10
ART: 9.5/10

Wolverine and the X-Men #9 – Cap Comes Calling

Wolverine and the X-Men #9
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Chris Bachalo [Penciler/Colorist]; Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, and Al Vey [Inkers]

As you’re probably aware (based on the banner on this issue’s cover), Wolverine and the X-Men #9 is an Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-in issue.  As such, it provides a micro-level look at the macro-level events taking place in the event’s main book.

This issue in particular takes place during the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men #1, detailing Captain America’s visit to the Jean Grey School for intel from Wolverine.

Having dealt with the Phoenix before–namely when it possessed Jean Grey and turned her into a force of destruction before she killed herself to stop it–it’s only natural that Beast would be monitoring deep space in the event that it returned.  Thus, we find out here that Beast and Wolverine were well aware of its impending return far before Steve Rogers came to tell them.

Jason Aaron also delves into the internal conflict going on with Logan, as well as that potentially brewing within the school, regarding the potential of going to war with Cyclops’ group of X-Men on Utopia.  Those X-Men, after all, are people that Wolverine and others in his school called family for years.  Unfortunately, they pretty much all–Cyclops especially–believe that Hope Summers is the “Mutant Messiah” and that the Phoenix possessing her will bring about a reawakening of the mutant species, which was mostly de-powered by the Scarlet Witch during “House of M.”

As Logan says to Captain America, “Think of Utopia as a compound full of heavily armed religious fanatics.  And you’re the feds butting in, telling them what to believe and how to live.  It won’t go well.”  Wolverine knows it’s going to come to blows and is wary about siding against the X-Men, and Captain America only convinces him to side with the Avengers by putting it in terms of saving the world.

Logan’s decision is shaky, at best.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Force’s approach lays out two telepaths with previous connections to it–Rachel Grey and Quentin Quire–and alarms the Shi’ar Emperor Gladiator, whose son, Kid Gladiator, is a student at Logan’s school.  Gladiator and the Shi’ar are also familiar with the destructive nature of the Phoenix, and while it remains to be seen if they’ll come into play in the main series, it’s only natural that they should show up in one of the X-book tie-ins.

Chris Bachalo’s art remains hit or miss for me.  While I enjoy it here for the most part, there are a few panels, such as the psychic disturbance with Grey and Quire on page 15, that were a little confusing at first, but made sense on second viewing.  My main art gripe here is that Rachel Grey is seen standing behind Wolverine in the faculty meeting near the end of the issue after being laid up in the school’s medical facility on the previous page.

Minor art gripes aside, Aaron does with this issue what any good tie-in should do–add depth to the main story.  By adding more detail to the events of the first round of AVX and throwing in additional plot threads that allow for a stand-alone story arc.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  7/10 

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 – Cyclops has lost his mind

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  John Romita Jr. [Pencils], Scott Hanna [Inks], Laura Martin [Colors]

[We’ve tried our best to be as spoiler-free as possible here, but nobody’s perfect.  Read at your own risk.]

Defying Captain America’s request to take Hope Summers into custody last issue, Cyclops fired the first shot in the X-Men’s war on the Avengers against the Star-Spangled Hero himself.

As the Avengers take Utopia’s beach, Emma Frost moves Hope inside–assuming the girl, with more questions than answers regarding the Phoenix and what its return means regarding her, will stay put.  In short order, the most epic battle in comics since the end of 2008’s Secret Invasion or 2006’s Civil War commences.

Jason Aaron sets up several of the fights to take place in the accompanying Avengers Vs. X-Men: Versus mini-series beginning next week, with several moments in this issue hinting at the outcomes of those fights.  He brings Quicksilver into the fray, revealing where the son of Magneto stands in the fight (HINT:  There isn’t going to be a reunion of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants anytime soon), and teases the entrance of Magneto’s daughter, the Scarlet Witch, with no hint of who she’ll side with.

The highlight of this issue is arguably Aaron’s insights into the match-ups, like calling Emma Frost’s organic diamond form punching Tony Stark’s multi-billion dollar armor the “most expensive punch in history,” playing up the marital dramatics in a fight between Storm and the Black Panther, or pointing out that Wolverine is fighting against an island of characters he once called family.

This initial battle is all for naught, but it does skirt on the idea that Cyclops might potentially become a villain.  Much of what he says in this issue sounds like things reformed X-Men über-villain Magneto would say, and he does have his own Juggernaut now in Colossus.  With 10 issues to go, the only things that are certain are that several characters are bound to switch sides, Civil War-style, (Hell, it’s even teased in the Cap vs. Wolverine cover for AVX #3) and that things will spiral further out of control.

At this point, my biggest hope (aside from wanting a Cyclops villain turn) is that we at least get a Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 video game out of this in a year or two.

– Roger Riddell

Follow me on Twitter @RRiddell3 

Mike DeVivo’s take forthcoming

Alright Roger Ive Assembled here!

So, two issues into Avengers Vs. X-Men and I can say I’m underwhelmed. What I thought was largely going to be a collaborative effort in bringing two different teams and their vantage points to light has thus far turned into “Cyclops is crazy and the Avengers aren’t.” I don’t buy the angle that Cyclops is losing his mind, or that he’s taking things too far. It paints every X-Man and woman as blind sheep fighting for the cause of a crazy man. Maybe I’m rooting for the little guys, in which case i feel the X-Men are warranted to protect one of their own. The characterization feels off, especially with Cyclops and Wolverine. Again, maybe it’s because I’m in Cyclops’ camp here, but I can’t help but feel like this story feels off.

I do love John Romita Jr.’s work in this series so far. His facial work with females has improved very much. His pencils give all of the energy and intensity you’d expect between a battle of the two most recognizable factions in Marvel.  Aaron’s script does provide great narration as Avengers and X-Men beat the hell out of each other. Also, kudos for him creating the Magnetic Fastball Special. Those moments are what I’ve enjoyed about this series so far. He also gave Emma the best line in this issue reflecting the tone I think most X-Men have towards their Avenger counterparts. After Iron Man refers to Hope as “the girl,” Emma responds by telling him that the girl’s name is Hope and that they never requested help in the first place.

We get quick glimpses of Quicksilver and Wanda ,with Quicksilver rushing to join his Avengers team and Wanda walking away from her journal not joining the fight just yet. The journal by the way is called “Wanda’s Dream Journal” (slap forehead with hand) there are more than a few of these moments in this issue that make you cringe. As I said in my opinion this book hasn’t delivered the goods just yet with the story. It’s a pain to see characters like Quicksilver, who was actually  insane (anyone remember House of M?), fighting along side Avenger’s while Cyclops is characterized as a mad man losing touch with his reality.

I’m hoping next issue improves a bit and makes the reason for this fight a bit less one-sided. With the cover to issue #3 showing Cap fighting Wolverine, it will be interesting to see why he defends the X-Men after dropping down and beating up the same students he defended during Schism.  As I said, as a fight book this is fun. As an event that is supposed to change Marvel’s landscape for the next year…not so much.

– Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots


 

Review: Venom #15 – Flash Thompson, Secret Avenger

Venom #15
Writer:  Rick Remender
Art:  Lan Medina [Pencils], Nelson Decastro with Terry Pallot [Inks], Andres Mossa [Colors]

After saving Las Vegas from Blackheart, Venom is pardoned and made a member of the Secret Avengers by Captain America.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Flash Thompson gets to keep the symbiote 24/7.  Hank Pym and Beast have worked out a sedative to keep the creature from permanently bonding to Flash when he’s using it for official Avengers business.  If he needs the symbiote at a moment’s notice (like if Jack O’Lantern or one of the other enemies he’s picked up in the last 14 issues comes calling), he simply has to dial a number and the suit will be shrunken down into Pym particles and broadcast from the Secret Avengers’ space station through his earpiece.

Seems simple enough, right?  It’s comic technology.  Don’t think too hard about it.

Once Flash is finally teleported back to his apartment, he arrives to Peter Parker knocking on his door.  Pete, a longtime friend of Flash’s recently-dumped girlfriend, Betty Brant, wants to know what’s going on with him.  The two go out for coffee and Flash is ready to tell Peter everything when he’s interrupted by a call from his sister and mother–two more people he’s neglected.

With this issue establishing that his home life is in tatters, Flash appears seemingly ready to bury himself in his newfound role as a Secret Avenger.

Meanwhile, Eddie Brock, the Venom symbiote’s former host, is hunting symbiotes.  As the book opens, we see him taking out Hybrid, and we later see him kill Scream.   This plot thread started shortly after Brock gave up the Anti-Venom symbiote to help cure New York City during “Spider-Island” and I’m excited to see how it plays out.

There’s one continuity issue here, however, as the Hybrid symbiote has also appeared recently in Zeb Wells’ Carnage U.S.A. mini-series, no longer bonded to Scott Washington, but separated into four symbiotes for use by a special ops team.  Of course, that story takes place after Venom becomes a Secret Avenger (despite being only one issue away from finishing), so it’s possible that perhaps Eddie Brock’s “killing” of the symbiotes themselves doesn’t really work and the government is still able to somehow get their hands on the Hybrid symbiote.  Maybe this will all be explained eventually.

This book’s last story arc, “Circle of Four,” didn’t really do much for me on the first read through (I really need to read it again in one sitting), but Rick Remender followed it with what might be my favorite issue of this series so far.  Remender sets up Venom’s status quo as a Secret Avenger, explains how Flash will use the suit if he is in an emergency situation, and plants a plot thread regarding what could happen if use of the symbiote is abused.  He sets up some romantic tension between Flash and Valkyrie, teases the question of how Spider-Man will react to Venom being an Avenger if he finds out, hints at Flash potentially telling Peter (who he doesn’t know is Spider-Man) anyways, and sets up a future conflict with Eddie Brock.  Plus, he keeps a certain amount of turmoil in Flash’s home life for the time being.

The art on this issue is also great, with Lan Medina packing in an extraordinary amount of detail in everything from facial expressions to backgrounds.

In short, Venom is still one of Marvel’s best kept secrets.

STORY:  9/10
ART:  9/10 

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #8 – Sabretooth joins the Hellfire Club

Wolverine and the X-Men #8
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Chris Bachalo [Pencils & Colors], Tim Townsend [Inker]

Fresh off of his return from the dead in Wolverine’s solo book, Sabretooth joins up with the new Hellfire Club to help them take out the heart of the Jean Grey School–Beast.

During his attempt to con an intergalactic casino out of space money that is somehow good on Earth, Wolverine’s unbreakable adamantium legs were broken.  Beast, the school’s resident scientist and doctor, puts forth the theory that the casino’s guards were able to do this with a matter transmutation ray to weaken the adamantium, which re-hardened shortly after.

Basically, Beast needs to use the same type of ray to surgically repair Wolverine’s legs.  Only problem?  Beast’s matter transmutation ray seems to have gone missing, and they are outlawed around the globe.

Of course, dating the director of S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) has its advantages, so Beast sets out to the department’s space station in Earth’s orbit to hit up Abigail Brand for the device.  When he gets to the space station, however, he finds that Sabretooth has already arrived and taken out S.W.O.R.D. on his own.

Meanwhile, Angel (who still doesn’t remember who he is and thinks he’s a real angel) sets off with the school’s students to the casino where Wolverine’s legs were broken to recover the matter transmutation ray there.  How he knew about this, I have no clue–but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The story here jumps around a bit, and it’s often fairly confusing–especially with Chris Bachalo’s artwork.  Bachalo’s work tends to be fast-paced and frenetic, and I’ve really enjoyed it on a lot of stories.  Unfortunately, it made it a little difficult to tell what was going on here–especially in some of the more monochromatic panels.  This could possibly all be a problem on the scripting level.  The story does tend to jump around a lot, and we never really get details for how Angel knew about the matter transmutation ray.  On the other hand, I also considered that maybe my book was missing pages (that did happen to me with a recent issue of Secret Avengers and I’ve been paranoid ever since).

On the other hand, this story does a good job of setting up a relationship between Angel and Genesis (the clone of Apocalypse), who agree to help each other figure out who they really are.  It also shows a more vicious side of Beast than we usually get to see and does more to establish the Hellfire Club (what do those kids not have their hands in?).

This isn’t a perfect issue, but it’s still fun if you can avoid the aforementioned confusion.  Now to go find out if my copy is missing pages…

STORY:  6.5/10
ART:  6.5/10

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #5 – Congratulations, Kitty! It’s a bouncing baby… Brood?!

Wolverine and the X-Men #5
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Nick Bradshaw [Pencils & Inks], Walden Wong [Inks], and Justin Ponsor [Colorist]

Somewhere between fending off an attack from the new Hellfire Club and doing some rebuilding after the emergence of the son of Krakoa beneath the school’s grounds, Wolverine used up all of his funds for the Jean Grey School.  To make matters worse, the ultra-rich brats that make up the aforementioned new Hellfire Club weaseled their way into Worthington Industries board of directors, taking control and having the company’s amnesiac billionaire CEO Warren Worthington (aka Angel) deemed mentally incompetent.

Simply put, Logan needs to find more money soon or his tenure as headmaster of the Jean Grey School is going to be short-lived.

To remedy this, he takes Quentin Quire (aka Kid Omega) to space to find more funding.  I guess space money is good on Earth in the Marvel Universe, as it seems like Wolverine could have just taken Quire to the home of someone like Warren Buffett and had him use his telepathy to secure funds.  We’ll see where this goes next issue, I suppose.

Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde’s sudden-onset, ready-to-burst pregnancy from last issue turns out not to be a pregnancy at all, but a Brood infestation.  Beast and the rest of the staff soon discover millions of microscopic Brood were released into the school’s ventilation system, genetically engineered with Kitty Pryde’s physiology in mind.  Basically, it’s an elaborate assassination attempt, the solution to which is foreshadowed earlier in the issue when Beast shrinks down his entire class with Pym particles to take them on a field trip inside the body of the school’s janitor, Toad.

This issue moves really fast, and Jason Aaron throws in a lot of comic relief with the action.  Among the best instances are Doop substituting in Kitty’s ‘Introduction to Religion’ course and the continued use of Toad in a slapstick role, lamenting his status as a janitor after spending years in Magneto’s “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.”

Nick Bradshaw’s are extremely detailed, with more going on in the background than a quick read would allow you to see, and Ponsor’s colors really make these panels jump off of the page.

If you’re looking for an X-book that’s a fun read and easy to jump onto at the moment, look no further.

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10

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Review: Secret Avengers #22 -Captain Britain and Giant Man join Hawkeyes Team

Secret Avengers #22

Story By: Rick Remender

Art By: Gabriel Hardman

Review Score : 8.5/10

Rick Remender comes aboard Secret Avengers and immediately injects the humor and bat shit crazy story ideas hes known for. The question is can he juggle two very different team books and have both be so high in quality? The short answer is yes.

We start the issue off following Captain Britain as he takes on Riot and his sentient mob of humans . The fight is short and it gets Captain Britain from London to Other World which is featured heaily in Remenders other team book Uncanny X-Force. Britain gets a call from Captain America and is transferred to the Secret Avengers new base using Pym Particles. It seems Hank Pym and Beast have been left to their own devices and have created a new Headquarters for the Secret Avengers to operate out of . The kicker is that anytime they are inside of the base they are shrunk down to the size of an Ant . Britain accepts the invitation to join the team and after Captain America announces he is leaving there is a very funny moment between Britain and Hawkeye . Hawkeye lets Britain go on assuming he is the choice to lead until he fires a well placed sticky arrow over his mouth and announces his acceptance as the new leader of the team.

Remender does a fine job juggling all of these characters and their personalities . Captain Britain is Cocky and Regal, Hawkeye is Brash and a bit of a trickster , Hank McCoy gets to have a little more fun than we are use to seeing him have due to Remenders quick wit on the page. Everyone seems to benefit from his writing style.  While there is a large amount of humor in this book Remender writes a very dire situation in Pakistan . A suicide bomber sets his sights on a woman and child and manages to have the bomb go off  only for the women to reveal that she has the ability to consume the explosion and redirect back into the city. The woman is an Adaptoid and this incident sends the team to investigate the fallout. Other Adaptoids across the world activate and head for Pakistan as well. A fight ensues between the Avengers and The Adaptoids with the Avengers losing their battle .

Gabriel Hardman handles the art in this series and I’m having a hard time enjoying his work. Characters look great but his style is a bit sloppy in areas . Maybe it has to do with the inking but it could be a bit cleaner. The characters all look very unique which I appreciate and he can draw a very kinetic action sequence .I’m also not a huge fan of the washed out colors in the issue. The inks tend to pop a bit too much for me.

Hawkeye instructs Antman to jump onto one of the Adaptoids which takes us to our final scene of the issue and a huge reveal involving Lady Deathstrike and a group of other villains to good for me to spoil. Needless to say between the final page reveal and the promise of Venom joining the team next issue I’m definitely excited to see what Remender has in store for this series .

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

 

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #4, Two New Students Join the School

Wolverine and the X-Men #4
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Nick Bradshaw and Justin Ponsor [Colors]

One of the best things to come out of the X-Men’s “Regenesis” is a greater amount of cohesion between books in Wolverine’s corner of the Marvel Universe.  Wolverine, Uncanny X-Force and Wolverine and the X-Men all directly impact one another, and nowhere is that better evidenced than in Wolverine and the X-Men #4.

In the aftermath of Rick Remender’s “Dark Angel Saga” in Uncanny X-Force, Warren Worthington (aka Angel) had his mind wiped after he was “cured” of being Archangel/Apocalypse.  In that same story, Fantomex’s secret experiment — a clone produced from the DNA of the ultimate mutant villain Apocalypse, but nurtured by a loving-but-artificial family — was revealed.  Both Angel and the boy, Evan (aka Genesis), were both sent to the Jean Grey School.

Dealing with how the two fit in (or don’t) at the school — and how its headmaster, Wolverine, can also head an elite mutant covert ops squad by night — is the overall focus here.

The faculty meeting in the opening pages provides some of the wittiest dialogue I’ve ever read outside of a Spider-Man book, and “witty” and “Wolverine” are two things you typically wouldn’t expect to go together.  But Aaron makes it work, just like he makes the special guest lecture from Deathlok — the cyborg assassin from the future — work to hilarious effect, especially when paired with the quips from problem student Quentin Quire (aka Kid Omega).

Oh, and we finally learn what Wolverine is a professor of — English Lit.  Go ahead and imagine that class for a moment…

All isn’t fun and games, though, as Ice Man learns the truth about what happened to Warren (who now believes he is a real angel), Genesis suspects people at the school aren’t telling him something and Deathlok sees a grim possible future where Genesis still becomes Apocalypse.  Even other students notice that he kind of resembles Apocalypse, so that’s bound to be broken to the kid at some point.

New artist Nick Bradshaw handles the transition from Chris Bachalo well.  If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know I’m all about facial expressions and body language, and the art here does a lot with that to not only better sell the dialogue and action, but to tell you more about who the characters are, as well.

If you haven’t given the flagship book for “Team Wolverine” a chance yet, now is the time.

STORY: 9/10
ART:  9/10 

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