To me, there are two types of “bad” comic: something that is just badly crafted in terms of story/art or something that’s disappointing. To me, the latter is worse. You can usually see a bad comic coming a mile away, but a comic that has everything needed to be good and fails anyway, that will always hurt more. 2017 has been a solid year for comics, but there have been some disappointment. Some of these were set up in 2016, while others were a bit newer to the poop party. Regardless, they let me down in a big way, and I need to make a list, dammit! So in ascending order, here are my top comic letdowns of 2017.
Also, the reason this list is super late is because I wasn’t going to do it. It just got too far into 2018… then I saw ProJared (and others) make 2017 lists still and decided to just make this super succinct. So I’m doing this quick and dirty, because I just need to get these off my chest. Continue reading “Biggest Comic Letdowns of 2017”→
It’s been a while since I gave my thoughts on the initial ResurrXion line-up. Well, the ones that were announced right away, at least. I completely missed Black Bolt and Old Man Logan continuing, and it just got to the point that they became old news. If you want my opinions on that real quick, I’ll give them real quick at the end of this post.
I’m not here to focus on those series. For you see, today I get to do what I love most: act like a bitch and be super smug! And why? Well, Charles Soule is returning to the X-Men as the writer of a new Astonishing X-Men series! Yes, the same Charles Soule who wrote the mostly good (for its last issue) Death of Wolverine before jumping ship to the Inhumans and penning the awful Death of X and even-more-awful Inhumans vs. X-Men! And my smugness can be summed up with:
Oh, did you and the Inhumans not work out? I’m so sorry to hear that, Charlie! And no, I wasn’t laughing behind your back! I was full on rooting for you guys! Or, if you want a more direct connection:
I’m drawing all the attention to it, Soule! All! Of! The! Attention! If there’s one thing this blog isn’t, it’s classy!
Okay, I’m done now. I just wanted to be a bitch. In all seriousness, here are my thoughts on Charles Soule’s upcoming Astonishing X-Men series.
Astonishing X-Men Written by Charles Soule Art by TBA
The Astonishing X-Men title is so associated with Joss Whedon that people forget that there were indeed other writers, up to and including Warren Ellis! Charles Soules’ series doesn’t seem to have anything in common with the well-known Whedon run — which partly tried to incorporate the X-Men more into the Marvel universe and have them act as more traditional superheroes (something that it gave up on pretty quickly) — other than just being a good jumping-on point for new fans, something Soules touts, which isn’t exactly unique to Astonishing. The aforementioned idea of the X-Men being more present in the Marvel Universe is being handled elsewhere, so it seems Astonishing X-Men is just called that because it’s something that’s not Uncanny X-Men or just X-Men, which is strange, as Marvel is going to be renumbering all their ongoings with “legacy numbers” later this year.
Anyway, regarding the comic itself, very little is known. In fact, this series’ reveal was actually gradual, weirdly enough. Its roster was revealed bits at a time, then finally its name and writer. I’m not sure why it was built up, but I can’t deny that it’s probably going to be one of the better X-books coming out of ResurrXion. But that’s if I really separate Charles Soule from his recent X-work. Because… oy. But he says the story told will build on itself, and it will have focus in that sense. That’s a good idea, given the sporadic nature of some X-runs, though it has me worried he’ll use his horribly written version of Emma Frost (Charles Soule is to Emma Frost what Jason Aaron was to Cyclops).
But before I get into that, let’s talk about the cast. It’s mostly good! Old Man Logan seems to be succumbing to the old Wolverine curse of being on a lot of different series and teams. I count three so far, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were put on an Avengers team again. But his character is interesting, and it will be interesting to see him lead a team (if he is the leader, which the cover seems to indicate he is). Archangel is always good for some angst and dark stories, along with a plain cool look. Psylocke is a cool character with an interesting history and relationship with Archangel. While I’ve found her kind of boring outside of Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, she has potential and she throws a wrench into the cast. And that’s because of the presence of Fantomex, a character I’ve always seen as a more self-aware Gambit. He’s a thief who steals to distract from his constant urge to kill. He’s fun, though works best when playing off Psylocke and Archangel and other super serious characters. Oh, and speaking of Gambit, he’s here too. I’ve never been his biggest fan, but he’s fun and can lighten the mood when not angsting about whatever contrived Thieves Guild story he’s taking part in. Rogue is here too, and that makes this series give off a real soap-opera vibe, given the Psylocke/Archangel/Fantomex thing and now Rogue and Gambit. It seems like Rogue has been handled surprisingly well by Gerry Duggan over in Uncanny Avengers, and I always like to see her around. She’s a versatile character who works best when she’s a tough-but-caring Southern Belle using her own experiences to help others. Oh, and Mystique is here, in case we didn’t have enough drama. I like Mystique in the right role, and assuming she’s the token evil member of the team, I can see her having an interesting dynamic with Archangel, encouraging his darker tendencies. Also, I’d like to see how her relationships with Rogue and Logan develop, given her rocky relationship with the former and… complicated relationship with the original Logan . And then there’s Forge who exists and I don’t care about him.
Now, the elephant in the room — Charles Soule… Charles Soule was once a writer I really liked. I enjoyed his Thunderbolts run, and he managed to make the dumb concept that Daniel Way started work. I’ve heard nothing but good things about his Swamp Thing run, which I’m told far surpassed Scott Snyder’s and seemed to create an interesting mythology. His Red Lanterns run was really the only part of that series worth reading, and while I never finished, I really want to. He definitely seemed to understand the characters, especially Guy Gardner, while also keeping true to the idea of the group. I found Inhuman to be a pretty good read with some interesting characters (who became less interesting over time) and concepts. His She-Hulk run has been thoroughly praised, and I’m assuming utilised his law skills well. His Daredevil run has some cool ideas and what I read of it (I omnibus-wait Daredevil (I am not kidding) seemed like he was doing a good job bringing darkness back into Daredevil’s world after Mark Waid’s run. Thought it was rough when I read it, I’ve heard it’s really picked up. Then came his X-Men work…
While I largely enjoyed Death of Wolverine and thought it had a fitting ending, the miniseries itself felt like it had quite a bit of padding while also not quite adequately summing up Logan’s life. But what followed… I have heard nobody speak of Wolverines, Marvel’s attempt at a weekly ongoing to compete with DC’s two Batman Eternal series. I couldn’t read more than two issues of Death of X, where Soule decided to nonsensically kill off Jamie Madrox — who was the closest thing to a lead character in Peter David’s amazing X-Factor run (the second one he did) — and Cyclops, in such a low-key way that I’m sure it was meant to be profound that Cyke went out like he did, but it comes off as disrespectful given the characters rich’s history, importance to the franchise, and large fanbase. Oh, and the ending was awful and filled with plot holes. Then he wrote Inhumans vs. X-Men, which, while concluding the awful Terrigen poisoning plot (which I will be writing something on due to its awfulness), it had an amazing amount of plot holes, only some of which were carried over from Death of X — there were inconsistencies within the series itself! Oh, and Uncanny Inhumans was kind of boring and didn’t seem to get the appeal of the Inhumans. So yeah, Soule started out as an up-and-comer I really liked, but 2016 was not a good year for him, and I basically replaced him with Tom King.
A year ago I’d have been excited for this series, but Soule has really fallen in my eyes. While I had to let out the pettiness early in this post, I really hope this series is his comeback. Because it has a good cast, good planning and a writer who I know can do better than he has recently. I am cautiously optimistic about Astonishing X-Men. Continue reading “ResurrXion, Part 6 — Look Who Came Crawling Back!”→
Written by Marc Guggenheim (yes, really)
Art by Ardian Syaf
One of the two main X-ongoings, it features the team introduced by Chris Claremont, with Rachel Grey/Summers and Kitty Pryde along for good measure. They do… stuff. Honestly, it’s vague, but they’ll be more entrenched in general Marvel goings ons, which honestly hassn’t worked out well for the X-Men in the past (e.g, the mediocre second X-Men series, their more recent stuff in Marvel NOW!, such as Uncanny Avengers)
The lineup obviously is invoking the second generation of X-Men, though obviously changed a bit. Old Man Logan is confirmed to be sticking around, and he’s pretty hard to write out of character. Nightcrawler and Colossus are sticking around to be fun and boring, respectively, but they’re always good in supporting roles, especially when Logan is around. Storm’s sticking around, so her fans will be happy, though the leadership position apparently goes to Kitty Pryde. I’ve never been a huge fan of Kitty, but it’s at least nice that she’ll be back with the X-books. Apparently, her returning and finding the X-Men in such a different state will not be ignored, but given how much Guggenheim seems to be the typical Kitty fanboy (she’s his self-insert, he started reading as a teenager and she was just introduced, etc), I doubt she’ll be called on abandoning her species. Rachel Grey/Summers is here, in a bad Mon-El cosplay apparently, and the linked interview makes it seem like Guggenheim really doesn’t know what to do with her, like she’s just there because she needs to be there. The cast is mostly fine, but time will tell if Guggenheim writes them well. Which segues nicely into my thoughts on the creative team!
Just… no on this creative team. Ardian Syaf is hit-or-miss, and a lot of his stuff ends up looking rushed. He’s okay when he’s a hit, but nothing special. But Marc Guggenheim? Let me make this clear: I don’t watch Arrow. I read the Arrow subreddit, but I don’t watch the show. But I know that he basically tanked the show. However, I’m going to throw on my hipster hat and say this: I hated Marc Guggenheim before it was cool! He wrote what is probably the worst New Mutants-esque book ever — Young X-Men, which just alienated every reader of Marvel’s younger mutants while also introducing the shitpile that is Ink, a mutant who gained powers relating to whatever tattoos he had, up to and including the powers of the Phoenix. Not only that, but he also wrote the crapfest that was Bart Allen’s run as the Flash. He also ruined the Justice Society after Geoff Johns left, though people were ruining them a bit before him anyway. So yeah, I’ve got a pretty negative opinion on Guggenheim’s writing, and there’s no big name, strong artist to help him.
While the cast would normally get me kind of excited for X-Men: Gold, having Marc Guggenheim as writer just kills it. I’m sorry, but I expect this to be a mediocre at best series, with probably tons of focus on Kitty Pryde. Not interested.
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Jorge Molina
And here’s the other main X-ongoing, X-Men: Blue! And… the time-displaced, original five (O5) X-Men are sticking around. Of course. It will feature the O5 working with Magneto of all people, and getting into “classic”-style stories.
The cast is not good. I’m sorry, but next to nobody cares about the O5 anymore. Let them go home. They’re pointless. Bendis may have had something planned for them, but he jumped ship, and now they’re just a relic of a story that never had any payoff. They’re boring, and pale reflections of their adult counterparts. And Bunn’s interpretation of the characters is just… off. He says many people feel Jean should’ve been the X-Men’s leader for a while, which is just untrue. And given how she either acts purely on her own emotions (All-New X-Men) or is just… a character that exists to exist (Extraordinary X-Men), I have trouble seeing her as a leader at all. Maybe I could swallow the original Jean leading the X-Men in Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm and Xavier’s absence, maybe, but this Jean? I’m sorry, but no. The rest apparently don’t want to go home, because they’ve built lives for themselves, such as Cyke joining the Champions (actually a good read, by the way), Iceman getting a boyfriend, Beast dabbling in magic (why?), and Angel embracing a more warrior-type attitude. It’s just… it feels like Bunn just randomly decided to give the characters new traits because he needed an excuse to keep them around. Except it sounds like this might actually be the series that ends with them going home, which I sincerely hope it is. Bunn’s writing of Magneto is always good, but teaming him up with the O5 is just a weird creative decision.
The creative team is okay, I guess. Cullen Bunn is a writer who I think gets way more work than he deserves, but hey, he gets stuff out on time so why should DC or Marvel care, right? But what I’ve read of his Magneto run is solid, if nothing special, and his Uncanny X-Men run approaches the Terrigen Mists plot in a more interesting manner than any other X-book. However, he’s said that X-Men: Blue won’t be dark like his other works, and honestly, I think that’s his biggest, and possibly only, strength; he can tell dark stories that use other, better writers’ works as a foundation. Jorge Molina is an okay artist, with a style that seems to be a more painted version of David Marquez. At the very least, I kinda dig the design of the X-Men boots. Yep, that’s the only thing I can really say about the art — I dig the boots.
I would love if this series and X-Men: Gold switched creative teams. Bunn is a better writer than Guggenheim, and I’d sooner dump these unwanted, boring characters onto the latter. If this series had a more interesting cast, I’d actually be interested. But instead, we basically get All-New X-Men volume 3, and I stopped caring halfway through volume 1.
Over the course of the last week, Marvel revealed the creative teams and rosters behind its “ResurrXion” relaunch. And yes, it is seriously called that. For those not in the know, it’s essentially a big, line-wide relaunch of both the X-Men and Inhuman comics, and is said to be a result of the ending of the currently ongoing Inhumans vs X-Men event, which is basically the final payoff to the incredibly unsubtle allegory that is the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mists (the catalyst for Inhumans getting their powers) killing off mutants. Get it? Because people know Marvel is essentially turning the Inhumans into discount mutants? It’s so clever, right? Yeah, no it isn’t, and even fans of the new Inhumans aren’t fond of the particular story thread (it doesn’t help that their characters come off as passive idiots). So anyway, yeah, this is gonna be the big relaunch for both franchises, and so far the titles look… incredibly weak. In fact, the X-line looks weaker than it currently does, where at least Old Man Logan and All-New Wolverine are enjoyable. Here are my thoughts on the announced titles and creative teams so far, split into two series at a time because this post got way too big.
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Jonboy Meyers
This series will focus on the Inhuman Royal Family (Black Bolt, Medusa, Crystal and Gorgon), NuHumans Flint and Swain, and Marvel Boy (a Kree super soldier from an alternate universe). They’ll leave Earth to find out about the origin of Terrigen (which they probably should’ve gotten around to once they realised it kills mutants), and probably get into some other hijinks.
This comic is probably the one that makes the most sense. While I was fond of one or two of the “NuHumans” (people who lived ordinary lives until the Terrigen cloud awakened their dormant Inhuman gene), the Inhumans have always been best when embracing their main characters’ morally ambiguity, political intrigue, sci-fi trappings and much weirder lore. Things like the Inhumans taking place in intergalactic wars, or the seemingly eternal feud between Black Bolt and Maximus the Mad. Royals looks to return the Inhumans to their space faring, and also looks to further explore their place in Marvel’s Cosmic side. The actual intrigue concerning the Terrigen Mists, however, is problematic. See, within Jonathan Hickmans ‘’excellent’’ run on ‘’Fantastic Four’’, it was revealed that there are numerous “Inhumans”, all of whom use a different catalyst for their transformations. It’;s just a random element. I can see Al Ewing ignoring this, which is sad, since I thought the Universal Inhumans were a cool idea that didn’t need this complication (though the fact that this mutant-Terrigen thing is a blatant retcon doesn’t help).
The cast is okay for the most part. I don’t think Medusa is nearly as interesting as Marvel wants her to be, but Black Bolt is always a treat. Crystal is fun when writers embrace her status as Medusa’s wayward sister, and I’m interested if her relationship with Ronan will be brought up (they were married and were forced to separate by Black Bolt’s treaty with the Kree). Gordon is just the typical nasty drill sergeant for Inhumans, and the attempt to give him depth via him being paraplegic fell flat for me. Swain and Flint are boring and easily the least interesting of the NuHumans, and I don’t know why Ewing felt the need to include them. Marvel Boy… exists. All I know about him is that he was a clueless idiot in Dark Avengers,a pointless guest star in Wolverine, a hipster in Young Avengers (like everyone Kieron Gillen writes these days) and… yep, that’s it.
I have mixed feelings about the creative team. I just haven’t ever liked anything by Al Ewing. His stories are sorta interesting sometimes, but he really overwrites his dialogue, drags out his stories, and likes to use really boring characters. I found his Mighty Avengers stuff to be boring at best, and his Ultimates basically ruined Galactus and reads like he’s trying really hard to be Jonathan Hickman and failing. Jonboy Meyers is an artist I have limited exposure to, but I enjoy his work on the current Teen Titans series, but the man cannot draw the tips of feet to save his life. His work is always energetic and fun, with a very cartoony feel, which I’m not sure will work for the seriousness of the Royal Family.
I’ve got mixed feeling about the series, but I can at least see why it’s a good idea for it to be published, given people have been clamouring for more old school Inhuman stories, and it will tie-in to Marvel’s Inhuman TV show. While I’m not sure about the creative team and a particular plot thread, I can see Royals being an okay read for Inhuman fans.
Secret Warriors Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Art by Javier Garron
This comic will feature Daisy Johnson, Kamala Khan, Karnak, Moon Girl and Inferno fighting some clandestine threat while the Royal Family is off in space.
I just don’t get this. It has little to nothing to do with the original Secret Warriors by Jonathan Hickman (I just realised how his stuff is being dragged through the mud these days), and fans of that series mostly do not like the MCU-ified Daisy Johnson (I, personally, just call her Skye). It just seems to exist for the sake of keeping that name alive after Agents of Shield used it.
The roster is the most random assortment of heroes I’ve ever seen. Daisy Johnson, assuming she’s still written as she was before AoS, is a grim and gritty super spy who’s seen some stuff and is basically a grizzled veteran without the age. Ms. Marvel is a more traditional superhero who really believes in the Superman-esque ideals (community, traditional heroics, etc.). Karnak is an interesting character, and his ability to “see the flaw in all things” has been explored in interesting ways, but he’s just a weird character more suited to artsy solo ongoings by more experimental writers. Heck, Al Ewing could probably do a good job writing him, and he is a member of the Royal Family, one who still has an ongoing (that’s late), so I have no clue why he’s here. I didn’t read Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur past the first issue, but it seems to be a fun, pretty mnuch not superhero adventure. And Inferno is… a guy. He’s a more modern superhero character who’s had this power thrust upon him but has a family to protect (his sister and her baby, who has already been exposed to Terrigen). It’s just a group that doesn’t have a consistent tone between them. Plus, it breaks the rule that Marvel currently has that a character can only be on one team at a time, since Ms. Marvel is in Champions… in fact, the team was her idea.Rosenberg has promised some additions that aren’t Inhumans, but I’m not even sure this series will last long enough to get new members.
I know next to nothing about this creative team. I enjoyed Matthew Rosenberg’s Kingpin miniseries (what I read of it), but this series seems far removed from what that one was. I’m not at all familiar with Javier Garron’s work (he apparently did some Star-Lord work). As an aside, whoever did that cover is a dummy; why is Skye wearing wedges? Characters who fly and the like, I get them wearing heels and wedges, but why the spy? And is that shit regulation SHIELD? Just… why?
So yeah, I really don’t care about Secret Warriors; the criteria for the cast seems to be “popular Inhumans”. There’s just nothing here for me, and it seems to be a case of using popular brands for the sake of it.