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Review: New Mutants by Zeb Wells the Complete Collection

It’s Tuesday which means it’s new comic book day at book stores! This week we’ve got the New Mutants!

New Mutants by Zeb Wells the Complete Collection features #1-11, #15-21, Marvel Spotlight: New Mutants, and material from X-Necrosha #1 by Zeb Wells, Kieron Gillen, Dio Neves, Cam Smith, Ed Tadeo, Norman Lee, Craig Yeung, Ibraim Roberson, Paul Davidson, Chris Sotomayor, Niko Henrichon, Zachary Baldus, Jim Campbell, Kevin Sharpe, Jay Leisten, David Lopez, Alvaro Lopez, Paul Davidson, Sotocolor, Leonard Kirk, Andrew Currie, Guru-eFX, VC’s Joe Caramagna, Chris Eliopoulos, Cory Petit, Daniel Ketchum, Jake Thomas, Jody Leheup, Nick Lowe, and Jeanine Schaefer.

Get your copy. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: Iceman #4

ICEMAN2017004_covFinally, Iceman gets a little sexy in issue where writer Sina Grace, artists Edgar Salazar and Ed Tadeo, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg have Bobby bump into Wolverine’s mad, bad, and dangerous to know bisexual son Daken while he’s trying to rescue his rebellious student, Zach, from a members only nightclub. Up to this point, Grace has mainly focused on Iceman’s attempts to come out to his parents and hasn’t had him get into any romantic situations with other men. This is why it’s super nice (and hot) to have him flirt and fight with Daken, who isn’t the best influence on Zach, a mutant that can mess up with electronics and isn’t a fan of the regimented life style at the Xavier School.

Iceman #4 is one of the better structured issues of the series with Grace connecting its plot to a previous adventure while throwing in a splashy guest star, some fantastic action, and some real talk about Iceman’s insecurities and faux confidence. He’s supposed to be a teacher, but is still working on his own issues, like coming out as an adult and not reaching his potential when it comes to his ice abilities. Grace doesn’t go as far as painting the X-Men as evil, but he does demonstrate that their almost paramilitary approach to working with young mutants isn’t the best fit for everyone.

Maybe, some mutants don’t want to fight Apocalypse and just want to dance, play video games, and have a good time. (A partnership with Patsy Walker’s superpowered temp agency would easily solve this problem and also give an excuse for bi bae Ian Soo to appear in Iceman.) It’s honorable that Bobby wants Zach to be able to control his vast powers, but threats and lectures aren’t his style, and the teen can see through him saying that he’ll carry him out of the club in ice handcuffs. Later, in Iceman #4, a skewered-by-ice Daken offers some much needed snarky, yet constructive criticism about Bobby’s approach to leadership and teaching. Basically, Bobby is talking at Zach and not having a discussion about how he feels, like when Bobby makes snide comments about Zach’s Internet friend. Iceman is hella insecure in general with his emotions veering closer to his pal, Human Torch, and not his cool exterior. And he’s going to go supernova metaphorically when his parents show up at the X-Mansion unannounced at the end of the comic.

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Edgar Salazar and Ed Tadeo’s art isn’t the flashiest, but it’s easy to follow, especially the action scenes which have clear moves and motivations. Daken has a healing factor so Bobby doesn’t have to hold back and executes a killer finishing move that plays off Daken’s pet name for Bobby featuring a cool metallic sheen from Rachelle Rosenberg. Also, Salazar and Tadeo’s figure work is quite attractive and seems tailor made for the bisexual gaze aka people who have crushes on both Kitty Pryde and Iceman like yours truly instead of awkward, how is that even a human being 90s inspired superhero art. The cherry on top of the sundae that is Bobby Drake in a white tux is Daken, who is a true homme fatale, and in Salazar and Tadeo’s hands, his ice abilities turn into a kind of sort of metaphor for Iceman possibly being sexually frigid. However, dating and sexy stuff after coming is a real maze to navigate so I also like that Grace, Salazar, and Tadeo are slowly easing Bobby into the world of romance and sexy times.

Some of the dialogue is cheesy, but Sina Grace, Edgar Salazar, Ed Tadeo, and Rachelle Rosenberg make Iceman #4 one of the more memorable issues of the series by adding a hint of sexual tension in the interactions (and action of the mutant powers sort) between Daken and Iceman.  Also, Zach running away exposes some vulnerabilities in Iceman beneath his dad joke making, Disney movie referencing, and ice golem hurling exterior.

Story: Sina Grace Pencils: Edgar Salazar Inks: Ed Tadeo Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.0  Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Iceman #2

In Iceman #2, Bobby survives an awkward Blackbird ride with his ex-girlfriend Kitty Pryde on a mission to save a power/technology altering powered mutant named Zachary from an angry mob outside a big box store. What he doesn’t survive is the presence of fill-in artists Edgar Salazar, Ibraim Roberson, and Ed Tadeo, who pinch hit for Alessandro Vitti after a single issue. Writer Sina Grace gets the highly awkward, yet very personal relationship between Kitty and Iceman along with his lack of seriousness, but is hamstrung by awful art. His jokes and dialogue land, but the art is stiff and forced. However, Rachelle Rosenberg uses varying tones of white to make it look like the angry mob is actually brushing ice and snow off their clothes.

For the second straight issue, Grace shows that he’s not concerned with continuity heavy epics or overarching plots. He tells simple standalone superhero stories that act as a vessel for him to explore coming out as an adult man. The main conflict of Iceman #2 isn’t rescuing Zachary from the suburban equivalent of peasants with pitchforks, but Kitty getting angry at Iceman for not telling her that he came out as gay. Sure, she’s been in space with the Guardians of the Galaxy for some time, but she had to find out from Goldballs.

When they aren’t bickering on the battlefield, Kitty is quite supportive of Iceman and says that he should talk to someone about what he’s going through instead of hiding his feelings beneath dad jokes and ice puns. Her suggestion is his parents, which opens up a whole can of worms about levels of supportiveness for families and their LGBTQ children. Kitty’s advice is sound, but a little contradictory of the first issue where Iceman considers the X-Men to be his family, and he shows an easy rapport in early scenes where he banters with Colossus and Storm while walking down the halls of the Xavier school for his mission. Even though editorial probably wouldn’t condone, Grace also misses an opportunity to explore Kitty Pryde’s bisexuality that has been hinted at by her creator, Chris Claremont, but has yet to be fully shown on the page. This is partially due to Jim Shooter’s homophobic editorial policies during the 1980s when she was introduced.

Some iffiness aside, Sina Grace definitely understands the character of Iceman and slowly digs into this transitional period in his life while not neglecting Bobby’s sense of humor and fun even at inopportune times. However, this tone isn’t matched in the art by Edgar Salazar, Ibraim Roberson, and Ed Tadeo in what I’m tempted to call a phone-in job. Both Kitty and Iceman have visually interesting powers, and Rachelle Rosenberg even uses stronger colors to show Zachary’s energy tampering abilities. However, with the exception of a cute scene featuring ice golems or where Iceman shoulder checks a town dweller, there is no motion or power to their moves. The Blackbird is taking a dive, but it’s just a suspended object and doesn’t feel like the end of the world. And Iceman and Kitty’s faces remain almost the same with slight ticks for fear and embarrassment. A biggish reveal of Kitty being Iceman’s co-pilots falls flat thanks to the rictus where her face should be. Salazar and Roberson look like they’re going for a 90s vibe with their figure, and there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia, but this doesn’t work with the sleeker uniform designs and Rosenberg’s color schemes. Both the scenes of action and conversation aren’t drawn well so there is no relief from generic faces or stiff poses although Salazar and Roberson are much better gesture artists than facial.

Written by a talented gay writer like Sina Grace, who isn’t afraid to unpack the messiness of Iceman’s coming out and personality while still letting him pose for selfies mid-battle, Iceman should be one of Marvel’s more compelling books. However, with its generic and uninspiring depiction of some of the flashiest (and soapiest) superheroes ever, Iceman pales in comparison to books that have a more distinct visual identity like America, Marvel’s other book with an LGBTQ lead.

Story: Sina Grace Pencils: Edgar Salazar, Ibraim Roberson
Inks: Ed Tadeo, Ibraim Roberson Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg

Story: 8.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Bionic Man Vol. 3 End of Everything TPB

THE BIONIC MAN VOL. 3 END OF EVERYTHING TPB

Aaron Gillespie (w)
Ed Tadeo, Rey Villegas (a)
Mike Mayhew (c)
FC • 280 pages • $24.99 • Teen+

Steve Austin, the iconic hero of television’s Six Million Dollar Man, faces new threats both foreign and domestic! When the brutal dictator of Libue threatens to use whatever means necessary to squash the rebels of his wartorn nation, the American government sends the Bionic Man to prevent the detonation of nuclear missiles on millions of innocents. Meanwhile, the Office of Scientific Intelligence is under siege by rogue agents. Will Austin’s close friend and OSI handler Oscar Goldman survive an attack on his life… and a mechanized terror with a face all too familiar?

COLLECTION FEATURES:

  • Issues 17-26 of the hit series by Aaron Gillespie, Ed Tadeo and Rey Villegas
  • Script to issue 21 and writer’s notes by Aaron Gillespie
  • Complete cover gallery by Mike Mayhew, Ed Tadeo, and Jonathan Lau

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Preview: The Bionic Man #23

THE BIONIC MAN #23

Aaron Gillespie (w)
Ed Tadeo (a)
Jonathan Lau (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

During his mission in China, Steve faces a life-and-death struggle against a truly wicked enemy and an army of indestructible battle mechs. The Bionic Man will have to rely on wits and a strange new partner to escape this one alive!

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Preview: The Bionic Man Vol. 2: Bigfoot TPB

THE BIONIC MAN VOL. 2: BIGFOOT TPB

Phil Hester, Aaron Gillespie (w)
Ed Tadeo (a)
Alex Ross (c)
FC • 168 pages • $19.99 • Teen+

Steve Austin, the unstoppable hero of The Six Million Dollar Man, tracks a deadly conspiracy to foreign territory, where he discovers his strangest adversary yet — the legendary Bigfoot! What is this unnatural creature of primal instincts and mechanical parts? What role does the Bionic Man play in the monster’s origin? If one such Bigfoot exists, could others still roam the wilderness… or be manufactured on an assembly line? Also, Steve Austin has a tearful reunion with Jaime Sommers. How will he react when he discovers a terrible truth — that he may have unwittingly been responsible for the tragic accident that transformed her into the Bionic Woman and erased her memories? This volume collects issues eleven through sixteen of the hit series by Aaron Gillespie, Phil Hester, and Ed Tadeo, and features a complete cover gallery by Alex Ross, Ed Tadeo, Jonathan Lau, & Mike Mayhew

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Preview: The Bionic Man #21

THE BIONIC MAN #21

Aaron Gillespie (w)
Ed Tadeo (a)
Mike Mayhew, Ed Tadeo (c)
2 regular covers will be shipped in A 10:1 ratio (10 Mayhew, 1 Tadeo)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

After returning home from a rough mission overseas, Steve wants nothing more than a bit of R & R. Little does he know, Carlisle has been scheming to bring an end to the Bionic Man ever since her removal from OSI and she’s in a good position to make it all possible. Steve has faced insurmountable odds in the past, but in order to win this one, he’ll have to take his bionics to the next level!

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Preview: The Bionic Man #19

THE BIONIC MAN #19

Aaron Gillespie (w)
Ed Tadeo (a)
Mike Mayhew, Ed Tadeo (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

After fighting his way into the heart of enemy territory, the Bionic Man is forced to go deep undercover. Once there, Steve positions himself to not only complete his mission but to help the war torn country of Libue in the process. Little does he know a new player has entered the game and they have the United States in the crosshairs!

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Preview – The Bionic Man #18

THE BIONIC MAN #18

32 pages FC  • $3.99  •  Teen +
Written by Aaron Gillespie
Art by Rey Villegas
Covers by Mike Mayhew (main), Ed Tadeo (1:10)
Fans, ask your retailer for the variant incentive cover!
Mayhew “virgin art” retailer incentive cover

Caught in a lethal crossfire between a growing rebellion and a vicious dictator determined to hold on to power at any cost, the Bionic Man must enlist help if he’s to make it to Libue’s capitol city in time to stop certain catastrophe.  Once there, Steve navigates the bloody streets, desperate to locate the country’s nuclear weapons before it’s too late.  But as time ticks away, he uncovers a plot far more insidious than he expected.

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Preview – The Bionic Man #17

THE BIONIC MAN #17

32 pages FC  •  $3.99  •  Teen +
Written by Aaron Gillespie
Art by Ed Tadeo
Covers by Mike Mayhew (main), Ed Tadeo (1:10)
Fans, ask your retailer for the variant incentive cover!
Mayhew “virgin art” cover retailer incentive

Part one of an exciting new story arc! The country of Libue is in the bloody throes of a desperate rebellion.  While a brutal dictator uses whatever means necessary to squash the rebels, the American government orders OSI to locate and disarm Libue’s nuclear missles before they go rogue.  Steve plunges into the unforgiving desert on the hunt for the nukes, but finding them could be far tougher and deadlier than the Bionic Man bargained for.

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