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Immoral X-Men #2 delivers the hero in Sinister we deserve

Immoral X-Men #2

Hail the Pax Krakoa! Or perish! But to this hell age is born a hero. Say hello (again) to Rasputin IV…but what can one good chimera do in a universe of sin? The first century of Sinister’s plan has come to an end…and whether it’s better or worse may depend on the symbol on your forehead. Immoral X-Men #2 delivers a wild ride of an issue full of betrayal and (H)hope.

Told mainly from the perspective of Hope, Immoral X-Men #2 takes place 100 years after “Sins of Sinister” launched. The X-Men are waging war on a galactic scale crushing enemies with chimera bombs, wiping out all dissent. It’s the type of horrors that they experienced themselves on a grand scale. “Sins of Sinister” is a story about plans out of control and this is the perfect example of exactly that.

Writer Kieron Gillen delivers an intriguing issue that might be one of the best of the bunch. It stays focused on the issues that have spawned out of Sinister’s plans, and lays out the regret Sinister has for it all. And, it delivers a little hope that we might have a hero(es) who will correct the past, literally.

And that’s adds a little more depth to this event which spins the fractured, broken, twisted, apocalyptic future. Usually the individual who has caused the splinter in time is resolute and sure in their rule. Here, we have a villain that sees their mistake and flaw. And, they might want to correct it. Something we desperately need in the real world.

But the issue gets more intriguing as the cracks are shown within the out of control Quiet Council leadership, hinting at the ever growing chaos to come regarding their vision and direction for their people and world.

The art by Andrea Di Vito is solid giving us a sci-fi world that’s dark but light at the same time. There’s a cloud that hangs over everything but avoids the gloom of so many broken future storylines. With color by Jim Charalampidis and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic delivers a world that is slightly twisted and horrifying in many ways. There’s also the cool flash and concepts as we get to see Sinister’s work of the twisted mutants of the future he’s molded and grown.

Immoral X-Men #2 is an interesting issue. It doesn’t feel so much like a sliver of a greater story but a story itself. It shows off the potential of this event which started strong but turned bumpy in its structuring. Unfortunately, the next issue jumps ahead in time leaving us to put pieces together as to what happened between issues. And that’s the thing about “Sins of Sinister” and this particular issue. Unlike others, where we have to spend so much time guessing what has happened, this focuses on what is happening and where things go next. Like the story overall, it shows not what was, but what can be.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Andrea Di Vito
Color: Jim Charalampidis Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Jay Bowen
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

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Nightcrawlers #2 is an interesting concept

Nightcrawlers #2

“Sins of Sinister” has taken a different approach to events. Instead of more linear narrative told across a main title with tie-ins, we get an opening comic, three main comics, and then a finale. But, those individual series is where it gets intriguing. Instead of a story told across a few issues, each group of issues takes place in a time period. The first is 10 years after Sinister’s plan takes place, the second 100 years, and the third 1,000 years. So, instead of a flowing narrative, each issue has felt like a one-shot teasing the world. Nightcrawlers #2 takes place 100 years from the beginning of the event’s story focusing on the gene spliced holy thieves.

Written by Si Spurrier, Nightcrawlers #2 feels like continues the the overall concept of the event. The Nightkin were freed from Sinister’s control in the first issue, now serving Mother Righteous. 100 years have gone by and things have gotten out of control once again.

Mother Righteous is up to something having her Nightkin stealing artifacts from across the cosmos. It’s become a cosmic cult, following whatever Righteous’ plan is. But as she’s “a Sinister,” you can only trust what is said so much. Instead cracks are formed as lies begin to pile up and Righteous’ control isn’t as tight as expected. From the Nightkin’s perspective, things also spiral as it’s clear things aren’t as righteous as presented to them. It’s a solid concept but one issue is far too short to explore it.

The art by Andrea Di Vito is interesting. With color by Jim Charalampidis and lettering by Clayton Cowles, there’s a need for the visuals to tell a lot of the story, and they do. Small details add to let the readers know where things stand and where the world is at this point. The way someone is dressed, the look they give at a moment, it all comes together to add a little more depth to what’s going on. The chimera aspect of the characters too is key, with the visuals hinting as to what’s going on and who they are. It all comes together in an entertaining enough way.

Nightcrawlers #2 isn’t bad, but the format for “Sins of Sinister” doesn’t help the ambition. Each issue has teased the world and narrative and each could have easily expanded delivering more of a flowing story. Instead, the event feels like numerous one-shots taking place in a shared world where we need to piece together the details. It’s an interesting concept and idea but there’s a lot here and a lot thrown at readers that’s good and deserves to be fleshed out and expanded upon.

Story: Si Spurrier Art: Andrea Di Vito
Color: Jim Charalampidis Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

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Immoral X-Men #1 emphasizes that even the best plans can get out of hand

Immoral X-Men #1

Sins of Sinister” continues in Immoral X-Men #1 one of a small number of comics that make up the event. Mr. Sinister has used Moira McTaggert’s time reset powers to slowly infect Krakoa and the X-Men, infusing them with a dash of Sinister. The Earth has been taken over, with mutants reigning and controlling. But, threats still exist in a galaxy that won’t stand to the side and let them do the the same in the stars. There’s also the missing Sinister lab with his ability to reset time.

Written by Kireon Gillen, Immoral X-Men #1 picks up on the story’s emphasis that things have gotten out of hand for Mr. Sinister. His plan has worked a bit too well and while mutants have a bit of Sinister in them, he doesn’t control them. Yes, there’s some failsafe aspects he mentions but overall, things have gotten out of hand. Sinister should be happy, he’s won… but he also hasn’t.

And, if the comic focused just on that, it’d be a solid dive into a new idea for an alternate timeline story. Instead, it splits it time as the Quiet Council goes on a hunt for Sinister who they have figured out isn’t quite on board. So, the comic splits between Sinister’s woe is me and a race/hunt. Focusing on either aspect is worth an entire comic, an entire miniseries, but the split doesn’t quite do justice for either. At times Sinister’s lamenting feels like a recap of the story and the X-Men never quite make the case as to why they should rule, their plan, and they come off as a bit unorganized.

The art by Paco Medina is pretty solid and the comic has a sinister feel about it while also a slight comedic aspect as well. Joined on ink by Walden Wong and Victor Olazaba and color by Jay David Ramos and Chris Sotomayor, the visuals are fun and interesting and keep the comic flowing and entertaining. Clayotn Cowle‘s lettering impressively keeps Sinister’s long rants readable and never clutters the visuals. Overall, the comic does an excellent job of delivering a world that has a dark cloud hanging over it but never feeling gloomy. It keeps the “fun” of Sinister as part of its DNA to deliver a slightly different feel for this type of storyline.

While I generally enjoyed Immoral X-Men #1, there’s a choppiness to the narrative that took me out of it. There was almost too much jumping around between Sinister and the Quiet Council and a focus on one or the other would have been stronger. Still, it highlights that this is an alternate timeline tale that’s a bit different than what has come before.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Paco Medina
Ink: Walden Wong, Victor Olazaba Color: Jay David Ramos, Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Jay Bowen
Story: 7.95 Art: 7.95 Overall: 7.95 Recommendation: Read

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Nightcrawlers #1 adds more dimensions to the X-Event

Nightcrawlers #1

The genius of What If? lies in its ingenuity. I remember the first issue I read was back in middle school. It instantly blew me away just on concept alone. The later 1990s edition felt like a nod to the original series and the Marvel version of The Twilight Zone.

It took readers on some very plausible roads with their favorite characters. It also made us empathize with villains who we would otherwise see as one dimensional. So it makes sense, that Disney+ decided to pursue a TV show because of how innovative the series was. In Nightcrawlers #1, we a nightmare “what if” version of what happens when you mix Nightcrawler and some of the world’s greatest heroes and villains, all under the control of Mister Sinister.

We are taken to the Sanctum Sanctorum in New Essex( what was New York) where the Nightcrawlers are looking for sources of power for their master, Mister Sinister when they find Ghost Rider cornered . Just when he thinks they will meet their end, X-23 and Spiderman turns on their fellow Nightcrawlers, as they start a small rebellion. As their leader, Mother Righteous has slowly filling her ranks with those who have grown tired of Mister Sinister. As they execute a debilitating attack on him but one that slithers out alive from. By issue’s end, Mother Righteous gathers who she has freed from Sinister and discovers a secret weapon to free them all form under his control.

Overall, Nightcrawlers #1 is an excellent debut issue that adds even more dimension to this big comic event. The story by Spurrier is exciting. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, a story that shows just how dangerous the stakes are for all in this dystopian future.

Story: Si Spurrier Art: Paco Medina
Color: Jay David Ramos Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Sins of Sinister #1 is an unfolding enigma of a debut issue

Sins of Sinister #1

When stories have heroes and villains, readers would for each to be formidable. The hero must be imposing but good at heart. The villain must amoral yet relatable. These are the rules that readers have come to see be subverted time and time again.

As what kids cartoons would make one believe that superhero stories are simplistic. In reality, they are probably more diverse and morally complicated than most fiction. This is why when a villain the comic book universe tends to unleash a devious plan, it is vastly intricate and and will have readers , reading it multiple times to catch all the details. In the debut issue of Sins Of Sinister, we get the kickoff of the next big X-Men crossover event, where Mister Sinister, unleashes a web of evil that affects all mutants.

We find Mr. Sinister deep in his lair, as he secretly harvesting versions of himself on Krakoa, as we find out that he forced an uneasy alliance with the other mutants on Krakoa. Meanwhile, the council look to open their doors to humans, one that the council struggles to find common ground, but something Emma Frost is able to change everyone’s minds. Meanwhile Ben Urich, actually uncovers Sinister’s plan and shares it with Jonah Jamison, only to find out it was Sinister posing as, thereby stopping him and imprisoning Ben. As the Orchis Forge begins Sinister’s plan of world domination, unleashing every hero in the universe to defend the innocent,  but the worst is yet come. As we find out that every mutant has a piece of Mister Sinister’s DNA, making them under his control. By the issue’s end, Sinister’s plan has created worldwide chaos  but also creates a problem he did not foresee, multiple interlopers who think like him, looking to be in power of if it all.

Overall, Sins Of Sinister #1 is an unfolding enigma of a debut issue, one will astound you, even if you had an idea of the result. The story by Gillen is masterful. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, one of the best things written by Gillen, and proves why he was the perfect person to write the beginning of this massive event.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Lucas Werneck
Special guest artists: Geoffrey Shaw, Marco Checchetto, Juan José Ryp, David Baldeón, Travel Foreman, Carlos Gómez, Federico Vicentini, David Lopez, Joshua Cassara, Stefano Caselli
Color: Bryan Valenza Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Jay Bowen
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.89 Recommendation: Buy

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Sins of Sinister #1 shows how carefully laid plans can get out of control

Sins of Sinister #1

Sins of Sinister #1 kicks off the latest “X event” as Mr. Sinister’s plans finally begin to play out to shape the world. The island nation of Krakoa has relied on Sinister in its focus on genetics and that reliance has been its downfall as Sinister has used his position to plant the seeds of his rule. This debut issue acts as not just a solid start to the event but carefully lays out what this classic Marvel villain has been up to.

Written by Kieron Gillen, Mr. Sinister has been a character that has seen quite a change in years. Going from a rather stiff and boring villain, his personality has been let loose giving an at times hilarious villain who just so happens to control genetics. Sins of Sinister #1 delivers all of that on full display as Sinister plays puppet master and PT Barnum in our introduction to the world he has crafted.

Using his clones of Moira McTaggert, Sinister has been resetting time, manipulating things so he can ascend. Add in his tampering with the genetics of mutants, he’s created what would seem like a perfect plan and takeover that has relied on intelligence rather than brute force. But, even the best laid plans can spiral out of control and soon Sinister learns he’s not in as much control as he tought.

And that’s where Gillen’s writing triumphs. Sinister pops from the page with a personality that’s larger than life and so over the top it feels like it’s being projected for the people in a theater. As presented, Sinister comes off as a villain you should fear due to how laid out his plan and vision are but at the same time you want to see the chaos he’ll cause as you know there’s no way this is going right. He’s clown like, smashing pies in the face of those that stand in his way. It’s hard to not enjoy the exaggerated… everything.

The art by Lucas Werneck is fantastic delivering every exaggerated moment with a flair that’s fitting for Sinister. With Bryan Valenza on color and Clayton Cowles‘ lettering, the comic has a sinister vibe about it without being doom and gloom. It’s an post apocalyptic story at times without being depressing. The subtle design work from the art is fantastic as well. Slight facial expressions or body language plays so well with who has been corrupted and who hasn’t adding a slight horror aspect as Sinister’s aspect spreads. It’s subtle and goes far beyond simply adding Sinister’s signature diamond on a forehead.

Sins of Sinister #1 is an entertaining start not only catching readers up but laying out when things get out of hand. There’s an almost tragic aspect for our villain as he discovers he’s not in as much control as he thinks. This is where the “smart person” finds out they’re actually not that smart and there’s a lot they haven’t planned for that’s now out of their control. It’s an event that looks like it’s keeping things fairly focused and if this debut is an indication, going to be a fun addition to the high bar that is “X events”.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Lucas Werneck
Special guest artists: Geoffrey Shaw, Marco Checchetto, Juan José Ryp, David Baldeón, Travel Foreman, Carlos Gómez, Federico Vicentini, David Lopez, Joshua Cassara, Stefano Caselli
Color: Bryan Valenza Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Jay Bowen
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1

X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1

Last year’s Hellfire Gala delivered memorable moments. The X-Men’s godlike plans for Mars were revealed. There was a murder. It was a coming out of sorts further onto the world, and galactic, stage for the mutant nation. For all of the grand ideas of last year’s event, X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 lacks pretty much all of that. It’s a rather choppy issue whose whole at times makes little sense.

Written by Gerry Duggan, X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 revolves around the revelation of mutant resurrection to the world. It is now a known thing setting up questions, both in how will every react, and does it create a security issue. The answer to the first is, not in any realistic way and the latter is, of course. The event will be held and it’s just Avengers, X-Men, and some celebrities that attend. And that’s what’s rather odd. With such an announcement you’d either have world leaders there to protest or protesting and not going. None of that is addressed. The Avengers attend and kind of shrug their shoulders about it all instead flirting with Emma Frost. Even when it’s revealed that Mr. Fantastic had his mind wiped over something, no one seems pissed about it. It’s like everyone took pills to relax before. For a revelation that’s built up as world shattering, the end result during the Hellfire Gala is a reaction that lacks emotion. Even Doctor Doom, who would make a speech or plot around it, makes a joke about returning David Bowie. For something that’s set to such a high pedestal, no one beyond the X-Men are treating it as such.

Then there’s the Spider-Man tie-in. Moira as infiltrated the event through Mary Jane Watson and while there’s a confrontation it doesn’t result in much after it feels like. Wolverine heads to Spider-Man’s comic for an issue but you’d think there’d be some more action regarding this. Was anyone else compromised? No one is going to check? Shut the place down? Your enemy showed up and then gets away and there’s… talk. It’s all rather odd.

Finally, the election of the new X-Men team doesn’t feel like an election. Three members remain on the team, Emma suggests one, and then others feel like they’re volunteered. Where’s the election? Wouldn’t it had been better to have some suspense and have the mutants of Krakoa vote as some are nominated and show an actual “vote”? It’s rather odd in the execution.

But, many will be buying the comic for the fashion. Kris Anka, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli, and CF Villa all provide the art. Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla, and Matthew Wilson handle the color. Cory Petit is on lettering. The designs are always interesting to see. Some are beautiful dresses but this year’s fashion doesn’t feel as inspired by last year’s. Maybe a theme for next year would be better? Overall though, it looks good and I can’t knock the visuals too much. But, it also doesn’t quite have the memorable moments like last year.

X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 is not the sum of its parts. It is not a better whole than each individual piece. That’s partially because each individual piece is in itself rather odd. X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 feels like a zero issue in some ways. It sets up A.X.E.: Judgement Day for the X-Men and like Eve of Judgement being from the Eternal’s point of view, this delivers the X-Men’s side. It’s an issue that had potential but it never quite lives up to the importance it claims it has.

Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Kris Anka, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli, CF Villa
Color: Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla, Matthew Wilson

Letterer: Cory Petit Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: X-Men Red #1

X-Men Red #1

When it comes to dual X-Men teams, it often feels like one of the teams is the “also rans”. Two teams of heavy hitters has happened but even then, there feels like a bit of a rivalry between them. Too often it’s just the personalities that really define the difference. X-Men Red #1 is an intriguing entry in the “Destiny of X” line of X-Men comics in that its focus is not on the X-Men of Earth, instead it’s a terraformed Mars, dubbed Arakko. Lead by Storm, the planet features mutants from Krakoa and Amenth, a combination that opens things up to a literal world of new characters.

With a world of possibilities, writer Al Ewing does a nice balance of old and new. There’s classic X-Men characters like Sunspot and James Proudstar (aka Warpath), newer X-Men like Vulcan, and then members of Amenth, generally new to readers. But, at the center of it all is Storm and Magneto, two heavy hitters who have shaped the X-Men throughout the decades and look to do so again in X-Men Red #1.

What’s interesting is Ewing’s focus. A world so knew has lead both Storm and Magneto to reflect on their past. Infinite possibilities of what to build has caused each to think about what they’ve done, what they’ve shaped, and how they’re viewed. Magneto, going by Max, is the most interesting of all the characters. His weariness shows a man who has recognized his failures and short comings and in many ways tired of the struggle. He’s the battle hardened vet shaped by years of abuse, torture, and hate, and forged from the horrors of what mankind can do. In his journey he meets a member of the Amenth who also was forged from bars and torture. The duo together bond over their pain and suffering. Ewing presents a Magneto who’s almost poetic in his musings, far displaced from his much more focused and planned statements during his leadership of Krakoa. The debut also directly takes on the opening of House of X/Powers of X when it comes to Storm and Magneto who both showed off nationalist tendencies. Max is directly confronted about his beliefs and views by his new friend who challenges a lot of the status quo.

Stefano Caselli‘s artwork is fantastic. Along with Federico Blee on color and Ariana Maher‘s lettering, the comic is a blend of fantasy and future. It’s a strange new world that doesn’t feel too alien to connect with. A bar fight involves a simple table being smashed over an individual that looks like a normal table. But, that bar is full of characters who look like something out of a sci-fi adventure. That sits side by side as Max and his new friend talk in fields that look straight out of feudal times as Max builds a castle of his own. The juxtaposition of it all is not lost and quite nice as worlds combine to forge something new, a brotherhood.

The question going into X-Men Red #1 is whether it can be more than just “X-Men on Mars”. The debut issue sets a groundwork that’s intriguing and interesting with conflict to come and political machinations and drama to keep things interesting. It’s a solid debut that promises a bright future for the once red planet.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Stefano Caselli
Color: Federico Blee Letterer: Ariana Maher Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: The Life of Captain Marvel #1

This week’s new comic book day sees a new beginning for Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel!

The Life of Captain Marvel #1 is by Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Marcio Menyz, Marguerite Sauvage, Clayton Cowles, Julian Totino Tedesco, Joe Quesada, Richard Isanove, Sana Takeda, Fiona Staples, Artgerm, Jay Bowen, Nick Russell, Sarah Brunstad, and Sana Amanat.

Get your copy in comic shops starting July 18. 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 – https://amzn.to/2LptMut https://amzn.to/2NmNGqE https://amzn.to/2Jwyk0p
TFAW – http://shrsl.com/127f2

 

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Review: Thor #1

This week’s new comic book day sees a new beginning for Thor!

Thor #1 is written by Jason Aaron and features art by Mike Del Mundo and Christian Ward, color from Marco D’Alfonso, lettering by VC’s Joe Sabino, and logo by Jay Bowen.

Get your copy in comic shops starting June 13. 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

 

 

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