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Review: X-Men #1

X-Men #1

Because it centers around a team of mutant heroes teaming up to beat up a giant villain, X-Men #1 could definitely be described as “meat and potato” superhero comics. But those meat and potatoes happen to be your older relative’s Sunday roast recipe. Plus it’s a damn superhero comic: fights are a staple of the genre, and Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia turn in a good one that builds on the strengths of the different members of the Krakoan X-Men team and features visual flourishes like inset panels to show the scale of the monstrosity their fighting as well as different color palettes for different kind of energy discharges (Psychic etc.) This fight also ties into the current throughline of the X-Books that is basically the mutants are flexing their superiority over humanity whether that’s terraforming Mars or building a treehouse in Central Park as their new headquarters. This leads to jealousy and enemies as the main antagonist of X-Men is more like Elon Musk than a cannon fodder robot.

X-Men #1 flows nicely from Duggan and Larraz’s work on Planet-Sized X-Men #1 beginning with yet another large building project, the Treehouse and Seneca Village in Central Park. Seneca Village was home to free Black landowners in the 19th century before it was razed to make Central Park so this move shows Krakoa’s opposition to oppression and reinforces the Civil Rights themes that have been a part of X-Men comics for decades. Or it could just be a symbolic gesture like naming a street after Martin Luther King Jr., but doing nothing to fight systemic racism in a lasting way. With the way the Krakoans have treated folks like the Terra Verdeans, I think it’s the 2nd thing. It’s a drone strike presided over by a Black/South Asian woman, who also has a thing for putting trans women in men’s prisons.

However, for the most part, Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz portray the X-Men as classic heroes saving the day and using the abilities in such an efficient way that they did this day-saving before the Avengers, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four arrive on the scene. (Duggan continues to write great dialogue for Ben Grimm in cameo appearances.) Even the usually arrogant Sunfire fits right in, and his solar fire powers the X-Mech that takes down the villain of the month. But, like a lot of the mutants’ actions during the Krakoa era of the X-Books, there’s something a little off about their actions, and investing billions of dollars in pharmaceutical money in Manhattan real estate is something a corporate baddie would do, not a team of heroes.

This critique of the X-Men comes from Ben Urich, who enjoys the vibe of Seneca Village and the Treehouse, but whose questions about the original death of Jumbo Carnation back in New X-Men are deflected by Cyclops. Cyclops also tells Jean Grey that he’s a little uncomfortable around the press. Urich’s dialogue and short data page article seems to show he has a positive view of the X-Men. However, the abruptness of Cyclops’ movements around him as well as Pepe Larraz using his glasses to hide Urich’s facial expressions show that maybe he doesn’t completely trust his new neighbors. Urich’s appearance in X-Men #1 grounds this new team in New York City almost as much as the Fantastic Four, Avengers, and Spider-Man cameos from afar and coupled with the confidence of the narrative captions as well Jean Grey and Cyclops’ dialogue shows that they’re ready to be the main superhero team in the city that’s the heart of the Marvel Universe.

From this review, you might think that the X-Men are more like X-Force in X-Men #1. This is actually the opposite of how Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz portray them in the majority of the comic. Although they’re caught unaware initially by their opponent, they are a smooth, adaptive fighting team. Duggan and Larraz establish Synch as the team’s glue and ideas man even before the battle as he uses Forge’s abilities to tinker around the Treehouse before turning his talents towards the X-Mech. I like how Pepe Larraz doesn’t show the X-Mech in a splash page, but also spends the page before showing the team using their powers in, well, sync to build something to stop the baddie. He can do busy multi-panel pages as well as more wide screen work like Rogue flies into the heat of battle as the X-Men’s tank, and Gracia is there to give each panel a distinct mood like colder colors for the psychically affected bystanders while the X-Men put together a plan. Larraz’s work screams big, damn superhero book, and he has fun with some the science fiction elements towards the end of the book.

On the tin, X-Men #1 is a team of badass mutants saving New York City from a creepy alien being with blockbuster visuals from Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, who make the Treehouse as gorgeous and utopian as the team’s opponent is dark and cold. But Gerry Duggan still nudges at the cracks of the Krakoan experiment through remarks by side characters, data pages, and in time-honored genre tradition, the issue’s Big Bad, who is definitely a billionaire I would want to stay stuck in space. It has loads of action and few thought-provoking ideas and is overall just a lot of fun. I mean, in addition to the X-Mech and Cyclops geeking out way too much over the treehouse, there’s space Vegas that use black holes to simulate the “always day” casino feel plus Larraz nails Wolverine aka Laura Kinney’s physicality throughout the issue.

Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Pepe Larraz
Colors: Marte Gracia Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Marvel Celebrates 80 Years of Captain America with Variant Covers

This year, Marvel is honoring the 80th anniversary of Captain America with a new collection of extraordinary variant covers! Gracing the covers of your favorite ongoing series throughout July will be reimagined versions of iconic heroes including Black Widow, Miles Morales, and Spider-Man. These star-spangled homages have been designed and crafted by some of the industry’s greatest artistic talents: John Cassaday, Steve McNiven, Iban Coello, Pepe Larraz, Leinil Francis Yu, Mark Brooks, Nick Bradshaw, and Terry and Rachel Dodson.

See all eight Captain America 80th Anniversary Variant Covers now and collect them all starting on July 14th!

  • IRON MAN #10 CAPTAIN AMERICA 80TH VARIANT COVER by JOHN CASSADAY & DAVE STEWART
  • SPIDER-WOMAN #13 CAPTAIN AMERICA 80TH VARIANT COVER by STEVE MCNIVEN & FRANK D’ARMATA
  • MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #28 CAPTAIN AMERICA 80TH VARIANT COVER by IBAN COELLO & ALEJANDRO SÀNCHEZ
  • MOON KNIGHT #1 CAPTAIN AMERICA 80TH VARIANT COVER by PEPE LARRAZ & MARTE GRACIA
  • BLACK CAT #8 CAPTAIN AMERICA 80TH VARIANT COVER by LEINIL FRANCIS YU & SUNNY GHO
  • BLACK WIDOW #9 CAPTAIN AMERICA 80TH VARIANT COVER by MARK BROOKS
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #34 CAPTAIN AMERICA 80TH VARIANT COVER by NICK BRADSHAW & RACHELLE ROSENBERG
  • THE MIGHTY VALKYRIES #4 CAPTAIN AMERICA 80TH VARIANT COVER by TERRY DODSON & RACHEL DODSON

Review: Planet-Size X-Men #1

Planet Size X-Men

With the Hellfire Gala underway, Planet-Size X-Men hinted at something big coming from the world of X-Men. In a relaunch that has been constantly big ideas, the question remained exactly how big? The hints have been building for some time as to where the X-Men’s future lies and it’s to the stars.

Planet-Size X-Men is ambitious and full of spectacle. It’s visually impressive and the steps it goes through as far as what’s done delivers a believable aspect to it all. Gerry Duggan delivers a comic that ups the stakes and feels like it sets the next chapter for the X-Universe. It also ups the tension between Krakoa and the rest of Earth.

Planet-Size X-Men is a comic that had a lot of hype going into it and it really hits that level and delivers. It’s hard to go into it without spoiling the story and this is one you don’t want spoiled. It makes X-series like S.W.O.R.D. much more important and you can see where the vision for the X-line is going. This issue takes things to the next level and it’s hard to say how exactly. But, this has some massive implications and there’s some hints at those.

The art by Pepe Larraz is impressive. With color by Marte Gracia, lettering by Clayton Cowles and design by Tom Muller, the comic looks great. There’s a grand epic feel about the comic. That’s not just in the story it attempts to tell but the visuals it delivers. This is a summer blockbuster in comic form. Each page is massive and you imagine everything that goes with the visuals. You can hear the noise. You can feel the explosions. There’s the grumbling of the ground and volcanic explosions. Get your popcorn and enjoy.

Planet-Size X-Men takes things to the next level. It’s an epic story that has huge implications for the future of the Marvel universe. It also in ways celebrates the past with numerous references to the history of the X-Men. If you thought House of X/Powers of X changed the status quo, this is up there on that level. This is one no X-fan should miss out on and shows the god-like power of the X-Men.

Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.45 Art: 9.4 Overall: 8.55 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

The X-Men #1 Trailer Has Them Standing Fearless Against Incredible Enemies

Mutantkind has chosen its new champions! Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Polaris, Sunfire, Rogue, Synch, and Wolverine will serve as the first X-Men team since Jonathan Hickman transformed the franchise in House of X and Powers of X. The superhero squad’s fearless adventures will be told in the pages of X-Men, the new flagship X-title debuting on July 7th.  Brought to you by a team of X-Men all-stars—writer Gerry Duggan, artist Pepe Larraz, and colorist Marte Gracia—the series will continue to evolve mutant storytelling with high-stakes heroics, deadly new threats, and fascinating new developments for mutantkind.

Once again protecting a world that has hated and feared them their whole life, original X-Men Cyclops and Marvel Girl have rejected the notion that mutantkind is only out for itself and brought back the world’s premier team of mutant superheroes. Things might be complicated between the new mutant homeland of Krakoa and the rest of the Marvel Universe, but to the X-Men, things are simple—you do what’s right, you protect those who need protecting and you save the world we all share. See this new team battle to protect all people of their home planet in the X-Men #1 Trailer, featuring never-before-seen artwork from the debut issue!

Be there for the start of a new mutant era when X-Men #1 hits stand on July 7th!

Peach Momoko, Ron Lim, Israel Silva, Valerio Schiti, Marte Gracia, Skottie Young, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, and Morry Hollowell Ceberate the Wedding of Doom!

The greatest wedding in Marvel Comics history is almost here! Just in time for the Fantastic Four’s 60th Anniversary, the latest arc in writer Dan Slott and artist R.B. Silva’s thrilling run on Fantastic Four will kick off in Fantastic Four #32. Packed with unpredictable twists that will change the First Family’s dynamic forever, “The Bride of Doom” promises to join the ranks of the greatest stories in the Fantastic Four mythos. To celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Doctor Victor Von Doom and Victorious, some of the industry’s hottest artists have turned out stunning variant covers including Marvel’s Stormbreaker Peach Momoko, Skottie Young, Valerio Schiti, and Ron Lim! The main cover is by Mark Brooks.

Check out all the covers now, including a Hidden Gem Variant Cover with artwork by Jack Kirby. And don’t miss this glorious affair when Fantastic Four #32 hits stands on May 12th!

  • Variant Cover by PEACH MOMOKO (MAR210541)
  • Virgin Variant Cover by PEACH MOMOKO (FEB19320)
  • Variant Cover by RON LIM & ISRAEL SILVA (MAR210540)
  • Wraparound Variant Cover by VALERIO SCHITI & MARTE GRACIA (MAR210542)
  • Variant Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG (MAR210544)
  • Hidden Gem Variant Cover by JACK KIRBY, JOE SINNOTT & MORRY HOLLOWELL (MAR210543)

The New X-Men Team Has Been Revealed and Debuts in July

After months of speculation, Marvel has unveiled the new team of X-Men! Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Sunfire, Rogue, Wolverine, Synch, and Polaris will be the lineup in X-Men, the new ongoing X-series launching on July 7. Brought to you by a team of X-Men all-stars—writer Gerry Duggan, artist Pepe Larraz, and colorist Marte Gracia—this new flagship X-Men title will showcase the incredible adventures of the first X-Men team since the mutant nation of Krakoa was formed in Jonathan Hickman’s revolutionary House of X and Powers of X.

The current era of X-Men has evolved mutant storytelling like never before. No longer protecting a world that hates and fears them, the X-Men said goodbye to their dream of coexistence and founded a thriving mutant homeland. But in the aftermath of X of Swords, original X-Men Cyclops and Marvel Girl realized that the world needed its premiere team of mutant superheroes. Things might be complicated between the nation of Krakoa and the rest of the Marvel Universe, but to the X-Men, things are simple—you do what’s right, you protect those who need protecting and you save the world we all share. This new team are the chosen champions of mutantkind, and they’re up for any battle to protect their people and their home planet.

See the new team in all their glory on the main cover by Pepe Larraz as well as a special series of variant covers by Marvel’s Stormbreaker artists! Over four connecting covers, this phenomenal jam-piece stands as an homage to Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-Men #1, the all-time best-selling comic book that ushered in the franchise’s nineties blockbuster era. Each elite artist turned out a stunning depiction of the following characters:

  • Juann Cabal – Professor X
  • Carmen Carnero – Marvel Girl
  • Peach Momoko – Sunfire
  • Iban Coello – Synch
  • R.B. Silva – Cyclops
  • Natacha Bustos – Wolverine
  • Patrick Gleason – Rogue
  • Joshua Cassara – Polaris

Don’t miss the team’s official debut during June’s HELLFIRE GALA, the highly anticipated event that will tie in to all of the X-Men titles.

Exclusive Preview: Black Cat #5

Black Cat #5

(W) Jed MacKay (A) Michael Dowling (C) Brian Reber (L) Ferran Delgado
(CA) Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia (VCA) Carlos Pacheco
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 14, 2021
SRP: $3.99

THE CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG!
• The Black Fox has sent Felicia and her crew to steal all kinds of items from all the ends of the Marvel U. But why?
• You’ll only find that plan here as there is zero chance you’ve guessed it already.

Black Cat #5

There’s Big Surprises in Store for the Fantastic Four to Celebrate 60 Years

The Fantastic Four, the very superheroes that kicked off Marvel Comics’ Silver Age are celebrating 60 incredible years! Home to concepts and characters that revolutionized comic book storytelling, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s beloved creations have enjoyed one of the most memorable sagas in comic book history. Now, get ready to see what’s in store for Marvel’s First Family this year in all-new teaser artwork by Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia. This epic piece foreshadows the Fantastic Four’s action-packed year, giving fans a hint at the deadly threats they’ll be facing and a look at an unexpected new arc that kicks off in May by Dan Slott and R.B. Silva!

Keep an eye out for announcements about the other exciting things Marvel Comics has in store for the Fantastic Four’s milestone celebration.

Fantastic Four 60th Anniversary teaser

Review: S.W.O.R.D. #2

S.W.O.R.D. #2

S.W.O.R.D. began with a solid issue introducing us to this new aspect to the world of the X-Men. We were left with some intriguing questions and a direction I really wanted to dive in to. But, the second issue pivots. It’s distracted a bit by the events of King in Black playing out through numerous titles in the Marvel Universe. S.W.O.R.D. #2 had to do it in some ways but like so many new series that dive into an event, it feels a bit like a distraction. It’s a sidequest to the main event we want to see.

Al Ewing does his best with the situation by having the issue somewhat organically slide into it all. They’re on a mission, cut off from Earth. With no communication, a team needs to be assembled to help their fellow X-Men and see what’s going on.

The concept makes sense and it works. But, it feels a bit jarring as the Knull’s “victory” has just happened, there’s no lead up to it as if this group has been doing little to stop Knull and help up to this point.

But, Ewing focuses on the characters and their personalities to make the comic interesting. Like some other X-series involved with X of Swords, S.W.O.R.D. #2 keeps the focus on the characters and their being dumped into the situation. This isn’t a situation first sort of comic where characters are forced into the story.

But Ewing is even smarter focusing on just a few members of the cast. Clearly some of the personalities who will play a big role going forward. Wiz-Kid, Frenzy, and Abigail Brand get their moments but it’s Cortez, Random, and Mentallo that stand out. Mentallo and Cortez especially are the highlights of the comic as one plays a big role in Brand’s plan and the other schemes in classic ways. Those three characters should make long time X fans happy as the comic dances around their personalities hinting at the chaos they all will likely cause.

Valerio Schiti‘s art is top notch. Marte Gracia joins on color and Ariana Maher on lettering and together, the trio delivers a visually entertaining comic. Ewing delivers a script that has great moments but the art is the exclamation point that really makes it pop. Body language and face reactions are key in nailing the tone which feels more comedic than anything else. There’s a light and entertaining tone to the art instead of the dire situation you’d expect concerning what’s going on.

S.W.O.R.D. #2 feels a bit like a distraction from the main show but the team makes it work. Along with strong visuals, the story overall helps build what’s coming by focusing on a few characters who clearly will shake things up in upcoming issues. They make the best with what they’ve got and overall, it doesn’t completely derail the series too much. While I’d have liked to see it continue with the seeds laid by the first issue, S.W.O.R.D. #2 does a solid job of laying even more for machinations yet to come.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Valerio Schiti
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Ariana Maher Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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