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Preview: X-Men #3

X-Men #3

(W) Gerry Duggan (A/CA) Pepe Larraz
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 22, 2021
SRP: $3.99

EVOLUTION IS THE ENEMY!
The X-Men are no strangers to being targeted for their genes…but when the High Evolutionary returns with his brand of unnatural selection, the survival of the whole planet is at stake!

X-Men #3

Preview: Black Cat #9

Black Cat #9

(W) Jed MacKay (A) C.F. Villa (CA) Pepe Larraz
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 18, 2021
SRP: $3.99

“INFINITY SCORE” Continues!
• The hottest new character of the last five years, STAR, brings her reality-warping powers to bear in THE BLACK CAT!
• Who hired Felicia to do this job? Why do they want this infinite power?
• AND HOW DOES FELICIA THINK SHE IS GOING TO LIVE THROUGH THIS?

Black Cat #9

Giant-Sized Black Cat: Infinity Score will Reveal the New Wielder of the Infinity Stones

This summer, fans discovered the whereabouts of Marvel’s most legendary artifacts in Infinite Destinies! Unfolding over a series of epic annuals, this unpredictable story saw heroes from all corners of the Marvel Universe on a chase to prevent the powerful Infinity Stones from falling into the wrong hands. Central to the action was Marvel’s iconic thief Black Cat who walked away as the new wielder of this great cosmic power. The events of this story spun out into Infinity Score, the current arc in her hit ongoing series. Now, fans will witness the stunning conclusion to this grand saga in Giant-Size Black Cat: Infinity Score. Written by Black Cat writer Jed MacKay with art by C.F. Villa, this oversized special will be a character-redefining one-shot with huge repercussions for the future of the Marvel Universe…

Black Cat has brought half of the Infinity Stones together, collecting a level of power that hasn’t been seen in years! But to what end? This hasn’t taken her out of the crosshairs of Nick Fury OR Nighthawk, and with the Infinity Stones involved, can Thanos be far behind?!

Did Black Cat get lucky or did her luck just run out? Find out in the startling climax to Infinite Destinies when Giant-Size Black Cat: Infinity Score #1 hits stands in November! Check out this cover by Pepe Larraz!

Giant-Size Black Cat: Infinity Score

All-star talent celebrate the Fantastic Four’s 60th Anniversary this November

This November, fans will get to experience two of the Fantastic Four’s greatest adventures in a brand new way in Fantastic Four Anniversary Tribute #1! This giant-sized issue will present classic stories with stunning new artwork by today’s leading artists.

Sixty years ago, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby made history and brought about the beginning of the Marvel Age of comics with the release of Fantastic Four #1. Now a bevy of Marvel’s finest creators will pay tribute to that monumental moment by reinterpreting, page by page, the story from that inaugural release as well as Fantastic Four Annual #3, the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm!

Written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it features the art by Aco, Aaron Kuder, Adam Hughes, Albert Monteys, Alessandro Cappuccio, Bryan Hitch, Cafu, Carlos Pacheco, Chris Sprouse, Daniel Warren Johnson, David Lapham, Elsa Charretier, Erica D’Urso, Federico Vicentini, Greg Land, Javier Rodriguez, John Cassaday, John Romita Jr., Kate Niemczyk, Kei Zama, Leinil Francis Yu, Leonard Kirk, Lucas Werneck, Luciano Vecchio, Marco Checchetto, Mattia Del Mundo, Neal Adams, Nic Klein, Olivier Coipel, Paco Medina, Patch Zircher, Pepe Larraz, Ray-Anthony Height, Rod Reis, Ron Fenz, Simone Di Meo, Stefano Caselli, Steve Epting, Tom Reilly, Salvador Larroca, Jorge Fornes, Kim Jacinto, Walt Simonson, Leonardo Ortolai, Sanford Greene, Terry Dodson, and Mark Bagley. It features a main cover by Steve McNiven and variant cover by Jim Cheung.

See this modern take on two of the most pivotal moments in Marvel Comics history when Fantastic Four Anniversary Tribute #1 hits stands in November!

Preview: X-Men #2

X-Men #2

(W) Gerry Duggan (A/CA) Pepe Larraz
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 04, 2021
SRP: $3.99

ALWAYS BET ON X!
As threats hurtle toward the Earth from all sides, the fearless X-Men fight a seemingly unstoppable wave of annihilation…but even more dangerous threats lurk in the darkness, ready to strike in secret.

X-Men #2

Preview: Black Cat #8

Black Cat #8

(W) Jed MacKay (A) C.F. Villa (CA) Pepe Larraz
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 28, 2021
SRP: $3.99

“INFINITY SCORE” STARTS HERE!
• Felicia Hardy, a.k.a. the Black Cat, is hired to steal the Infinity Stones.
• Has anyone told her that these stones are now PEOPLE?
• Regardless, Nick Fury will do anything to stop the stone-bearers from being gathered, even if that means taking all nine of Felicia’s lives.
• Black Cat has been picking away at the corners of the Marvel Universe, but this heist will put her square in the middle… just where she DOES NOT WANT TO BE!

Black Cat #8

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


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Preview: X-Men #1

X-Men #1

(W) Gerry Duggan (A/CA) Pepe Larraz
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 07, 2021
SRP: $4.99

THESE X-MEN ARE… FEARLESS!
The heroes of Krakoa are here to save the planet! Things might be complicated between the nation of Krakoa and the rest of the world, 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. Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Sunfire, Rogue, Wolverine, Synch and Polaris are the chosen champions of mutantkind, and they will not shrink from any battle for their home planet. Writer Gerry Duggan (MARAUDERS, DEADPOOL, UNCANNY AVENGERS) reteams with superstar artist Pepe Larraz (HOUSE OF X, X OF SWORDS, UNCANNY AVENGERS) to chart the course of the X-Men in a world of the Reign of X!

X-Men #1
Almost American
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