Tag Archives: pepe larraz

The Avengers and Fantastic Four Pave the Way to Empyre

When Empyre #1 hits stores in April, it will be a culmination of decades worth of Marvel storytelling in an epic sci-fi tapestry that will delight both longtime comic fans and newcomers! Before the debut issue lands, two all-new essential one-shots will pave the way to this grand event: Empyre #0: Avengers and Empyre #0: Fantastic Four! This pair of stories will be written by the architects of Empyre themselves, Al Ewing and Dan Slott with art by Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva! Fresh off their work on House of X and Powers of X, these two superstar artists will once again complement each other’s skills in mirroring stories!

In Ewing and Larraz’s Empyre #0: Avengers, old allies have returned and the Avengers are called to the new Green Area of the Moon to help face a terrible enemy. And in Slott and Silva’s Empyre #0: Fantastic Four, the Fantastic Four will witness the final conflict of the Kree/Skrull War and meet a long-hidden Elder of the Universe… the mysterious Profiteer! Both one-shots will lay the cosmic groundwork for Marvel’s next incredible saga and feature first appearances of major new players in the Marvel Universe!

Check out the glorious connecting covers by iconic artist Jim Cheung below, and don’t miss the pivotal start to this legendary event this April!

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2019

2019 was an interesting year for me comics-wise as I did not get to read as widely or deeply as I liked because of a variety of factors, including my final two semesters of graduate school, working two library jobs (Where ordering and promoting comics were part of my duties.), and an impending move. Also, I decided to catch up on some “classic” comics like Miracleman, Ghost in the Shell, Junji Ito‘s Tomie, and most of Brian Michael Bendis‘ and Michael Oeming‘s Powers, and Gail Simone‘s run on Secret Six.

However, I did have the opportunity to read some fantastic comics in 2019 as two of my favorite series of all time reached their conclusion. I also branched out a little bit, and this is the first time my year-end list has featured books from Ahoy and Harper Collins as well as a self-published comic.

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion

10. Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion (Dark Horse)

Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, and Nick Filardi‘s Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion is as wild and anarchic as the Netflix show was tame and Muggle-friendly. Hotel Oblivion is a love letter to Silver Age supervillains while actually taking time to deal with the relationships between the Hargreaves siblings. Bá and Filardi’s visuals are a chaos magic-shaped bullet to the head and especially sings in the world and city-rending set pieces towards the end of the miniseries that I read in trade paperback format.

Dreamers of the Day

9. Dreamers of the Day (Self-published)

Beth Barnett‘s self-published graphic memoir-meets-historical biography Dreamers of the Day is one of the most unique comics I’ve read in recent years. It chronicles the author’s trip to England as she conducts research on a graphic biography about T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia and is educational while being emotionally compelling. If there’s one word to describe this comic, it is “enthusiastic” as Barnett’s passion for making art, studying history, and making it relevant to contemporary readers shines through in her iconic, Herge-esque art style and accessible prose.

Winter Soldier

8. Winter Soldier #2-5 (Marvel)

Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis create a redemptive narrative for the sidekick-turned assassin-turned superhero and occasional black ops agent, Bucky Barnes in their Winter Soldier miniseries. The comic’s beating heart is the flawed relationship between Bucky and RJ, a child assassin, that Bucky sees a lot of himself in. There is both humor and tragedy in their interactions. Reis’ lush pencils to color art style works for both the emotional breakdowns and action beatdowns.

Steeple

7. Steeple #1-4 (Dark Horse)

The fantastic John Allison (Giant Days) both writes and draws this miniseries about an Anglican priest in training named Billie, who is assigned to a parish in the kooky village of Tredregyn, Cornwall. Steeple has an “anything but the kitchen sink” tone as its plots include fights against sea monsters, a charismatic Christian cult connected to windmills, and an ongoing conflict against the Church of Satan. (Billie also strikes up an unlikely friendship with the Satanic priestess, Maggie.) Allison mines a lot of humor out of the idiosyncrasies of different religions and small town life as well as the melodrama of good versus evil, and his art is expressive as always with the help of colorist Sarah Stern.

Second Coming

6. Second Coming #1-5 (Ahoy)

Speaking of religious satire, Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, and Andy Troy do an excellent job of showing how the historical figure Jesus would be received in the modern world with the twist of having an “edgy” superhero named Sunstar as a roommate. Beginning with a retelling of the creation of the world, Russell and Pace walk a tightrope between reverence and irreverence touching on a variety of issues, including megachurches, homophobia, and Pauline theology. Another enjoyable part of Second Coming is Leonard Kirk’s inking when the story decides to be a traditional superhero comic for a second, or there’s a flashback to Satan tempting Jesus as he plays a complex role in the narrative.

Once and Future

5. Once and Future #1-5 (BOOM! Studios)

I knew Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain‘s Once and Future would be my cup of tea when it featured Arthurian legends and the town of Bath where I studied abroad in summer 2014 as plot points as well as having a complicated relationship between a grandmother and grandson at its core. Once and Future is action-packed read steeped in Arthurian lore with dynamic art from Mora and a mystical color palette from Bonvillain. It’s a straightforward adventure/dysfunctional family/romance comic that also plays with the symbols (Excalibur, Holy Grail etc.) and tropes of these kinds of stories, and I’m glad that it’s an ongoing and not just a mini.

Giant Days

4. Giant Days #46-54, As Time Goes By (BOOM! Studios)

Esther, Daisy, and Susan finally go their separate ways in the final issues of John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar‘s Giant Days plus a reunion one-shot where Daisy and Susan tag-team and rescue Esther from the clutches of Type A London publishing types. The final year of Giant Days had a lot of pathos to go with its usual comedy with several issues focusing on the strained relationship between Susan’s boyfriend McGraw and his father and his reaction to his sudden death. There is also all the usual college shenanigans with moments of reflection to show that these women have come a long way from randomly sharing a room back in far off 2015.

House of X and Powers of X

3. House of X #1-6, Powers of X #1-6 (Marvel)

In their ambitious twelve-issue House of X/Powers of X “event”, Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, and Pepe Larraz made the X-Men relevant again thanks to a heavy dose of speculative fiction, geopolitics, and good old fashioned superhero soap opera. Hickman gave B-list characters like Goldballs, Doug Ramsey, and of course, Moira MacTaggert and the sentient island of Krakoa pivotal roles in his story of a rise of a mutant nation as well as the usual suspects like Magneto, Professor X, the Summers family, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost. He created a fantastic sandbox for these fan-favorite characters to play in as well as leaving some intrigue open for the spinoff stories. (The whole Moira X thing, Kitty Pryde being unable to enter Krakoa, Apocalypse and Sinister’s intentions.) I haven’t been this excited to read the X-Books as a line since Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen were writing Wolverine and the X-Men and Uncanny X-Men respectively. Plus the Hickman designed diagrams add great depth to the story and area visual treat.

New Kid

2. New Kid (HarperCollins)

New Kid is a middle-grade graphic novel by cartoonist Jerry Craft that was recommended to me by my supervisor at the public library I worked at. Itis about an African-American teenager named Jordan, who transfers from a diverse public middle school to a less diverse private one. Over the course of the book, Craft fleshes out Jordan and his relationships with his old friends from his neighborhood to his new ones at the private school as he navigates playing soccer, racial microaggressions, crushes, and bonding over art and video games. The comic deftly navigates race and class issues while being an enjoyable slice of life story with Craft adding some fun visual flourishes like making the title page of each chapter a pop culture homage. New Kid‘s clear storytelling and a relatable storyline about not fitting in at a new school make it a book that I would recommend to kids and adults, comics and non-comics readers.

The Wicked + The Divine

1. The Wicked + the Divine #41-45 (Image)

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson really stuck the landing in the final arc of The Wicked + the Divine, which was titled “Okay” and followed the surviving Pantheon members as they gave up divinity and lived normal lives. Basically, they grew up, and so did I. The last issues of WicDiv are peppered with powerful moments as Gillen and McKelvie connect flashbacks of the millennia past to the Pantheon’s reality and let Ananke/Minerva be a manipulator, Luci be wicked, Baal be a protector, and Laura be human one last time. The final issue is an epilogue set in the future and filled with love and emotion with McKelvie and Wilson nailing the look of the elderly, former Pantheon members. It’s sad to see WicDiv go, but it had a beautiful ending and was my favorite comic, both of 2019 and of the decade as a whole.

Marvel’s Pull List Reveals Details on March Releases like Outlawed, Immortal Hulk, Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto, and More!

Marvel has released its special edition of The Pull List, unveiling exclusive information for the hottest books coming to comic shops this March! This month’s episode showcased brand new titles like Spider-Woman, Outlawed, Marvel’s Avengers: Captain America, Marvel’s Avengers: Black Widow, and Giant-Size X-men: Magneto. It also shared first looks at upcoming issues of your favorite ongoing titles like the special oversized 750th Hulk issue, Immortal Hulk #33, Johnny Blaze facing off against Doctor Strange in Ghost Rider #6, and Fantastic Four #20, the first lead-in to the biggest event of 2020!

SPIDER-WOMAN #1

Written by KARLA PACHECO
Art by PERE PEREZ
Cover by JUNGGEUN YOON

Jessica Drew hasn’t been feeling like herself lately (she’s not a Skrull, we promise). When the angry, irritable, and unwell Spider-Woman takes a simple security gig to help get back on her feet, she finds herself besieged by unknown forces out to destroy everything around her. What’s wrong with Jessica? Just how DID she get this job? And who are these violent lunatics who keep trying to blow her up? WHO CARES? Does Spider-Woman have someone to punch? THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS.

An explosive new series that pushes Spider-Woman into new heights of action and adventure from the mad minds of Karla Pacheco and Pere Pérez, this is the Spider-Woman book you’ve been waiting for!

SPIDER-WOMAN #1

OUTLAWED #1

Written by EVE L. EWING
Art by KIM JACINTO
Cover by PEPE LARRAZ

EXPLODING FROM THE PAGES OF INCOMING!

In the wake of a devastating tragedy, the United States passes a law that will shake the Marvel Universe to its core.

The world has had enough of teen heroes. The crackdown has begun. And the lives of Marvel’s next generation will never be the same again.

EVE L. EWING and KIM JACINTO launch a new era in this game-changing event one-shot that will send shockwaves across the Marvel Universe! You won’t want to miss this one!

OUTLAWED #1

MARVEL’S AVENGERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA #1

Written by PAUL ALLOR
Art by GEORGES JEANTY
Cover by STONEHOUSE

CAPTAIN AMERICA BATTLES BATROC IN THIS NEW PREQUEL TO THE UPCOMING VIDEO GAME, MARVEL’S AVENGERS!

Since World War II, Steve Rogers has fought for the side of good as CAPTAIN AMERICA!  As one of his last friends from the war is laid to rest, Cap must contend with the mysterious robbery of a high-tech weapons company.  But what is BATROC THE LEAPER planning, and how will this technology change the FUTURE of the AVENGERS?

The journey to MARVEL’S AVENGERS continues with a mystery and an adventure that sets the groundwork for an inciting incident in the upcoming video game!

MARVEL’S AVENGERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA #1

MARVEL’S AVENGERS: BLACK WIDOW #1

Written by CHRISTOS GAGE
Art by MICHELE BANDINI 
Cover by STONEHOUSE

THE SUPER SPY STARS IN THE FINAL ADVENTURE BEFORE THE LAUNCH OF MARVEL’S AVENGERS!

Former Russian spy Natasha Romanoff has joined SHIELD, but when a spectre from her past resurfaces, where do her loyalties really lie?  And what is the source of her deadly feud with the villainous TASKMASTER?  Solve the mystery in this adventure leading up to the upcoming MARVEL’S AVENGERS video game as we explore a key episode from the dramatic saga of the woman called BLACK WIDOW!

MARVEL’S AVENGERS: BLACK WIDOW #1

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: MAGNETO #1

Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Art and Cover by BEN OLIVER

HICKMAN & OLIVER MASTER MAGNETISM!

Jonathan Hickman continues his one-shots showcasing some of Marvel’s best artists! This time, he teams with Ben Oliver (ULTIMATE X-MEN,

THUNDERBOLTS) to bring a tale of Krakoan Ambassador and Master of Magnetism, Magneto! Krakoa may be only for mutants, but mutants still need to deal with the human world around them. Magneto has a plan for that.

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: MAGNETO #1

IMMORTAL HULK #33

Written by AL EWING
Art by JOE BENNETT
Cover by ALEX ROSS

Celebrating 750 ISSUES of the INCREDIBLE H%LKTM! Something is wrong. Something has compromised the simulacrum. EXTRA-SIZE HULK-SM&SHING ACTIONTM! Banner is refusing to yield. Something is wrong. PL#S! ENTER – THE THOUGHTFUL MAN! Something is wrong. Something is wrong. Something is wrong.

IMMORTAL HULK #33

GHOST RIDER #6

Written by ED BRISSON
Art by JUAN FRIGERI
Cover by AARON KUDER

Celebrating 750 ISSUES of the INCREDIBLE H%LKTM! Something is wrong. Something has compromised the simulacrum. EXTRA-SIZE HULK-SM&SHING ACTIONTM! Banner is refusing to yield. Something is wrong. PL#S! ENTER – THE THOUGHTFUL MAN! Something is wrong. Something is wrong. Something is wrong.

GHOST RIDER #6

FANTASTIC FOUR #20

Written by DAN SLOTT
Art by SEAN IZAAKSE
Cover by NICK BRADSHAW

The Mole Man and his biggest Kaiju return to the surface, with all of their righteous wrath aimed at one man… Wyatt Wingfoot! How can the Human Torch and Sky possibly save him? Y’know, this really would’ve been a good time to have brought ALL of the Fantastic Four! Also this issue: Meet a never-before-seen Elder of the Universe! Who are they, and how will they change the FF’s life… forever?

FANTASTIC FOUR #20

Outlawed Kicks Off One of Marvel’s Biggest 2020 Events

This March, Marvel’s brightest heroes will defend their very right to save the world in Outlawed, an event one-shot that will kick off one of 2020’s biggest events! A devastating tragedy causes the government to crack down on young vigilantes, sending shockwaves throughout the entire Marvel Universe. With various stories spinning out of it throughout next year, Outlawed is just the epic beginning of a bold new era for Marvel’s most promising heroes!

With the lives of Marvel’s most popular heroes from Miles Morales to Ms. Marvel thrown into chaos, Outlawed will raise tough questions that Chicago-based writer and scholar Dr. Eve L. Ewing is more than ready to tackle.

Ewing said in the announcement the conflict is more than young people being in conflict with the government. There’s much bigger questions as to what we ask of them. They’re asked to be both independent and subservient at other times. Every generation and era faces new challenges and the young often have wisdom and insight that’s not appreciated.

Outlawed #1 by Eve L. Ewing and Kim Jacinto and featuring a cover by Pepe Larraz is on sale this March!

Outlawed #1

Returning To The X-Men: Powers Of X #6

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


I’ve found that the Powers Of X comics have been used to fill in information holes and expand upon points made in earlier issue of House Of X. That’s largely the same here, with Powers Of X #6 expanding upon a certain scene within the finale of the aforementioned comic.

It’s that finale that has been sitting with me for several days, delaying the release of this column as I try and make sense of how the House/Powers Of X event has left me feeling. On the one hand, as a reintroduction to the X-Men after nearly six years, it has definitely set me up for success. It has laid the foundation stones for the plethora of new X-Men books coming out starting this week, and while I have no intention of picking them all up, I’ll certainly read two or three.

I’ll be entering the new X-books at a place that will allow me to enjoy the stories for what they are without trying to piece together various arcs from online snippets and editor’s notes in the comics themselves. I’ll know that the mutants have created their own nation, almost entirely exclusive to mutants. In that regard, it was an unmitigated success.

In that regard.

If you were waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it comes.

House/Powers Of X has shifted the X-Men’s place from a minority group fighting for peaceful coexistence with humanity to an elitist nation who think themselves above humanity. While there may be peaceful coexistence, it won’t be as equals anymore.

There are two prime quotes that exemplify this for me, the first has been included in every version of this column and comes from the final page of the first issue. If you need a reminder, scroll up. The second comes from House Of X #5, immediately after a large number of mutants arrive on Krakoa.

House Of X #5 p. 30

It’s with Apocalypse’s line that “you have finally become what I intended you to be. I couldn’t be more proud.” that I realized the X-Men had embraced the big blue mutant’s mantra of “survival of the fittest” in the most obvious was possible. They created a nation of the “the fittest.”

A nation where no mutant need stay dead (and I still don’t know if the new not-technically-a-clone Wolverine after his death and regrowth (read House #4 and #5 for details) has adamantium in his bones or not. If he does, how did it get put into the new body? That’s actually the least of my questions regarding the resurrection process, if I’m honest, but it’s one I focus on because it’s that kind of nitpicking detail I want. No, my bigger question is why does Professor X only copy mutants? Why not expand to humanity as a whole?

Is it because of the constraints of Cerebro as a whole? Unlikely, seeing as how Forge could overcome those with enough time as he did the initial design in Powers #5. No, instead it’s almost like Xavier doesn’t care as much about humans as he does mutants.

Which is a stunning revelation from a man who preached peaceful coexistence for decades (despite having moments of being a slight creep over the years – just google them). Yes, it’s a bold new direction for the X-Men going forward, but one has to wonder; the X-Men have for decades stood as an allegory for minorities and the down trodden. Is this shift emblematic of those minorities finally going back where they came from, or a shift toward a position of elitism as the mutants embrace the superior in homo superior?

Powers Of X #5 p.23

How the X-Men are handled from here on out will be very interesting. At the least, this event has me intrigued enough to pick up X-Men #1 when it hits the shelves this week. Though I’ll be keeping the positional shift firmly in mind as I continue to follow the adventures of the X-Men.


“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #6

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


It has taken me longer to write the penultimate Returning To The X-Men column than I expected or hoped it would. Although part of that is down to some spontaneous renovations at home, it’s also because it took me longer to digest this issue than the others. When it comes to the finale to one half of the current X-event, I had a lot of trouble deciding whether this was the end or a beginning.

House of X #6

That probably sounds cliched.

But here’s the thing; as House/Powers Of X has progressed, it has felt less like a culmination of events that led to the first issue and more of a clean slate for Hickman to restart the X-Men’s direct without rebooting or retconning anything. In fact, a knowledge of certain key events in mutant history does provide an additional depth to your understanding, but it isn’t required as Hickman does a great job in revealing the bare minimum to grasp why those key events were key events.

Yes, you probably need at least some understand as to who the X-Men are, but anybody who has read X-Men comics in the past (even if you haven’t read in years) will recognize the major characters – though some changes may throw you for a loop (such as Professor X walking again – though at least he’s still bald). Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know who Glob Herman or Armor is as long as you know who the core X-Men characters are (Cyclops, Magneto, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Xavier to name just a few).

Because this story is framed more as a beginning than an ending, it is perhaps the most accessible event Marvel have had in years.

House Of X-#6 spends most of the issue discussing the new laws of the mutant nation and how they apply to mutants going forward. It’s perhaps one of the most unconventional finales that I have read in a long time in that it spends very little time recapping previous events before going into a balls to the wall action issue – instead, we see the new Council of Mutants calmly and rationally deciding the first three laws and passing judgement on a mutant who has violated one of them. Although this still wraps up the six issues of House Of X, it also firmly establishes the new status quo for the Marvel universe and its merry mutants, and it does so with a subtle grace that for me has come to define this event.

When it comes to the point of this column, exploring whether a new reader can effectively just jump in with the current X-Event with only enough X-Men knowledge to recognize a few characters, well the answer is a clear and obvious yes – if you start at the beginning.

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, Powers Of X #6? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*? Did I get the right release schedule?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: House of X #6

HOUSE OF X #6

House of X #6 wraps up one of the two series writer Jonathan Hickman has been weaving. It has created a new status quo for Marvel’s X-Universe and shaken up what we’ve know.

The finale begins with a familiar scene of Charles Xavier addressing the world and letting everyone know about the miracle drugs that have been discovered, the establishment of a new mutant nation, and his plans for recognition. But, Hickman cements Xavier as no longer the dreamer looking for peace and equality. Instead, Xavier’s dream is more of Magneto’s. It’s of mutant dominance and inheritance. Xavier has crossed over into nationalism and echoes some of the philosophy of white nationalism in particular. Xavier is no longer the hero (as dubious as that title was based on actions) philosopher. Instead, he is now what he fought against for so many years.

Mutant law now supersedes the “law of man” and the law of other nations. The sharing of medicine comes with strings attached. Xavier is now a cold and calculating tyrant in the making with a corrupted philosophy and outlook.

And philosophy is at the top of Hickman’s to-do list for the issue. House of X #6 is focused on the establishment of law in Krakoa. We see the first meeting of the new council and their passing judgment on Sabretooth. Laws are debated in a watered-down Model UN that feels more idealistic West Wing than gritty reality. It goes through the motions as if it has depth but that depth of thought is only inch deep. It’s Aaron Sorkin for the spandex crowd.

The art for the issue is stunning. Pepe Larraz‘s line are enhanced by the colors of Marte Gracia and David Curiel. Along with lettering by Clayton Cowles, it all comes together for some of the best visuals of the series. There’s something ominous and frightening about this establishment of a nation. Angles and panels are used to throw the reader off a little making it not quite as a clear cut positive. Sabretooth’s judgment is the perfect example of delivering a bit of horror among the debate and process. Tom Muller‘s designs continue to lay out Hickman’s new world order. It feels like a sourcebook to a well thought out roleplaying game.

House of X #6 is an interesting comics. It cements Hickman’s vision but also cements these aren’t the X-Men that we’ve come to know. They no longer fight for equality, they demand dominance. They see themselves as the rightful inheritors of Earth. The X-Men are now what they used to fight against.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia and David Curiel Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.7 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #5

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


Well House Of X #4 was… well let’s just say it had some finality to it. Especially for a certain group of mutants. After the heavy death toll last issue, I was curious how Hickman was going to reverse the body count; especially with said mutants being featured in October’s relaunch of the X-Books, you knew the deaths wouldn’t stick. I wasn’t expecting to see the solution revealed in House Of X #5.

I’ve been really enjoying the House/Powers Of X event thus far, it has been an interesting reintroduction to the X-Men for me, and is an event that isn’t using huge set piece fight scenes to sell comics. No, the appeal of this event for me is that we’re getting a a story that’s going to reframe how we look at the X-Men in the Marvel Universe, an event that is more of a beginning than a culmination of several years worth of preplanning and build up.

It is perhaps the most accessible event Marvel have had in years.

But despite the eight issues we’ve had so far, I’m still not overly sure how happy I am with this comic as a whole.

The solution to the death of an entire team of X-Men last issue feels… strangely cheap. It removes the value of their sacrifice, and even with Xavier’s “a piece of me dies each time you do” line to the newly resurrected Cyclops, the resurrection process really removes almost any threat of death to the mutants going forward.

Because whenever they die, a team of mutants can just regrow a clone body for Xavier to imprint a copy of said mutant’s mind into. Which gives the term comic book death an entirely new meaning. It also makes every mutant functionally immortal.

House Of X #5 does gives us several ground rules surrounding the mutant team’s resurrection ability, justifying (or limiting) their use as a story device, but it rings oddly hollow.

Especially when you add in the oddly fanatical scenes that proceed the resurrections. There are some uncomfortable connotations with how those scenes play out, and it’ll be interesting to see whether that line of fanaticism is carried on for the finale of House Of X and beyond (and if it is, how exactly will there be a compelling reason for the X-Men to leave Krakoa?

And then you have to wander about Wolverine’s adamantium. Does the new copy/clone/whatever have the metal bones? And if so how? These are the burning questions that detail obsessed nerds will want to know.

When it comes to the point of this column, exploring whether a new reader can effectively just jump in with the current X-Event with only enough X-Men knowledge to recognize a few characters, well the answer is a clear and obvious yes – if you start at the beginning. This issue… will leave you thoroughly confused if you start here, but then what would you expect starting a twelve issue story as it nears the end?

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, Powers Of X #5? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*? Did I get the right release schedule?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: House of X #5

House of X #5

House of X #5 is a ghoulish issue in numerous ways. You’ll finish it and question who the villains truly are. The issue focuses on two key plot points. There’s the “death” of so many key individuals in the previous issue. There’s also the recognition of the mutant nation through the United Nations.

It’s difficult to really give this a deep review without spoilers.

Ready?

Spoiler time.

The revelation is that Charles and Magneto have put together a system to resurrect any mutant who has died. Through a combination of mutant powers and the previously known storing of mutant DNA, they’re able to bring back anyone. All of those characters that died in the assault on Mother Mold? They’re back. The process is a key focus of the issue with so many different aspects to focus on.

The religious aspects of it are interesting introducing a cult-like experience in the new mutant homeland. That makes Charles and his five mutants gods with the ability to bring life back.

But, while a cool concept, there’s issues. Numerous of them.

The reality is, our heroes are copies. The soul and excitement of them are sucked out in a way making them cheap facsimiles. There’s also the removal of any aspect of possible death. Unless the system is destroyed, there’s no risk involved in anything. You might as well go in with a blunt instrument every time because you’ll be returned. There’s also the discussion of bringing back those murdered in Genosha, taking away the fact that maybe some don’t want to return. It’s a horror story level of weird.

There’s also the implication of manipulation in the nation recognition vote. The two concepts combined make Charles and his followers out to not finding their place for equality but instead looking for a position of dominance. The aspects are concerning and continue to change what once were stand-ins for those attacked and downtrodden to their opposit. Mutants are now nationalists who have more in common with Maga than Malcolm.

The art is fantastic as usual. The comic is beautiful to look at which makes the reading experience all the more interesting. The color, lettering, line art, all pop on the page with fantastic reinvention in design for characters we haven’t seen in some time. Perspective is used to really drive home scenes in ways that will have you debating. The comic also has so much source material that the extra design feels like something out of a roleplaying book.

The comic is an interesting one continuing to change the X-Men in ways I’m torn about. The characters continue at times in uncharacteristic ways. As if they’ve been brainwashed into the cult of Charles. They’re no longer students, they’re kool-aid drinkers. There’s an amazing story here but House of X #5 continues the shift from minority heroes to the terror of the minority.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #4

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


The explosive ending of House Of X #3 promised a follow-up issue that was going to be notable in the series for one reason or another, and Hickman wasted no time in letting us know that is exactly what we’re in for with House Of X #4.

House of X #4

When it comes to the point of this column, exploring whether a new reader can effectively just jump in with the current X-Event with only enough X-Men knowledge to recognize a few characters, well the answer is a clear and obvious yes when it comes to this comic. Simply because the issue is wall to wall action with very little plot beyond the X-Men accomplishing their mission whatever the cost.

And ultimately that’s where the main draw for this issue lies; the cost of that mission.

Above and beyond that, there isn’t much else to this comic.

Oh, the reverberations will be felt at least until the next issue, but the cost will be refunded based solely on the solicitations for the books to come after this event; which honestly leaves the book feeling a little hollow, but it’s still an enjoyable issue on the surface. And certainly not one you need a ton of X-Men knowledge to enjoy.

Which makes this issue a bit of a conundrum; although I enjoyed the story within, having seen the solicitations cheapened the impact of the comic significantly. Though not as much as the in-built Deus Ex Machina established earlier in the event. Still, it’s an enjoyable book and one that’ll likely prove integral for the event going forward.

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, Powers Of X #4? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*? Did I get the right release schedule?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

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