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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


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

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

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

Early Preview: X-Men #1

X-Men #1

(W) Gerry Duggan (A/CA) Pepe Larraz (VCA) Nick Bradshaw, Juan Cabal, Carmen Nunez Carnero, Joshua Cassara, Larry Houston, Russell Dauterman, Rob Liefeld, Iban Coello, Peach Momoko, R.B. Silva, Natacha Bustos, Patrick Gleason, Skottie Young
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

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!

Exclusive Preview: Black Cat #7

Black Cat #7

(W) Jed MacKay (A) Michael Dowling (CA) Pepe Larraz (VCA) Terry Dodson, Phil Jimenez
32 PGS./Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 02, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• Black Cat’s actions of the last few years make her rethink who she is.
• The price of all the things Felicia and the Black Fox have stolen is finally tallied and the bill is due.
• And when a bill involves items from the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist and Wolverine, you can’t exactly take out a loan.

Black Cat #7

Omega-Level Mutants Join Together on New Planet-Size X-Men Covers

Fifty years ago, Giant-Size X-Men changed our world. This June, Planet-Size X-Men changes our universe.

This June, the Hellfire Trading Company invites readers everywhere to the inaugural Hellfire Gala to announce the first team of Krakoan X-Men to the world and reveal the startling plans that mutantkind has in store for the Marvel Universe. This highly anticipated comics event will unfold in issues of your favorite ongoing X-Men series as well as Planet-Size X-Men, a special double-sized one-shot from two of mutantkind’s most masterful creators: writer Gerry Duggan and artist Pepe Larraz. On sale June 16th, Planet-Size X-Men will be a pivotal chapter in the X-Men mythos with an epic story that has been built up since the very beginning of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men era. Omega-level mutants will take center stage and new omega-level mutants will be introduced as Magneto puts the pieces in place for an ambitious plan that will truly change everything…

Check out some never-before-seen variant covers by artists Olivier Coipel, Terry Dodson, and Rachel Dodson as well as a first look at interior artwork. And be there for the issue that will go down in X-Men history when Planet-Size X-Men #1 hits stands on June 16th.

Preview: Black Cat #6

Black Cat #6

(W) Jed MacKay (A) Michael Dowling (CA) Pepe Larraz
Rated T+
In Shops: May 12, 2021
SRP: $3.99

THE CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG!
• Now that the Black Cat and the Black Fox have completed their heist, what does it mean for their standing in NYC?
• For one thing, Felicia comes face to face with Spider-Man, and if you think he’s going to be okay with what she’s done, you’ve got another think coming.

Black Cat #6
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