The Scarlet Witch is dead and all eyes are on Magneto! Is the Master of Magnetism guilty in the murder of the Avenger he once thought to be his daughter, or does the true culprit still lurk on Krakoa? Find out in X-Men: The Trial of Magneto, a new limited series written by X-Factor scribe Leah Williams and drawn by rising star Lucas Werneck. This critical chapter in Johnathan Hickman’s X-Men era will divide the thriving mutant nation of Krakoa, threaten the X-Men’s standing within the wider Marvel Universe, and explore the past and future of Wanda Maximoff’s relationship with mutantkind. Get your first look at the mystery in the all-new trailer, featuring never-before-seen artwork.
Be there for the verdict for one of the greatest crimes in Marvel Comics history when X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 hits stands on August 18th.
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.
This week: the multi-part crossover event X-Cutioner’s Song.
The first chapter of X-Cutioner’s Song was published in November 1992 in Uncanny X-Men #294, with subsequent eleven parts coming in issues of X-Factor, X-Men, X-Force and Uncanny X-Men. With the series being billed as revealing the origin of Cable (it didn’t – that came in 1994), there was significant hype and buzz around the comics when they were hitting the shelves nearly thirty years ago, but because I wasn’t into comics at the time, I never heard any of it.
Instead, I noticed a cover when restocking the boxes at my LCS and decided to pick up the arc after the shop owner gave it a quick recommendation. Fortunately, we had a full set (or seven) in stock, so I grabbed the individual issues rather than hunting down a collected edition (partly because I am also building an X-Men and Uncanny X-Men collection, but also because I wanted to read it as it was originally presented in comic form. Complete with the polybags still sealed for some off the comics (I won’t lie, I was tempted to leave them sealed, but at only a couple bucks a comic it didn’t seem worth it.
Plus, I wanted the feeling of cracking those bags and getting to be the first person reading these comics.
Without question, comics from this era were technically published before I started buying single issues, but that doesn’t mean that these issues didn’t kickstart a sense of nostalgia for the old UK reprint magazines that I first came across this arc in. The first issue felt oddly familiar, but beyond that…? It was pure 90’s joy.
After all, 90’s comics aren’t bad. There’s just a huge number of them in longboxes across the country because so many were printed. That just makes them worth less than the comics from the 70’s and 80’s, but it doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading.
“If mankind waited for the ‘right time’ to address the winds of change it’s unlikely we’d ever have crawled from the primordial ooze.”
Scott Lobdell, Uncanny X-Men #294
I don’t know if I had forgotten about the amount of times characters within X-Men comics in the 90’s spouted pearls of wisdom, but I was less than halfway through this first part of X-Cutioners Song and I already had enough one liners to make me sound like I a semi professional couch philosopher thanks entirely to the less than subtle messaging. Messaging that seems just as relevant today as it ever did (and I’m sure we’d all hoped that would be different).
The main plot of X-Cutioner’s Song isn’t fully revealed in the first issue, but there is more than enough information here to reel you in hook line and sinker. The crossover cost me less than $20 to put together, and it was worth every penny to do so – not only because of the nostalgia factor, but primarily because this is a damn good story that holds up today (even the funky fashion choices for the street clothes the X-Men wear don’t detract too much).
With any story crossing over four series, the creative team is, as expected, pretty hefty. There are names that at the time were relatively new faces to the X-Men, but now… well now we consider them as creators who have made significant contributions to the comicsphere, frequently drawing large crowds at conventions;
Writers: Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza and Peter David.
Pencillers: Brandon Peterson, Andy Kubert, Jae Lee and Greg Capullo
Inkers: Terry Austin, Mark Pennington, Al Milgrom and Harry Candelario
Colorists: Mike Thomas, Marie Javins, Glynis Oliver, Joe Rosas and Steve Buccellato.
But despite the big names, the characters and import associated with the story, it’s an arc that can easily get overlooked when when you’re looking in the longboxes because the story came in the early 90’s, before the big bust in the comics market. Despite having heard a little about it over the years, largely through comments in UK reprints, I had never actually read the book before. Something I was more than happy to do with a story that is far more Underrated than I ever expected.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.
Acclaimed artist Joe Jusko’s iconic Marvel Masterpieces trading card illustrations are cemented into the hearts of every Marvel fan who grew up in the 90s, and now readers can treasure them all over again in a brand-new collection of variant covers!
Jusko’s beautiful depictions of your favorite Marvel characters will grace the covers of your favorite titles throughout the month of October. Masterfully capturing the power of the Avengers, the horror of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, and the allure of the X-Men, Jusko’s painted artwork has mesmerized fans for decades and ushered in the trading card boom of the 90s. Now, the Marvel Masterpieces Variant Cover series will give fans a chance to own a piece of Marvel Comics history in an exciting new way!
Check out all 23 of Joe Jusko’s Marvel Masterpieces covers now, and collect them all beginning on October 6th!
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #75 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
CAPTAIN MARVEL #33 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
EXCALIBUR #24 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
HELLIONS #16 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #76 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
AVENGERS #49 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
IMMORTAL HULK #50 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
IRON MAN #13 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
X-FORCE #24 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
X-MEN #4 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE #2 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
FANTASTIC FOUR #37 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
S.W.O.R.D. #9 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
THOR #18 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
WOLVERINE #17 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO #3MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #77 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
BLACK WIDOW #12 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
DAREDEVIL #35 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
INFERNO #2 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
MARAUDERS #25 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER A by JOE JUSKO
MARAUDERS #25 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER B by JOE JUSKO
BLACK PANTHER #3 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
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.
Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in
Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.
Black’s Myth #1 (AHOY Comics) – Meet Janie “Strummer” Jones, just an ordinary werewolf PI, trying to make it on the mean streets of LA. Yeah, we’re sold just on that.
Clans of Belari #1 (AfterShock) – On the far side of the galaxy, an isolated branch of humanity is trapped in a feudal dystopia. Order is maintained by a system of oppression until an orphaned girl and her incorrigible adoptive father sow the seeds of a revolution and unite the clans against a fearsome alien threat. The sci-fi epic story we’re fans of.
Extreme Carnage: Alpha #1 (Marvel) – Post King in Black we get to see what the new status quo is for the various symbiotes.
Fight Girls #1 (AWA Studios) – Ten hard-as-nails women face off in an ancient contest of champions where the winner truly takes all: the title of “Queen of the Galaxy.” The series has been a long time coming so we’re interested in seeing what it’s all about.
The Good Asian #3 (Image Comics) – This series has been an amazing exploration of the real-life history of racism in America mixed with a fantastic noir story.
Hellboy & the BPRD: Secret of Chesbro House #1 (Dark Horse) – Hellboy works with a psychic to clear a haunted mansion for auction. But the ghosts in residence aren’t quite ready to go gentle into that good night. Sounds fun to us!
Justice League Infinity #1 (DC Comics) – The popular animated series continues in comics!
Life is Strange: Coming Home #1 (Titan Comics) – The popular video game returns to comics just before the remastered original is released.
Mamo #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Can Orla O’Reilly embrace her destiny in order to bridge the divide between humanity and the faerie world? Sounds great.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation #1 (Dark Horse) – The highly anticipated Netflix series gets a comic tie-in.
The Nice House on the Lake #2 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – The first issue caught us completely off guard and the series seems to be taking us on a hell of a horror journey.
Nocterra #5 (Image Comics) – The previous issue delivered a glimmer of light and hope in a world of darkness. We’re sucked in and want to see where this series goes. The story has been solid and its visuals fantastic.
Ordinary Gods #1 (Image Comics) – Five gods are trapped in an endless cycle of human death and reincarnation.
Rabid World #2 (Scout Comics) – We were hooked by the first issue which had a nice mix of zombie-ish tropes and “ripped from the headlines” vibe as a virus spreads across the world causing a rabies like reaction in people.
Skybound X #1 (Image Comics/Skybound) – Get this just for the collector aspect of it. The series is spotlighting a lot of Skybound’s series and comics to come with quite a few major debuts.
Tales Told in Technihorror #1 (Scout Comics/Black Caravan) – A biennial horror series that brings together the best in horror sub genres with five short stories.
The Unwanted: Stories of Syrian Refugees (Etch/HMH Books For Young Readers) – Don Brown depicts moments of both heartbreaking horror and hope in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.
WWE The New Day: Power of Positivity #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The popular WWE wrestlers get a comic spotlighting their positivity!
X-Men #1 (Marvel) – The first volume of the new direction for the X-Men is over and the heroes are now back saving all of humanity and not just mutants.
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!
The year is half over, and 2022 will be here before you know it! That’s why Diamond Select Toys is opening pre-orders on a variety of products that will ship beginning in January, including items based on The Crow, G.I. Joe, Lord of the Rings, Marvel Comics, and Star Wars!
Crow Movie Premier Collection Resin Statue
A Diamond Select Toys release! Eric Draven returns as an all-new 1/7 scale Premier Collection Statue! Based on the movie The Crow and measuring approximately 11 inches tall, this statue depicts Eric atop a flaming crow-design base, with his guitar slung across his back and the titular crow alighting on one arm. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, it comes packaged in a full-color box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella! SRP: $175.00
GI Joe Gallery Snake Eyes PVC Diorama
A Diamond Select Toys release! G.I. Joe’s silent ninja, Snake Eyes, leaps from a snowy ledge in this all-new PVC diorama from DST! Flanked by his wolf companion Timber, Snake Eyes wields his trademark sword as he launches his sneak attack. Measuring approximately 11 inches tall, this diorama features detailed sculpting and pain tapplications, and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Mark Wong and Tony Simione, sculpted by Jorge Santos Souza! SRP: $49.99
Lord of the Rings Gollum Deluxe Action Figure
A Diamond Select Toys release! Gollum gets the deluxe treatment in this new action figure release! Based on his appearance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Gollum comes packaged with three interchangeable heads, interchangeable hands, a rock formation to climb and perch on, plus other bonus character accessories, including a fish, an axe for Gimli, and knives for Legolas and Aragorn! Gollum features 16 points of articulation, detailed sculpting and paint, and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Eamon O’Donoghue, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios! SRP: $39.99
Marvel Animated Doctor Octopus 1/7 Scale Mini-Bust
A Diamond Select Toys release! The Doctor is in! One of Spider-Man’s greatest foes has arrived in the 1/7 scale bust line, based on his appearance in Spider-Man: The Animated Series! Dr. Otto Octavius rocks four mechanical arms and a bowl cut in this new animated-style bust, featuring culptign and paint applications that leap right off the TV screen. Measuring approximately 6 inches tall, this bust is limited to 2000 pieces and comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Barry Bradfield, sculpted by Paul Harding! SRP: $69.99
Marvel Comic Gallery Classic Thor PVC Diorama
A Diamond Select Toys release! This diorama be worthy! Thor makes his classically-styled debut in the Marvel Gallery line of PVC dioramas with this all-new sculpt! Posed swinging his hammer on a rubble-strewn base, this sculpture of the God of Thunder is part of a new series of battle-inspired scenes. This piece stands approximately 9 inches tall, features detailed sculpting and paint applications and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Nelson X. Asencio, hand-sculpted by Jean St. Jean! SRP: $49.99
Marvel Comic Premier Collection Cyclops Resin Statue
A Diamond Select Toys release! Don’t fire until you see the reds of their eyes! The first-ever Marvel Premier Collection statue of the X-Men’s stalwart Cyclops, it shows Scott Summers in his classic costume, unleashing a crimson optic blast. Measuring approximately 11 inches tall and featuring detailed sculpting and paint applications, it is limited to only 2000 pieces and comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Clayburn Moore, sculpted by Alejandro Pereira Ezcurra! SRP: $175.00
Marvel Select Venom Action Figure
A Diamond Select Toys release! Taste the Venom! One of the Marvel Select line’s best-selling action figures, Venom returns to the line just in time for the next installment of the Venom film franchise! Measuring 8 inches tall, Venom comes with interchangeable heads and hands, as well as an add-on piece to simulate his look from Venom: Madness! Featuring 16 points of articulation, it comes packaged in Select action figure packaging with side-panel artwork for shelf reference. Designed and hand-sculpted by Jean St. Jean! SRP: $29.99
Star Wars Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker Milestones 1/6 Scale Statue
A Diamond Select Toys release! Luke Skywalker is back in Black, and he’s the newest Milestones statue! Measuring approximately 12 inches tall, Luke wears his famous all-black outfit from Return of the Jedi, including one black glove, and holds his green-bladed lightsaber. This statue is limited to only 2000 pieces, features detailed sculpting and paint applications, and comes packaged in a full-color box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Designed by the Silva Bros. and sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios! SRP: $250.00
Star Wars The Force Awakens First Order Stormtrooper Legends in 3D ½ Scale Bust
A Diamond Select Toys release! The troopers are coming, and now the foot soldier of the First Order is the latest Legend in 3D! Measuring approximately 10 inches tall, this half-scale bust of a First Order Stormtrooper is limited to only 1000 pieces, and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged with a numbered certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios! SRP: $175.00
Star Wars Revenge of the Sith Count Dooku 1/6 Scale Mini-Bust
A Diamond Select Toys release! You may know him as Darth Tyranus, but Count Dooku is a true Dark Lord of the Sith, and now he’s the newest 1/6 scale mini-bust from Gentle Giant Ltd.! Holding his red-bladed lightsaber upright, Dooku is the essence of Sith nobility in this approximately 7-inch mini-bust. Limited to only 2000 pieces, it comes packaged in a full-color box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Designed by the Silva Bros. and hand-sculpted by Jean St. Jean! SRP: $120.00
There’s seven new releases on comiXology from Marvel, Harlequin, and Humanoids. You can check out the individual releases below or start shopping now!
Doctor Spectrum: Full Spectrum
Written by Sam Barnes Art by Travel Foreman, Greg Tocchini Cover by Dale Keown Purchase
Collects Spectrum #1-6.
Spinning out of SUPREME POWER, Samm Barnes and Travel Foreman bring to light the secret of Corporal Joe Ledger’s dark past, and the plans the crystal has for him!
Notre Guerre contre le sexisme ordinaire
Written by Helen Mullane, Charlie Rano, Kev Sherry Art by Katia Vecchio Purchase
Elles se battent pour l’égalité des sexes, mais jusqu’où sont-elles prêtes à aller ? 1 VOLUME PARU – HISTOIRES INDÉPENDANTES. À seize ans, Sélène est une féministe militante admirée de ses amis. Elle ne craint pas les petits caïds, ni même les professeurs, et n’hésite pas à leur tenir tête. Mais un jour la provocation va trop loin, et Sélène est humiliée publiquement. Désormais, la jeune fille n’a plus qu’une idée en tête : dénoncer les comportements sexistes, à la manière forte s’il le faut.
Pursued By The Rich Rancher
Written by Catherine Mann Art by Junko Matsufuji Purchase
Nina meets Alex at a camp that she participates in with her young son, and Alex makes her heart skip a beat when he asks her out on a romantic date. Having lived solely for her son after her ruthless husband’s death, Nina hesitates before she finally allows herself to enjoy life a little. However, Alex, whom she thought was an employee, is actually the owner of the camp and the son of a prestigious family. The world she lives in is too different from his. Not to mention, Alex has an inheritance problem of his own…
Space Bastards Vol. 6
Written by Joe Aubrey, Eric Peterson Art by Simon Bisley Purchase
Acclaimed artist Darick Robertson (The Boys, HAPPY!) joins writers Eric Peterson and Joe Aubrey to bring you the tale of the galaxy’s most dangerous employers: The IPS! ONGOING SERIES. In the future, unemployment and job dissatisfaction are sky-high. When you’ve got nothing left to lose, you join the Intergalactic Postal Service (IPS). Its postal fees are steep—and they go only to whomever ultimately fulfills the delivery, making every run a comically violent free-for-all between the most ruthless mercenaries in the cosmos! The interplanetary ensemble cast of Space Bastards, under the volatile leadership of Postmaster General Roy Sharpton, are constantly at each other’s throats trying to settle scores and earn big money. But when a rival corporation’s teleportation technology threatens to make their role in the galaxy obsolete, the Bastards must work together to preserve a job they’ve come to love.
Written by Peter Milligan Art by Lee Weeks Cover by Gary Frank Purchase
Collects Wolverine/Punisher #1-5.
Marvel’s bad boys join forces for a gun-toting, claw-popping adventure not to be forgotten! Deep in the South American jungle there’s a place of legend – a final refuge where the nastiest of the nasty can disappear from the prying eyes of the world. Now, the vigilante known as the Punisher and the X-Man called Wolverine have stumbled upon this secret sanctuary, and the residents of “Erewhon” couldn’t be happier… or more prepared.
X-Men: Dream’s End
Written by Scott Lobdell, Joe Pruett, Robert Weinberg Art by Tom Derenick, Salvador Larroca, Michael Ryan, Leinil Francis Yu Cover by Ian Churchill Purchase
Collects Uncanny X-Men (1963) #388-390, X-Men (1991) #108-110, Cable (1993) #87, Bishop: The Last X-Man (1999) #16.
The death of Colossus, reprinted here for the first time! For too long mutants were threatened by the twin specters of the Legacy Virus and anti-mutant politics. Now, the X-Men hope to end both threats, but at what cost to their oldest and dearest? Are there deaths from which even the X-Men can’t return? Featuring Mystique, Cable and the last issue of Bishop’s solo series!
X-Men: Old Soldiers
Written by Chris Claremont Art by Alan Davis Cover by Alan Davis Purchase
Celebrating Chris Claremont and Alan Davis’ UNCANNY X-MEN run, Marvel collects their earliest collaborations on Marvel’s merry mutants! In these classic stories — some reprinted here for the first time — the New Mutants take on Mojo and Spiral, then must contend with the alien antics of the Impossible Man; the X-Men face an enemy who can grant them their most secret desires; and Wolverine battles Sabretooth amid the infamous “Mutant Massacre”!
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In honor of Pride Month, Marvel Comics dropped a big 84 pages one-shot celebrating both its LGBTQ+ creators and characters. Beginning with a story from Luciano Vecchio that’s not sure if it’s telling the story of queer characters in the Marvel Universe from an in-universe or more of a real-world documentary perspective,Marvel Voices Pride #1 sputters with a story that basically says aliens and shapeshifters brought the idea of being non-binary, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming to this world followed by a text-heavy Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung Young Avengers reunion. However, it catches its footing with a cute Karolina Dean/Nico Minoru story, and for the most part, it provides a wide spectrum of LGBTQ+ representation with a special focus on the mutant/X-Men side of the Marvel Universe, who have acted as a mostly metaphorical representation to queer fans like myself. However, it’s nice to see characters like Anole, Prodigy, Destiny, Karma, and Jessie Drake get the spotlight along with more prominently featured cis male gay characters like Northstar (His coming out story in Alpha Flight #106 is reprinted at the end) and Iceman. But fans of non-mutant/Runaways/Wiccan and Hulkling characters may be disappointed as characters like Angela, Sera, Hercules, and America Chavez don’t appear except in small cameo roles.
Marvel VoicesPride #1 kicks off with a journey through the LGBTQ+ history of the Marvel Universe from writer/artist Luciano Vecchio. Even though many of his adult characters look like teens, Vecchio has a beautiful art style and color palette. However, my issue with this first story isn’t the form, but the content. As mentioned earlier, this introductory story isn’t sure if it’s being told from the perspective of the real world or Earth-616 even though it’s narrated by Prodigy. It also has a very self-congratulatory, back-patting tone, especially for a company that recently cancelled a book starring many of its queer characters (X-Factor) and mentions characters like Angela and Sera that haven’t been barely heard or seen from since getting their own title in 2015. Even though Vecchio is a queer creator, there’s big “ally” energy in this first story with a heterosexual character, Captain America getting the spotlight, and the implication that non-binary identities came from aliens and shapeshifters. He does successfully lay out what ended up being a thesis for the anthology, which is the connection between mutants and queer identity.
This story is followed by a one page Young Avengers creator reunion as Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, and Marcelo Maiolo chronicle Hulking and Wiccan’s wedding vows. Heinberg’s writing is tender, but this feels like more of a prose piece than a comic. Heinberg and Cheung’s inclusion seems like more stunt-casting to get older queer Marvel fans interested in the one-shot rather than being any kind of substantial addition to their work on Young Avengers. However, Marvel Voices: Pride rights the ship (Pun fully intended.) in its next story featuring two members of Marvel’s other prominent 2000s teen superhero team, the Runaways. Mariko Tamaki, Kris Anka, and Tamra Bonvillain turns in three pages of sweet glances, chatter, and a super adorable kiss as Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean think about what they would tell people if they asked how they met. The long line out of the venue reminded me of the pre-pandemic days when I would wait in line for hours to get a good spot to see artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Robyn with my fellow queer folks, and Bonvillain’s summery color palette matches Anka’s skill with facial expressions. This story is like the cherry on top of the sundae that he helped build when he was the artist on Runaways and finally put Karolina and Nico in a relationship together.
The next story in Marvel Voices Pride is the first one to feature a trans protagonist, Dr. Charlene McGowan from Immortal Hulk. The plot of Lilah Sturges, Derek Charm, and Brittany Peer is about some “hilarious” misunderstandings when Lady Daredevil aka the artist formerly known as Elektra Natchios and some Z-list, rapping supervillains raid McGowan’s lab when they think she’s producing mutant growth hormone when when she’s actually working on a way to get trans women’s bodies to produce progesterone without taking pills. What follows is Trans 101 with a little bit of ass kicking courtesy Charm, who is in his Bronze Age element with the cheesy costumes and dark shadows. However, other than the fact that’s she a scientist who sometimes makes jokes, we don’t learn anything about Dr. McGowan except that she’s surprisingly cool with microaggressions from A-List Marvel heroes. Kudos to Marvel Voices‘ editorial for getting a trans writer in Sturges to pen this story, but the whole thing feels reductive and geared towards fanboys who know every member of Daredevil or Hulk’s rogues gallery and have never interacted with a transgender person.
In contrast, Leah Williams, Jan Bazaldua, and Erick Arciniega re-introduce Marvel’s first transgender character, the mutant Jessie Drake in a thrilling manner as she appears in her first comic in 27 years. However, Black Cat is the protagonist of this story and is tracking down Steel Raven, a villain who’s been impersonating her, pulling some sloppy heists, and ruining her reputation. Williams’ quippy writing style works well for the fast-paced short story as Black Cat and Jessie meet, flirt, and figure out their next move in catching Steel Raven. Bazaldua plays with space and transforms what would normally be your run of the mill villain warehouse into something more surreal. She and Williams do succeed in building a connection between Jessie and Black Cat as well as showing off Jesse’s empathy-based abilities, but this is just a teaser for a bigger cat and mouse game. Hopefully, there’s room for more batting of eyes, power showcasing, and insight into the character of Jessie Drake, both in her own series or in Black Cat’s current ongoing, which has been a sneaky good read.
Continuing this positive trend is Crystal Frasier, Jethro Morales, and Rachelle Rosenberg telling a wonderful She-Hulk and Titania. But there’s a twist as Jennifer Walters doesn’t appear, but Jennifer Harris, who was inspired by her to come out as trans and cosplay her at a copyright friendly version of New York Comic Con. As someone who came out as bi around the same time Prodigy did in Young Avengers or when Iceman came out as gay in All-New X-Men, I can definitely connect to the inspirational power of fictional characters like Jennifer did with She-Hulk. She and Titania also have some nice banter, and Frasier and Morales also remind readers that She-Hulk was the original fourth wall breaker with some jokes and exploding layouts.
After the She-Hulk story is probably my favorite story of Marvel Voices Pride #1, which is a Prodigy and Speed one from Kieron Gillen, Jen Hickman, and Brittany Peer as Gillen returns to both the X-Men and Young Avengers franchises. The dialogue between Speed and Prodigy sparkles, and Hickman shows off their chops as a storyteller working in eating pizza, stealing glances at Colossus, and empathizing with Kitty Pryde as Prodigy basically tells his bisexual origin story. His story also acts as a critique of how the mutant books have been good about metaphorical queer representation, but not actual queer representation. This is timely because the book that Prodigy was a main cast member in is getting cancelled. However, this is really a lovely story full of hilarious and insightful writing from Kieron Gillen and pitch-perfect images and comedic timing from Hickman as Speed teases Prodigy for having a crush on Colossus when he ran with the New Mutants. Prodigy is true overthinking, chaos bisexual representation, and I’m personally glad to see him get a spotlight in this story even if it’s only a few pages long.
The anthology takes a break from comics for a bit and features an interview with Christian Cooper, one of the first queer editors at Marvel, and he talks about his experiences at the company and the impact comics have had on his life. After this, there’s a timeline of big LGBTQ+ moments in Marvel Comics. It’s followed up with a cute Anole story from Terry Blas, the wonderful Paulina Ganucheau, and Kendall Goode. Blas connects the idea of Krakoa being a mutant utopia to things like Pride, and the ability to unwind at the Green Lagoon with folks who understand your struggles being the goal of all this hard work and fighting. However, it’s not all big metaphors as he and Ganucheau probe into Anole’s body issues leading to him not wanting to date along with his friendship with Jonas Graymalkin. It all ends on a fabulous final page, and this story is worth checking out for Ganucheau and Goode’s soft, colorful takes on the different mutants.
Sticking with the mutant theme, Anthony Oliveira, Javier Garron, and David Curiel go all in with the mutant as gay metaphor in an Iceman story set during the time period of the original five X-Men. They play on the fact that Magneto was played by a gay man in four of the X-Men films and find a real connection between Bobby and Magneto, who takes a break from the missiles to provide a listening ear to this young man struggling with his identity. Oliveira writes Iceman as having a crush on Angel, and Garron nails the longing glances that he throws at the majestic mutant that turn into words when Magneto sits down to chat with him. They take the subtext (For example, Bobby not being interested in Jean Grey when she joins the team.) of these Silver Age text and transform them into glorious text while also showing off the sweeter side of Magneto, a man who would one day break down when he realized that his crusade almost led to the death of an innocent child, Kitty Pryde.
This story is followed up by one focusing on the relationship between Northstar and his husband, Kyle Jinadu from writer/artist J.J. Kirby. It’s touching to see what Northstar is like away from the cameras and public, and what Kyle loves about them. However, Kirby’s 1990s-style artwork with modern, digital coloring is a mismatch for the story, and I spent most of the time wondering why Northstar looked like a vampire or a block of ice instead of the events of the story. Luckily, the misstep is remedied by a thrilling riff on Sherlock Holmes vs. Professor Moriarty from Tini Howard, Samantha Dodge, and Brittany Peer featuring Mystique and Destiny. The story is adventurous filled with wits matching, chess games, and lover’s embraces and shows how iconic a couple these two are while also showing what a big deal it was for them to be open with their love in a time period where being queer got you thrown in jail. Plus it’s a reminder that queer people have always existed in history. (Or fiction.)
Vita Ayala, Joanna Estep, Brittney Williams, and Brittany Peer continue the theme of both mutants and queer women in a Karma story set during the Hellfire Gala after party where Magik gives her a pep talk to dance (and maybe even smooch) Elle, who as far as I can tell is a new, queer mutant created for this anthology. Karma truly gets the spotlight this story and gets to work out some of her issues with her powers and emotions as she’s afraid that if she asks Elle out that she’ll use her abilities to mess with her free will. However, this doesn’t happen, and we get to see a mutant who has been screwed over so many times be happy for once and get the girl in a beautiful sequence from Ayala, Estep, Williams, and Peer.
The final story in Marvel Voices Pride #1 again shows that Steve Orlando is perfect for writing violent, queer characters with a sensitive side as he and Claudia Aguirre tell the story of Daken and Somnus, a new character who can make one night seem like a life time together. He used this power on Daken back in the day during a one night stand and then ended up living a long life without him even though he didn’t divulge his oneiromantic mutant abilities to everyone. However, Krakoa and its resurrection protocols are all about second chances, and Daken gives him one in this story. As well as digging deep into Daken’s emotions, Orlando and Aguirre also use this story to remind readers of queer elders, who because of society’s hate, never came out or came out later in life, and this is what makes Somnus’ second chance so special. Also, his abilities are pretty cool and bring a little Vertigo into the X-Books.
Marvel Voices Pride #1 is definitely an up and down ride. Some of the stories mishandle nonbinary and gender nonconforming identities (Also, there are no nonbinary lead characters in this anthology.) or seem to pander heavily to allies while others have issues with their art or storytelling style. (Northstar/Kyle, Wiccan/Hulkling) But, for the most part, it’s nice to see queer creators and queer characters get the spotlight for once instead of being hidden behind things like the mutant metaphor, which is usually Marvel editorial’s approach. Time will tell if we see them beyond this anthology, but most of the creators in Marvel Voices Pride work on books in Marvel’s main line or have had consistent success at other companies or even television in Allan Heinberg’s case so, at least, that’s something they have going for them.
Story: Luciano Vecchio, Allan Heinberg, Mariko Tamaki, Lilah Sturges, Leah Williams, Crystal Frasier, Kieron Gillen, Terry Blas, Anthony Oliveira, J.J. Kirby, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Steve Orlando Art: Luciano Vecchio, Jim Cheung, Kris Anka, Derek Charm, Jan Bazaldua, Jethro Morales, Jen Hickman, Paulina Ganucheau, Javier Garron, J.J. Kirby, Samantha Dodge, Joanna Estep with Brittney Williams, Claudia Aguirre, Jacopo Camagni Colors: Marcelo Maiolo, Tamra Bonvillain, Brittany Peer, Erick Arciniega, Rachelle Rosenberg, Kendall Goode, David Curiel Letters: Ariana Maher Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
(W) Louise Simonson (A/CA) Walter Simonson Rated T+ In Shops: Jun 23, 2021 SRP: $3.99
WITH A VENGEANCE! Things go from bad to worse for X-FACTOR when they must save the baby NATHAN CHRISTOPHER SUMMERS from the clutches of a deadly robot attacker. But who is really at the helm, and what will this mean for the FUTURE of the team and the SUMMERS clan? Return to this classic era with legends Louise Simonson and Walter Simonson in this ALL-NEW tale set before the original X-FACTOR #43!