Friday 31 March 2017

Comic Reviews Prime

This week, we say goodbye to the best series of a mediocre era; the X-Men relaunch over coffee; I give the Inhumans a chance to impress me; and (Bat)girl talk just isn't enough to sell me on an annual.

All-New X-Men #19
And so the undisputed jewel of this unremarkable era of the X-Men concludes. Its a nice, quiet character piece like Extraordinary X-Men went out on as the team (plus Inhuman boyfriend type Romeo) gather for a barbecue outside a random gas station. What plot there is tidies away the lingering ghost of time travel from the series forevermore and I'm glad of it. As fun as it is to see the original X-Men wandering around the modern Marvel Universe, this issue needed sweeping away.

And Jean Grey returns. I admit, I'm not as high on Jean Grey as most are. One woman of my acquaintance described Jean as her “comicbook waifu” and that's far from abnormal (in some senses, at least). That said, Hopeless does do us one final great service and pretty much confirms that she and Scott are not and do not need to get back together.

All in all, I'm sad to see this series go and I hope Oya and Genesis find a home in the X-books somewhere down the line but I'm still looking forward to where this team goes next.

X-Men Prime one-shot
I've been waiting a while for this Kitty Pryde to return to the X-Men. This is the Kitty Pryde that was around when I started reading comics. Not the teenager of Chris Claremont or the barely more than a teenager Joss Whedon brought back into the fold but the experienced adult from Warren Ellis' Excalibur. This is the Kitty who grew up as a superhero and has some serious game as a result.

This is a Kitty that Storm is happy to turn to as a possible successor. There's no two ways around it, this issue has a very poor opinion of the franchise's direction in the last couple of years. That's fine, I happen to agree, and there's a definite sense that bringing Kitty back into the fold is an attempt at spiritual renewal for the X-Men as a group.

There are other teases: we see the original X-Men talking about why they're striking out on their own again (even if only obliquely) and a short vignette with Lady Deathstrike that sets up Weapon X. There's also a sweet little moment with Jubilee and baby Shogo, which is an unsatisfying tease for Generation X but a charming little scene in and of itself.

And, whilst I won't spoil the last page reveal, it certainly promises that the X-Men are going to be at the centre of the Marvel Universe again where they justly belong.

Inhumans Prime one-shot
I pretty much just bought this just to see what was up with the new Secret Warriors, which is pretty much the only Inhumans series I knew was spinning out of IvX. As it happens, the Secret Warriors don't make much of an appearance outside of a big group shot of Inhumans on a splash page and the resulting fight scene.

And now that I have read the teases for what else is coming out?

Well... the issue starts and end with Marvel Boy pretty much as we last saw him in Young Avengers. I love that character and that he's going to be a fixture in Royals absolutely sells me on the series. I admit, the Inhumans themselves, especially the new ones, aren't characters I'm very familiar with aside from Ms. Marvel. I find Maximus the Mad rather charming, but not enough to sell me on Black Bolt, which I assume from much silent brooding in this issue is where Maximus will be appearing.

Ultimately, though, that's two out of three series I'm at least willing to give a try which is not a bad average for a franchise I have not much interest in.

Batgirl Annual #1
This annual was mostly fluff and a tease for an upcoming Supergirl storyline. To be honest, that's not much to base an extra long (and extra expensive) issue on, especially as half the issue tells a story set before the current ongoing and so has very little to do with what's going on with Batgirl these days.

And I'm not sure getting some quality girl time between Babs and Alysia, a too rare pleasure since Gail Simone left the series, is enough to compensate for all that. 

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