and the Signal #1
It has taken
a damn long time to get this far: Duke Thomas in his own series
(albeit with Batman co-billing for some reason even though he's at
best a cameo in this issue). He's been around since pretty early in
the New 52 (yes, some good ideas happened even then), was a major
figure in the big Zero Year
storyline and the lead character in We Are Robin
plus all sorts of cameos and back-up features over the years.
he finally has a limited series and a name: the Signal.
even better, all that waiting meant something, writer Tony Patrick
isn't treating him as a blank slate but as a character who comes into
this series with some real history. We even get to see a couple of
the other former street Robins, Iz and Riko, hanging out with him and
helping him with cases.
whole unique selling point of Duke, it seems, is that his stories
take place during the day, this is a big thing repeated until its
hammered into the reader's skull. We even have a day shift GCPD
detective, Aisi, who is so obviously destined to be Duke's Jim
Gordon. She also has a prosthetic arm which even looks like they
might be portraying an actual physical disability rather than just
slapping a science-fiction perfect cyber-arm on someone. I could be
wrong, it does look a little science-fiction cyber-y but then look at
some of the prosthetic limbs around these days and a few of them
actually do look like that.
also has metahuman powers to do with light: being able to see it in
different ways, get glimpses of the past like a mental replay button
and the like. Its rather vague in places what he can do but its also
clear that he's still exploring his powers and that they'll be a
major part of the series going forward. Looks like its going to be
I admit I
ship these two characters almost out of habit. By the standards of
'90s cartoons they were the big (albeit sexless and sometimes
dubiously consensual) romance of the old X-Men show. One of my
ongoing frustrations with Marvel is that they just will not bloody
let these two have a happy ending. Rogue lost her powers in X-Treme
X-Men and they retired to a
nice town in California and then she goes and gets her powers back
(on purpose, no less). In X-Men: Legacy
she finally gained control of her powers, which lasted until whoever
wrote Uncanny Avengers
decided that was boring, and in the intervening years she barely said
two words to Gambit.
they have a mini-series to themselves and... well, it could be worse.
set-up is that there's a tropical island therapy retreat for mutants
and Cerebra is losing track of the mutants who go there. Kitty, a
sucker for true love if ever there was one, decides to save lives and
matchmake at the same time by sending in Gambit and Rogue to work on
their relationship problems. Gambit is pleased as punch, Rogue is
annoyed as hell and the guests at the retreat are creepily happy even
for people staying on a tropical island.
the island retreat thing is a nice twist but also a pretty standard
X-Men plot (there is a nice place for mutants to go, mutants go there
and it turns out not to be nice after all) but what fascinates me is
the relationship counselling issue. It can;t be denied that these two
have issues and not just Rogue's obvious problems with physical
intimacy. Gambit has issues to in that he often comes off as a bit of
a creeper with boundary issues. He just won't stop trying to touch
Rogue! She keeps explicitly telling him not to, as well. Bad Gambit!
also clear that this series is really invested in the pair's past
with a big splash page dedicated to edited highlights of their
relationship that stretched from moments as iconic as Gambit's trial
(and that lovely pink and yellow Shi'Ar costume Rogue was rocking at
the time) to ones as lost to time as Rogue being stabbed back in the
Hopefully, that's more than just fan service and there's a real plan
here to take that history and move the characters forward some.
this title just got cancelled so I have to enjoy it while I can. The
big thing in this issue is that Kate has been kidnapped by time
travelling villain Eden Vale and Clint has a plan.
is as bad as it sounds.
the highlights of this terrible plan are a) Clint working with Kate's
supporting cast and the gang getting a full bore education in the
human disaster that is Clint Barton and b) Clint abducting Madame
Masque (who is now walking around inside a clone of Kate's body) so
he can switch her out for Kate as part of a big rescue.
you can see exactly how this was going to go wrong from the get go,
congratulations, you are exactly as smart as the writer. Its actually
interesting to have Kate and Clint in the same title again if only
for the fact it brings into sharp relief that as bad as Kate screws
up sometimes she is nothing compared to the absolute disaster that is
Clint Barton. It was also a cute move to have Masque try to freak out
Barton by coming on to him whilst looking like Kate. The teasing and
continual rejection of Hawkeye/Hawkeye romance is the gag that keeps
on giving and I'm glad Thompson decided to continue it from the
really am going to miss this title.