Hellions (2020-) #10 by Zeb Wells

Hellions (2020-) #10Hellions (2020-) #10 by Zeb Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clones, clones everywhere…and Arcade wants a slice of the action!

See, that’s why he’s kidnapped Mr Sinister, and Sinister is quite happy to provide…but Arcade feels he gave in too easily, so he’s going to torture him first anyway.

I’ve always found it hard to take Arcade seriously as a villain, he just never felt like a real threat in the past. He’s supposed to be a genius assassin, an experienced killer, but all of his plans fail, always. But here, finally, he seems dangerous…probably because he has Mr Sinister strapped to a table while he pulls teeth out of his mouth. It’s all very bloody. He’s also successfully blackmailing Mastermind to help him, because he has one of his daughters, and he’s set up an elaborate system to ensure that Mastermind doesn’t use his powers on him (and if he does his daughter dies). It’s an elaborate scheme, but that’s what Arcade’s supposed to be good at, and it’s refreshing to see him actually being good at it.

Oh, yeah, and I had been thinking “Isn’t Miss Locke dead?” But there’s a line in this which suggests that the Miss Locke in this might not actually be Miss Locke…so it’s good to know the creative team have been paying attention.

There’s a lot more to this issue than that, and it’s at times dark and at times funny…and at times darkly funny. Plus, you know, it has gorgeous art.

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America Chavez: Made In The USA (2021-) #1 by Kalinda Vázquez

America Chavez: Made In The USA (2021-) #1 (of 5)America Chavez: Made In The USA (2021-) #1 by Kalinda Vázquez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve worked with Carlos Gomez a couple of times in the past, inking some art he did for Charlie McElvy’s WatchGuard, and I have to say that I really love his artwork. It’s always good to see him working for the Big Two.

We catch up with Miss America Chavez as she’s fighting some giant mutant moles with her old West Coast Avengers chums (oh how I miss that comic) when she’s suddenly reminded of her past by a fan. This ultimately leads to us learning more of her past with her adoptive family and then returning to the East Coast to rescue them from being sealed within a mysterious forcefield. It becomes clear by the end of the issue that someone from her past is out to settle some old scores.

It’s just enough to draw you in and want more, which is what a first issue should do, ideally.

The art, as I have already intimated, is gorgeous, and the writing is really good, although there are some odd bits of dialogue that don’t flow well. It makes me wonder if this was maybe done Marvel style and the writer isn’t familiar with working that way. It’s hard to put into words why it feels that way to me…but, anyway, it didn’t really spoil my enjoyment of what is an otherwise excellent book.

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Star Wars: The High Republic #3 by Cavan Scott

Star Wars: The High Republic #3Star Wars: The High Republic #3 by Cavan Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m really enjoying the creeping sense of doom and horror in this comic.

The introduction of the Drengir, a species of sentient, carnivorous plants, provides a threat unlike anything we’ve ever seen in Star Wars before (although, I’m sure if I scoured Wookiepedia I’d find that the Drengir aren’t the first sentient, carnivorous plants in the Star Wars universe). They seem to have some kind of connection with the Dark Side of the Force and an ability to possess Jedi. It’s creepy stuff.

I’m currently reading Light of the Jedi, so it’s a bit weird reading about some of the Jedi in that novel at a later point on the timeline when I haven’t finished reading it yet. Do other people really read so quickly that they’ve finished all the other High Republic books already? I haven’t even got a copy of High Republic Adventures yet (I’ve ordered one, it just hasn’t arrived…because it’s not actually available in the UK). Anyway, that’s not really relevant to this review…

I think I’m enjoying this more than anything else I’ve read by Cavan Scott so far, and the art, by Ario Anindito and Mark Morales is superb. The Marvel Star Wars comics continue to be a cut above the old Dark Horse comics, artistically speaking.

It’s still early days for the High Republic but I’m very much enjoying what I’ve read so far!

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Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #5 by Kieron Gillen

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #5Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #5 by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fantastic first foray into the eternal warfare of the forty first millennium this has been for Marvel Comics?!

I honestly never thought I’d read a Marvel comic in which people yelled “Blood for blood god!” and “Skulls for the skull throne!” But here we are, and it’s every bit as good as it sounds.

While this issue is mostly tasked with wrapping things up, there’s still time for some amusing asides, like the titular Marneus Calgar declaring that Space Marines do not run, the withdraw.

All in all this has been an impressive series, sharply written by Kieron Gillen and beautifully, if gorily, illustrated by Jacen Burrows.

The only question that remains is whether or not Marvel will be taking any further forays into the world of Warhammer 40k, and I, for one, sincerely hope that they do!

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Wolverine (2020-) #10 by Benjamin Percy

Wolverine (2020-) #10Wolverine (2020-) #10 by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This issue was just gorgeous, and while Adam Kubert should get a lot of the credit for that, colourist Frank Martin should also get a lot of credit too, particularly for the double page spread of Logan and Maverick running across the waterfront in Madripoor at sunset. Simply stunning.

The action is fairly standard Wolverine stuff, with the main intrigue coming from the fact that Maverick has no interest in moving to Krakoa. He’s happy doing the mercenary thing. But I can’t help wondering if we’re going to return to this at some point.

Anyway, this is cracking stuff.

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New Mutants (2019-) #16 by Vita Ayala

New Mutants (2019-) #16New Mutants (2019-) #16 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Ayala/Reis run on this book is a real revelation, with both creators clearly being inspired by the other to do even better work with each passing issue. It just keeps getting better and better.

I’m loving the plotline with the Shadow King. What’s he up to? Is Professor X aware that he’s on the island? Have those children never been warned about him? Clearly Gabby knows that something’s up, but I think that’s a result of her own anxieties regarding Krakoan resurrection.

Then we have the plotline with Rahne’s son, Tier. Is he dead or alive? And why does nobody care about finding out the answer except Rahne herself?

And, finally, we have the main plot this issue…the mutant child who’s lost in Otherworld and the story of Karma and Moonster going after them.

Oh, but don’t forget Warpath completely misunderstanding the questions that Dani set for him! The adorable idiot.

This book is full of characters I love in interesting situations exploring fascinating ideas and it’s all wrapped up in gorgeous art that evokes the work of Bill Sienkiewicz without directly aping him. I love it!

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X-Men (2019-) #18 by Jonathan Hickman

X-Men (2019-) #18X-Men (2019-) #18 by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, it’s rather wonderful to see Synch get the spotlight for a change. A character we’ve seen so rarely since the heyday of Generation X that more recent readers would be forgiven for thinking he’s new. Put him alongside Darwin and Laura Kinney and you have a recipe for a very happy reader. Well, if the reader in question is me.

Add to that the return of the Children of the Vault from Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo’s run…and a whole lot of very intriguing stuff regarding them, and you’ve got yourself a damn fine comic book.

There’s also stuff here that seems to be alluding to The Maker, from Hickman’s Ultimates stuff…and given that Professor X currently looks almost exactly like him…then…well…it could all be a big red herring or it could be pointing to…something.

Time will tell.

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Iron Man (2020-) #6 by Christopher Cantwell

Iron Man (2020-) #6Iron Man (2020-) #6 by Christopher Cantwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tony, Tony, Tony…you’re really not in a good place, are you?

Trapped in your own armour again. That’s never a good sign. But that’s what happens when Korvac breaks your neck.

I like the juxtaposition between Tony’s fractured neck and Patsy’s fractured mind, but let’s be honest, Tony’s not exactly the poster boy for mental health right now, either.

It is VERY good to see Rhodey back in the armour, let’s get him back in THE armour now. He’s extremely overdue a spell as Iron Man. Maybe that’s where this is headed? After all, Tony’s going to need some time to recover from that fractured neck…although this is comics, so maybe not.

This is good stuff. I think Iron Man’s always worked best when exploring Tony Stark’s nature as a deeply flawed human being, when the villain has got the better of him and he’s running on empty and just surviving on sheer willpower…pushing his body beyond its limits. Because, you know, Tony’s self destructive tendencies manifest themselves in more ways than one.

Anyway, we’re off to space next time! Exciting!

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