Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #6 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #6Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #6 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

so far Pak has brilliantly linked the Prequels with a Vader comic set during the original trilogy, between Empire and Jedi. Now he’s linking to the Sequel trilogy, which is likely to prove controversial with some fans, but is providing much needed connective tissue to the Saga as a whole.

Returning from his quest to find out the truth of what happened to Padme, Vader is now on the receiving end of some harsh punishment from Palpatine. This essentially takes the form of him reliving his mutilation and abandonment on Mustafar. Which seems harsh, but, you know…Palpatine’s gonna Palpatine.

And then we have that last page reveal and…well…I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I certainly wasn’t expecting that.

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Cable #5 by Gerry Duggan

Cable #5Cable #5 by Gerry Duggan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s a Summers family outing as Scott, Jean and Nate hang out on the abandoned SWORD space station and battle what appears to be some sort of otherworldly virus in the form of people in black rubber suits.

There’s some lovely dialogue here, as we get to see Scott and Jean alone(ish) together for the first time in a while, and also Scott and Nate get some nice bonding scenes in which Scott gets to be the overprotective dad.

And…there’s not a whole lot more, really. It’s unclear whether what’s going on with SWORD is actually relevant to X of Swords beyond, you know, the sword thing…or if their is essentially set up for the upcoming Sword series. There’s also some telepathic scheming going on between Scott, Jean and Magik, which is definitely relevant to X of Swords, and I’m sure we’ll find out exactly what they’re planning a little further down the line.

The art is, of course, stunning, because it’s Phil Noto and Phil Noto’s artwork is always stunning.

Overall a pretty great comic.

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New Mutants #13 by Ed Brisson

New Mutants #13New Mutants #13 by Ed Brisson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ed Brisson delivers his best issue of New Mutants yet…and it’s his last. Vita Ayala takes over in two months, as the book takes a break next month. Should we read anything into the fact that Warlock is on the cover to #14 but Doug isn’t? This issue certainly seems to be foreshadowing his impending death…but that alone makes me doubt that Doug’s going to die. He might be…changed…though. We shall see.

Anyway, this issue is great, and while Brisson certainly writes it well, the real stand out aspect is the art, by Rob Reis, which is simply stunning, and certainly reminiscent of Bill Sienkiewicz’s work on the first run of New Mutants. Magik and Doug spar as she helps train him for the upcoming tournament, and both he and she are concerned that Doug will die. Krakoa and Exodus are also concerned about the same thing, with Exodus proposing they kill Doug now and resurrect him after the tournament and Krakoa suggesting that it hides Doug. But Doug points out that this could quite possibly lead to another mutant dying in his place and he couldn’t live with that. Because Doug is a good person.

Brisson and Reis ably convey Doug’s fear and uncertainty, coupled with his determination to do the right thing. Also, Illyana’s protectiveness of Doug, after all, she’s lost him before. In fact, being dead has been what Doug has been best known for for most of his existence in the Marvel universe…which is why I doubt that he’s going to die again now.

Only time will tell, but, you know…I really don’t want Doug to die.

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Hellions #5 by Zeb Wells

Hellions #5Hellions #5 by Zeb Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you didn’t enjoy this issue then maybe you just don’t like fun. Be sure to remove any stick like objects from your posterior before reading.

Because this is FUNNY. And that, apparently, offends some people. Mr Sinister’s progression over the last few years from fairly boring, one note, Summers obsessed villain…to…well…what we have here. Flamboyant. Camp. Vain. And almost certainly using all of that as a smokescreen to hide his true villainous intent…is something that was started by Gillen, progressed by Hickman and perfect, here, by Zeb Wells.

Also, Empath is the worst and I still love him.

As for plot, the Hellions have to infiltrate Otherworld in a bid to steal the swords of their enemies before the tournament even begins, and to do so Sinister has to swap his cape for a horse so that Jamie Braddock will let them in. And it’s every bit as ridiculous as that sounds.

Well, it might be Sinister, or it might be a clone that he’s secretly created…and he might also be a clone that he’s secretly created. The real Sinister might not even be on Krakoa for all we know.

Anyway, the writing in here is great. It’s Zeb Wells at his wittiest. And the art is simply superb.

I love this, and you should too…unless you’re a miserable git who hates everything new and thinks you know better because you’ve been reading X-Men for a million years.

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Star Wars (2020-) #7 by Charles Soule

Star Wars (2020-) #7Star Wars (2020-) #7 by Charles Soule
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ah, Tarkin, the Star Wars novel that keeps on giving…

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad comic by any stretch of the imagination, I’m just getting tired of what feel like endless call backs to the Tarkin novel, and the fact that every comic has to include a pointless reference to the High Republic right now…would probably be less annoying if the High Republic stuff hadn’t ended up being delayed until next year.

But, more significantly, I don’t really buy the Death Star’s destruction, and Tarkin’s death, as a motivation for Commander Zahra’s specific grudge against Princess Leia. It’s not like Leia was directly involved in the attack on the Death Star or even coordinated it from the ground.

Nevertheless, it was an excellently illustrated comic, and despite the issues I raised above it’s still a well written book. I guess I’m anxious to see the plot take some bigger strides in bridging the gap between Empire and Jedi. Maybe it would be nice to follow Lando in his quest to find Han for a while…?

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Champions (2020-) #1 by Eve Ewing

Champions (2020-) #1Champions (2020-) #1 by Eve Ewing
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, if you know me you’ll know that teen superhero teams are my jam…and teen superhero teams that are on the run from the law especially so.

Literally my only complaint about this book is that “New law makes superheroing illegal” is a trope that’s well worn, but it’s done well here, so I won’t complain too much (also I did it in one of my own books, so I’d be a big hypocrite if I did).

The writing is superb, and in a team featuring a LOT of characters everyone gets a little moment so we can at least start to get to know them. The art is…wow…the art is just gorgeous, and has a young and vibrant vibe to it that feels very appropriate.

I really need to check out the rest of Outlawed but looking at eBay I’m not sure that’s going to happen as Outlawed #1 is selling for silly money (thanks, coronavirus), but maybe I’ll get lucky.

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Deadpool (2019-) #7 by Kelly Thompson

Deadpool (2019-) #7Deadpool (2019-) #7 by Kelly Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Deadpool and Elsa Bloodstone are pretty much a perfect team…and adding Jeff the Shark just makes them even more perfect.

Is anyone else developing a crush on Elsa because I…I mean…Wade clearly is. I mean, he’s dreaming about smooching her and then getting eaten by a giant monster. Or was that a prophecy…? Yeah, we saw what you did there, Thompson, we ain’t as stupid as we look and we look REALLY stupid. Wait, no, that didn’t come out right…

Ok, so Sandoval is no Bachalo, but in my eyes nobody is Bachalo apart from Bachalo, who is pretty definitely Bachalo, you know? But Sandoval will do, I like the cut of his jib! By which I mean that I think he draws good. Or, rather. his art style very much suits this book. And, you know, we still get a lovely Bachalo cover, so we can still hold out some hope of him returning to the interior art on this book.

This issue, perhaps, felt more serious than previous issues, with less overt silliness…but that’s relative.

Overall, this issue, and this book as a whole, is great. You should probably be reading it, but then if you read everything I told you to you’d be reading a lot of books…because god only knows I am.

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Marauders (2019-) #13 by Vita Ayala

Marauders (2019-) #13Marauders (2019-) #13 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, I guess the entire event couldn’t score five stars, could it?

This isn’t a bad comic, it’s just a flawed comic. It’s incredibly dialogue heavy and the characters seem to spend a lot of time basically talking in circles and going over the same ground.

Storm travels to Wakanda, which she used to be Queen of, alongside her ex-husband, T’Challa, better known as the Black Panther. There she asks for the super special sword which Polaris’ sort of prophecy/instructions decreed that she should use to defend Krakoa, and by extension the world. in the upcoming tournament of swords. Black Panther is away when she arrives and his mother and his sister, Shuri, tell Ororo that they can’t possibly give it to her until he gets back, because they can’t make the decision and if they did it would plunge Wakanda into anarchy or something.

Um…couldn’t they just call him? Was there no way to contact him at all? He eventually just shows up out of the blue anyway, so all of that conflict was utterly pointless.

The art, also, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not bad, but compared to the art in the other x-books right now, it’s just not up to the same standard. Which is a shame.

As I said, not a bad comic, it just suffers in comparison to the first four chapters of this story.

So, now Storm has her sword, and the Krakoans have three out of ten swords. Bring on sword number four!

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X-Force (2019-) #13 by Benjamin Percy

X-Force (2019-) #13X-Force (2019-) #13 by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

X-Force #13 picks up where Wolverine #6 left off…with exactly the same creative team!

Wolverine travels to hell in search of Marumasa and teams up with opponent in the upcoming tournament, Solem, to retrieve the Marumasa blades.

And, well, see my review of Wolverine #6 because this is just a continuation of that, and it’s awesome.

I didn’t talk about Percy’s writing in that, and just as Bogdanovic’s art continues to be outstanding, Percy’s writing continues to be excellent. He captures Logan’s voice perfectly. It’s gruff, moody and atmospheric.

So, Logan now has his sword, but what price did he have to pay to retrieve it…?

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Wolverine (2020-) #6 by Benjamin Percy

Wolverine (2020-) #6Wolverine (2020-) #6 by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Three chapters in and so far I’ve previously inked two out of the three artists who’ve worked on X Of Swords. C’mon, guys, let me play too!

But, seriously, this is fantastic. I’m running out of superlatives to describe X Of Swords and we’re only three issues in. This issue introduces an intriguing new opponent for Logan, Solem. Solem seems part devil, part trickster god, and all deadly.

As I’ve mentioned before, Bogdanovic has form when it comes to amazingly good depictions of Hell, and he doesn’t disappoint here.

Where’s this all headed? Well, I’m going to crack open X-Force #13 and find out…

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