Wolverine: Black, White & Blood (2020-) #2 by Vita Ayala

Wolverine: Black, White & Blood (2020-) #2 (of 4)Wolverine: Black, White & Blood (2020-) #2 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A solid four for a comic that’s a third illustrated by Greg Land?

Well, that’s just how good the other two thirds are… Look, if nothing else, the first story here makes it clear just how much Land owes to the colourists who usually make him look good(ish). His art here, though, without the crutch of good colouring, is just weak. The story also suffers from what the first issue’s stories suffered from…it’s no more than “Wolverine does the stabby,” and those kind of stories bore me.

The rest of the book, however, that’s a different story. The second story, written by Saladin Ahmed and illustrated by Kev Walker, sees Logan captured by Arcade, and having to rescue the waiter who drugged him (because Arcade would have killed him otherwise). The twist being that if Logan kills any of Arcade’s robots on the way, the waiter will die sooner. So Wolverine has to try not to do the stabby. Which is a nice twist.

The third story is by Chris Claremont and Salvador Lorraca and co-stars Kate Pryde…so, of course, I loved it. The writing was great and the art was stylish. You see, Land and Larroca both use a lot of photo reference, but Lorraca knows how to do it well. Because he’s a great artist who’s perfectly capable of drawing without photo reference, it’s just a stylistic choice. Whereas with Land…not so much.

So, all in all, a really good comic.

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Juggernaut (2020-) #4 by Fabian Nicieza

Juggernaut (2020-) #4 (of 5)Juggernaut (2020-) #4 by Fabian Nicieza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely loved this.

It’s action packed, which you’d expect from a Juggernaut book, but there’s also enough talking and thoughtful moments for it not to become dull.

I really love the developing friendship between Cain and D-Cell, and the continuing mystery of whether or not she’s a mutant. Given Cain’s somewhat fractious history with the X-Men and mutantdom one can’t help but think that the answer to that mystery will be…interesting.

The art, by Ron Garney, is, of course, stunning, and suits the book absolutely perfectly.

I also enjoyed the use of pre-existing but fairly obscure villains, and the updating of Arnim Zola’s look so he doesn’t just look stupid. He felt like a credible threat in this, which was refreshing.

We also learn that the Juggernaut is no longer under the control of Cytorrak, and given that the theme of this series seems to be villains who are being controlled by outside forces that’s clearly not a coincidence.

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Excalibur (2019-) #16 by Tini Howard

Excalibur (2019-) #16Excalibur (2019-) #16 by Tini Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Is that accent fake?! It sounds fake.”

Just want to throw something out there before I get into it. The “Corps” in “Captain Britain Corps” is pronounced “core” and not “corpse.” It’s the same with the Green Lantern Corps. Just so you all know. Got that? Ok. Let’s continue…

See, this is Excalibur. You’ve got Brian and Meggan and their precocious daughter, Maggie. You’ve got Otherworld and the Captain Britain Corps. You’ve got a weird mystery that needs to be solved. This is Excalibur.

You also have mutants combining their powers to do something they otherwise wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do. Clearly another use of the mutant technology that was explained/explored in S.W.O.R.D. #1. It’s certainly encouraging to see that kind of synergy across the X-line. We also had a reference to Jamie Braddock gaining possession of Mr Sinister’s cape, which happened over in Hellions, and as someone who’s reading all of the X-books, I enjoy those little references. Also, Sinister supplying Jamie with a clone of Betsy can’t possibly lead to anything but trouble.

Personally, this is right up my street. I’m enjoying the slow burn of many of the X-books right now. These writers are in for the long haul and they’re clearly in no hurry to tell the stories they’re going to be telling over the next few years. The art, by Marcus To, is as lovely as ever, and I particularly like that this book has such a consistently great artist drawing it.

All in all, this is my kind of comic, and I love it.

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Avengers (2018-) #39 by Jason Aaron

Avengers (2018-) #39Avengers (2018-) #39 by Jason Aaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, who’s the first mutant? That’s Namor, right?

Except Apocalypse, or En Sabah Nur, who’s name literally translates to “The First One” is many thousands of years old…and a mutant.

Oh, but Selene is thousands of years older than him, so is it her?

But, no, there were mutants one million years BC, and one of them was a red haired girl, who became the host of the Phoenix.

Jason Aaron continues to rewrite the ancient history of the Marvel Universe and I am quite happy for him to do so, because he’s really, really good at it.

This issues is illustrated by Dale Keown, so it’s no surprise that the art is really good too.

But coupled with Dan Slott’s revelation that Franklin Richards isn’t a mutant over in Fantastic Four, there are a lot of non-X-office writers messing with mutantdom at the moment, and one can only hope that the editorial teams of all these books are actually communicating and coordinating all of this.

Still, good comic is good.

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X-Force #15 by Benjamin Percy

X-Force #15X-Force #15 by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

X-Force is the clearest indication that something is rotten in the state of Krakoa.

And that something is Beast.

Which is a fascinating and completely appropriate direction to take Hank McCoy in.

But while there’s something rotten politically at the heart of Krokoa, the island itself seems to have spawned some kind of Lovecraftian whale…maybe that’s related. Maybe the rot at the heart of Krakoa’s government is also manifesting something physically rotten? I just hope the dog’s okay…

This book continues to be heavily tied into Wolverine’s solo book, which shouldn’t be surprising as they’re both written by Benjamin Percy. But, as such, you might be a bit confused about all the talk of vampires and Dracula if you haven’t been reading that book too. But, you know, you really should be, it’s great.

The art here might not be to everyone’s taste, but I really like it, and I’m certainly enjoying the more diverse range of artistic styles in the X-books these days.

Overall, X-Force seems to be settling into a really excellent run, with great art and great writing, and an exploration of how the rot of fascism can take root at the heart of what otherwise seems to be a utopian nation.

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New Mutants #14 by Vita Ayala

New Mutants #14New Mutants #14 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

New Mutants has kinda’ been up and down since it started, but this new creative team (although Reis has already illustrated several issues) really hits the spot.

For one, as much as I dearly love the classic New Mutants team, it’s good to have this book now feature some actual new mutants. Sure, many of them have been around for a while, but they’re still the new generation of mutants, and this is where they really belong. Of course, the original team is still here, but now they’re offering guidance and training.

Gabby is one of my favourite characters, I loved her in the All New Wolverine run, and it’s great to not only see her here, but to have her asking awkward questions about clones and resurrection. These are questions that can’t continue to be fudged for much longer, and if Gabby actually dies there are going to have to be some hard decisions made.

And then we have the Shadow King…and just what might he be up to? And how might it relate to Karma’s nightmares, considering that she was possessed by him for a time?

Only time will tell, but I’m looking forward to getting some answers!

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S.W.O.R.D. (2020-) #1 by Al Ewing

S.W.O.R.D. (2020-) #1S.W.O.R.D. (2020-) #1 by Al Ewing
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was pretty much perfect. Al Ewing and Valerio Schiti has teamed up to bring us the future of mutantkind and it’s rather mind blowing.

That said, my first thought was, “What the hell is Fabian Cortez doing here?” Amusingly enough, that was exactly Magneto’s reaction too. The Cortez stuff was really funny, especially when Magneto greets Peeper as a long lost friend, but couldn’t even remember Cortez’s name.

Ewing and Schiti also manage to do the impossible in making Wiz-Kid cool. And he’s SO cool. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him over the coming months.

And then there’s the end of the book, in which we’re taken on an almost 2001-esque journey across the cosmos, during which a…thing…is recovered. What is that thing? Well, I suspect that finding the answer to that is going to be the point of this series going forward.

All in all, S.W.O.R.D. #1 delivers on its promise and more so. I can’t wait to read more!

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Marauders (2019-) #16 by Gerry Duggan

Marauders (2019-) #16Marauders (2019-) #16 by Gerry Duggan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this was rather wonderful…Emma and Kate team up, along with Storm and Lockheed, to wreak vengeance upon Sebastian Shaw for the crime of…well…killing Kate Pryde and attempting to kill Lockheed. Things which make him a very bad man. I mean, we already knew he was a very bad man, but still…

And what a twisted and entirely appropriate vengeance it is. Because, after all, on Krokoa, death holds no stings…but humiliating a man in his own home? And reducing himself to a wheelchair bound shell of himself? For a man like Shaw that’s gotta hurt. I also fully expect this to come back to bite Kate and Emma at some point.

The art is superb, and the cover, by Russel Daughterman is particularly good. My only real question here is: Where did Kate’s knuckle tats go? Although, I didn’t like them, so… Maybe she phased them off?

Anyway, this was good, and builds my excited for post-X Of Swords X-books.

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King In Black #1 by Donny Cates

King In Black #1King In Black #1 by Donny Cates
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Going in I wasn’t expecting to like this and, well, let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m sure if you’re a fan of Venom and have been following all the build up to this event then this was probably great, and judging by other people’s reviews, it was. But this book is not new reader friendly. I had no idea what was going on or who anyone was, really. It took me long enough to figure out that the big guy with the beard was Eddie Brock and not Thor.

This is a corner of the Marvel universe that I’ll admit I’m not familiar with and, as such, it kinda left me cold. So, as a review this really isn’t helpful to anyone unless you were thinking of checking out King In Black despite not having read any of the build up.

The art’s nice, though. Ryan Stegman always does a great job.

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M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games (2020-) #1 by Jordan Blum

M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games (2020-) #1 (of 4)M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games (2020-) #1 by Jordan Blum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this is a whole bundle of fun!

Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt team up with artist Scott Hepburn to spin a tale of the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, aka MODOK.

MODOK is suffering from flashes of a life of wedded, family bliss that never happened, and as such he’s being ousted from the AIM board. Of course, MODOK isn’t going to take this sitting down…although, technically, MODOK is always sitting down, but you know what I mean…

This is VERY SILLY and the art matches the tone of the book perfectly. Definitely worth checking out, and I’m looking forward to the rest of this series.

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