Star Wars #14 by Charles Soule

Star Wars #14 (Star Wars (2020-))Star Wars #14 (Star Wars by Charles Soule
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The War of the Bounty Hunters continues! Despite there being no bounty hunters in this…but that’s not a complaint, as what we got was a very good comic that moved the plot along nicely.

I very much appreciate the efforts to weave the Disney era movies into the original trilogy, with a whole host of references to Solo and a brief appearance from a much younger Amilyn Holdo. Also, Soule writes Lando superbly, and it’s fascinating to see all of his scheming melt away in an instant when we’re given a brief moment of the real Lobot. I wonder if this arc will ultimately explain why we never see Lobot in Return of the Jedi.

I love that the plot seem to be manoeuvring us towards a meeting between Qi’ra and Leia. That’s bound to be explosive…

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X-Corp #2 by Tini Howard

X-Corp #2X-Corp #2 by Tini Howard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, that was better…

Which, after #1, wasn’t really hard. But, yeah, I can see some potential here, but it’s still not being fully realised. And the big problem is that it’s still not clear what this book is really about, or what X-Corp really is exactly. This book definitely benefits from tying in to the Hellfire Gala, as it gives it a bit of a clear structure and a setting we are, by now, familiar with. Also, having people shit on Fenris is always fun. I’m a little confused by the inclusion of Mastermind, who we last saw in the pages of Hellions, as there was absolutely no mention of those events here…and, also, I don’t trust Wyngarde. He’s a shit, always has been, always will be.

But, yeah, this still suffers from being very boring, and again I struggled to stay awake while reading it.

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New Mutants #19 by Vita Ayala

New Mutants #19New Mutants #19 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, oh no, oh no no no…

When someone dies in an X-book at the moment I just feel like, “Ah, they’ll be back, death has no meaning to mutants anymore…” But…clones of mutants…that’s another thing…and clones of mutants who happen to be among my favourite characters…clones of mutants who’ve raised the very point that they might not get resurrected… Oh no…

That aside, this issue was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Personally, the art wasn’t for me. I’ve been loving what Rod Reis has been doing on this book, and Lins’ work just isn’t as good. Also, the whole bit with Barry thee Artist just fell flat for me, and then went on too long. It kinda’ felt like an in joke I wasn’t in on, you know?

But, yeah, that ending hit and hit hard.

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Planet-Size X-Men #1 by Gerry Duggan

Planet-Size X-Men #1Planet-Size X-Men #1 by Gerry Duggan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wowsers.

First up Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia knocked this one out of the park. This books is, quite simply, gorgeous. This issue would have been a daunting one to illustrate and yet, somehow, they don’t just pull it off, they make it look easy.

Up to this point the Hellfire Gala has teased us with the big revelation. We’ve seen people’s reactions to it, but we haven’t been told what it is. Here…we get that reaction in full, and where Marvel’s comics have been afraid to fundamentally alter the status quo in the past, this one doesn’t shy away from changing everything.

Duggan takes the entire of mutants combining their powers to achieve incredible feats to a whole new level. They’ve been preparing us for this for a while, most notably in the pages of New Mutants and SWORD, but here it’s taken to it’s ultimate conclusion, as pretty much every Omega level mutant combines their powers to terraform Mars.

Not only does this solve the problem of where to put the sixteen million new Arrako mutants, but it also establishes the mutant civilisation as the dominant power in the solar system. The new mutant city on Mars is declared the capital of our star system…and this is going to have consequences. Not just in regards to the mutants’ relations with human governments, but on a galactic level.

I’m very excited for what this sets up going forward, for the stories and adventures this sets the stage for. And, quite frankly, the fact that so many people have reacted to this with “meh” just baffles me.

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Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 by Vita Ayala

Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen #1 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

By this point we know the drill for these Heroes Reborn tie ins.

They’re a weird mix of Marvel and DC, with Marvel characters recast in roles that are reminiscent of certain DC characters…in a world where the Avengers never formed and so Earth’s mightiest heroes are Marvel’s Justice League analogue, the Squadron Supreme.

In this instance the Marvel character is Gwen Stacey, but she’s not Night-Gwen, as the title would suggest (just like she’s not Spider-Gwen), but she is, instead, Nightbird…sometime partner of Nighthawk. Think Nightwing and Batman.

We learn that an old friend who’s obsessed with her has taken on a secret identity in a twisted scheme to win her heart. But she’s not interested in him as she’s dating Misty Night.

It’s a fun book and something I’d be interested in reading more of…but I suspect that this will only ever be a one shot.

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Heroes Reborn #6 by Jason Aaron

Heroes Reborn #6Heroes Reborn #6 by Jason Aaron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The focus shifts to Power Princess in Jason Aaron’s reimagining of the Marvel Universe if the Avengers never formed and the Squadron Supreme were Earth’s mightiest heroes instead.

And, wow, if this is Wonder Woman this is a raging, violent, drunken Wonder Woman who once had her way with Namor on the sea floor while sharks ate the corpses of the Nazis they’d just slaughtered. This is exactly the type of over the top absurdity I expect from a Marvel alternate universe. Go big or go home.

She’s unstoppable…but Thor has regained his memories of how the Earth should be, so unstoppable force meets immovable object.

KABOOM!

The art is fantastic, the writing in en pointe. This is a damn fine comic.

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Strange Academy #11 by Skottie Young

Strange Academy #11 (Strange Academy (2020-))Strange Academy #11 (Strange Academy by Skottie Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Someone has attacked and shattered Toth, but who can it be?

There’s only one solution, you call in Howard the Duck to investigate while the faculty try to put Toth back together again!

This is a classic whodunnit, but with all the mystical twists you’d expect from Strange Academy. You see, the person who did it doesn’t know they did it, because they were possessed by an item of clothing!

It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s touching and it’s brilliant.

In other words: It’s Strange Academy!

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Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #13 by Ethan Sacks

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #13 (Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-))Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #13 (Star Wars: Bounty Hunters by Ethan Sacks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, this is a definite improvement over the previous issue, mostly because it was actually possible to follow what’s going on. Still, not anywhere up to the standard of the rest of this crossover event…

…and what crossover event is that? that would be The War of the Bounty Hunters, which continues in the pages of this comic. Valance and Dengar are on Nar Shaddaa, the Smuggler’s Moon, hot on the trail of Boba Fett. They’ve missed him, but Dengar knows a guy who might know where he went, but it’ll take tact and diplomacy to get the intel. So, of course, Valance just punches him right in the face, because valance is an idiot now apparently.

After a fight, Valance dangles the guy over a large drop and he spills the beans, Fett doesn’t have Han Solo, Crimson Dawn do. But Valance doesn’t believe that Crimson Dawn are back, because he hasn’t read the previous instalment in this crossover. Silly man.

The issue ends with the reveal of a new, badass, female bounty hunter, who’ll ne doubt be even cooler and more badass than Valance…

So, yeah, better than the last issue, but Sacks’ writing is still frustratingly pedestrian and the characterisation of Valance is still wildly inconsistent. Is he hot headed and reckless or is he a grizzled veteran? Who knows!

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Iron Man #9 by Christopher Cantwell

Iron Man #9 (Iron Man (2020-))Iron Man #9 (Iron Man by Christopher Cantwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished my review of #8 by hoping we’d get back to Tony in the next issue…we do not, which is a shame. I mean, this is an Iron Man book, and Iron Man only briefly appears in a flashback. It’s fine to do that occasionally, but I’m not sure that it works two issues in a row…especially when we’ve had to wait two months between issues. At least we know that we’re going to finally catch up with Tony next time.

Meanwhile, we delve into the origin of Korvac, and everything’s a bit muddled. I found this issue exceptionally hard to follow and it seems to expect a level of familiarity with the character that I don’t possess. Plus, the original Human Torch is here. And they’re related…sort of. Korvac builds him a new robot body to replace the robot body Tony built for him in an issue of the Invaders at some point, apparently, and Korvac things the Torch will understand his plan to usher in a new utopian age and join him. Which doesn’t exactly go to plan.

The art is as good as it always is in Iron Man at the moment, but the writing here feels a little disjointed. It’s odd. Hopefully this issue is just a blip in what’s been an otherwise outstanding run.

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Children of the Atom #4 by Vita Ayala

Children of the Atom #4Children of the Atom #4 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is much better!

The team find out that Krakoa is opening its gates to humans for the Hellfire Gala and hope this is the opening they need to get to the island…thus confirming what we all knew, they’re not mutants. Indeed, their powers all seem to be technological in origin, derived from weapons they salvaged from the crashed space ship.

Carmen tries to confide in Benny that she seems to be manifesting mutant powers (although I still think she’s actually been infected by the Brood…just a hunch…) and he mistakenly thinks she’s asking him out…which she’s not, because she’s a lesbian, and it’s heavily implied that he’s asexual.

Things seem to be coming to a head when all of the team except jay Jay get captured…and then Jay Jay turns up with the X-Men to rescue them. I’m anticipating a big talk with the X-Men next issue where everything gets explained…and then hopefully we can move on. Or the series will just end and we’ll never see any of these characters again…which would be a real shame. This series has been a bit of a rocky ride quality wise so far, but I genuinely like these characters and think they have a lot of potential. But, you know, I’m a sucker for a team of teen heroes.

The art continues to be great, of course.

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