Iron Man #10 by Christopher Cantwell

Iron Man #10 (Iron Man (2020-))Iron Man #10 (Iron Man by Christopher Cantwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Somehow Tony has found himself stranded on the world of the Ultimos and is living in a commune run by Stilt Man.

Which…is absurd, but yet it works. This book seems to capture the utter absurdity of silver age Iron Man while delivering it in the form of a thoroughly modern comic. Also, props to Cantwell for coming up with a believable premise for having Tony facing his demons regarding addiction again. You know, rather than having him drink an imaginary drink in a virtual world while he was essentially being mind controlled… Instead we have Tony experience a true moment of introspection, examining his motives for wanting to do good…while knowing he’ll also have to deal with his dependence on morphine once all this is over. It’s mature, sensible, considered and makes me feel like Tony’s actually a hero again.

The art is, as always, breath-taking. This run has been spectacular so far, and I hope it continues for a long time.

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X-Men Legends (2021-) #5 by Peter David

X-Men Legends (2021-) #5X-Men Legends (2021-) #5 by Peter David
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Would it be churlish of me to point out that of the five issues of X-Men Legends we’ve had so far only two of them have actually been about the X-Men? At this point a more appropriate title might be “X-Factor Legends.”

This series was billed as a way for X-writers to return to their classic lines and finally tie up some of those dangling plot threads the X-books of the 90s were so famous for. Like…was Adam X the third Summers brother? And…uh…well…that’s the problem. That’s really the only one anyone can remember. So we’ve also got a bit of X-Factor that nobody can really remember, and now a of the second era of X-Factor in which the team apparently dealt with a hostage situation at the Latverian embassy.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s well written and well drawn, but I’m sure there were some actual mysteries from this period that were never resolved. Like that whole thing with the Traitor…no…wait…that was Onslaught…I must have blanked that out…

Anyway, you get my point…five issues in and while the first two issues answered questions I’d be wondering about for the best part of thirty years…the rest has felt like, “here are some comics done in the style of old comics, by the same people who made those comics, mostly.” While that’s fun, at the moment it doesn’t feel like it has much to offer beyond a nostalgia hit.

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New Mutants #20 by Vita Ayala

New Mutants #20New Mutants #20 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Scout is dead, but Cosmar, No Girl and the rest of their little group of rebellions mutants are determined to bring her back…even if they don’t quite understand how the process works.

Meanwhile, Magik and Warpath lead a team of young mutants to perform disaster relief on Tristan da Cunha, as they suspect that the disaster might have something to do with a new mutant that Cerebro has detected. Now, Tristan de Cunha is basically a volcano is the South Atlantic with a population of 264 people. It’s pretty much half way between South America and Africa and the closest island to it is called Inaccessible Island. It’s a wee bit remote, and as such the locals aren’t too please when a group of mutants shows up, presumably to steal away one of their children. The mutants assume the locals will be hostile to the new mutants, but they’re wrong…and learn a valuable lesson about showing up unannounced on tiny South Atlantic islands.

Back at Krakoa, Karma confronts Rahne about her new friendship with Shadow King. Which is understandable given that he once possessed Karma and did some pretty horrible things to her. Rahne’s angry reaction would suggest that Xi’an’s right to be worried.

This is all great stuff from Ayala, although the book suffers a bit for the lack of Rod Reis. I do hope he’s coming back!

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Marauders #22 by Gerry Duggan

Marauders #22 (Marauders (2019-))Marauders #22 (Marauders by Gerry Duggan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this issue, although it’s somewhat darker than we’ve come to expect from Gerry Duggan, or from this series in general.

The plotline involving the Cuckoos helping a girl who’s been the victim of an abusive father was handled well, and the Cuckoos as a group are characters that I always enjoy.

The revelation that Emma Frost had deceived Sebastian Shaw about the woman he loved, because she wanted to escape from him because he was abusive was also good, and of course the two parts are clearly thematically linked. Emma’s desire to protect women from the men who abuse them runs throughout this issue and is clearly a defining characteristic of the White Queen for Duggan. I think it works effectively as a method to humanise a character who was initially introduced to us as a villain.

The artwork is superb throughout, with Matteo Lolli ably handling the present day and Klaus Janson handling the flashback in his own inimitable style.

Overall a very solid comic book that takes on some heavy subject matter and, on the whole, succeeds.

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X-Corp #3 by Tini Howard

X-Corp #3 (X-Corp (2021-))X-Corp #3 (X-Corp by Tini Howard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, thank God, that’s more like it! After a rocky start this series has finally found its feet.

Of course, that might just be because this was a more Madrox centred issue…and the whole thing with Layla and his baby was just so crushingly sad. (Don’t worry, nobody died!)

But, yeah, I really enjoyed this, even if some of the non-Madrox related stuff was still a little confusing. I think I’ve generally got a handle on what’s going on. This book is fun and touching and that’s a good mix.

There are clearly more revelations to come, and if the book continues to be this good then I’m more than happy to stick around for them.

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Excalibur #22 by Tini Howard

Excalibur #22 (Excalibur (2019-))Excalibur #22 (Excalibur by Tini Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pete Wisdom, Sheriff Whitechapel, a ton of Merlyn related Captain Britain shenanigans and a cut so deep into Captain Britain history that even I had to Google it! What more could you possibly want?

Well, maybe Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers and Illyana Rasputin, but they’re not in this and you can’t have everything, I suppose.

But still, as a long time fan of the UK based end of the Marvel Universe (for the obvious reason that it’s where I’m from…well, the UK based end of reality, at least…) I absolutely loved this. It’s clear that Howard has been doing her research into the deep and rich history of these characters. It also can’t be stated enough just how much I love the Betsy Braddock version of Captain Britain.

The art is gorgeous, the writing superb and dripping with lore, and that last panel reveal? Well, that’s gonna be interesting…

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The United States of Captain America #1 by Christopher Cantwell

The United States of Captain America #1The United States of Captain America #1 by Christopher Cantwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lol at anyone calling this “far left.” Also lol at anyone complaining about politics in a comic about a hero who is literally wrapped in his country’s flag. That’s inherently political. And while Steve pontificating on the American dream fell a little flat for me, not being American, I liked the sentiment.

I also liked the way tis book was split into two halves. The first introduces us to “the plot” as it were. Someone has stolen Steve’s shield, he and Falcon give chase, this leads to them discovering the underground network of Captain Americas (or should that be Captains America?) and we meet Aaron Fisher, the Captain America of the railways. And, lastly, a plot to assassinate them seems to be afoot.

The second half serves as an origin story for Aaron, a young gay kid who finds himself living on the streets and when kidnapped and put in a work camp by Roxxon, takes on the mantle of Captain America to fight back and free everyone in the camp. I liked Aaron, he reminds me of my own kid.

I’m intrigued to see where this is going and excited to meet more Captains America along the way.

And for those who don’t want politics in their comics, I’ve got news for you…everything’s political.

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X-Men Legends #4 by Louise Simonson

X-Men Legends #4X-Men Legends #4 by Louise Simonson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a solid, nostalgic trip down memory lane that’s likely to satisfy fans of the Simonsons.

I’ll be honest, I would have enjoyed it a bit more if I could remember the story it’s leading into, but it’s been a very, very long time since I read this run of X-Factor.

Nevertheless, the writing is great and the artwork is superb, and the old school lettering is a particular treat.

We’re in for more X-Factor next time, but it’s a return to Peter David’s first run on the book, which should be interesting.

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Serial #5 by Terry Moore

Serial #5Serial #5 by Terry Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Look, this is superb. You know it’s superb, it’s by Terry Moore.

Why is it superb? Other than because it’s by Terry Moore? Well, because the art is sublime. Moore is one of the finest storytellers working in comics. His art is gorgeous. Every line tells a tale. And the writing? Let me tell you about the writing. It’s good. Really good. This comic draws you in, you get invested in the characters…and then one of them straight up murders another one…but I digress.

I’m not a dog person but the scene with the dog still got to me.

If you’re not already reading this series you need to fix that. Now.

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