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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X-Men #21 by Jonathan Hickman

X-Men #21 (X-Men (2019-))X-Men #21 (X-Men by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Namor reminds us why he’s knows as the Prince of Abs-lantis, as he’s invited to join the Quiet Council, with predictable results.

The new X-Men team is revealed, and a very interesting team it appears to be. I’m particularly pleased to see Sunfire on the team, having always felt it was a shame that he walked out immediately after the events of Giant Size #1.

There’s some party mingling and some cool cameos from real life people, including Kevin Feige..and a whole slew of people I probably should have recognised but didn’t. Pretty sure I spotted George RR Martin in there thought. Geez, that guy will do anything to avoid finishing the next Game of Thrones book!

And then Emma did…something that we’ll undoubtedly see in Planet Size X-Men #1…

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Excalibur #21 by Tini Howard

Excalibur #21 (Excalibur (2019-))Excalibur #21 (Excalibur by Tini Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, what an issue! The Hellfire Gala continues to deliver in spades!

And let’s cut straight to the chase, the most inspired part of this whole, wonderful issue, was Britain wanting to leave its deal with Krakoa. They’re doing Krexit. Krexit. That’s…just…so exactly what our government would do. Maybe the Tories are actually all evil druids working for Clan Akkaba?

There were so many other wonderful moment in this issue though…most of them long overdue reunions. Such as Meggan and Kurt! And the hint at Meggan’s “condition”… Then we had Rachel and Betsy and the insistence that Rachel visit the lighthouse more often. Yes please! She’d be a welcome addition to this team…and maybe she could also get a better codename while she’d at it?

And last, but by no means least, Rictor was reunited with Shatterstar at last!

And then we have poor old Pete Wisdom’s fate… Let’s just say it’s a good thing that mutants can be resurrected else I’d be very cross indeed.

But, seriously, this entire comic was a delight from start to finish!

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Hellions #12 (Hellions by Zeb Wells

Hellions #12 (Hellions (2020-))Hellions #12 (Hellions by Zeb Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I quite literally laughed out loud while reading this comic. Wells has found the perfect balance of drama, action and comedy in this book, and every issue feels better than the last.

It’s Hellfire Gala time and the Hellions are not invited (well, other than Sinister, Alex and Kwannon, that is…and Alex’s outfit is so fabulous I kinda’ want to cosplay it), but not being invited isn’t going to stop this team from just, well, going anyway…thanks to some psychic shenanigans and a running gag about Phoebe Cuckoo’s dress.

We also have the deepest of deep cuts here as Wild Child runs into Aurora, and if I hadn’t just been listening to X-Plain The X-Men episodes where they discuss their break up I would have had no clue they’d ever dated (I mean, I did read those X-Factor issues, it was just a lifetime ago). I was half expecting someone to shout, “Leave it, Kyle, she’s not worth it!”

Anyway, can all the X-Books be about awkward social gatherings from now on, please? I’m loving this!

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X-Force #20 (X-Force by Benjamin Percy

X-Force #20 (X-Force (2019-))X-Force #20 (X-Force by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

X-Force are running security for the Hellfire Gala and as such we get to see a scene from Marauders #21 play out in more detail, namely Quentin’s encounter with Tony Stark, in which the two geniuses butt heads. We don’t learn too much more than we already knew, other than that they’re both massive ass hats. Which, uh, we already knew.

Meanwhile, Beast is up to something…and that something is getting himself confused with The Almighty. No, not the Glaswegian hard rock band from the Nineties, but God themself. Beast’s god complex has run rampant, particularly in regards to Terra Verde, and now Emma has found out and, uh, things are going very, very wrong…

Meanwhile, Deadpool crashes the party, because of course he does.

Top notch stuff from the Hellfire Gala! And I’m also impressed that this even is being used to bring long running plot threads to fruition rather than derailing them.

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Marauders #21 (Marauders by Gerry Duggan

Marauders #21 (Marauders (2019-))Marauders #21 (Marauders by Gerry Duggan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, well, well…it’s finally here, the event of the year…no…the event of the decade…no…the event of the century…

“Get on with it!”

The Hellfire Gala!

Oh my gosh, can you believe she said/did that thing she said or did? Mind blowing… Or, you know, it probably will be when we actually find out what it was.

This was just pure, unadulterated fun! well, I’m sure Emma would have liked some adulterating with Steve, but that’s never gonna happen.

Loved the art, loved the writing, and that bonus Classic X-Men strip by Claremont and Bolton was a nice addition.

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Heroes Reborn: Magneto & The Mutant Force (2021) #1 (Heroes Reborn by Steve Orlando

Heroes Reborn: Magneto & The Mutant Force (2021) #1 (Heroes Reborn (2021) One-Shots)Heroes Reborn: Magneto & The Mutant Force (2021) #1 (Heroes Reborn by Steve Orlando
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this was a trip!

The art, by Bernard Chang is, of course, superb, and the writing’s pretty good too. The alternate universe X-Men formula is tried and tested but used to good effect here and kept me gripped right up until the end…

…when the reveal of one of my least favourite characters left me sorely disappointed. Your mileage may vary, of course, but suffice it to say that I wasn’t a fan of the Morrison run. Not that it really matters, of course, as this is, I assume, a one shot, and there won’t be a “next time.”

As such, this is a thoroughly enjoyable glimpse of an X-Men that will never be.

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New Mutants #18 by Vita Ayala

New Mutants #18New Mutants #18 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m loving what Ayala and Reis are doing in their New Mutants run. Exploring the ramifications of resurrection and what that means to the mutants of Krakoa both young and old.

The Crucible seems insane and a weirdly brutal way of solving problems and it can’t possibly be healthy, long term, to see people throw their lives away in this way, knowing that they’ll be resurrected with all their problems magically “fixed.” I think this is where we’re headed with this group of young mutants, whose mutations have taken a heavy toll on them, physically speaking. They’re heading towards self harm to an extreme degree, and I wonder what will happen when resurrection doesn’t magically solve all of their issues.

Of course, it goes without saying (or maybe doesn’t as I’m saying it) that you really need to be reading this alongside Way of X, which is also exploring the ways in which Krakoan society is very, very wrong. I feel like some people have mistaken the way that Krakoa has been presented within the narrative as a utopia for the creators behind these books saying that Krakoa is a utopia. It’s very clearly not, there’s very clearly something deeply wrong here.

As ever, Reis’s art is superb, and a huge part of what makes this book really special. I hope he sticks around for a long time!

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X-Men #20 by Jonathan Hickman

X-Men #20X-Men #20 by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now, this is what I’m here for.

Hickman picks up many of the threads he’d left dangling and moves the plot along, as Erik and Charles manipulate Mystique into doing their dirty work and destroying Nimrod at the moment of his birth. Of course, they fail and their very actions result in the creation of what they fear most.

We also finally get to see Moira again…and she’s reading Destiny’s Diaries! What could that mean? And is Mystique going to burn everything down before we find out, in an…inferno?

Inferno teased here? Onslaught over in Way Of X? Everything old is new again! But, seriously, I love the way Hickman is using old ideas in new and interesting ways.

Oh, yeah, and if you’re wondering how it is that Erik and Charles could treat Mystique so badly…well…there’s that Onslaught thing again…

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Wolverine (2020-) #12 by Benjamin Percy

Wolverine (2020-) #12Wolverine (2020-) #12 by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good, solid issue which, I assume, brings to a close this whole vampire arc…at least for now.

And, well, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, really. It was enjoyable enough, I’ve just never really liked vampires and/or Dracula when they show up in Marvel comics. And between this and the Avengers, there’s been a lot of them recently. Of course I’m not even going to get into the fact that this arc and what’s been going on in Avengers don’t really make sense when read alongside each other…that’s just one of the pitfalls of shared universe comics.

I’d be interested in reading more about Louise and her work with the vampires of Sevalith…and Death of Arakko (good to see someone remembering that the Arakko mutants are still around). I’m not sure if we’ll get to see that though as the Hellfire Gala is about to disrupt everything.

But, yeah, good comic is good.

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