X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 by Leah Williams

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 by Leah Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There were two things I was fairly certain of before I started reading this comic: 1) Magneto did not kill the Scarlet Witch; and 2) The Scarlet Witch is not dead. After reading #1 I’m still fairly confident on both points.

Why don’t I think Magneto killed Wanda? Because that’s the obvious, simple answer, and the one that X-Factor have reached by the end of #1. Therefore, it must be wrong, else what’s the point of this series? A mystery with an obvious solution is no mystery at all. Personally, while I have no idea who killed Wanda, I think this series is leading to the revelation that Wanda (and Pietro) are actually mutants after all, and are Magneto’s children. It’s a retcon that needs undoing, particularly as it was only done because Fox had the rights to all the mutants…

This is great stuff, which effectively explores how grief effects people. This is partly why I’m sure Magneto didn’t do it, he’s clearly grieving here and doesn’t seem like a man with a guilty conscience to me…despite everyone around him interpreting his actions in this way. The book, surprisingly, also explores grief from the perspective of the deceased. After all, the deceased is no normal woman…she’s the Scarlet Witch. She once rewrote all of reality. So thinking she could be choked to death seems a little naïve.

The art is also superb, which we’ve largely come to expect from the current X-line. When the X-books are good at the moment they are simply the best of modern super-hero comics and this is no exception.

Also, if you enjoyed Leah Williams’ X-Factor run and were sorry to see it come to what felt like a premature end, you’ll enjoy this, as it’s very much a continuation of that book.

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X-Men #2 by Gerry Duggan

X-Men #2X-Men #2 by Gerry Duggan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this! As much as I’ve loved all the politics and intrigue of the Krakoa Era, it feels good to just have the X-Men in action again, fighting impossible odds and saving the world.

The issue opens with a poker game in the basement of the X-Men’s new treehouse base, with Gambit, Black Cat, The Thing and Rhino in attendance. It turns out that Rogue objects to villains gambling in their basement, and talking of gambling…on Gameworld a collection of aliens is gambling on the fate of the Earth. Which results in the Annihilation Wave being launched at Kansas. Which, in turn, results in the X-Men fighting to save the world.

We also get some really nice character work with Sunfire, the one member of the team we haven’t really seen in the Krakoan Era. So we get a look at what drives and motivates him. It’s very welcome as I really don’t think that anyone’s done anything interesting with Shiro…well…ever. Certainly Claremont didn’t know what to do with him and had him leave the team immediately.

Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia are already well established as an exceptional artistic team and they deliver once again in spades. This book is truly gorgeous.

I’m not sure where this book is headed yet but I’m definitely happy to be along for the ride!

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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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X-Men #1 by Gerry Duggan

X-Men #1X-Men #1 by Gerry Duggan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you want an X-Men #1 these days you just have to wait a little while and a new one will come along!

The new X-Men team, elected during the recent Hellfire Gala, sets up a new base right in the heart of New York City. I’m glad we’re not heading back to the mansion, and I honestly hope we never hit that particular reset button again (although I’m sure that eventually the X-office will be taken over by people who grew up on the 90s cartoon and the Jim Lee X-Men #1 and we’ll be right back there again). So, no, no mansion. A tree house.

Yes, you read that right, the X-Men’s new base of operations is a tree house. An awesome Krakoan tree house. And I kinda love it.

This issue sees them take on a Kaiju-like monster in New York city, and so they essentially combine their powers to build their own Jaeger. It’s awesome. And definitely a new an interesting way to have the team combine their powers.

It seems this Kaiju was sent from an intergalactic space casino, where a selection of aliens were betting on its success or failure. Also, the High Evolutionary was there. He didn’t say anything or do anything but the art very pointedly showed him to us. I’m hoping this proves to be significant.

The art, by Pepe Larraz and Marta Gracia is spectacular, and everything we’ve come to expect from a modern X-book.

All in all this is a great start to a new series.

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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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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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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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X-Men Legends (2021-) #2 by Fabian Nicieza

X-Men Legends (2021-) #2X-Men Legends (2021-) #2 by Fabian Nicieza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, yes, the second issue of X-Men Leg Ends! The series which brings you nothing by close ups of the feet of all your favourite X-Men! Marvel at Wolverine’s feet! Revel in Marvel Girl’s toes! It’s all feet all the time! And that’s why they didn’t get Rob Liefeld to draw it…

(Sorry, Rob)

Annnnd, that’s my April Fool’s joke out of the way, on with the review!

Well, there’s not really much more to say about this than I said in my review of #1. The writing’s great, the art is appropriately 90s, and it exists purely to tie up a loose end from Fabian Nicieza’s original X-Men run. If you care about these things, and I do, then you’ll love it. Otherwise your mileage is likely to vary. It does what it does and it does it very well.

It also explains why none of the characters involved have mentioned this in the last quarter of a century. Which is a good thing, it’s done well and it makes sense.

So, yeah, I enjoyed this, and I’m now looking forward to the Simonson’s taking over the book.

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X-Men (2019-) #19 by Jonathan Hickman

X-Men (2019-) #19X-Men (2019-) #19 by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow.

At first glance this appears to be one of Hickman’s hard SF, exposition heavy, cold stories…with hundreds of years passing in the Vault in timeline pages which fill in huge gaps of time.#

But it’s not that at all. Oh no. This is a love story. A bitter sweet love story that’ll punch you in the gut.

And it’s magnificent.

I never knew I needed Synch/Laura Kinney, but now I ship it with the intensity of a thousand suns.

Darwin, as always, gets the short end of the stick, a stick that, I think, will have huge ramifications in the future.

The art is beautiful and the writing superb. This is Hickman’s X-Men at its very best, and I am 100% here for it.

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Demon Days: X-Men #1 by Peach MoMoKo

Demon Days: X-Men #1Demon Days: X-Men #1 by Peach MoMoKo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was just delightful!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll already be aware of Peach Momoko, as her variant covers have set the comic world alight over the last year or so. I’ll admit, I have a fair few Momoko variants in my collection already. She recently signed an exclusive deal with Marvel, and one of the results of that would seem to be her very own book in Demon Days: X-Men (and apparently Demon Days is a series, as we got the cover to the next issue, Demon Days: Mariko, at the end of this one…but we have to wait until June for it!).

So, we know Momoko can draw, but can she write? Well, yes, she can. Demon Days: X-Men #1 skilfully weaves together Japanese myth and fable with X-Men, casting the likes of Psylocke, Jubilee, the Hulk, Venom and Wolverine in new roles…with Psylocke as a mysterious warrior nomad, Sai, who stumbles across a village with is being dominated by an evil serpent spirit known as Venom.

The story is charming and fun and I’m honestly looking forward to reading more and seeing where Momoko’s going with this.

I’d heartily recommend it, not just to X-men fans but to fans of beautiful comics…because this book is stunning!

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