Tagged: Wolverine and the X-men

Review: Wolverine & The X-Men Volume 8

300px-Wolverine_and_the_X-Men_Vol_1_38Wolverine and the X-Men vol 8
Jason Aaron w/ Nick Bradshaw, Pepe Larraz, Todd Nauck and more
Marvel $14.99

Ever since Days of Future Past dropped a few weeks back, I’ve been reading a lot of older X-Men comics these days. The Chris Claremont era is considered by many as  the golden age of X-Men, and up until this summer, I had only read the Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, and a bunch of stuff involving Arcade, because I’m the type of dude who likes Arcade. So I fired up the ol’ Marvel Digital App and decided to do some summer reading.

I’m definitely digging what Claremont, David Cockrum, John Byrne and Paul Smith have done with the X-Men and all the drama and high stake action that ensued. But there’s a lot fun and light hearted characters moments in those issues as well, which I really like. Which is why I think is one of the reasons I’ve really dug what Jason Aaron’s done on Wolverine and the X-Men.  Aaron’s chose to channel the more fun and insane of Claremont’s X-Men run, and it makes for a much more different and off beat type of X-Men that what I’m used to.

xmenDon’t get me wrong. The Grant Morrison run of New X-Men is still my favorite era of X-books, but that book was pretty dark most of the time. Unless your idea of fun is psychic affairs, which is only excusable if your name is Emma Frost. Which if it is, please contact me, I have about a dozen or so questions.  Aaron’s WaTXM was a book that wasn’t afraid to take chances, be it bring back and semi-redeem some terrible villains (terrible in the sense of both morality and quality!) or turn Wolverine into a clown in Frankenstein’s monster’s MURDER CIRCUS!

Also if you’re not down with a monster owning a Murder Circus, we can never be friends.

wolverine_3The  final volume of Aaron’s run tells 2 tales: the A plot involving the students of the Jean Grey Academy befriending two new students who are secretly spies reporting to Mystique. The B plot involves Wolverine investing the idea of SHIELD producing mutant hunting Sentinels, which brings him face to face with Cyclops, whom he hasn’t been on the best of terms with in forever, despite the fact that CYCLOPS WAS RIGHT! #biased. In addition to those stories, Aaron wraps up a few other lingering plot lines of the junior X-Men graduate into full fledge X-Men, in a cute story that MORE IMPORTANTLY involves Doop vs Nazi Bees. Or and there’s an Infinity tie in annual starring Kid Gladiator drawn by Nick Bradshaw that a fun done in one that really showcases how in sync theses 2 creators are with each other. Plus Kid Glad has run ins with Bruce Banner and Thor, which goes as exactly as you would hope it would.

Aaron’s scripts are also blessed by some fantastic artists in this final volume. The aforementioned Nick Bradshaw and Chris Bachalo swing by to draw a few pages, as do other returning artists like Ramon Perez and Tim Townsend, but the bulk of this trade is drawn by Pepe Larraz. Larraz’s art reminds me a lot of Alan Davis, only a little more looser and raw. I’m excited to see what he’s capable of in the future with more experience.

wolverine_xmen_1Since Aaron’s departure, Wolverine and the X-men was relaunched under Jason Latour, who’s working with Aaron on “Southern Bastards” for Image. Aside from writing that book, Aaron is still working on Thor: God of Thunder, the Original Sin maxi-event, and recently wrapped up his time with the X-men with the first arc of Amazing X-Men. I haven’t read the new series yeah, but Aaron’s going to be a hard act to follow up on. His run on Wolverine and the X-men was strange and wonderful, and Volume 8 is really a celebration of that. I’m hoping we get to see this side of Jason Aaron again sometime down the road.

 

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PLAYING CATCH UP: Wolverine and the X-men volumes 6 & 7

51hBOc5kHFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Wolverine and the X-men volumes 6/7

Words by Jason Aaron

Art by Ramon Perez (vol 6), Pasqual Ferry and Nick Bradsaw (vol 7)

Marvel, $17.99 for volume 6 (5 issues), $19.99 for volume 7 (6 issues)

Late 2013/Early 2013 saw the launch/relaunch of several X-men books, leaving Wolverine and the X-men as the longest running X-title in the franchise. The series took a bit of a hit in quality when it was dragged into Avengers vs X-men last year, but since then it’s regained it’s footing and remains one of the quirkiest mainstream comics being published today. With Jason Aaron’s run wrapping up early next year, I’ve decided to recap/review the latest 2 volumes of the series. Also it is freezing outside and the cat’s passed out on my lap so my options are limited at best.

Volume 6 starts off with Wolverine taking a bunch of his students out on a field trip to the Savage Land. For those of you not in the know/ have never played the X-men Arcade Game, the Savage Land is home to dinosaurs, large insects and other various nasty things, because that is what makes for good comics. Dog Logan, Wolverine’s time traveling brother is also here and long story short, he ends up taking control of the class trip and Wolverine’s got to put a stop to that, because he’s kinda evil. There’s also a time-skip issue to end the trade that shows off the Jean Grey School 25 years in the future, which teases a number of things that may or may not come one day. Time traveling and the X-men is not always the most reliable thing.

Ramon Perez is a welcomed addition to the circle of artist’s Jason Aaron has worked with on this title. Some of his younger characters look a little off-model at times, but his environments are extremely well detailed, his incorporation of sound effect into his art is really neat, and there’s a nice level of detail in it as well. It’s kinetic, fluid and unique. It’s a nice fit to main series artist Nick Bradsaw, as it’s very Chris Samnee meets Stuart Immonen in a way. Perez was a great get for the series, and it will be nice to see him wrap up the book in a few months/

2910277.jpeg.size-285_maxheight-285_square-trueVolume 7 sees the teachers and student of the JGS throwdown with new Hellfire Club (introduced back in Aaron’s X-men: Schism mini-event) who employee some classic X-villains like Sabretooth and Mystique. Pasqual Ferry draws the prologue issue and it looks fantastic. It’s more reminiscent of a child’s story book than you’re traditional X-men book, but it totally works. There’s some fantastic use of bright colors on the characters that stand out against dark backgrounds.

Ferry draws a great intro to this trade, and is joined by the returning Nick Bradsaw, who really is the second coming of Art Adams. His pages are packed with an insane amount of detail, some truly odd and grotesque characters designs, and an amazing sense of scale for some blockbuster moments. Considering Bradsaw was once the B-side artist on this title, he’s gone above and beyond to make his mark on this book over the last 2 years, and his presence will be missed once he wraps up his current arc. It’s worth just studying each panel he draws just to see how much he crams in there without it looking messy. Also his Doop is 2nd only to Allred’s and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.

Jason Aaron‘s work on this title has definitely has been nothing short of enjoyable, making this book a ton of fun to read. He does a lot to flesh out the new characters in these issues, and he helps set up some truly awesome fight scenes. Given how many iconic X-men are in this book it’s nice to see the kids getting more screen time than the adults. His X-men-meets-Harry Potter world is a delight, and his use of usually terribly executed in the 90s concepts is odd, but unlike those X-crossovers off old, he pulls it off here. Aaron remains that amongst the drama and violence the X-men are known for, there’s a certain amount of heart is involved in their appeal.

While volume 6 was a certainly a fun and enjoyably romp, volume 7 was probably the best X-saga of the year. It’s fun, exciting and just comics done right. More comics could stand to be less grim and gritty, and Wolverine and the X-men continues to be proof of that.

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Here I have bought some comics. A lot of comics actually.

All heat, no jokes, once again y’all!

Wolverine_and_the_X-Men_Vol_1_37Wolverine and the X-men #37

Jason Aaron/ Giuseppe Camuncoli/ Andrew Currie

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Chapter 9 of the Battle of Atom crossover is such a pain to review on some level. On the script end of things, it’s a fine book, as Aaron delivers on several fronts. If I was discussing this book on the quality of it’s script alone, I’d say it was fantastic. But visually this art in this issue isn’t very good. The book credits Camuncoli as the penciller, and Currie as the finisher. What that means exactly, I don’t know, but it results in some less than great visuals when all is said and done. The art seems very rushed, which is unfortunate, because this event has been fantastic so far in that department, and it seem odd that Camuncoli, a veteran of the 2x a month shipping Spider-books, couldn’t deliver. Because man, this is an ugly book  and it rarely, if ever, matches the standard of Aaron’s script. Hopefully this is more of a mistep than an indication of what the final chapter will be like, because it would suck and blow if the final chapter of this event was as poorly drawn as this one was.

sex-criminals

Sex Criminals #2

Matt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

When the first issue of #SEXCRIMINALS dropped, I thought it was a very good issue, but it was not at all what I expecting given the contents of the creator’s tweets. It was great, but more 16 Candles than the 40 Year Old Virgin, which I did not see coming. Issue #2 is probably the funniest and vulgar comic I’ve read in years, starting from a page to page recap on the first page to a very candid and HILARIOUS letter page, ending with a picture of Fraction getting a nipple pierce in Toronto sex club. This book is not afraid to be an adult comic, and it’s all the better for it. Fraction writes 2 very human leads with a strange and funny power and Chip Zdarsky’s visual gags are gut-busting. His day job as a Canadian magazine/newspaper (I forget) cartoonish is on full display here, and the product is better for it. This was easily the best book I read this week, and I can’t recommend Sex Criminals enough if you’re A) 17 or older B) Not easily offended C) A little bit of a pervert.

comics-velvet-1Velvet #1

Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

Before I discuss my problem with Velvet, let start by saying how GREAT this book looks. Steve Epting’s, with Elizabeth Breitweiser on colors, art is some next level stuff, as Velvet is easily one of the best looking comics in an already strong stable of artists over at Image. That being said, the Brubaker-snob in me feels this script is VERY by the books, especially after reading his other excellent creator owned series Fatale, and his modern-classic run on Captain America. While it’s an original concept, it feels a bit like an unused Black Widow script at times.  Of course your enjoyment may vary, because you may not be a Bru-snob like myself. And it’s by no means a bad comic. I’m just a little let down is all, and maybe a  little spoiled by Fatale. It’s definitely work a look if you’re a Brubaker/espionage fan though, even with a ton of great Image books already flooding the market.

dd32_bgDaredevil #32

Mark Waid/ Chris Samnee

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Speaking of books that are hard to review, here’s Daredevil. Is Mark Waid one of the best writer still working in the industry? Yup. Is Chris Samnee somehow doing new things with his art, reaching Bruce Timm’s level of quality in some panels/pages. Hell, even the sound effects are used cleverly (not sure if that’s Samnee or VC’s Joe Carmagna) and are super fun. Again, this is brief, but that’s because this book remains flawless. Unless you hate great comics, y’all need to be reading Daredevil. I’m tired of trying to come up with new ways of trying to say how great this book is.

4pd1logoPretty Deadly #1

Kelly Sue Deconnick/ Emma Rios

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

As anyone whose read this column before can tell you, I’ve never had a problem admitting the fact that I’m a HUGE fan of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s writing. AND DAMN, KSD’s creator owned book’s debut comes out swinging, with Emma Rios’ best work to date, making this book a visual tour-de-force. A fantasy-western with a female lead, Pretty Deadly’s debut may not exactly be the most straightforward read, but it’s the one of the best look books to debut this year. Rios’ work is both dynamic and trippy, and it’s fun just to stare at her panel work and layouts in this book without reading any dialogue. Her character designs are pretty great, and it’s a shame that we don’t see our lead until the final page of this issue, because Ginny’s possibly the coolest new character of 2013 I.M.O, at least on a visual level.

KSD’s script is sharp, even if it’s a little abstract at time. Her work here is VERY different from her Captain Marvel scripts, aside from the fact that both books have some kick ass female leads. But it’s still fantastic, making Pretty Deadly a must read, especially with Jordie Bellaire’s colors completely the package, making this one of the best looking takes on the wild west in some time. In a white-male heavy industry, books like Pretty Deadly are rare , but definitely needed and welcomed. Arguably one of most important launches of the fall, and it delivers. Buy on sight, assuming it’s still in stock.

Tune in next time for…THE END OF BATTLE OF ATOM! SAGA! AND BECAUSE WE ALL DEMANDED IT, THE RETURN OF NEIL GAIMAN’S SANDMAN!

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I have read some comics, and one of them is called “Sex Criminals”!

It was a GREAT week for comics that I buy, and I am excited to tell you all about them FPNYC Faithful. Let me do so right now!

sex-criminalsIn terms of new releases for 2013, Sex Criminals (Images Comics $3.50) is definitely one of the books I was most hyped for. Oh wow, Chris is excited about a Matt Fraction book, I am surprised, said no one. All joking aside, I was sold on this title after I got a chance to read a few pages at Heroescon this year, and the final product definitely met, and exceeded, my expectations. It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten to enjoy a creator owned book by Fraction, and Sex Criminals shows of a side of the writer’s talents only hinted at in Hawkeye. It’s funny, with a hint of tragedy, and if you’re not following Fraction on Twitter, some of the adult content shown off in the book will suprise you. And speaking of Twitter, Chip Zdarsky‘s art is as good as his tweets are hilarious. His style is very unique, and he does some really impressive work with layouts, panels designs, and comedic delivery. And being a comedy book only makes it stand out on the shelves even more. I can’t recall reading a book this funny in awhile, outside of Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and it looks fantastic, thanks in-part to some wonderful coloring.  Sex Criminals is definitely something different and something adult, but worth it if you’re not afraid to try something not involving spandex, and are a fan of  Judd Apatow style comedies.

saga14-cover-71322Once again another issue of Saga (Image Comics $2.99) hits the stands, and once again, I’m blown away. I’ve praised the book plenty time in the past, but there’s a 4 panel sequence towards the end of the book that’s so beautiful it’s hurts. Everything about this book is perfect, from the dialogue, the emotional timing, to the art. It’s a really difficult book to review when everything is done so right. With only 14 issue under their belts, Staples and BKV have introduced a fairly large cast, a very diverse one at that, and their designs and actions just show how powerful their creators imaginations is. Image has been THE publisher for the last 18 months or so, and books like Saga are the reason why.

Avengers_Assemble_Vol_2_19If you remember last week (which you should, otherwise you may have some problems), I was not kind to the latest issue of Captain Marvel. This week, Avengers Assemble #1 (Marvel, $3.99) drops by the same writers, and it’s a much needed improvement. Kelly Sue Deconnick and Jen Van Meter use Infinity to delve into Spider-Woman psyche, and showing off a side of Black Widow we usually don’t see. It’s a fun read, and Barry Kitson delivers the type of visuals you’d expect from the veteran artists. Unfortunately, the art suffers from being inked by no less than 4 inkers, and it doesn’t stay as consistent as it does when Chris Bachalo does it. It’s still a good issue, and well wroth your time. And Avengers Assemble is only going to get bet, as November see Warren Ellis jump on board to lend a hand with the scripts.

Wolverine_and_the_X-Men_Vol_1_36Pretty cover is pretty, and super misleading. Don’t expect a mutant throw-down in Wolverine and the X-men 36 (Marvel, $3.99). What you should expect is one hell of a plot twist, and a great story told by Jason Aaron and Giuseppe Camuncoli. If you haven’t jumped on board with Battle for the Atom yet, there’s very little this issue will offer you, but if you’re like me, you will scream at several points in this book. It’s great, simple as that. we’re about halfway through Battle of the Atom and this event is delivering, not unlike Schism from a few years back. With any luck, this will continue into October, and we’ll have an X-event for the ages.

 

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Welcome to Planet X

Need a few extra days to bang out this week’s new toys article,  which means another “filler”-article where I get to talk comics instead. I am excited for times like these, and am probably the only person who is.

If you would have told me the quality of the X-men line would be as good as it is now post-AvX a year ago, I would have called you crazy. And by crazy I mean something more offensive, because I’m kind of a jerk.  But at this time in 2012, we had Kieron Gillen on “Uncanny”, Jason Aaron on “Wolverine and the X-men”, Christos Gage on “X-men Legacy” and Rick Remender on “Uncanny X-Force”, all amazing book in their own right.  12 months later, Aaron is the only one of those writers still involved in the X-books, and the line has only gotten better!

Part of that improvement has come with Brain Michael Bendis taking over writing duties on the recently relaunched “Uncanny X-men“, as well as the launch of “All-New X-men“.  “Uncanny” follows Cyclops, Magneto, Emma Frost and Magik and their new Mutant Revolution, putting them at odds with their fellow X-men and the government., which means SHIELLD and the Avengers. It also touches upon Scott’s new status quo as the face of a rebellion, which is an interesting character study, given how he used to be such the boy scout. “All-New” is the tale of the original 5 X-men being dragged into the present via Hank McCoy and all the drama surrounding that. “All-New” feels just  fresh as Bendis’ work on “Ultimate Spider-Man”, and has a great blend of humor, drama. and action. All of Bendis’ strong scripts are enhanced with having great artists drawing them- Chris Bachalo and Frazier Irving handle art duties on Uncanny, and Stuart Immonen and David Masquez draw All-New.  Both books are $3.99, and the 8th issue of All-New shipped this past week, and Uncanny comes out this upcoming Wednesday. As someone who was concerned about the quality when Bendis took over these titles, I’m quite glad those concerns were put to rest.

With Uncanny getting relaunched, Wolverine and the X-men becomes the elder title in the core  X-family ( As enjoyable as “Astonishing” has been, it’s very much doing it’s own thing.). Not that that’s a bad thing mind you. Aaron’s script still feel like classic Claremont scripts with a nice modern twist to it, as the focus on the X-kids has been nothing short of great. Nick Bradshaw has stepped up and become the series’ main artist, with Ramon Perez currently drawing the current arc which involves Wolverine taking the students on a field trip to the Savage Land. Much like Uncanny, it’s $3.99 per issue.

“X-men, but with a classic Vertigo twist” is the best way to describe the relaunched X-Men Legacy, which now follows the journey of Legion in this post AvX world. Simon Spurrier wrote an amazing “X-Club” mini-series after post-Schism X-men series, and it’s good to see Marvel put enough faith in him to get an on-going. Easily one of the best books Marvel’s been putting out, and definitely it’s weirdest, and easily worth the $2.99 to add it your monthly pull list.

Marvel wouldn’t be Marvel with having a dozen books with Wolverine in them, which is why we currently have 2 Wolverine titles. To be fair, Savage Wolverine is more of a Shanna the She-Devil max-series written and drawn by Frank Cho, which has so far delivered a fun story with amazing visuals. Paul Cornell and Alan Davis are handling the new solo Wolverine title, which are also an impressive creative team in their own right, and should be a great run too . Both are $3.99.

And as they say, the best is yet to come, as May will see the launch of “X-men” under creators Brain Wood  and Oliver Copiel is set for a May launch. The first all-female X-book ever looks to be a great read, given the creators involved, and will only serve to make the line stronger. As someone who’s never been THAT into the core X-books, Marvel NOW has definitely done it’s job into increasing the appeal of the X-Men side of the Marvel universe, with books that read and look great. If you’ve ever been tempted to get into X-men, now’s the time to do it.

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