Age of X-Man was a very interesting event, which played with dystopia in a manner that the X-Books hadn’t really done before. However, leading into it and running parallel to it was Uncanny X-Men Volume 5 which, frankly, was something of a slog.

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There is running theory in stories with romances that the chase is better than the catch – that once characters in a romance get together, there is no motivation to continue the story. These are people who never watched Hart to Hart nor are familiar with Nick & Nora Charles. In the X-Books, probably the biggest of these romances, almost as much if not more so than Scott Summers and Jean Grey, was Gambit and Rogue. However, during the planned wedding of Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin, things ended up not happening, leading to Rogue and Gambit basically deciding to take advantage of the opportunity and the two X-Men who could never tie the other down decided to get hitched.

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Laura Kinney, cropped from the cover of X-23 #1

This past year, when Marvel comics brought back Logan, someone else had already taken on the mantle of Wolverine – Laura Kinney, formerly known as X-23, complete with having her own book branded as All-New Wolverine. Marvel editorial decided that rather than letting Laura keep the code name (as they’ve done with the multiple Hawkeyes), Laura would renounce the code-name, and her book would re-launch and re-brand. Unfortunately, it causes this book to be something of a step back from All-New Wolverine in multiple respects.

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Top portion of the cover to Savage Sword of Conan #4

There aren’t a lot of fantasy comics out there, and the ones we get in the US are generally licensed from another property, whether Games like D&D or Pathfinder, or literary works like Game of Thrones, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or Conan the Barbarian. So, when Marvel got the license to Conan comics again, I was interested, and when they re-launched their classic Conan titles – Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan, I added those books to my pull list.

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Excerpt from the cover of House of X #1, with Cyclops, Jean Grey, Magneto, Wolverine, and an unknown 5th X-Man

Recently Marvel announced that, as part of Jonathan Hickman’s upcoming run on the X-Men books, the X-Line would be contracted to just two books – House of X and Powers of X, each with a 6-issue run. According to an interview with ComicBook.com, the decision was pitched by Hickman essentially to create a jumping on point for the line for new readers.

The argument makes sense – two books are cheaper than 10 and require less effort to keep track of a story across those books. However, the fundamental idea of the Mutant Metaphor – of Mutants being representative of multiple discriminated minority populations – requires representation not only in the form of the characters on the page but also in the form of the people writing stories with those characters.

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Excerpt of the cover of DC Comics Zero Year

DC Comics: Zero Year is meant to be something of a starting point for various characters in the DC Universe, showing Superman, Batman, and Catwoman in the early days, if not the start, of their superhero careers. The book also shows Dinah Lance, Barry Allen, Jason Todd, Dick Grayson, John Stewart, and Oliver Queen either before they started superheroing or, in the case of Barry and John, before they got their powers.

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One of the ongoing criticisms of Batman as a character is he’s a superhero whose stories solely consist of “punching brown/poor people and the mentally ill,” and at no point does he use his money to address the social ills that affect Gotham. It’s a criticism that frustrates me because, all the way back in the ’70s, you had writers like Denny O’Neill addressing this – with Bruce Wayne using his funds to address the underlying issues affecting Gotham, while Batman contents with those who would exploit those issues for their own gain.

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Batman: Night of the Monster Men is the first post-Rebirth Bat-Line crossover, with all three of the main Bat-Books (Nightwing, Detective Comics, and Batman) crossing over to deal with the larger threat of a series of, for lack of a better term, Kaiju attacking Gotham City at the same time that a major hurricane hits the city, with the Bat-Family having to contain the monsters while investigating their source.

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With the release of Deadpool 2 this past year, a whole new range of audiences were introduced to Wade Wilson’s grumpy-Gus soldier from the future buddy, Nathan Christopher Askani Summers, aka Cable. Consequently, Marvel also put out a new Cable book, with a mid-volume shift in the numbering to line up with Cable Vol. 1’s numbering. However, what it was not was a buddy-book with Deadpool, Cable was at the fore of this story. So, the question is, what kind of story does the book tell?

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While in the main Batman book, after Flashpoint, Scott Snyder jumped more or less straight into the Court of Owls storyline, over in Detective Comics writer Tony S. Daniel has a couple stories that fit in a little more with members of Batman’s existing rogues gallery – with a story featuring two existing members and re-interpreted versions of a couple others. (more…)

I’ve been a fan of The Shadow for a long time. I’ve enjoyed his outings in the pulps, the radio plays, and even the film featuring Alec Baldwin. However, at least in the late ’80s and early ’90s on, comic book writers haven’t quite known what to do with him. The best depictions of the character after that time I’ve encountered have effectively skipped over any idea of characterization for the character, in favor of making him a force of nature, or an unknowable cipher, instead of giving him grounded motivations. (more…)