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Old Man Logan #1

OLD MAN LOGAN #1

Capsule Review

Wolverine is back from that depressing Mad Max/Old West alternate future where the bad guys won and a T-Rex runs around in a Venom suit. He’s disoriented and mad as hell. His future was filled with Very Bad People, and Logan is determined to do Very Bad Things to them here in his past, to make sure those later Very Bad Things never come to pass. Writer Jeff Lemire’s script sets up more like a limited series than a continuing run, with Logan having a hit list and maybe an issue or so to scratch each name off of it. (Considering some of the names on that list, I don’t see how this ends with anything but a fake-out). They’re going for a spaghetti western vibe but I thought the pace a bit too languid; artist Andrea Sorrentino borrows that distinctive Sergio Leone color palette but I found his pencils too rough-hewn, even for a post-apocalypse book. Sorrentino does some nice work with small inset panels emphasizing small actions, like Logan getting ready to pop his claws (or not), and I liked the two-page homage to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, but overall it was just a bit too craggy for me. I guess they don’t mark these books as being for “mature readers” anymore, but this would qualify, if that’s your thing. (It isn’t mine).

Approachability For New Readers

Pretty disorienting. I read the original series way back when, so I could fill in the blanks, but you are pretty much on your own.

Read #2?

Nah … I don’t much like this nakedly murderous Wolverine.

Sales Rank

#6 January

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Old Man Logan #1

 

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Uncanny X-Men #1

UNCANNY X-MEN #1

Capsule Review

Marvel’s latest X-Men title is all about the hardcases. If the other X-Men books are about heroes the public thinks are bad guys, then what does that say about an X-Men book that really is about the bad guys? With the fallen-hero-as-villain trope so central to all things X-Men, there’s no limit to the characters who might stock this book, but writer Cullen Bunn and artist Greg Land stick with the usual suspects, to generally good effect. We get Magneto being melodramatic and hardcore, Sabertooth holding himself in check, Psylocke flashing her swords around, and Monet (who I don’t know at all) smiling all the time and delivering dialogue that felt just a bit too stagey. There’s also a brain-dead Angel who is more drone than superhero. The plot is clever and centers on Magneto’s typically slash-and-burn approach to solving the Inhuman-spawned Terrigen mist crisis that is threatening mutant-kind. The book hits a bad-guys-as-heroes tone that completely eluded the Illuminati reboot. The action is strong and the faces are full of expression. I was especially taken with Greg Land’s panel introducing Sabertooth, with the villain (hero?) crouched on the hood of a truck, and the driver’s panicked expression communicated through the frightened eyes framed in the truck’s rear-view mirror. This is the kind of book that has big panels and lots of action (and a two-page center-spread) which means you can read it in about five minutes … but it’s a pretty good five minutes.

Approachability For New Readers

No more or less clear than any other X-Men book.

Read #2?

You bet.

Sales Rank

(#10 January)

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Uncanny X-Men #1

All-New X-Men #1

ALL-NEW X-MEN #1

Capsule Review

The X-Men books have been among the most reliable titles in this whole Marvel re-launch, and All-New X-Men is right there with the rest, passing muster with a book that doesn’t change your religion, but delivers a couple dozen pages of entertaining mutant funnybook action. The All-New X-Men in this book are the old guys — or the new/old guys — that Brian Michael Bendis brought into Marvel continuity a couple years ago … the original X-Men, from back in the 60s, zapped forward into our time by the Beast because, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. This lead to multiple versions of Iceman and Cyclops and the rest of the guys running around at the same time, and it was only natural to assume the originals would be returned to their own time when the gimmick expired, but they didn’t and it hasn’t and so we have the new/old gang together again, starring in their second series (by my count), and they’re just as confusing as ever. You either go with these things, or you don’t. Normally I’m a fuddy-duddy about deep-continuity comics but I read the preceding Bendis run last year, and I almost kinda-sorta knew what was going on here … which is basically the continuing adventures of our time-lost heroes settling into the new timestream, if only because going back would seem to doom them to becoming murders/pariahs/purveyors of interstellar genocide. And when you think about it, that makes sense … given the chance to avoid becoming their parents, what kid wouldn’t do it? All of which says precious little about this particular issue, which only peripherally touches on those issues, concentrating instead on establishing the chemistry of the new cast, with the crew on the lookout for a MIA Cyclops who is taking the matter of a criminal Cyclops cargo cult into his own hands. Artist Mark Bagley is good at drawing attractive, youngish-looking heroes, and Dennis Hopeless keeps the dialogue snappier than you’d expect for a book from the doom-and-gloom X-Men line, although I was a bit confused by the way he juxtaposed his voice-over captions. Overall, it works.

Approachability For New Readers

Basically impossible. You have the young/old X-Men teamed with lady Wolverine treating the as-yet unpublished finale of Marvel’s latest Secret Wars like some kind of third rail, so good luck figuring out what the heck is going on. But there are some familiar characters and X-Men books are always a bit of a jumble, so it’s not so different than jumping into the middle of a series from decades past. Of course, a #1 issue might reasonably be held to a higher standard of clarity … but I’m just pissing in the wind complaining about this stuff at this point.

Read #2?

Sure, sooner or later.

Sales Rank

#14 December

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All-New X-Men #1

 

All-New Wolverine #1

ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #1

Capsule Review

Since the original Wolverine is dead … or maybe just old … we get this all-new and all-female Wolverine. And I like her. X-23, the female clone of Wolverine, has been kicking around the Marvel Universe for a decade, so having her slide into Wolverine’s costume as the title character of this relaunch is not the gender-bending stunt it might first appear. Laura Kinney — X-23 — might be the most emotionally damaged character in Marvel’s stable, but this is not nearly so dark a tale as past X-23 stories (at least not yet). Abused as she has been, it will take time and understanding for Laura to learn to trust and love, and this issue goes there, too, with Laura’s partner and would-be lover reduced to lightly patting her on the head to show his affection, that being the only place on her body not in agony as Laura’s regeneration knits her back together after another in a serious of hideous calamities. Art from David Lopez and David Navarrot is a little sketchy in places, but tight when it counts, with good storytelling and good facial expressions. Tom Taylor’s script is a deft combination of action and effortless exposition. The reveal of the bad guy packs an emotional wallop. I’m in!

Approachability For New Readers

Not bad. Our hero’s clone origins aren’t explained, and we aren’t told much about the why of Laura replacing the original Wolverine, but a four-page flashback conversation with Logan nicely sets up the relationship between those characters, showing how they are similar, and how Laura can (hopefully) prove to be different.

Read #2?

Snikt!

Sales Rank

#10 November

Read more about the X-Men at Longbox Graveyard

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All-New Wolverine #1

Extraordinary X-Men #1

EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #1

Capsule Review

Top-shelf work from writer Jeff Lemire and artist Humberto Ramos, with a special Longbox Graveyard commendation to colorist Edgar Delgado, who really made these big pages come alive (the two-page spread of Colossus working his Russian farm stopped me dead). An endearing strength of the X-Men is how the core concept can stand up to almost all narrative violence. Here the X-Men are assembling a new team in a world even more threatening than before, where Terrigen mist is killing and sterilizing mutants, and the unspecified past sins of an absent Cyclops have once again turned the world against our heroes. Professor X is seen only as a ghost, Jean Grey is a teenager, Wolverine is an old man … but it all works, in its crazy way, and I am encouraged to see the core membership of this team draws on the most iconic characters of X-Men past. Yes, it is a bit of a jumble, but beneath it all the X-Men are still the X-Men — characters you recognize, fighting the good fight against intolerance, striking from the shadows and feeling like the world is collapsing in on them. Love it!

Approachability For New Readers

As good as it ever gets with the X-Men, which is to say, “not very.” Working out past histories and relationships is part-and-parcel of the X-Men experience, and this book is no exception. But this is a good jumping-on point — a new status quo is explained, a new team is mustered, and there are enough familiar faces from movies and comics past that even brand new readers will find something to latch onto.

Read #2?

Yes!

Sales Rank

(#5 November)

Read more about the X-Men at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

Extraordinary X-Men #1

 

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