Marvel comics


Collects Mr. and Mrs. X issue 1-6.

Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artists: Oscar Bazaldua, David Lopez

Rogue and Gambit are happily married and having adventures in space!! I love this comic! Do you need to know more?

Well okay. About half of the first issue is about the wedding and the various X-Men who have cameos there. Rogue’s mom Mystique also makes an appearance. Surprisingly, it doesn’t end in a fight. Instead, the happy couple goes to their well-earned honeymoon. However, they only get a few days of peace before Kitty calls them with a mission that involves getting their hands on a “package” before others can. Those others end up being Shi’Ar Imperial Guard…

Because Rogue and Gambit are on a spaceship, they’re the closest ones to protect the “package” from the Guard, Deadpool, Technet, and even Star Jammers. However, when they find out what it is, they’re not surprised that so many people are after it.

Rogues’ powers also evolve. For the wedding (and honeymoon) she must wear a power dampening collar which gives her a continuous headache. However, with her powers evolving, she must wear it all the time.

The final issue is back on earth, when they throw a party at Gambit’s apartment. Besides a lot of X-Men, they also get some unexpected gatecrashers and ominous warnings. The collection ends in a cliffhanger (almost literally) and I can’t wait for vol. 2 which, unfortunately, is coming out in August.

While Gambit and Rogue are mostly happy together, they do have some issues to work out as well. There’s also sexy banter, kissing, and staying together no matter what, so if that’s not you thing, stay away. Thompson does reference their previous problems briefly. I think it’s for the benefit of new readers (which is probably needed) but she doesn’t focus on them. Which is fine for me. I’m sure they’ll be popping up again. I must admit, though, that the Technet (and Cerise! Please tell me she’s coming back!) especially are probably unknown to newer readers; I’m a long-time Excalibur fan and so I enjoyed their appearance.

I’m mostly happy with the art. Bazaldua’s women look very young but otherwise I’m happy with him. Lopez draws the last issue but his style isn’t too different from Bazaldua, so the change isn’t jarring.

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Collecting the Siege prologue, Siege: The Cabal, Siege #1-4, and Avengers: The Way Things Are.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Lucio Parrillo, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, Jim Cheung

This is what the Norman Osborn Avengers were headed towards: the final confrontation between them and the real Avengers. Let’s face it, we all knew that it would end like this.

Asgard has fallen to Earth and Osborn is increasingly paranoid about it. The cabal of supervillains he has gathered isn’t helping his paranoia. Rather, Loki is feeding it. After the Cabal has a falling out, Osborn contacts the President (of USA) and just tells him that Asgard is a security risk and must be destroyed. The President forbids him but Osborn leads his faux-Avengers, H. A. M. M. E. R. and the initiative against Asgard’s forces, anyway. They beat down Thor first on live TV. Of course, Cap and his allies come to battle it out.

Osborn’s biggest gun is the Sentry who shows his real dark side. Ares even turns against Osborn but Osborn commands Sentry to kill Ares. A few other characters are killed, too, but I’m not sure if any of them stay dead. Loki, at least, is back.

This is the end of Marvel’s grimmer age. The next stage is Heroic Age where the Avengers (and other teams) are reborn as more heroic characters. I’m not a fan of grim heroes and liked the lighter Heroic Age more.

The final story in this trade is set before the Siege. In it, ice giant Ymir had beaten Thor and New York is in danger of being buried under snow, in May. Spider-Man calls in the real Avengers but Osborn’s Avengers also show up. They and the real Avengers must team up to retrieve the Twilight Sword from the ice giants.

The Siege event itself doesn’t introduce the characters at all; the assumption is that the reader has been following the storyline and so knows at least most of them. But the final story somewhat introduces the central characters and the conflict between them so it was strange to but it at the back.

While the event has a lot of characters, it focuses on Osborn and to some extent Steve Rogers, which makes it clearer than many other events. Especially if you read the last story first, so that you get to know (or are reminded of) the characters a little first.

Overall, this was a good ending to the conflict with a hopeful future for the heroes.

Collects X-MEN: GOLD 1-6, X-MEN PRIME 1.

Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artists: Ardian Syaf, Jay Leisten, Craig Yeung, R. B. Silva, Adriano di Benedetto

After the events of Inhumans vs. X-Men, the X-Men are back and in a big way. Their mansion was previous put into Limbo so that the students would be safe from humans and the Terrigen Mists. Now, the mansion is back, in Central Park. Kitty Pryde is the headmistress and she’s also the leader of the Gold team which has Old Man Logan, Prestige (Rachel Gray), Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Storm. Armor and Rockslide are the students whom Kitty lets join the team on occasion.

Lydia Nance is the director of the Heritage Initiative and she’s warning the States that mutants are a huge threat. She wants to protect the world from the threat that mutants are. She’s coaxing ordinary people into hating mutants just for existing. At the same time, Kitty’s team fights Terrax and the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. When the villains leave behind damaged property and lives, the X-Men are blamed.

The next story arch starts in issue 4 with Gambit. He has stolen a small glass globe for Olivia Trask, of course, just so that he knows what Trask is after. The globe contains nanites. Gambit tries to blow up Trask’s work and instead he manages to cut loose the nanites which bond with a next generation a sentinel. Which start to rampage through New York, killing not just mutants but everyone who has any kind of mutation, like color blindness. New York’s heroes unite against it while Rachel is searching deep inside her for strength to overpower it mentally.

In a subplot, someone is killing mutants with military grade ammo. Logan and Storm investigate.

I liked this volume which I’m pretty surprised to say. I’m an old X-Men fan. I’ve read Claremont’s long run with Storm evolving into the team leader. I remember Kitty as Sprite, then Ariel, and later Shadowcat and now without a codename. I’ve read Claremont’s and Alan Davis’ hilarious Excalibur with Kitty, Kurt, and Rachel (along with Meggan and Brian). I love these characters (except Old Man Logan). And yet, all I can say is that it was pretty nice. Nice throwback to the previous adventures. Nice to see a grown up Kitty heading the team and the school. We even got a Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, with Pyro and Avalanche who are supposedly dead (so they’re probably clones or “just two guys without an original idea between them” as Kitty puts it).

Still, a good beginning to a new series with familiar characters. It ends with a severely wounded Colossus and some subplots unresolved. At the back of the collection there are six pages of history for the characters which was fun.

Collects Avengers Prime 1-5.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Alan Davis, Mark Farmer

This series is set right after Siege (where Norman Osborn led the Avengers and apparently used the Iron Man suit). I think I’ve only read the X-Men side of that.

After the events of Siege Cap is mad at Iron Man and Iron Man is trying to defend himself. However, they try to work together when Asgard falls to Earth and the Avengers investigate. However, Steve and Tony snipe at each other the whole time so much that even Thor suggests they leave. Then the remnants of the Rainbow Bridge activate and sends Thor, Steve, and Tony away. Each ends up alone in a fantasy type setting. It turns out that the Nine Realms are in chaos and everyone blames Thor. When Steve tells the elves that he’s a friend of Thor, he’s attacked. When Tony tells the ogres the same thing, he’s knocked unconscious and stripped of his armor. Meanwhile, Thor is battling the big bad boss.

This is a fun adventure without much deeper significance. The trio save each other while Steve and Tony are reminded how much they care for each other. The funniest part was Tony stripped naked and then Steve comes to his rescue in full armor. Steve also has a brief romance with a girl whose name we don’t know until the last issue. I guess she’s there to reassure the (male) readers that our heroes are heteros and that Tony and Steve are just friends no matter how much male bonding the story has.

Awesome art, as usual from Davis. I loved the massive battle scenes with a dragon and the various Nine Realms creatures.

Collects miniseries Rogue & Gambit 1-5.

Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Pere Pérez

For many years (at least for us readers: Rogue and Gambit met for the first time in 1990s) X-Men Rogue and Gambit have danced around each other. They’re attracted to each other but so far they’ve had too many problems to really get together – in other words, the editors at Marvel didn’t want them together. In order to keep them apart, the writers invented several problems for them.

Well, in this miniseries they confront those issues head on.

Mutants have been disappearing from Cerebra’s scans. Kitty Pryde (who is now the leader of the X-Men) sends them to find out what’s going on. And the reason why she chose Rogue and Gambit is that the mutants are disappearing from a paradise island where a counselor offers to “free mutants of their trauma” and Kitty wants to send in a couple who needs counseling. Rogue is less than thrilled but since Gambit agrees, they head out.

They talk about their problems to a couple’s counselor while sneaking around. This is as much fun as it sounds with Rogue and Gambit snarking at each other while also wanting to be together. The story has just as much fisticuffs and mystery solving as figuring out their relationship.

The villain turns out to be quite an interesting person but their motives are left open. Thompson manages to make some rather questionable editorial decisions somehow reasonable for the characters, especially when you consider that Rogue was just 18 when they met. I’m pretty sure we haven’t been told Gambit’s age but he had been married and divorced by the time he met Rogue. We also get to see their first meeting which was during the time Shadow King had taken over Muir Island and they were both under SK’s mind control.

Recommended to fans of Rogue and Gambit. The story references a lot of their history so to get most out of it, you should be familiar with them.

A prose novel with Avengers characters and many of their enemies.

Publication year: 2018
Format: print
Publisher: Titan books
Page count: 348

This is a stand-alone novel. The cover hints that these are the movie Avengers. While the five Avengers from the first movie are indeed the prominent characters, later joined by the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, there are a couple of hints that they’re actually the comic book characters. Specifically, Wanda is referred to as a veteran Avenger and her powers aren’t the movie powers but the mix of hex and magic she uses in the comics. Also, some of the villains are clearly their comic book versions, not the movie versions.

The writing style assumes that the reader is already familiar with the characters, their backgrounds and powers; they’re not introduced at all. Instead, we’re plunged straight into action with every character.

Captain America is fighting Baron Wolfgang from Strucker (with his Satan’s Claw not seen in the movies) and Hydra in Berlin. He’s assisted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and resources. At the same time, Hawkeye and Black Widow have just arrived to Savage Land where A.I.M. is doing something big. Our heroes must survive the Savage Land dinosaurs and then infiltrate the A.I.M. base. Meanwhile, Tony Stark is dealing with Ultron’s attack in Washington DC. Ultron has managed to jam communications, so the Avengers can’t communicate with each other and nobody else can communicate, either. Thor is in Siberia trying to deal with a magical attack and S.H.I.E.L.D has called Bruce Banner into Madripool as an expert scientist rather than as the Hulk.

Each group is on their own because of the communications blackout and dealing with a major threat to the world. However, the villains haven’t coordinated their attack with each other so they’re somewhat at a disadvantage. Of course, something even more sinister is going on.

The POVs of the book are all from the Avengers so we don’t see the enemies POV. Each chapter follows one hero or a group of heroes and is full of action. In that way, it’s similar to many comics. However, I think that some chapters are more blood-thirsty than comics, where the heroes go out of their way to avoid killing anyone. Here, Natasha and Clint kill many A.I.M. minions.

The cover claims that each of the Avengers are on his or her own, but only Thor is really on his own, for a while at least. The others are supported by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

If you know the Avengers and are a fan of the comics, I recommend reading this. However, don’t expect anything deeper or any character development. A very entertaining and action-packed book.

Collects Fantastic Four issues 347–350, 352-354.

Writer: Walter Simonson
Artists: Walter Simonson, Arthur Adams

The first three issues are drawn (gorgeously) by Adams and inked by various people. The FF have returned to their own world and time, and are relaxing. Well, except for Sharon who is depressed because she’s now again the Thing rather than a woman. Ben tries to comfort her but in vain. A mysterious woman crashes her space ship to Earth and heads for the FF so that she can find what she came to Earth to find. She manages to subdue the FF one by one. However, she’s not successful in finding her prize.

Meanwhile, a skrull space ship has landed, looking for the woman. Instead, they find Monster Island. They managed to use their tech on the monsters and send them to various cities to attack humans.

The mystery woman keeps her disguise as Susan Richards and sends a message to four humans: Wolverine, gray Hulk, Ghost-Rider, and Spider-Man. To them, the woman claims that the FF are dead and the killers can be found with a hand scanner. The four head off to the Monster Island.

This was a fun little story with monsters, the Mole Man, and skrulls.

Then Dr. Doom attacks… Latveria. He defeats the Doombots and Kristoff who has apparently been posing as Dr. Doom ever since the real doc left. He examines the FF and realizes that he can use Sharon’s need to become human. So, he meets with her in New York and makes the offer to turn her back to a human. Sharon agrees and leaves with the doc to Latveria. Of course, Dr. Doom pries secrets from Sharon’s mind. Meanwhile, Ben uses Reed’s machines to become the Thing again, so that Sharon wouldn’t be so lonely. Awwww… that’s very sweet of him.

Dr. Doom sends an ultimatum to the FF who hurry to Latveria to rescue Sharon. While the rest of the FF fall victim to Dr. Doom’s traps, Reed and the doc battle each other using devices which allows them to jump around in time. Well, at least inside 30 minutes.

The Time Variance Authority gets involved. Their job is to monitor the multiverse and try to stop people from time traveling too much. However, they don’t really seem very effective. They arrest the FF and try to put them on trial for time traveling. Things don’t go well for TVA.

This was a bit wackier story than the previous ones, thanks to the TVA. In the ends, Simonson largely returns the FF to the status quo with Sharon back to a human and Ben again the Thing. The TVA is a wacky concept, especially considering how truly powerless they are to actually prevent time travel. They seem more like a bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake than anything useful. Which could well be the point.

Another fun collection!

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