Three X-books hit stores from Marvel Comics last week, and we've read them all and recapped them below. Enjoy.
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
What happened in Excalibur #3?
EXCALIBUR #3 DX
(W) Tini Howard (A) Marcus To (CA) Mahmud Asrar
THE GREEN EARTH TREMBLES!
THE HARD TRUTH OF THE CAPTAINS BRITAIN!
Captain Britain must face the truth about her brother and choose her path forward as MI-13 and the agents of the crown become aware of her ascension. As the lighthouse grows, Apocalypse and Rictor must master the earth beneath their feet.
In Shops: Dec 04, 2019
After an opening scene where we see Rictor, powers out of control, unable to leave his house and therefore unable to come to Krakoa, we catch up with Morgan Le Fay in Camelot, still pissed off about the Krakoa weeds growing in her scrying pool. She tells her servant, Marianna Stern, to hurry up and kill Apocalypse and also to make sure the people of Britain know a mutant is their new Captain. Then we catch up with Excalibur, with their new team member, Baby Shogo, who is a giant dragon in Otherworld. Excalibur hops on Shogo for a ride to Morgan's castle for an attempt to rescue Brian Braddock, who was captured and turned evil in the first issue. A medieval-style battle occurs when they arrive, with Shogo adding some dragon fire to the mix. Brian shows up and duels with Betsy for a while, but he doesn't seem particularly receptive to her pleas to stop being evil and retake the mantle of Captain Britain, so Excalibur escapes on Shogo.
Back on Earth, Apocalypse is having trouble trolling Morgan using his normal supply of magic rocks, so he goes and retrieves Rictor, bringing him back to the Lighthouse. When they arrive, Pete Wisdom is waiting for them, and the Queen needs Captain Britain. Well, he's going to be in for a surprise.
Was it any good?
The pacing on the first two issues of this series felt a little off-kilter, which I actually think added to my enjoyment of the book. It's nice when things don't feel formulaic. This issue slowed down a lot, spending most of its time rehashing what we already knew about Betsy and Brian, though it did accomplish some worldbuilding, establishing that Shogo is a dragon in Otherworld thanks to the magical powers of kids' imaginations. The final few pages of the book contained the most development. As a result of this, the pacing felt more like what one would expect from a typical Marvel comic book, and I'm not entirely sure that's a good thing. But if things pick back up next issue, I'm fine with a little slowdown once in a while. Marcus To's art is smooth as butter as usual, nothing to complain about there.
What happened in Marauders #3?
MARAUDERS #3 DX
(W) Gerry Duggan (A) Michele Bandini (CA) Russell Dauterman
SALT WATER & HELLFIRE! THE NEW BLACK BISHOP OF THE HELLFIRE CLUB!
Sebastian Shaw recruits a new Black Bishop continuing with his machinations against the two Queens of the Hellfire Club! Meanwhile, Captain Kate and her Marauders wreak havoc on the high seas from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the name of the mutant cause!
In Shops: Dec 04, 2019
This issue focuses almost exclusively on Sebastian Shaw, who kicks off the issue by showing off Hellfire Bay, one of the premier Game -of-Thrones-inspired locations in Krakoa.
Flashing back to a few weeks ago, we see that Shaw has gathered The Five and the not-yet-dead Professor Xavier to resurrect his son, Shinobi Shaw. Shinobi is dead, having killed himself in the most recent Uncanny X-Men run, but Hickman has decreed all recent X-runs are shit, so we ignore that and Sebastian is pleased to learn that Shinobi doesn't remember that he died at his father's hands, which is the previous way he died before coming back to die again in Uncanny. Not confusing at all to pick and choose continuity, right?
Sebastian wants to make his son the Red King and begins grooming him for that immediately. They head to New York together, where some mutant groupies are waiting for them at the Central Park Krakoa gate. Sebastian kicks their asses because he can. Sebastian recaps his own version of the events of HoXPoX, telling Shinobi that Emma "threw herself" at Xavier and Magneto to have the chance to run the Hellfire Club over him and that she begged Sebastian to help her succeed. Then they head to Tokyo, where Shinobi reveals an allegiance to former business associates, so he has his own plans in motion as well.
After a brief interlude where an infographic shows Kate Pryde trying to convince Bishop to become the Red Bishop of the Hellfire Club, we return to the present, where Sebastian informs Shinobi of the events of last issue, and that he'll have to give up on being the Red King for now since Kate took the title of Red Queen. Sebastian wants Shinobi to become the Black Bishop instead. Shinobi will agree only if his father tells him how he died. Sebastian tells him Emma and Kate conspired to kill him.
Was it any good?
Another quiet issue here, consisting mostly of a flashback revealing the return of Shinobi Shaw. You could sum it up by simply saying "Sebastian Shaw resurrected Shinobi Shaw, lied to him about how he previously died to plant hatred for his rivals and made him the new Black Bishop." Could this have been accomplished in a much shorter scene as part of a bigger, less decompressed comic? Yes. This is classic Marvel decompression at its worst, almost peak Bendis levels of decompression. If you're going to devote an entire issue to what Sebastian Shaw has been up to for the past few weeks, maybe it should include more than two actual scenes or events. Just a personal preference, mind you, I know some people love their comics ridiculously decompressed, as evidenced by how much people love Jonathan Hickman. The 1/5 of a comic we got was fun though.
What Happened in X-Men #3?
X-MEN #3 DX
(W) Jonathan Hickman (A) Gerry Alanguilan (A/CA) Leinil Francis Yu
EARTH'S MOST POWERFUL! CYCLOPS STORMS THE SAVAGE LAND!
The most powerful heroes of the dominant species on the planet, the X-Men rise to protect the world against any threat. From a new foe in the Savage Land to an old nemesis' surprising return…
In Shops: Dec 04, 2019
Pixie, Anole, and some other mutants are working on a farm in the Savage Land when a group of masked figures in armor come through a Krakoan gate and spray them with slime, neutralizing them. Back on Krakoa, the Quiet Council holds a meeting (with some good-natured cattiness between Jean Grey and Emma Frost over who is banging Scott Summers, the answer to which may be "both of them"). Scott, Emma, and Sebastian Shaw are dispatched to figure out what's happening in the Savage Land, as an infographic text dump page reveals that the compromise of the Savage Land gate is hurting Krakoa and causing it to behave strangely. This page also reveals that Krakoa feeds off the psychic energy of mutants, taking a little bit from everyone, which may turn out to be a problem in the future.
Back in the Savage Land, the invaders remove their helmets to reveal they are all old women. Cyclops, Emma, and Sebastian head to the Outback to hitch a ride to the Savage Land via Gateway. When they arrive, the women introduce themselves as Hordeculture, a group of scientists turned eco-terrorists who have a plan to gain control of the world's food supply with their Hordeculture Seeds and possibly kill off most of the human race after becoming disillusioned by the agriculture industry. After spurning an attempt at dealmaking by Shaw and spraying him with ooze, Hordeculture preys on Cyclops' gullibility when one of the women pretends to have broken her hip then sprays him with ooze too. Emma is left to just stand around in her diamond form (the women's minds are shielded) while they explain their whole plot to her. Krakoa throws a monkeywrench in their world domination scheme, but they're very smart about plants so they were able to take control of the gate and can do it again. They steal some flowers so they can better study Krakoa and learn to control it as well.
The X-Men return from their mission unsuccessful.
Was it any good?
The story here was fine, but it continues to annoy me that information integral to the story continues to be revealed through encyclopedia-like text dumps. I get that people love this about Hickman's style for some reason, but if I wanted to read about comics on Wikipedia, I could easily do that. When I'm reading a comic, I prefer the story play out in comic form. Call me old-fashioned, I guess. But that's a quirk we're going to have to live with for the next few years probably, so there's no point getting bent out of shape about it. I did like that this story introduced new villains with new motivations.
Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week
It's a tough choice this week. None of the books was bad, but each was disappointing in its own way. I was a little hard on Excalibur, but it's still my favorite of the Dawn of X titles, even if it didn't have the same urgency of the first two issues. Therefore, I'm going to award it the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the week award. Congratulations once again to the creative team.
- 10/16/2019: X-Men #1
- 10/23/2019: Marauders #1
- 10/30/2019: Excalibur #1
- 11/6/2019: New Mutants #1
- 11/13/2019: X-Men #2
- 11/20/2019: Marauders #2
- 11/27/2019: X-Force #2
- 12/04/2019: Excalibur #3
Three more X-books are in stores tomorrow, so we'll see you here next week with a recap. Be sure to post your own thoughts on last week's X-books in the comments.
Read more X-ual Healing here: