I'm Jude Terror, and this is X-ual Healing, Bleeding Cool's weekly X-Men recap column, where I read all the X-books, so you don't have to. And it's probably for the best. With the current crossover and weekly saturation of these things, a person could go broke trying to follow all these comics. In stores last week from Marvel: Marauders #15, Excalibur #14, and Wolverine #7, all part of the X of Swords crossover.
There were some interesting developments in the comics world last week. DC Comics laid off even more people as it seems like they've got a real skeleton crew running things over there. Rich Johnston claims DC is abandoning the direct market and will focus on a more mainstream audience, which makes all the sense in the world. Still, of course, comic book retailers (and fans) are a cowardly and superstitious lot, so a lot of them view this as a huge betrayal. The fact is that the industry has been propping up the direct market system for years. The direct market is like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's. Comic book publishers are like Larry and Richard, pretending the system is still working great so they can continue to squeeze higher profit growth out of a shrinking audience even though it's obviously been rotting for decades with no real feeder system to bring new customers into the specialty shop market. Except with comics, it's like Weekend at Bernies 17. The premise has grown really old and tired, the corpse is basically a skeleton at this point, and corporate exploitation has already sucked every molecule of meat off the franchise's bones.
But on the bright side, Marvel announced a new X-Men Legends series that will have stories by Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, and more set during their classic runs. Yay! So it all evens out in the end.
Finally, we had some inter-company drama as Tom Brevoort attacked Tom King over the DC firing of Mark Doyle, a conflict where we can all truly say both sides deserve to lose. I wrote it up in a Fanboy Rampage article, but sometime after that, the killing blow came from the Comics Journal's Twitter:
those aren't the only bodies he had a hand in killing!
— THE COMICS JOURNAL (@ComicsJournal) November 13, 2020
Get it? Because Tom King was in the CIA? Okay, moving on…
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. Still, thanks to a corporate merger, a line-wide relaunch, and Jonathan Hickman's giant ego, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics for lovers of soap opera drama.
WOLVERINE #7 XOS
(W) Ben Percy, Gerry Duggan (A) Joshua Cassara (CA) Adam Kubert
Endurance. Survival. The true lesson of pain.
In Shops: Nov 11, 2020
Wolverine #7 Recap
Okay, after the last issue of X of Swords, I accept the fact that I have no idea what's going on with this crossover. The usual Marvel predictability is out the window. We're just along for the ride at this point.
Magik battles Pogg Ur-Pogg… in an arm-wrestling contest. Pogg wins.
Wolverine battles Summoner in Blightspoke, which is kind of a nightmare realm of various realities, giving Joshua Cassara an excuse to draw lots of weird stuff as this epic battle unfolds. It ends when Wolverine stabs Summoner through the eyeball with a sword, killing him. But Saturnyne says it was a fight to the death, and since Summoner fought to the death, he's the one who wins.
Next up, Wolverine vs. Storm in a drinking contest. Yes, they're on the same side, but it's happening anyway. Mad Jim Jaspers pours them glasses of something called Blightness that came from the Crooked Market (and thus has a price), then we see him meet with Death in an alleyway and receive a glowing green beetle. It is not clear whether this is a flashback or happening right now. The drinking contest is still happening, but someone is awarded a point, as the score is now 4-2 Arakko.
Elsewhere, Solem faces War in battle. Saturnyne explains, "when Krakoa fights Arakko, so does it fight itself." So that's why people on the same teams are fighting. But Solem calls on Wolverine, who is transported to the battle right before he kisses Storm. Wolverine must repay his debt for Solem, giving him a sword earlier, so he has to take Solem's place in this battle. He's totally wasted, so his healing factor is turned off. Solem points out that Wolverine just killed Summoner, who was War's son. Saturnyne says the first person to sever an appendage wins the battle.
War nearly cuts off Wolverine's head, but his adamantium skeleton prevents it. Should have gone for one of the dicks, War. Always go for the dicks. Wolverine slices off her hand, winning, but the point goes to Solem, so it's now 5-2 Arakko. And Wolverine is left wondering, just as he paid the price for drinking something from the Crooker Market, what price will Storm pay?
Okay, I wanted to wait until after the recap of all three of these issues before sharing my thoughts on them because the big turn this crossover took this week was spread across all three books and unfolded slowly. I see a lot of people online who are annoyed at this turn of events, where the crossover has devolved into a bunch of silliness after spending more than a dozen issues imparting a tone of extreme seriousness.
But as for me? I'm amused. For a crossover taking place largely in Otherworld, I think this tone actually makes a lot of sense. It's reminiscent of the original run of Excalibur in a lot of ways. It's also an epic troll, both in the storyline by Saturnyne but also by the X-writers, and if there's one thing I appreciate, it's an epic troll. But most importantly, for once, I'm not cynically waiting for this storyline to hit all the same beats as every other crossover. I honestly have no idea what's gonna happen now because it took such a hard left turn into wackiness. I appreciate unpredictability.
If you've spent a bunch of money on this crossover and that's something that matters to you, you might be more annoyed by this than me, and that's totally fair. But since I ditched nearly every comic, I was buying at the start of the year and now only read X-books, GI Joe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it's not really an issue to me. It's not like I would have bought something else instead of this. That said, I have a unique perspective on it, and being amused by a troll doesn't necessarily equate to thinking a crossover is good or that it will hold up over time. That will depend a lot on how it ends and whether that ending makes the whole thing worthwhile. I do stand by my original assertion that the whole thing is taking way too long, though. They could have reduced this in length by about half, and it would be a lot less annoying.
There also remains one of the core problems of Hickman's entire X-Men relaunch, which is that the characters all just go along with whatever suits the storyline even if it would be in their nature to question things, from Xavier's shady antics to teaming up with their greatest villains to entering a tournament where they might die to that tournament turning into some kind of weird acid trip. No one ever stops to say, "something is not right here." The only question is, is that a plot point, or is it bad writing? Time will tell.
Read more X-ual Healing here:
This post is part of a multi-part series: X-ual Healing X-Men Recaps for the week of November 11th, 2020.
- As Usual, Wolverine Ruins Everything in Marauders #15 [XH]
- A Surprise Comic Book Wedding in Excalibur #14 [XH]
- A Tale of Two Appendages in Wolverine #7 [XH]