We're late this week, having been busy over the weekend and thinking we'd catch up on Monday morning — it's President's Day, after all — only to have the DC solicits fall into our laps here at Bleeding Cool this morning, and, well, 12 or 13 clickbait articles later, here we are. But we've got your recaps ready now, so let's just jump right into them.
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 with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
Age of X-Man NextGen #1
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Marcus To (CA) Chris Bachalo
ENTER THE AGE OF X-MAN!
In an age of utopia, the Summers Institute for Higher Learning is the premiere school for the mutant community across the globe. Attendance is mandatory for all mutant children, as they learn to become the next generation of marvelous X-Men. But even in a utopian society, teenagers will always find a way to rebel… Follow Glob, Armor, Anole and Rockslide as they discover what it really means to live in an age of peace and harmony!
In Shops: Feb 13, 2019
We open on the chicken coop at the Summer Institute, where Glob Herman is tending to his chickens, who he's named after Cyclops, Hope, and Wolverine. He's teased briefly by Manon and Maxime but Armor chases them off. Later in the cafeteria, Shark-Girl tells the other students at the lunch table that Glob writes X-Men fanfiction, which is apparently actually the true story of the real world outside the Age of X-Man. As Glob is teased over this, Armor saves him again. As the lunch ends, Anole tells Bling he cannot make it to some kind of meeting that night.
Later, we get a tour of the various classes taught at the institute, including History, Agriculture, Medicine, and Civil Management. It's this last tenth-year class which contains the students who were picked to go on to careers in superheroing in Department X, and clerk Betsy Braddock is there to talk to the students. She tells them they'll be going out on patrols now, but to stand aside if anything gets serious.
That night, a fire breaks out downtown and Pixie and Armor, who are in the cool class, head down to check it out. There they find Blob, a member of Department X, subduing Bling and about to mindwipe her. He sends them away, acting suspiciously. They encounter Anole, who tells them everything they know is a lie. The let him escape as the X-Men show up.
Later that night, Armor visits Glob's room and tells him what she saw. Glob's arm lights on fire (like his powers in the Age of Apocalypse world) and tells her this is the only way to show her the truth as he's about to grab her head, leaving the issue on a cliffhanger.
The X-students are always fun, and it's no surprise that this Glob-centric book is more entertaining than the core story in Marvelous X-Men. What does Glob know? Why does he have both his real-world memories and his Age of Apocalypse powers? What will happen to the chickens? We'll find out next issue, we suppose.
Mr. and Mrs. X #8
(W) Kelly Thompson (A) Oscar Bazaldua (CA) Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson
• Spiral jumps into the fray!
• But whose side is she really on?
• Will Rogue and Gambit ever get the vacation they deserve?
In Shops: Feb 13, 2019
In the Mojoworld TV fantasy genre show where our heroes are currently being held captive, Rogue makes out with Longshot in a castle when Gambit appears, claiming her as his property. He bests Longshot in a fight and kidnaps Rogue, taking some rather non-consensual liberties with her and bringing her back to his lair, where he reveals he's actually trying to steal her necklace, which he calls "the curled heart." Rogue throws him out a window, but then Gambit charms her. They're about to kiss when Rogue suddenly gets a headache and incinerates Gambit.
Annoyed, Mojo spins his wheel of genres again reboots the show, this time as a Western. Then as fantasy again. Then Sci-Fi. Each time, Gambit tries to steal a special object, and each time, Rogue incinerates him shortly thereafter, right before they can kiss. Mojo becomes frustrated and agrees to send Spiral into the next show, this one a reality TV series. Spiral sneaks Gambit off to a place where she's created a pocket where they can talk privately. She explains that they're on Mojoworld, and that something is wrong with Rogue and she keeps killing him. She wouldn't have kidnapped Rogue and Gambit for Mojo's TV show if she had known.
Spiral needs Gambit to steal something for her, and that's why she's been slipping the secret object plot into each story. She gets him to agree to steal the unnamed object in exchange for her taking care of Rogue and helping her deal with her issues while he's gone. As Gambit heads out to the real Mojoworld, Spiral kicks off a therapy session with Rogue. She reveals that Rogue is controlling her own powers until she becomes aware, at which point the spin out of control and Gambit dies. That means she can control her powers… provided she can get to the bottom of what's causing her to freak out.
The story will continue next issue.
With all of the super-serious alternate reality mega-events and grim and gritty Uncanny X-Men stories (not that we're not enjoying those, but just sayin'), it's nice to have Mr. and Mrs. X, a character-focused book with a sense of humor doing its own thing and just telling stories without any of the hype or lofty crossover aspirations, but starring mainstream characters and with a firm place in continuity (spinning out of the Wedding Issue of X-Men Gold).
You'll probably call us a hypocrite when you see our take on Shatterstar later in this column, but hey, all of this is just our opinion anyway. If we're being honest, this book probably has a shelf life, but we'll continue to enjoy it until it expires.
Dead Man Logan #4
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Mike Henderson (CA) Declan Shalvey
LEFT FOR DEAD!
• Logan's Adamantium sickness is advancing, and the greatest medical minds of the Marvel U want one last checkup…
• Hawkeye vs. Mysterio! A glass fishbowl makes for an awfully large target…
• Plus: A special appearance by your least favorite X-Man!
In Shops: Feb 13, 2019
As the X-Men (Cecelia Reyes, Jubilee, Forge, and Glob Herman) take care of an unconscious Logan at the Xavier institute, Mysterio climbs through the window of Hawkeye's New York apartment, which he's apparently maintaining alongside his LA digs for West Coast Avengers. Mysterio wants Hawkeye's help because he knows his colleagues in Neo-Hydra, Syn, Crossbones, and Miss Sinister, plan to kill him after using him to murder all the heroes. Hawkeye agrees to take him to Logan, but can't guarantee Logan won't stab him (it is what he does best).
At Hydra headquarters, the villains argue about whose fault it is that Mysterio got away. Crossbones threatens Sinister, who kicks his ass. They head out in search of Mysterio.
At the Xavier school, we finally get what we've all been hoping for: nude Old Man Logan.
Look at it. LOOK AT IT!
Logan is pleased he didn't kill anyone while under Mysterio's control last issue, but he's upset with himself for getting into that situation in the first place. Dr. Reyes, meanwhile, is upset with Logan for continuing to use Regenix, which has cut his lifespan from 12 months to 6 months, and will continue to half it each time he uses the healing factor drug. Logan doesn't care, so long as he can prevent what Mysterio did in his timeline from happening again.
At the asylum where Mysterio was staying, Neo-Hydra kills all the patients, which turns out to have been a waste of time because none of them know anything about Mysterio. At the school, Hawkeye brings Mysterio to see Logan, who predictably tries to kill him. Cooler heads prevail before anyone gets stabbed, and before you know it, the whole group takes a road trip (well, Blackbird trip) to Neo-Hydra headquarters, to be continued next issue.
This series, despite having a foregone conclusion, is actually pretty entertaining so far. It's paced very quickly, with each issue working as a complete chapter instead of each 5-issue arc working as a chapter, as most comics these days do. It's got a sense of humor about itself. It's giving us naked old man panels. What more could we ask for?
If a panel with a nude (not R-rated nude, sadly) Wolverine doesn't win the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week, we can't imagine what would.
Congratulations to the creative team.
(W) Tim Seeley (A) Carlos Villa, Gerardo Sandoval, Juan Vlasco (CA) Yasmine Putri
• The Grandmaster's game reaches final jeopardy…
• Shatterstar goes toe-to-toe with the only opponent with a prayer of taking him down…himself!
• Plus: One of Shatty's tenants fulfills their destiny!
In Shops: Feb 13, 2019
The final issue of Shatterstar begins with Shatterstar facing down Grandmaster. Well, it's really more like Grandmaster torturing Shatterstar with visions of alternate realities where he remained a gladiator who only cares about fighting, and Shatterstar getting in one good shot to slice Grandmaster's head in half, only for it to have no effect because he's the Grandmaster and he's all-powerful and blah blah blah. The whole issue consists mainly of a fight scene between Shatterstar and alternate reality versions of him conjured by Grandmaster, while Grandmaster monologues about how he was tired of playing games with other cosmic beings and he wanted something new and fresh with Shatterstar and ruminates on how Shatterstar really just wants to fight also.
While this is going on, Shatterstar's remaining tenants who aren't dead break free of the prison they were in and attempt to come to Shatterstar's rescue, but Grandmaster vaporizes them. Shatterstar, apparently broken, gives in and agrees to stay with Grandmaster, fight in his games, and worship him as a god. This flatters Grandmaster, who reconstitutes the tenants and sends them home.
But Shatterstar was faking it. He slices a rift in dimensions and brings Grandmaster to Earth-1218, the home of Tina Cooke, where powers don't exist. That means Grandmaster doesn't have his own powers, so Shatterstar stabs him in the gut and kicks him off a bridge, then jumps back through the portal as it closes. Unfortunately, for some reason, he ends up floating in outer space where he's going to die, except Rictor uses his vibrational powers to hone in on Shatterstar's location and pull him through a portal back to his apartment building on Earth (just go with it).
Shatterstar, Rictor, and the tenants have a block party and also put a TV and a smartphone in front of the graves of Tina Cooke and alternate universe Night Thrasher, who we forgot was killed until just now. The end.
This Shatterstar mini-series was overall lackluster. There was a lot of action, but none of it was particularly compelling. The stakes of the plot were hampered by the fact that these were all alternate universe characters so readers had no particular attachment to them. It didn't really change of the characters in any significant way, especially as Shatterstar is currently running around with X-Force and that's the book whose continuity is likely to actually matter. It's not that the series was bad, it was just… kinda pointless. The X-Books have made strides recently with publishing minis that actually have an impact, like Rogue and Gambit and New Mutants: Dead Souls. Then there are minis which feel kind of lost and disconnected from everything else, like the recent Legion mini-series. This feels a lot like the latter. Maybe we'll be proven wrong and all of this will end up being relevant to a future story, but we're not holding our breath waiting for Rictor to track us down and pull us through a portal or anything.
And that's all for this week, we're late enough as it is! See you next weekend for recaps of all of this week's X-books!
Read more X-ual Healing here: