All of this is getting relaunched soon, so one could potentially argue that none of it matters, but Marvel is still putting out X-Men comics each week and we're still recapping them. Read on, true believers…
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 APOCALYPSE AND X-TRACTS #5 (OF 5)
(W) Tim Seeley (A) Salva Espin (CA) Gerardo Sandoval
THE AGE OF X-MAN CONCLUDES! Apocalypse stands revealed, and his place in this world laid bare! What will his X-Tracts make of this revelation?
In Shops: Jul 10, 2019
The final Age of X-Man mini-series wraps up this issue ahead of Age of X-Man: Omega. It begins with Eyeboy informing the other Light Riders that Apocalypse has been working with Nate Grey all along, playing the villain in the fake Age of X-Man, and even letting his own son die. The Light Riders are not pleased with this, and when they accuse Unveil of altering their minds, she freaks out, unleashing her mist powers. Apocalypse himself arrives to find the Riders "communing" without him. But they're not in the mood for his lectures. They tell him they know what's going on and attack. In the battle, Apocalypse reverts to his true form and starts going on about his history while kicking each of the Light Riders' butts. Particularly notable is a fight with Colossus, who accuses Apocalypse of stealing Kitty from him, which causes Apocalypse to point out that Kitty left him at the alter in the real world and that he's kind of pathetic. Ouch! Truth hurts. Eventually though, Kitty stabs Apocalypse with the Menorah she found at the beginning of this event, and since it's apparently from the real world, he is unable to phase it out of his body. Just then, his Oracle computer network warns that the world is disintegrating. Apocalypse makes one last plea to the Light Riders by showing them the villain he is in other realities, and then revealing that he didn't actually let Evan die, that he truly loved Evan even though it went against everything he's being preaching for thousands of years, and begging the Light Riders to stand by him to save this reality, and thus this new lovey-dovey Apocalypse. They agree, but Nate Grey and the X-Men show up to crash the party. This will be continued in the Omega issue.
This was my least favorite of the Age of X-Man minis. Apocalypse's burn on Colossus was probably the only highlight of the entire thing. At least this whole event will be over next week.
GIANT-SIZE X-STATIX #1
(W) Peter Milligan (A/CA) Michael Allred
They're back and more alive than ever for this special one-shot! But what new threat is so grave that only the most famous mutant celebrities can fight it? And who is the new U-Go-Girl? Only the original X-Statix creative team Peter Milligan, Michael Allred and Laura Allred know for sure!
In Shops: Jul 10, 2019
How to even recap a comic like X-Statix? I'll try to stick to the major points. The main perspective in the issue comes from Katie Sawyer, who believes herself to be the sister of Edie Sawyer, U-Go Girl, but who is actually Edie's daughter, who Edie left to be raised by her grandmother so she could go off and become a celebrity superhero. Katie is a normal teenager who wants to be an engineer and has a boyfriend who loves Death Metal. One night, Katie involuntarily teleports to Edie's grave, where Dead Girl and Doop bring U-Go Girl back for four minutes to explain her true relationship with Katie. Edie tells Katie she'll need to accept her inheritance before disappearing. Katie is reluctant.
Meanwhile, Zeitgeist is alive and recruiting a new team of bad guys, and he sends new characters Hurt John, Mirror Girl, and Uno (a floating eyeball) to convince Edie's boyfriend, Mickey, to set her up. As time passes, Katie's skin turns blue and she finds herself teleporting more, while Doop recruits a new X-Statix team, getting Vivisector (who is alive) and Mister Sensitive (who is also alive) to join, as well as The A, the newly revealed secret son of Anarchist, and Phatty, a plus-size model who is the genetically engineered daughter of Phat, created by Doop with stolen genetic material. Following all of this still? Okay.
So eventually the day comes when Zeitgeist arranged for Mickey to set up Katie, and they kidnap and bring her to his lair. But the new X-Statix bust through the wall and a fight breaks out, and they eventually convince Katie to teleport them away, saving them. Katie is still reluctant to join the team, but as time passes and the video of the fight gets a lot of hits on YouTube, she seems to be coming around. All of this will lead into a new series, The X-Cellent, launching in 2020.
It will definitely be interesting to see Milligan and Allred attempt to produce a satire comic at Marvel in 2020, in a hyper-politicized environment. Social media is going to be very upset with it, I imagine.
WOLVERINE VS BLADE SPECIAL #1 (MR)
(W) Marc Guggenheim (A) Dave Wilkins
Two of the deadliest hunters ever to have stalked the night face off! Wolverine vs. Blade – 'nuff said!
In Shops: Jul 10, 2019
At some unspecified time in the relatively recent past, Wolverine and Blade cross paths while destroying a vampire temple for a vampire cult called The Creed. But six months later, Wolverine is attacked by MLF member Dragoness, now a vampire, and kills her. Nearby he finds a box containing a prophecy related to the Creed. He takes it to Doctor Strange, who reveals the Creed are waiting for a messiah. The scroll shows Wolverine fighting Blade, so Blade must be the Creed messiah. Meanwhile, Blade fights a vampire with laser eye beams in Germany who has Creed markings on him. After killing the vampire, he presses an informant to learn that The Creed are making mutants into vampire because their messiah, Varkis, is said to be a mutant vampire.
Wolverine and Blade head to a ruin in Belize, where each believes the other to be Varkis. After a brief fight, they realize it was a case of mistaken identity. Oops! But then a vampire Wolverine shows up with bone claws, apparently regrown using vampire magic (they don't have to explain it) from a chunk of Wolverine cut off his body in the fight at the beginning of the issue. After unsuccessful attempts to kill him due to the healing factor, Wolverine and Blade realize they must attack him at the same time for some reason, which they do, turning him into dust. Alrighty then. Six bucks for this.
This comic will likely be frustrating for anyone trying to keep track of continuity in Marvel Comics. Wolverine is wearing his black X-Force costume, which sets this comic somewhere in the previous decade (in publishing time, who the @#$% even knows how long that is in Marvel time). Additionally, Dragoness was recently shown as alive in X-Men Blue and then most recently in Uncanny X-Men #1 as part of the newly reformed MLF, but here she is turned into a vampire and then killed… so… is this out of continuity? Is it even worth trying to figure it out?
WOLVERINE AND CAPTAIN AMERICA WEAPON PLUS #1
(W) Sacks, Ethan (A) Diogenes Neves (CA) Skan
THE SECRET HISTORY BEHIND THEIR ORIGINS REVEALED! In 1940, scientists attempted to make a man into the perfect weapon, a Super-Soldier. They failed and made him a legend instead. Before the turn of the century, they tried again for the tenth time. They failed, making a man into death incarnate. At long last, ETHAN SACKS (OLD MAN HAWKEYE, STAR WARS: GALAXY'S EDGE) and DIOGENES NEVES (GREEN ARROW, DEATHSTROKE) reveals the shadowy connections between Captain America, Wolverine and many more of the Marvel U's Super-Soldiers… including some surprises! The conspiracy begins here!
In Shops: Jul 10, 2019
Captain America is taking a stroll through New York City when Wolverine comes crashing out of the sky inside E.V.A., Fantomex's mutant nervous system. A holographic video of Fantomex begins playing explaining that Fantomex must be dead if Captain America is hearing this, though how that (or any of the stuff involving Fantomex here) is possible when he's actually currently trapped in the astral plane, having allowed the psyche of Charles Xavier to take over his body in Astonishing X-Men, goes unexplained in this comic. In any case, before Cap and Wolvie can listen to the message, they need to kill some bad guys in masks, so they do. Cap removes one of their masks to find it looks just like him.
Time for the Fantomex recording. It turns out that Fantomex has been investigating Weapon Plus, the program that created him, which started with Captain America in Project Rebirth, as Weapon I, and then went on to create a bunch of other Weapons including Wolverine himself, Weapon X (ten). We know all of this already, of course, and you can catch up with a summary on the Marvel wiki if you like, or if you prefer, in the style of a comic book chronology on Wolverine Files. In any case, Fantomex has been investigating the program, and he found a reporter who had the names of a bunch of test subjects, but she was killed, though not before uploading her information to the dark web. Fantomex obtained the names and locations, but was apparently killed while investigating, thus the message asking Wolverine and Captain America to take up the cause.
So they hop into E.V.A. and head to a defunct Weapon Plus lab, which gives us the best scene in the comic just for all the little clues and references dispersed throughout this splash page, some of which are brand new, as Rich Johnston noted last week.
Anyway, the Weapon II subjects, Brute Force, are here in vats, and one of them, Bear, is being remotely controlled to attack Cap and Wolverine. They put it out of its misery and Cap (who just earlier was talking about how he didn't understand the internet) pulls a microchip out of its brain and they use it to track the source of the signal to a location in the Swiss Alps. So they fly there with E.V.A. and encounter a computer screen with the words Weapon XXX (kinky!) on it. Unfortunately, the system is purging itself of all data. Before they can do anything, they're attacked by a deranged and deformed Captain America copycat who also has Wolverine's healing factor and is yelling about the commies.
Okay, time to back up a bit here. Throughout this issue, we've been seeing flashbacks from the life of a guy named Billy Junger, who was a big Captain America fan back in 1945 when Cap and Bucky were "lost" during World War II, and went on to become a scientist and join Weapon Plus with the goal of becoming the next Captain America. That didn't happen for him, though he did perform some experimentations on himself along the way. Eventually, Professor Truett Hudson (the Professor from the original Weapon X series) made Junger his successor, and Junger has been developing Weapon XXX. Junger was first on the list of names Fantomex found in his investigations, leading Cap and Wolvie to believe he was one of the innocents manipulated using their love of Captain America to become test subjects, but of course, we know better.
Now that we're caught up on that, Junger watches Wolverine and Cap battling the deranged Cap copycat, one of a series of Cap fanboys that were enlisted as Weapon Plus test subjects, and triggers a self-destruct to blow up the facility. Cap and Wolvie escape, and Cap vows to track down Weapon XXX and end these experiments, in honor of poor Billy Junger. But the real Junger is still watching from a new lab, where there is, by the way, a gigantic test subject in a large vat behind him. Professor Junger believes Cap has forgotten what he once stood for and intends to remind him. This will all be continued in Weapon Plus: Weapons Free, starring Brute Force (Weapon II), Man-Thing (Weapon III), Venom (Weapon V), Luke Cage (Weapon VI), and Deadpool (Weapon IX), that is, presuming there are no shocking retcons about any of those.
You know, I didn't go into this with a lot of faith that it was likely to add very much to the Weapon X/Weapon Plus legacy, but it surprised me in a good way. There's a lot packed into this one-shot, and that's coming from someone who's not particularly observant. A more analytical mind can probably draw a lot more conclusions from this issue, even from that one page posted up above alone. I'm looking forward to hearing what you all think of it, so please do post your post comments below.
I gotta give this one the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week. How could I not?!
Congratulations to the creative team.
The Uncanny X-Men writers provide a post-mortem on the latest volume of that series, which concludes this week, in Adventures in Poor Taste's X-Men Monday column. Chris Hassan still refuses to ask my Chris Claremont question, but maybe Marvel will reveal a Claremont ongoing at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend? We can hope. Also in this week's column, speaking of belligerence, a belligerent Matthew Rosenberg refuses to apologize for killing off all the X-Men.
Hey, look! Russell Dauterman appears to be working on an X-Men project…
When the Hickboot happens, this column will relaunch as well. We're almost there…
Read more X-ual Healing here: