Generation Hope #13: First, I was excited to see that James Asmus is taking over this title. Gillen did amazing work with this title, but I also loved Asmus' "Escape from the Negative Zone" annual cross-over. In fact, I liked his version of Hope better than anyone's, including possibly Gillen's. He portrayed her as the arrogant teenager she is, and it worked. I'm glad to say, it also works here. Asmus picks up the personalities of the Lights so well, you'd be forgiven for thinking Gillen was still on board. But, he makes the characters his own fairly quickly. I'm intrigued by the Hope/Laurie dynamic. If they find a way to work together, they'll be a great pair. We see it here, with Hope reminding Laurie that sometimes you don't have time to plan, and Laurie reminding Hope that you should plan when you can because it results in better outcomes. If they don't find a way to work together...well, we'll see. I loved that he had Kenji fall in love instantly with No-Girl. It wasn't an obvious call, but it shows a real insight into his character, to know that Kenji would be drawn to her and her ability to manipulate the way people perceive the world. Velocidad is also great here ("Yeah, but one of them is Boom-Boom."), though we probably don't need him noting that his powers are killing him every issue, particularly since we only really established that he feels panicked by the prospect last issue. But, his "I'm a teenage boy, I should be hitting on girls while I can" schtick is great. Again, he could probably use some adult supervision (or at least an older brother figure) to help get him through this trouble. But, the lack of attention to him shows that Cyclops is really just interested in them as warriors, as we see in the opening of the book. I'm intrigued why the Cuckoos hid the newest Light from Hope, even though it appears it's because it's Sebastian Shaw's powers re-manifesting themselves. It's a great first issue for Asmus, and I'll definitely be there next issue.
New Mutants #34: So far, so great. DnA give us a fun start for the latest iteration of "New Mutants." First, looking at the overall story DnA are starting to tell here, I love the idea that the New Mutants are now living like "real" people, particularly with the proviso that Bobby isn't allowed to fund them. Are they all going to get jobs like Amara? Is Nate going to be a fry cook? Will Bobby be a bus driver? The mind boggles. I also like the Bobby/Nate dynamic. I'm hoping we're going to see them interract more, given that Bobby's only really itneracted with Amara for almost every other issue of this series. Moreover, forcusing on this arc in particularly, the next "loose end" case is awesome. I had't realized that we had resurrected Blink. I still remember how surprised I was at the end of "Phalanx Covenant" when they seemingly killed her, so I'm glad that, based on my Wikipedia reading, they managed to "resurrect" her in a way that more or less made sense (or, at least, as much sense as these sorts of things can make). She seems like an ideal candidate for membership in the "New Mutants," so I'm excited to see where DnA go with the story.
X-Men #21: This issue is just as fast-paced and fun as the last one. I'm even willing to overlook the sudden arrival of Symkarian jets that broke the no-fly zone and conveniently allowed War Machine to join the X-Men in their fight against the Sentinels. (How did the Symkarians discover that Puttanescaland had Sentinels? It wasn't like they took out an ad.) The revelation that the Puttanescans had been obtaining Sentinels thanks to the wealth they've stockpiled from uranium mining was cool, as was the revelation that the scientist had successfully reprogrammed Sentinels to think anyone the Puttanescans wanted was a mutant. This issue is picking put the thread of the disastrous disarmament conference that Scott and Wolverine attended in "X-Men: Schism," and in fact shows us that the world is the dangerous place Scott predicted -- for humans and mutants alike -- with this many Sentinels in play. Gischler manages to shows the Puttanescan governor's hatred of the Symkarians without getting too preachy, and it really instills the book with the sense that some serious shit is going to happen if the X-Men don't get their asses in gear (and maybe even if they do). Again, Gischler is making it really hard for me to drop this book...
Wolverine and the X-Men #2: Ok, wow. I certainly did not expect that the monster attacking the mansion was Krakoa. Excellent, excellent idea, Aaron. I mean, who better to kill Wolverine and his new school than the monster who Wolverine and the other "new" X-Men fought on their first mission? (I'm not entirely sure how it works, logistically, though. First, how did the Hellfire Club fit an island under the mansion? Is there enough room? Second, at the end of issue #1, he seems poised to eat the school. Yet, when this issue starts, he's nowhere to be seen, like he suddenly decided, mid-bite, to go somewhere else. Confusing.) I can't say I've been that fond of the kiddie Hellfire Club, but I might change my mind after this issue. Turning the school inspectors into Sauron and Wendigo? Sending "Frankenstein monsters with flamethrowers" after the X-Men? Wanting the students "charred and melted" so that Wolverine has to contemplate his failure every time he looks at them? I can respect the fact that these kids are not joking. It's been a while since the X-Men have faced a villain (or group of villains) this committed to evil, and I can be convinced that this new Hellfire Club could surpass the old one in terms of constituting a deadly constant threat to the X-Men. (I think I'm actually becoming fond of Kade and his downright evil-ness.)
Bachalo is pretty on fire in this issue. I have to make particular mention of his work as a colorist. I hadn't realized he colored last issue, but I had actually noticed the color, particularly the scene where Quentin was lying on the floor surrounded by markers that he had used to write "I'm a political prisoner" on the floor. I noticed, at the time, that the colorist had colored outside the lines; the red of the marker was a little past the black of the border. I thought it was interesting, but now, seeing Bachalo here, I realize it just adds to the kinetic sense of his art, the sense that the characters are literally breaking beyond their borders with action. I mean, yes, you get some of the usual problems with Bachalo. For example, I wasn't entirely certain what Bobby did, and it took me a second reading to realize he essentially went Multiple Man on himself. (I thought he had maybe taken control of the Frankentsein monsters.) But, the good outweighs the bad here, because Bachalo, as usual, just propels you through this issue at full speed. (Also, I LOVE Rachel's new look. Thank God she's not wearing a bikini top as a costume anymore.)
I also enjoyed Aaron's attention to the characters, particularly Bobby. As I think I've mentioned, I'm excited about this series in part because, to put it in Logan's words, I'm anxiously awaiting Bobby getting the chance to "step up." We see him do it here, not only in terms of his powers but also by kissing Kitty. I can't say that pairing ever dawned on me, but, now? I'm all for it. Team Kibby. I also loved Broo's infatuation with Idie, which I hope continues to be cute and endearing. All in all, a great issue that I'm going to have to read again to get all its nuances.