All-New X-Men #16: Hopeless has really gone places I didn't expect on this title, and Hank's embrace of the occult is at the top of that list. His frustration is real here, even as he eventually stumbles upon a spell that gives him the powers he needs to save his friends. But, Hopeless implies this action will have consequences, and I would really dig it if we see Hank start working with Dr. Strange to become better at spellcasting. Of all the original X-Men, he'd really be the one diverging from his future self's path.
Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2: This issue is a lot better than the
first one, mainly because MJ is the narrator. It's fun to get her
perspective, particularly given her distinct lack of anxiety about the whole superhero business. Unfortunately, it serves as a reminder that Conway is playing up Peter's anxiety about it too much. I mean, he does a good job
of explaining why Peter feels the way he does. It certainly makes sense that Peter would deeply understand the risks of being a superhero and be nervous about his wife and child following in his footsteps. But, this difference throws off the balance of the series; it's hard to tell if it's fun or serious. Conway is going to have to
decide that question before too long. (I know you can do both fun and serious, as Duggan has done really well on "Uncanny Avengers." But, so far, I don't feel like it's working here.)
IvX #1: I don't think I've ever been less excited about an event than this one. (I believe I said the same thing in reviewing "IvX" #0.) In fact, "extreme apprehension" is probably a better way to phrase my current sentiment. Unfortunately, Lemire and Soule do little here to help the situation. The entire premise of this "war" makes no sense. As expected, Hank informs the mutant leaders assembled on Muir Island that the chemical bonds holding together the remaining cloud of Terrigen Mists are breaking, explaining the high level of Terrigen saturation on the Earth's surface. This dispersion is unfortunately progressing at an exponential rate, meaning they don't have much time to stop it. The leaders vote to attack the remaining cloud, implementing a plan that Emma, Magneto, and Storm created. (For the record, Rogue votes against the plan, despite admitting she doesn't like the alternative of living on Mars.) My problem -- well, I should say, one of my problems -- here is that I don't fully buy the "science." Is there really so much Terrigen in the remaining cloud that it would render Earth inhospitable to mutants when fully dispersed? Moreover, if it's already been saturated into the Earth so much that the mutants only have two weeks to stop it, shouldn't they have started feeling its effects? It seems weird that it'd have to be 100% saturated before anyone felt anything. Also, doesn't it have some sort of half-life? Would it really remain on the surface forever? Couldn't we just off-load mutantkind into X-Haven for a few weeks and solve the problem? Also, is it really impossible to trap the cloud again? The Inhumans were perfect happy when it was contained, so couldn't we just do that again? The fact Lemire and Soule don't even try to address these questions shows how rushed this event is, despite Marvel having planned it for months. Yes, it's totally cool to see the X-Men take out members of the Inhuman Royal Family, and I particularly loved Dazzler's part in that plan. But, even the terrible "Civil War II" event had a clear reason why everyone had to choose a side: you were either for predictive justice or you weren't. Here, we seem to have numerous options on the table to prevent the conflict based on the "science," but we're apparently just ignoring those because EVENT! [Sigh.] Is it over yet?
Reborn #3: OK, Millar has me sold. This series is really intriguing. We have a number of mysteries woven into the plot already. Is Bonnie's husband Lord Golgotha? Are we going to learn he was really a puppy-kicker in life? Where is her mother? Maybe she's Lord Golgotha? What exactly are Bonnie's powers? At the end of the issue, she assets they're making the right decision by jumping into that portal, but she seems to have been wrong, because they find themselves on Lord Golgotha's prison planet. So far, she's twice had a mental vision of her opponents, but it hasn't been clear what those visions are showing her. Are they like Midnighter's fight computer? But, the mysteries and mythology of "Reborn" isn't the only good part. The characterizations are really solid. Millar does a good job of using his limited non-action time to convey Bonnie's disorientation at her current predicament, even though I'd appreciate some more quiet time to really explore those feelings. Moreover, her relationship with her father is really moving, and, obviously, that dog better not be dead. All of these deft narrative touches are accentuated by Capullo's amazing-as-always renderings. The lion-headed dragon eating the flying elephant was honestly one of the most unexpected moments in a comic for me. Moreover, Capullo's ability to convey motion is unsurpassed, as we see here in Bonnie's flight with her father. You really got the sense you were running through the trees in a panic with a pack of elephants. Millar clearly has a very, very long game planned here, and I'm excited to see it unfold.
Uncanny Avengers #17: This arc has mostly been a fun romp, but Duggan ends it on a somber note, with Rogue contemplating the price the Avengers have paid for peace over the last year: Bruce dead, Thor missing, Hank gone, Wonder Man lost in Rogue's mind, Iron Man functionally disabled. Rogue is experienced enough to know it's probably a sign things are going to get worse before they get better. She's not wrong, obviously, given the cover for next issue involves the Red Skull. If there's a sliver of hope here, it's that the team stays together, committed to taking down the Skull. It's a nice moment, showing how far we've come from the first issue, where Rogue was basically waiting for any excuse to take out Synapse. In a world where Marvel has been pushing the Inhumans beyond all other groups, I really cherish -- though it may be too strong of a world -- this series' connection to Marvel's past and the importance the Avengers and X-Men once had.
Also Read: Detective Comics #946; Hawkeye #1; Star Wars: Poe Dameron #9