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411’s Comic Reviews: House of X #2, Absolute Carnage #1, More

August 8, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
House of X #2

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews (and previews) from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!

Powers of X #2

Review by Jeremy Thomas

With House of X #1 and the first issue of Powers of X that followed it, Jonathan Hickman established the first steps of a bold new world for the X-Men in Marvel Comics. Hickman took no time in making some ambitious moves and put the mutants of Marvel in an entirely new position. He then cast his storyline not only all the way back to the beginning of the X-Men but also 1,000 years in the future, teasing plenty of things to come and giving us some intriguing plot threads to begin to follow.

In House of X #2, Hickman takes what was done in the first two issues and turns it on the head by re-contextualizing one of the core figures in X-Men history, namely Moira. This isn’t a surprise: after all, issue #2 is titled “The Curious Case Of Moira X.” And without spoiling anything, what Hickman does here is absolutely stunning. It’s isn’t exaggeration to say that the way Hickman reframes Moira as a character is a complete game-changer not only for the character, but also for Charles Xavier as well.

While the revelations that we have about Moira are pretty staggering, the narrative structure that Hickman uses is even more audacious. Hickman’s already shown how bold he can be, but it takes a lot of balls to set up an incredibly different status quo in the first issue of your major storyline arc and spend the second issue running back and forth over time, only to spend the third issue — the first not laying out a new foundation — focusing on a single character who hasn’t been part of X-Men storylines for the past nine years. And that’s exactly what Hickman does. The entirety of House of X #2 focuses on Moira, and tells the story of the Marvel Universe in an entirely new way.

And to Hickman’s credit, the re-contextualization seems to work. It would take a lot of research to see if there’s anything in the past that explicitly contradicts what we learn here, and that’s the standard you need to meet for a good retcon. There are going to be a ton of people spinning out wacky theories based on this, and nearly all of them will be wrong, but that’s fine. This is the kind of major moment that really hits the right spots in terms of modern storytelling conventions. It’s also worth noting that it continues the House of X and Powers of X pattern of redefining and giving a new perspective of what we saw in the episode before. Yes indeed, that one scene really could be the most important in the history of the X-Men at this point.

This also happens to be an issue where artist Pepe Larraz is truly at his best. Larraz has the opportunity to take a look at some major X-Men moments, and his artwork captures the essence of those eras while still remaining entirely his own. He and Hickman remain a perfect team here, with Larraz’s art enabling Hickman’s story including his unconventional (if not exactly unheard-of) comic book storytelling methods, from the charts and graphs to taking multiple pages to tell a prose story.

House of X is pretty much the perfect continuation of what Hickman and Larraz are setting up with the X-Men here. Everything lands and there are some big, shocking moments, all boldly illustrated with some beautiful line work. The only thing to be concerned about at this point is whether these two can keep the narrative stakes going strong, something I have complete faith in at this point. I’m not one to give out perfect scores with ease; there are a mere very, very small percentage of comics that have earned that right. But from where I stand after a few rereads already, House of X #2 is one of them.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Folklords #1

Preview by Steve Gustafson

BOOM! Studios announced FOLKLORDS, an all-new original five-issue series from Eisner Award-nominated writer Matt Kindt (Grass Kings, Black Badge) and acclaimed artist Matt Smith (Hellboy & the BPRD: Long Night at Goloski, Lake of Fire) about a young man whose forbidden quest reveals the shocking truth about his world and turns everything he ever knew upside down, available in November 2019.

In a world of magic and monsters, Ansel is an outsider haunted by visions of well-pressed suits and modern technology. When it comes time for him to declare his Quest on his 16th birthday, Ansel decides to seek out a legend that is only spoken in hushed whispers—the Folklords—hoping they can explain his visions…but looking for the Folklords is expressly forbidden and going on a rogue quest is punishable by death. What will Ansel risk to find out about the world he has never truly belonged in?

Lenore #1

Preview by Steve Gustafson

The wait is finally over! This week sees the hotly-anticiapted return of Lenore – the fan-favorite black comedy comic series starring the Cute Little Dead Girl. Original creator Roman Dirge opens the creaking door to a rib-tickling new tale starring the world’s cutest cadaver – Lenore!

Trapped in her house by a demented pickle hat (just roll with it), Lenore must find some way to escape the mad killing spree! Or just kick back and eat her friends. One of the two.

Descendent #4

Preview by Steve Gustafson

Our heroes race to stop the cult from abducting another child, David and Amanda rehash some ugly truths from their past and Jo learns a dark secret about her FBI partner. Can the team learn to work together to stop more children from disappearing? Can David be trusted to babysit a child? Probably not.

Learn more about the dark history of an ancient cult in this next installment from Stephanie Phillips (Devil Within, Kicking Ice), Evgeniy Bornyakov, Lauren Affe and Troy Peteri.

Future Foundation #1

Review by Steve Gustafson

Power Pack was one of those books I collected when I was younger that was strictly for fun. I didn’t need to invest too much thought on things and while I have haven’t read any old issues in quite a while, I’m sure it still holds up as entertaining, quaint read.

Now we get Future Foundation. When Reed and Sue returned to Earth, they left the Future Foundation in capable hands and the goal to bring back Molecule Man. The foundation is a nice mix of characters like Leech, Artie, Dragon Man, Onome (daughter of one of Wakanda’s greatest engineers), Bentley-23 (a clone of the Wizard), and Adolf (son of the Impossible Man) and are led by Alex and Julie Power. The cast alone opens up a number of interesting possibilities for future adventures.

I should mention that Yondu is in the book as well.

Writer Jeremy Whitley and artist Will Robson are a surprisingly fresh combo and a good combo. Whitley gives each character a unique voice and Robson’s clean lines make the panels flow without confusion.

I brought up Power Pack at the start because that was the vibe I got from this book. A wish fulfillment book that puts a little wonder back into comics. I’m all for it. It reads a little bit differently than the usual Marvel book and I’d say fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy vibe will like this book, as well as Fantastic Four followers. A solid first issue that will hopefully build to new and better things.

Rating: 8.3 out of 10

Absolute Carnage #1

Review by John Pumpernickel

The hype is over and we finally get Absolute Carnage #1. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have earned a reputation for knowing how to write and draw symbiotes in stellar fashion and have set their sights on Venom and Carnage. Guess what? It’s a pretty awesome ride and Spider-Man fans have a reason to get excited again.

Every page feels important and with 60 pages to play with, the creative team makes it worth your while. The story is simple. Eddie Brock and his symbiote need to stop Carnage from killing every character who has ever bonded with a symbiote. That’s a bigger list than you think .

I don’t want to spoil the fun but we get some backstory and depth to the symbiotes, learning about their god, Knull. Where that goes, I’ll let you find out for yourself but the table is set for an intense ride.

Absolute Carnage looks on its way to becoming a big deal in the Spidey universe and a “must buy” book for fans.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

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