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411’s Comic Reviews: House of X #4, Marvel Comics #1000, More

September 5, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
House of X 4

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]!

House of X #4

Review by Jeremy Thomas

After several issues of buildup, Jonathan Hickman finally gets one of the first really meaty parts of House of X/Powers of X with the fourth issue of the former series. That is not to say that the previous issues haven’t had substance; they have, of course. They’ve been the mind-bending, breathtaking re-orienting that has introduced us to his new vision for the X-Men – or at least, the set-up for his vision. It’s important to remember that House of X and Powers of X are setting the stage for the upcoming “Dawn of X” line, which by the title’s definition suggests that’s where the vision truly begins. House of X and Powers of X are setting the stage for what Hickman and the other X-Men line writers really intend to do.

The point is, while the first half of this two-series storyline has been painting in the broader strokes, House of X #4 is the big flashy episode. It’s the big Game of Thrones shocker-style issue, building off the events of last week’s journey into space to stop the Mother Mold from coming online. Suffice it to say there are big moments of heroism, stunning plot turns and everything else needed to make you gasp, shout, throw the book across the room and get those heartstrings pulled at.

House of X #4 stars off with one of Tom Muller’s wonderful charts, which are much less prevalent this week. In fact, that is the only chart used in this issue, and yet it hits like a mac truck. It’s not an exaggeration to say that its use is chilling when we first see it, and rending when it gets revisited. Hickman makes this perhaps the truest X-Men big action/big plot issue there can be, with moments of epic heroism and tragic moments.

Hickman doesn’t let the action dominate at the expense of character, though. There are little moments where Hickman and Pepe Larraz’ take their storytelling abilities up a notch. Nearly every panel serves character as well as plot; Larraz’ visual storytelling speaks volumes toward character, whether it’s a contract of how Nightcrawler and Wolverine deal with foes or the vengeful expression on the antagonistic Doctor Gregor’s face as she prepares to implement part of her counterplan against the team. The colors and tone darkly match the art from the previous week, adding weight and tension to the proceedings.

The events of House of X #4 are likely to leave readers with a lot more questions. The events herein are straight-forward (and stronger for it), but as positioned within the series as a whole it raises a lot of questions. The synopsis makes it clear that “Xavier’s dream turns deadly for some of his students,” so it’s not a spoiler to say that there’s some amount of death here. The effectiveness of said death may vary in mileage for some, but the weight of the moments isn’t dulled one bit thanks to Hickman’s dialogue and pacing, as well as Larraz’ art, the weight is still full potency. House of X #4 hits every right note for what it needs to be, setting up a potentially chilling escalation of the storyline with action, character shading, triumph and tragedy.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Animosity #23

Preview by Steve Gustafson

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a secret.

From creator/writer Marguerite Bennett (INSEXTS, DC Comics Bombshells, Batwoman) with artwork by Elton Thomasi (Doctor Who) and Rafael De Latorre (SUPERZERO).

Strange Skies Over East Berlin #1

Preview by Steve Gustafson

BOOM! Studios revealed a first look at STRANGE SKIES OVER EAST BERLIN #1, the premiere issue of an all-new original series from Jeff Loveness (Judas) and artist Lisandro Estherren (Redneck, The Last Contract), a chilling and intense thriller about an American spy who encounters a terrifying inhuman threat at the heart of the Cold War.

It’s 1973, and Herring, a disillusioned American spy, has spent the entire Cold War infiltrating the inner circles of East German intelligence for a cause he barely believes in anymore. He’s seen everything and done anything his government asked, but his latest mission pits the brilliant embittered operative against an old Stasi foe and a strange force so powerful it threatens the very existence of humanity.

The Mighty Mascots

Preview by Steve Gustafson

Over 80 pages of giant-sized fun can be found in every Alterna GIANTS issue! Featuring the complete first volume of the weirdest group of heroes ever: the Mighty Mascots, a BONUS 10-page reprint of The Actual Roger #1, and a brand-new exclusive cover from series artist Ian Waryanto!

Going to the Chapel #1

Review by Steve Gustafson

It was the wedding from Hell – and that was before the bank robbers showed up. What do a conflicted bride, her dysfunctional family, a gang of Elvis-themed crooks, and one relentless sheriff have in common? They’re all about to discover love is the ultimate hostage situation.

If you’ve ever sat around wishing to read a comic book that was more than just capes and cliches, Going to the Chapel is for you.

The creative team is led by Ringo Award-nominated David Pepose and the always delivering artist Gavin Guidry, who come together for a tour de force of comic book excitement.

You’ll read comparisons of this book to a Quentin Tarantino film and I’ll say that while I understand that, it misses the mark. This book easily stands on its own and you’ll quickly attach yourself to Emily Anderson’s dilemma on her “big day”.

The story is layered, with something for everyone, and you can almost see it as a movie but uses the drawn page to push boundaries. This is a thrill-ride that will have you flipping the pages to see what comes next.

I had high expectations for this one and it exceeded them. An easy book to suggest and one you’ll be glad you did/

Rating: 8.7 out of 10

Review by Steve Gustafson

I’m late to the party. Really late. But the good thing about this party is that it doesn’t matter what time you get there, you’re going to love it.

If you’re not aware, Bartkira is a wonderful community art project that brings together hundreds of artists from all over the world with one goal in mind: recreate all six volumes of Akira, replacing all the characters with the cast of the Simpsons.

Read that again.

A recreation of Akira done with Simpsons characters.

It as wacky and wonky as you’d imagine and done so creatively that I’m loving every step of the journey.

Some of you might be asking, “But…why?” I get it. I’ll let the creator and organizer, James Harvey explain:

“Here’s the story. My friend Ryan Humphrey drew some simple, beautiful drawings of The Simpsons acting out scenes from Akira and put them on the internet under the title “Bartkira” . I loved it immediately. I’d organised a few collaborative projects before and… I just decided to push Ryan’s Bartkira snowball down a hill and see how big it would get. Neither of us thought it would grow into the colossus it has. We didn’t expect to see a Bartkira gallery show, or to be turning down offers from dodgy publishers left and right, or for a guy to make a custom Bartkira leather jacket or for another person to get a Bartkira tattoo- and we never expected the incredible amount of beautiful artwork we continue to receive. We’ve tried to answer the question “why?” in countless interviews and seem to give a different answer every time- all we know is we’re really happy so many people have been inspired by this project.”

Do yourself a favor and head to www.bartkira and experience it for yourself. It’s something you probably didn’t know existed but everything you always wanted.

Ratnig: 9.0 out of 10

Marvel Comics #1000

Review by John Pumpernickel

Here we go! After months of build up we get Marvel celebrating its 80th anniversary with Marvel Comics #1000, a massive issue that pays tribute to Marvel’s history and gives us a look at what could be coming in the future.

It’s an ambitious undertaking that gives creative teams a page to tell a story from Marvel’s past. Not surprisingly, it’s a little bit of mess in places and didn’t need the gimmick to pay respect to so many classic moments.

Like any comic book anthology, some teams are better than others, although with the limitations given, the odds of confusion are greatly increased. It’s a comic book tapas and you’re going to eat the good and the bad.

As far as setting up the future, I get it. I’ll be looking for the crossover sooner rather than later.

Marvel Comics #1000 will get its share of buzz and headlines thanks to the creative line up but it stumbles with the gimmick.

Rating: 7.8 out of 10

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