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411’s Comic Reviews: X-Men #1, Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Batman: Knightfall #1, More 

October 17, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
X-Men

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]!  

X-Men #1

Review by Jeremy Thomas

With House of X and Powers of X, Jonathan Hickman laid out a new world for the mutants of Marvel. That fantastic 12-issue double-titled event was all about creating a new environment where the X-Men and their allies, enemies and frenemies could be positioned in the Marvel Universe in a way that they never had been before: not as victims, villains, survivors or oppressors, as various stories and alternate universes have shown them to be. Instead, the series put mutants in a setting where they were, for perhaps the first time in their history, in control of their own destiny.

But now that they’re in control, what’s next?  It’s one thing to set up a new normal for a group as important and seen through a specific spectrum as the X-Men.  It’s another thing altogether to keep that going. Fortunately, Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu get things off to a rocking start with the relaunched X-Men. The first book in the Dawn of X line features Hickman back on writing detail, and after the revolutionary plot and structural moves of HoX and PoX, it’s nice to see him settle down a bit and explore what exactly that new normal is like.

X-Men #1 is essentially a story that hits at one of the X-Men’s core values: family. The book starts of a mission to take out the final Orchis compound on Earth. Orchis, you’ll recall, was the anti-mutant consortium comprised from rogue members of various Marvel power groups and who built a giant “Mother Mold” orbiting the sun which was crucial in HoX. Once that’s handled, Cyclops heads home to a family meeting where we get our first Hickman-era looks at much of Scott’s extended family: his children in young Cable and Rachel, his Starjammer father Corsair, his resurrected brothers Alex and Vulcan, and the rest of his extended family in the Starjammers and Wolverine.  (Yes,Wolverine.)  Meanwhile, Orchis attempts to rebuild, as we meet the director of the organization and check back in with Dr. Gregor — still affected by the loss of her husband from the X-Men’s space mission – and Karima the Omega Sentinel and former X-Man herself.

Through each of these arcs, Hickman lays out the first story to come for the X-Men title, which is intended to allow Hickman to explore different groups in shorter arcs.  Much of what we see in this one does collide around that family theme. Lorna and Magneto have some moments together, which Lorna gets to discuss later with Scott.  And Scott, of course, has his big family.  There’s an interesting wrinkle here in that Corsair is human, not a mutant, so he’s outside of the auspices of Krakoa. The conversation that the two have is heartening for those of us who don’t read the new X-Men party line as a villainous one, or one that is going isolationist in its tendencies.  There is a new X-Men mindset, obviously.  We see that in everyone, particularly Storm and Polaris this issue.  But they’re not as off-kilter as you might believe, and Hickman captures that essence well.

What he also captures well is the humor of the situation regarding the Summers clan. That’s always been an awkward, unwieldy group at the best of times, and Hickman finds plenty of opportunities to lighten the mood.  Interactions between Kid Cable and Raza the Starjammer, as well as Logan and Vulcan, are great.  Seeing Kid Cable (yes, I’m going to keep calling him that) call Jean “Mom” is a nice twist in the relationship.  We never got to see Nathan Christopher Charles Dayspring Askani’son Summers the Chosen One in a situation where he was younger than his parents. (Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix doesn’t count, as he wasn’t “Cable” yet).  I really enjoyed seeing this and am curious to see where it will go.  (And let’s just take note of some very conspicuous open walkways on the map of the Summers house, shall we?)

Leinil Francis Yu might be a jarring switch of art for people who just finished up with House of X and Powers of X, as his work is less clean than Pepe Larraz or even R.B. Silva.  Yu has done stellar work on Captain America with Ta-Nehisi Coates, but he definitely has a different style than Hickman’s most recent collaborators.  Fortunately, it still works because one thing Yu is fantastic with is expression.  Hickman’s writing requires the right artists to bring it to life and flesh out what would otherwise seem a bit sterile.  Yu doesn’t quite hit the heights of Larraz or Silva but he’s still quite good, and Sunny Gho does a great job bringing color to the whole thing.

For some, X-Men #1 is going to be a letdown, and that would be inevitable. House of X and Powers of X were just so good that it’s hard not to see this as a slight step down.  That said, it’s not really fair to this book, which has a very different goal. HoX and PoX created the new firmament for the X-books; X-Men #1 is the first step down the freshly paved road Hickman and company laid out.  In that, it succeeds with flying colors.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Midnight Vista #2
Preview by Steve Gustafson

It’s the news story of the century! Oliver Flores – the kid on the face of every milk carton in New Mexico – has been found.

Recovering at the hospital, Oliver is finally able to reveal where he’s been for the last nineteen years: Along with his stepfather, he was abducted by aliens. And the only real problem with that is…no one believes him. Not the detectives from his case, not the doctors who treated him, not even his biological dad. They’re all convinced Oliver is suffering from massive trauma.

Meanwhile, no one seems to notice the suspicious Strangers in Black trying to silence Oliver for good.

Based on a true story from writer Eliot Rahal (HOT LUNCH SPECIAL), with out-of-this-world art from Clara Meath, MIDNIGHT VISTA will make you believe in little grey men.

Folklords #1
Preview by Steve Gustafson

BOOM! Studios is proud to reveal new variant cover art by all star artist Dan Mora (Once & Future, Klaus) for FOLKLORDS #1, the premiere issue of 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 on November 13, 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 18th 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 answers to the questions and visions that have set him apart his entire life?

Watch_Dogs #1
Preview by Steve Gustafson

WATCH_DOGS GOES GLOBAL in a new, canonical thriller exploring the cybercrime world of Ubisoft’s record-breaking hacktivist video game series. Young hacker Sauda fights to save her brother from Brazil’s criminal underworld!

X-Men #1

Review by Andrew Dang
IG: DvngAndrew    

Issue number 1 is finally here, and if there’s one word I could use to describe the new status quo Hickman is establishing, its… bizarre. That’s not too surprising given the events leading up to now, but for all the excitement and satisfaction this first issue offers, I still find myself a little bit lost. Nonetheless, for a fan of the X-Men, specifically Cyclops, issue 1 is a worthy entry point to this new era of mutants.

The Summers family, who have basically formed their own branch of X-Men, are the main focus here. We’ve got Cyclops, Jean, Havok, Vulcan, Rachel Summers, and even a young Cable (who I have no idea what his deal is) living alongside Wolverine of all people. Throw in the Starjammers and we’ve got this intergalactic family sit-com that reminds me more of the Guardians of the Galaxy than the dysfunctional band of mutants I have grown accustomed to. It’s charming, fun, and perhaps foreshadowing towards something much, much darker.

But with this tone of overwhelming hope and optimism, comes little urgency or sense of conflict as of yet. The first arc’s villains appear to be set, but they don’t feel all too threatening or interesting. This kind of highlights my main issue with Hickman’s run so far, the way the X-Men seem to resolve their conflicts too easily. I guess only time will tell what’s being set-up here, but for now everything seems too convenient and comfortable. It’s nice to see Scott Summers happy, but I prefer seeing his back against the wall making tough decisions. I also found some of his dialogue a bit strange, specifically the way he spoke to Polaris and Storm. It sounded too friendly, flirtatious even.

ltimately, issue number 1 is a fitting continuation and adequate jumping on point for someone looking to make the jump in. Don’t worry, I don’t understand everything that’s going on either, but that’s the beauty of Jonathan Hickman. Once it all comes together, I’ve yet to be disappointed.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Batman: Knightfall #1

Review by John Pumpernickel 

Sometimes you can have a top notch creative team presenting an intriguing story that has you excited and have the book flounder on its presentation.

This is the case with Takes of the Dark Multiverse: Batman: Knightfall #1. From co-writers Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins along with artist Javi Fernandez, I felt confident that they had good hands on deck. 

One reads the promo copy and can imagine how awesome the book will be:

Don’t miss this twisted tale from the pages of the game-changing event “Batman: Knightfall”! Thirty years after Bruce Wayne was broken and failed to take back the mantle of the Bat, Jean-Paul Valley, now known as Saint Batman, has turned Gotham into the city of his dreams. In his new order, killing has become commonplace and criminals live in constant fear-all in the name of justice. But just when all seems lost, a new hope for Gotham City rises…the son of Bane!

How can you lose? Turns out, such a rich plot deserves more time to build and thrive. The book is by no means bad, it’s just bound by limits and it impacts the editing and flow of the book. 
There are some great moments but I wish they’d given this story more issues to come together in a more fulfilling way. 

The parts can’t overcome the sum but Batman fans will enjoy the parts that work.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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