Wednesday’s Reviews: Uncanny X-Force, Generation Hope, Wolverine, Jubilee and “I Told Ya So!”

Now that I’m feeling 90% better, I can refocus on reviews again.

But first, I want to say how excited I am for an upcoming Marvel maxi-event. As I suggested in an earlier post, Alpha Flight would be back. Turns out I was right! What’s even better is that the Chaos War duo, Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, are at the helm of this eight-issue series. Given the two are some of Marvel’s best writers, I am beyond excited to see how this series turns out. I clearly have foresight. Watch out during election time.

But on to the reviews!

Uncanny X-Force

Uncanny X-Force #5
Rick Remender (writer), Esad Ribic (pencils, cover), John Lucas (inker), Matt Wilson (colours), Cory Petit (letters). $3.99

Just when the triumphant ending of the last-issue could not make Uncanny X-Force any better of a comic, Remender continues his brilliant run with a brand-new arc featuring Fantomex. (And arguably, given the last issue, anyone could’ve seen this coming – and it’s awesome). In a nutshell, the X-Force team are trying to gather themselves post last issues events. The team gathers without Fantomex in Warren’s bunker to find out that Deadpool has called a meeting to discover Deadpool actually has feelings – and remorseful ones at that! Already Deadpool has been seen as an entirely different character in X-Force with hardly any humour coming from him at all. It’s also great when Wolverine recognizes that he’s being “pulled in all directions” when he complains he doesn’t have much time for meetings.

Meanwhile, early in the story, we learn Fantomex is growing a world. However, due to last issue’s events, he visits his “mother” in the French Alps when he is suddenly attacked by a cyborg Cyclops, Captain America, Elektra, and a few others! Barely escaping with EVA, they crash land only to be found by a particular cyborg who invokes “death.”

As previously stated, Remender’s run with Uncanny X-Force has been great so far. Necessary characterization push the stories boundaries to places where other writers seem to miss. However, I really want to speak about the art in this book – which really has carried the stories. Changing artists, Esad Ribic takes the helm of X-Force and really slams this comic home. One thing I usually dislike about changing artists is how the styles change so drastically between books. Ribic’s artwork, while on its own level, still echoes that of Jerome Opena’s, making the book have a great art transition. Then, of course, John Lucas and Matt Wilson take over with inks and colours which add incredible depths to the many different locations they have to work with. From winter, to underground, to a burning building with a cyborg-Thing being lit by fire – the duo accent Ribic’s art flawlessly, taking the grey-white tones from the previous arc on to a different level.

Why are you still reading this? Read or re-read Uncanny X-Force!

Grade: 8/10

Generation Hope

Generation Hope #4
Kieron Gillen (writer), Salvador Espin & Scott Koblish (pencils, inks), Frank Martin (colours), Dave Sharpe (letters), Olivier Coipel & Chris Sotomayor (cover). $2.99

One may ask why I continuously review this book after the hell I’ve put it through. Well, it’s because of issues like this – where it defies everything I’ve said in the past and pushes forward with an excellent story. That’s right: Generation Hope #4 has an excellent story and brilliant artwork. And you know what? It could’ve have happened without the past three-issues.

Generation Hope #4 really excels at storytelling as there is very little action to drown in. The Five Lights make it to Utopia unscathed, but all are shocked about the events which transpired in Tokyo. Remorse and excitement fills the new mutants as they try to figure out their own paths. After landing, Wolverine and Theo get the scuffle they wished to have in prior issues, while the rest settle in. Kenji – the villain in the first three issues – is brought before Scott and Emma to decide his fate. After revealing his sorrow and Emma finding out that the Tokyo incident was truly and accident, they accept Kenji into the island. Meanwhile, Dr. Nemesis puts the other Four Lights in tests to figure out their powers and limitations. Teon becomes like a protective dog to Hope, Hope kisses Gabriel, and Kenji becomes unsure with the future.

Definitely taking a change of pace, the storyline revolves around how the Five Lights interact with one another. No longer are they showing off their powers as so much they are trying to find themselves. In doing so, we get to see how they are as people, rather than weapons. I’d also have to give credit to both artists and colourists for making this the prettiest book I’ve seen from Generation Hope. Mixing Western art with anime in particular panels literally put a smile on my face – particularly one with Gabriel and Dr. Nemesis.

I’m already set for the next issue as this one – despite the lack of action – has me pumped for more.

Grade: 7/10

Wolverine and Jubilee

Wolverine and Jubilee #2
Kathryn Immonen (writer), Phil Noto (pencils, inks, colours), Nathan Fairbairn & John Raunch (colours), Clayton Cowles (letters), Nimit Malavia (cover). $2.99

The Curse of the Mutants Aftermath continues as Jubilee was last seen in a shipping container with tons of dead bodies. Fortunately with Wolverine being at her side, he took her to Siberia – where the shipping container originated from. (Yes, the book just starts there.) Turns out, Wolverine recognized the shipping serial code and wants to believe Jubilee is innocent for the killings. He just can’t trust her yet. Due to Siberia’s constant overcast, Jubilee can go outside unharmed. Convenient!

Wolverine decides to take Jubilee out to fight her – for some “tough love,” and the two later settle in for the night at their hotel. The two are approached by the hotel’s owner and are told about how people and animals in the town are disappearing and the undead are walking. The two go to check out the area and Jubilee ends up fighting off a horde of zombie-esque creatures. Back at the hotel, Wolverine is then awoken to Jubilee kneeling at the door with the mysterious woman from the first issue grabbing on to her.

I want to love this issue, but I can’t due to the lack of intrigue. While I enjoy the Wolverine/Jubilee dynamics, I don’t really have a grasp to what is happening in Siberia until the last few pages. To top it off, the final page cliffhanger really was not so much of a shock as I don’t know who this woman is, nor do I necessarily care. I know she’s responsible for the massacre in the container, but I’m just not attached to the threat as of yet.

What saves the book is Noto’s great pencils. Seeing Jubilee in her X-uniform was very nostalgic for me and Noto’s great use of her costume when battling Wolverine certainly shone. I also have to comment on his work on faces as the large diversity in expressions gave a lot of character to the two as they are really the only ones in the book. The doom-and-gloom of Siberia’s landscape with colours and inks definitely held strong throughout the story. Days felt like nights with the longing forecast disallowing any positive moods to come from the town.

With a promising first issue and decent second one, Wolverine and Jubilee still have a lot of story to tell in two more issues.

Grade: 6/10

As for favourite covers, this week’s favourite totally goes to Carlo Pagulayan for Silver Surfer #1.

Silver Surfer

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Wednesday’s Reviews: Wolverine, Jubilee and Legacy

A new week with new reviews. There were only a couple of comics out this week, so there isn’t much to review. However, next week, I’ll have my hands tied. With over 15 comics on my pull-list coming out, including the death of a Fantastic Four member, I can guarantee next week will be the most exciting for reviews thus far.

For this week, we got the premiere issue of Wolverine and Jubilee, followed by the on-going X-Men Legacy – the issue before the Age of X.

Wolverine and Jubilee

Wolverine and Jubilee #1
Kathy Immonen (writer), Phil Noto (penciler, inker, colours), Clayton Cowles (letters), Olivier Coipel and Morry Hollowell (cover). $2.99

Falling out of the third series of X-Men comics, Jubilee is now a vampire. With vampirism comes fighting with the thirst, plus multiple anger issues she has to deal with. Due to the lack of a cure, the science team found a temporary fix by inducing her with Wolverine’s blood, thus giving her a small healing factor and blood fix. The book deals with Jubilee integrating herself back into Utopia while other mutants try to help her out. After snapping on a few, she heads downtown and is met by a mysterious woman. By the end of the book, Wolverine and Rockslide find Jubilee in a storage crate littered with bodies.

From front to back, the only thing I could feel was sorry for Jubilee. She lost her parents, then her powers after M-Day, and now has lost her humanity. Quite literally, this is a story of tragedy. Kathy Immonen definitely portrays all the emotions Jubilee feels as she mingles with different mutants on Utopia. Then of course, with Wolverine being Jubilee’s father figure, we’re left to see him try and find ways to make Jubilee feel better, while also trying to defend her against prejudice. Little humour from Wolverine too, such as calling Santo “Sanchez” purposely is subtle enough to be placed in such a serious story and is very welcoming.

Last week I credited Phil Noto for his excellent cover on Widow Maker #3. Now he has the entire book to himself – doing everything, from inks to colours. His dynamics in this book really excel as sceneries change greatly from underground cells, to a sunset on Utopia, to a night club in downtown San Fan. Quite literally Noto does it all – while still making Jubilee look like an Asian-American. Too often is that forgotten when drawing her. Meanwhile, the cover by Coipel and Hollowell absolutely stuns me. The cover was also talked about in great detail at 1979 Semi-Finalist if you want to see the cover discussed in a bit more detail.

Overall, the story is strongly well-paced and it seems to me like Wolverine really has his hands full already. I really hope the best for Jubilee.

Grade: 8/10

X-Men Legacy

X-Men Legacy #244
Mike Carey (writer), Harvey Tolibao (penciler), Sandu Florea (inker), Brian Reber (colours), Cory Petit (letters), Joy Ang (cover). $2.99

On Utopia, Blindfold is having bizarre premonitions again. The last time she had ones this bad was before the Second Coming event and led to the ghost of Proteus attacking the X-Men on Muir Island. Fortunately for Blindfold, this time she’s on Utopia with friends. However, Blindfold is not the one narrating the story, and it seems to be someone watching all of the X-Men’s events.

Rogue as the now-undeclared-psychologist on Utopia, talks to Ruth to figure out what it all means. Unsure, Rogue goes to Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Madison Jeffries for help. While Rogue asks questions, Blindfold looks for answers. Eventually, she wanders off and is attacked by a creature left from Emplate’s dimension (back in X-Men Legacy #228). Rogue fights it off and saves Blindfold. However, the narrator of the story seems to fly over Utopia in some massive ship, glared out by the sun. So begins the Age of X.

I’ve always enjoyed Carey’s work. He’s been doing X-Men Legacy for quite some time now – which is before Messiah CompleX (late-2006), so he’s really sure on a ton of characters. Rogue has been the main focus for him for the past twenty-or-so issues, and he’s still doing an excellent job with her. She’s still refreshing to read about and speaks with everyone on Utopia. But given how the last-issue ended, I’m surprised this was not more about Hellion. With Blindfold’s unanswered questions, I’m left confused on what Age of X really is, thus leaving me with confusion. I am unsure of that’s a good thing.

Paul Davidson has been replaced with Harvey Tolibao for pencils and the quality level is noticeably different. Although Davidson is not a bad artist, Tolibao’s details and many full-body shots definitely ups the action in the story. However, Rogue’s breasts are again the focal point for many panels. I do not know why she would even wear a jacket like she does. To top it all off, is Rogue wearing grease on her breasts? I mean, there’s literally shiny reflections off of those things. It’s absolutely bizarre.

Bright colours by Reber are definitely welcomed. I do not even recall when I’ve seen so many bright colours on a page. Rogues green is really green. The demon in Gambit is really menacingly grey. Emma Frosts lips are. . . black? Okay, so there’s a few things which seem off, but mostly, the colors are jaw-dropping. Page 5 and 6 are really great from an inker’s perspective with everything properly balanced.

It wouldn’t have been a bad kick-off for the Age of X if I knew what was going on. Oh, and breasts don’t glitter.

Grade: 5/10

Next week! Keep on Space Truckin’! No wait.

Seriously. What the hell is going on here? Where did she get that grease from?

Rogue One

Rogue Two

Oh, and pardon my camera.