Age of X-Man Round-Up: Waiting for the Other Shoe To Drop

By Allison Senecal — Rude of Marvel to announce the Hickman Era of X-Men before Age of X-Man even hits its climax. But I still believe most of these creative teams have something interesting to say with their series, so I’m hanging in there, but it has taken the wind out of X-Man’s sails a bit. We’re officially over the hump though, and May should be real exciting.

I haven’t addressed this before, but at this point I can reasonably say that all of these series should read fine on their own in trade once this is over. If a bigger event isn’t your thing, maybe a little AU side-trip to a slice of Nate Grey Heaven will be.

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Thirsty Thursday March 2019: A very thirsty spring season is here

By Allison Senecal — Welcome to a special spring-time edition of Thirsty Thursday! While Marvel has been busy consummating new series announcements and signing Tini Howard exclusive (!!!), I’ve been diligently keeping track of a very intense type of comicbook art. And now, it is my absolute pleasure to share it with all of you!

Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Guru-eFX
Uncanny X-Men #14 - My only complaint is that Karma didn’t make this panel, because otherwise *chef kiss*. THE GANG’S ALL HERE. And Havok is the Summers brother with the best hair. Don’t @ me.

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Welcome to the Age of X-Man Round-Up: Your Guide to Age of X-Man

By Allison Senecal — So! The 10-part weekly series X-Men: Disassembled came, brought Legion and X-Man back to us, and then went, seemingly leaving an X-Men-less Earth-616 in its wake. Regardless of whether you think all ten issues were necessary (I’m on the fence, myself), they certainly succeeded in setting up a comparably more enticing, new era of X-Men comics.

I’m talking specifically about the Age of X-Man event, which started last week and runs through this summer, and Matthew Rosenberg’s new run on the flagship Uncanny X-Men title! AOXM, which consists of six five-part mini-series happening in the same alternate reality, includes a fantastic and diverse slate of rising creators, such as Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, who are showrunning the whole thing. AOXM looks to be a weird, wild riff on Age of Apocalypse, with its own unique aesthetic and premise. As for Uncanny, I’m largely into it because THE NEW MUTANT LADIES (and Havok, I guess) were announced for the main team, but even if you don’t love them as much as I do, I think there will be a lot to love in these comics. I’m hoping even fans disappointed by Disassembled will give one or both a go.

These round-ups, which will be running once a month, will serve as both reviews and as actual honest-to-god round-ups! So you, yes you, don’t have to read absolutely everything if you don’t want to, or maybe you’ll just be titillated enough to try a new series. Either way.

Oh yeah. Cyclops and Wolverine are back, or something! Let’s get the gang back together, eh?

Previously on Age of X-Man

Age of X-Man: Alpha #1
Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Released: 1/30/2019
Imagine a pastel-tinged perfect world populated only by mutants, where the X-Men are revered, the religion is Hope Summers, and every mutant child is cultivated from an early age to value themselves and their powers. Too good to be true, right? Yep. Thompson and Nadler ace plopping us right into this mutant Utopia and following up the warm fuzzies with an immediate sense of unease. Sculpture of the Original Six X-Men? Check, and you heard that right! Six! What? Did you also forget Nate Grey was a founding member of the team? To top this off, the art team perfectly nails the cozy yet sterile Mid-Century Modern vibe, which always makes me at least think of repressed sexuality and TV dinners. Color palette: perfection.

Besides the opening, where we see the new Marvelous X-Men team in action, this is a delightfully quiet world-building issue, which fits the setting and adds to the general atmosphere of cultivated peace, punctuated only by a (purposely) jarring Bishop arrest scene. This is where things get truly gnarly. Jean is re-educated as a result of her and Bishop’s forbidden romance, and X-23 is brought into the team as his replacement. Sense of cultivated peace successfully shattered. Let the Age of X-Man truly commence.

Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #1 (of 5)
Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Marco Failla
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Released: 2/6/2019
Characters: Jean Grey, Storm, X-23, Magneto, Nate Grey, Nature Girl, Colossus, Nightcrawler

Much like Alpha, Marvelous opens on several scenes of serenity, this time domestic and not out in the larger world. Magneto cooking, Nate meditating, Jean reading. Blissful. Even the emergency alerts are tightly managed and seemingly non-taxing for our Marvelous X-Men. There are a few cracks in the facade, though. Nate again appears where he most definitely should not (since when was he a member of Multiple Man’s X-Factor team?) Colossus is painting, but it seems to be Lockheed. Noodle on that heartbreaker. The lowkey best part for me is the palette stays consistent from Alpha to this, and I hope that continues into all the minis. Really lends a cohesive and beautifully muted aesthetic to everything.

Of course, things begin unraveling on what appears to be an otherwise routine mission. Looped throughout the entire sequence is a PA system’s litany of “being alone is harmony“ (and other Nate Grey-isms) and slowly Jean begins to hear a psychic undercurrent of “it’s okay to love “ woven in. Once again, there’s a jarring scene that completely breaks the illusion, but this time it’s X-23 confronting Nate about her mission-interrupting memory of…a sister? After some bonding, Nate admits this is true and they had to be separated, and Laura attempts to attack him before being mind-wiped. During the next day’s leisure activities, Jean again hears the voice from the earlier mission, which turns out to be a psychic resistance rallying call sent by Apocalypse. *Jaws music*

Meanwhile on Uncanny X-Men

Uncanny X-Men #11
Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Salvador Larroca (main), John McCrea (“Wolverine Returns”), Juanan Ramirez (“The Last Blindfold Story”)
Colorists: Rachelle Rosenberg (main and “The Last Blindfold Story”), Mike Spicer (“Wolverine Returns”)
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Released: 2/6/2019
Characters: Cyclops, Wolverine, Blindfold, Multiple Man, Layla Miller, Callisto, Chamber, Velocidad

“This is forever.”

This is, simply put, a haunting opening issue. I don’t use that word willy-nilly, but I was in bed for a good half hour thinking about this last night. I tend to dislike the device of telling the same story via different points-of-view, especially back-to-back, but they do it in this issue and it creates a feeling of ever-tightening tension and isolation. All three linked stories are fantastic,  building on each other. I will advise that anyone with suicide triggers should be careful. I feel Rosenberg didn’t make his decisions lightly (though one death was a bit of a throwaway), and I’ve had a couple ugly cries over it, but my two cents are it’s not my business to tell people how to feel when characters die, especially two who are likely favorites to some.

Cyclops is back! And he’s searching for other mutants to join his cause (finding the missing X-Men and fixing everything, because of course), because a world without X-Men is pretty dank. Blindfold eventually finds him and gives a warning. “This is forever.” It echoes through the rest of the issue like a pipe drip you can’t quite pinpoint. Scott hits up other known mutants, including a Chamber-led group in the sewers, and is found by Multiple Man. Jamie warns him about bothering Blindfold, who Scott then finds dead in her home, with the words “this is forever” scrawled next to her. A death-wish leads Scott to an anti-mutant rally and scuffle with Cap, after which he calls attention to himself on national TV and sends a message to other mutants to meet him “where this all began”. Of course he’s ambushed, and saved by Wolverine, leading to a little chills-inducing greeting.

In the next story, events then start from the beginning, this time with Wolverine watching everything from the shadows, and Kid Cable telling him to keep an eye on Scott. Layla Miller tells Logan to find Blindfold if he wants help so he heads down to the sewers where he comes across a rapidly aged Velocidad who tells him Blindfold doesn’t want to be found, of course right before she tracks Logan down and hits him with some ominous conversation. We see the altercation at the end from Logan’s perspective, and his decision to intervene and reveal himself to Scott.

The last story loop belongs to Ruth/Blindfold. We find out she’s won the lottery, getting her out of the sewers, but her powers have been shorting out since the events of Disassembled and she keeps having violent visions. She seems to no longer have a clear concept of past, present, or future. After the previously mentioned exchange with Logan, she draws herself a bath and kills herself, stating she sees she no longer has a future.

Age of X-Man: Alpha #1 provided some STELLAR hooks for the six AOXM miniseries so let’s take a look at what might be next…..

Next Time on Age of X-Man


Age of X-Man: NextGen #1 (of 5)
Ed Brisson
Artist: Marcus To
Release Date: 2/13/2019
What is up with that slow zoom-in on Glob’s very haunted gaze? What happens when a bunch of teens and young adults find out not everything is as it seems?

Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (of 5)
Seanan McGuire
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Release Date: 2/20/2019
NATURALLY, the handsomest (even without his beard) X-man is a famous actor in this perfect reality. The Cuckoos are his agents. Magma is his stunt coordinator. What could go wrong?

Age of X-Man: The X-Tremists #1 (of 5)
Leah Williams
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Release Date: 2/27/2019
Hey, what’s a utopia without a secret police force? *ominous music* Just how much policing do they need to do? Who exactly is Moneta, this new mutant? Why is Bobby wearing suspenders?

Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #1 (of 5)
Vita Ayala
Artist: German Peralta
Release Date: 3/6/2019
So where did Bishop go? Here, apparently! What are his fellow inmates in for? What’s up with Dani Moonstar, who is almost definitely in two places at once (here and Uncanny later this month)?

Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #1 (of 5)
Tim Seeley
Artist: Salva Espin
Release Date: 3/13/2019
Apocalypse?! A GOOD GUY? Basically seems that way….and working with Kitty Pryde? I guess….what the #$%& is going on? Why is he sending subversive psychic messages to everyone?

Allison buys books professionally and comics unprofessionally. You can find her chaotic neutral Twitter feed at @maliciousglee.

Uncanny X-Men 2018 Frequently Asked Questions

By Allison Senecal — Do you have questions about the current state of the X-Men? Relax and breath. You’re not alone. I’m probably one of the biggest fans of these books (or at least the most vocal/excited) on all of comics Twitter, and, trust me, I hear questions about X-Men basically every day. It makes sense. It’s an exciting time for these great characters, but also? They’ve been through a lot as of late.

So, that’s why today I’m taking some of the most frequently asked X-questions (plus a few I added myself because they’re things we all need to remember), and I’m doing my best to get you all answers. Ready? Let’s do this!

Uncanny X-Men 2018 FAQ

Q: So, what’s this new Uncanny X-Men #1 all about?
A: It’s the most recent Marvel re-launch for this series. Honestly, it wasn’t that long ago we had Cullen Bunn’s short Uncanny X-Men run, which was pretty darn good, btw. Anyway, here are the basics for the new book:

  • Uncanny X-Men #1 came out last Wednesday.

  • Uncanny X-Men #2 - #10 are weekly through mid-January, followed by an annual.

  • Uncanny X-Men #11 - #12 are due in February.

Afterward, it’s business as usual from there, I’M GUESSING. At some point, I’m sure Marvel will revert to the original numbering, because well...Marvel. CYNICISM ASIDE, though, this is a really exciting re-launch. It features three wonderfully fresh co-writers (Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson, Matthew Rosenberg) plus a slew of amazing artists and big concepts, all of which are leading into AGE OF X-MAN, which looks like an awesome fever dream I once had.

Q: Can I just jump in with the new Uncanny X-Men #1, or are there other X-series I need to read first?
A: Honestly, you can jump in here. X-fans make a lot of jokes about how complex X-continuity is, but Google is your friend here, as is the really fantastic Marvel Wiki. My advice is to just look up characters as you go, pick some favorites, and follow them to other books. Basically, just enjoy the eXperience!

But! If you do want to do some prep work, I suggest you pick up Rosenberg’s Multiple Man and New Mutants: Dead Souls. Both are five-issue miniseries, and easy to catch up on. Both also seem to maybe be relevant to the new Uncanny? X-Men Red is a good series to use to get acclimated to major characters. The recent Charles Soule and Rosenberg runs on Astonishing X-Men are also great for getting a sense of the current status quo for other popular mutants. Meanwhile, 2017’s Generation X by Christina Strain and Amilcar Pinna is a good one for getting to know some of the younger mutants who look like they will soon appear in 2019’s Age of X-Man!

Q: What’s up with Wolverine right now? Wasn’t he also dead or something? And is there a new Wolverine named Laura? Also...who’s Gabby?
A: Logan is back! Ignore the fact there may actually be TWO Logans right now (because, comics). Logan Logan is back in the Return of Wolverine miniseries, and if teasers are to be trusted, he’ll be starring in Uncanny X-Men #12 come February. Laura is his daughter (a revelation as of August), formerly thought to be his clone. She’s been going by Wolverine but has reverted now to the codename X-23, with Logan’s return to the X-Men imminent. Gabby is one of Laura’s clones, and effectively her little sister. She’s also one of the best newer Marvel characters. Don’t worry about more code name confusion, Gabby goes by Honey Badger—not Wolverine.

Q: What’s up with Professor X right now? Wasn’t he dead or something?
A: See above recommendation for Soule’s Astonishing X-Men!! Kidding, kinda, but that is a good place to go for all things Professor X. Here’s the short version, though: his astral form was trapped by the Shadow King and now he’s in Fantomex’s body! He’s around, but not around around. He’s lurking.

Q: What’s up with Cyclops? Wasn’t he also also dead or something?
A: Cyclops IS dead. But teasers for Uncanny #11 seem to imply he’ll be back! A younger version of Cyclops (and the other Original 5 X-Men) has been kicking around for a few years now, but the O5 are being sent back to their time in the current Extermination miniseries. If you wanna read about their adventures, read All-New X-Men, X-Men: Blue, and Extermination. Just know they’re going back, and probably &%$#ed up some timeline stuff! Which may be relevant to next year’s X-plans….or not.

Q: What’s the deal with Warren (Worthington III aka Angel aka Archangel) right now and didn’t his wings use to be fire/metal/able to shoot poison projectiles?
A: See above. There’s been a younger version of Angel kicking around, and he had fire (COSMIC) wings. Older Warren has been through a lot. He was manipulated, brainwashed, and warped into Archangel (metal wings, blue skin, murder!projectiles) by Apocalypse in the ‘80s. Since then, we’ve had Archangel clones, there was weird free love hippy Angel (free of Archangel) who had no memories of his earlier life, and, finally, Angel and Archangel who were reunited to the benefit of both. Thanks to events in Soule’s Astonishing X-Men (see how important that series is?) and the psychic suggestion of Professor X, Warren now seems to have control over the Archangel persona, which used to just be a mindless, ruthless, uncontrollable murder machine. So, there’s that. Regular wings, but sometimes murder!wings.

Or, Tl;dr: Jekyll & Hyde.

Q: Any X-series that aren’t so strongly tied to larger storylines right now?
A: Go try Mariko Tamaki’s X-23, Kelly Thompson’s Mr. and Mrs. X, and Tom Taylor’s X-Men Red! They’re all great reads that don’t really tie into the new Uncanny run, and are just fun on their own.

Q: Wasn’t Psylocke……not white?
A: Long story short, Marvel royally messed up decades ago in the early ‘90s (which was common during those ahem somewhat problematic times) when they mind-swapped/melded a white Englishwoman named Betsy Braddock with a Japanese woman known as Kwannon. Recently, writers rectified that fiasco in the Hunt for Wolverine mini-event, and now both women are more or less in possession of their original bodies. I think there are a lot of fans hoping Kwannon and her ordeal are revisited at some point (I would read an entire miniseries about this from a creator who can personally speak to Kwannon’s experiences).

Q: Who are the best creators to follow on Twitter for all things X-related?
A: Pretty much all of the current X-creators are a blast to follow right now. Leah Williams is the X-Men Shitpost and Playlist Queen. Rosenberg, Brisson, and Thompson are all hoots, especially when interacting with each other. Even the X-Editor eXtraordinaire, Jordan D. White, is super interactive with fans. Follow Kris Anka for some amazing X-Men redesigns and frequent cheesecake. Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson are also great.

Q: Why are the X-Men one of your favorite comics things right now?
A: I would say when aren’t the X-Men one of my favorite comics things, but we’ve had our lows. We seem to be entering some GREAT TIMES TO BE X-FANS. A lot of the writers and artists working on this wave of X-comics grew up on the same X-things I grew up on! We’re all giant ‘90s X-nerds, and it’s REALLY AWESOME. You can tell everyone loves what they’re doing—it shows in the work. I love it. I hope what’s coming is wild and weird and totally different. And I think it will be. The X-Men with their central metaphor about group treatment toward the other also remain...topical, to say the least. Essentially, these comics are a great place to explore, play with, and process our times, and they’re rapidly gaining more nuance.

Allison buys books professionally and comics unprofessionally. You can find her chaotic neutral Twitter feed at @maliciousglee.

Uncanny X-Men: What Maggott Can Teach Us About Toxic Fandom

Special note, this piece first appeared on WMQ Comics as part of a series about fans’ favorite issues of Uncanny X-Men.

By Zack Quaintance — There are comic readers with perfect stories about their first issues, lucky folks who just happened to wander into some idyllic drugstore on a brisk day in New England as a kid, later emerging with a copy of “Amazing Spider-Man” from a spinner rack, maybe written by Gerry Conway with a first appearance of a new character who later became an icon, an issue they still look back on, thinking, now THAT was good comics.

I am not one of those readers. Good god, am I not one of those readers. And, as I’ll explain in a moment, I believe I’m much better for it.

My first real exposure to comics came courtesy of “Uncanny X-Men” #345, which has Maggott on its cover. Maggott. Now, I’d seen comics before via friends’ older brothers, and I’d even gotten the Claremont/Lee X-Men #1 before that as a gift, rolled up in my stocking. But I was too young. I’d scribbled on the pages and tore the cover. “Uncanny” #345 was the first comic that came my way once I had the literacy and motor skills the medium demanded. That original sin aspect is part of the reason I’m picking it as my favorite, but there’s more to it than that. This book has also had a lasting and positive legacy with me, and today I’d like to unpack that.

It’s not a good comic, not by any traditional standards, and it’s made even worse by the five issues after it. The book is full of mysteries, including: Is Joseph really Magneto; who is this guy Maggott; and what secret is Gambit hiding that’s so dark and awful? Its writer, Scott Lobdell, fell out with editorial before paying off pretty much any of that (except the Gambit bit — turns out dude helped massacre the Morlocks), which makes this an inherently frustrating story to look back on, especially for me, who first read it under the naive assumption all comics were carefully made with precise long-term planning (hah!). This book can, from a certain perspective, represent the corporate meddling and pressure that would often hamstring “Uncanny” throughout its post-Claremont run, and arguably still does to this day, really.

So, there’s that. Taken on standalone merits, this issue isn’t great, either. Joe Madureira’s art with heavy Tim Townsend inking is pretty, to be certain, well-formed and stylish with obvious manga and anime influence, a cut above most schlock from the era. It’s still, however, bursting with impossible female anatomy — side boob and jumpsuits that make bodies look vacuum-sealed — and total beefcaking (Bishop reading in a futuristic chair wearing naught but a scant vest and banana hammock…see below).

But if you’ll permit a glance through rose-tinted nostalgia glasses, I think this comic is better than all that. “Uncanny” #345 came out in 1997, when the ’90s as we’ve come to remember them had begun to pass. The art was still very much stuck in that era, but just look at Maggott, a concept built with so much odd levity. His mutant power is two sentient slugs that can basically eat through anything. In his first appearance, the slugs gnaw on a gruesome ‘90s robot with big claws and a supernova for tonsils, thereby saving a supermodel who apparently also runs a Christian orphanage in a jungle in Guatemala, after which Maggott quips: Disgustin’, ain’t it, luv? (SPX: CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP).

And that’s all we get of him. Intellectually, I know this is all bad, but also this is one of my all-time favorite X-character introductions (even if Lobdell’s departure led to an incomplete storyline and eventual mockery and disdain for ol’ Maggott), perfectly as grandiose as it is goofy.

The lasting legacy of “Uncanny” #345 in the context of my life as a comic book fan and reader, however, is what truly endears the comic to me. This book ultimately taught me that the medium is not one built for perfection (not like the best literature, TV or movies) as much as it is for occasional moments of unrestrained bliss. It taught me that comics are a prolific and churning ecosystem, one that should be approached as low-stakes. I watch frustration and anger wash through comic fandom online, and I shake my head, largely unable to relate. My first comic starred Maggott.

Essentially, “Uncanny” #345 gave me healthy expectations for this hobby, I think, allowing me to take superhero comics at their best while avoiding the toxic disappointment of wanting to control the fiction. And I owe it to this issue about a mutant man who could eat through robots with his sentient slugs.

Check out more of our writing about comics.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.

Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — This week could maybe be looked at as DC Strikes Back, or something...if it weren’t for Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men #1, which in spite of its $7.99 price tag is still likely to sell more copies than any other title this week. Still, the slate of new DC and indie books is strong, with the former launching Electric Warriors, concluding Mister Miracle, and re-orienting Wonder Woman with a new creative team of G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Cary Nord (The Unexpected).

The real highlight of the week, meanwhile, comes from David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene, as the team launches their long-awaited familial Harlem Renaissance monster-hunting book, Bitter Root. This was on our Most Anticipated Comics of 2018 list waaaaay back last January, and now it’s finally here. Obviously, Bitter Root lands as our featured books for the Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018. Oh, and look for a review later this week, but for now….

Let’s get to the comics!

Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018

Bitter Root #1
David F. Walker & Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colorists: Rico Renzi & Sanford Greene
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family can save New York-and the world-from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity. But the once-great family of monster hunters has been torn apart by tragedies and conflicting moral codes. The Sangerye Family must heal the wounds of the past and move beyond their differences... or sit back and watch a force of unimaginable evil ravage the human race.
Why It’s Cool: David F. Walker and Sanford Greene have teamed up before, specifically on a brief Power Man and Iron Fist run that if there was any justice in the corporate comics world would have run for 50+ issues. And now they’re back together! Transferring the creative alchemy they found at Marvel to the creator-owned vision described above. Simply put, this has the potential to be a MAJOR comic.

Electric Warriors #1
Steve Orlando
Artist: Travel Foreman
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Years after the Great Disaster, the Earth has started to rebuild and rejoin the universal coalition. In order to prevent a galactic war, different worlds throughout the known cosmos have created a new system of competitive combat to give each participating planet their own voice in the intergalactic struggle. Each world has one diplomatic gladiator, chosen to possess the Electric Seed and fight for their homeland as the Electric Warrior! Each fighter forsakes their personal life in the name of peace. So what happens when Earth can't choose a single combatant and sends two instead? The bruiser War Cry represents the humans of Earth, while Deep Dweller, a shape-shifter from the Octopus Tribe, represents the animal kingdom. Can they maintain one common goal, or will they tear Earth's tenuous coexistence to shreds and destroy the rest of the universe with it? Oh, and War Cry also has a powerful relic from Earth's past: Superman's cape!
Why It’s Cool: This book features one of the wildest and most original visions we’ve seen from either of the Big 2 in sometime, especially as it pertains to Travel Foreman’s artwork. Paired with Hi-Fi’s colors, the wispy shades of neon in this book really differentiate it from any other superhero universe fare on the market. Meanwhile, writer Steve Orlando is perhaps DC’s foremost continuity explorer, fearlessly drawing from his own deep knowledge of the publisher’s history. He’s right at home here crafting a compelling narrative within Jack Kirby’s Great Disaster Era.  

Lone Ranger #2
Mark Russell
Artist: Bob Q
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Tonto and the Lone Ranger go to Austin to foil a plan to cover the Texas panhandle in barbed wire. They are discovered and have to fight their way out of the city. Tonto devises a new strategy based on trick plays he learned from playing football at the Carlisle Indian School and Silver knocks a man unconscious with a wooden post.
Why It’s Cool: We’ve been heaping all kinds of praise on this book, most recently in our Best New #1 Comics of October 2017, and we’re not going to stop any time soon. This book is as smart as it is well done, and if you like great comics, you should be reading it, even if you care as little about the Lone Ranger character as I did coming into this.

Mister Miracle #12
Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
It'll be a miracle if you can get through this mind-bending conclusion with your sanity intact! After his epic battle with Darkseid, Scott Free sees life a whole new way: he's the new Highfather of New Genesis, and he's madly in love with his wife and child. But what if it's all a lie? Did Mister Miracle really escape death way back in issue #1? No one really knows but Tom King and Mitch Gerads!
Why It’s Cool: Mister Miracle is one of the smartest and most poignant comics that DC has published in many, many years, and this issue marks its conclusion. This is, simply put, the sort of finale that not only sticks the landing but does so in a way that validates all of the creative choices that came before it, making the already-strong previous acts of this story even stronger. This was one hell of a comic.

Uncanny X-Men #1
Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson, & Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Mahmud A. Asrar, Mark Bagley, & Mirko Colak
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $7.99
THE CHILDREN OF THE ATOM ARE BACK! New ongoing series kicking off with a 10-part weekly epic, the flagship X-Men series that started it all is back and better than ever! Starting with a mysterious and tragic disappearance, the X-Men are drawn into what might be...their final adventure?! X-Fan favorite writers Ed Brisson (EXTERMINATION), Matthew Rosenberg (PHOENIX RESURRECTION) and Kelly Thompson (MR. & MRS. X) and all-star artists Mahmud Asrar (X-MEN RED), R.B. Silva (X-MEN BLUE), Yildiray Cinar (WEAPON X) and Pere Pérez (ROGUE AND GAMBIT) join forces to bring you...X-MEN DISASSEMBLED?!
Why It’s Cool: In one sense, Marvel is back on its old cash grabbing bull*#$@, relaunching one of its most-popular titles of all time with a $7.99 first issue. Not only that, but this is the start of a 10-part weekly series. Marvel, simply put, knows readers will get this comic regardless, and so they’re going to take them for every last penny. Capitalism! That said, in between the cash grabbing Marvel has been providing really strong stories, and—carping about the cost aside—there’s no reason to believe this one will be any different. The X-world has been on the rise as of late (now that Marvel has its film rights back...ahem) led by a group of young writers who clearly grew up fans of the comics. Brisson, Thompson, and Rosenberg are chief among them, and we can’t wait to see what they do with this series. But also, did we mention it costs $7.99??!

Wonder Woman #58
G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Cary Nord
Inker: Mick Gray
Artist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Far below Themyscira, Ares, the God of War, has been imprisoned for generations, repenting his past sins. But his new cellmate Grail may have an unexpected effect on him...and the plan they've come up with will change Themyscira-and the world- forever! When Wonder Woman rushes to Eastern Europe to rescue Steve Trevor from a mission gone wrong, she'll find herself face-to-face with a very new, very different God of War!
Why It’s Cool: G. Willow Wilson is a big get for Wonder Woman, a smart and thoughtful writer, Wilson has built the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel character into one of the most exciting teen concepts in comics. This is a whole other challenge altogether—building on decades of continuity within a much-loved and venerable franchise. We very much think that Wilson and her artistic collaborator Cary Nord are up for it.  

Top New #1 Comics

  • Black Order #1

  • Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #1

  • Comics Comics Quarterly #1

  • Firefly #1

  • Infinity Wars: Infinity Wraps #1

  • Terrible Elisabeth Dumn Against The Devils in Suits One Shot

  • William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Amazing Spider-Man #9

  • Avengers #10 (#700)

  • Cemetery Beach #3

  • Captain America #9

  • Cosmic Ghost Rider #5

  • Euthanauts #4

  • Fantastic Four #3

  • Friendo #2

  • Gideon Falls #8

  • Hawkman #6

  • Infinite Dark #2

  • Ms. Marvel #36

  • Murder Falcon #2

  • Oblivion Song #9

  • Proxima Centauri #6

  • Quantum Age: From the World of Black Hammer #4

  • Thor #7

  • Skyward #8

  • Supergirl #24

  • Superman #5

See our past top comics to buy here, and check our our reviews archive here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.

Thirsty Thursdays: October’s Hottest Comics Art

By Allison Senecal — Superhero comic art has evolved at a really impressive rate in recent much so that sometimes it can be a lot to handle. First there’s excitement, obviously, but then that excitement turns into something else...which is why each month we’re running our Thirsty Thursday rankings, a new and different way to look at our favorite comic art. Welcome to a sporadic examination of (as the kids say) the month’s thirstiest comics.


The Thirstiest Comics of October 2018

Daredevil #609 & #610 — Elektra is back in Matt’s life, and back in her classic costume!! Phil Noto draws the most beautiful Elektra since Mike Del Mundo. I guess Matt was in his own series this month, but I don’t even remember.  
💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

Ummm, Matt Who? (Art by Phil Noto.)

Domino #7 — I don’t know which is better…art nouveau Dom or cranky early morning pug-slippers wearing Dom. (DID SHE SEND TO ONE OF THOSE COMPANIES THAT WILL MAKE STUFF THAT LOOK LIKE YOUR PETS? BECAUSE… CUTE.)
💦💦💦💦 out of 5

A-DORABLE! (Art by David Baldeon.)

Fine, but don’t make me pick which Dom is thirstiest.

Justice League Odyssey #2 — This was a very Starfire-centric issue, which is a glorious thing since it’s also Stjepan Sejic’s last interior work on this series. Kory’s compassion is what I love most about her, and it shines in the last few pages, really softening her face and creating some truly lovely panels. I’m really going to miss Sejic drawing her hair.
💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

Starfire is also fluent in the language of IMPOSSIBLY LUSCIOUS hair. (Art by Stjepan Sejic.)

Extermination #4 — Mutant dudes just don’t wear shirts during X-crises, and that’s valid.
💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5 (One sweat droplet for every shirtless man.)

Clearly, mankind has evolved past its need for t-shirts. (Art by Pepe Larraz.)

Euthanauts #3 — Off the top of my head, I absolutely can not think of anyone, barring maybe Coipel, who draws the human figure (in ALL of its figures) better than Nick Robles. It’s just so marvelous to open this comic every month and see a full range of the human aesthetic. And this was a very sexy issue.
💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

This book may be about death, but, WARNING, it’s going to do things to your pulse. (Art by Nick Robles.)

Wonder Woman #57 (The Witching Hour, part 4) —  This entire event has benefitted from some great artists, but this was probably my favorite chapter. Emanuela Lupacchino and Ray McCarthy’s Constantine and Zatanna are hottttttttttttttttttt (and cute, dear Lord, this issue was sad). You don’t need dialogue to see the chemistry, which I love.
💦💦💦💦 out of 5

The end of the world has never looked so thirsty. (Art by Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy.)

X-Men Black: Emma Frost — EMMA FROST IS BACK. IN BLACK. I screamed. I love her. She deserves this. When Miss Frost is in a comic, expect that comic to be in this feature that month. 👑 💦💦💦💦💦 👑 out of ….. what? Emma Frost is the ratings system.

Hell-ooo, indeed. (Art by Chris Bachalo.)

Bonus: Have you SEEN this Jeff Dekal Variant for Uncanny X-Men #1????? Have you had it lasered into the backs of your eyelids or transmogrified into sound and pumped into your ears? HAVE YOU?? Now thank Laura Kinney for giving us all the time of day.

Sorry in advance for November.

Check out The Thirstiest Comics of September.

Allison buys books professionally and comics unprofessionally. You can find her chaotic neutral Twitter feed at @maliciousglee.

Best New #1 Comics of August 2018

By Zack Quaintance — I love any month wherein indie publishers sweep our top five best new #1 comics list, and this is (obviously) one of those months. I’m not sure how often this happens, but it’s always a treat. This month, simply put, brought one of the best crops of new creator-owned debut issues I’ve ever seen...two of which were even by the same writer!

What’s also great is the diversity of publisher among our top 5 best new #1 comics of August 2018, with books coming from usual suspects like Dark Horse and Image, and from other sources too, including AfterShock Comics, Scout Comics, and IDW’s Black Crown imprint. Yes, not only do we have a top 5 consisting entirely of indie books, we also have a list that features five different indie comics publishers!

The state of comics is strong, friends, strong indeed. We are truly lucky to be fans of this storytelling medium in such exciting times. Now then, let’s get to the list!

Quick Hits

It's been a while since I've enjoyed a big Marvel event as much as the first two issues of Infinity Wars, both of which came out this month. I attribute this to killer Deodato art and an increasingly strong overall state of affairs within the Marvel Universe.

The DC/Looney Toons specials were a delight, yet again. The Lex Luthor/Porky Pig Special #1 and the Catwoman, Tweety, & Sylvester Special #1 don’t hit Batman/Elmer Fudd levels of greatness, but they’re both quite good.

In my Extermination #1 review, I wrote about liking it because it seemed like minor cleanup of X-continuity in preparation for November’s relaunch of Uncanny X-Men. If that’s what this series ends up being, count me in for all five issues.

After what he did with Mike Allred in Silver Surfer, Dan Slott has 100 percent of my trust when it comes to nailing the family dynamic at the heart of the Fantastic Four. The first issue did nothing to change that.

I’m currently working my way through the original Sandman for the first time (I know, I know), one issue per night, and the reason why is because I found the Sandman Universe #1 teaser issue so intriguing.  

I loved Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins’ recently-concluded series Grass Kings. They’re back now, with a completely new book, Black Badge, and I’m all in. Read my review of Black Badge #1.

I have a new rotating gig writing the DC Round-Up for my favorite comics website, The Beat, and I got Pearl #1 with my first crop of books...and I loved it! Read my first DC Round-Up, in which I discuss Pearl.

Cold Spots #1 was appropriately chilling, promising more horror to come and living up to its title.

Leviathan #1 is one of those new books that brings together a creative union so perfect it seems like it's been going on for years.

West Coast Avengers #1 is a perfect use of every character in it, and a natural evolution of this franchise. I’m glad it exists.

Top 5 Best #1 Comics of August 2018

Crowded #1 by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Triona Farrell, & Cardinal Rae

As someone currently working a full-time job, plus three other work-for-hire writing side gigs that involve logging keyboard time fairly regularly at all hours (nights, weekends, etc.)...this late capitalist horror story about a young woman targeted by a crowd-sourced assassination app who subsequently contracts a defender via another separate app...well, it hit close to home for me.

My own economic and professional perspectives aside, Crowded #1 is simply a well-done comic. The pacing spares no tension, giving us just the right amount of info before throwing us into rapid action, and the bits Sebela and team reveal about their two lead characters are equal parts relatable and fascinating. What this book excels at most, however, is emphasizing the absurdity of what it’s like to work in 2018, extending the gig economy to a logical-yet-horrific extreme that should make every reader afraid, or at least introspective the next time they call an Uber.

Hot Lunch Special #1 by Eliot Rahal, Jorge Fornes, & Taylor Esposito

Hot Lunch Special, as I’ve said on Twitter, blends a generational American immigrant story with Midwestern crime noir evocative of Fargo. The result is a comic unlike any other on the stands today. Essentially, you come to this book for the mafioso murder/extortion plot line, and you stay for the touches of sincere graphic memoir—or maybe vice versa.

Even with severed appendages inside sandwiches appearing pretty near the story’s start, it’s to Hot Lunch Special’s credit it feels understated, as a good Midwestern story should. This is due in large part to the impressive work Rahal and Fornes do building character, particularly with the younger members of the family. An organized crime story is just so much more compelling when you start to tangle up those who are born into it, who maybe don’t realize the extent of the dirt and certainly didn’t ask for it. Rahal and Fornes know this well, and it makes for a great comic.

House Amok #1 by Christopher Sebela, Shawn McManus, Lee Loughridge, & Aditya Bidikar

Annnnnd here we have another entry from writer Christopher Sebela, this time via IDW’s en fuego Black Crown imprint, which landed a book in last month’s Best New #1 Comics with another favorite of ours, The Euthanauts. The hits will likely keep coming for Black Crown too, what with the Laphams rolling out a crime noir book this fall about a nefarious shape-shifting travel blogger (I know, right?! sounds amazing). But I digress.

House Amok is visually rich with the work of veteran artist Shawn McManus, colored so effectively here by Lee Loughridge, one of the industry’s best at using different tones to establish flashbacks and mood. In addition to the stellar art, Sebela deploys a precocious narrative voice, a child writing about her literally crazed family in an innocent diary, trying to parse her own little healthy reality amid the violence the older relatives she’s supposed to trust continue to justify are perpetrate. Lyrical and dark, I’m all in on this comic.

Long Lost Book 2 #1 by Matthew Erman & Lisa Sterle

Speaking of lyrical and dark, our next new #1 is more of a continuation than a pure debut, but we like it so much we had to include it. And, hey, isn’t more of a continuation than a pure debut an accurate summation for nearly every new superhero #1 of the past two or three decades? Anyway, Long Lost is everything that’s healthy about indie comics right now rolled into one brilliant sequential graphic story.

In this book, readers find experimentation with form, effective-yet-subtle visuals that convey mood, patient characterization, and ideas that are mysterious and haunting. By design, much of the nature of this book is still to be revealed, yet the ride we’ve been on now through seven total issues has been thoroughly engrossing, incorporating ideas about the past, moving on, and sisterhood. Do yourself a favor: find and binge every issue of this comic. And do it while spending a long and quiet weekend somewhere, nostalgic and alone.

Seeds #1 by Ann Nocenti & David Aja

Ann Nocenti and David Aja’s Seeds #1 is the type of comic that will bug your eyes, expanding your consciousness and giving you occasion to slow down and run your hand over its pages and pages of stunning and provocative visuals. This book is probably best classified as near-future science fiction, a genre thriving in comics right now. Something about Seeds, however, feels different; as if these creators were given an actual glimpse of a future, complete with logical societal changes that are as of now impossible to predict.

Maybe that’s what makes Seeds feel so obviously brilliant—its world feels realistic, yet very much the product of the creators’ minds, sharp and visionary as they are. This is a four-part series, and after one issue I’m unequivocally on board for all of it. Nocenti and Aja are both towering talents who’ve contributed seminal works to mainstream superhero comic books, and now they’ve gone off-map. Be excited and afraid.

Check out more of our monthly lists here.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

Top Comics to Buy for August 29, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — Ah, the weird fifth Wednesday, where indie titles are free to shine, DC rolls out its annuals and specials, and delayed comics from throughout the month finally find a home. It’s also the month where Wednesday Warriors (who are presumably the only folks who would be reading this) get a slight break for their wallets.

I say slight because there are, of course, still new comics to be had, for nothing can entirely stop the juggernaut that is comics commerce, rolling forward each week via its direct market of thousands of small business spread throughout the country, in what these days has likely become the oddest and most-antiquated media distribution system that still has a large and fairly entrenched following (of, to be fair, mostly middle-aged guys).  

Annnnyway, the point is there are comics coming out this week, so with that in mind let’s look now to our Top Comics to Buy for August 29, 2018!

Top Comics to Buy for August 29, 2018

Batgirl #26 / Batgirl Annual #2
Writer: Mairghread Scott
Artists: Paul Pelletier (#26) & Elena Casagrande (Annual #2)
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99 (#26) & $4.99 (Annual #2)
#26 — "Art of the Crime" part one. During a high-speed chase with murderous art thief Grotesque, the villain K.O.'s Batgirl with a souped-up stun gun that temporarily fries the device implanted in her spine. (That thing that helps her, you know, walk and be Batgirl?) Babs finds herself in for a whole new world of hurt now that old wounds have been opened up-and so does Grotesque.  
Annual #2 —  Sibling rivalry takes on a whole new meaning in this one-shot story that tracks Batgirl's hunt for a serial killer whose M.O. strikes a familiar chord. Namely, a disturbing similarity to her brother, current convict James Gordon Jr. Family bonds are restored during a visit to his maximum- security surroundings, but Babs' doubts linger. Is James Jr. helping to solve this case... or pulling her strings in a diabolical power play?

Why It’s Cool: I’m on record as having loved Batgirl #25, which gave us our first glimpse at the forthcoming run on the character by the new creative team of Mairghread Scott and Paul Pelletier/Elena Casagrande. Scott seems bent on drawing from the character’s history to tell stories that speak to her core values as well as her place within the, both of these artists are very exciting.

Harbinger Wars 2 #4 (of 4)
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tomas Giorello
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99
THE FINAL BATTLE! LIVEWIRE VS. THE VALIANT UNIVERSE! We called it the biggest, most impactful, most ambitious Valiant event ever attempted - and we meant it! From across the Valiant Universe, the paths of all of the world's most formidable heroes - X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, Ninjak, the Secret Weapons, H.A.R.D. Corps, and dozens of newly activated psiots - have finally converged, drawn together by their old ally Livewire's last-ditch effort to protect the powerless. Now, the long-brewing battle between Valiant's greatest icons will finally reach the stratosphere - literally - and, out of the ashes, a new order for the Valiant Universe will be hewn.
Why It’s Cool: What an event Harbinger Wars 2 has been, clocking in at spry four issues, maintaining the same creative team throughout its duration, and pairing up characters in fresh ways that only a younger superhero universe can do. This is the finale, sort of...there’s an aftermath issue coming out soon. Either way, big things seem to be afoot here and we’re definitely there for it.

Lex Luthor Porky Pig Special #1
Mark Russell, Jim Fanning
Artists: Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, John Loter
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Facing financial and personal ruin, a desperate Porky Pig applies for and gets and entry-level position with LexCorp. Grateful to his new benefactor, Porky becomes Luthor's most loyal employee and defender. But when a major scandal breaks in the news and Lex is called before a Congressional Committee, guess who is about to be offered up as the sacrificial pig?
Why It’s Cool: Nobody in comics is better at taking pop culture icons (a group in which we’d include Porky Pig) and turning them into modern satires than Mark Russell, who has done the same with The Flintstones and Snagglepuss, and will soon get another chance to do so with The Lone Ranger. Based on the preview text, this comic seems to be an incredibly timely look at white collar crime—we have this pegged as an early contender for book of the week.

Submerged #2 (of 4)
Vita Ayala
Artist: Lisa Sterle
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
As the worst storm in New York City's history crashes over its streets, Ellie Puente's desperate search for her brother, Angel, takes her into the terrifying depths of the subway system. There she finds a lost, helpless child, and is confronted with the stuff of her nightmares.
Why It’s Cool: This year could be remembered for being the one in which the industry saw the rise of Vault Comics, and books like Submerged are a big part of the reason why. This book combines a potpourri of different mythos with family drama and a terrifying experience writer Vita Ayala (who has also spent 2018 on the rise) had in New York City during Hurricane Sandy. Like all Vault books, we have no idea where this one is going, but we’re certain it will be both rewarding and complex.

X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis #2 (of 2)
Writer/Artist: Ed Piskor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $5.99
SPACE INVADERS! The Shi'ar! The Brood! The Starjammers! Watch as Marvel's merry mutants take to the stars for the very first time all over again. See the inaugural X-Men adventures of Kitty Pryde and Carol Danvers. Marvel at the conclusion of the now-classic DARK PHOENIX SAGA.   A great entry point for new and lapsed X-Men fans alike!
Why It’s Cool: It just is. Writer/artist Ed Piskor’s X-Mythos remix Grand Design is one of the coolest things happening in comics today, with everything from the artwork to the structure to the tactile enhancements made by the book’s special paper ranking as pretty freaking cool. We may end up waiting for the over-sized compiled addition that’s coming down the road, but we still want to stress this as a book that is not to be missed—regardless of your preferred format.

Recommended New #1 Comics for August 29, 2018

  • Beyonders #1

  • Catwoman Tweety & Sylvester Special #1

  • Daredevil Annual #1

  • House Amok #1

  • Hunt for Wolverine Dead Ends #1

  • Nightwing Annual #1 (drawn by Otto Schmidt!)

  • Scarlet #1

  • Silencer Annual #1

  • Web of Venom: VeNam #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • A Walk Through Hell #4

  • Beatles Yellow Submarine Hardcover

  • Bone Parish #2

  • Euthanuats #2

  • Exiles #7

  • Isola #5

  • Marvel 2-in-1 #9

  • Ms. Marvel #33

  • New Mutants: Dead Souls #6

  • New World #2 (of 5)

  • Paradise Court #2 (of 5)

  • Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #2

  • X-23 #3

See our other top comics to buy here.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

REVIEW: Extermination #1 by Ed Brisson, Pepe Larraz, Marte Garcia, & VC’s Joe Sabino

By Zack Quaintance — I was at Marvel’s SDCC X-Men panel, during which Matthew Rosenberg insinuated major X-happenings would come in Extermination, a five-part mini-series with a tagline of EXTERMINATE THE PAST. ELIMINATE THE FUTURE. The smart money was on this being the book that would settle the fate of the original 5  X-Men, who basically all of X-fandom agreed had run their course like two years ago.

Through one issue, that suspicion is all but guaranteed, especially given the new Uncanny X-Men #1 teaser art with hardly a young X-person in site. Another thing Rosenberg insinuated at the panel was everyone would think they knew what Extermination was about, but that, in fact, they would be wrong (a pretty standard teaser in superhero comics). Rosenberg was, of course, vague, as to not accidentally step on the upcoming project of a fellow X-writer.

All of that is my way of saying Extermination #1 is maybe not entirely what it seems to be. Through one part (or 20 percent) of the story, I feel like I have a decent grasp on what’s at stake: one part of it is definitely sending the time-displaced X-pups away, another part is doing something interesting with an older X-character whose identity I won’t reveal because, you know, spoilers. If that’s all this story is about, it’ll be interesting enough.

Really, this first issue is incredibly well-paced, doling out consequential action at a clip the vast majority of event comics (is this an event?) don’t. It’s in a unique position to do this given the current X-status quo. Marvel’s mutant stories have gotten pretty messy of late, with little sense of cohesion. This, in fact, has been my central complaint with X-titles (Blue and Gold, etc.), and I’ve largely limited myself to X-Books that have RED in their titles, or are written by writers named Thompson (Kelly and Zac) or Rosenberg.

This is significant here, because the unwieldy state of the X-titles gives Brisson disposable pieces to take off the board, pieces he uses expertly, giving needed jolts to the ends of the first and third acts of this comic. I enjoyed the tight plotting, but, more than that, Brisson’s willingness to make big moves is also an encouraging sign for the upcoming 10-part weekly re-launch of Uncanny X-Men. There sure seem to be quite a few X-Men on that promotional poster. I know it’s morbid, but wouldn’t it be thrilling if there weren’t as many left when that 10 weeks is over?

Extermination likely marks the start of a cleanup before the franchise’s flagship title returns in full, and an encouraging one at that. I suppose it remains to be scene which of Brisson, Rosenberg, or Thompson will ultimately write Uncanny full-time, but I’m glad they’re doing it together at the start, potentially portending that sense of cohesion I’ve craved.

Overall: An exciting and fast-paced first issue, posting a couple quick surprises. If this book is the start of an X-cleanup before the fall’s Uncanny X-Men re-launch, the Brisson-Rosenberg-Thompson era is off to a very nice start. 8.5/10

For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.