By: Christos Gage & Tom Grummett
What I love about Gage's writing is that he gets an awesome theme and idea going and he just runs with it. Every single issue in this series has been about one thing and one thing only: are these kids, tortured by the Green Goblin, going to end up Avengers or supervillains? It's a great premise, and even in a weaker issue, like this one, it keeps the overall feeling up.
The abrupt conclusion (a bit of a deus ex machina, emphasis on the machine part) to both major ongoing storylines of who killed Jocasta and Hybrid's taking over the campus was a bit of a let down. But Grummett's art was its useful slick and bright self, and his facial expressions were spot on in the more emotional moments. A good, not great, issue.
By: Paul Cornell, Diogenes Neves, & Robson Rocha
Demon Knights started off as one of my favorite DCNu books, but it's starting to wear on me (like most of the DCNu, to be honest). I love Cornell as a writer, but these issues are seriously dragging. I literally thought for a second that I had accidentally bought an issue I already owned when I was reading through this one. And that, my friends, is never a good sign.
The art is fine, even with some fill-in pages, but this book needs to move more. We get a few character revelations, there's some OK character moments, but we're doing the exact same thing we were doing back at issue 1. And that was six months ago now. I understand deconstructed storytelling, but my god, this is just insane. Get it over with it, already!
By: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, & David Lopez
What an insanely great done-in-one issue.
Here we got Magma, who promised Mephisto (a stand-in for Satan in the Marvel Universe) a date if he got her and her team home, making good on her deal with the devil. What results is one of the most human X-Men issues we've gotten in a long time, with the right balance of action, funny dialogue, and commentary on the human condition.
Magma, never a star player, shines here, while the hipster and somewhat fragile Mephisto steals the show. Each of the other New Mutants puts in a good moment or two, just adding to this issue's near perfection. Even if you aren't an X-Men fan, or even a comic book fan, this is one everybody should pick up.
And, oh, I hated Lopez's art when I first saw it. Now, it's absolutely perfect for this book's tone. Well done, all around.
By: Kieron Gillen & Greg Land
I don't know what it says about Gillen's new take on the X-Men that I really don't like the villains he's chosen or his overall plot, but I love his characterization and dialogue so much that I think this is one of the best issues on the stands. Couple that with lackluster art by Greg Land, and we've got a conundrum.
There's surprising depth to Gillen's X-Men, and while his team is made up of the same X-Men we've seen in action for the past couple years, he's smart enough to give us new pairings, just to see what happens. Namor and Hope's interactions are hilarious, while Psylocke and Magneto create some great tension. Add to that some great dramamtic irony (Psylocke has brought in the X-Men to fix a mistake that she helped create that resulted in the death of a city, but she doesn't tell them that), and you've got one of the best written issues I saw this month.
Can we get Carlos Pacheco back now, please?
By: Christos Gage & David Baldeon
Another Gage issue and another winner. If one thing was lacking in the later run of Mike Carey's X-Men: Legacy, it was an overall reason for the series to exist. Gage has given us one: teachers trying to protect their students, which is slightly different from the samely set Wolverine and the X-Men, which is more about the kids. As a teacher myself, I appreciate the whole "teachers for students" thing, and it haarkens back to the X-Men's roots as a school.
The choice of Exodus as villain was also a good one, and gives a great cliffhanger to this issue. It also gives us a continuation of Carey's run, while also allowing for more insight into our current cast. I can't wait to see what Gage does with his characters, especially the Cannonball-Husk brother-sister dynamic that hasn't been explored after the death of their brother, Icarus, several years ago. I'm excited for what comes next, and in comic books, that's a win.