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A new Comic Book Review Round-Up is here. This time we’ve got Nightwing #58, Batman #67, The Wild Storm #21 and The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #2. For this week’s Round-Up, I’ve eschewed my usual number ones section for an X-Men focus, featuring Uncanny X-Men #14, Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #2, Age of X-Man: Nextgen #2.
Nightwing may be gone, but Ric is here, and he is needed by the Nightwings, to stop the latest reign of terror in Blüdhaven. Joker’s Daughter is in town, and she wants to destroy the rich, and help the poor. She has great intentions, but horrifying methods. Everyone at the Oasis Club is now at risk of being blown up—it’s up to the heroes to defuse the situation.
I love Travis Moore’s art, it makes the reading experience so much better. I also love that Ric has become a hero, and works in tandem with the rest of the Nightwings. What I don’t like is the constant expositional recaps, kicking off each issue. I’d rather there was an intro page (like Marvel does with their titles). That way the text feels more substantial. How is it possible that after nearly 10 issues of this style, the editing team hasn’t eschewed it yet?
This almost exclusively word-less issue is a dream to look at. Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes’ art is brilliant in capturing motion and action, while Lovern Kindziersky’s colours capture the feeling of golden age ‘Batman’ comics, while giving the book its own unique beauty.
That being said, I am unsure how to feel about this book. Is it a joke? Is there a deeper meaning? Is Tom King a much-too-clever writer to be understood, or has he fooled us all? It’s time for the Knightmares arc to end so that Batman can feel like a series that has actual substance, which is worthwhile and makes some modicum of sense. Do any of these Knightmares have a theme or connection? We’ve been asking questions too long to care any more.
'The Wild Storm' #21
I’m not ashamed to admit I picked up this issue because it mentioned that Apollo and Midnighter were featured in it. I love these two characters, and I don’t know why DC Comics doesn’t have them in an ongoing series.
Having said that, I didn’t understand anything that happened here. There’s a big bad called Skywatch, and the main heroes are trying to rescue people from them, as well as end Skywatch for good. In this issue, Apollo and Midnighter are apparently on the same mission, but the two teams haven’t met.
The entire book is full of expositional text, that makes no sense. I didn’t think that was possible. Also, there are women characters who speak exactly the way you would expect a bunch of men to write a woman’s dialogue. It’s so cliché, I wonder if it’s intended to be a joke. No way the writers can be serious, right? I honestly don’t have an answer.
'The Life and Death of Toyo Harada' #2
Toyo Harada’s rise to being the most infamous psiot continues in this second issue. We see him sway people in the past, when he is still just a young man. In the present, life is a little more complicated. Toyo has a vision—people and enemies keep getting in the way of that.
I got an early copy of this issue. It feels a bit haphazard and rushed. There was no focus. Not to mention the absolutely horrifying revelation about the Angela Vessel’s experiment—that stuff does not belong in modern comics.
I would have liked more of an insight into Harada’s psyche and thought-processes. He’s evil and has done evil things, over several years, in the Valiant-verse, but he is an intriguing character. I had expected that this series was going to be more of a character study. Maybe the next two issues will delve deeper into his characterization.
In Uncanny X-Men #14, Cyclops and Wolverine enlist the help of a ONE operative, as they continue their mission to end all mutant threats to the world. The banter is amazing in this issue, but there’s a lot going on with the Mutant Liberation Front, the Marauders, the Morlocks, and a fascist government in Europe. I’m also still unsure about what exactly happened to the New Mutants—Rahne, Dani and Shan—but whatever it is, they are liabilities waiting to happen. I like this gang of misfits, but I wish there were more women characters in the lead. That final page, though! What has Scott got himself into this time?
Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #2 is not amazing at all. I was expecting a swashbuckling adventure, like the old Kurt stories. Instead, we’ve got Kurt falling for the resident hottie, and every woman drawn and dressed like the worst of 1990s comics. I particularly dislike this Nightcrawler series, because of what an eye-sore it is. Who even cares about this story any more? Marvel’s idea of a utopian mutant world, devoid of attachments, has become cyclical mess. The world being built isn’t layered or complicated—it could have been, but the editorial team has decided to strip it down to its least interesting component.
Age of X-Man: Nextgen #2 is the kind of story I expected from this AU series. Intrigue, betrayal, suspense and tension. The new X-Men were my least favourite part of the ‘Disassembled’ arc, but they make for interesting characters here. There’s more world-building in these pages, than in several of the other ‘Age of X-Man’ series. That’s quite disappointing. The final page was a shocking revelation, let’s see how the writers take the story forward.
Stay tuned for more in next week’s Comic Book Review Round-Up!