Monday, August 12, 2013

Reviews of Comics From Wednesday 8/7

All-New X-Men #15
Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: David Lafuente

I admit freely, I was a major skeptic when Brian Michael Bendis's young original X-Men time travel All-New X-Men was announced. What didn't occur to me was that the best thing Bendis has ever written that wasn't crime comics was Ultimate Spider-Man, a book that wonderfully portrayed teenage heroes and teenage life in general. So now that the young original X-Men have settled in, its time for an issue that is really just about the kids being teenagers. While Scott and Bobby go out for an afternoon at the local street fair, Jean spends some time with the Beasts, both young and old. The scenes with Scott and Bobby are cute, with the two of them having a little time travel anxiety and then young Scott dealing with the fame of his older self, as well as meeting girls who don't think mutants are a bad thing. Bobby is light and glib, Scott is awkward and brooding. Bendis has the voices of these characters down pat. But more interesting and even better written are the scenes with Jean. Jean has been discovering her expanded powers, and her lack of control of her telepathy reveals something about Hank McCoy the elder, remembering the crush he had on Jean when he was her age. So Jean goes to young Hank, and the two of them share a moment. But that moment isn't exactly what it seems, as Jean returns to her room to look at an element of her future. Jean's time with Hank seems to be as much about denying the darkness of the future they see as anything else, a future made all too clear by her running into Rachel Grey. David Lafuente does a great job with all of this issue, but the scenes with Rachel and Jean are pure gold, drawn with a bit of wit and some sadness as they both deal with something they never thought they would. With the "Battle of the Atom" crossover set to begin next month, this is a calm before the storm for the young X-Men, let's hope they all survive the experience.

Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures #9
Story: Brian Clevinger
Art: Ryan Cody & Leela Wagner

The second Real Science Adventures arc continues, introducing more of the legendary heroes of the late 19th century into the war with the Black Coats. This issue we meet the amusingly Mulder-esque Charles Fort, father of paranormal investigation, Secret Service Agent Winfield-Scott Lovecraft (yes, father of THAT Lovecraft), and master escapologist Ehrie Weiss, better known as Harry Houdini. The three of them are investigating Swamp Men, something Fort believes in entirely, but instead stumble across the Black Coats, the soldiers of the cabal Tesla and his allies have been fighting the past couple issues. Houdini and Lovecraft are men of action, and artists Cody and Wagner do a great job of drawing them ducking, avoiding, and fighting the Black Coats. Meanwhile, the bookish Fort stands opposed to them, hoping to find some non-action way out of their predicament, to no avail. In the end, with the information they have gleaned, Fort comes up with an... interesting theory as to what the Black Coats are up to, as Tesla enters the scene. While Atomic Robo himself doesn't appear in this arc, Brian Clevinger has kept all the action and fun that makes Robo one of the best books on the rack, while adding the additional fun of this alternate history.

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