Marvel Pick Of The Week – June 24, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

X-Men ’92 3 (Digital First), by Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, and Scott Koblish

Secret Wars seemed scary at first, a broad reshuffling of beloved properties under the name of one of Marvel’s most glaring creative mistakes, but the results have delivered amazing fresh takes on Wolverine and Thor that made it to Pick Of The Week, and now the crossover has brought a joyful love to one of the most memorable eras of the X-Men.

In the story so far, the X-Men you remember fondly from the 90’s cartoon (Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Gambit, Rogue, Wolverine, and Jubilee) have beaten all the bad guys in this epic war at the Westchester mall, and the villains have been going through rehab at Cassandra Nova’s Clear Mountain Institute. The team goes out to investigate the process, and Nova reveals herself to be the Shadow Queen, a fusion of Xavier’s altered clone and the Shadow King’s toxic psychic monstrosity. This issue sees an exploration of Wolverine, with Nova watching him try to slice up a dozen alternate versions of himself before finally accepting that he needs to just chill out:

It’s a silly take on the trope of a hero fighting his inner demons, but the message is a creative way to point out how boring it is when all Wolverine gets to do is cut things. Like the Barry Windsor-Smith version says, “A hug can be stronger than adamantium.” Funny, but so true.

The second major story in this issue is Nova’s attempt to seduce Storm onto her team. While the Wolverine story was sweetly poking fun at the overuse of Wolverine in a million different alternate reality stories, the Storm story respects that in one continuity, this woman has already been a goddess, a thief, a hero, and a Morlock queen. Nova tries to use this breadth of character expression to pin Ororo into a trap, but she only ends up inspiring her to be the amazing character readers have loved in so many of her iterations.

The stories are separated by my favorite part of the issue, a place where the team amps up the playful potential of the Secret Wars stories. Jubilee is held captive by two of Nova’s henchmen (Rachel and Miles from the best comic podcast out there), playing the X-Men arcade game to pass the time and whining that she’s not a playable character but Dazzler is. (For anyone out there who wants to meet at the local barcade, I love that game, and I always play as Dazzler.) An astral projection of lovable moppet Artie convinces her to escape and join up with a ragtag group including Caliban, Feral, Maggott, Leech, Masque, Chamber, and Sauron. The over-the-top darkness of these characters just heightens the sense of fun this team is having playing with these particular toys. And isn’t playing with toys what Secret Wars has always been about?

A note on format: This series has been coming out in digital form as an Infinite Comic on, a style of comic that uses the digital platform to give the reader an experience between flipping paper pages and watching an animated clip. The digital comics are generally shorter than single issues and will be collected in printed form beginning this week – if the first issue is any indication, this is an adequate presentation of the story but loses some of the fun panels and transitions, and the repetitive layouts are annoying in a way the digital format completely avoids, so I do recommend getting a Comixology account for this one.

Honorable Mentions:

Daredevil 16, because with these two sentences, Mark Waid proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he understands the relationship between Daredevil and The Kingpin.

Infinity Gauntlet 2, because drafting cute doggies into the Nova Corps is an idea whose time has come. I am ready to enlist.

Where Monsters Dwell 2, because the repartee between the American lout and his mysterious British client is like a Brian Michael Bendis adaptation of Downton Abbey, and I would read that in a heartbeat.

Catch up on previous Picks here!

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