Marvel Pick Of The Week – September 30, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

Inferno 5, by Dennis Hopeless and Javier Garron

When a month has five Wednesdays, the publishing companies tend to throw low-selling books in the extra space that benefit from less competition. Sometimes that means hidden gems. Sometimes that means crud that won’t move if readers have any other way to get a fix of that four-color high. This week, we only had six issues to pick up, and one was a collection of previous digital prints.

But the final issue of the Inferno miniseries would have stood out in a packed house.

The original story is one of my favorite X-Men stories. Illyana Rasputin, having spent years balancing her good side with her demons and trauma, gets tricked into releasing hordes of monsters upon Manhattan, and only her death saves her friends. In the Hopeless version, she survives but gave in to her monstrous side, and her brother, Colossus, has finally come to understand that she’s not ever going to the little snowflake he misses so deeply. He still can’t bring himself to kill her, but when his girlfriend, Domino, is endangered, he pulls it together to do what needs to be done. Done with this painful setting, he takes his friends out of this section of Battleworld, and in an epilogue, manipulative Madelyn Pryor uses the body of Illyana to become the new Darkchilde.

The plot was great on its own. It fulfilled the themes set up in the beginning of the miniseries, that we want to believe our loved ones are perfect and victims of bad influences, but we eventually have to grow up and see them as people capable of making their own bad choices. Colossus puts everyone in danger until he takes a step back and makes a choice to invest in his friends. As much as I have enjoyed the Madelyn Pryor story, it’s not closely tied to this theme, and it takes a necessary backseat for the finale issue.

But even better than a good thematic development, this book is completely self-aware. The creative team has been having fun with redesigns of characters, most notably turning Nightcrawler into a big monster called the Bamf Dragon, and the dialogue revels in the absurdity of the story. For instance, Meltdown comes out of a trance and Domino helpfully exposits, “Some creepy messed with your head and you went a little dim on us. Now he’s dead. You’re cool and his minions are trying to roast us… Kind of a weird day, all things considered.” In another scene, the Darkchilde sits on a park bench munching a hot dog while her lieutenant demon presents a status update. When she realizes that he is holding his detached skull in his own hands, she sighs, “Please tell me a goblin did not take your head.” “No,” he mumbles, “your brother did. He’s quite a bit more impressive with that soulsword in hand.” She rolls her eyes. “Obviously.” These scenes both juxtapose the bizarre with the mundane, a funny experience but one that also pulls in the central theme of Illyana (and the X-Men as a team) trying to balance the strange and exciting adventures with the desire for a normal life. Weirdworld, M.O.D.O.K. Assassin, and many others are having a blast exploring the absurd potential of this crossover setup, but no other book in Secret Wars is having as much fun while clearly showing the tether to the real world.

Honorable Mentions:

Ghost Racers 4, because there’s cool, and then there’s “T-rex riding a fighter jet breathing Hellfire out of its flaming skull” cool.

E Is For Extinction 4 – Don’t get me wrong, this was an awful miniseries and I am worse for having read it, but the scene of possessed Jean Grey obliterating her ex was oddly satisfying.

Hail Hydra 3, because it is almost adorable the way someone thought that a character raised in a fascist state would have university-level language to awkwardly drop a call for a nonexistent political system and that her alternate-reality brother can still make time to condescendingly mansplain the whole stupid world to her. God, this book is so terrible.

Check out Picks of previous weeks here!

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