We say goodbye to another Marvel masterpiece, X-Men Gold. Plus, some thoughts on Batman, Justice League and The Legion of Doom.
Batman #55 (DC Comics)
The Dark Knight is back.
Tom King’s over fifty issue run on Batman has evolved into much more than just a character study. While that’s certainly a core aspect of it, King has laid the groundwork well enough where he is now able to head back into Batman’s wider-world. For instance, in this issue Batman and Nightwing face-off against an army of un-dead mummies. There’s even quite a bit of joking around and with The Bat back in a more traditional costume, there’s deserved timelessness to it all. Not that he hasn’t ever before, but King is really channeling Batman: The Animated Series here. Tony Daniel and Dan Miki’s art pairs well with the tale, which visually refers to Jim Lee’s Hush work throughout. The Caped Crusader is back in classic form, and so are the twist endings.
Justice League #8 (DC Comics)
James Tynion IV, Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox present this issue of Justice League, which features another of Tynion’s superb Legion of Doom interludes.
What a rush.
Justice League‘s team has really done a wonderful job of picking up from Metal, and this features the heralded introduction of The Batman Who Laughs into the LoD roster. It’s all good fun, but it’s the art that really takes the cake in this issue, and not just the pencils. While Janin does a superb job, Jeromy Cox’ coloring is something to behold. Assisted by the gorgeous new stock that DC has been introducing, Cox’ colors have a depth rarely executed in comics. Even if you haven’t caught up, this one is worth it for the eye candy.
Pick of the Week: X-Men Gold #36 (Marvel Comics)
I’m sick of eulogizing my favorite Marvel books.
In the Spring of 2017, when rumors of a new direction for the X-Men books had been making the rounds, I can’t say I was paying much attention. I had sampled X-Books here and there, but since the Utopia era, I really couldn’t get into it. The Merry Mutants just seemed lost, and with a critical view of a lot of Marvel’s books at the time, I lacked faith in the brand.
Then I saw the cover for X-Men Gold #1, with a team that was clearly pointed towards Excalibur and X-Men past. I had to give it a shot. For 36 issues, Marc Guggenheim, along with some terrific artists, demonstrated that you could write new X-Men stories with their classic feel and without massive ret-cons. X-Men Gold always paid tribute to the past, but had no problem moving forward. Guggenheim always retained a nice balance between action and gravity, but this issue is especially perfected.
The X-Men, by design, are politically charged. When written well it, it goes even deeper than that. X-Men titles are driven by morals and ethics deeper than the typical superhero yarn. That said, The X-Men don’t deal with government policy, they deal with right and wrong. This issue is entitled “Feared and Hated“, and if I ever get to write X-Men, my first issue will carry the same title. The fear and hatred of mutants is the emotional core of X-Men. It is the audience’s acceptance of this that has driven its popularity for years. When it isn’t present, the concept simply doesn’t work as well. For his last issue, Guggenheim, along with Pere Pérez and Jay David Ramos, focus on this for their last few pages of X-Men Gold.
It creates one of the greatest single issue X-Men tales, and hopefully will guide the coming The Uncanny X-Men relaunch.