Having escaped from the mental hospital via underground tunnels, Marc and his crew explore sand-stormed New York City.
There’s not a lot of dynamic action in this issue, mostly just people walking and talking. But it’s still a treat for the eyes. Smallwood’s layouts and acting are simple yet effective, somewhat reminiscent of a Kubrick film. But Bellaire’s colors give the story an incredible punch.
There’s a lot of white. Every character except for a beat cop wears white. Every single panel is separated by white. Whitespace is even used to create interesting page layouts. Like this upside-down pyramid shape for example.
But the most interesting parts of the coloring are the contrasts. Military greens for the night sky. Crimsons for the bathroom walls. Light yellows and browns for the sand and lit skyscraper windows. They all look so rich and complement the dreamlike atmosphere. It’s part Silent Hill part Pink Floyd part The Mummy.
Plot-wise Lemire chooses to whittle down Marc’s gang to just him and Marlene. It’s a bit disappointing because I liked how they contributed to the plot in previous issues. Since this issue is part 4 out of 5 in the story I’m waiting to see the ending before making final observations.
This is a position I thought I’d never see Konshu in.
I know he saved Gena’s life but she helped him escape from the mental hospital. Seems a bit presumptuous to insist she call her by a more formal name.
I look forward to reading this book more than any other on my pull list right now. There’s so much to like about it. The whole creative team has me on the edge of my seat.
The Titanium Man attacks downtown New York City. Tony Stark dons the Iron Man armor and the two duke it out.
I didn’t like comicbooks much when I read them as a child. I thought they were pretty boring compared to my NES. But one I did like a lot was Invincible Iron Man #135. It showed me the potential that comics had for dynamic, fast-paced action when done well.
Bob Layton and Jerry Bingham share art credit on this issue. The two made me believe a man could fly better than any Superman movie I saw. Almost every page showcases the fight and the two armored combatants soar through every panel.
It’s too bad that the Titanium Man himself is not interesting. He’s just a big green version of Iron Man with a Russian accent. In one page he monologues his backstory to Iron Man/the reader. It’s nothing to write home about but at least it’s short.
This is may be my favorite punch delivered in comics. It’s so simple and elegant and it has perfect timing.
The only time the book slows down is when TM starts monologuing. I always skip this page when I reread it.
I’ll admit a lot of my enjoyment of this book is nostalgic. That said, it does have a few panels and scenes that I’ll never forget. It’s an expertly paced battle issue and each set piece is exciting and different.
Ayo and Aneka arrive at a Wakandan city and find it ransacked. T’challa tracks down Zenzi and confronts her and Tetu. In The Djalia Shuri speaks with a mysterious woman.
My main problem with the story so far is that the plot threads are not tying together well. So far in the series there are four main plot threads:
Ayo and Aneka gather followers to defend Wakanda in Black Panther’s absence.
Tetu and Zenzi gather followers to take down the current regime.
Black Panther tracks down Zenzi for instilling the riot at the vibranium mine.
Shuri discovering the mysteries of The Djalia.
On their own they are all interesting stories. But it’s frustrating because too much of each doesn’t involve the other characters. At the start we get a 4 page display of Tetu’s powers. Then there’s a scene where T’challa speaks with his mother and prepares for battle. Then Ayo and Aneka discover the ruined city. Then Shuri speaks with the woman in The Djalia. 10 pages in and none of the main characters have interacted with each other.
Once that’s done there’s a great scene where T’challa confronts Tetu and Zenzi. Here the issue starts to come together and reach it’s potential.
The reveal of T’challa’s War Dogs is pretty great. I like their design a lot. And Black Panther stands out even more than usual when fighting alongside them. Shame we don’t get much of them in the book.
Black Panther picks a baddie off the ground by the head and smacks another with him. Awesome.
The cover is everything I find frustrating about the issue. T’challa doesn’t confront Ayo and Aneka and it would be so much better if he did. At least it looks gorgeous just like everything else.
I don’t want to sound too negative. Stelfreeze’s art is beautiful and Coates’ dialog is crisp and punchy. The book is close to achieving greatness. The parts just need to gel together a little more.
The story flashes forward several years. Max is middle aged and Riches has taken over NYC Biff Tannen style. During a party at the Empire State Building, the two confront each other.
I enjoyed the conclusion of Max’s adventure quite a bit. It’s a tragic ending that feels appropriate yet satisfying. I can’t think of a better ending for him. It’s somewhat pathetic that he goes out taking down a low-rent character like Riches. But that suits the story just fine. When placed next to almost any X-Man Max becomes a pathetic character.
Also the book has a couple of good gags in the established tone of the previous 5 issues. Max is an outcast among outcasts but he’s also a white, straight, cis male. It’s played for comedy and executed well.
I have a pretty short experience reading X-Men comics, so I only recognize 1 of these characters. I think I have more fun imagining a die-hard X-Men fan’s reaction to this than coming up with my own opinion.
The reveal that Miranda has been the cause of the constant reboots in the Marvel universe. I don’t think it’s outright bad. It’s a clever use of an omnipotent character during a final issue of an elseworlds series. But it’s also a predictable one.
A great ending to the only X-Men book I’ve been reading since the relaunch. It’s sad that Bemis, Walsh, and Redmond’s book has to end here. But like Max, at least they went out with a bang.