Welcome Back! This is my column where I highlight the comics that delighted and surprised me for the week, and I’ve got some good ones for you once again!
This comic follows the adventures of the starship Enterprise, in the J.J. Abrams movie continuity. Some storylines are retellings of classic trek episodes that turn out differently with the personality shifts due to the alternate continuity in the characters, but the best ones are the detailed character dives. There was a nice issue on the redshirt who got into the fight with Kirk before he joined Starfleet in the movie, and another on the little dude who follows Scotty around. Both issues were great, really fleshing out these mostly background characters.
This issue focuses on Leonard “Bones” McCoy, and why he really joined Starfleet. And it’s not as simple as a bad divorce, as quipped in the movie, though that’s involved. It’s a very touching story about what drives McCoy, and why he’s so good at being a field doctor on a ship like Enterprise, which is much more experimental and unknown than working in a standard Earth hospital. I’ve never been particularly interested in McCoy, but this issue really made me like and care about him. It’s everything I want in a media tie-in.
This is a relatively new series with an aggressive release schedule, getting it up to #7 already. While DC does strict one issue per month releases on their titles, Marvel is bound by no such conventions, and titles they’re really excited about, like Superior Spider-Man and this one, can come out at a blistering pace. It’s not even as predictable as bi-weekly – sometimes two weeks in a row, sometimes not, it comes when it comes! Perhaps rough for people on a strict budget, but if it’s a title I like and they can maintain quality at that pace, I’m pretty happy with it.
And All New X-Men is quality. The basic set-up is this – at the end of Avengers vs. X-men, Cyclops has one of those turning points in his life, and sets off on a dark path. He’s given up on Xavier’s Dream of humans and mutants living in peace, and has formed a team to find and train new mutants in a militaristic fashion. It’s a grey area as to whether he’s actually a villain at this point, but he’s far from the idealistic youth of the early X-Men days.
And that’s enough to get the X-Men, and Beast in particular, quite agitated. Enough so to use his ranks in Comic Book Science to yank the original X-Men – Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Ice Man, and Angel – from the past and into the present. The idea is that the younger, less jaded versions of the team will be able to confront the modern day Cyclops who has lost his way, and fix things. Or something like that.
Anyway, this issue focuses on young Cyclops. He sneaks away from the main crew and into modern day New York. In addition to a little future shock, dealing with the fact that most of the world knows modern Cyclops as the latest Villain, a visit to a safe deposit box that has some keepsakes from young Cyclops future in it, and eventually a cranky Wolverine who brings him back home, the heart of the issue is a discussion with Raven Darkholme, aka Mystique the blue shapeshifter. It’s a delightful discussion where she manipulates the much more naive young Cyclops into a path that serves her own purposes.
This is a talky issue, but it’s how you do a talky issue well. Plots are afoot, the pieces are in place. Everything’s surely going to explode soon. I’m enjoying the setup a lot, and here’s hoping once the roller coaster starts going downhill, it’ll stay as engaging.
Yes, there’s a comic series companion to the surprisingly popular and good animated series, and I’m pleased to say, it’s worth reading.
The first storyline has the Changelings, whom we saw defeated in the season 2 finale of the television show, back for revenge. In issue #1, they kidnap the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and threaten real danger to them in order to lure Twilight Sparkle and her companions to their lair. The comic series is a touch darker than the television series, suitable for young readers but written with the more adult fandom in mind.
Issues 2 and 3 follow our heroines as they trek to the Changeling Kingdom. The writer, Katie Cook, is really finding the characters voices by this issue. In particular, I think Pinkie Pie is a very hard character to write, bizarre and energetic and random, while being more often funny than annoying, and she nails it. Pinkie’s plan to be able to tell them apart from the Changelings is as brilliant as it is ridiculous, and you have to see it for yourself.
There’s a lot of opinions about the My Little Pony phenomenon, but there’s no denying that these are fun and interesting characters, and the comic series remains true to them and gives us more stories. You probably already know if you’re in the intersection of pony fans and comic readers, and if you are, hey, it’s good, go try it.
And that’s it for this week! Tune in next week, and see what I dub keen from the pile!