Archive for March, 2015

Wolverine/Doop #1 of 2

March 31, 2015

Wolverine-Doop 1 of 2Peter Milligan // Darwyn Cooke
early July 2003
*****

Like last month’s fill-in, July sees an irregular X-Statix. Milligan abandons the pop satire for a gonzo mini focusing on Doop, the team’s alien-fonted potato monster. He & old pal Wolverine drink hard as they search for a pink mink (as in ‘stole’) that has mutant powers of bewitchment!

continued from X-Statix #10
next issue: Wolverine/Doop #2 of 2

also indexed for Jul. ’02
Alias #22
Daredevil #47
Fantastic Four #69
New X-Men #141
Wolverine/Doop #2 of 2

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X-Statix #10

March 30, 2015

X-Statix 10Peter Milligan // Philip Bond
June 2003
*****

Death doesn’t stop Edie Sawyer from getting an origin issue—she’s haunting this mag just like Jean Grey did Claremont’s mid-era X-Men. It’s a sour Hollywood tale even once she invents herself to become an X-star. Bond, w/ a thick-lined cartoon style, continues the run’s roll of superb bullpen artists.

continued in Wolverine/Doop #1 of 2
last issue: X-Statix #9
next issue: X-Statix #11

also indexed for Jun .’03
Alias #21
Daredevil #46
Fantastic Four #68
New X-Men #139
New X-Men #140

X-Statix #9

March 29, 2015

X-Statix 09Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
May 2003
****

A visit to Hollywood—in the ’60s a standard plot, & perfect for this mag. It advances the love triangle btw Venus DM, Mr. Sensitive, & U-Go Girl via a flirty starlet playing the late heroine. #9 also develops Tike A, in his new role as team leader, his racial views, & in his manifestations of OCD.

last issue: X-Statix #8
next issue: X-Statix #11

also indexed for May ’03
Alias #20
Daredevil #45
Fantastic Four #67
New X-Men #138

X-Statix #8

March 28, 2015

X-Statix 08Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
April 2003
****

Supplying what #7 lacked, #8 explains that the arc’s monster has manifested as Venus DM’s worst nightmare. Plus a fraternal reconciliation btw Guy Smith & Tike Alicar, a sororal moment btw VDM & Dead Girl, & best of all, a Doop’s-eye-perspec on VDM’s loss of virginity, as she teleports to ‘heaven’!

last issue: X-Statix #7
next issue: X-Statix #9

also indexed for Apr. ’03
Alias #19
Daredevil #43
Daredevil #44
Fantastic Four #66
New X-Men #137

X-Statix #7

March 27, 2015

X-Statix 07Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
March 2003
***

This 3-issue arc spotlights Venus Dee Milo, a black girl (yay!) made of Kirby Dots & fitted by Prof X with a red latex suit. Crushing on Mr. Sensitive, she’s facing an evil mirror-self: an extra-dimensional monster also fitted w/ X-suits. It’s a solid concept but doesn’t inform her character.

last issue: X-Statix #6
next issue: X-Statix #8

also indexed for Mar. ’03
Alias #18
Daredevil #41
Daredevil #42
Fantastic Four #65
New X-Men #136

X-Statix #6

March 26, 2015

X-Statix 06Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
February 2003
****

It’s Professor X, designing suits that help a mutant control his or her powers! But the gear’s been stolen by a supervillain—is it Mr. Sensitive, in disgrace after last issue’s intrigue? Doubtful, but that set-up, plus the destruction on Rodeo Drive recall the original X-mag at its (low) best.

last issue: X-Statix #5
next issue: X-Statix #7

also indexed for Feb. ’03
Alias #17
Daredevil #40
Fantastic Four #64
New X-Men #135

X-Statix #5

March 25, 2015

X-Statix 05Peter Milligan // Paul Pope
January 2003
*****

Mr. Sensitive has Lacuna (“the 8th member of X-Statix”) assassinate his new & highly dangerous recruit mid-mission. In one dark issue, Milligan undercuts my misgivings about a loss of edge. He’s also more savage, less tolerant, of celebrity worship—a theme enhanced by Pope’s lovely ugliness.

last issue: X-Statix #4
next issue: X-Statix #6

also indexed for Jan. ’03
Alias #16
Daredevil #39
Fantastic Four #63
New X-Men #134

X-Statix #4

March 24, 2015

X-Statix 04Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
December 2002
****

The Orphan, AKA Mr. Sensitive (a better moniker, as one character points out) rouses his dispirited teammates into action by facing solo a 13-year-old misfit who can alter reality. As usual, excellent technique in script & art—though the view of superheroism is sentimental rather than satiric.

last issue: X-Statix #3
next issue: X-Statix #5

also indexed for Dec. 02
Alias #15
Daredevil #38
Fantastic Four #62
New X-Men #133

X-Statix #3

March 23, 2015

X-Statix 03Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
November 2002
****

X-Statix disintegrates in the wake of U-Go Girl’s death, while a rival team of celebrity mutants face a small-town kid w/ reality-altering powers out of The Twilight Zone. Allred’s charming, retro art plays against the horror—note how this arc’s shyster looks like a Moldoff/Sprang Bat-character!

last issue: X-Statix #2
next issue: X-Statix #4

also indexed for Nov. ’02
Alias #14
Daredevil #37
Fantastic Four #61
New X-Men #132

X-Statix #2

March 22, 2015

X-Statix 02Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2002
****

This arc intros a prefab, fame-hungry superteam (AKA O-Force) as foils to show how far this mag’s heroes have come in its first year. While Milligan keeps tossing out fun concepts (like the dysmorphic Phat’s conflict w/ queerness & class), his second act has slowed, as if in mourning for U-Go Girl.

last issue: X-Statix #1
next issue: X-Statix#3

also indexed for Oct. ’02
Alias #13
Daredevil #36
Fantastic Four #60
New X-Men #130
New X-Men #131

X-Statix #1

March 21, 2015

X-Statix 01A-story: Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
B-story: Peter Milligan // Darwyn Cooke
September 2002
A-story: ****
B-story: ****

This gonzo, au currant approach to superteams gets a rename. Too bad: the franchise exploitation was central to the theme & part of the fun. More to the point, the new #1 is more an act-two opener & not the revolution that #117 was. U-Go Girl’s replacement (a girl made of Kirby dots) has immediate visual appeal. A back-up is a macabre riff with Doop on the stale Blair Witch.

continued from X-Force #129
next issue: X-Statix #2

also indexed for Sept. ’02
Alias #11
Alias #12
Avengers #56
Daredevil #35
New X-Men #129

X-Force #129

March 20, 2015

X-Force 129Peter Milligan // Duncan Fegredo
August 2002
****

The team grieves over U-Go Girl’s death (the Spike’s, not so much). Milligan peppers a transitional ish w/ a bevy of high-concept ideas, like arena matches to audition her replacement, & a mutant agent for mutants. Morrison collab Fegredo’s shadows have an emo atmo—so why isn’t he on New X-M?

continued in X-Statix #1
last issue: X-Force #128

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
Avengers #55
Daredevil #34
New X-Men #127
New X-Men #128

X-Force #128

March 19, 2015

X-Force 128Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
July 2002
*****

As foreshadowed, one of the heroes gets killed in action, tho’ the creative team expertly wring tension & drama from feints & red herrings. Even better, Allred lays out several lovely pages—not just Edie’s death scene or funeral either. In a nice contrast to #116, this death is genuinely moving.

last issue: X-Force #127
next issue: X-Force #129

also indexed for Jul. ’02
Alias #9
Avengers #54
Daredevil #33
New X-Men #126

X-Force #127

March 18, 2015

X-Force 127Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
June 2002
****

Cleverly, this mission into orbit stems from Mr. Sensitive’s decision to save a kid from corporate organ harvesters, which gives X-F‘s first year a sturdy arc. W/ the main triumvirate (& Doop!) shot into deep space, the b-team must foil a rogue CIA operative—not noticing their most rebellious member has been replaced!

last issue: X-Force #126
next issue: X-Force #128

also indexed for June ’02
Alias #8
Avengers #53
Daredevil #32
New X-Men #125

X-Force #126

March 17, 2015

X-Force 126Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
May 2002
****

A formulaic plot—rocket to a space station, save the crew from monsters—gets jazzed up by X-F‘s creative team. There’s Dead Girl, the new teammate whose power, it seems, is to resurrect (rather gruesomely). Plus Phat & Vivisector come out of the closet! And those monsters have a nicely Kirby look.

last issue: X-Force #125
next issue: X-Force #127

also indexed for May ’02
Alias #7
Avengers #52
Daredevil #31
New X-Men #124

X-Force #125

March 16, 2015

X-Force 125Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
April 2002
****

This cover nods to 1950s horror comics while paying homage to the early Silver Age. Even better, it actually stages a moment in the ish! It also raises the stakes—who will die on a CIA-planned Big Pharma-sponsored mission into orbit in a mag where even the main chars are expendable?

last issue: X-Force #124
next issue: X-Force #126

also indexed for Apr. ’02
Alias #6
Avengers #51
Daredevil #30
New X-Men #123

X-Force #124

March 15, 2015

X-Force 124Peter Milligan // Darwyn Cooke
March 2002
*****

A one-off covers the backstory to Edie Sawyer (AKA U-Go Girl, a great moniker). She’d abandoned a kid back home, & her power to teleport stands in for her escapist denial. It’s bold & played for comedic pathos, not melodrama. Cooke’s jazzy ’50s retro is a perfect sub for the mag, hot to Allred’s cool.

last issue: X-Force #123
next issue: X-Force #125

also indexed for Mar. ’02
Alias #5
Avengers #50
Daredevil #29
New X-Men #122

X-Force #123

March 14, 2015

X-Force 123Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
February 2002
****

Feb ’02’s “Nuff Said” gimmick: dialogue-free comics. Milligan echoes Morrison in New X-Men by penning a surreal adventure within someone’s head. But instead of character reveals, X-F goes gonzo: a popped pimple opens a vortex into Doop’s noggin, so the tator folds itself inside out to rescue the team!

last issue: X-Force #122
next issue: X-Force #124

also indexed for Feb. ’02
Alias #4
Avengers #49
Daredevil #28
New X-Men #121

X-Force #122

March 13, 2015

X-Force 122Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
January 2002
*****

Slapstick satire! An aspiring X-Forcer causes havoc on the set of Larry King, netting her own talk show. Meanwhile Tyke Alicar admits he doesn’t want another African-American to join—not because the rookie is ‘more street’ but because pop culture (EG comics) won’t allow two black men on one team!

last issue: X-Force #121
next issue: X-Force #123

also indexed for Jan. ’02
Alias #3
Avengers #48
Daredevil #27
New X-Men #120

X-Force #121

March 12, 2015

X-Force 121Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
December 2001
*****

Arcs about drafting new teammates can be dire, but Milligan revises the trope by pinching lurid voyeurism from reality TV (newly popular in the UK & US). A pair of wannabes apply for membership, a flibbertigibbet and a street tough, while the team’s second-tier goof-offs look to raise their profiles.

last issue: X-Force #120
next issue: X-Force #122

also indexed for Dec. ’01
Alias #2
Avengers #47
Daredevil #26
New X-Men #119

X-Force #120

March 11, 2015

X-Force 120Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
November 2001
****

No surprise the manager (modeled on J. Kirby!?) was manipulating the new X-Force, or that he’d arranged their deaths. But the execution’s superb, w/ guest-star Wolverine playing the cavalry as a favor for Doop, that weird, spud-like cameraman who speaks in alien font & has sinister plans for the team!

last issue: X-Force #119
next issue: X-Force #121

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers #46
Avengers: The Ultron Imperative #1 of 1
New X-Men #118

X-Force #119

March 10, 2015

X-Force 119Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2001
****

After the team racks up another dead member, it turns on its manager for trying to harvest a mutant kid’s organs. The twist leaves U-Go Girl (a Holly Golightly type, incl. Ozark upbringing) in an ethical quandary. Surprisingly X-Force turns out to be moral about superheroics, even sentimental!

last issue: X-Force #118
next issue: X-Force #120

also indexed for Oct. ’01
Avengers #45
New X-Men #117

X-Force #118

March 9, 2015

X-Force 118Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
July 2001
****

Another member bites the dust mid-mission (rescue an Elian Gonzalez-type from a banana republic’s mad scientists). Much of X-F‘s appeal is the with-it tone, so rare in Marvel comics (esp. ’90s X-mags). But it also returns to the craft of Claremont, w/ soapy conflicts deriving from personalities.

last issue: X-Force #117
next issue: X-Force #119

also indexed for Jul. ’01
Avengers #42
Daredevil #18
New X-Men #114

X-Force #117

March 8, 2015

X-Force 117Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
June 2001
*****

Having killed off the whole team, Milligan gives a new set of mutants the reality-star treatment. The focus is on Mr. Sensitive, so hyper-delicate he’s got super-senses & an emo attitude! In a twist on an old Marvel formula, the former New Mutants challenge the team over the trademark for “X-Force”!

last issue: X-Force #116
next issue: X-Force #118

also indexed for Jun. ’01
Avengers #41
Daredevil #17

X-Force #116

March 7, 2015

X-Force 116Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
May 2001
*****

Another excellent premiere issue in Marvel ’00s radical re-envisioning. Since the ’90s, Marvel’s mutants have been ubiquitous & cool; here they’re treated like athletes & celebrities. Allred provides a great ironic-pop style. And the subversive twist: the team gets offed, & viscera everywhere!

last issue: X-Force #115
next issue: X-Force #117

also indexed for May ’01
Avengers #40
Daredevil #16

The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

March 6, 2015

Sentry-Void 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
February 2001
****

No surprise that the Void is the Sentry’s negative aspect, since it’s been a metaphor for depression all along. But his hook—erasure from continuity—is a fruitful & unique experiment for Marvel, albeit one better off left to stand alone (one more fault in Bendis’ awful, epic Avengers run).

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued from The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

March 5, 2015

Sentry-X-Men 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Mark Texiera
February 2001
****

Kirby & Lee’s original mutants help this mini’s Superman surrogate fight a loony ’60s-style foe in a pitch-perfect flashback. The art—here M-Tex, painterly yet dynamic—makes or breaks these Sentry one-shots. This one also shows off the protag’s simple, golden heroism better by showing less of him.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1

March 4, 2015

Sentry-Spider-Man 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Rick Leonardi
February 2001
***

Before his erasure from Marvel, the Sentry had helped Parker grow up—netting him a Pulitzer photo & fame! Bronze Age Spidey is a perfect vehicle for the Void-as-depression theme, & tonally S/S-M reads like a lost issue of Marvel Team-Up. But with yeoman’s work by Leonardi, it’s about as forgettable.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1

March 3, 2015

Sentry-Hulk 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Bill Sienkowicz
February 2001
*****

This mini’s idea is that the Sentry had been central to early Marvel, but he’s been erased from memory—diagetically & exegetically! That “accounts” for Hulk‘s cancellation in ’63: before that, S’s support had helped the public accept the H! Sienkowicz proves a perfect Hulk artist, surprising no one.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1

March 2, 2015

Sentry-Fantastic Four 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Phil Winslade
February 2001
***

Though Jenkins cleverly presents this as a “lost” issue of Startling Tales, the device is undercut by a flashback frame & fairly conventional super-comics art (albeit w/ a touch of period Neal Adams). The bigger problem is, it tells us nothing new about the friendship btw the Sentry & Mr. F.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry #5 of 5

March 1, 2015

Sentry 5 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
January 2001
*****

The retcon acts as an ingenious device in this mini by casting an (ostensibly) unfilled role in Marvel’s Silver Age. The respect the Sentry’s accorded by other superheroes—incl. Mr. F, his unlikely Judas—and the world sell the story, maybe making it the best Superman arc since A. Moore’s Supreme.

continued in The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1
last issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36
Maximum Security #3 of 3