Comic Book Review: X-Men/Fantastic Four (2020)

The relevant part of the video above starts at around 2:40.

Details: This miniseries is currently complete. More information can be found at https://www.marvel.com/comics/series/27884/x-menfantastic_four_2020

Score: 6.3/10

This was a very generic superhero team up story that played out exactly how superhero team up stories always play out. Two groups of good guys have a misunderstanding and fight each other, then a bigger bad guy shows up and they have to team up against them. It’s a mundane story only buttressed by the last few panel in the final issue.

Franklin Richards is the son of Reed Richards and Susan Storm and a member of the Fantastic Four. All mutants have united and created a nation where all mutants are welcome. Franklin decides he wants to visit Krakoa and his parents are against it because it seems like a big mutant cult… which it kind of is. Doctor Doom somehow gets involved and they have to team up to fight him. Also worth mentioning is that Franklin is known as one of the most powerful beings in the universe, so everyone benefits from getting him on their side.

The whole conflict feels about as stupid as Civil War or any other superhero team up story. I don’t know why writers feel the need to do this, but they always come up with some dumb idea for disagreement. This is probably because you eventually want the two sides to team up, so you can never have the conflict be too heinous because your publisher will want to return everyone to the former status quo eventually. You can’t have long lasting bad blood.

In any case, their disagreement is dumb. Doom’s involvement makes sense, but is also kind of dumb.

The only panels that had any impact on me were the last few panels between Reed and Professor X. It gave me Illuminati vibes and showed how the X-Men are a bit more ruthless now than they have been.

Overall, this is a skippable story meant to show how the X-Men and the Fantastic Four get along in this new X-Men paradigm. It doesn’t do a great job of that.

Comic Book Review: Empyre: X-Men (2020)

Details: This miniseries is currently completed. More information can be found at https://www.marvel.com/comics/series/30527/empyre_x-men_2020

Score: 7/10

Despite Empyre being a big disappointment, this Empyre: X-Men spinoff miniseries was a lot of fun. It even has a bit of emotion to it.

As per the Empyre miniseries, an alien race called the Cotati are invading the Earth and one of them decides to land on the former mutant nation of Genosha. Unbeknownst to the Cotati, Wanda Maximoff has temporarily turned the millions of mutant corpses on the island into zombies for about thirty days. Hijinks now ensue as the Cotati and the X-Men battle each other while battling millions of superpowered zombies.

My main enjoyment with this book is the comedy. There are lots of funny moments between the X-Men has they deal with this threat. Despite the Cotati being a potentially world ending threat, the X-Men don’t really take it seriously. I mean they do, but they mess around a lot too. Throw in some evil, elderly botanists that were introduced in Hickman’s X-Men series, and you get even more jokes thrown in.

What surprised me though was one specific scene involving the zombie of a mutant and the actual mutant the zombie was based off of. If you’re unfamiliar with the current state of the X-Men in the Marvel Universe, all mutants are basically immortal… but not really. Whenever a mutant dies, a clone of that mutant is created with all their powers and their memories. So in a sense, all mutants are immortal.

Anyways, a mutant named Explodey Boy who has the power of blowing himself up meets with the zombified corpse of himself on Genosha. They have a very moving conversation among themselves. It’s very science fiction-y in that it’s like your future self talking to your younger self, except that it’s your future self talking to your younger, currently dead self and talking about how life has turned out all right for them. It was very strangely moving and elevated the whole story.

Overall, this was a fun read and had just the right amount of emotion added onto the end of it. If you haven’t read Empyre and have a grasp of X-Men comic book lore, you might feel a bit lost though.

Comic Book Review: Empyre (2020)

Details: This miniseries is currently complete. More information can be found at https://www.marvel.com/comics/series/29281/empyre_2020

Score: 5.8/10

Empyre is Marvel’s big summer crossover event. It mostly falls flat. It does little to affect the other Marvel titles and offers little developments within the story.

Two alien civilizations, the Kree and the Skrulls, have united and seek to destroy another alien civilization, the Cotati. The Avengers and the Fantastic Four get involved and the Earth gets put in danger.

This really wasn’t great. In these big summer crossovers, they usually have some big change that affects the entire Marvel universe. There’s nothing like that here. The tie ins are also mostly self contained. That just detracts from the whole event.

The plot itself is also kind of dumb. There’s some big sneaky plot and a true enemy hidden somewhere… but the plot developments were so uninteresting that I didn’t really care.

I suppose if you are a long time comic book fan and are familiar with the first Kree Skrull War event, then you might feel some nostalgia here. However, new comic books fans won’t know and won’t care about the Kree or the Skrulls all that much.

The art is fine. I just wish there better action scenes. The artist here doesn’t rise to the level of Coipel or someone who can draw big splash pages of action well.

Overall, this was a lackluster event. I don’t recommend any one read this and it will have little to no effect on the other Marvel books that are currently in print.

Comic Book Review: X of Swords: Creation (2020) #1

Details: Currently ongoing. More information can be found at https://www.marvel.com/comics/issue/84337/x_of_swords_creation_2020_1

Score: 7.2/10

I’ve been mostly dissapointed by the various X-Men books that were spawned after House of X and Powers of X. I was expecting a tighter, more expansive story. Instead, we get little character moments that are sometimes entertaining, other times boring. There seems to be a lack of an overarching plot. X of Swords changes that and we finally get that main plot line I wanted along with some well drawn action.

As has been established by the other X-Men books currently being published, all the mutants around the world, good and bad, have united and formed their own country. Apocalypse, a former super villain has become and ally and built an interdimensional gate in hopes of saving mutants he’d abandoned in the past. That gate now threatens to unleash an army on the fledgling mutant nation unless the X-Men defeat them in a ten versus ten tournament… involving swords.

It’s a wild story that if told by anyone else or drawn by someone else, probably wouldn’t make sense. But the story is written by Hickman and delivered in a digestible, believable way. The art is drawn by Pepe Larraz and successfully conveys the expansiveness of the story as well as the freneticism of the action.

It’s a fun book and the first big crossover adventure for the current era of X-Men. As in all the other ongoing X-Men books, we get cameos from little known X-Men characters that force the reader to go do some Google-fu and learn more about the franchise. In this book, the character Unus was one that was outside my awareness. I never heard of him and after some internet searching, was surprised by how powerful he was. This guy went toe to toe with the Hulk before.

Overall, I haven’t been excited for an X-Men story like this since House of X and Powers of X. The ongoing series that spawned from that event have been mostly a let down in comparison to the books that spawned them. X Of Swords is a more focused story that clearly has its own plotline to follow. I look forward to the upcoming issues of this story.