Personal confession time: I love events! I love giant, bombastic events taking place in huge, shared universes, I just don’t think that most of them are very good. Oftentimes, people lose sight of what they are trying to say with a storyline or wait too long to give us the huge payoff of the fight scene. Worse still, events can wait too long to establish real stakes or have too much dumb fisticuffs devoid of any or all political intrigue. Inhumans Vs. X-Men #1 was a cut above other events’ intros because of how effectively it established character, stakes and intrigue. However, how does the second issue hold up? Find out in the newest installment of The Marvel Rundown!

ivx2016002_covdzybmInhumans Vs. X-Men #2

Writer: Charles Soule
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Penciler: Leinil Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorist: David Curiel
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

When we covered the first chapter of Inhumans Vs. X-Men, I noted that the X-Men franchise has had trouble a finding a clear, concise direction and motivation. Inhumans Vs. X-Men is a bit of a (dare I say it) GAME CHANGER now that Beast has discovered that the Earth will become uninhabitable by the X-Men should the Inhumans continue their current operation. The Inhumans are not going to stop the spread of the Terrigen Mists and the two teams at least for the moment now have a clear reason why they are coming to blows with each other, a reason that doesn’t seem as vague as fighting over some magical oracle with the ability of predictive justice or fighting over some magical mutant messiah.

If Death of X was an opening salvo, this is the issue that finally kicks Inhumans Vs. X-Men into a higher gear. The book starts by giving us the vantage point of the current state of the Inhumans, which was almost lacking last chapter. The team then goes into a defensive panic against the surprise attack launched by the X-Men, then a huge battle ensues. I’m really happy to see the two teams duking it out here, as writers Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire could have easily waited several issues into kick off a truly epic fight from the team, but last issue set this whole event into motion with a wonderfully swift pacing that I really appreciate. I can point to several event series that are still wasting time setting up the stakes of the storyline two issues into the storyline.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the current slate of Inhumans titles, this comic is very friendly. Soule glacially introduces the Royal Family of Inhumans, complete with a few of the stragglers that are essential to the operation with ease. This comic is an X-Men story first, but the ramifications for the Inhumans books are still going to be very important to both franchises. In other words, the storylines seen in this issue propel this comic along nicely with an understated tone that still divides nicely into some of the political ramifications for both teams in the story.

I was first introduced to Leinil Yu a decade ago (holy crap) in Secret Invasion. The artist impressed me with his ability to render huge fight sequences with so much detail and he hasn’t missed a beat here. If anything Yu’s layouts and camera angles are more interesting than ever before. I really enjoy Yu, inker Gerry Alanguilan and colorist David Curiel’s use of shadow that always plays a prominent role in Yu’s work. The colors in the issue are so bright and vivid and a big part of what makes it so easy to tell the many, many characters in this storyline apart. The entire art team has chosen some really dynamic and action packed ways to color, draw and ink this event while still making the series concise and easy to read through.

I read some painfully half-baked and underdeveloped comic book events in 2016. I read storylines that were close to breaking chains of logic or stories that had too many characters or factions of team to convey a focused idea. I read events that were not paced correctly, stories that had nothing new to say about characters and events that missed key moments of drama that would have made an event storyline excel. Inhumans Vs. X-Men has not fallen into any of those traps yet and really has a unique potential to push both franchises forward… and it has wonderful artwork!

Verdict: Pick it up!

444655-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_The Mighty Thor #15

Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencils: Russell Dauterman
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters & Production: VC’s Joe Sabino

For as many comics as I read, Jason Aaron’s Thor might be the most consistent and best series on the stand. Period. Unofficially, Aaron started writing the comic in 2012 with Thor: God of Thunder. While the series may not have the same name or even lead character, so many themes and ideas remain consistent with this current Thor series. For the first time since Jane Foster picked up the hammer or fought the God Butcher, the series is gearing up for a major event storyline with part one of the Asgard/Shi’ar war, the funny thing here is that the comic has just featured a major large-scale conflict, but now the synopsis of the issue teases that another enemy is approaching. Unfortunately, I haven’t read the Kree/Skrull War, so I can’t point to any similarities in that storyline that might echo this one, but I can offer an in-depth analysis on the issue!

With Aaron’s current Dr. Strange book at Marvel, it seems clear that the author loves utilizing some really wild narration overlaid on minor cast members building towards an epic scale. Grounding the lead character is another technique that the author uses to make characters as powerful as Thor and Dr. Strange level-headed despite their immense power. Aaron is really creative with his use of the different Shi’ar characters that he adds to this story, one character in particular will have Jonathan Hickman readers squealing with delight.

I hate how Russell Dauterman seemingly doesn’t get the acknowledgement he deserves for his consistent and excellent pencils that the artist lends to this series. The poses for each sequence and fight scene are so dynamic and Matthew Wilson’s colors assault the page, really making Thor standout amongst other books in the main Marvel line for all the right reasons. Opening up this series every month has been an absolute pleasure from the unique letters and production from VC’s Joe Sabino to the creative, hyper-detailed work that Dauterman so consistently lends to this series with layouts, character pages and more.

This issue retains the grace of Aaron and Dauterman’s Thor but doesn’t quite retain a truly epic sense of scope yet for this series. With more layers added, this storyline could build towards a larger scope, but the comic still feels so restrained. This is another truly exceptional issue of The Mighty Thor, hitting all the right beats of the series, but it isn’t the huge storyline that’s going to attract a swath of new readers. While this issue is perfectly accessible to new readers of The Mighty Thor, why would you want to miss an issue of my favorite Marvel comic currently on the stands?

Verdict: Buy, but start with the beginning of the run in Thor: God of Thunder!

spider-man-12-216129Spider-Man #12

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colors: Justin Ponsor

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…the explanation behind that kiss!

Wait…is this the wrong comic book? This is another storyline that author Brian Michael Bendis will seemingly dole out over such an extended amount of time that by that WHEN readers finally get some sort of dramatic payoff, we might not be invested at all. While I understand and appreciate the fact that this book is trying to do something unique in with delaying the big payoff of the story, the framing device set around the tale takes away from some of the intrigue inside the story that was setup in the surprisingly tense last issue full of Steranko-esque super spy intrigue.

This probably isn’t the best issue of the comic to start with as the comic includes lots of older characters and a threat that was established an issue ago. For many years, Miles Morales was my favorite ongoing at Marvel, but since the publisher displaced the hero from his immediate world and placed him into the main Marvel Universe, his ties and continuity to what has already been established have felt missing and hollow. This book has had weird characters bleeding in and out of issues since the beginning, for instance I would have liked to see Spider-Man interacting with Miles on a more consistent basis, but the book seems to shift focus so frequently after the first few issues, instead we’ve gotten a few random drop-in appearances from a Z-list X-Men and…Civil War II, which doesn’t mean a whole lot for Miles’ life right now anyways? Did I mention that last issue barely featured Miles Morales at all?

Sara Pichelli’s art is enjoyable, but sometimes characters and environments look different from one page to the next and her environments are sparse. Taken as a whole however, this book still has a very high production value and some excellent colors. Pichelli is great at imbuing everyone in the book with lots of personality and tone.

This volume of Amazing Spider-Man seems so unfocused and adding Spider-Gwen to the mix makes this comic meander towards nothing-ness in a lacking, uninspired manner.

Verdict: Pass. You’ll get a kiss, but you won’t be satisfied.

We got to to take a closer look at some really great books this week! Check in next week for the debut of a brand new event! That’s right, we’ve got your first taste of Monsters Unleashed and a hero returns in the pages of Mighty Captain Marvel! You aren’t going to want miss out! See you in seven!