This week in the Marvel Rundown, everyone’s least favorite kind of fallout has arrived: election fallout! This review includes X-Spoilers, so proceed with caution.
If you’re looking for some quick spoiler-lite reviews, scroll on down to the Rapid Rundown! And be sure and let The Beat know which Marvel Comics issues were your favorite this week over on social media @comicsbeat.
Secret X-Men #1
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Francesco Mobili
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller
Reviewed by Zoe Tunnell
Secret X-Men is goofy as all hell. That’s a good thing! While it may lead to important plot beats down the road, the X-Men Election fallout one-shot is, at its core, just a silly little romp that revels in its eclectic cast of electoral losers. Given the current drama-filled upheaval across the line between the Inferno fallout and the rise of Destiny of X, I’m grateful to Howard and Mobili for putting out an issue that wants nothing more than to make you laugh at this group of weirdos flung together due to losing a fan election.
If you somehow missed it, a fan vote was held for the final member of the roster of Duggan and Larraz’s X-Men, the winner of which ended up being Polaris. The losers ran the gamut from X-Veterans like Banshee and Cannonball, underutilized fan favorites like Armor, and a few wild cards like Tempo and Marrow. The 9-person group is a weird mish-mash of personalities, histories, and powers, something that Howard is more than happy to use to drive their antics as the impromptu team embarks on a life or death mission in Shi’ar space.
Sunspot and Cannonball serve as the defacto leads of the tale and team, their relationship falling right into the comedy-heavy double act patter that they’ve worn so well since Hickman’s Avengers. The most notable moment for either of them comes from an off-hand remark from Sunspot: Justifying both Banshee and Boom Boom’s place on the team by admitting he finds them sexy. Given the decades of queer readings for both men, it’s one of the strongest nods towards Beto’s bisexuality we’ve gotten yet. Not a full-throated confirmation, but I’ll take it for now.
The rest of the cast is a bit of a mixed bag, with Marrow as the clear standout as an absolute dirtbag disaster thrilled to be out on a mission for once. Mobili’s work with the cast is largely energetic and fun, the only rough points being a few awkward facial expressions. A largely action-less issue, Mobili keeps things flowing and kinetic with what could easily be a stuffy and stiff parade of talking heads. The highlights are found in his design work, with the new Secret X-Men uniforms providing a slick, cohesive look for the team as well as bits of flair like Marrow’s impromptu space suit.
Really, there isn’t much left to say about Secret X-Men and that’s not a bad thing. The one-shot doesn’t overstuff or overstay its welcome and even with a dangling thread to be pulled upon later it stays grounded in its light, comedic vision. If you’re looking for a weighty character study, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re looking for a group of misfit mutants stumbling their way through a goofy space adventure that includes a 4th wall-breaking word puzzle, well, that’s a very specific request but Secret X-Men has you covered.
Final Verdict: Strong Browse.
- Avengers #53
- Jason Aaron and Juan Frigeri serve up another cosmic smash-up as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are ambushed by the new multi-dimensional Masters of Evil. With some great action sequences, cool reveals, and kickass moments, this is a straight high-octane, action-filled adventure, as Black Panther must defend Avengers Mountain from the Doom Above All and Kid Thanos with the help of Valkyrie, Namor, and the last Deathlok from an alternate universe. If you’re good with the long game as this is the third issue in a row of Avengers being attacked (for them it was simultaneously) hopefully these past three issues will culminate in a proper payoff. —GC3
- Moon Knight #8
- Moon Knight #8 by Jed MacKay, Alessandro Cappuccio, Rachelle Rosenberg, Cory Petit, and Cory Smith is labeled as a Devil’s Reign tie-in. While that does hold some water (Dr. Badr’s Fist of Khonshu, Dr. Moon, is standing in for a “predisposed” Marc Spector), fans of this Moon Knight run will not want to miss this chapter regardless of how they feel about the crossover event. Moon Knight (2021) has repeatedly examined themes of faith and religion, through both the developing Midnight Mission and through Spector’s personal past, even forcing him to reckon with how his Judaism squares with his deity-fueled super powers in Moon Knight #5. This issue, which features a Holmes-style narrative frame, spotlights Dr. Moon as he faces off against a fledgling god – one rising out of a neighborhood rumor that sounds a lot like that spooky schoolyard “Blood Mary” story, about how you can summon a vengeful ghost by saying her name into a mirror. An intriguing meditation on the source of our higher powers, and another worthy entry to this stellar Moon Knight series. —AJK
- New Mutants #24
- Vita Ayala’s run on New Mutants has been nothing short of amazing and #24 continues their brilliance. This issue, with art by Danilo Beyruth and Dan Brown, is a denouement between the end of the long arc Ayala started their run with and the “Labors of Magik” arc that’s set to start in April. The comic is jam-packed with character moments and earned triumphs for the whole cast, making it an excellent showcase for how well Ayala writes this series. The best moment has to be between the Proudstar brothers. Avenging John’s death and living up to his name has been a huge part of James’ story over the years and their moment here is a really strong way to end that chapter. I miss Rod Reis, but Beyruth is a great fit for this scene, rendering a heartwarming hug between the Proudstars that captures just how much James needed his brother’s reassurance. Cosmar and Cerebella (formerly No-Girl) also get the spotlight here, finally getting the bodily autonomy they’ve asked for since the Lost Club was formed. This series has consistently been the best part of the X-Men line and the tease at the end of this issue makes me confident that New Mutants will stay that way. —CB
Next week: an all-new, all-different Iron Fist #1, plus an all-star line-up on Marvel’s Voices: Legacy (2022) #1.