Tag Archives: House of X

What Recent X-Men Comics Can Teach Us About Present (And Future) Politics

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Trying to make sense of politics is like trying to understand quantum mechanics while stoned. The process of governing humanity has always been tricky. Ever since we exchanged our basic hunter/gatherer ways for a more formal system of order, the process has only become more difficult over time. You don’t have to look far to see the complexities and the overall absurdities of politics.

I’ve tried to talk about politics before, albeit with a limited focus on hot-button issues. I never claim to be an expert or an authority on the matter. I’m an aspiring erotica/romance writer. My understanding of politics is as limited as most people who don’t live, work, and breath these issues. Despite those limitations, I still want to make an effort to talk politics in a novel way.

As it just so happens, I’ve come up with just such a way and it involves X-Men comics. Considering how much I’ve written about X-Men and superhero comics in general, this should surprise no one.

More specifically, I want to take the events that have been unfolding in the X-Men comics for the past two years and use it to make sense of the current state politics. I also want to use it to speculate a bit on where these politics might lead us. Again, I am not even close to an expert, but I do believe that art and media have an uncanny way of shining a light on the real world and there are few narratives more uncanny than the X-Men.

The current state of politics, especially in the United States and Western Europe, has been dominated by polarization. More and more, citizens are becoming more tribal. On top of that, people are becoming more divided. That’s not just an anecdote, either. According to Pew Research, the public has become more ideologically split over the past 20 years and it’s only getting worse.

Rather than try to make sense of these decade-long trends, I want to apply it to the politics in the X-Men comics. More than any other superhero comic or franchise, politics are a major driving force for the X-Men, more so than killer robots. Co-creator, Stan Lee, stated that the inspiration for the X-Men was drawn from the ongoing Civil Rights movement that was in full swing in the early 1960s.

Over the years, this idea of mutants being an oppressed minority who were hated and feared for being different has been the driving force behind the X-Men’s story. It is also a big part of what helped them gain such a wide appeal. Some of the X-Men’s most iconic stories come from conflicts inspired by the hate and fear that ordinary humans feel towards mutants.

In the real world, hatred and fear are powerful forces that don’t need killer robots to cause upheaval. Hatred and fear is at the heart of debates surrounding migrants and immigrants. That same hatred and fear is at the heart of the political polarization.

Liberals hate and fear conservatives because they think they want to turn the world into one big plantation ruled by rich, wealthy slave-owners.

Conservatives hate and fear liberals because they think they want to abandon their heritage, punish people for the sins of their ancestors, and micromanage their lives.

In the world of X-Men, humans hate and fear mutants because they think they’re too dangerous, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. On top of that, if they truly are a new species, then that means their survival means humanity’s extinction.

The parallels aren’t perfect, but they are there. Mutants aren’t just a metaphor for any minority who has been oppressed, segregated, and denigrated. They represent just how divided two groups can be. Constant conflict ensures that hatred and fear will fester. However, it’s the events of House of X and Powers of X that the entire concept of X-Men has gained greater political relevance.

In case you haven’t been following superhero comics, the details of these events are many, but the theme is relatively simple. After years of fighting, running, surviving, and being marginalized because of movie rights, the entire mutant race has decided to reorganize themselves into a new society.

This isn’t some exclusive club or superhero team. With help from Charles Xavier and the powerful foresight provided by Moira MacTaggart, the mutants of the Marvel Universe have united within a new homeland, which happens to be a living island. They also have their own mysterious language that only they understand. They are essentially establishing themselves as a new political entity.

In the scope of the X-Men’s 50-plus year history, the idea isn’t new. There have been multiple efforts over the years to give mutants a homeland. One was called Genosha. One was called Utopia. Both enjoyed some measure of short-term success, but both ended up destroyed or abandoned. The reasons for this aren’t important. What sets them apart from Krakoa is the scale.

To understand it in a real-world context, think of Genosha and Utopia as enclaves within a community. They’re akin to neighborhoods in America or Europe that are predominantly populated by a particular ethnic group or religion. Many are quite successful in their own right. Others have become the sites of atrocities and tragedies.

What the mutants are doing with Krakoa in the comics is something bigger than an enclave. They’re not just seeking to be recognized as a full-fledged country, either. Charles Xavier, the X-Men, and every other mutant is building Krakoa to be a society that can function with or without humanity. It’s not land borrowed from humans. It’s land that’s theirs and theirs alone.

That’s not to say Krakoa operates in isolation, as Wakanda once did. They actually seek to maintain diplomatic relations with the world. They even have valuable resources with which to trade. They don’t have to make these kinds of deals, but under Charles Xavier, they do anyway. It culminates in “House of X #5,” in which Krakoa gains formal recognition by the UN.

This is where the politics of the X-Men comics add some necessary nuance to what we’re seeing in the real world. When people feel marginalized, they tend to feel unwelcome. Even if you are legally an American, a German, an Italian, or a Wakandan, being hated and feared by a large segment of the country makes you feel like you don’t belong.

Between divided polls and America’s colorful electoral map, it’s not hard for anyone to feel out of place. The added polarization provided by the internet, social media, and cable news only adds to the divisions and the animosity. As a result, people naturally retreat into groups and tribes where they feel welcome. Whether it’s a political group, a religious group, or an identity, they seek some form of sanctuary.

In doing so, these groups essentially create their own little world within their community. It’s a world that might as well be a separate reality from what others see. It’s how different people can see the same facts, but have wildly different interpretations. Their brains are still working and the facts are still facts. It’s how they apply them to their world that’s different.

Each group feels they don’t belong. They may even feel victimized. It doesn’t matter if the group happens to make up the vast majority of the population. They still feel like they’re the ones under attack, not unlike the X-Men when they constantly confront fearful, hate-filled humans. They act as though they need to carve their own place in the world and defend it at all costs.

This is where House of X and Powers of X can provide some possible insights into the future of politics. To some extent, Krakoa is a natural byproduct of mutants being hunted, attacked, and denigrated at every turn. They tried isolating themselves on islands. They tried living among humans, sometimes in their most populated cities. Now, they’re trying something bigger.

It’s not exactly peaceful and not everyone understands it, which seems antithetical to Charles Xavier’s dream. However, it’s pragmatic in a very political sense. They have a homeland that they can control. They have barriers for entering and exiting that homeland. Nobody who isn’t authorized can enter it. It’s basically the ultimate immigration control.

On top of that, it has valuable resources that the rest of the world wants. The mutants of Krakoa are willing to share them, but only if they respect their new homeland and treat it like a legitimate country with its own culture, laws, and norms. In a world where people constantly attack others for not respecting their culture or norms, it feels like the ultimate endgame of sorts.

Those who want their culture and way of life preserved will only have more incentive to become more organized. If they keep feeling hatred and fear, they may look for ways to simply function without those they feel don’t belong. People won’t just become more ideologically divided. They may end up more divided in a very literal sense.

It’s the ultimate manifestation of our natural tribal instincts. We seek to join, maintain, and protect our tribe from others, be they real or imagined. It doesn’t matter if there are objective facts that show our tribe is somehow wrong or misguided. We still feel inclined to protect it at all cost.

This era of X-Men comics has been exciting. Writer, Jonathan Hickman, has turned the X-Men from just another superhero team into a blossoming community with its own culture, identity, and borders. As an X-Men fan, I’ve been enjoying it a great deal. As someone in the real world who can’t always avoid politics, it leaves me worried about just how divided we’ll ultimately become.

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New Comic Book Day July 7, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

Getting into comics can be daunting. That’s unavoidable when some of these comics have hundreds of issues and half-a-century of continuity to deal with. I remember how overwhelming it was for me. Then again, I was a kid at the time. Everything that didn’t involve Nintendo games seemed overwhelming to me. I still managed. It didn’t take me too long to get a firm understanding of the elaborate lore surrounding Marvel, DC, Image, and Dark Horse.

Keep in mind, I did this all before the internet. I’m also not that smart. I just followed my passion, found some basic reference materials, and asked questions to veteran comic fans whenever I needed more insight. Now, I’m one of those guys who can talk about comics for hours and sees every New Comic Book Day as Christmas morning. I can safely say my life is better because of that.

These days, it has never been easier to get into comics. The internet has made it much easier to learn about continuity, lore, reboots, and retcons. The rise of tablet computers and Comixology has made it so you don’t even have to put on pants to enjoy comics. While going to my local comic shop was always a great memory, I still envy new fans today for all the tools they have.

Between better tools and the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, comics have come a long way. They’re not just for nerds and geeks anymore. They’re for everyone. The volume of content has never been more diverse and appealing. This week, more than most, is a great chance to dive in. New eras are set to begin and big summer events are starting to heat up. To assist in embracing the world of comics, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #70

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2

Avengers #46

Batman #110

Captain America #30

Children Of The Atom #5

Crime Syndicate #5

Extreme Carnage: Alpha #1

Hellions #13

Immortal Hulk #48

Justice League #64

Justice League Infinity #1

Red Sonja: Black, White, Red #1

Suicide Squad #5

Wonder Girl #2

X-Force #21

X-Men #1


My Pick Of The Week
X-Men #1

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New Comic Book Day June 2, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

It’s June! Last year, that was just a formality, due to global events that I’d rather not dwell on. This year, we can actually say it with some enthusiasm. We made it to June and it’s New Comic Book Day. What’s not to love?

Summer has finally arrived. The schools are letting out after another crazy year. Things are finally opening up, much more so than they did last year. This summer, we will be able to go to a ball game. We will be able to go to a pool, a concert, a movie theater, or night club. We’ll even be able to go to a restaurant without having to wear a mask. If you’re not shedding tears of joy right now, then you have no soul.

I’m ready to embrace this summer in a way that I haven’t embraced a season since high school. A big part of that effort will involve comics. This time around, I’ll actually be able to enjoy them while lounging by a pool, sitting at a restaurant, or just wandering about. I cannot overstate how much I’m looking forward to that. With warm weather and a world that’s less chaotic, this is a great time to just enjoy summer like never before.

To all those still digesting their Memorial Day barbecue, I encourage you to do the same. Make the extra effort to enjoy this summer. Whether you’re a kid out of school or an adult still working, find a way to do something special. Let today mark the beginning of that effort and what better way to start then with a stack of new comics? To help, here’s my pull list and picks. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #67

Batman #109

Batman/Catwoman #5

Black Cat #7

Crime Syndicate #4

Hellion #12

Heroes Reborn #5

Immortal Hulk #47

The Invincible Red Sonja #2

Justice League #62

Marauders #21

Non-Stop Spider-Man #3

Rick and Morty: Rick’s New Hat #1

The Trials Of Loki: Marvel Tales #1

X-Force #20


My Pick Of The Week
Marauders #21

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New Comic Book Day December 30, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

It’s the last New Comic Book Day on the last week of the year and I think I speak for many, comic lovers and non-comic lovers alike, when I say fuck 2020. Fuck this god-awful year. It cannot end fast enough.

I apologize. I just needed to get that out of my system. Thank you for bearing with me.

I know that’s a popular sentiment. I think everybody is ready to close the page on this shitty year and embrace 2021 in ways we usually reserve for puppies, kittens, and a cold beer on a hot summer day. However, we still have a few days left so there’s still time for an asteroid to hit.

For comic lovers, this year has been plenty challenging. At one point, the global pandemic that has dominated this year effectively brought the entire comic book world to a halt. It was a painful, heart-breaking time. I still remember it and the agony that came with it.

The industry has since adapted. It still has a long way to go and will likely face more upheavals in 2021. However, the bar for improvement is so low at this point that I’ll be content if it just means I can attend a comic convention at some point.

Normally, the last New Comic Book Day of the year is a time of bittersweet reflection. This year, which has been like no other, carries a very different feeling. Whatever that feeling entails, let’s try to enjoy it as best we can. Better days are coming. I believe that and I’m willing to work towards it.

In the meantime, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #55

Avengers #40

Batman Annual #5

Ghost Rider: Return Of Vengeance #1

Justice League: Endless Winter #2

King In Black: Iron Man/Doom #1

Shang-Chi #4

Van Helsing #50

Wolverine #8

X-Men #16


My Pick Of The Week
X-Men #16

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New Comic Book Day December 9, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

We all have our own unique rituals for enjoying a particular experience that we’ve come to love. One of my siblings had this weird thing where he could only watch “The Sopranos” in the basement, with all the lights off, while sitting on a bean bag chair.

I don’t get it, either. It annoyed the hell out of me most of the time. Then again, who am I to judge? I’m the same when it comes to reading comics, especially in December.

I love reading comics on New Comic Book Day at every point in the year, but that doesn’t stop me from using the holidays to enhance the experience. For me, that involves turning on my Christmas lights, starting a fire in my gas fireplace, brewing a cup of coffee, and laying back in my recliner with an iPad full of new comics.

It’s basically comic book and holiday nirvana. There are no words to describe the joy, comfort, and relaxation I feel when I’m in that state. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week. It’s also one of my favorite experiences, in general.

For all my fellow comic fans out there, I’m sure you have a New Comic Book Day ritual of your own. During the holidays, you may even mix it up a bit. I encourage everyone to embrace that. When you can combine comics with the holidays, then joy of every kind will surely follow.

With that in mind, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #54

Captain Marvel #24

Detective Comics #1032

Grimm Fairy Tales: 2020 Holiday Special

Guardians Of The Galaxy #9

Juggernaut #4

Marauders #16

Mighty Morphin #2

S.W.O.R.D. #1

Star Wars #9

Superman: Endless Winter Special #1

Venom #31

Wonder Woman #768


My Pick Of The Week
S.W.O.R.D. #1

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New Comic Book Day August 19, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

Growing up, you learn vital life lessons from strange sources. For those my age, we all probably remember those after school specials or those public service announcements. They usually amounted to things like “eat your vegetables,” “listen to your parents,” and “hating someone because they’re different is wrong!” It was very preachy and crude. Most of us just rolled our eyes and went back to being kids.

Looking back on my youth, I don’t think those life lessons really taught me anything I didn’t already know. In fact, I think the most useful life lessons I learned back then came from comics. I still knew that comics could be preachy too. They always have been, despite what the assholes at associated with certain hashtags may claim. They just got their point across in a different way.

Personally, I think that way was more effective. The stories in comics didn’t just tell you to be honest, selfless, and kind. They showed you why those values are important and dared to have some fun along the way. Within the stories, you learn why Captain America and Superman’s altruism is so powerful. You also learn why Lex Luthor and the Red Skull’s selfish narcissism is so bad.

That really helped shape my understanding of right, wrong, friendship, tolerance, and understanding. My parents, friends, and teachers all played a part too. However, the stories I read in comic books made those life lessons fun and engaging. That’s not to say every comic teaches valuable lessons. If you try to learn life lessons from Deadpool, you will get mixed messages.

Those messages are still there, along with plenty of life lessons. More and more unfold every week with every New Comic Book Day. Once again, I offer to you my pull list and pick of the week. There are life lessons to be had. Even if they just involve how to kill zombies, they’re worth learning. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Aquaman #62

Avengers #35

Batman #97

Cable #3

Captain America #22

Captain Marvel #20

Empyre: X-Men #4

Excalibur #11

Harley Quinn #75

Killing Red Sonja #3

Justice League #51

Red Sonja #18

Rick and Morty #3: Go To Hell

Thor #6

Transformers vs. Terminator #3

Wolverine #4

Wonder Woman Annual #4


My Pick Of The Week
Empyre: X-Men #4

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New Comic Book Day August 12, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

There are people who go out of their way to avoid the news, politics, and anything that might trigger a digital fist fight. I respect these people. At times, I’m one of them. However, avoiding the news and politics is one thing. Avoiding the effects is something else. You can avoid the constant whining and outrage surrounding an election or hashtag. You can’t avoid the reality of a global pandemic.

I’ve come to accept this in recent months. I don’t deny that, at one point, I tried to avoid any mention of it online or in person. That’s just not possible when entire parts of society are shut down and major events get cancelled. It’s sad, if not maddening. However, it need not be completely dire. Even if you can’t ignore these awful things, you can still find ways to cope.

For me, comics have been a preferred coping mechanism for years. Going back to previous crisis, including those of the personal kind, comics have given men some much-needed escapism from the harsh, unforgiving nature of the real world. During those times, New Comic Book Day takes on an even greater meaning.

I know it’s easy to take for granted, given how much upheaval the industry is in right now. For that reason, I cannot thank the writers, editors, and artists working tirelessly in the industry to give fans like me an escape. Their work may not be on the same level as doctors and nurses, but they still hold a special place in those fighting to endure this crisis.

To those wonderful individuals, I thank you on behalf of comic fans everywhere. Once again, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy and stay safe, everyone!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #46

Batman and the Outsiders #15

Captain Marvel #19

DCeased: Hope At World’s End #7

Empyre #5

Empyre: X-Men #3

The Flash #759

Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #8

Immortal Hulk #36

Marauders #11

Red Sonja: Age of Chaos #6

Star Wars: Darth Vader #4

Superman #24

Venom #27

Wonder Woman #760

X-Force #11


My Pick Of The Week
Empyre #5

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New Comic Book Day August 5, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

The current state of the world is still awful. Let’s not sugarcoat that. As much an optimist I try to be most of the time, you can only try so hard during a global pandemic.  I don’t deny these past few months have utterly killed my optimism with a force of a thousand pissed off Hulks.

Even without optimism, we’re all still adapting. We’re learning to live our lives without the luxury of going to a movie theater, hanging out in a crowded restaurant, or just browsing through a mall without someone whining about having to wear a mask. It’s frustrating, but it’s bearable. For me, new comics help make this new normal bearable.

I say that as someone who knows that the whole comic industry has had to adapt a lot these past few months. Between comic shops facing enormous hardship and the San Diego Comic Con being reduced to a glorified series of Zoom calls, things have been very difficult for this industry I love so dearly.

More changes are likely, but I’m still grateful for the efforts of those working in this industry to keep New Comic Book Day awesome. Whether you’re a writer, an editor, an artist, or an IT person working at Comixology, I can’t thank you enough for your tireless effort. The world needs this right now. I certainly need it too.

As always, I show my appreciation by dropping plenty of money on digital comics and assorted merchandise. I encourage others who struggle to adapt in this awful world to do the same. Once again, here’s my pull list and pick of the week.


My Pull List

Batman #96

Black Cat #12

Captain America #21

DCeased: Dead Planet #2

Deadpool #6

Dr. Strange #6

Empyre #4

Fantastic Four #22

Guardians Of The Galaxy #5

Rick and Morty Presents: Birdperson #1

Star Wars #5


My Pick Of The Week
Deadpool #6

 

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New Comic Book Day May 27, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week (And An Attempt At Normalcy)

For the past two months, it seems everyone is longing for or agonizing over a sense of normalcy. They look back on the days of being able to go to a movie theater, sit inside a crowded restaurant, or smell someone’s breath while they stand in a crowded subway car. While that last one might not be that fond a memory, it still symbolizes the same idea.

We miss that sense of normal. Even if the concept of “normal” had its problems, as it often does, we miss it. We’ve all spent the last two months enduring extended isolation while watching increasingly grim news surrounding a global pandemic. People don’t agree on much, but they can agree that this abnormal experience sucks.

I’m of the opinion that we can never truly go back to the “normal” we once knew. I’m also of the opinion that “normal” is an overrated concept. At the same time, I long for some aspects of that pre-pandemic world. That’s why the prospect of New Comic Day returning is such a relief.

It’s still not back to full capacity, but it’s getting there. Books that were supposed to come out back in late March are finally starting to hit both comic shops and Comixology. This week marks the first week where all the major comic companies make a concerted effort at returning to normal. I can’t speak for all comic fans, but I’m rooting for them to succeed.

As part of that effort, I’ve assembled a pull list and pick. It’s still too early to call this a return to normal, but I’ll take it.


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #43

Aquaman #59

Avengers #33

Batman Beyond #43

The Flash #754

Marauders #10

Go Go Power Rangers #31

Supergirl #41


My Pick Of The Week
Marauders #10

There’s an inescapable law in superhero comics that’s right up there with characters not staying dead or Deadpool being annoying. If you invent a certain technology that can be used by villains, then there’s no uninventing it. You can scrub your computer. You can burn on the schematics. You can even try to mind-wipe everyone you told about it, which is possible in worlds that have telepaths.

There’s no getting around it. Some asshole will find it and use it to inflict harm, suffering, and chaos. That’s a lesson that Forge, and all of Krakoa, learn in “Marauders #10.” For the last several issues, someone with ties to corrupt, mutant-hating Russians has been using power dampening technology to abduct mutants and harass Krakoan exports. It has cost Krakoa money and it may have cost Kitty Pryde her life.

I say “may” because X-Men comics have really twisted the meaning of death and dying after “House of X/Powers of X,” albeit in a very awesome manner. However, Kitty’s status among the living is only secondary. What happened to her is just more motivation for Emma Frost and the rest of the Marauders crew to get back at the Russians who think they can get away with trolling Krakoa.

It’s a serious effort that has serious ramifications for Krakoa’s emerging status among nations. That doesn’t stop writer Gerry Duggan and artist Stefano Caselli from having fun with it. This isn’t some standard clash where the X-Men take down a few evil minions and blow up a few killer robots. There’s some real strategy and cunning employed.

By that, I mean Emma Frost weaponizes her tits in battle.

Yes, that really happened.

Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.

Naturally, Emma Frost steals the show, but there’s a bigger picture in “Marauders #10” that goes beyond stopping a bunch of renegade Russians. It’s another step in Krakoa’s growing pains as a nation. Mutants have established themselves as a world power. They’ve shown that they have valuable resources to trade.

Naturally, those resources are going to come under attack. Like any nation, Krakoa has to deal with competitors, enemies, and rogue elements from unfriendly nations. When mutant powers are involved, both the threats and the geopolitical implications are compounded. Smaller conflicts are now much bigger in scope.

It doesn’t help that things like power dampening technology and mutant killing robots are still out there in the world. Chances are the schematics are available on the dark web for a few bitcoins. When mutants were just scattered or on the brink of extinction, these dangers were localized. Now, they’re a matter of geopolitics.

That’s the kind of world that the X-Men live in now and “Marauders #10” builds on it. There are still plenty of obstacles for the X-Men and Krakoa to deal with. Some will be harder to overcome than others, as the loss of Kitty Pryde has shown them. However, even if they can’t undo technology like Sentinels and power dampeners, they can still fight through it and thrive.

It’s a testament to both Krakoa’s emerging power and Emma Frost’s uncanny tits.

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New Comic Book Day March 25, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

What do you do when you can’t go out to a movie, hit the gym, watch sports, or hang out at a bar? That’s not a rhetorical question. Seriously, what do you do? It’s a wholly relevant question when you’re living through a global pandemic and happen to be in an area that’s on lock-down. As I write this, pretty much everything is closed except grocery stores, hospitals, and gas stations. It’s scary and more than a little frustrating.

Thankfully, Wednesday morning still brings a brief reprieve in the form of new comics. It’s one of the few things I can still look forward to, although that might not be the case for much longer. I’m already bracing myself for the idea that new comics might be delayed because of this crisis. For a lifelong comic fan, it’s an inconceivably terrifying thought.

For now, though, New Comic Day is proceeding as usual, thanks largely the wonderful folks at Comixology. Seriously, these guys are a big reason why comic fans like myself can still enjoy this weekly batch of awesome that so enriches our lives. I really hope things continue to operate on their end without a hitch. There’s only so long a guy can last without new comics.

As such, my pull list this week is a little bloated. Does this count as panic buying? Yeah, it probably does. No, I’m not going to apologize for it. When every day brings terrible news about a worsening crisis, I think that kind of buying is forgivable. Please keep that in mind as I share my list and my pick of the week.

Stay safe and wash your damn hands!


My Pull List

Action Comics #1021

Amazing Spider-Man #42

Batgirl #45

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #8

Batman/Superman #8

Detective Comics #1021

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1

Hellions #1

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers #49

Rick and Morty #60

Star #3

Supergirl #40

Wolverine #2

Wonder Woman #754

X-Men #9

X-Men/Fantastic Four #3


My Pick of the Week

What does a fair, just, and functional society do with their most deviant citizens? It’s a very relevant question for the real world, as well as the world of superhero comics. Ever since the famed Golden Age of comics, that question has been largely overlooked. Most stories end with the heroes throwing the villains in jail, getting a pat on the back, and telling kids to eat their vegetables. It’s simple, comforting, and frustratingly inane.

Then, a book like “Hellions #1” comes along and decides to stop running from that question. On top of that, it even dares to have fun while trying to answer it. After all, comics should be fun. They can also answer profound questions about the endless pursuit of a better society. It just takes the right kind of story and that’s exactly what writer Zeb Wells and artist Stephen Segovia set up.

The world of mutants and the X-Men have faced massive upheavals since the events of “House of X/Powers of X.” With the founding of Krakoa, mutants aren’t just looking to survive the endless attacks of killer robots, hateful humans, and superhero civil wars. They’re looking to build their own society and establish their own culture. It has been an arduous process that has spanned many books. “Hellions #1” is now part of that effort.

Specifically, it addresses the inescapable question of what to do with the mutants who aren’t necessarily supervillans, but are as mentally unstable as Deadpool in a chimmichanga factory. Many have popped up in various parts of X-Men lore. Most casual fans won’t know who Wild Child, Empath, Scalphunter, Nanny, and Orphan Maker are. However, you don’t need to know who they are to follow the story. You just need to know they’re crazy, violent, chaotic, and they have mutant powers.

While it would be easier for the powers that be on Krakoa to just shut them out of their growing society, that wouldn’t fit with their ideals. They founded Krakoa to help all mutants and not just the ones who look good in yellow spandex. That includes the psychopaths.

Wells and Segovia put together a quirky, but entertaining ensemble of characters together. They feel less like a superhero team and more like a collection of irritable psychopaths who just need something to do to keep them from being too psychotic. Fittingly enough, Mr. Sinister is tasked with doing just that, complete with the blessing of Charles Xavier, Magneto, and the rest of Krakoa’s leadership.

On paper, it sounds like the kind of thing that can only end in unmitigated disaster. In practice, it’s still a messy disaster, but one that can be aimed properly. Under the watchful supervision of Havok and Psylocke, this new team of Hellions is tasked with channeling their psychotic tendencies for good. It’s one of those ideas that sounds so crazy that it has to work.

Wells and Segovia don’t just throw this new team into the nearest conflict involving killer robots or angry aliens. Like many other X-books since “House of X/Powers of X,” there’s a legitimate effort at world-building and depth. There’s motivation, purpose, and vision behind each decision. The fact that psychotic mutants often make for hilariously entertaining moments is just a nice bonus.

It’s an approach that feels distinctly different from what petty, unevolved humans do with their deviants. If the final page of “Hellions #1” is any indication, there will be ample opportunities to test that approach. It’s bound to be chaotic, messy, and mentally unhinged. That’s exactly what makes it so entertaining and my pick of the week.

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