WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for all featured weekly releases…
Welcome to Quick Pulls! Each week we’ll briefly go over a few of the new comic releases and their best (or worst) moments, so let’s get started! This week we’ll be covering only Marvel, but will have an expanded feature next week for DC as well!
Astonishing X-Men #13
The latest iteration of Astonishing X-Men introduces the first appearance of the recently inverted Alex Summers AKA Havok, struggling to once again find his place among his fellow heroes and X-Men. This is no easy task for the former leader of the Avengers Unity Squad, following his switch to evil during 2014’s Axis event. Even fellow Avengers teammates like Captain America seem quick to brush off Havok after he interferes with a rampaging monster, resulting in collateral damage. This causes Havok to revert back to his first family, the X-Men. For one of the first new official X-Men to be added to the team back in the day, Havok never seems to get the respect afforded other early members. This is never more evident than when following a speech to gather a new team – a speech reminiscent of his older brother Scott’s first pep talk way back in the first Astonishing X-Men ongoing, no less – Havok is questioned harshly (but fairly) about his credibility after his recent criminal past.
Alex reacclimates to the new status quo of Kitty Pryde’s X-Men, determined to put together a team following the student’s rejection of his proposal. This is where the new series feels a bit different than the previous versions of Astonishing, where the team formed through the events. Instead of a huge world-shattering event that gathers an interesting team of mutants together, we are able to narrow in closer to Alex as he tries to re-establish not only his superhero mission but his roots as an X-Men. This leads him to the Beast, who is now teaching genetics at Harvard. It also features the reappearance of the cyborg Reavers, who recently kicked off the Hunt for Wolverine that we’ll talk a bit more about later. While I was initially apprehensive about the new team roster when it was first teased – which will also include Dazzler, Colossus, and Warpath – Robinson has chosen to take a closer look at an X-Man who, quite frankly, deserves a little time to shine after recent years, so I will be looking forward to the next issue. Especially after the surprise appearance of Sean Cassidy AKA Banshee in the final panel…
Death of the Inhumans #1
Donny Cates wasted no time in fulfilling the title of his new mini-series, as Death of the Inhumans begins and ends with a few huge Inhuman deaths, with a few more sprinkled throughout for good measure. Throughout the issue, which is beautifully drawn by Ariel Olivetti, we are reacquainted with the origin of the Inhumans as we learn about the Kree and their genetic manipulations throughout the galaxy, which resulted in five Inhuman tribes, all led by one ruler – Black Bolt. We also learn of the pending Prophecy of the Midnight King, which posits that the Kree Empire will be undone by the creatures they have created. This leads to the general premise of the series, as the Kree are now tasked with exterminating all Inhumans in order to save their own skins. To accomplish this we are introduced to Vox, a powerful new creation of the Kree who seems to be equipped with all of the powers of the Inhumans. These abilities include the powerful vocal destruction of Black Bolt, though Vox is able to control and fine tune his version of the powers.
Vox has already killed thousands of Inhumans by the time the issue begins, and he takes a few more lives with him in this first issue, undoing years of Inhumans storylines. Gone are the leaders of the other Inhuman tribes, killed as a message to Black Bolt when they decide to Join instead of Die. Of course, Black Bolt and the Royal Family soon learn that the meeting with the now dead leaders of the other tribes was a distraction that cost them the life of Triton, and as they try to return to New Arctilan, they lose Maximus the Mad and everyone’s favorite Inhuman, Lockjaw. Yup. Cates is not playing around here. Thankfully due to some of the power effects seen during the death scene, it’s possible Lockjaw (or Vox?) might have managed to teleport them away to safety in time. The issue moved quickly but hit hard, and is set to change the world of the Inhumans forever.
Doctor Strange #3
Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz’ new volume of Doctor Strange started off with an interesting premise; with the magic of Earth gone, Strange must head out into space to gather artifacts and learn the magic of other planets. While his methods of getting to space seemed a little too easy – Tony Stark offers up a new space vehicle prototype he had been working on – his beginnings as a space-bound hero were fun to watch. Now in the third issue, his adventures are moving a little quicker along with his new partner, the interplanetary arcanologist Kanna. They move through the galaxy hunting down artifacts as Strange powers himself up with space magic. Both Kl’rt the Super-Skrull and the new Time Stone make an appearance s this issue is an Infinity Wars tie-in, and Strange is forced to take on the FF-powered Skrull with his new abilities, and some borrowed from the Time Stone.
Once Strange is in control of the Time Stone, much like his film counterpart was, we can’t help but get a little misty as it brings up a few leftover emotions from Avengers: Infinity War. The issue was reminiscent of tie-ins from days past, where the events unfolding actually mean something to the larger storyline instead of featuring a quick page of reveals or cameos to facilitate the tie-in, and this issue may mean big things to come in the largely unknown Infinity Wars event. And how does the mysterious figure in the Sanctum Sanctorum fit in?
Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost #3
Charles Soule has assembled a unique squad of characters for his Hunt For Wolverine series, and while the overall series and it’s fellow stories – Mystery in Madripoor, Adamantium Agenda, and Claws of a Killer – haven’t done much to move forward the story of Wolverine’s return, they’ve been enjoyable dives into the history of Logan. Weapon Lost follows Daredevil along with Inhuman Frank McGee/Nur (one of our favorite Soule characters), Misty Knight, and Doug Ramsey, the mutant known as Cypher. They’ve been tracking a few different sightings of Logan around the world, which has brought them to Saskatchewan, Canada, where the last issue we saw adamantium claws slice the throat of Cypher. Cypher was revealed to be alive and saved by the Inhuman tech aboard McGee’s vessel, and we soon discovered that the claws belonged to Logan… sort of.
Turns out this particular sighting was of the cybernetic clone of Logan, Albert. Albert was initially created by the Reavers to take on Logan, though he soon rebelled and disappeared along with Elsie Dee, a sentient robot bomb tasked with killing Wolverine. Albert rants about Elsie being missing a few times as he fights the detectives, who manage to take out Albert by striking at a weak plate in his armor that was pinpointed by Daredevil’s hyper senses. The entire battle was a testament to how this particular crew of characters operates together, and I couldn’t help but want more from the new squad. Unfortunately, another Wolverine sighting may have ended this new partnership prematurely…
Immortal Hulk #2
This might have been the best read of the bunch this week, a credit to Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s pairing for this new version of Hulk. And quite frankly, a terrifying version of the Hulk that we have not seen before. This series follows Bruce Banner’s former death at the hands of Hawkeye, though he was reborn during the No Surrender event. This new series has begun to explore the possibility that while Banner can certainly die, the Hulk might truly be immortal. However, this is a very different Hulk than we’ve seen in recent years, and even a different Banner, as we learn more about in this issue. For one thing, he’s not as smart as he was prior to the arrow, whereas Hulk seems to be smarter and exert more of an influence on Banner, especially at night. As Banner enters a new town largely due to gut instincts and a Hulk-sized tickle at the back of his brain, we see a new take on the relationship between Hulk and Banner during each other’s downtime.
We also get a taste of the new series direction, as Banner is able to track down a mysterious radioactive source that has been causing a sickness in the town, which leads to the irradiated Dr. Frye, a scientist who was afraid of death and experimented on himself. Unfortunately, he also tested his serum on his son, who died immediately, not having built up the radiation tolerance of his father. Banner is attacked by Dr. Frye, who eventually did succumb to the effects of his testing, becoming a walking ghost of radiation that kills Banner. Of course, that just releases the Hulk, who proves he is definitely smarter than previous incarnations as he deduces the rest of Frye’s story and the chain of deaths that follow his experiment. However, we also learn that this new Hulk is as sadistic as he is smart, and he leaves Frye with a truly horrifying punishment that helps us see what Hulk really is capable of now that he’s got a bit more control of their shared body. Scary stuff, I’ll let you read that one for yourself. Watch out, everything in the Marvel Universe.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with an expanded feature and coverage from the Big Two! You can take a closer look with us at this week’s debut of Captain America #1, and if you’re a DC fan you won’t want to miss the big twist of Batman #50!
Images: Marvel Comics