Review: Storm #4

Rachel here! As some of you astute viewers noticed, there was no Storm #4 review in last week’s video reviews. We did actually record one–it’s just that I then failed to edit it into the video, and then deleted the raw files, as I do.

In my defense, there were ten books this round, and I’d been back from New York for about 90 minutes. But the point remains: No Storm #4.

The silver lining is that, instead of a 90-second video review, you now get a significantly longer written review of Storm #4–and on Thursday, we’ll be posting a bonus mid-week minisode featuring a con-floor interview with Greg Pak about Storm, Yukio, and more.

So, without further ado: Storm #4!

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 7.16.42 PM

Like most of the last few weeks’ worth of X-books, this is a Death of Wolverine tie-in, and it’s one of the better ones. At this point in the series, Storm and Wolverine had been lovers for a while, but even without that note, it’s a really terrifically Storm beat, hitting that balance between tranquil control and raw emotionality that’s always been a hallmark of the character done right.

The rough (low-spoiler) premise of this particular story is that Storm intercepts a message from Yukio, about something Logan was supposed to help her with, and goes in his stead. It’s a good idea, one that echoes their early dynamic–Storm again unmoored, Yukio left suddenly in the lurch by Logan. And, again, the parts of the story staged around Logan’s absence are awesome: a lot of very deliberate echoes of Storm and Yukio’s first meeting, and emotional beats that hit and stick.

Less so, the second half of the issue. Recall: this is a series that is all about returning to significant players and stages in Storm’s history, and this particular issue–this arc, from the look of it–hearkens back to one of the weakest, a four-issue 2004 X-Treme X-Men story called “Storm: The Arena.” So far, writer Greg Pak has done a great job addressing and reworking some of the rougher pieces of Storm’s past–that’s something we talk about at some length in the interview that’ll be going up tomorrow. This, unfortunately, isn’t one of them.

Now, I am clearly biased: my Yukio Feelings are emphatic and well documented, and my expectations for both the character in general and her appearance in this book in particular are perhaps unrealistically high. And for the first few pages we see her on–when it’s just her and Storm–she’s on point.

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The problem is that I don’t entirely buy the way Pak is using her in the larger story. Maybe this is a more cynical Yukio; maybe there are upcoming windows into her journey from the version I recognize to the one we’re seeing here. But for now, she rings hollow: a means to propel a storyline that it itself a somewhat forced reminder of an arc I’d honestly just as soon forget.

I’m staying optimistic: Pak’s a smart, nuanced writer, and this isn’t a bad story–it’s just fallen short of my–again, probably inflated–expectations. And the first half of the issue is good enough to leave plenty of room for the second half to still be reasonably strong while falling significantly short of what comes before.

But that’s the story–let’s talk about art! Series artist Victor Ibañez–notably absent from #3–is back on the book, and Miles and I are both really excited about that. He’s a terrific artist, but, more, his Storm is one of the best versions of the character we’ve seen.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 7.17.54 PMThere’s a tendency in comics–superhero comics in particular–for artists to make female characters pretty instead of interesting. That’s not to say a character can’t be both–but there are serious limits to what you can do with facial expressions and body language if you’re not willing to let women look anything other than model-perfect; on top of which the adherence to specific and narrow cultural standards for beauty have contributed to the significant problem of whitewashing in superhero books.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 7.13.16 PMIbañez’s Storm is beautiful, but above that, she’s expressive. Distinctive. Her face–and this is a tremendous and frustrating rarity for Storm–isn’t anglicized. Her anger and anguish and joy are raw and believable. Her face and body are narrative. Ibañez is a strong if not particularly standout artist in other areas–layouts, action–but his character art? This is our Storm.

For more on Storm–and Storm–tune in Thursday, when we’ll be posting a bonus midweek minisode: a NYCC floor interview with Storm writer Greg Pak!

As Mentioned in Episode 27 – NYCC 2014 Special

Listen to the episode here!



Links and Further Reading:

27 – NYCC 2014 Special with Kris Anka and Russell Dauterman

Adam X the X-Treme, updated by David Wynne!

Adam X the X-Treme, updated by David Wynne!

In which we sit down with two of our favorite X-artists for an hour of continuity, character design, and a lot of wine; Corsair is the coolest; Emma Frost is a secret viewpoint character; Bishop is the anti-Booster Gold; Adam X the X-Treme gets a new hat; and none of us know how to pronounce “Bachalo.”

X-Plained:

  • The secret X-origins of Kris Anka and Russell Dauterman
  • Definitive books and artists
  • Favorite characters and series
  • Mephistoid spacesuit logistics
  • Emma Frost as a reader stand-in
  • The secret origin of Psylocke’s pants
  • Uncanny X-Men
  • The best flashback montage ever
  • Underappreciated / underdeveloped characters
  • All the Rogues
  • Plot twists
  • Bishop
  • Dream teams
  • Sexy dudes with sexy abs
  • How to update Adam X the X-Treme

Next Week: What’s New, Shadowcat?


You can find a visual companion to the episode – and links to recommended reading – on our blog.

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Rachel and Miles Review the X-men, Episode 10

Weeks of October 8 and October 15, 2014

 

In which we catch up after New York Comic Con, and Wolverine finally dies. (Also, Rachel reorganized her office. YAY!)

Reviewed:

  • Axis #1
  • Axis #2
  • Magneto #11
  • Death of Wolverine #4
  • Logan Legacy #1
  • Nightcrawler #7
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #10
  • Storm #4
  • X-Force #10*
  • Uncanny X-Men #27**

*Pick of the week of October 8

**Pick of the week of October 15

Video reviews are made possible by the support of our Patreon subscribers. If you want to help support the podcast–and unlock more cool stuff–you can do that right here!

Cyclops Has a Good Day at New York Comic Con

Last weekend, we were at new York Comic Con! And it was AWESOME! We’ll be posting stuff from there all week–including episode 27, some photos of very cool X-cosplay, and a special bonus mini-episode–but while we’re recombobulating post-travel, here’s what’s new in Rachel’s Cyclops Has a Good Day sketchbook!

As Mentioned in Episode 26 – The Other Team America (featuring Chris Sims)

Listen to the episode here!



Links:

26 – The Other Team America (featuring Chris Sims)

Art by David Wynne.

Art by David Wynne.

In which Danielle Moonstar is the Wolverine of the New Mutants, Henry Peter Gyrich is the Walter Peck of the Marvel Universe, Michael Rossi is no Peter Corbeau, Xavier is a Brood Queen (who is a jerk), Bob McLeod draws really good teenagers, the New Mutants do an after-school special, Chris Sims drops in for some emergency X-Plaining, Elsie Carson is the Harvey and Janet of Hydra, and Team America is generally sort of baffling.

X-Plained

  • Viper
  • Brood stuff
  • The original New Mutans (more) (again)
  • The New Mutants #1-6
  • Denial
  • Dani vs. the Danger Room
  • Mall stories
  • Neighborhood kids
  • Henry Peter Gyrich
  • Sebastian Shaw (again)
  • Project Wideawake (sort of)
  • Michael Rossi
  • A poorly-timed crossover
  • Gabrielle Haller
  • A profoundly unethical relationship
  • A Very Special Episode
  • Overkill
  • Magnum, P.I.
  • Team America (but not that one)
  • Elsie Carson, middle manager of Hydra
  • The Girl With the Silver Eyes
  • X-Men reading order

The visual companion for this episode will go up mid-week, due to New York Comic-Con generally kicking our asses (Among MANY other things, Rachel is tweeting–mostly cool X-cosplay pics–from the show floor, and Miles is working at the Dark Horse booth. Come say hi!). Meanwhile, for further supplemental material, we recommend reading Chris’s in-depth history of Team America:

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We’re at NYCC! And You Made Art!

Reminder: No video reviews this week, ’cause we’re at NYCC! Meanwhile: Art!

Josh Abraham's Ororo is way too fashionable to care about your bullshit life decisions. (Original here.)

Josh Abraham’s Ororo is way too fashionable to care about your bullshit life decisions. (Original here.)

Michael Corley adds to the archive of Cyclops Has a Good Day art.

Michael Corley adds to the archive of Cyclops Has a Good Day art.

 

Cyclops Has a Good Day, by Jenny Yule

Rachel here!

As some of you no doubt remember from Episode 7 (waaaaaaay back when), my con sketchbook’s theme is Cyclops Has a Good Day. While the sketchbook itself is purely physical media, you splendid folks will once in a while e-mail me a digital entry, and they are universally delightful.

This week’s comes from Jenny Yule, who has worked out what I am pretty sure is the absolute best recreational use of Cyclops’s powers AND gave me a total nostalgia rush for the weird old Ambroisia game Harry the Handsome Executive, which I would now very much like to see given a superhero revamp. BEHOLD:

Yule_Deskchair

The All-New, All-Different, All-Unofficial Kitty’s Kostume Korner!

Last week, we challenged you to help us revive that awesome ’80s celebration of Kitty Pryde’s Spectacular Revolving Wardrobe, Kitty’s Kostume Korner! Much as we love the classic yellow-and-black she’s been sporting for the last decade-plus, we remember when Kitty reinvented her costume twice an issue–and you sent us some great revamps in that tradition. Click through for the full lineup!

An additional note regarding fan art, costume design, and sourcing: There’s one image we didn’t run, because it was done directly on unsourced art by another artist. We totally get that sometimes that’s the simplest way to do a design, and the person who submitted it was in no way attempting to claim the original art or plagiarize–but if you’re submitting a piece like that, the source needs to be noted and visible in the image–and, ideally, used with the permission of the original artist–for us to run it on this blog, i.e. “Recolored from [artist] design” or “drawn over art by [artist].”

If–like us–you’re someone whose costume design aspirations outpace your drawing skills, we also recommend resources like Hero Factory (again, we recommend citing ‘em if you’re using ‘em, as Rick did above).