One of the longest-running tragic romances in comics is Rogue and Gambit. They love each other, but because of Rogue’s ability to drain the lifeforce from people she touches, they can never truly be together. What makes Mr. & Mrs. X, which launches today from Marvel, so entertaining is that it takes a hammer to tragic romance tropes, even as it turns into a madcap farce.
So, as you might have guessed from the title, Rogue and Gambit get married, amid much surprise (and the occasional catty remark). Kelly Thompson and Oscar Bazaldua have quite a bit of fun putting the entire X-crew in the awkward situation of both seeing a marriage they never thought would happen and also, uh, supporting Gambit. But, they tie the knot, and, thanks to a power suppression device, have a honeymoon that is promptly ruined by both Gambit’s inability to keep a sheet around his waist and a vast alien empire.
What’s most impressive about this is Thompson doesn’t belabor anything, and if you’re a fan of the X-Men, the first half of the book is even a bit touching. But it swings into an amusing farce soon enough, and Bazaldua impressively keeps pace with both the small, intimate moments of a wedding and the vast, space-faring absurdity of the X-Men’s more cosmic adventures. It’s a deft comedic romp and if you’re looking for something frothy in your pull list, this will fit the bill perfectly.
The New World #1, Image Comics
Ales Kot and Tradd Moore offer a mildly goofy riff on a dystopian future. In 2037, the nukes drop over five American cities, civil war breaks out, multiple countries invade, and when the smoke clears, there’s New California, a colorful quasi-fascist dystopia where criminals are hunted down on live TV and hackers are enemies of the state. But hey, there are still raves! Kot, who usually approaches this stuff with a more serious style, lightens up a bit here; while this book definitely has a few opinions, to the point where it could be scored to “California Uber Alles,” it’s also surprisingly funny and human, especially with the main twist and Moore’s clever pop culture gags, like our heroine’s very Dredd-like helmet. If you want a funny dystopia, this is shaping up to be a great one.
Britannia: The Lost Eagles Of Rome #1, Valiant
Peter Milligan and Robert Gill return to this heady mix of historical epic, palace intrigue, detective tale, and supernatural horror story. This time, the detectioner Antonius is looking for the legendary lost eagles of Rome, which supposedly vanished in the forests of Germany. But Antonius doesn’t buy it, and sure enough, a plot is indeed afoot. Part of the fun of this story is Milligan’s research and Gill’s clean, detailed art create a real sense of place, putting the cobbles of Rome under your feet while paying attention to aspects of Roman history that usually get ignored. Oh, and it’s also just a fun mystery.
Action Comics #1001, DC Comics
One thing you never hear about, in Metropolis, is its organized crime. But it has to have it, right? Superman, as powerful as he is, is just one guy, and he’s usually on giant robot detail. MPD are pretty good, but no police force is perfect. So how does it work? That’s the intriguing premise of Brian Michael Bendis’ arrival to monthly Superman stories, with Patrick Gleason on art, and it’s quite a bit of fun, a callback to the John Byrne days of the comic where these questions took the story in new directions.
The Long Con #1, Oni Press
Dylan Meconis and Emilee Denich riff on San Diego Comic-Con by wondering what would happen if there was a massive disaster that seemingly wiped the convention from the face of the Earth. People would mourn, the world would be horrified, but eventually we’d move on. Of course, this assumes the con went anywhere, and a journalist is about to discover the hard way it didn’t. The book’s funny in part because it doesn’t take nerd culture too seriously and doesn’t try to lock out casual readers, while filling the book with little in-jokes nerds will pick up on. It’s a promising start, and we’ll be curious to see where it goes.
Bone Parish #1, BOOM! Studios: Cullen Bunn and Jonas Scharf deliver a mix of ghost story and drug kingpin tale in this perfectly set horror comic, where the bones of the dead are a hot commodity… as a drug you snort.
Doomsday Clock #6, DC Comics: Geoff Johns and Gary Frank fill in more about their surprisingly sympathetic villains in this DC/Watchmen quasi-crossover.
Modern Fantasy #2, Dark Horse: Rafer Roberts and Kristen Gudsnuk’s delightful riff on fantasy and modern life continues with a second issue about a well-meaning, if inconclusive, rescue mission.
Multiple Man #2, Marvel: Matthew Rosenberg and Andy McDonald take Marvel’s most confusing mutant, add time travel, and then have his many duplicates also time travel and some are also evil. And it’s hilarious.
A Walk Through Hell #3, Aftershock Comics: Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka continue their hard, slow burn of a horror comic, and it’s creepy beyond all belief.
This Week’s Best Collections
Doom Patrol: The Silver Age Vol. 1, DC Comics (Softcover, $20): A small group of people with abilities that are equal parts blessing and curse led by a wheelchair bound leader… sound familiar? Whether the X-Men cribbed from DC’s far weirder, edgier Silver Age series is an ongoing argument, but what isn’t an argument is that they remain some fascinating comics that have just gotten more out there with time.
Fence Vol. 1, BOOM! Studios (Softcover, $10): This delightful sports drama from C.S. Pascat and Johanna The Mad is a lot of fun and makes what could be a snobby sport deeply compelling.
Creepy Archives, Vol. 26, Dark Horse (Hardcover, $50): The Warren publishing company carried the horror torch from EC with some classic creepy comics.