The cover is by Jerome Openã but the inside drawings are by a lesser-known fellow named Julian Totino Tedesco. He’s got a knack for doing everything in this issue. He executes the climactic scene extremely well and he handles the human moments of the story with ease and finesse. I am not familiar with the name but he is clearly a seasoned professional. The colorist is fantastic but also a mystery. The cover indicates “White” which could only mean “Dean White” but the credits page indicates “Justin Ponsor.” Whoever it is, terrific job.
The story of Number 28 is the exact story of “The Minority Report.” Future world with precognitive anti-crime police carrying out preemptive executions. Punisher has found gainful employment. One wonders why Punisher isn’t a cast-character in this iteration of X-Force to begin with. Anyway:
The middle of this dystopian future story pauses to have a scene in which the characters stop running and start talkin to each other. There are six characters in the protagonist side. Wolverine talks to Deathlok about the situation at hand. E.V.A talks to Psylocke about the death of Fantomex in the issue previous. Age-of-Apocalypse Nightcrawler talks to Deadpool about why Deadpool is on missions after losing his powers. Everybody gets their own “moment.” That is usually all I can ask for.
When I was a kid, reading the original X-Force, all I could have wanted is for the characters who I like to have a “moment” in each issue. Just one where they acknowledge that they know one another and that they all risk their lives together.
There is also a moment in this current comic where we see the human victims of this precognitive, “preventative termination” in progress. Just a moment to capture both sides, and just enough for us all (readers and characters alike) to get the idea.
Deathlok: MURDER for any reason is still MURDER!
Wolverine: Sometimes murder’s the price we pay to protect innocents.
Oppenheimer mowing down invaders. Giving zero fucks of any sort.
The Manhattan Projects, No. 1
Drawn by Nick Pitarra, written by Jonathan Hickman.
This comic book is batshit bananas. In high school, this is the type of comic book I would have bought the first issue of, respected its gangsta but not returned for another issue. Hickman combines cerebral plotting with visceral violence in a way that appeals to many intellectual comic readers, but I’m more of an emotional reader. This comic is good but it has no heart.
That said, I’m going to likely read more issues soon because I’m not solely an emotional reader, I have grown to like the cerebral stuff. But this story needs to grow an empathetic character at some point or I won’t enjoy it in the long run.
X-Men, No. 1
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Pub. Marvel Comics, Sept. 1963
Purchase digital copy
Billed as “The Strangest Super-Heroes of All!,” the X-Men appeared in late 1963 as another off-beat invention of the insurgent Marvel Comics, once again blowing holes in the very notion of what a comics magazine is about. Rooted in postwar American existential fear and in the midst of the Atomic Age, the X-Men (also billed as being in the style of the runaway hit Fantastic Four) sought to be an even more daring conceptual piece. Ultimately, series creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would abandon the X-Men, focusing their energies around their first baby, the Fantastic Four–but until that time comes, the X-Men are part of the Lee-Kirby freight train of exploratory fiction ideas.
Most people are familiar with the X-Men as an allegory for the civil rights struggles in the U.S. but the reality of the text is that this comic concept is purely about the post-nuclear world. Professor Xavier’s parents were nuclear scientists. It is strongly suggested that mutants developed from radiation from the age of the Second World War. The theme of the X-Men is fittingly pacifism. Or, pacifism through violence. The objective stated is that these irradiated teenagers are being trained to use their abilities to protect people. When they do that, they are instantly thanked. Stan Lee was already exploring the persecuted superhero with The Amazing Spider-Man from the year previous (created with cartoonist Steve Ditko). With X-Men #1, Lee’s attention seems to have drifted back toward the superhero as beloved helper-figure.
By Gabby Schulz
Pub. Secret Acres, 2012
This is a Gordon Small comic and that means a laughing good time with a money-back guarantee! As the title suggests, “Weather” is a breezy, summery short tale about the effervescence of life itself. However fleeting, Gordon Small embraces life with all of its turbulence and small pleasures. Under cartoonist Gabby Schulz’ master hand, Gordon Small absorbs with wide-eyed wonder the ambient details that ultimately encourage us all to cling to this wonderful world by the tiny finger holds afforded to us!
As you can tell, I’m deeply moved by “Weather”‘s joyful perspectives and optimism. A must-have for any fans of James Kochalka or John Porcellino.
A special nod should be given to Mr. Schulz’ friend Brandon who inspired Schulz to draft this arresting and captivating fable.