X-Treme X-Men 1-1

Ranking The Marvel And DC Comics For The Week of December 7, 2022

1. X-Treme X-Men #1

Words: Chris Claremont

Art: Salvador Larroca

Colors: GURU-eFX

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

In this issue, the villain known as Ogun has returned, and he wants Kitty Pryde. Our heroes have to assemble to try to track down Ogun. However, Ogun is able to hide in the astral plane, so the heroes cannot find him. Ogun intends to find the ideal host, and then he will destroy the X-Men and break Kitty Pryde.

X-Treme X-Men #1 was a blast to read. This issue delivered the warm embrace of nostalgia that many long-time readers will enjoy. X-Treme X-Men #1 definitely reminded me that I am ready to move past the Hickman Krakoa X-Men universe.

The story is solid. I was worried that the move to have X-Treme X-Men #1 take place right after X-Treme X-Men #46 which came out in 2004. So, it has been a minute for those of us who did read X-Treme X-Men! Luckily, Claremont makes X-Treme X-Men #1 new reader friendly. Claremont delivers all the necessary backstory so that any reader can pick up this issue and fully enjoy the story.

Having said that, this new reader friendly approach does make X-Treme X-Men an exposition dump for a large portion of this issue. That is disappointing, and it makes the story slower and a bit less exciting than what I was hoping to get with this issue.

Still, Claremont understands and knows these characters better than any other writer alive. Claremont delivers good character work and excellent dialogue. All the characters are fully developed with their own unique external voice. Claremont is able to easily generate quality chemistry between all the characters.

X-Treme X-Men 1-2
Uh…oh. Ogun’s back and it looks like he’s pissed. Credit: Marvel Comics

The highlight of X-Treme X-Men #1 was Claremont getting to write Kitty Pryde again. It was outstanding to actually get the Kitty Pryde that we all know and love. Nope. You are not going to get the Katherine Pryde who is an alcoholic and has a pirate fetish. Nope. You are going to get vintage Kitty Pryde that will remind you why her character used to be one of the best in the X-Men universe. I also appreciate the little shot Claremont took at the current X-Men brain trust by starting the issue by saying, “This young woman’s name is Kitty (short for “Katherine”) Pryde. Well played.

The roster for X-Treme X-Men was always a cool collection of characters. So, I am excited to see what Claremont has in store for this excellent roster of X-Men. X-Treme X-Men #1 is focused mainly on Kitty Pryde. Hopefully, subsequent issues will shine the spotlight on the other members of the team.

Salvador Larroca’s is gorgeous. I love everything about Larroca’s artwork. Nobody draws the X-Men better than Larroca. Every panel is sumptuous and beautiful. To be sure, X-Treme X-Men is always going to be one of the best-looking titles on the market.

2. X-Men Red #9

Words: Al Ewing

Art: Stefano Caselli

Colors: Frederico Blee

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

In this issue, the X-Men debate the risks of bringing Vulcan back to life. However, with the loss of Magneto, the X-Men need more firepower and another Omega-level mutant.

Vulcan is brought back to life, and he immediately heads off to kill Sandra Xavier and reclaim his throne of the Shi’ar Empire. The Galactic Guardians and Nova (Richard Ryder) try to stop Vulcan. Vulcan easily defeats our heroes. It is revealed that Xandra is really Roberta DaCosta in disguise. Vulcan then flies off to the Autumn Palace searching for Xandra, however, it is Storm who is waiting for Vulcan. The two square off for a fight.

X-Men Red #9 was an enjoyable read! Al Ewing does an impressive job delivering a well-paced and plotted issue. The story moves quickly and with a purpose. I like that there are now wasted moments in this issue. X-Men Red #9 is a well-balanced issue, offering equal parts of dialogue-heavy scenes and action scenes. The action scenes are well done and get over the fact that Vulcan is a total beast and almost impossible to stop. This is good fight psychology by Ewing, as this helps build up Vulcan as a tough foe for Storm to battle in the next issue. This is an effective way to get the reader excited to see Storm knock heads with Vulcan.

X-Men - Red 9-1
Daddy’s home! And he is all jacked up on steroids and fire!

Ewing also delivers plenty of good character work. The star of this issue is Vulcan, so he gets the vast majority of the character work. Ewing does a fine job making Vulcan a complete dick. Which is precisely how we like Vulcan to act! Ewing presents Vulcan as a monster heel that the reader likes but also wants to see get taken down a peg or two.

The other characters are well-written. I like how Ewing writes Richard Ryder. That was a good representation of Richard’s character. All the dialogue is well crafted, as the various characters have well-developed external voices.

Stefano Caselli’s artwork is fantastic. Every panel is incredible and packed full of detail. Caselli can make any scene look stunning. Dialogue-heavy scenes? No problem. Action-heavy scene? Absolutely. Caselli makes every single page in X-Men #9 immersive and beautiful.

3. Fantastic Four #2

Words: Ryan North

Art: Iban Coello

Colors: Joe Caramagna

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

You can read Kevin’s recap of this issue here.

Fantastic Four #2 was just a really sweet read. The strength of this issue is Ryan North’s understanding of Reed Richards and Sue Richards’ characters and, more importantly, their relationship with each other. North crushes it out of the part with his handling of Reed and Sue.

North highlights what is so special about this husband-and-wife team. Reed is obviously the brains, while Sue is the soul. Together, these two form a perfect union and an unstoppable team. I hope this is exactly how North continues to write both Reed and Sue. Fantastic Four is not a team like the Avengers or X-Men that need a singular leader. The Fantastic Four is a family. I hope that North continues to deliver Reed and Sue as a true team who operates as one in guiding the Fantastic Four.

The dialogue is also well-written. North gives Reed and Sue their own unique external voices. What is particularly well done is Sue’s letter to She-Hulk which constitutes the spine of this story. I love how Sue talks about Reed. Sue’s admiration and awe of her husband’s strengths and abilities are heart-warming. Men, get yourself a woman who looks at you the way that Sue looks at Reed. Sue’s narration is incredibly sweet, with how Sue gushes and brags about her man in her letter to She-Hulk.

Fantastic Four 2-1
The cutest couple in the 616 Universe! Credit: Marvel Comics

What makes Fantastic Four #2 such an impressive read is that North is able to deliver an exciting mystery with several twists and turns. Then North layers in some action on top of the mystery. And all of this takes place in a story that is essentially a love story between Reed and Sue. It is a testament to North’s writing skills that he can deliver a love story with a mystery and plenty of action, and also tons of character work. It is incredibly difficult to write a story with that many layers.

I also like how North delivers an excellently plotted and paced issue with Fantastic Four #2. This issue delivers a fully enclosed story with a beginning, middle, and end. What a joy! There is not a single wasted panel in this issue. North makes every page important in delivering this one-shot story.

I also enjoy North’s unconventional approach to this new Fantastic Four title. North has chosen the path of delivering several one-shot issues. The first one-shot issue focused on Ben and Alicia. The second focused on Reed and Sue. The third is going to focus on Johnny. This is a unique and interesting approach to kicking off a new title. This was a risky move by North, but it is paying off in spades. This approach allows the reader to get a wonderful sense of each member of the Fantastic Four and what makes them special. It also makes this new Fantastic Four new reader friendly.

Iban Coello delivers plenty of nice artwork. Coello whips up fun action scenes. However, what I enjoy the most are the dialogue-heavy scenes. Coello draws remarkable facial expressions that really help to bring North’s story to life.

4. Immortal X-Men #9

Words: Kieron Gillen

Art: Lucas Wreck

Colors: David Curiel

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

In Immortal X-Men #9, Mr. Sinister creates ten subversions of Moira VI. Mr. Sinister then attempts to kill off the Quiet Council. Each time, Mr. Sinister fails and dies in his attempt. Then the subversion of Miora VI is killed and Mr. Sinister tries again to kill the Quiet Council. This goes on nine times. During the tenth time, Mr. Sinister kills Exodus and Hope. The remaining members of the Quiet Council square off against Mr. Sinister.

Kieron Gillen delivers an entertaining issue. There is plenty of great character work in this issue. Gillen has a good feel for the various characters. The dialogue is also well crafted. Of course, Mr. Sinister is the star of Immortal X-Men #9. I absolutely adore Gillen’s Mr. Sinister. Gillen captures the bloodthirsty and insane personality of Mr. Sinister, along with giving Mr. Sinister some brilliant humor. Trust me, Mr. Sinister’s dialogue will get you chuckling throughout Immortal X-Men #9.

Immortal X-Men 9-1
Oh, c’mon! Admit it. We have all been waiting to see Hope getting blown away to tiny bits! Credit: Marvel Comics

Gillen also loads up Immortal X-Men #9 with tons of action. If you dig action, then you will get plenty as Mr. Sinister attacks the Quiet Council over and over and over again. The action is also quite bloody, so get ready to see X-Men blown apart in spectacular fashion.

Having said that, the downside to Immortal X-Men #9 is that it feels a bit like Groundhog Day by the middle of the issue. Seeing Mr. Sinister carry out the same attack over and over might get old from some readers. Another problem with Gillen’s approach to this issue is that there really is not much plot progression at all. Some readers may feel like Gillen is stalling for time for most of the issue.

Lucas Wreck’s artwork is excellent. The art is dynamic and the action scenes explode off the of pages at the reader. Wreck packs in plenty of detail into his panels. I also enjoy how Wreck changes up the panel layouts from page to page. Immortal X-Men #9 is definitely a good-looking issue.

5. X-Force #35

Words: Benjamin Percy

Art: Chris Allen

Colors: Carlos Lopez

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

This issue centers on Sage, Domino, Omega Red, Beast, Maverick, Sevyr Blackmore, and Solem. There is a jailbreak at Beast’s secret space prison. Maverick and the Mercs battle the prisoners and decide that Beast is not paying them enough to stick around. Domino and Omega Red go to the space prison to retrieve the Beast. Meanwhile, Sage stays behind and takes the first steps in conquering her addiction to alcohol. By the end of the issue, Domino and Omega Red come back with the Beast arrested.

X-Force #9 is a quick-paced read. Percy offers up plenty of good action. The focus of this issue is more on the adventure side of things than the character side of things. Still, Percy does solid character work. Percy does a good job with Domino and Sage. The reader gets a good feel for Domino’s support for Sage in her battle with alcohol addiction. The reader also gets a good sense of the conflict raging inside Sage over her addiction to alcohol. It is obvious that Sage hates herself and is battling with personal demons.

X-Force 35-1
Hmmm…I don’t think a mouthful of bourbon would make that large of a flame! Credit: Marvel Comics

Beast is easily my favorite character in X-Force #9. Percy writes an excellent Beast who is a total dick in this issue. I love it. I am also a fan of Maverick, so it was great to see him in action. I also like that Percy nails Maverick’s mercenary soul, as he leaves Beast high and dry during the jailbreak.

Chris Allen serves up plenty of nice artwork. Allen’s art does shine more in the action-heavy scenes than it does during the dialogue-heavy scenes. I also appreciate the detail that Allen puts into his panels.

6. Batman – Knightwatch #4

Words: J. Torres

Art: Marcelo Di’Chiara

Colors: Connie Strachan

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

You can check out my review for this issue here.

7. Batman #130

Words: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Leonardo Romero

Colors: Jordie Bellaire

Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

You can read Kevin’s recap of this issue here.

Batman #130 may have taken the ridiculous nature of Batman to an entirely new level. This issue has Batman surviving re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere in just his Batman costume. Re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere brings the heat up to 3,000 degrees. Evidently, that is no problem for Batman’s costume, which looks more like pajamas than the space shuttle’s armored hide.

Moreover, Batman lands on his feet, so, evidently, Batman’s boots can withstand the impact of landing on his feet when dropping from the Earth’s atmosphere. I believe the space shuttle is going around 17,000 mph when it makes re-entry to Earth. Batman’s boots must be blessed with some kind of sorcery. Perhaps they have been enchanted by Zatanna?

Batman 130-1
We have officially achieved peak Batman! Credit: DC Comics

Batman #130 does offer up a fair bit of action. However, this issue is a thin read. There is not much content or plot progression at all. We get seven pages of Batman re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Then we get thirteen pages of Batman, Tim Drake, and Superman battling Failsafe. The reader blasts through this issue quickly because there just is not much substance to this story.

Of course, the worst part of Batman #130 is that Batman gets “killed” at the end. Snore. How many times have we seen Bruce Wayne “killed.” Failsafe feels like Doomsday. And Batman “dying” feels creatively bankrupt. Maybe Zdarsky has something unique and interesting in store for readers. But, at this point, this story feels like a hash of reheated old ideas.

8. Dark Web #1

Words: Zeb Wells

Art: Adam Kubert

Colors: Frank Martin

Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Ben Reilly as Chasm teams up with Madelyn Pryor the Goblin Queen to take on Spider-Man and the X-Men. Chasm and Goblin Queen enlist the help of Hallows’ Eve (Ben’s girlfriend Janine) and Venom. Goblin Queen promises to help Venom find his son if he helps her.

Goblin Queen turns inanimate objects in New York into monsters who attack civilians at Rockefeller Center. The X-Men are also on the scene and join in the attack. Goblin Queen sends Venom into the fight, but Venom senses Spider-Man’s presence and loses his mind. Venom becomes consumed with eating Spider-Man’s brain.

Dark Web 1-1
Yeah…I’m not gonna lie. I would turn heel and team up with Goblin Queen on any day of the week! Credit: Marvel Comics

Dark Web #1 reads much like what I thought it was: an editorially mandated big event. What are Marvel Comics’ two best-selling franchises? Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men. Well, let’s randomly slap the two together for a big event and milk the readers for some easy money. What’s the reason for the big event? Who cares! Just make an excuse to mash together a bunch of characters together for a mindless story and enjoy an easy cash grab.

Dark Web #1 is largely a slow and boring read. The story never moves with a sense of urgency. There is very little action. Instead, this issue is just Zeb Wells moving all the numerous chess pieces into place. It appears that this big event will not really kick off in earnest until Amazing Spider-Man #15.

This leads me to the next downside of Dark Web. This big event takes place in six different titles, and you have to buy all the titles to enjoy the story. That is a whopping total of 18 issues for what appears to be a rather shallow big event story.

Adam Kubert delivers a solid-looking issue. I do prefer when someone else inks Kubert’s pencils. Kubert doing the pencils and the inks tend to make his art look a bit sloppy and rushed at certain points of the issue.

9. Captain America Sentinel of Liberty #7

Words: Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly

Art: Carmen Carnero

Colors: Nolan Woodard

Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

In Captain America Sentinel of Liberty #7, Steve Rogers meets with his team of heroes including Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Sharon Carter, Peggy Carter, and the Destroyer. Captain America has his team assembled to take on the terrorist conspiracy group known as the Outer Circle. Captain America fills his team in on the backstory of the Outer Circle and how Bucky turned heel and joined the Outer Circle.

Cap tells his team of here’s that the American scientist who has been credited with creating Cap’s shield just took credit for the hard work of a Wakandan scientist who really created Cap’s shield. Cap then tells his team that his shield is not a symbol of America. It is the symbol of the Outer Circle. The issue ends with Captain America having been abducted and AIM ready to attack New York City.

I am stunned that it took two people to write this issue. Captain America Sentinel of Liberty #7 is a shallow read that is poorly plotted and paced. There is no plot progression at all until the final page of the issue. The pacing is slow as Lanzing and Kelly meander about with absolutely no sense of urgency at all. Much of this issue feels like stalling for time in an effort to stretch out this thin story across an entire issue.

Captain America Sentinel of Liberty #7 is a dull read. The main reason is that this issue is one massive exposition dump. It is page after page of an endless firehose of dialogue that bores the reader to death. The character work is largely missing. All the characters seem generic. The dialogue feels bland. There is no chemistry at all between any of the characters.

Captain America - Sentinel Of Liberty 007-1
Lots of cool kick-ass characters. Best to have them sit around a table and talk. Credit: Marvel Comics

On top of all of this, is it possible for Marvel Comics to stop deconstructing Captain America? Can we just get a proud Captain America, who is the symbol of American freedom? Can we get some cool adventure/spy stories involving Captain America doing kickass things? Captain America could be so much fun. For some reason, Marvel Comics just wants to constantly dump on Steve Rogers.

Now we have Lanzing and Kelly robbing Steve Rogers of his greatest symbol? Steve’s iconic shield is one of the all-time best logos. Steve’s shield symbolizes American Freedom in a loud and proud fashion.

Nah…we can’t have that on a Captain America title! Now? Steve Rogers’ iconic symbol represents a conspiracy theory terrorist group. Gross. It is pathetic how Marvel Comics keeps treating Steve’s character.

Carmen Carnero delivers some nice artwork. Carnero is talented and draws a fantastic Namor and an incredible Steve Rogers. It is a shame that Lanzing and Kelly give Carnero literally nothing to do at all with this issue.

10. Captain Marvel

Words: Kelly Thompson

Art: Sergio Dávila

Colors: Arif Prianto

Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

In this issue, Captain Marvel enlists the help of Gambit, Rogue, Polaris, Hazmat, Spider-Woman, X-23, and Psylocke. Rogue gets turned into a brood. Our heroes end up killing Brood Rogue. Then they launch an attack on the Brood. We then see them at a victory party with the Shi’ar. However, it all turns out to be an illusion as we see that Carol and her teammates are all being held captive by the Brood and hooked up to a machine that has them in the fake world where they won the fight.

Captain Marvel #44 offers a rather generic story. There is nothing particularly interesting or different to be found here. It is your typical surprise at the end that everything you read was just an illusion. The flow of the story is clunky. The scene transitions are awkward, and the entire read is choppy.

Kelly Thompson delivers bland character work. All the characters in this issue have similar personalities, as Thompson fails to give these characters any unique personalities. All of these characters seem to share the same viewpoint and approach, which makes for a boring read. Maybe Thompson should have chosen a bit more diversity in the personalities of the characters for this story to whip up a little friction and spice up the story a bit.

Thompson’s dialogue is unimpressive. All the characters have a similar external voice. Well, apart from Gambit. But, Gambit is just there to clutch his pearls and cry over Rogue.

Captain Marvel 044-1
The awkward silence once your friends learn you like Captain Marvel. Credit: Marvel Comics

There is not much plot progression in Captain Marvel #44. Thompson spends most of the issue with our heroes standing around and talking. It is not until the final page where we see our heroes are actually captured by the Brood does Thompson actually move the story forward. Much of this issue feels like filler.

The action in Captain Marvel #44 is pedestrian. We get a small fight scene in the beginning with our heroes bickering on how to best deal with Brood Rogue. From that point on? Nothing. In fact, right when Captain Marvel and her team launch their big attack on the Brood, Thompson quickly cuts away from the scene to a dialogue-heavy scene at a Shi’ar party. Fantastic. Lord forbid, we get some cool action in a superhero comic book.

Sergio Dávila’s artwork is quite enjoyable. Dávila’s slick style of art is a good fit for a Sci-Fi adventure. I dig how much detail Dávila puts into his panels. I really enjoyed Dávila’s action scenes. We do not get much action, but what we do looks great. It would be nice to see Dávila on a title that emphasizes a more dynamic and action-packed story.

11. Marauders #9

Words: Steve Orlando

Artist: Eleonora Carlini

Colors: Matt Milla

Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

I am not going to bother to try to give you even a one-paragraph synopsis of what happened in Marauders #9. You have sentient twin bacteria. You have the Threshold trying to re-establish their people. Furthermore, you have the Enriched and the Enlightened. The reader is overwhelmed with truly awful pseudo-science. You get an insane amount of truly awful Sci-Fi names, which look like random collections of consonants. Among all of that, you have the Marauders in Kitty Pryde, Bishop, Psylocke, Aurora, Somnus, Tempo, and Cassandra Nova running around in a disorganized fashion. That is your issue.

Basically, Marauders #9 is chock-full of bad Sci-Fi writing. This issue is such a shallow read. The action is a chaotic mess. The rest of the issue is a ton of characters standing around and talking about nothing that would possibly interest the reader. The characters are all bland. The dialogue is generic. There is no chemistry between the teammates.

Marauders 9-1
I’m baaaack! Are you excited?! Credit: Marvel Comics

The only thing that is remotely interesting is that the big baddie from the Threshold, Commander Nightfount, is revealed at the end of Marauders #9 to be none other than Stryfe. Your excitement over this reveal may vary.

Eleonora Carlini’s artwork is average. Carlini’s action scenes are nearly indecipherable. It may be easier to follow an action scene in an MCU movie than what we get in Marauders #9. The art looks incredibly rushed and sloppy in some panels. But, then we get panels that look quite nice. It is an uneven experience.

I definitely think putting all the members of the Marauders in underwater suits that all look identical was a bad idea. The reader has to look for the codename on the side of the leg of each suit to figure up which character is which.

12. New Mutants #32

Words: Charlie Jane Anders

Art: Alberto Albuquerque, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt

Colors: Carlos Lopez and Tamra Bonvillain

Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

New Mutants #32 includes the team of Escapade, Wolfsbane, Hibbert, Leo, Morgan, and Cerebella. Yeah, that’s not a line-up that is going to attract that many readers. Our heroes spend this issue trying to break out of a U-Men secret base.

New Mutants 32-1
Credit: Marvel Comics

Charlie Anders delivers a rather shallow story. There is just not much substance to the issue. The mission of breaking out of the U-Men secret base lacks any creativity. It does not help that this roster of D-list characters gets absolutely no character work. The dialogue is generic. None of these characters exhibit any interesting personalities or depth of character that would intrigue the reader and pull them deep into the story. In fact, these characters come across as rather lame most of the time.

I have no idea who the target audience is for New Mutants #9. This is not a classic all-ages title. Young kids are not going to want to read this. However, this is also not an issue that anyone over the age of 16 would be all that interested in reading.

Alberto Albuquerque’s art is too cartoony for me. The panels are rather simple, and the action that we do get is not that exciting. The art looks like it belongs in a kiddie comic rather than a New Mutant title.

To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and our Instagram feed. Also, catch up with all of Rokk’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on over on Twitter and Instagram.