An absolutely stunning issue.
This was originally reviewed at my blog here.
Issue #4 marks the start of a new arc in the series, although things are somewhat in a transition phase right now. To understand what this issue is about, all one needs to do is just look at the cover. It explains everything. Having read the Victor Gischler X-Men run where Jubilee first turns into a Vampire and Logan goes after her to bring her back to her family, I definitely wanted to see how Wood would deal with their father-daughter-esque or brother-sister-esque relationship, and whether he would address her as a Vampire. This issue does all that and more.
The story this time around is split into two separate narratives. The first narrative deals with Logan coming back to the Jean Grey School (all happens off-panel) and then taking Jubilee and Shogo out for a day in sunny California. Their chosen spot is the Santa Monica Beach. You know, up until now, I’d merely been impressed with all the character work that Wood had been doing on Jubilee. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I love the character, yeah, but still, Wood had been doing a great job so far. With this issue, he knocks it all out of the park for a back-to-back home run.
The scenes between Jubilee, Logan and Shogo provide a nice downtime from all the action that the team has recently been through with Arkea/John Sublime, and I just enjoyed the heck out of all the bonding scenes between these three characters. Logan here is a completely different character than I remember, whether from the movies or the animated series, or even in some of the other Marvel comics I’ve read to date. The man actually laughs, he is affable and good-natured. And it totally fits him. I loved Wood’s taken on Wolverine here. But more than that, I loved what he did with Jubilee. The star of this entire book so far, across the four issues, is undoubtedly Jubilee.
It also helps that new artist David Lopez draws an amazing Jubilee. I liked how Coipel drew her in the previous three issues, but all the same, Lopez one-ups him. He gives Jubilee a very distinctive asian look, and this makes her really stand out. especially when she’s wearing shades and all. She also happens to be slightly taller, and in general Lopez’s characters have slightly bigger body-dimensions, more so with their faces. Its like the characters have all filled in clothes that were a size too big for them previously.
No complaints at all with any of Lopez’s character work, which was excellent. Much more detailed than Coipel’s, that’s for sure. One of my main criticisms of Coipel’s characters were that often he’d zoom out of a scene and we would see very little, if at all, of the character faces. Lopez doesn’t do any of that. Small things like that really build up.
The second narrative involves the X-Men saving a passenger airliner from crashing. This also dives into Rachel challenging Storm’s leadership, or rather, her assumption of leadership of the “team” and her cold decision to have Psylocke take out Arkea in the previous issue. This was hinted at in the ending of the previous issue, and the concept absolutely blooms here. The tensions between these two characters, and the way that the rest of the team tries to head them off, were portrayed excellently. Brian Wood’s characterisation is near flawless here, especially when it comes to Rogue acting all gung-ho once she taps Psylocke and executes the team’s mad-cap plan to save the airliner.
The narrative ends with a thrilling free fall scene that had badass written all over it and that entire sequence was just… mind-blowing. That’s the only word that comes to mind really, the way that Lopez draws it.
I remarked earlier that I would miss Coipel on this book. But in hindsight, I have to say that Lopez is doing a fantastic job, coming on mid-series like this. Hands-down, his pencilwork is that much better than Coipel’s, which I wasn’t expecting to the case, and in that respect, this issue knocks the ball out of the park once again. The rest of the art team has also gone through a shuffle, with inkers Cam Smith and Norman Lee coming aboard alongside colourist Cris Peter. The entire tone and mood of their artwork is different from that of the previous team, but they all still do a fantastic job. No complaints all all from me on that front.
This issue marks a substantial rise in the stakes where the creative team is concerned and I will say that I absolutely cannot wait to read the next issue, or holding a print copy in my hands sometime next month once my orders come in. Should be a blast.
Just to add, and this is not a criticism of this issue per se: I was a bit thrown off by the fact that this issue doesn’t really address the events of the previous three issues, aside from a throwaway comment. That was the only thing that jarred, and I suppose that’s more down to the changes that Brian Wood had to make when the series launch was delayed earlier this year, necessitating a cut in the length of the previous arc. All that said, I hope the series stays on track like this for future issues!