Comic Book Reviews (Week August 16, 2023): X-Men Red Issue 14, SIKTC Issue 32 & More!

Tales of the Titans issue 2 review
Tales of the Titans Issue 2 (Image: DC Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (August 16, 2023). I will be covering X-Men Red Issue 14, Marvel’s Voices X-Men Issue 1, Something Is Killing The Children Issue 32, and more!

Finally, a comic book week where I was actually interested in reading more than a book or two. Oh, how I have missed such weeks! Here’s to hoping the trend continues.

Let’s begin by talking about Tales of the Titans issue 2. From writer Tini Howard, the story focused on Raven (one of my favorite comic book characters) as she tried to come to terms with growing up as a hero and helping a woman along the way. I liked how the current mission related to Raven’s past. With Trigon wanting to expand his family, he asked one of his sons, named Trilogy, to get him a grandson. Of course, that meant taking away a human child.

So, Raven was contacted by a guardian angel to help a pregnant woman named Eden and prevent her unborn child from being offered to Trigon.

Howard did a good job of explaining how people end up in dangerous cults. Both Eden and Raven’s mother were looking for a place to belong. And while Raven’s mother (who was born in Gotham City) tried to find solace via a church, God’s not in the habit of responding immediately. Demons, on the other hand, love to talk to vulnerable humans.

The story allowed Raven to come into her own as she realized that she was indeed ready to take the next step and become a Titan instead of a Teen Titan. And with her powers linked to empathy, the way she reached out to her brother was nice to see. I actually want to read more about Raven helping Trilogy stand up to their father.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Up to you.

Contest of Chaos Iron Man Annual Issue 1 review
Contest of Chaos – The Invincible Iron Man Annual Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

The Invincible Iron Man Annual Issue 1

Serving as a chapter in the current ‘Contest of Chaos’ event, I only picked up this particular comic book by writer Jason Loo because it featured Storm vs Iron Man. Ever since the book was announced, the fandom’s been actively sharing their thoughts online about who should be the victor of such a bout.

As far as my opinion’s concerned, Storm (an Omega-level mutant Goddess who has no limits to her powers) should be triumphant against Tony Stark (who wears an energy-powered suit that has limits). But when it comes down to it, what counts is what’s officially shown in a comic book.

The story had Ororo and Tony being led by Agatha Harkness to a crystal-filled cave. The supernatural energy emitting from said crystals (shoutout to Ororo for noticing the crystal’s magic) made both heroes act irrationally and attack each other, with Tony being the first to shoot.

The battle felt hollow because they both weren’t really serious about the fight. As far as their minds were concerned, most of their fight involved hitting hallucinations depicting people from their past.

For a comic book being promoted as a major battle between two powerful characters, I would have liked to see them actually do something instead of Tony shooting a couple of lasers and Storm being Lightning Lass.

It’s a fact that manga outsells comic books. And one of the reasons manga is enjoyed around the globe is the awesome battle sequences. That’s why I fail to understand why the comic book industry in the USA doesn’t go all in with a comic book story that allows iconic heroes to really fight each other. The fandom clearly wants it. Give it to them already!

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Meh!

Marvel's Voices X-Men Issue 1 review
Marvel’s Voices X-Men Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Marvel’s Voices X-Men Issue 1

Featuring a bunch of comic book talent, Marvel’s Voices X-Men issue 1 offered a handful of enjoyable stories about mutants. My favorite story was, of course, ‘Cryo-Therapy’ by writer Jay Jurden. This short story had a fun little sparring match between Storm and Iceman.

It was so refreshing to see the work of a writer who understood Ororo’s powers and depicted her using them in numerous ways (with some very appealing art by Wilton Santos). The sparring match was also linked to the history between Bobby and Ororo. This wasn’t the first time they have tested their Omega-level powers against each other and it won’t be the last.

One of the things that certain readers fail to realize about Ororo is that being considered an Omega-level weather manipulator has layers to it. The weather we see around us is due to numerous different energies acting in particular ways. Having someone possess the ability to manipulate said energies means they can’t be put inside a box. Air, water, Earth, and more, Ororo can control it all. And that’s in stark contrast to Omega-level mutants who have control over only one specific form of energy. Ororo, like the weather itself, encompasses such mutants with ease.

And to top it off, she’s a Goddess and has magical heritage. All of this allows Ororo to be a being greater than an Omega-level mutant.

So, seeing certain readers trying to put Ororo in a box by limiting her to one kind of energy control makes no sense. And yes, I continue to side-eye the type of readers who consider Ororo’s showcasing her powers as “a bit too much”, but they are hyped whenever a white Omega-level mutant demonstrates something unique or OP.

Anyway, having read Jurden’s work with Storm and Bobby, I hope Marvel Comics decides to give him a Storm miniseries or a miniseries where Ororo and Bobby have to team up for a very risky mission. I’ll even take a short supplemental tale that plays out across different X-Men titles.

Another story I enjoyed reading was ‘Evil Mutants’ by writer Jay Edidin. It shone a light on Destiny and Mystique’s romantic relationship during their Brotherhood of Evil Mutants days. The narrative explored the sense of belonging the women had created for themselves in a world that was against them in more ways than one.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

X-Men Red Issue 14 review
X-Men Red Issue 14 (Image: Marvel Comics)

X-Men Red Issue 14

From writer Al Ewing, X-Men Red issue 14 served to connect the current series with the events that occurred during the X-Men Hellfire Gala and then progressed the current Genesis War quite a lot. Seeing that the war’s been going on for 70 days really took me by surprise. I thought Ororo would have put a stop to it sooner. But alas, it looks like the war will continue for now.

The current chapter showcased battle strategy and what certain characters were up to. Even though Lactuca was on Genesis’ side, she wasn’t really on it. Lactuca’s concerned with the bigger picture. And as long as the Genesis War didn’t impact the universe at large, she was okay with sitting back and letting things pan out a certain way.

It was nice to see Isca again. She wasn’t partaking in the war either. But she had made it clear that the mountains were hers. Try to mess with her at your own peril. It will be interesting to see if Isca does decide to side with Genesis or Storm down the line.

With Apocalyse and his children with Genesis yet to enter the battlefield, our heroes were basically experiencing the calm before the Storm. I don’t know if it will happen in the next issue or soon, but I want Ororo and Genesis to fight already!

I get that the narrative is very into having Storm showcase the power of teamwork and friendship. But seeing Ororo continue to hold back, during a freaking war, is one of the reasons a bunch of comic book readers doubt her status as an Omega-level mutant Goddess. Having Ororo face every opponent with teamwork isn’t helping her case.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Something Is Killing The Children Issue 32 review
Something Is Killing The Children Issue 32 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Something Is Killing The Children Issue 32

From writer James Tynion IV, Something Is Killing The Children issue 32 spent time exploring the complicated relationship between Erica and Cecilia. One of the things that SIKTC has been able to do impressively well is make moments where characters just talk feel incredibly engrossing. Tynion completely understands his characters and their motivations. And his skill at creating a fully realized cast is what makes readers want to know more.

Cecilia made it quite clear to Erica when it came to what she wanted our tired heroine to do. She wanted the Dupicitype and Cutter off the board. She also wanted Erica gone. However, how Erica would manage to make herself disappear was up to her. Or Erica could decide to recruit Gabi and rebuild the Black Masks. Things could go either way. I’m very interested in knowing what Erica will decide to do when the time comes.

Seeing Cecilia offer some aid to Erica during her upcoming fight was a surprising but welcome move. Erica needed all the help she could get.

The flashback featuring a young Erica and Gary talking about Jessica’s drinking problem came across as a grounded moment involving a young kid trying to carry a whole lot of burden due to an alcoholic parent. Kids aren’t supposed to be put through such turmoil. The emotional beats throughout the issue hit hard. And you better brace yourself for even more emotions as the inevitable major battle draws closer.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Godzilla War for Humanity Issue 1 review
Godzilla: War For Humanity Issue 1 (Image: IDW Comics)

Godzilla: War For Humanity Issue 1

Godzilla: War For Humanity issue 1 was one of those books I decided to read the moment I saw the preview. From writer Andrew MacLean and artist Jake Smith, there’s just something new and nostalgic about the first chapter. And I’m looking forward to grabbing the next issue.

The premise deals with a young scientist, named Yuko, delivering lectures about how Godzilla is actually a hero for humanity. The origin of her passionate support for Godzilla was shown via flashback (taking place 25 years ago from the present) when Godzilla appeared just in time to rescue a young Yuko and her friend Megumi from Hedorah. According to an adult Yuko, Godzilla fighting Hedorah was also a way for the iconic lizard to stop Hedorah from negatively impacting the Earth and humans.

With a new monster threatening the world in the present, Yuko is recruited by the government to advise a special team to fight said monster that they have named Zoospora. The new Kaiju has been attacking other monsters with something strange and making them go on a rampage in nearby populated areas.

And while her team members think otherwise, Yuko continues to have faith in Godzilla. He will pop up to defeat Zoospora, right?

I mean, we know he will. But it’s still fun to see Yuko sweat when she learned Godzilla was busy doing other things over on Monster Island.

In my opinion, the old-school art style being used to depict the Kaiju really elevated the material and brought in nostalgia. It also allowed for the visuals to feel a bit comedic while not outright downplaying the stakes.

It’s clear that Godzilla will show up to save the day soon enough. And with how Zoospora’s affecting the other monsters, our giant nuclear lizard will likely have to face them before making his way to Zoospora. But until then, I’m very interested in learning more about Zoospora. Due to the fungus-type nature of such a dangerous monster and a particular line of dialogue, there’s a chance there’s more than one Zoospora roaming around. 

And I have my fingers crossed for MacLean to showcase some kind of flirtation between Godzilla and Mothra. The cover for the next issue features the two iconic monsters. So, I have hope. Don’t come at me. I can’t help but ship those two together.

This is going to be a five-issue miniseries and judging from the debut chapter, I think I’m going to enjoy every upcoming installment.

Really, kudos to MacLean for offering such new content to the long-running Godzilla franchise.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Which comic books did you read this week?

What did you think of X-Men Red issue 14, Marvel’s Voices X-Men Issue 1, and the others I have talked about?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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