Comic Book Reviews (Week December 7, 2022): X-Men Red Issue 9, Batman Issue 130 & More!

batman issue 130 review
Batman Issue 130 (Image: DC Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (December 7, 2022). I will be covering Batman issue 130, X-Men Red issue 9, Rick and Morty vs Cthulu issue 1, and more.

Let’s begin by talking about Batman issue 130 by writer Chip Zdarksky. During his battle with Failsafe, Batman found himself thrown into space at the end of the previous issue. Of course, fans were looking forward to seeing how Bruce would handle being in such a predicament. Will a superpowered ally come to his rescue?

Well, it turned out that Zdarsky had other plans. In what I would call an eye-rolling bunch of pages, Zdarsky shared a step-by-step explanation of how someone like Batman could not only survive in space but even propel himself toward Earth and survive re-entry.

Like, I get that I’m reading fictional stories here, but come on now! No amount of explanation will ever exist to make me accept that Bruce was capable of pulling off such a feat. Zdarsky really went all in on the joke certain readers have about how Batman’s superpower is plot armor.

The space shenanigans aside, issue 130 offered a conclusion to the current Failsafe-centric arc. From what I could understand, Bruce decided to add a bit of compassion into Failsafe’s programming. It did work, but not in the manner I think Bruce and Tim expected. It wasn’t the best of endings, but it was something. Even though Zdarsky didn’t bring anything new to the table, I have to say he did make the current story fun to read, even if he couldn’t land the ending, in my opinion. Let’s see what he does next.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up

Immortal X-Men Issue 9 review
Immortal X-Men Issue 9 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Immortal X-Men issue 9

From writer Kieron Gillen, Immortal X-Men issue 9 offered a very fun chapter as Sinister tried to kill Hope and the rest of the Quiet Council. Gillen handled the timeline restarts quite well without messing with the pacing. The tons of comedy also helped. The way the issue ended has got me excited about what will happen next, especially with the ‘Sins of Sinister’ event coming up.

One of the best moments for me was the data page that had Sinister finally deciding to give up on killing Storm, after continuously failing to end her life during every timeline restart.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

x-men red issue 9 review
X-Men Red Issue 9 (Image: Marvel Comics)

X-Men Red Issue 9

From writer Al Ewing, X-Men Red issue 9 was basically a chapter that allowed Vulcan to showcase his powers. There are Omega-level mutants and then there are Omega-level mutants like Vulcan who are in a league of their own. Everything fell into place as Ewing prepared to offer the finale to the current arc in the next issue. I’m very interested in seeing how Arakko and Krakoa will decide to handle Abigail Brand after Roberto messed up her plans to destabilize the Shi’ar Empire by killing Xandra and starting an intergalactic war. She’s not going down without a fight.

Here’s a code if anyone wants to download a digital copy of X-Men Red issue 9.

x-men red issue 9 digital code
X-Men Red Issue 9 – Digital Copy Code

The next issue will have two other battles. We have what Cable and his team are dealing with as they try to uncover what Abigail’s been hiding. And we have the much-anticipated rematch between Storm and Vulcan. Apparently, Vulcan’s able to access his true power this time around. So, Ororo’s got a tough confrontation in front of her.

X-Men Red issue 10 unofficial cover art
My unofficial cover art for the upcoming X-Men Red Issue 10

While I’m excited about the inevitable fight, I’m also a bit worried. I have no idea how Ewing can have Storm win without having her tap into some “higher” power such as her Godhead or unleashing Rogue Storm to surprise Vulcan and cause enough of a distraction to beat him. Also, if Storm does defeat Vulcan without accessing her full powers, you know certain readers will argue that Ororo won because the plot demanded it. Sigh!

The wait for X-Men Red issue 10 is causing me anxiety as a Storm fan. What have you planned, Ewing? Drop me a line!

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

x-treme x-men issue 1 review
X-Treme X-Men Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

X-Treme X-Men Issue 1

Hmmm. X-Treme X-Men issue 1 by Chris Claremont and Salvador Larroca was a mixed bag for me. I’m glad that Claremont is back to writing the X-Men. However, the debut issue had a very recap-y feel to it which might not go well with new readers who don’t really care about the decades-old stories that X-Treme X-Men is supposed to be a sequel to.

The premise is basically the X-Men working together to help Kitty deal with Ogun (whom she and Logan faced back in a miniseries published in 1984-1985). This is supposed to be a five-issue miniseries. So, hopefully, the next chapter will offer something better.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Up to you.

Kaya issue 3 review
Kaya Issue 3 (Image: Image Comics)

Kaya Issue 3

From writer and artist Wes Craig, Kaya issue 3 had the group come up with a plan to face the spider-like Magron that killed a farmer’s cattle. Of course, the plan didn’t work as expected, and Kaya and her crew had to track the Magron to its lair. I really liked how Craig amped up the tension during the scene where the characters tried to survive the Magron as it was able to appear from any of the numerous connected tunnels inside the lair.

Along with the action, Craig also took time to focus a bit on certain relationships. Zothan’s in dire need of a reality check. He’s trying to do things he’s not ready for. And I doubt he understood the accompanying consequences. As for Seth’s relationship with Kaya, I liked how Jin called Seth out on keeping a big secret from Kaya. And while Seth’s supposed to be one of the good guys, the way he justified not telling Kaya the truth felt very manipulative, especially due to Jin being a kid.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Golden Rage issue 5 review
Golden Rage Issue 5 (Image: Image Comics)

Golden Rage Issue 5

So, Golden Rage issue 5 served as the series finale and I have to say, it left me feeling disappointed. I get that writer Chrissy Williams wanted to focus on emotions, finding one’s chosen family, and exploring the many facets of womanhood, but still, due to how such a fictional world was presented, I really expected something big to happen due to all of the buildup. I didn’t even get a one-page cliffhanger to tease what was to come if Golden Rage returned for a second season. After such a stellar debut issue, it was sad to see the story take such a nosedive.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Up to you.

shock shop issue 4 review
Shock Shop Issue 4 (Image: Dark Horse Comics)

Shock Shop Issue 4

The two mini-stories concluded in Cullen Bunn’s Shock Shop issue 4. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I still think the two finales could have been better. ‘Something in the Woods in the Dark’ basically ended in a predictable manner with Willa and Clark thinking that their resentment, guilt, and anger summoned the murderous creatures in the woods. I still think willingly cheating on your spouse is more messed up than a spouse going to jail due to messed up finances. But oh well. I guess, no one really won in the end.

As for ‘Familiars’, it concluded in a manner that kept the door open for a sequel. With the first story being about guilt and resentment, I think ‘Familiars’ made use of the be-careful-what-you-wish-for trope. 

All in all, the storytelling in both tales was okay. Let’s see if the upcoming issue focuses on telling a single horror story, or decides to share two tales again.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: Up to you.

It's Only Teenage Wasteland issue 1 review
It’s Only Teenage Wasteland Issue 1 (Image: Dark Horse Comics)

It’s Only Teenage Wasteland Issue 1

From writer Curt Pires with art by Jacoby Salcedo (pencils) and Mark Dale (colors), the debut issue of It’s Only Teenage Wasteland offered a very interesting premise. I don’t know what’s actually happening in the present timeline, but I’m interested in learning more. As with basically every work by Piers that I have read, I will say it again, I have my fingers crossed someone picks this story up for a live-action or animated adaptation.

Pires made the right creative decision by offering a flashback that helped flesh out a bunch of characters and let the readers know what to expect from their relationship dynamics moving forward. Our young lead queer character Javi isn’t the bravest. So, I guess that will change as the narrative continues.

Take note; this is a mature comic book. The opening of the flashback featured sexual content. While it was used for awkward comedy, it’s still there. And considering Pires’ past works, sexual themes will likely continue as the series progresses.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Rick and Morty vs Cthulu issue 1 review
Rick and Morty vs Cthulu Issue 1 (Image: Oni Press)

Rick and Morty vs Cthulu Issue 1

I was provided with a free digital copy of Rick and Morty vs Cthulu issue 1 for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

From writer Jim Zub, this new series delivered what it promised as the premise dealt with Rick taking his family to battle Lovecraftian horrors. Apparently, Rick couldn’t directly attack Cthulu. He needed to weaken the Lovecraftian world first. And you know what? I’m not complaining. Such a plot decision allowed the debut issue to have our crew trek through three Lovecraftian stories. And as someone who has read most of H.P. Lovecraft‘s works, I really enjoyed seeing how the main cast handled the obstacles in front of them.

As a fan of the show, I think that Zub’s narrative had the tone of the long-running animated series down. That gelled well with Troy Little’s illustrations and Leonardo Ito’s colors. In a sense, my mind actually saw the panels play out as a normal Rick and Morty animated episode would. Complete with the proper voice acting.

I also appreciated how Zub acknowledged Lovecraft’s problematic personal beliefs and how said beliefs trickled into the stories he told. Also, at the end of the book, Zub gave some very useful small summaries of the Lovecraftian tales featured in the debut issue.

With the cliffhanger that the first issue ended on, I can’t wait to read the next chapter!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Which comic books did you read this week? What did you think of X-Men Red issue 9?

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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