Comic Book Reviews (Week June 29, 2022): X-Men Red Issue 4, The Variants Issue 1 & More!

X-Men Red issue 4 review
X-Men Red Issue 4 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (June 29, 2022). I will be talking about X-Men Red issue 4, The Variants issue 1, Seven Secrets issue 18, and more.

Of course, I will begin by reviewing the awesomeness featured in X-Men Red issue 4 by writer Al Ewing. With the previous issues being more action-heavy, issue 4 decided to focus more on the meaning of life, death, and loss now that everyone’s become aware of the resurrection protocol being used on Krakoa. Ewing basically told three short stories in a single issue, with each story having something important to say about life and death.

We had Ororo attending a galactic meeting to figure out how to address Xandra’s assassination. Roberto spent time with Wrongslide. And Magneto made his and Ororo’s stance on the resurrection protocol very clear to the governing body on Arakko.

I liked how Ewing handled the emotion in each short story. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Roberto and Wrongslide, I’m definitely looking forward to reading what Ewing has planned to help Wrongslide heal from the weight he’s been carrying around due to his “unexpected” existence.

Over in space, Ororo, as the Voice of Sol, fought for mutant-kind in front of some of the most important people in the galaxy. As far as Storm’s concerned, non-mutants didn’t have the power to dictate how mutants should continue to thrive. Mutants were capable of making their own decisions, including whom should and shouldn’t be brought back from the dead. And of course, Charles was going to bring back a dead Xandra. Not only was she his daughter, but when given the choice, Charles will always opt for life over death.

And while Ororo understood the need for the resurrection protocol, things were different when it came to her and Magento. Giant-Size X-Men: Storm from 2020 already gave us Ororo’s answer regarding the resurrection process. As someone who’s in tune with nature and is meant to restore balance, Storm realized the gravity of every living thing having a season. She’s not going to stop others from wanting to be resurrected, but when it comes to her, Ororo’s all about finding value in life that’s supposed to end. When it’s time for her to die, she will accept it. Until then, she will continue to value her time with the living.

Magento also shared Storm’s sentiments in X-Men Red issue 4. Magneto made it clear to the Great Ring that he and Ororo weren’t going to use the resurrection protocol. Similar to the Arakki on the Great Ring, he and Storm were ready to govern Arakko without the insurance of resurrection.

With the Eternals-centric “Judgement Day” event coming up, I’m worried about Storm and Magneto’s fate. Let’s see what happens.

As for Ororo’s relationship with T’Challa, I think Ewing handled that quite well considering the context. Ororo’s understandably disappointed and sad that T’Challa lied to her face and even used Gentle as a sleeper agent (shown in the current Black Panther series by John Ridley). In my opinion, the two are on ice. Perhaps some writer (call me, Marvel!) will try to mend their relationship down the line. However, for now, both characters have far bigger things to worry about.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Seven Secrets Issue 18 review
Seven Secrets Issue 18 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Seven Secrets Issue 18

Seven Secrets, by writer Tom Taylor, came to an end this week with issue 18. While I enjoyed the series when it began, I kind of lost interest as it progressed. The finale, in my opinion, was okay. I’m not a fan of Talk-No Jutsu being used to handle huge disagreements. And unfortunately, the finale gave me just that. Seeing Caspar simply talk to his adversary (while the two god-like beings battled in the background) and use the power of love was anticlimactic, even if it was about queer love.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Up to you.

The Variants Issue 1 review
The Variants Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

The Variants Issue 1

I’ll be honest. I’m not the type of Jessica Jones fan who seeks out every comic she’s in. However, with Gail Simone writing this series, I had to at least read the first issue. And I have to say I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Simone gave Jessica an engaging voice as the well-known female superhero tried to handle some heavy stuff going on in her life. As the name of the series states, this story features variants of Jessica Jones and the reveal near the end has me interested in the next issue. In my opinion, there are some vibes of the live-action Jessica Jones Netflix show which I think certain fans will like.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

the department of truth issue 19 review
The Department of Truth Issue 19 (Image: Image Comics)

The Department of Truth Issue 19

Okay. I still don’t know what’s actually happening in the conspiracy-ridden The Department of Truth series by writer James Tynion IV, but I can’t deny there’s something about the story that’s keeping me hooked even if certain chapters can be considered filler.

Issue 19 gave me a development I had been expecting. With Cole trying to keep his husband away from the danger he’s dealing with, I could tell it was only a matter of time before Matty got involved in all of it. Leads in certain stories really need to start telling their significant others about what they have been doing to avoid complications down the line. More often than not, keeping their loved ones in the dark tends to cause problems and that’s exactly what Cole’s going to experience soon enough.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Sins of the Black Flamingo issue 1 review
Sins of the Black Flamingo Issue 1 (Image: Image Comics)

Sins of the Black Flamingo Issue 1

From writer Andrew Wheeler, I’m not really sure what I was expecting from Sins of the Black Flamingo issue 1. But I have to say it wasn’t what Wheeler ended up giving me in the debut issue of his latest queer-led comic book.

What began as a heist quickly took a turn for the supernatural, and you know what? I’m here for it. Our lead character, named Sebastian Harlow, is someone who is into stealing dangerous occult artifacts from Nazis and other extremist groups. And while Sebastian’s quite good at their job, I liked how Andrew gave Sebastian a personality that’s also tired of humankind. Sebastian’s simultaneously bored and excited about the assignments that come their way.

The art by Travis Moore, with colors by Tamra Bonvillain, can definitely be described as sexy. Everyone’s good looking and there’s backside nudity involved. In a sense, this is the type of book that could have been even better if it was allowed to go all the way into more adult-centric entertainment. The entire vibe is very “Be Gay, Do Crime” and the sexiness gels well with that.

The reveal on the final page made me go, “What the heck?”, but in a good way. I can’t wait for the second chapter and getting to learn more about Sebastian.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: Pick it up!

You can read Jessica’s review of Robin issue 15 here.

Which comic books did you read this week? Did you enjoy X-Men Red issue 4?

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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