Comic Book Reviews (Week July 29, 2020): Empyre Issue 3, X-Factor Issue 1, and More!

DC Cybernetic Summer
DC Cybernetic Summer Issue 1 (Image: DC Comics)

In this week’s comic book reviews round-up, I will be covering Empyre Issue 3, X-Factor Issue 1, Cable Issue 2, and many more!

Let’s open with this week’s offerings from DC Comics. Of course, I have to talk about the DC Cybernetic Summer issue. It’s a collection of short stories focusing on a number of characters (from various writers and artists). You’re sure to find a story or two you will enjoy. I loved the one from writer Steve Orlando titled “Out There” (featuring Midnighter and Apollo). I’m a fan of Midnighter and Apollo. That’s why I was glad to see them again.

“Out There” opened with Apollo and Lucas enjoying a Pride festival on a beach. However, being heroes, they received a distress call and had to go apprehend Mallah on a ship. The fact Apollo and Lucas walked around while carrying their superhero suits in a bag made me laugh. That’s one of the reasons I prefer having Storm’s power. I will be able to change my clothes in an instant.

Anyway, Lucas and Apollo’s interactions with Mallah are what made me go, “What the heck?” – but in a good way. I wasn’t expecting this mini-story to be this queer. It was revealed that Mallah was attacking a ship to rescue his love the Brain. Mallah described their relationship as a “Savage Love” and I lost it.

The story had Mallah and the Brain ask Midnighter and Apollo what the two heroes would do for the person they love. Yes, Mallah and the Brain are supervillains, but why should their love be considered inferior to what others share?

DC Cybernetic Summer review
DC Cybernetic Summer Issue 1 (Image: DC Comics)

In the end, Mallah and the Brain were put in prison together. It was such a weird narrative, but I enjoyed every second of it. Also, here’s to hoping DC Comics gives us more Apollo and Midnighter stories. Marvel Comics has a huge event, Empyre, focusing on queer characters (Hulkling and Wiccan). Where’s DC Comics’ big story with queer characters?

Recommendation: PICK IT UP! Support the Apollo and Midnighter mini-story!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Suicide Squad Issue 7 review
Suicide Squad Issue 7 (Image: DC Comics)

Suicide Squad Issue 7

Writer Tom Taylor continues to make me enjoy the Suicide Squad comic book series (for the very first time in my life). I never paid attention to the Suicide Squad series before the current run. The latest issue showed Deadshot going back to his daughter because he’s been pardoned. Of course, the people in charge didn’t believe in pardons and danger soon came to Deadshot’s house.

I liked Zoe wanting to be like her father but using the superhero name Liveshot. Get it? Because she didn’t want to kill anyone. She even gave the dog a costume! So cute!

Suicide Squad Issue 7 review
Suicide Squad Issue 7 (Image: DC Comics)

Kudos to the art team (penciler Daniel Sampere, colorist Adriano Lucas, and inker Juan Albarran) for the impressive way the action sequence was handled.

With Deadshot realizing that there’s no going back, I look forward to seeing him re-teaming with The Revolutionaires and going after the man who wants them all dead.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Empyre Issue 3 review
Empyre Issue 3 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Empyre Issue 3

The entire Empyre event is building toward Hulkling having to make a very serious decision down the line. Here’s hoping he makes the right one when it’s time for him to do so. I just want him to reunite with Billy already. Also, after what was revealed in the final panel, I can’t wait for that particular being to meet Hulkling’s fiance without wearing a disguise. The drama!

As for the rest of the superheroes in Empyre Issue 3, Captain America is out leading a large group to save people around the world. Thor’s on a mythical quest to obtain some kind of power. T’Challa is fighting a Cotati invasion in Wakanda because they’re after Vibranium-enriched soil. And Tony Stark’s feeling bad about believing the Cotati. Mantis is back to talk some sense into her kid.

Recommendation: Meh!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Cable Issue 2 review
Cable Issue 2 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Cable Issue 2

From writer Gerry Duggan, I’m not sure what to make of Cable yet. The current arc dealt with a missing mutant baby and Cable deciding to crack the case. That much of the story I was fine with. However, he’s also in a romantic relationship with all of the Stepford Cuckoos.

So, that means that Cable has a harem of five young women clones of Emma Frost and thus, sisters to each other. I don’t know how to feel about the harem situation. It’s a sexual fantasy that certain people have. Reading the latest installment made me uncomfortable because I was thinking of real-world implications.

Now, finding out that the Stepford Cuckoos are also hooking up with other people and aren’t exclusively Cable’s might make me be okay with it (even if just a bit). It’s shown that they’re messing with him due to some reason. But still, seeing a young man have a harem of women (regardless of him being used) still feeds into a problematic fantasy. Let’s see what happens.

Recommendation: Meh!

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

X-Factor Issue 1 review
X-Factor Issue 1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

X-Factor Issue 1

From writer Leah Williams, I had a lot of fun reading X-Factor Issue 1. The new X-Factor ended up being formed to help investigate missing and potentially dead mutants. Also, it’s incredibly queer. The team’s led by Northstar and includes bisexual characters Daken and Prodigy.

The story opened with Northstar sensing the death of his sister. I liked the justification behind the formation of such a team. Mutants can be brought back to life. However, there’s a long waiting list. Other than that, proof of death’s required by the Resurrection Protocol because no one wants clones running around.

I’m excited to see where Williams will take this story. The current issue features a lot of investigation (which I liked). The interactions between the team members were fun to read. I loved seeing the bisexual disaster Daken using his pheromones to gain information. Also, Prestige has a baby warwolf named Amazing Baby, as a pet. Ha!

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Ash and Thorn Issue 3 review
Ash and Thorn Issue 3 (Image: AHOY Comics)

Ash & Thorn Issue 3

I was provided with a free review copy of Ash & Thorn Issue 3. The opinions I have shared are my own.

Ash & Thorn Issue 3, from writer Mariah McCourt and artist Soo Lee, showed our leads growing bored. I mean, I too would be bored if I knew the apocalypse was coming but didn’t know when it was going to strike. We don’t know a lot about Lottie and Peruvia. So, it was fun to take a trip into their minds. Peruvia’s clearly not happy with her fate.

I feel for Peruvia. Imagine being excited about teaching a new Champion to save the world and said Champion was revealed to be an old woman. And after the decision Peruvia decided to make at the end of this issue, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Recommendation: Pick it up.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No. 

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Issue 52 review
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Issue 52 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Issue 52

Of course, as always, writer Ryan Parrott delivered another amazing issue of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. While the Power Rangers on Earth are still dealing with a crazy version of Drakkon, the Omega Rangers have intergalactic stuff to handle. So, you’re basically getting two stories in one.

I loved the interaction between Drakkon and Kimberly. We know a version of her worked for him and was a villainess under his orders. I liked seeing Kimberly (in the present timeline) having enough willpower to not allow Drakkon’s words to sway her. Kim continues to be my favorite Power Ranger.

I’m excited to see what Parrott has planned for Drakkon and how the Omega Rangers will handle the latest threat.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Does it have obvious queer characters? No.

Did you read Empyre Issue 3? Did you check out Midnighter and Apollo’s mini-story? 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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