At last, the release of Suicide Squad — the movie at the top of my must-see list for 2016.
The first trailer previewed a rogues gallery of misfits — awesome and not — who become forced into some good ol’ fashioned do-goodery. The preview had a bit of humor, our first look at Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and a shot of Batman hanging from the roof of a speeding getaway car.
The latest trailers gave us more of the same, but it was the delivery — they played like the best fan-made music videos. A helicopter launching flares as Brian May goes into full swing for his guitar solo in Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, or Sweet’s high-charged Ballroom Blitz in step with shots of pure kinetic energy.
Unfortunately, we’ve come into a golden age of trailers, where companies can cherry pick the best visuals, break open the plot, and piece together a TLDR version that can make a bad movie look good.
Somehow, people were tricked into seeing Fantastic Four — and half of the scenes in the trailer weren’t even in the movie!
On the strength of its casting, premise and top notch trailers — rumor has it, the final cut of the movie was completed by Trailer Park, the company that created the previews — Suicide Squad topped even Rogue One on the “Want to See” list, but no amount of editing could save a movie with a circular kind of logic that is a means and end to itself in all of the worst ways.
The X-Men scramble to ward off a potential resurrection of Arkea Prime only to discover their worst fears coming true.
The new Sisterhood is already one step ahead with the meteorite that carried Arkea to Earth now in their possession.
Escalation is the issue’s theme with Sabra and Gabriel Shepherd joining the X-Men, Jubilee and Karima Shapandar using their espionage skills to lock onto Ana Cortes’ position, and Rachel Grey interrogating her former boyfriend John Sublime.
Sublime feels Arkea come back online, and the effects are devastating. After possessing Reiko, Arkea gives power to Cortes, Typhoid Mary, and the Enchantress who has been freed from Odin’s imprisonment.
A burglary at the Mansion leads the X-Men on a chase ’round the world to keep Lady Deathstrike and her new allies from reviving a dangerous foe.
Last issue, Deathstrike entered the body of Ana Cortes, hoping to gain access to the Omega Sentinel technology that has since come back online with Karima Shapandar’s return to form. A failed raid put Yuriko onto newer intel which gave Deathstrike and her hired gun, Typhoid Mary, information on the existence of a more dangerous enhancement — Arkea Prime.
A successful snatch and grab at the beginning of X-Men #8 opens the door for a meeting between John Sublime and Yuriko/Ana Cortes with a discussion about the potential of Arkea’s power. A brief tussle over the chip reveals the chip containing Arkea has become inert.
This issue would have been the end of Arkea and the story arc, but Sublime can’t keep his mouth shut about the original meteor that brought Arkea to Earth. Deathstrike and Typhoid Mary team up with Enchantress for a three-team partnership that presumably begins the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants.
X-Men #8 spends less time building up the components of the team, moving ahead at a brisk pace with Psylocke tailing Typhoid Mary to Colombia. If the issue were a movie, there’d be plenty of expensive set changes as the story goes to South America then Norway with a brief cutscene at the Jean Grey School.
The developments in the plot are interesting enough, though the details are a little sketchy. Brian Wood has it all mapped out, but some of the elements seem a bit forced. Sublime gives away too much by talking about Arkea’s meteor — in the X-Universe one should never make assumptions on the safety of information — and it’s a little bit convenient that all of the information about Arkea Prime is stored in one box. That a C-lister like Typhoid Mary could sneak into the Mansion for a snatch and grab — if anything, it shows a lack of awareness on the X-Men’s part especially in the wake of Deathstrike’s raid.
Perhaps the biggest plot hole — Arkea’s existence on a meteor would make sense if she weren’t bacterium (singular). Maybe there’s some comic book science to be done or a re-examination of Arkea Prime’s biology on a microscopic level. Either way, it just seems like the story’s a little bit on rails at this point with manufactured plot points coming out of the woodwork to move things forward.
The artwork by Terry Dodson and Barry Kitson has a few inconsistencies — Kitson’s artwork has a similar tone to Dodson’s, but facial recognition takes a hit in some panels. It’s still largely well done, and the inks by Rachel Dodson, Kitson, Scott Hanna, Karl Kesel, and Terry Pallot keep things defined with bold and distinct lines.
Jason Keith’s colors are soft with a touch of gloss. There’s a clay-like texture to skin tones that looks a little plastic, but the quality shows in Keith’s shading and atmospheric lighting which changes with the environments.
The birth of the Sisterhood gives the X-Men a formed threat, but will Wood give readers the action scenes to boot? With Battle of the Atom taking precedence, things for the X-Men title have been a little shaky, but there’s potential here to produce something.
X-Men #8 (2013)
Words: Brian Wood
Pencils: Terry Dodson and Barry Kitson
Inks: Rachel Dodson, Kitson, Scott Hanna, Karl Kesel, and Terry Pallot
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: Joe Caramagna