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Psychic energy surrounds Jean Grey, who is wearing the Cerebro helmet, on the cover of X-Force #3, Marvel Comics (2019).

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Marvel’s X-Men books are getting weirder and wilder

Professor X was dead, but now he isn’t

Dustin Weaver, Edgar Delgado/Marvel Comics
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

The first issue of Marvel’s new X-Force series was a massive test for the paradigm set by this summer’s House of X/Powers of X event. A human strike team broke into Kraoka, the corner of Earth where mutants have holed up. Before the nation’s defenses could stop them, the genetically engineered soldiers executed dozens of mutants, including Professor Xavier, and destroyed Cerebro. The fledgling mutant nation was left to pick up the pieces — and to respond.

But in the new status quo of the X-Men, the question wasn’t “How do we carry on without Professor Xavier?” which has been asked quite frequently over the decades. It was “Can we resurrect him and all the others fast enough to avoid a dip in morale or the appearance of weakness?” It was “How do we improve Krakoa’s defenses?” And it was “How do we respond publicly on the political scale, and covertly with our own newly formed mutant CIA, the X-Force?”

X-Force has always been the X-Men team dedicated to covert operations, and now they’re officially the espionage wing of a sovereign nation.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. Let’s start get started!

X-Force #3

Professor Xavier walks through a krakoa portal to greet a throng of reporters and prove that he is once again among the living, in X-Force #3, Marvel Comics (2019). Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara/Marvel Comics

Charles Xavier, doing his best “Bet you thought you’d seen the last of me, bitch” for the international press.

Superman #18

Superman endeavors to show Jimmy Olsen that he is Clark Kent. “I’m sorry,” Jimmy says, “All I see is Superman with glasses on,” in Superman #18, DC Comics (2019). Image:Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis/DC Comics

This week, Superman voluntarily revealed to the world that he is Clark Kent and was also the victim of a brutal murder in this scene where Jimmy Olsen pretended that Lois Lane hadn’t already told him the news.

Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #6

Inside the Bozumatriks virtual reality network, a spherical, blue Corbanite explains to the Doom Patrol that the only way to stop all the Corbanites from being trapped in the network is to force feed a glass of digital orange juice to a digital frog driving a moped, whose name is Wild Ass, before he throws a digital baguette into the Bozu core, in Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #6, DC Comics (2019). Gerard Way, Jeremy Lambert, Omar Francia/DC Comics

Doom Patrol did its Reboot issue and I just... I don’t have any words. “His name is Wild Ass.” I love this comic.

Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year #1

Bane accepts the Obsession Award with a speech about the difficulties of being a civic leader, in a tux and bowtie with no shirt and the sleeves ripped off, in a big joke about the City of Bane arc in Batman comics, in Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year #1, DC Comics (2019). Mark Russell, Mike Norton/DC Comics

Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year #1 is the first Year of the Villain one-shot I’ve really gotten into. Naturally, it is a parody, in which Harley hosts the villain awards which, among other things, has an In Memoriam segment despite some of the featured villains having already come back from the dead. It is an extremely satisfying read.

The Batman’s Grave #3

Bruce asks Alfred how he needs so little sleep, and the butler deadpans that he is “habitually ripped to the gills on very fine cocaine, sir,” in The Batman’s Grave, DC Comics (2019). Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch/DC Comics

I said it on Twitter, but Warren Ellis is setting a new gold standard for Alfred quips in his Batman book.

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #4

Poison Ivy will be fine after chopping off her own arm, as soon as she grows a new one, she says. “Sure. Fine. Grow a new one.” Harley quips, “Just a normal Wednesday,” in Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #4, DC Comics (2019). Jody Houser, Adriana Melo/DC Comics

Two villains! On a road trip! On the run from some bigger bad guys! And they’re girlfriends! This book continues to be just a pleasure.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14

Spider-Man asks a super-hacker to postpone his city-wide blackout one night, because “there’s someone who needs me tonight.” The hacker pulls back his cool helmet, revealing that he is a stunned black teen, in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14, Marvel Comics (2019). Tom Taylor, Ken Lashley/Marvel Comics

I’m disappointed that this is Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man’s final issue. The series was a wonderful, warm place for homey Spider-Man stories, and it still made lots of room for action and weird science — like this one where Spider-Man stops a teen hacker from tanking New York’s power grid by just being real human and then hooks him up with some of his smart tech superhero friends so he can have a more productive outlet for this kind of thing. Grab it in trade.

New Mutants #3

Beak, a mutant with scraggly feathers, chicken hands, huge black eyes and a beak, opens the door, revealing his family with Angel Salvadore, in New Mutants #3, Marvel Comics (2019). Ed Brisson, Flaviano/Marvel Comics


Far Sector #2

Green Lantern Sojourner Mullein gags behind her alien friend’s back after tasting her attempt at making coffee from a distilled desert plant and “the essence of an aromatic hardwood that I like,” in Far Sector #2, DC Comics N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell/DC Comics

The second issue of Far Sector, DC’s new Green Lantern title, is even better than the first, now that Jemisin and Campbell have room to dig further into the story without so much expository lifting to do. (And yes, that alien species does have thumbs on both sides of the hand, it’s not mis-drawn.)


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