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“We’re going to let the people vote,” says a grinning Cyclopes in X-Men #16, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Jonathan Hickman, Phil Noto/Marvel Comics

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A fair and democratic election will decide the X-Men’s future

Cyclops was right

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.

It might be a new year in the real world, but on the mutant nation of Krakoa, everything’s new all the time. What’s the newest news? The X-Men — the team —is coming back, after being formally disbanded as unnecessary (and maybe even politically dangerous) when Krakoa was formed.

But there’s a twist!

All the members of Krakoa’s first official X-Men team will be democratically elected by all mutants! So that’ll be an interesting toy for the X-Men writers to play around with.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to a Giant-Size edition of Monday Funnies, Polygon’s usually-weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed. She was off recently for the holidays and so you’re getting three weeks in one! 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. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

X-Men #16

Jean Grey declines a reinvitation to Krakoa’s Quiet Council in favor of restarting the X-Men, saying “The people of our nation need to feel like someone is acting on their behalf [...] and that’s us.” in X-Men #16, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Jonathan Hickman, Phil Noto/Marvel Comics

With the delays in Marvel’s slate due to COVID-19 restrictions, it seems like this plotline was originally timed to coincide with election season in the US, which would’ve been a bold move. I’m kind of glad it’s not happening concurrently.

Future State: Wonder Woman #1

Brazillian goddess Caipora chats with staff at the check-in desk in the underworld, as Yara Flor/Wonder Woman looks on. The “staff” are sort of adorable black fanged imps with big glowing white eyes, in Future State: Wonder Woman #1, DC Comics (2021). Image: Joëlle Jones/DC Comics

We’ve got a whole review of Future State: Wonder Woman #1 — it’s a great first issue and a great character intro — but I want to shoutout these incredible underworld imps that look like Stitch and a Heartless had a baby.

Eternals #1

The Eternal Sprite exults on top of a cab in a packed and sunny Times Square NYC. “Oh wow! Look at what they’ve done! This is just wonderful!” in Eternals #1, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribić/Marvel Comics

Everybody expected Eternals to be good based on its creative team alone, so it’s no surprise that it’s a beautifully made comic and a lot of fun to read. Also, that one Eternal, you know, the most famous one, makes a predictable guest appearance.

Future State: Harley Quinn #1

Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow asks an incarcerated Harley Quinn if she will help him track down Gotham’s other villains, in Future State: Harley Quinn #1, DC Comics (2021). Image: Stephanie Phillips, Simone DiMeo/DC Comics

There’s one reason I like Future State: Harley Quinn — although Simone DiMeo’s art really helps — and it’s that I’ve been waiting for somebody to do a proper story where Harley is in the Hannibal Lector consulting psychopath role. Here it is.

Future State: The Next Batman #1

Batman captures two masked members of Bane’s gang on a Gotham City rooftop. Steam rises from the buildings around him, with a pale blue moon looming in the background. Buildings glow pink and yellow and blue green all around, in Future State: The Next Batman #1, DC Comics (2021). Image: John Ridley, Nick Derington/DC Comics

Look at artist Nick Derington and colorist Tamra Bonvillain’s Gotham City! INCREDIBLE.

The Picture of Everything Else #1

A man explodes in a shower of blood, as if he is being ripped in half, in The Picture of Everything Else #1, Vault Comics (2020). Image: Dan Watters, Kishore Mohan/Vault Comics

With The Picture of Everything Else, Dan Watters and Kishore Mohan seem to be interrogating The Picture of Dorian Grey with more horror, a queer protagonist, and a killer who can tear people apart by tearing paintings of them apart. The first issue is a strong start.

Thor #11

Thor runs into Ratatoskr, the squirrel god of mischief, with their black fur, orange ruff and tail, red and yellow staring eyes, and a spiraling unicorn horn, in Thor #11, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Donny Cates, Nic Klein/Marvel Comics

I genuinely gasped when Ratatoskr, the squirrel god of mischief who runs up and down the World Tree, showed up in Donny Cates’ Thor. You just don’t expect a character first introduced in for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl to show up in many other places in the Marvel Universe, especially in Nic Klein’s art style, but I suppose that’s underestimating Cates on my part.

Power Pack #2

The Power Pack siblings travel to Asgard to see if Thor, or Frog Thor will mentor them. Sif has set up a sign regarding Frog Thor which reads “NO, we do NOT know where FROG THOR is. And verily, ‘tis insulting when thee suggest a Midgardian frog makes a perfectly viable substitute for our LITERAL KING forsooth.” The kids are disappointed, in Power Pack #2, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Ryan North, Nico Leon/Marvel Comics

Speaking of Squirrel Girl, Power Pack, from Squirrel Girl writer Ryan North, is still really, really good. I especially like how this sign asking people not to ask about Frog Thor has a lionized relief of Frog Thor on top of it.

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Secret Origin #1

“Get out of here you stupid mutt,” Superboy Prime begs Krypto the Superdog as he stands loyally by him, in Dark Nights: Death Metal The Secret Origin #1, DC Comics (2020). Image: Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns, Paul Pelletier, Norm Rapmond/DC Comics

Look. If you don’t know who Superboy-Prime is, you don’t need to know. But if you do know who this polarizing figure of mid-’00s comics is, then let me tell you that Dark Nights: Death Metal The Secret Origin made me feel an emotion about him and I’m mad.

Guardians of the Galaxy #10

“I’m the master of the sun,” says Star-Lord, “And you know what they say. Sun’s out, gun’s out,” as he shoots a god in the head in Guardians of the Galaxy #10, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Al Ewing, Juann Cabal/Marvel Comics

OK, so, right now in Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill is going through a serious level up sequence, coming into some of his creator’s original ideas for him, which included him becoming a guardian of suns, fueled by suns (hence the name Star-Lord). Right now he’s got a gun powered by all the stored divine energy of the Greek Pantheon?

What I’m trying to say is, this is a damn good one-liner.

Batman Annual #5

Leslie Tompkins stitches up Clownhunter in her clinic, saying that she’s heard all about how he’s going around killing people who “ravaged the city” during Joker War. “i guess i’m famous,” he responds. “The Joker is famous, too.” she replies, shutting him up, in Batman Annual #5, DC Comics (2020). Image: James Tynion IV, James Stokoe/DC Comics

Add it to the list of shitty teen characters who are growing on me: Clownhunter. James Tynion IV is very, very good at writing selfish and violent teenagers, and the influences that can lead a kid to make very bad choices, and the scared child that still might exist under all that bluster. Batman Annual #5 feels more like his teen-focused indie work than any of his Batman stuff so far, and this slower storytelling really helps to make Clownhunter and Punchline more than new names and new costumes who’ll probably disappear after his tenure.

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #6

Puck explains that he cut Heather’s arm with a vorpal dagger, a wound that will bleed until she dies, over a series of panels made from the background, her shirt, and skirt in The Dreaming: Waking Hours #6, DC Comics (2021). Image: G. Willow Wilson, Javier Rodriguez/DC Comics

Look at Javier Rodriguez’s art! The COLORS. That the panels are made of Heather’s CLOTHING. Stunning. The Dreaming: Waking Hours is a gift.

Future State: Swamp Thing #1

“Do you wonder why I search for [humanity], Heather? Do you resent that I do?” Swamp Thing asks one of his plant children. “OF course she does. Of course! But you only ask so you can continue doing it,” replies another of his plant children, in Future State: Swamp Thing #1, DC Comics (2021). Image: Ram V, Mike Perkins/DC Comics

I didn’t have any idea of what to expect going into Future State: Swamp Thing, but I was intrigued by its story of an apocalyptic future where Swamp Thing raises a huge family of plant beings to search for the last remnants of humanity.


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