3 min read

Back Once Again

Two books and a goodbye to one of the greats.
A detail from IMMORTAL THOR #5, out this week.
Hey, Beta Ray Bill, did you enjoy Ncuti Gatwa playing Dr. Who?

Are we back? We're not not back. Admittedly it's Tuesday night and I'm drowning in work again, but this whole back half of the year has been a process of drowning. And it's Xmas in... twelve days? Oof.

But speaking of holiday gifts for all the family...


X-Men Red #18, that's what!

The cover for X-MEN RED #18 by Stefano Caselli, showing various Arakkii and honorary Arakkii,
Splendid folks, all of them.

And so we come to what's very nearly the end of my allotted X-time, and my last days on Arakko, the planet I shepherded almost from birth and put one hell of a lot of work into over the past couple of years. I leave it in as good a place as I found it, and I'm confident that it's got a future beyond the end of this story – both as part of the Fall of X and beyond. The planet that used to be Mars has a lot of story potential yet.

How we get from here to there – well, that would be telling. As ever, it's worth avoiding the socials until you read the book, because the spoilers come thick, fast and early. Chalk that up to the, ahem, other "Fall of X". Artist of aplomb Yildiray Çınar pulled an awful lot of rabbits out of a great many hats in this final stretch to really bring us home with a flourish, and as always, Federico Blee's colors are the beautiful red cherry on the sundae.

What else? Oh, just a little thing called... Immortal Thor #5!

The cover for IMMORTAL THOR #5, by Alex Ross, showing the new Thor Corps rushing across the Rainbow Bridge.
YOU get a Thor! And YOU get a Thor! And YOU get a Thor!

This is where we start segueing from "here's a fun idea I had to show off Thor's new mastery of Mjolnir" to "time to get into some of the deep plots and themes I teased back in issue #1". So this was intended as a fun time to be had by all, but also... there are some things on the edges here. Big, brewing things. The return of an old face or two, for some slow burns of some long fuses... but once they reach the dynamite you'll know all about it. As ever, Martin Cóccolo and Matt Wilson bring the thunder.

Onto some sadder news...


Comics lost one of the great artists this week - Ian Gibson, who I grew up reading in the pages of 2000AD, including Halo Jones, his seminal work with Alan Moore, one of many strips that showed off his phenomenal command of design and his ability to create any emotion you could name with just a few beautifully flowing lines.

Robo-Hunter Sam Slade, with his ally Boots, a pair of robot boots, looks over a vast factory breaking down innocent robots without a qualm.
An early page of ROBO-HUNTER, showing off Gibson's talent for strange robots in intricate landscapes - taken from https://2000ad.com/news/ian-gibson-1946-2023/

The second series of Robo-Hunter, a blend of fast action, genuine mystery and increasingly screwball comedy in which title character Sam Slade faces down a plot by the villainous God-Droid and his robot mafia to take over the underworld and replace human politicians with robots – helped and hindered by a parade of other wild and weird droids in various gorgeous settings - was a huge favorite of mine as a kid, and I still have the albums today. I'll take a little time this Xmas to read though them and remember how much pleasure Gibson's art brought me.

And on that sad note...

...I'm out of time for this newsletter. I'll try to have one in your inbox before year's end with a few 2023 thoughts and maybe that long-awaited Thought Bubble review. But for now, love and strength to all who need it, and I'll play us out with "Sad Robot World" by The Pet Shop Boys.