January 2018 in Books

1. X-Men Mutant Genesis 2.0 (Chris Claremont, Jim Lee, John Byrne, Scott Lobdell, 1991)

X-Men Mutant Genesis collects the first seven issues from the adjectiveless X-Men and features the “Rubicon” and “Omega Red” storylines. In “Rubicon,” the X-Men battle it out against Magneto, as the villain has set up an asteroid base and is set on building a mutant netopia, whatever the cost. In “Omega Red,” we are introduced to the Russian super soldier, who is on the hunt for the Carbonadium Synthesizer, a device that Wolverine stole that will help him be stronger. Even if the premise of “Rubicon” has seen various iterations in its movies (the battle between integration with and dominance of non-mutants), I enjoyed reading it for its pacing, its well-drawn characters, and action-packed scenes. I’m not really a fan of the story of “Omega Red” but I still liked it for the same reasons.  All the comics in the anthology have been remastered and recolored, which makes for an explosive read.

2. The First X-Men (Neal Adams and Christos Cage, 2013)

Set before Charles X. Xavier set up his school for mutants, this graphic novel follows Wolverine and Sabretooth as they rescue mutants from government facilities eager to test on them. The organization decides to fight back and Wolverine, along with Sabretooth and their scruffy band of ragtag recruits, must learn to protect and assert themselves. I’m usually not a fan of Wolverine (I find his tough guy persona ingratiating) but I enjoyed seeing Wolverine in a leadership role and Sabretooth on the good guys’ side. My favorite part of The First X-Men is when they put the spotlight on Sabretooth, who we usually see as a one-dimensional character.

3. Ella Arcangel Tomo Una: Ito ay Panganib (Julius Villanueva, 2017)

Ella Arcangel is a young mambabarang (a kind of witch) living in the slums of Barangay Masikap. Here, she solves a series of cases with a paranormal bent, like when a monster baby latches on to a mother, when a boy disappears after being approached by an engkanto, and when an earth spirit discovers that his land has become populated by humans. The comic is entertaining but it also serves as a social commentary on poverty, drug use, and urbanization.

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