Comics Disassembled: Eleven Things I Liked or Didn’t Like from the Past Week in Comics, Led by a Grand Finale

It’s a bit of a weird week for this column, at least in terms of headliners. And with that in mind, it’s time to make an official change back to the way things once were. This column used to include “ten things I liked or didn’t like” in its title before it became “ten things of note.” I prefer the former, so after a while with the latter as the status quo, we’re going back to it! And of course, on the week I make that change, we’re going to talk about eleven things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics in another edition of Comics Disassembled.

1. The End of the First Krakoan Age, Appreciated

This week brought the end of “The First Krakoan Age,” a label given to it within its own final appearance in X-Men #35/Uncanny X-Men #700. I wanted to talk a little about that conclusion, even though I plan to write about the larger Krakoa experience in the coming weeks. And a big part of why I wanted to talk about this release isn’t because of what it took off the table but what it left on there. There was a lot of fear heading into this release and the new era of the X-Men led by Editor Tom Brevoort that all of the Krakoa experience would fall by the wayside and be permanently forgotten. That may still happen, of course. But the way writers Kieron Gillen, Gerry Duggan, and Al Ewing and a billion artists — a list that included Phil Noto, Joshua Cassara, Lucas Werneck, Jerome Opena, and more — handled it resulted in a story that put all those things away for now while still leaving them accessible for anyone who may want to use them in the future.

And that was smart as heck.

I don’t want to get into specifics, because it just came out and its cover price likely resulted in some readers electing to wait for Marvel Unlimited. But my take is it’s one of the more elegant solutions to a narrative conundrum I’ve come across in a while. How do you solve a problem like the looming specter of an entire nation of mutants hanging over every storyline that follows? The short answer is…comic book magic! An inability to find workable solutions is a problem for the unimaginative, but that, my friends, is no problem for an imaginative crew like this one. They created tidy answers for Krakoa, the remaining mutants in The White Hot Room, what could lead to animosity forming between once closely aligned mutants, and an array of other things, all within this finale. Some other aspects like Arakko are still out there, even if there was a nod in that direction (and the book that will follow about it). But they came up with some pretty smart answers, ones that can be called back on whenever another creator or editor feels the urge to do so. Consider it Chekhov’s Island That Walks Like a Man. This gun could be fired at some point, and when it does, maybe The Second Krakoan Age could arrive. Color me impressed by all that.

Of course, in true Marvel fashion, all this happened amidst a lengthy fight that was fine but a bit uninspired for the page count it received. But it was mostly a means to an end in a number of different ways, so it worked even in that regard. All this allowed the team to deliver an emotionally satisfying conclusion that gave readers and the characters themselves a chance to mourn what they’re losing, even as the cast headed to varying places in the galaxy (including the extremely fictional Merle, Alaska!) in the Jed MacKay and Gail Simone scripted, Javier Garron drawn coda/montage that nicely set up what’s coming next.

It was a tough task to tie up all the loose threads and set this new era on its way, even with 86 pages. But in a wildly unexpected way, this issue felt more confident and considerably less rushed than so much of what preceded it in the Fall of X. It reminded me more of the parts of Krakoa I enjoyed, the ones that felt like a team moving in the same direction with a common goal in mind. In that way, it felt like a fitting conclusion, and one that offers a lot of opportunities for those who might want them going forward.

2. A Little Tradd Moore, A Little Whisky…

I have great news for fans of writer/artist Tradd Moore: He’s made a new comic!

I have bad news for fans of writer/artist Tradd Moore: It’s coming out in a wildly, wildly unconventional way that ensures that very few people will ever read it. But boy oh boy is it interesting!

It’s a comic that will come alongside Ardbeg The Abyss, a new whisky created by Ardbeg, a single malt scotch whisky company. This isn’t any run of the mill bottle of liquor either. Each bottle will come encased with the comic next to it, and there will be a total of 400 bottles ever made, presumably limiting the number of comics as well. And what’s the price tag for this rare concoction? A cool 25,000 Euros, or a bit over $27,000 for the Americans out there.

It’s an extremely wild project, and something that some might bristle at. Me, though? I genuinely think is cool as heck for Moore to take on. How often do you get to say you made a comic for a whisky company, one that likely paid extremely well based on the cost of those bottles? Not very often!

That said, this apparently is not the first time Ardbeg has dabbled in comics. They once created a 40-page anthology featuring Ronald Wimberly, Emma Rios, and Sanford Greene called Planet Ardbeg, so it’s abundantly clear someone over there is awfully fond of comics and has remarkable taste as well (which honestly may have been Wimberly, as he was tabbed as the creative director on the Planet Ardbeg project). But I do believe it’s the first time a new comic came with a five figure price tag, even if the whisky’s the real sales point. I kind of dig it! Comics are cool enough that they’re being used as value adds for ultra high end whisky bottles. I never thought I’d see the day where that happened!

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