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Assassins Target the X-Men: Best New Comics for the Week of 2014-05-21

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This week's best new comics feature (as usual) a couple of X-Men titles, in addition to the final issue of Dark Horse Presents (from Dark Horse, natch), and the second issue of IDW's latest Danger Girl miniseries. Let's jump right into the reviews to see what makes these books the best new comics for the week of May 21, 2014.

Uncanny X-Men Issue No. 21

Cyclops continues his aggressive interrogation of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, as the tactical style maven is operating under the assumption that his once-teammates are responsible for the ongoing Sentinel attacks on Cyclops' team. The stakes are raised once S.H.I.E.L.D. intervenes in the tense situation, and then all heck busts loose.

Meanwhile, the situation on the island nation of Madripoor goes from bad to junkie-fueled worse, with the Blob and other villainous denizens of the island not-so-slowly becoming outright addicted to the power granted by mutant growth hormone. Can even Magneto, one of the most powerful mutants on Earth, find a way to stop this nightmare scenario? He certainly has a shot, especially now that he's leaving this one to the Dazzler.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist/colorist Chris Bachalo continue to tell a story of the X-Men that stands out on the comic rack primarily thanks to Bachalo's powerful visual storytelling, and this latest issue of Uncanny X-Men is no exception. Helicarrier-caused destruction has rarely looked so good, and as you may recall, Cyclops is always right, so there's a bit of schadenfreude-style satisfaction at play when the Jean Grey School is caught in the cross-hairs of a mysterious villain, yet to be revealed.

Danger Girl: Mayday Issue No. 2 Cover
Credit: John Royle and IDW

Danger Girl: Mayday Issue No. 2

The Resurrection of Natalia Kassle

The second chapter for Danger Girl's latest stand-alone miniseries focuses on the rehabilitation of Russian double-agent Natalia Kassle, "the most dangerous woman who ever lived (twice)." As a member of the jungle cult The Sisterhood, Natalia lives in a world of relative peace and prosperity, but her mind is in turmoil because she is unable to remember her past before she joined up with that group. And it seems like the rest of her life will be haunted by this identity mystery...that is, until April Mayday arrives to jog Natalia's memory the only way that makes sense: by handing her a knife and having her engage in combat. Honestly, how else would you cure the amnesia of a Russian assassin?

Meanwhile, a separate cabal of assassins has stolen the secret cargo from what seems to be a military plane, since it's clearly carrying a lethal chemical weapon. Who wants this weapon, and for what nefarious purpose? Check out this and future issues of Danger Girl: Mayday, from writer/co-creator Andy Hartnell and artist John Royle, to discover the answer.

Dark Horse Presents Issue No. 36

This issue of Dark Horse Presents is the final one being released for this volume of the title, but loyal readers shouldn't mourn the title just yet: publisher Mike Richardson assures everyone in his introduction that DHP will return in a new format in August 2014. The previous 36 issues of DHP featured 80 pages of story and art for $7.99, and the coming volume lowers the page count to 48, but keeps the value for the title strong at $4.99.

So, what stories are included in this final issue of the latest volume of DHP? For one, there is a new 8 page story from Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets), "Mysteries of Magic Presents: Merlon the Magician," about a lovely magician's assistant who finds herself in a surprising location after Merlon makes her "disappear" onstage.

There is also the ridiculous (in a good way) "Bunbun and Sadhead: Forest Friends," a hilarious 4-pager from Australian cartoonist Patrick Alexander. This one is about a happy bunny and a sad head, and the consequences of forgetting your umbrella. Not recommended for those with weak stomachs. And not only that, but Alexander has another three page strip near the end of the issue, about the dangers of bean tasting.

Other stories in this issue of DHP include a new Witchfinder story by Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck, the conclusion of a Usagi Yojimbo tale by Stan Sakai, "Sunstroke" by Luciano Saracino and Juan Manuel Tumburús, and the surreal "Dogstar" by Martin Conaghan and Jimmy Broxton. Don't miss this issue (or you'll have to wait a quarter of a year for the next one).

X-Men 14 Art by Clay Mann
Credit: Clay Mann and Marvel Comics

X-Men Issue No. 14

Clay Mann's Final Issue

This is a bittersweet issue of X-Men, as it presents the final art on the title from superstar Clay Mann (and inked by Seth Mann). Mann brings a lot of life to his pages, and it will be sad to see him go. But on the positive side, his next assignment will be something Batman-oriented for DC Comics, so that should be pretty exciting in its own right.

This issue of X-Men continues the Bloodline storyline begun last issue, and the stakes are getting higher. Following the latest non-S.H.I.E.L.D. attack on the Jean Grey School (not really a safe place to pursue your education), Rachel Summers and Monet St. Croix are in pursuit of a deadly shooter, in what Monet refers to as an "extralegal snatch and grab." Sure, because 'illegal kidnapping' just has such a negative ring to it. Anyway, Summers and St. Croix, like the Mounties, always get their man, and return to the school right before Storm puts the whole place into lockdown mode. Unfortunately, more assassins are descending upon the school, so will heightened mansion security be enough to prevent any more mutant bloodshed? Don't count on it...

Other New Comics This Week

Amazing X-Men, Daredevil, and Elektra

For those who can't get enough X-Men ahead of the new movie being released this week, there is also the latest issue of Amazing X-Men to read. And for those who enjoy the tales of the Man Without Fear, a new issue of both Daredevil and the latest Elektra miniseries have also been released. Another strong week for great comic books.



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