Today’s Super Comics — X-Men #188-193 (2006)

And now—Rogue’s turn to head an X-Men squad! X-Men #188-193 sets up her unconventional team with her as their unconventional leader, and it was a promising start that regrettably didn’t last long. But during that short span of time, writer Mike Carey and artist Chris Bachalo did some of their best X-work.

Mutants were facing extinction (kind of like now, but this was another time they were facing extinction), so another, long-dormant race of super-powered people arises to supplant both mutants and humans. But that’s not really the interesting part. As is often the case with the X-Men, it’s all about interesting characters bouncing off each other.

Carey handles Rogue’s characterization well. She’s matured quite a bit since desperation first drove her to the X-Men years ago…and since Mystique brought her into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants before that. Rogue is presented here as a creative thinker who’s comfortable with moral ambiguity, leading to assemble a team that mixes X-Men stalwarts like Iceman and Cannonball with potentially reformed enemies like Mystique and at least one definitely not reformed enemy like Sabretooth.

It’s a natural evolution for the character, and Rogue can certainly carry the top spot. Plus, Carey injects just the right amount of humor throughout to keep things fun. A solid X-book all around.

Writer: Mike Carey

Penciler: Chris Bachalo

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in X-Men: Supernovas (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 13 and up

Today’s Super Comics — Wolverine #62-65 (2008)

Wolverine pursues Mystique for four issues. It makes for quite the cat-and-mouse game, and it works because of the long history between the characters—a history that gets embellished via flashbacks here.

Before Wolverine #62, Mystique had recently betrayed the X-Men yet again, and she’s on the run. Cyclops tasks Wolverine with bringing her in, preferably dead (Cyclops had gotten into a dark period—and never really found his way out, come to think of it). Wolverine tracks her across countries while flashbacks show us how he first met Mystique back in 1921 and how they became allies (and a bit more) for a while.

Writer Jason Aaron does a great job adding some depth to Wolverine’s motivation, and he sets up Mystique as an opposite number to Logan. Both are old loners, but whereas Wolverine eventually settled down with his family of X-Men, Mystique has repeatedly rejected that same family.

Another nice touch: Aaron really drills into Wolverine’s head regarding his healing power and how he experiences it. He gives us a clear picture of someone who looks invincible on the outside but is actually in constant physical pain.

These four issues are as violent as you would expect of a Wolverine comic, but there’s a solid story and solid characters beneath it all.

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Ron Garney

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Wolverine: Get Mystique (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 15 and up