10/31/07 – Mostly X

November 4, 2007

OK, I’m going to try and do a semi-regular comics commentary here, at least commenting on what I pick up. Note that it won’t be weekly, because I only go every 2-3 weeks, so some things may be from last week. Deal with it. I’ll also comment on other stuff that comes out in that time frame if I’m able to read it. For other opinions in a similar vein (and the column I was inspired by), see Hannibal Tabu’s The Buy Pile (runs weekly on CBR, which is linked in the sidebar). I don’t always agree with his commentary, but more often than not I do. I think overall, I’m less pessimistic. As a side note, I used to shop at the comic store he frequents down in LA.

So, without further ado, here’s what I picked up:

X-Men – Messiah CompleX

Messiah CompleX wasn’t on my Pull list, but, you know, it starts off the story that the 4 main x-books (X, Uncanny X, New X, X-Factor) will be following for the next 3 months so, I might as well know what’s going on. Plus (bonus!) it was penciled by Mark Silvestri, probably my favorite X-artist EVER, and (coincidentally?) the artist when I first start collecting. One could argue that his cover to Uncanny 234 is what got me into comic collecting (if you neglect the influence of my comic collecting friends Andy & Peter…). Well, it was certainly the first comic that I bought.

Anyway, that being said, I was bummed that “not much” happened, in the sense that Silvestri didn’t get to draw much that was exciting to me (action scenes…). Sure, the X-Men looked great sitting in the Blackbird, or standing around ruined buildings, but it felt like much of his talent was wasted. There was a great pinup type shot of the “new” Marauders though, which seemed strangely reminiscent of a pose either they or the X-Men did circa Inferno. I’ll have to go back and look, all I know is that it triggered all kinds of deja vu.

The “X-Crisis” is off to a good start, and it’s nice to see them finally addressing the whole M-Day BS. I guess the O.N.E. sentinel things are just gone now though, I didn’t see them trying to stop the Blackbird on it’s way out (or maybe I just forgot that scene, they are so forgettable).

I should add that the main X-writers & editors did an EXCELLENT job of bringing all 4 core titles (New, X, Uncanny, Factor) to just the right places to be ready for a crossover.

Cable & Deadpool 46

I’ve got a soft spot for Fabien Nicieza on canon titles. He’s like the modern Claremont, in a good way. By that I mean that he pays heavy respect to continuity, and uses that to do freaking brilliant things – see his entire run on Thunderbolts volume 1, and much of C&DP. Of course, now that Cable is dead (for a month or two until the new Cable series starts in January or so), this title is basically just Deadpool Team-Up until it ends @ 50, but it’s still lots of fun. I never really liked Deadpool, either in his original Liefeld persona, or throughout most of his first series. I think that I hopped on board for Gail Simone’s arc, because she’s brilliant when she’s funny (I don’t like Birds of Prey so much, but DP/AgentX & Killer Princesses were awesome) and just stuck with that till it ended.

So yeah, this issue was fun little romp through the timestream, with now-FF meeting old-FF, sort of. Still, it’s sadly wrapping up, and we don’t know what Marvel has in store for Fabian – hopefully he’s still on an X-title, or he gets to take T-Bolts back over when Ellis’ run is over (hey, I can dream!)

New X-Men 43

It took this title a long time to grow on me. Well, not exactly. I really liked the original incarnations (New Mutants v3) of most of these characters under the orginal writers, and then the new guys (Yost & Kyle?) came on, and started killing and maiming people left and right for oh, a few years at least. That I really did not like.

The last arc (the Magik one), made very little sense from a continuity point of view, but was a good plot device for getting the kids to where they are now, which is ready for the “next” step that the Messiah CompleX thing will bring.

They’ve definitely taking the kids through multiple wringers, deaths, depowerings, some more deaths, and seeing more people die. Hopefully, we’re done with all that now… they are doing a good job of bringing this new generation of X-Men to the fore though – the characters are definitely sticking in my mind, and I’m pretty happy with where they are right now. They haven’t killed the gay kid yet (but you know, they probably will) and *da dum* they didn’t get rid of Prodigy (yet)! They even sort of repowered him! For those of you not keeping track, he is one of three active black X-characters (Storm, him, Monet…sort of..she’s half Algerian…). There are some sidebars – Bishop is around somewhere and Nezno (sp?) is Wakandan, and should be getting some screen time during the coming arc. Let’s do a quick check on past black New Mutant/X-Force/GenX black members: Sync: dead (my favorite GenXer), Bedlam: dead, Monet: still kicking, …wait, is that it? Well, Sunspot is Brazilian, and drawn dark sometimes, and he’s still floating around…somewhere!

Marvel in general doesn’t have the best track record of introducing ethnic characters and keeping them around (not that DC does). Maggot’s dead (although one of his worms survived…*cackle* I think), Cecilia Reyes better freaking not be dead (but she’s at least awol indefinitely), Angel #2 is depowered (I liked her powers too!) and over in New Warriors and, oh wait, that’s it for black X-Men created since Storm. Wait, I think there were a few more black students at one point – “Bling” (I know, I know) at least was in a few issues.

There have been a couple of Asians that stuck around though. Jubilee (resurfacing in New Warriors), Surge appears to be here to stay, Karma pops up every now and again, Sunfire is a villain now, Sunfire’s sister was around for like 2 seconds, I guess the Wolverine clone girl is part Asian, and Joss Whedon’s creation Armor is also Asian. Interesting that most are women. Comic geeks love Asian girls (see: Psylocke)! There was that Xorn guy(s), but he/they was continuity retcon bombed into post-oblivion. Oh, wait, and there was Wiz Kid from X-Terminators, but I guess he’s depowered. Ok, I’m sure I could rant for longer, but I should stop now.

Thunderbolts 117

As a rule, I don’t like any Thunderbolts re-launch/re-brand/re-lame, whatever. This title really had the perfect pitch out the door, and Busiek and Nicieza just hit one home run after another. Then Marvel, in probably one of the most insane decisions in their publishing history (right up there with making Wolverine descended from dog people and related to Sasquatch & Wolfsbane), decided to turn the book into a dumbass story about boxing fight club BS. I’m not making this up. It lasted a wopping 6 issues.

This particular revamp, under Warren Ellis, is not near the travesty of the previous raping, but, you know, I’m still not much of a fan. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is brilliant, and the plots are interesting, but I signed on to this series to follow the original characters in their quest for redemption, not a bunch of stupid-ass uninteresting villains (Venom, Green Goblin, Bullseye) *forced* into doing government work with no desire for redemption…the whole idea is just stupid and anathema to the original concept. They should have just made it a new series. I’m not a big fan of just making Moonstone back into a simple manipulative bitch either, I loved where she was going with the whole Hawkeye thing. I’d really like to see them meet again….

This issue in particular was pretty interesting, another Doc Sampson (MAN is he getting a lot of face time lately) psychoanalyzes the crazy hero type thing. Progress being made into WTF is going on with Speedball (Penance my ass). But, still, not really caring, just sticking it out in the hopes that someday Fabian will come back. Sad, I know.

X-Men 204

Contrary to the cover, Rogue & Gambit do not make out. The cover itself hearkens back to those covers from the 60s that had nothing to do with the interior content other than characters, but not quite – Mystique does suggest that Gambit kiss Rogue & let her absorb him to help her make sense of her billion personalities now and whatnot.

Mike Carey is probably my favorite writer on the main X-titles in the last several years, and he continues to do a great job here. We’re finding out the (somewhat obvious in retrospect) motivations behind Gambit & Mystique’s moves, as well as completing the setup for Messiah CompleX. The majority of the issue is just setup, but it’s well done.

We see Sam in a hospital bed after sitting on a bomb and Sinister’s attack (since when does he have mind-wiping/telepathy powers?? Although I guess he could just alter his own DNA, since he never had any real powers to start with), and the damage appears to be just physical. Hopefully he’s not out of it long, as he and Sunspot are my two long running favorite X-Men, and even after all this time on the big teams (Uncanny, X-Treme, and now X-Men), I still don’t feel like he’s really been shown to be the developed young man leader type we’ve seen him grow into via New Mutants/X-Force.

OK, what didn’t I buy?

  • The Annihilation prologues are wrapping up, and for the most part I’m pretty satisfied with them, I’ll be picking that whole run up in the trades.
  • TONS of Countdown related stuff over at DC. All of it moderately interesting if your into DC, nothing worth buying (or waiting for trades) for me.
  • Another issue of Ultimate Power managed to slip out. It’s gone from silly to crazy, and while I’m totally curious how it will end up, there’s nothing there to justify paying money for. Supposedly it will affect both universes. Frankly, I can’t see how either of them would be made more interesting by swapping characters (in fact, that would probably just denigrate both world’s stories), so I’m thinking they’ll probably just kill one person from each side. Who’s on the table? My guess: anyone from Squadron-land except “the big three”, and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (or maybe HawkEye if he’s there, I forget) from Ultimate-land. Come on, do you really think they’d kill an X-Man, FF member, Hulk, Spidey, Cap or Iron Man? Neither would they swap any of those folks to the other world. If they do, kudos to them for balls.
  • The Sinestro War continues in the Green Lantern books (GL Corp #17 was out in this span), and dammit if it isn’t the first GL story EVER to interest me. I’ll probably pick up the trades for this one as well, it’s going quite well so far. Side note: Since I can’t stand Hal Jordan in general (again, I’m not a big DC fan, but he should have stayed dead…DC ruined & cheapened themselves there in undoing only the second ever real mantle passing (Flash(s) being the other one, the second of those which was also recently undone) they had, and the one advantage I think they have over Marvel (legacy heroes)).

That’s it for this run, hopefully between now and the next one I can at least make a custom header for the site.

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