June 30, 2004

X-Review..well, last weeks anyway

Okay, I’m a little late on these for last week, but it doesn’t really matter. I don’t think anyone other them me cares. Two X-books came out on the 23rd, the second issues of both Astonishing X-Men and Excalibur. One great, the other not so much.

Astonishing X-Men #2
This is more like it. After a somewhat underwhelming first issue, Joss Whedon and John Cassady come up with an excellent issue. This is a cracking superhero book, full of cool people doing cool stuff, and being good and angsty about it afterward. There is plenty of good stuff in this issue, and it starts with the basics. Whedon has a nice ear for these characters, especially Kitty and Emma, who have a heated exchange at the end. Kitty, who Whedon has stated was an early influence on Buffy, is again the focal point. It’s a good move in my view, as she hasn’t been a major player in the X-Men for some time.

As you might expect, the dialogue is a treat, with Kitty, Emma and Hank all getting memorable lines. Funny though, the most effective scene in the book is nearly wordless. Whedon allows the art to take over during the fight scene. Cassady, as usual, is spectacular. His artwork is very detailed but never cluttered, and like Kevin Maguire, another of my favorites, he is a master of facial expressions. This is a terrific book, and one that no superhero fan should miss.

Excalibur #2

Now this one is a bit of a mess. I liked the first issue, despite its obviously rushed artwork and glaring Claremontisms, but this goes overboard. Hold on to your hats, I’m about to reveal the big secret. Considering the books been about for a week, and the big secret is on the freaking cover it shouldn’t matter. Yes, Magneto is back. It really isn’t any big deal. Magneto is never dead, though you might remember they left him dead for several years when Claremont killed for his original X-Men swan song. Good Lord, was that really 13 years ago? Anyway, Magneto being alive is not the problem. The problem is the utter disregard for Grant Morrison shown in the way it’s done. It turns out the Magneto from Planet X was some sort of imposter, and the real Mags has been in Genosha all along. What he’s been doing is up in the air, it’s one of those murky, “I was sleeping” things that is so prevalent in superhero comics. His return brings out a mess of continuity problems, such as if Charles knew Magneto was alive, and in contact enough to set up a meeting with him, why didn’t he tell him the other Magneto tore up Manhattan and killed Jean Grey? If that was an imposter, just who the heck was he? This, combined with the Xorn mess over in X-Men, has been an appalling treatment for Morrison. He made the X-Men relevant again, shouldn’t he be treated better than this?

So, beyond that, this issue is aggravating. The art is better, though I still think Marvel erred when they took this book from Igor Kordey. Lopresti is growing on me though. I can understand Claremont reclaiming Magneto. I think his reinvention is the most successful thing he did on the X-Men. Chris seems to flounder here though, having these two titans of X-Men lore in the same book. He’s made the questionable decision to surround them with a terrible group of supporting characters. He includes Calisto, another old favorite, but one who’s seen better days. After flip-flopping between really ugly and really hot, she’s back to being hot. If you disregard the tentacles. Yes, you read that correctly. She has tentacles now. Don’t ask. Add the interesting powers, but terrible execution of Wicked and Freakshow and you have a pretty lousy supporting cast.

Posted by Frinklin at June 30, 2004 07:50 PM
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