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Jan 30

The X-Axis – 30 January 2011

Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2011 by Paul in x-axis

This week: X-books, X-books, X-books.  It’s not that I didn’t buy anything else – it’s that Marvel shipped ten X-books this week, in one of their periodic bursts of demented scheduling insanity.  Those would be: Age of X Alpha, Chaos War: X-Men #2, Howard Chaykin’s Magneto one-shot, New Mutants #21, Uncanny X-Force #4, Uncanny X-Men #532, X-23 #5, X-Men #7, X-Men Forever 2 #16, and X-Men: To Serve And Protect #3.

This is the definition of saturating the market.  If you’re going to produce this many X-Men titles, it’s completely ludicrous to put them all out in the same week.  But so it goes.  Some of these books are the concluding parts of storylines, and I’ll try to come back to them later in the week once I’ve re-read the whole arc.  For the moment…

Age of X Alpha – This is the first part of Mike Carey’s alternate reality storyline, which is running over the next three months in X-Men: Legacy and New Mutants (a book which is between regular creative teams and thus able to join in without interrupting anyone’s story).  As Carey explains in his afterword, the approach here is to just to throw us in with the story in progress, and fill in the back story with hints as he goes along.  Even the question of why we’re doing an alternate reality story isn’t addressed here, though since this is Carey, and I trust him, I figure all will become clear in due course.

So we’re back with that old favourite, a world where mutants are being hunted down and exterminated by anti-mutant bigots.  We’ve seen all this before.  The main difference seems to be that in this world, the X-Men never got off the ground, and the survivors – a mixture of long-established X-Men characters and background types – end up coming together only in time for their last stand.  And since they’ve had rather different lives in this world, their positions in the group are also different – so, for example, Cannonball seems to be in charge, while Cyclops (or “Basilisk”) is a sulking figure off on the fringes.  Done well, this sort of thing can work as a way of casting characters in a different light.

Age of X Alpha is actually an anthology book, as the cast sit around waiting for what seems to be the final attack, and introduce short stories that fill in some of the back story.  That’s the back story of the individual characters, rather than the universe as a whole.  Gabriel Walta draws a completely bizarre few pages with Cyclops’ origin story, which has him being used by Arcade as an instrument of execution.  It’s a wildly over the top concept (which kind of works precisely because it uses a villain as absurd as Arcade), but the art’s great, and I love the character design, which replaces the familiar visor with a sort of gate that swings open when he wants to fire the optic beam.  Carlo Barberi and Walden Wong draw a Cannonball/Husk segment which has them taking on the local stormtroopers (i.e., completely regular American cops); the main point of interest here is that their moral compass seems decidedly off from where we’d normally expect to find it.  Katarino Rao’s story, with art by Paco Diaz, doubles as a way of removing Wolverine from the board.  And Paul Davidson does a few pages which basically introduce this world’s Magneto – he’s out there somewhere, he’s fighting for the angels, but from the look of it, our heroes have no idea where he actually is.

The approach of drip-feeding exposition and leaving readers to speculate on how we got to this point (and why Carey is telling the story at all) works rather well.  That said, as a world-building exercise, I wonder whether the diversity of artists plays against it.  When the basic visual style varies so wildly between segments, it somewhat undermines the coherence of the setting.  It’s difficult to look at pages drawn by Gabriel Hernandez Walta on the one hand, and Carlo Barberi on the other, and feel like they’re taking place in the some world.  Some of the stories show a recognisable USA, some appear to be in a post-apocalyptic wasteland; that’s obviously in the script, but I think it would come across more effectively if the art had a more consistent tone to it.  Still, the individual artists are decent throughout, and on the whole it’s a good introduction to the storyline.

Chaos War: X-Men #2 – Oh lordy.  This is the concluding part of the X-Men’s Chaos War tie-in, and boy, is this series surplus to requirements.  You can see why somebody liked the idea.  Chaos War involves, as an incidental plot point, characters escaping from the afterlife.  So why not use it as a device to revisit long dead characters?  The X-Men, like the Avengers and Alpha Flight, have enough corpses in the back garden to fill an entire team.  It could have worked.

But it doesn’t work, in large part because there’s no role in the larger story for the undead X-Men.  Writers Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson have to contrive an entirely artificial goal and then hand-wavingly assure us that, honest, it’s terribly important to the wider story.  The result is something of a mess.  Thunderbird is reinvented as some sort of shaman – an idea that ties in to the mythological elements of Chaos War proper, and has some tenuous basis in the idea that he was a disaffected native American trying to reconnect with his roots, but really bears little resemblance to the original character.  The actual use of American mythology seems a bit wonky judging from the Wikipedia entries.  And to try and justify the use of some characters, the writers end up trying to tell us that, honest, this throwaway tie-in series was actually a major concern for Destiny.  There’s also a baffling continuity error, where we’re told that Banshee died before his beloved Moira MacTaggert.  (Wrong, by a good five years.)

On the plus side, Doug Braithwaite draws some lovely characters.  The book’s lacking in a sense of place, but I suspect that’s as a much a consequence of a story that feels anchorless and directionless.  This wasn’t a horrible idea in concept, but in execution, it doesn’t work at all.

Magneto – A one-shot by Howard Chaykin, because heaven knows we needed more X-books this week.

This is a flashback story about Magneto’s first visit to New York, which is indeed uncovered territory.  For the truly anal continuity obsessives among you, it also explains where he got his costume from.  Actually, it’s better than I was expecting.   It’s got a halfway promising idea about Magneto at a point in his life when he could have gone either way in terms of how he pursued his pro-mutant agenda; it doesn’t have some of the more eye-rolling recurring themes that often crop up in Chaykin’s work; and on the whole, the art’s pretty good, though it does sometimes degenerate into lumpy people smiling at one another.   Colourist Edgar Delgado deserves credit for giving it a very appealing, light feel.

And now the bad news.  The story sees Magneto, somewhere in the very early Silver Age, visiting Brooklyn… where there’s apparently an entire community of mutants living in plain sight.  Magneto meets a girl so that he can have philosophical arguments with her, and his basic point is that these mutants are making a mistake by cutting themselves off from the rest of the mutant community.  To which the only possible answer is: er, what mutant community?  This is the mutant community, isn’t it?  Who exactly is he suggesting that they should be in contact with?  Annoyingly, it kind of falls apart when it gets to that bit, because it’s crucial to the central argument, and it doesn’t make any bloody sense.   But I liked it more than I expected to, so fair play.

New Mutants #21 – This is the final issue of Zeb Wells’ run (after this, it’s three issues of “Age of X” followed by who knows what), and I really am going to have to go back and re-read the whole thing.  It’s one of those final issues where Everything Falls Into Place, or at least a lot of things fall into place, and things are revealed that make sense of characters’ motivations going back as far as issue #1.  I don’t want to spoil the plot too much in case any of you are reading it in trades – since this issue really would spoil the plot of the entire run – but suffice to say that Wells reaches a nicely ambiguous ending which leaves open the question of whether this is truly a story of redemption at all, and if so, how tainted that redemption is.  It’s certainly a victory, but is it morally speaking a pyrrhic one, and if so, do we care?  (It’s also, by the way, an important issue for Pixie, if you’re a fan of her.  Perhaps a shame they didn’t find a larger role for her in the story, but to be honest, if they’re kicking that subplot into touch, that’s fine by me.)  Like team book writers of old, Wells finds something for all his characters to do and gives them all a moment in the sun – er, except Warlock, who is also in this book.  And Leonard Kirk’s art is wonderful, particularly when he seems to be shifting style to vaguely echo Bill Sienkiewicz in a couple of panels.  Wells and Kirk have had a good run on this book, and I’m looking forward to re-reading it all.

Uncanny X-Force #4 – The concluding chapter of the first arc, in which X-Force finally get to confront Apocalypse – or rather, the little boy who we’re told is a reincarnation of Apocalypse.  Quite how we know for sure that he’s a reincarnation of Apocalypse is a little vague to me, but for present purposes let’s assume that it’s not in doubt, because that’s not the argument that Rick Remender wants the characters to have.

Instead, he wants to do the “can the little boy be saved?” angle, and that’s fine, because there’s some actual drama in there.  This is a good issue – it’s half a comic of over-the-top heist, followed by everyone deciding what they’re going to with the kid, with Warren’s dual personality providing an extra dimension.  It’s got some inventive ideas in the action scenes, and the argument holds up very well, with the end brilliantly executed.  Beautiful art from Jerome Opena, too, and it’s nice to see that while this incarnation of X-Force is retaining the premise of a secret black ops team, it’s relying on the story ideas rather than the blood and guts.

Uncanny X-Men #532 – This is part three of “Quarantine”, and the story remains a bit of a mixed bag.  There are three story threads here that seem more or less unconnected – Lobe’s plague keeping most of the X-Men holed up on Utopia, the remaining X-Men dealing with the Collective Man in Chinatown, and Sebastian Shaw dealing with Emma and co.  It doesn’t really come together as a whole, and there are bits that just feel a bit random and disconnected.  There are some good elements here.  Pixie has some cute dialogue, and Lobe’s a good idea for a villain – I like the idea of a villain who doesn’t hate mutants, he just wants to exploit them as a natural resource.  In fact, that’s a particularly good idea for the post-M-Day X-Men, since it means that he has a shared (if mercenary) interest in the survival of the mutant species.  And the Emma/Shaw stuff works well enough.

But.  While the idea of leaving some of the team on mainland San Francisco to be an interim X-Men team is fine in theory, in practice the story doesn’t really do anything that turns on the particular characters being used.  The five rich kids who have been set up by Lobe as fake X-Men have one personality to share between them, and it’s a personality with one dimension.  And come to think of it, what kind of quarantine is it if Rao is popping over to the mainland to appear at a press conference?  There are bits in here that seem like good ideas, but they aren’t coming together as a story.

X-23 #5 – Oh, okay, I see.  I was kind of confused by the choice of Miss Sinister as a villain for the second arc, but now I get where Marjorie Liu’s going with it.  Miss Sinister is supposed to be a woman whose mind was partially overwritten by the late Mister Sinister, and that kind of plays in to the whole identity-versus-programming theme of X-23′s character.  It’s perhaps a little unfortunate that the story glosses over the admittedly convoluted details of her back story, since it is actually material to both the plot and the themes.  But hey, at least that means that Liu has, if nothing else, found a story which really does require the use of Miss Sinister.  In fact, by the end of the issue, she’s almost sold me on the character.  Good clear attractive art from Will Conrad and David Lopez, too.  It’s terribly emo, of course, but if you don’t mind that, this is a perfectly decent story in a nineties kind of way.

X-Men #7 – Bored of vampires?  Good news!  For its second arc, X-Men moves on to something entirely unrelated.  Cyclops has belatedly figures out that if the X-Men want to be popular, it might be a good idea to fight some bad guys.  So the X-Men are looking for trouble and… yeah, basically it’s a device to haul them off to New York to investigate a thingy.  Remember those “What could make the X-Men return to New York?” solicitations?  The answer, it turns out is “Pretty much anything.”

So much of this issue is a field team consisting of Storm, Emma, Wolverine and Gambit going hunting for a reptilian thingy that has been sighted in the tunnels below Manhattan.  Who could it possibly be?  Well, it’s the Lizard, obviously, and I’m not sure it’s even meant to be a mystery as far as we’re concerned.  I’ll be fair, though – as a straightforward superhero story, this is perfectly acceptable, perhaps because it has the advantage over Uncanny of picking a small core cast and a single plotline, and focussing on them.  Art comes from Chris Bachalo, and while there’s the occasional lapse of clarity, he’s on form here, with some beautiful panels that allow him to show off.  This isn’t an especially ambitious story, but what it does, it does just fine.

X-Men Forever 2 #16 – The final issue of the curious “What would the X-Men have been like if Chris Claremont had kept writing it in 1991, only not really bothering too much about what he’d actually have written in 1991?” series.  It’s pretty clear from this that Claremont didn’t get to follow through all of the stories he was hoping to tell here – he makes a point of throwing in a subplot about Mr Sinister abducting Nathan, and he doesn’t resolve the whole thing about anti-mutant forces usurping control of S.H.I.E.L.D..  Nonetheless, he has been given a decent amount of space to resolve the whole affair with the multiple Storms, and as an epilogue issue, this holds up decently.  Guest artist Ramon Rosanas turns out to be rather good – there’s a sort of Paul Smith vibe to some of this, and that’s always a good thing.  X-Men Forever may be a guilty pleasure series which didn’t get to run its full course, but at least it’s gone out with dignity.

X-Men: To Serve and Protect #3 – Now this is one of those issues that illustrates the problems with X-Men anthologies.  The lead strip, with Anole and Rockslide, is good stuff; the hapless duo fight B-list Captain America villains the Serpent Society, and Chris Yost writes their reactions rather well – I like Rockslide’s admiration for his more sensible partner.  After that, I’m afraid it’s a series of half-formed story ideas.  ”Storm Front” reminds us that Loki once made a hammer for Storm (which he did, in the “Asgardian Wars” story about a quarter century ago) and races clumsily through a resisting-temptation arc which was already done in the original story.  ”Invisible” is a Kitty Pryde story where she’s still coming to terms with being stuck in intangible form.  Unfortunately what we get is an underwhelming “have faith in yourself” Hallmark moral, and there’s something a bit odd about a story where Kitty’s complaining that she can’t touch people while doing exactly that for much of the story.  (Is the idea that she can touch people as long as she’s in the suit?  It really doesn’t come across very clearly.)  Finally, Chris Yost and Dalibor Talajic produce a Blink short picking up from the end of “X-Necrosha”, which is little more than an opportunity for the X-Men to stand around in a field and for Dr Strange to tell us in narration that the X-Men are heroes.  There’s the glimmer of an idea in a sequence with Emma talking to Blink, but it doesn’t really come to anything.  These three back-ups aren’t stories so much as ideas for stories, and the whole thing underachieves.

Bring on the comments

  1. alex says:

    10 x books? Don’t forget that marvel also shipped (all?) 3 Avengers books, in addition to the big FF book.

    Good old Marvel.

  2. Brad says:

    Rick Remender has managed to do something Grant Morrison never could, which is to actually make Fantomex interesting an interesting character who I’m happy to have around, rather than just one more dreary badass.

    The fact that he did it in a way that actually provided a genuine holy crap plot moment rather than the cheap ploy of the pointless waste of a sexy Russian superheroine as cannon fodder (in a way that didn’t even make sense with the character’s established powers and persona) is especially welcome.

  3. Zoomy says:

    I think nobody quite understood what X-Men Forever was supposed to be. It was a “Chris Claremont gets to continue X-Men where he left off without having to take on board what the other writers did with the characters” comic, not a “what X-Men would have been like if Chris Claremont hadn’t left” comic. And read in those terms, it was a lot of fun.

    As for Chaos War, perhaps it would have been more of a big deal if it wasn’t the sixth or seventh time a lot of dead X-Men have come back to life this year… And you just know that in another year or so, someone or other’s going to turn out never to have been dead after all.

  4. Taibak says:

    Kitty stuck in intangible form….

    Now where have I seen that before? :-/

    Then again, I suppose after 20+ years the statute of limitations on it has run out.

  5. Rivka says:

    Hey Paul,

    The MAGNETO #1 is not in continuity. It’s part of the X-MEN FIRST CLASS movie continuity. The story takes place in the late 1950s, and it contradicts most of 616 Magneto’s early history. But it does work for the movieverse of the upcoming film, which will take place in around 1962.

    Here is a link to the CBR review:

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=3135

    Here is the link to the marvel.com solicitation: you can clearly see on the bottom “X-MEN FIRST CLASS”:

    http://marvel.com/comic_books/issue/37199/magneto_2010_1

    This is not a look at the early years of 616 Magneto. It can’t be. In the late 1950s, he was in Eastern Europe with Magda. Or, he had just killed all those people in Vinnitsa and Magda had run away from him. After which, he took that false identity of Erik Lehnsherr and spent years searching for Magda, and considered himself a married man with a missing wife, to whom he was incredibly loyal.

    If you read this story carefully, you’ll note quite a number of contradictions with established Magneto history and some important continuity.

  6. Chris McFeely says:

    @Zoomy – That’s as well as maybe, but the thing was *promoted* as “Chris Claremont continues his 1991 run on X-Men”. It said it at the start of every issue!

  7. ZZZ says:

    I had a big philosophical essay all planned about authorial intent and the concept of “canon” and the differnce between serialized fiction with multiple authors (like most comic books and TV series) and fiction with a single “word of God” author (like most novel series) and how Claremont’s original X-Men run kind of fell into both categories a little, but for once I actually refreshed before I posted my comment and saw that someone (in this case Chris McFeely) summed up the main thrust of my point much more succinctly: regardless of whether or why anyone would care about such a thing, what Marvel had insisted we were going to get was confirmation/explanation/revelation of where Claremont was going when he left the book in ’91.

    This was going to be the series where Wolverine really was Sabertooth’s son, Cyclops and Psylocke became a couple while Jean and Wolverine to did the same, Mr. Sinister was a little kid’s imaginary friend, and Mystique and Destiny were Nightcrawler’s father and mother respectively (actually, he might have already been forced by editorial mandate to abandon that last one by ’91 – I forget whether that came before or after he left the book – but he could have gone back to it).

    If that’s not what Claremont really wanted to write, or if he started out with that intent and drifted away from it, fair enough. All that matters was whether the book was a good read or not. But I can completely understand people complaining that they felt like they didn’t get what they’d expected. The whole reason I bought the book when it first came out and then bailed on it after a few issues was that I wanted closure on the abandoned ideas from the X-Men books of the mid and late 80s that got me into comics in the first place.

  8. errant says:

    I think the problem with a lot of what Claremont was planning (and/or shot down by editorial) by the time he left is that over the years, we already saw other writers mining those ideas. If he’d done what he was really planning, it would have ended up being a lot of re-tread. And not a satisfying one, considering he’s *almost* forced to write in explicit arcs now, because the industry demands it, instead of the circuitous, winding fashion it may have been written in originally.

  9. ZZZ says:

    Oh yeah, the coninuity error in Chaos War: I’m glad Paul mentioned that, because I was positive Moira died first and it’s nice to have confirmation.

    The weird thing is, the error is written in a way that makes it seem like they originally got it right, but then an editor “fixed” it. If memory serves, the line is something like “Banshee died before Moira the first time, and he’s determined to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to her again!” with makes no sense because 1) it’s basically saying that he wants her to die so she doesn’t have to watch him die, and 2) when the caption says that, he’s in the process of fighting to defend her.

    If makes much more sense if the intent of the caption was to express the idea that Moira died first last time around, and this time Sean is determined to keep that from happening again by defending her until he dies (the idea being “she won’t die while I’m alive to stop it” not “I want to die first this time, then she go ahead and die too if she wants”).

    I have a feeling Claremont or Simonson (whoever wrote that scene) originally got it right, but somewhere between the two writers, the letterer, and the editor(s), something got misremembered, misread, or miscommunicated and we ended up with what we ended up with.

    The worst thing about that book, to me (worse even than no one mentioning the parallels between the Thunderbird and the Phoenix and not even a token mention of all the dead X-Men who weren’t present, especially Jean Grey, Cable, and Nightcrawler – who I know weren’t buried at the old mansion, but as I’ve said before, you’ll never convince me that the Madroxes WERE) was that it was an even bigger afterthought that Paul lets on. The Alpha Flight and Avengers characters who came back turn up in the last issue of the main Chaos War series (and I think some of them will stay alive), and whatever’s going on in the Hulk tie in is even mentioned, but there’s not a word about the dead X-Men or their oh-so-important mission. The implication being that those other tie-ins were actually conceived as part of the storyline to begin with, and the X-Men book was thrown in for the hell of it without anyone bothering to alter the main book to reflect it.

  10. Jason Powell says:

    ‘This was going to be the series where Wolverine really was Sabertooth’s son, Cyclops and Psylocke became a couple while Jean and Wolverine did the same, Mr. Sinister was a little kid’s imaginary friend, and Mystique and Destiny were Nightcrawler’s father and mother respectively.”

    With the exception of Scott and Psylocke, everything you list DID happen in X-Men Forever.

    Mystique was revealed as Kurt’s mother rather than his father, but I don’t really buy that Claremont intended the thing about Destiny being Kurt’s mother. Go back and look at the 80s issues that tease the Kurt/Mystique connection, and Destiny seems entirely unconnected. Irene never seems to have any emotional investment in Kurt, whatsoever.

    I agree that X-Men Forever *should* have resolved Claremont’s outstanding plots from 1991, as a concession to the premise. He could’ve done it in relatively few issues if he’d stayed focused on not meandered. Then he could’ve struck out into new territory.

    Instead he pretty much ignored most of the old 1980s continuity, while inserting stuff that didn’t come about till post-1991. (Magneto’s real name being Erik, for example.) When Claremont did make references to his own stuff from the 80s, he actually got things wrong a couple times (see: Rogue talking about when she first joined the team), or at the very least failed to properly explain the discrepancies (Callisto being back to her old self, rather than a supermodel).

    Add to that his implications that his last couple arcs from 1990 and 91 (i.e., the Shadow King stuff and the X-Factor/Apocalypse story that Jim Lee plotted, that was set on the moon) didn’t end the way they “really” did, and you had a series that was a real mess, and a complete overturning of the premise that X-Men Forever was sold on.

    And, of course, the premature cancellation that left even MORE unresolved plot threads.

    Disappointing, all ’round.

  11. Andrew J. says:

    I’m deducing from interviews and the like that Matt Fraction has basically handed his remaining plotlines to Kieron Gillen to allow him to tidy up before leaving the book completely. In said interview, Gillen commented that, while he didn’t know if Fraction originally intended it as such, the Collective Man/Sublime stories seem to parallel each other, as one is a complete communist, and the other an unabashed capitalist. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite come across like that in the execution. I will say, though, that the dialogue is much better with Gillen on the book. I can’t wait till Fraction is gone for good. Along with Greg Land, as well.

  12. acespot says:

    @Paul
    There were actually 13!!! x-books this week, if you count both Deadpool titles and Namor.

    Please let me know what the New Mutants story means when you figure it out. I have too much to catch up on to be bothered to read it a second time, and to my mind, if a story cannot be understood upon completion when read as was originally intended (monthly), then it does not belong in an ongoing title. It belongs, instead, in an OGN. So, although I’m SURE there was some big point to the denoument, I personally got nothing out of it, even though I enjoyed all of the previous installments.

    Uncanny X-Force was beyond excellent. The twist at the end was so beautifully scripted and drawn, that I found myself rereading those last few pages over and over just to get all the nuances in the artwork. That’s what a book SHOULD be. And whereas the previous incarnation of X-Force was supposedly about a team of X-Men doing things which were morally ambiguous, it wasn’t about anything more than an X-Men wetworks squad. THIS is morally ambiguous. THIS is excellent stuff.

    @Alex
    And 3 Ultimate titles too!

    @ZZZ
    What you say about the dialogue change in Chaos Men makes everything make sense. It still doesn’t make this a good story, although after the first issue I did have hopes for such. I should have known better. After all, it’s written by Claremont.

    Also, Chaos Men seems to imply that Destiny and Mystique are Kurt’s parents – in continuity!

  13. Brian says:

    I have hand it to Remender. I’m really quite enjoying X-Force in spite of the fact that before this series began, I: a) never liked Deadpool, b) didn’t care for Fantomex, c) always hated Warren as Archangel, d) absolutely loathed Psylocke.

    Some of the above remains unchanged but Remender’s writing still makes me want to come back for more.

  14. Equisism says:

    I hate to be a bother but do you know when your new month-to-month Marvel article is going up?

  15. Logan says:

    So I admit I didn’t pick up the book but what was the logic behind Storm being on the team in X-Men #7? I mean the whole send someone who’s claustrophobic to hunt reptiles in the sewers under New York just doesn’t make sense.

  16. Paul says:

    Er, yes, I did wonder about that. It’s not ignored, but basically the story’s take is that Storm has her claustrophobia well under control by this point and doesn’t see it as something that should get in the way of her job. As for a positive reason to include her in the team, my guess would be that if the mission involves tunnels in New York, you reach for somebody who had dealings with the Morlocks.

  17. Zoomy says:

    “That’s as well as maybe, but the thing was *promoted* as “Chris Claremont continues his 1991 run on X-Men”. It said it at the start of every issue!”

    Well, yeah. And he DID continue it.

  18. Brian says:

    @Zoomy: The point is that it was promoted as “What would Claremont have done if he never left in 1991?” but that’s not what the series was.

    It was “What Claremont would have done if he never left in 1991 AND was able to do whatever he felt like.” Do you think that if Claremont had stayed on, Marvel would have let him kill off Wolverine or the Black Panther? Of course not. So we didn’t get “What WOULD have happened.” What we essentially got was fan fiction written by a comics professional. I enjoyed it, but it certainly wasn’t what Claremont would have been allowed to produce had he stayed on board.

  19. lambnesio says:

    Well, while everybody’s arguing, I just want to go ahead and commend Brad on producing this absolutely terrible sentence:

    “The fact that he did it in a way that actually provided a genuine holy crap plot moment rather than the cheap ploy of the pointless waste of a sexy Russian superheroine as cannon fodder (in a way that didn’t even make sense with the character’s established powers and persona) is especially welcome.”

  20. Ash says:

    Storm’s hammer that was first seen in X-Men Annual #9 was destroyed, and the fragments subsequently turned into a Storm miniature by Loki himself at the very end of that annual…so where did this hammer come from? Also, I think Ororo called it by the wrong name–don’t these writers and editors double check old issues anymore for reference?

  21. Andrew J. says:

    I really can’t stand this new “X-men” series. There’s literally no character development, and the character’s voices barely register. Were it not for Storm’s claustrophobia comment and Gambit’s single “dat”, and crawfish reference, you might as well have switched the dialogue around. I know they want to appeal to new readers, but if the strategy is to make the X-men so bland and inconsequential as to render them indistinguishable, what’s the point?

  22. alex says:

    “What we essentially got was fan fiction written by a comics professional.”

    one could argue we’ve been getting that with buffy season 8.

  23. Fan-fic written by professionals is pretty much the entire super-hero genre in comic books, and has been for decades. It’s hardly a thing that’s restricted to Claremont.

  24. Brian says:

    “Fan-fic written by professionals is pretty much the entire super-hero genre in comic books, and has been for decades. It’s hardly a thing that’s restricted to Claremont.”

    Well if you’re going to interpret “fan-fic” that broadly, I suppose. Not really what I meant though.

    What I meant was that Claremont was given much more creative freedom on X-Men Forever than he would have had on Uncanny X-Men in 1991 had he stayed with the series. He certainly couldn’t have bumped off Iron Man and the Black Panther. In that sense, the series was closer to what fans (the ones who write fan-fic) tend to write, which is usually: “X-Men: The way I would do it if I didn’t have to worry about corporate responsibility, publishing strategy, editorial mandates, or the wider Marvel Universe.”

  25. “Fan-fic written by professionals is pretty much the entire super-hero genre in comic books, and has been for decades.”

    Which is why we don’t refer to mainstream corporate-owned superhero comics as “fan fiction,” because then the term would be meaningless.

  26. “if the strategy is to make the X-men so bland and inconsequential as to render them indistinguishable, what’s the point?”

    $$$$$$$$$$

  27. Niall says:

    So, did Fantomex actually kill Apocalypse or was it an illusion? Psylocke related?

  28. Brian says:

    “So, did Fantomex actually kill Apocalypse or was it an illusion? Psylocke related?”

    There’s nothing depicted in that sequence to suggest that it could have been an illusion. Psylocke seemed quite preoccupied with Warren at the time, and if it was an illusion created by Fantomex for the X-Men’s benefit, then it makes little sense that he’d pause contemplatively over the kid’s body and then draw his eyelids after the other X-Men had already walked away.

    Granted, there’s nothing stopping Remender or another future writer from revisiting the scene and doing the old “Ha! It was all an illusion!” bit, but for now I think we’re meant to take the events at face value.

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