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Aug 19

The X-Axis – 19 August 2012

Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2012 by Paul in x-axis

I’ve got several weeks of comics here to work through, so covering them all in one go isn’t really an option.  Let’s start off with the backlog of AvX tie-ins that have come out since last we spoke…

Avengers #28-29 – Brian Bendis has developed an odd approach to crossovers on the Avengers titles.  Instead of trying to continue any ongoing stories, he more or less seems to put everything on hold in favour of a string of one-off stories, either filling out the background, or just… filling the pages, sometimes.  These two issues are certainly written in the margins of the crossover, but they’re also entirely self-contained, with no attempt at any flow between them.  It’s an unusual way for an ongoing series to deal with crossover events.

Issue #28 is the crossover from the perspective of the Red Hulk.  As the ex-military member of the Avengers, he decides that his great contribution should be to do what Captain America clearly can’t order, and assassinate Cyclops.  So we get a story in which the Red Hulk changes back to human form, sneaks onto Utopia, tries to assassinate Cyclops, and (obviously) fails.  The pay-off is that the X-Men don’t kill him, and he takes that as a sign of weakness which proves that they’ll eventually lose.

It’s a reasonable take on the character, but it does feel as though Bendis is casting around for something to fill up all these tie-in issues.  It’s a little strange to devote an entire issue to a character who has his own book, too – but then, that book isn’t participating in the crossover, and besides, this story is at least in part about the Red Hulk’s role within the Avengers.

There’s a curious little storytelling device where the Red Hulk narrates scenes in a sidebar, while the art shows silent conversations and so forth.  It’s a decent idea in theory; it ought to put the focus on the Red Hulk’s internal monologue and bring out the fact that he feels alone in group.  But I’m not sure Walt Simonson’s bold, strident art style is the right match for it.

Issue #29 is a more conventional crossover issue, showing the fight scene in Wolverine and the X-Men #12 from the Avengers’ perspective.  The emphasis in this version is on the Avengers trying to enlist a mystery telepath to help them level the playing field.  That telepath turns out to be Professor X, who can’t bring himself to keep fighting the X-Men, and walks out.  Xavier also features heavily in New Avengers #29.  Even so, I can’t quite figure out the thinking behind the scheduling here.  The X-Men’s half of this story came out back in June, and since Xavier doesn’t stick around to help the Avengers, it’s not obvious what the point was in delaying the reveal like this.

Nor does it fit very well with the X-Men’s version.  That story focussed on Rachel Grey, and the pay-off was her rejecting her role as a Hound, and apparently deciding to let Hope go.  In this version, Xavier confronts Rachel and she angrily denounces him as a traitor to the cause.  There’s no outright contradiction since (in the manner of such things) Xavier erases everyone’s memory of his being there – but it doesn’t fit very comfortably with Rachel’s arc in the other story.  I suppose the idea might have been that her encounter with Xavier subconsciously leads her to change her opinion, but if so, it doesn’t come across at all clearly.

Still, I do like the use of Xavier in this story – which at least tries to explain why he hasn’t played a part in the crossover until the final act, and makes for a nice reveal when he finally shows up.  And psychic combat plays to Walt Simonson’s strengths.

Avengers vs X-Men #9-10, Infinity – Well, we’re building to the climax.  These are the issues where the pendulum swings back towards the Avengers and things finally start going wrong for the Phoenix-powered X-Men in a big way.

Issue #9 sees even Cyclops starting to worry that things are going wrong, but choosing to charge off in search of Hope instead of sticking around to sort it out – a nice idea for the character.  Meanwhile, Emma is also losing her mind, and is now using her powers to go around killing people who’ve hurt mutants in the past.  Black Panther summarily divorces Storm, in a scene that I have mixed feelings about.  On the one hand, Marvel made such a big deal of that marriage that I’d have preferred to see more attention given to something like this.  On the other, I really, really hated that marriage.  If this is Marvel taking the opportunity to hurl the story down the deepest available well, then good.  Oh, and now that some of the X-Men have split from Cyclops, Professor X finally shows up to intervene properly.  So quite a lot going on in one issue.

The main set piece of the issue, though, sees the Avengers trying to rescue their teammates from Magik’s prison, which previously showed up in X-Men Legacy, but naturally gets reintroduced here for people who aren’t reading the lesser tie-ins.  That leads to a good Spider-Man scene, where he heroically tries to hold off Colossus and Magik singlehandedly, and ends up actually winning by provoking the increasingly lunatic duo into turning on one another.  Spider-Man is always best used in these crossover epics as an underdog out of his depth, and this issue really plays off that well.

With issue #10, Cyclops shows up at K’un-L’un to politely “invite” Hope back, while Emma has completely lost it and enslaved the remaining X-Men as her worshippers.  In the scene that surely everyone saw coming a mile off, Hope fights back and turns out to be able to hurt him, and everyone stands around proclaiming it a turning point.  I’m less keen on this issue; it hits the story points that need to be hit, but they’re not very interesting story points.  Perhaps that’s because, as of yet, it still seems as though Hope can beat Cyclops simply because the story dictates that this should be so.  It all feels a bit empty.

The issue #10 Infinite book puts a bit more effort into selling the idea that Hope is Really Really Important For Some Reason.  Basically, it’s the Avengers using a Plot Device Machine to consider the possible outcomes of their battle with Cyclops, and realising that Hope is the only one who can actually come out on top.  Somehow.  It’s still all rather arbitrary, but at least by spending that long pushing the idea that she’s important, you get the idea across.

It’s also a story that makes very good use of the digital format.  The Infinite books aren’t really comics in the conventional sense so much as a series of full-screen panels, which take advantage of the possibilities offered by having elements appear on an existing background, or making slight changes in the art.  There are real storytelling opportunities in these tricks, and this issue has some clever experiments, such as sequences where three possible outcomes are shown running in parallel.  They’re not just a gimmick – though I have no idea how they’re going to work in the collected editions, which we are assured will (bizarrely) include them.

New Avengers #29 – Say, you know what this crossover hasn’t had yet?  An Illuminati issue!

And actually, that’s not a bad idea.  Namor is, logically, the member of the Phoenix Five whom the Avengers would try to speak to, and convening an Illuminati meeting seems a reasonable enough way for Captain America to try and do that.  Of course, this is a Brian Bendis comic, so what the issue actually consists of, for the most part, is the members of the Illuminati sitting around and talking about stuff (or just walking out) while they wait to see whether Namor will show up.  (He does, right at the end, and unsurprisingly elects not to stop the crossover.)

It’s an all-talk issue, and it’s not really a story as such, but it does have a couple of decent ideas about the characters.  This one apparently takes place at the point where the Phoenix Five are still arguably doing good, so while we have Professor X showing up to express his sorrow and self-recrimination at what’s happened to his team, we also have Reed Richards turning up to (tentatively) take the X-Men’s side.  As far as he’s concerned, everything’s going pretty well so far, and the Avengers only have themselves to blame for provoking the X-Men.  Or at least, there’s enough prospect of that being the case that he’s prepared to sit back and see how things work out.

Again, it’s probably a story that should have come out at an earlier point in the crossover in order to have maximum effect, but on its own terms, it’s a decent conversation scene.

Wolverine & The X-Men #14 – This came out ages ago, which shows just how much catching up we’ve got to do…

While Jason Aaron’s been trying to keep the book’s subplots in play during the crossover, this issue pretty much throws in the towel and just gives us a single-issue story reuniting Kitty and Colossus.  Still, the book’s tone is very much present and correct, and it’s also an issue that uses the crossover to do some character work that can only really be done now.

Powered up by the Phoenix, Colossus decides to have a go at rekindling his relationship with Kitty.  But since by this time in the storyline he’s increasingly out of touch with reality, the result is a vastly powerful Colossus cluelessly attempting to impress Kitty with what he perceives to be grand romantic gestures, and only belatedly realising that she’s just humouring him because he’s a vastly powerful maniac.  Colossus isn’t part of the regular cast of this book, and in many ways this is more his story than Kitty’s, but it’s a good issue for him nonetheless.  Colossus’ utter lack of perspective could have been played purely for laughs, and for much of the issue it is, but there’s enough of the character still recognisable, albeit in a very distorted way, to give the issue a tragic undercurrent, with the real Colossus still in there somewhere.

Fill-in artist Jorge Molina isn’t the most distinctive artist we’ve had on this book, but he gets the points across clearly enough, and captures Colossus’ oblivious enthusiasm very nicely.

X-Men Legacy #270 – The focus of this book is drifting back towards Rogue as a solo character, even though the book now appears to be heading towards a reboot as a Legion title, of all things.  Perhaps that’s being done in order to help give the current run some resolution.

One problem with Avengers vs X-Men is that the middle act unavoidably casts the X-Men as a bit dim, cheerfully following the Phoenix Five despite the increasingly glaring evidence that they’re not right in the head.  That was a major difficulty with issue #269, but it’s less of a difficulty here, as this is the point where Rogue does realise the glaringly obvious and chooses to fight back against Magik, at least to the extent of trying to break out Ms Marvel. Ultimately this turns out to be a segue into the next storyline, with Magik just dumping Rogue in another dimension and leaving her to do her own thing free of the crossover entirely.

It’s an alright issue, but the confrontation with Magik is done better with Spider-Man in Avengers vs X-Men itself.  Besides, Magik is one of the characters who works less successfully in the Phoenix Five role, since she was already a manipulative and unreliable character to start with; consequently, it doesn’t really make sense for the X-Men to trust her with the Phoenix power in the first place, nor does it entirely work when Gage tries to write Magik as someone corrupted by the Phoenix force and still believing that she’s a hero.  The Phoenix Five are rather odd choices at the best of times, but Magik is a particularly curious selection – though at least it gives a major role to a character who isn’t one of the usual suspects.

Anyway, not a bad issue as far as it goes, but very much a step on the way to getting the book back to telling its own stories in issue #271.

Bring on the comments

  1. Paul F says:

    I haven’t been reading AvX, but I’ve been loving Andrew Wheeler’s ComicsAlliance Vs. AvX columns:

    “The golden rule of Marvel events is that you only really know it’s serious when the Watcher shows up. However, on this occasion the Watcher doesn’t so much show up as have Cyclops crash out in his backyard, and I’m not sure that counts. If the President of the United States attends your ballet recital, you’re probably a big deal. If you just stand on the front lawn of the White House and do the Dougie, you’re probably a weirdo.”

  2. Alex says:

    One of the annoying things about avsx is figuring out when things take place and books coming out “not in order.”

    I suppose this really isnt an issue for marvel, since once the books are collected, its moot.

  3. brad Reno says:

    I had been very happy with the direction the X-books were taking over the last couple of years. The main titles were being written by folks who are not only good writers, but also imaginative ones and competent storytellers, such as Aaron, Gillen and Remender.

    And now…I really don’t have words for how much I’ve hated AvX. It’s been incompetent in every conceivable way except for some occasionally really nice artwork.

    From its conception it ignores decades of continuity and requires everyone on all sides to behave like unreasonable idiots. The Phoenix is coming! So instead of approaching the group with the most experience dealing with it in a way that’s diplomatic and reasonable, the Avengers show up in force and make an ultimatum for the X-Men to hand over a teenager. Sure, that’s in character for all involved.

    The internal logic on the thing is godawful -: “Avengers! We must stop the Phoenix Force from reaching Hope Summers at all costs because if she gets it she will destroy the world. Wait! She’s on our side now! Avengers, we must ensure that the Phoenix Force reaches Hope Summers because only she can save the world!” Does no one on the Avengers ever stop to wonder why they’re suddenly trying to do the very thing they were originally trying to prevent? Apparently not.

    Then there’s just the purely incompetent plotting. Rachel Summers possessed the Phoenix Force for years with no one batting an eye, but that doesn’t really fit with the story we’re trying to tell so we’ll acknowledge it to show that, yknow, we’re not completely clueless. But once we’ve acknowledged that fact, we’ll go back to ignoring it as an inconvenient bit of backstory we have no clue to how to address and make fit in this story.

    Cable is Hope’s father figure. He’s presumed dead. Then in the prelude to this series, he’s brought back. And then promptly forgotten about for the entire series. Say what? WTF was up with the timing of bringing him back into continuity just in time to COMPLETELY IGNORE him in the very story that the previous 16 years of his life was dedicated to setting up?

    I have to say, that after pretty much 35 solid years of reading the X-Books, I think this is going to be my jump-off point. I survived Chuck Austen. I survived Howard Mackie. I survived Counter-X. I survived approximately 974 Chris Claremont mind-control stories. But I don’t think I’ll be able to survive this incompetently executed pile of excrement that mainly serves to completely slime a bunch of characters I have come to care about.

    I no longer trust the people in whose hands the stories of these characters have been placed.

  4. Matt C. says:

    Brad: I’m tempted to agree with you that this might be the jumping-off point for me. Not only has this crossover been terrible dreck, but the upcoming stuff doesn’t look all that interesting. (A certain X-Man’s new red outfit is almost enough by itself).

    Going back to Paul’s reviews (welcome back!):
    – I liked AvX #9’s Spiderman moment – but only as a Spiderman moment. As an X-Men moment? Didn’t make any sense. Of all the two Phoenix X-Men likely to beat each other up, the brother/sister Colossus/Magik duo is the least likely, by far.
    – I thought the art in WATXM #10 made Colossus look absolutely terrifying. Much like Greg Land, the facial expressions were really bad, though not in Greg Land’s “I can only draw grins” way.

  5. Suzene says:

    Marvel’s cancelling or rebooting nearly all of the titles I’m reading and, so far, I’ve seen nothing featuring characters or creators I want to pick up. All they have to do is axe Astonishing and it’ll be a clean sweep.

    I don’t have to worry about jumping off post-AvX; Marvel’s going to blast the cliff face from the map before I get there.

  6. Suzene says:

    re WATXM #10 – I thought this would have been pretty much in-character for Colossus even aside from the Phoenix Force, given his past history of going a bit unbalanced under stress and getting violent with teammates, and his obsession over Kitty. It’s been my opinion for a while that it was just a matter of time before Kitty was one of the people he took a swing at.

    My primary objection would be that I feel Aaron went with this story specifically to shore up the Iceman/Shadowcat ‘shipping he seems to have a thing for. Kitty and Piotr had already broken up (again) in Schism, so this really wasn’t necessary. But that’s a minor objection, given that I’m generally pro anything that tries to put a(nother) stake in the Shadowcat/Colossus relationship.

  7. dlp says:

    About the only things I’ve liked are:

    * Magick, as it was fun to see her tossing Avengers into hell and being a bit bad-ass, and her relationship with Colossus before their silly falling out (good Spidey bit, tho).

    * X-Men Legacy with some nice Rogue moments standing up to both Magick and the Avengers.

    * The side moments in Wolverine and the X-Men, like the warbird story.

    * The Avengers Academy side stories.

    At the moment, my main sadness is the potential for loss of the interesting Thunderbolts characters like Moonstone and Satana in favor of the tedious Dark Avengers, though that hasn’t quite occurred so far.

  8. Dave says:

    The thing I find particularly odd about Avengers looking for things to do in the crossover is that (and I’ve complained about this before) Avengers, combined with New Avengers, only did that one single Osborn story between the last event and this one. They’d have been much better off doing another story set before AvX in at least one of the Avengers titles.
    And New Avengers #29 certainly should have come out earlier since it’s categorically set earlier than #28.

  9. Niall says:

    Across all of the AVX books, one thing that the various writers can’t seem to agree on is what powers the Phoenix 5 have.

    The other problem is the notion that Phoenix vessels become stronger as their companions are defeated. The Phoenix is supposed to be infinitely powerful, so how would they become stronger?

  10. Jacob says:

    I’m actually pretty psyched on Marvel NOWNOWNOW! Just sadly not on the X-Men side, which is a shame.

    There’s something about the idea of mutants as a catch-all for the down-trodden and persecuted some magic spark that DC will never have. I’m more of a DC fanboy, but the X-Men has always struck a chord with me.

    I’m hoping Remender carries the awesome into Uncanny Avengers even if it contains Scarlet Witch 🙁

    Bendis seems a total regression, given his inability to handle large teams in Avengers, you’d think that the X-Men was not for him.

    Legacy, I’m not a fan of Spurrier but a lot of people are and at least he’ll attempt to flesh out Legion a bit more.

    That said, FF I’d grab just for the Allred artwork. Aaron’s Thor and Gillen’s Iron Man seem guaranteed goodness.

    Posehn on Deadpool will be an interesting experiment and would hopefully pave the way for more of Posehn’s colleagues working at Marvel, I’d kill for David Cross or Bob Odenkirk to have a crack at something like the Defenders for Marvel.

    I’m hoping more X-titles will get a good relaunch or just be left alone there’s so much good stuff running in the undercurrent of the AvX kerfuffle WatX is packed full of likeable students (not that that has saved the previous 5 or so classes of likeable students), X-Force continues to be better than its remit would suggest and I guess X-Factor continues to be PADs haven for stuff.

  11. Billy says:

    Due to AvX, I hope the X-books suffer massive drops when Marvel renumbering occurs. Drops large enough for Marvel to see that they’ve obviously done something wrong, even if they aren’t bright enough to figure out what the actual problems were.

    But that won’t happen. Honestly, I’m starting to wonder if Marvel *knows* there is an issue with the X books and expects them to suffer drop offs with the renumbering, and that is the reason they are talking about moving Bendis to an X book. He’s one of their go-to guys (even if he is part of the problem,) and people will pick up some issues just to see what happens.

  12. Suzene says:


    If anything, I think Marvel’s just looking at what will keep its head above water at this point, and Marvel NOW! guarantees them about half a year of increased sales across all the relaunched titles at least, likely drifting back down to a little above current levels by the end of that. And then it’s time for the next event, which will provide another sales boost. Lather, rinse, repeat until you get to the next big change in direction. Ugh.

    There’s a reason the one Marvel book I’ll have left on pull is isolated from this nonsense. AXM certainly has its flaws, but at least it’s getting to tell an uninterrupted story. I’d probably be reading Adjectiveless for the same reason if I cared about any of the team.

  13. Drew says:

    @Suzene – Same thing happened to me with the DC relaunch. I was reading 7 titles, they canceled 6 of them, which I took as a clear sign that it was time to go. Haven’t regretted it since.

    Of course, Marvel is also canceling 2 of their 4 titles I was reading, so…

  14. ZZZ says:

    I’ve decided to just assume that Rachel Summers – who explicitly comes from a timeline where the Dark Phoenix Saga went down differently – was actually using the Phoenix Force of her own timeline, which came along with her to the 616 timeline (even though this contradicts a plot point in Excalibur that said there was only one Phoenix Force in all the multiverse, but that’s been contradicted several times already – by Rachel’s own backstory for that matter) and went back to her timeline when she got lost in the timestream, and that she never had possession of the Phoenix Force that everyone’s fighting right now. There’s absolutely nothing I’ve seen in the comics to confirm or even imply this idea, and I’m sure it’s not what anyone at Marvel intends, but it clears up pretty much every problem I can think of with her involvement in the crossover. So until Marvel explicitly contradicts it, I’m going to stubbornly cling to my fanwankery.

  15. Si says:

    Ah, the reason it’s called Marvel NOW. Because they’re not looking at what’s good for Marvel in five years, it’s what’s good for Marvel NOW!

  16. alex says:

    “Due to AvX, I hope the X-books suffer massive drops when Marvel renumbering occurs. Drops large enough for Marvel to see that they’ve obviously done something wrong, even if they aren’t bright enough to figure out what the actual problems were.”

    That’s what I was with the DC Reheat. Went from dozen+ DC books to none. Hoped they crashed and burnt.

    And what happened? What I wanted since I was a kid, seeing them overtake Marvel in the charts.

  17. Steve says:

    Anyone else want to mention how they’re canceling their consistently best selling regular title in Uncanny X-Men to move Bendis on to All New X-Men?

    And does anyone else think the basic conceit behind All New X-Men is one of the worst ideas to come along for a major title in awhile?

    I’ll be at least following Uncanny Avengers because Remender and Cassaday are on it, but my interest in comics within the big two is waning pretty fast.

  18. Mike says:

    Yeah, I’m getting apprehensive about the relaunch of the X-Men books as NOTHING to date has made me actually look forward to it. I’m kind of interested to see how they are going to pull of the past X-men come to live in the present and don’t destroy the timestream – but aside from that, nothing has gotten me excited.

    That feeling is combining with this growing disinterest in DC to make me wonder if I’m about to turn a corner with comics – at least for now. Despite my misgivings, I gave DC a chance, and was actually buying more DC comics after the relaunch than before. But a year later? I’m starting to buy just a little less. The fact is, most of these characters are NOT ‘my’ characters. I was holding on to The Ravagers so I could see issue #0 about Gar and Terra – and then realized, I had not interest. My interest was with the old Gar, the original Terra – not these guys with the same name but little else in common with the characters I loved. And aside from a handful of them – Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern – I feel like DC as a whole is worse off for the reboot.Batgirl? Nice as an icon, but Barbara was a stronger character as Oracle and unique – something that Batgirl is not (much as I love the IDEA of Batgirl).

    So …. I’ll give the relaunch a chance, but I’m staring to eye the extra cash in my pocket more and more.

  19. Suzene says:


    What kind of stories do you like outside of the superhero genre? Image, IDW, and the rest have some interesting stuff currently on the shelves or on the way. I dropped most of my Big Two titles in favor of other companies ages ago — the only reason I had any Marvel to loose to the recent events was my fondness for Northstar, and Christos Gage proving himself enough of a pretty class act online that I gave his books a shot.

  20. ZZZ says:

    The thing with Marvel NOW! is, I simply can’t believe that “Uncanny Avengers” is a title that Marvel expects to use for the long haul. If they weren’t putting so much publicity into this, I’d be willing to bet good money that it was just an Amalgam/Age of Apocalypse thing, where they’re acting like this is going to be what the book is from now on, but in actuality it’s just a gimmick that they’re going to publish while the real series takes a short break.

    The amount of press they’re putting behind it, though, does make me think it’s going to be more Incredible Hercules than Gambit and the X-Ternals (i.e., it’ll run until they feel like changing it back rather than it having a short, pre-defined shelf like) but I simply cannot believe that Marvel will be (or intends to be) publishing Uncanny Avengers five years from now.

  21. NB says:

    I think Uncanny Avengers will be quite similar to Dark Avengers in that regard.

  22. Niall says:

    UA sounds more like a maxi series than an ongoing. It doesn’t sound like the red skull plot will be resolved by the end of the first arc.

  23. AndyD says:

    “and the pay-off was her rejecting her role as a Hound”

    Again? It became a joke when Claremont did this in every other issue, but I would have thought they had found a newer angle on the character.

    Storm and the Panther are divorced? I thought this was a taboo in the MU, no smoking and no divorce ever.

    I really don´t get the appeal of Uncanny Avengers. One of the selling points in the MU used to be that you could choose as a reader. The X-Men cosmos was thematically different to the Avengers cosmos, the Spider-Man cosmos was a third alternative.

    Why throw this in the trash and make everything as bland as possible?

    (And good to have you back, Paul! You were missed)

  24. Si says:

    Storm and Panther weren’t divorced, Panther annulled their marriage so in effect they were never actually married. In real life a marriage can be annulled if:

    *the wedding was somehow done wrong – either religiously or legally. I can’t see the king/high priest of Wakanda having this problem.

    *There’s something wrong with the marriage eg one spouse is already married, or they’re closely related to each other. Everything that was wrong with the marriage was less sordid than that – other than racism of course.

    *One or both partners was forced against their will, including if they’re mad, or conned, or drugged. Well it was against narrative precedent and indeed good taste, but both characters seemed happy, sober and sane.

    *One of the spouses was previously married but was widowed by the new spouse for purposes of marriage. Eh, no.

    *One or both of the spouses screwed around. Well this is possible, especially in the modern Marvel age of retroactive boning.

    *The marriage was never consummated. Now we may be on to something. Storm is cold and aloof, but I’m looking at T’Challa myself. Steroids affect sexual performance after all, maybe he’s been overindulging in the heart-shaped herb. Sure he talks a good game, but I think he’s overcompensating frankly. I’m calling it now, Black Panther can’t get it up due to overuse of performance enhancing substances.

  25. Jacob says:

    -Storm is cold and aloof, except when Claremont writes her hanging around in fetish clubs and hot tubs 🙂

  26. wwk5d says:

    The end of the Storm/Black Panther marriage is the only good thing to come out of this crossover. One of the worst we’ve had in ages.

    How is anybody supposed to take the re-boot seriously when the X-titles were JUST re-booted for Schism? After all the setup for that status quo, it gets shunted aside after less than a year? Does Marvel even have any people planning for the long term anymore?

    And why is Bendis STILL trying to shove the Illuminati down our throats? Most people don’t give a sh*t about it.

  27. Brian says:

    Sure glad I’m not reading X-books anymore judging from some of the responses here. I still have a fondness for the characters and I’m always curious as to what Marvel’s doing them, but I’ve only followed the books in review form since “Decimation.” That’s when I said to myself “Okay, these guys have no idea what they’re doing.”

    I’m off Marvel altogether actually. Funny, I absolutely loathed “Marvelution” from the ’90s. Back when Marvel segregated their properties into various sub-groups. Now they’ve gone to the complete opposite extreme. Sandboxing everything. “Uncanny Avengers” K’un L’un Phoenix connections. It’s all one big soup now with Bendis’s hands seemingly in everything.

  28. Dave says:

    On the lack of long-term planning – this has been quite eveident for some time now. A ‘run’ on a title used to be a number of years, now it’s a couple of stories/TPBs. Opposed as I was to Uncanny’s renumbering, I at least thought the extinction team and Schism aftermath might, giving benefit of the doubt, be the basis of a new focus for a decent amount of time. But no, it gets less than 20 issues and is dropped. Incredible Hulk’s latest volume had basically the one idea of a Hulk/Banner split, and now that’s done and is quickly on to something else, and another number one.
    The only constant now is the reshuffling of creative teams. I think the ongoing title as we knew it is gone. They might as well go the Ultimate route and just release new titles/volumes each time the writer changes.

  29. Ruben says:

    Glad to have you back and congrats on the wedding. I’ve been reading the x-axis since your usenet days and been listening to the podcast since day one.


  30. Thom H. says:

    @Dave: That’s actually a pretty good argument for scrapping the idea of ongoing series altogether and releasing high-quality minis or graphic novels instead

    Marvel and DC are basically doing that now with every writer change or change in direction. May as well make it official by making every story stand-alone a la All-Star Superman or Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia (just two examples off the top of my head).

    The problem with that plan is that the Big Two don’t seem to be interested in “high-quality” or “stand-alone” at this point. It’s too bad. I’d buy a lot more self-contained, thoughtful X-Men OGNs than the mess AvX sounds like it’s been.

  31. kelvingreen says:

    From its conception it ignores decades of continuity and requires everyone on all sides to behave like unreasonable idiots.

    Civil War? Is that you?

  32. @AndyD
    “Storm and the Panther are divorced? I thought this was a taboo in the MU, no smoking and no divorce ever.”

    It would be very easy to read a race-based hypocrisy into Marvel letting their high-profile (only?) married black couple get divorced (annulled, whatever) almost as a footnote but the heavily merchandised white guy’s marriage has to end through a high profile event that bends over backwards to make sure he’s not a “divorcee”.

  33. Si says:

    Martin, you’re looking at it all wrong. The black guy turned to his head of the church (admittedly this was himself) to remove his marriage. The white guy turned to Satan to remove his. I’ll say it now, Joe Quesada hates white people.

    Actually, I kind of like to think of T’Challa as a modern day Henry VIII. Maybe he’ll marry Monica of Cleves next, and have her beheaded.

  34. ZZZ says:

    I actually think it’s very appropriate that T’Challa annulled his marriage instead of divorcing Storm. It’s like he said “I was retconned into this marriage, I’ll retcon myself right out of it!”

  35. Matt C. says:


    Very good point. Even Chuck Freakin’ Austin got three years on Uncanny, plus another one on Adjectiveless.

    Given how little attention Marvel’s editors pay to continuity, and the frequent turnover of creative teams, they probably would be better off just doing individual trades instead of ongoing series. Of course, that’s not where the money is.

  36. The original Matt says:

    ZZZ says:
    August 21, 2012 at 2:09 AM
    I actually think it’s very appropriate that T’Challa annulled his marriage instead of divorcing Storm. It’s like he said “I was retconned into this marriage, I’ll retcon myself right out of it!”

    That is GOLD!!

  37. Brian says:

    “they probably would be better off just doing individual trades instead of ongoing series. Of course, that’s not where the money is.”

    Plus, going direct to trade would mean trade paperbacks bunged up with advertising. They’d also cost more.

  38. Blair says:

    A bit off topic but can anyone confirm the price of Si Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy? On the cover images it was listed as $2.99 but the solicitations list it at $3.99.

    Nothing against Spurrier but if Marvel believe that an unproven writer combined with an unproven lead character (Legion) can support a $3.99 book…well, it almost seems like they are trying to make the book fail.

  39. Paul says:

    I agree that it looks like a book with, shall we say, an uphill struggle in the market. But who knows. Maybe it’s an absolutely brilliant pitch for a Legion solo title.

  40. wwk5d says:

    Paul, it might be brilliant, but will enough people buy it? I have a feeling it will be retconned into a miniseries after 5 or 6 issues…

  41. Jack says:

    AvX has made me stop reading X-Men comics. I started reading them in 2006 – that’s only six years, but Marvel’s somehow managed to completely mangle the franchise in such a short period… And from what I see from Marvel Now, it’s not very likely that I’ll be coming back anytime soon (Bendis? The original roster transplanted from time? It sounds like they’re trying really fricking hard to sink this franchise).

  42. The original Matt says:

    The sank the franchise with HoM. And I’m not talking in a jump the shark kind of way. I mean in a “they removed the underpinning struggle of the book and didnt bother to replace it with anything significant for a few years, then dragged hope’s story on to all buggery when they did.”

    When the book died creatively all depends on who you talk to, and when they started reading, but I think most could agree that it was operation zero tolerance that was the final nail.

    Except for the Morrison run, which was awesome.

  43. Brian says:

    “When the book died creatively all depends on who you talk to, and when they started reading, but I think most could agree that it was operation zero tolerance that was the final nail.”

    I felt it died creatively somewhere between Mutant Massacre and Fall of the Mutants. At least, that’s the point where what Claremont wanted to write and what I wanted to read became two different things.

    Never even read most of ’90s stuff. Came back for Morrison, stuck around for Whedon, then Decimation came along and that’s what did me in.

    To be perfectly honest though, even pre-Decimation I was no longer buying into the X-Men’s overall premise.

    If Marvel-style mutants existed in our world, I wouldn’t want them around either and it’s got nothing to do with bigotry. It’s about security. Couldn’t feel secure in a world where my thoughts could be read by someone without me knowing. What’s the point in owning a state-of-the-art home security system when there’s people out there who can walk through walls? How would I know my wife is actually my wife and not a shape-shifter impersonating my wife?

    All the X-Men could possibly hope to convince me of is that THEY are good people.
    But that wouldn’t make me feel any more secure in my environment.

    An off-duty cop walks his girlfriend back to her apartment after eating dinner at a restaurant. Along the way, a mugger emerges from an alleyway demanding his girlfriend’s purse. The cop, a big fella, highly-trained and street-savy sizes this guy up. The mugger is half his size and doesn’t appear to be armed. He goes for the takedown only when suddenly the mugger leaps twenty feet backward and then spits projectile acid all over the cop’s face.

    How could anyone see that coming? That would change the world. From that point onward, cops everywhere would have to treat everyone as a “potentially hostile mutant.”

    But the X-Men’s premise insists in putting anti-mutant sentiment down to “bigotry” or “ignorance.” Likening it to racism. It doesn’t make sense. Same goes for the ridiculous attempts to draw parallels between Xavier and Martin Luther King Jr. King never spent the better part of his life trying to conceal the fact that he was black. Xavier spent a good portion of his life hiding the fact that he was a mutant and when he was finally outed it’s “Okay, I’m a mutant. Also, I’m a telepath and can read your mind and control your thoughts. Please trust me and my X-Men.”

    Yeah, no thanks.

  44. alex says:

    I originally stopped reading x-men at issue 200 (the first one, with magneto and the strucker twins).

    Didnt read x-books regularly until i worked in a lcs in mid 90s.

    I think i would only read any x book now based on the writer.

  45. AndyD says:

    Actually, I kind of like to think of T’Challa as a modern day Henry VIII. Maybe he’ll marry Monica of Cleves next, and have her beheaded”

    Maybe this would be a great opening for the next Panther series: There is unrest in Wakanda because he shuts down the temples to make more money because the vibranium market collapsed over night. (or whatever it was they sold.)

    Hm, I bought and read X-Men from around the beginning of Claremont and Byrne through the middle of Morrison. (Including 90% of its satellite titles, down to the “blueprint of the X-Mansion” or whatever it was called). )Then I quit because I was a) bored to death with the Quentin Quire school story and b) couldn´t stomach the then new rotating artists policy any longer. I later bought the final issues of Morrison as cheap trade and didn´t understand half of the ending because the art was so poor.

    Now and then I buy a random issue out of nostalgia or because it sounds interesting in the discussions here or elsewhere, but the thing is when you finally stopped buying a series mostly you really don´t miss it.

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