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Apr 11

X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #26

Posted on Monday, April 11, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

Writer: Declan Shalvey
Artist: Nick Roche
Colourist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Lauren Amaro

It’s a Banshee story for St Patrick’s Day! Marvel have done quite a few holiday tie-ins with the Infinity Comics, and I wonder if this started out as one of those.

We’ve not just got an actual Irish character here, we’ve got an actual Irish creative team. Declan Shalvey’s already done two arcs on this book; Nick Roche is probably best known for his work on IDW’s Transformers books, but he’s a really good artist who brings a nicely sturdy, cartoony quality to Banshee.

The New York St Patrick’s Day celebrations inspire Banshee to actually return home to Cassidy Keep, that wonderful bastion of Oirishness where actual leprechauns live. He finds Black Tom there, and the usual fight breaks out, with Sean accusing Tom of always trying to take things from him. Of course, that’s ultimately about Tom raising Sean’s daughter Theresa.

The problem here is that Black Tom Cassidy is being used regularly in X-Force – he’s a more prominent character than Sean these days – and setting him up as the potential villain here doesn’t really fly. Shalvey clearly does understand Tom’s current status quo, and he’s feinting at him taking the villain role, but the trouble is that Tom’s no longer in that role and Sean ought to know that. I get that it’s a proxy for Theresa, and that Sean is meant to misread the situation when he shows up and finds the leprechauns missing, but the fight still feels a bit undermotivated to me.

Ultimately, all this seems to be heading towards the idea that the squabbles of Sean and Tom’s generation are fading into history as Theresa’s generation takes over. That’s a nice enough idea but this is one of those Infinity Comics that feels like it needed a bit more space if it was really going to tell that story more effectively. As it is, it’s perfectly serviceable, and looks pretty good, but doesn’t really have much weight.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    I’m happy to read it as Black Tom being able to think clearly without Krakoa in his head, and so he acts more like his old self. Theresa’s part seems to ignore recent continuity as well, that’s a bit harder to explain away. When did she have time to become a caretaker?

    I suspect it’s at least in part a slightly clumsy fable about Ireland’s divisions. The leprechauns just want stability, Shaun! The children are the future Tom! But for all that, it was a decent read.

  2. Andrew says:

    Banshee is an odd character in that the X-books never seemed to have known what to do with him for the past several decades.

    Obviously he was on the team through the late 1970s and again during the late-period post-Australia Claremont run and then got sent off to Generation X.

    But after that we got his Joe Casey-era X-Corp blow out, he got killed off, brought back and has basically just been there in the background occasionally,

    Why is he a character nobody seems to want to use?

  3. Thom H. says:

    I think of Banshee as the Bouncing Boy of the X-Men. He’s an old pro who’s retired now, still available for mentoring and general support, more interested in his relationship with another supporting character than in rejoining the team but available in emergencies. I think that’s a valuable character to have in a long-form story.

    (Of course, that’s based on old versions of both characters, but you know what I mean.)

    As for why Banshee specifically is shoved to the side, he’s probably too similar to other characters. He’s either the wise older guy (Xavier), the guy who shoots force bolts (Cyclops), the flyer who shoots force blots (Storm), or the international guy (Nightcrawler, Colossus). At least in the All-New crew, he was completely redundant.

  4. Moo says:

    “As for why Banshee specifically is shoved to the side, he’s probably too similar to other characters…. the guy who shoots force bolts (Cyclops)”

    That’s precisely how Byrne felt about Banshee and he convinced Claremont to ditch the character on those grounds (made redundant by Cyclops).

    Honestly, I think part of the reason might be that Banshee is perhaps off-putting to male readers and writers (at a subconscious level, possibly) because at the end of the day, he’s a grown-ass man who screams and wails. He has to scream to unleash his powers and men aren’t “supposed” to scream. It’s not very manly. His female counterpart would be something like a woman who can trigger earthquakes but only while belching and scratching her crotch.

  5. Taibak says:

    Actually, I really liked the dynamic Claremont had going with Banshee in the All-New era. He was the moderating force between the hardcore veteran X-Men (Xavier, Cyclopes) on one side, and a group of newbies who refused to be treated like students.

    Think of it in army terms. Xavier was a general, Cyclops was a major – and Banshee was the old sergeant.

  6. Allan M says:

    For my money, his best use was in Generation X, where his maturity and good-naturedness fit neatly into his role as mentor to the teens (who bring the melodrama and character change to the series) and a foil for Emma (who brings… being Emma). Solid ensemble design, makes good use of him without turning him into something he’s not but playing up what makes him likeable. It wouldn’t be the same without Emma to play off, but I always hoped he’d crop up more in later trainee books. He has a wealth of experience and a track record. Hell, unlike most of the extended X-Men cast, he had a career prior to becoming a superhero to draw on from for lessons.

    Alternately, given his background as an Interpol agent, he could be rolled into various versions of X-Force. We know he’s killed before, and there’s potential mileague in asking him to go back into intelligence work. And given Black Tom’s presence in the current book, having them work together could be interesting. Maybe after Percy leaves, though. One page of Percy’s treatment of Banshee was plenty for me, thanks.

  7. neutrino says:

    Being a former Interpol agaent, I thought he should have been in X-Factor.

  8. Voord 99 says:

    The other thing about Banshee — which this comics makes fun of — is that he grew up in a castle with leprechauns, and this has come up several times and is pretty entrenched as part of the character. Any time you revisit his past, you’re likely to hit that. And it’s really only suited to a rather silly, lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek, sort of concept.

    So, certainly, you could do something with him as a former inspector in the guards, working with other countries via INTERPOL on gritty international crime as it affects Ireland. (Hey, look at the news about the Kinahans this week. Topical!) But, you know, leprechauns.

  9. Moo says:

    At least he’s not Shamrock. Remember her?

  10. Voord 99 says:

    Everything’s relative. At least Shamrock’s not Wee One.

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