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Jun 7

X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #28

Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 by Paul in x-axis

“So I’m Dating a Pop Star!”
Writer: Jason Loo
Artist: EJ Su
Colourist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Lauren Amaro

So, yeah. This came out at the end of March and I’m only getting to it now. Time for a renewed push to clear the backlog.

The thing is: sitting at the top of my review list for a while has been Demon Days, the Peach Momoko miniseries which shipped more or less quarterly and basically involves Marvel Universe characters being reworked into Japanese mythology. And the thing bores me so completely that I just cannot face re-reading it. I mean, it’s beautiful, of course, but I just don’t get it at all. It doesn’t feel like the characters have much in common with the originals beyond the very superficial; I don’t feel like it’s telling me anything interesting about the characters or about Japanese mythology or about any sort of overlap between the two. If anything, it leaves me feeling like there is no connection and the whole thing is a completely arbitrary parlour game. Maybe if I knew more about Japanese folklore I’d be seeing some sort of connection there, but I don’t and I’m really, really not. I just don’t understand at all what the thing is trying to do or why it exists. It’s one of those comics where even the first time around I could feel by the end that I was still dutifully turning the pages but none of it was sinking in. And I just cannot bring myself to re-read the thing in order to review it properly. Life is too short.

Fortunately, the next Demon Days series to be solicited is something to do with Civil War, and the book itself is a mixture of X-books elements and stuff from the wider Marvel Universe, so I have decided that for my purposes it is Not An X-Book and we can all move on with our lives.

So what’s next on the list? Well, it’s this one-off X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic issue, one of the short stories that they scatter between regular issues.

I’d be interested to know who’s actually reading this book – since it’s only available as a freebie thrown in with a Marvel Unlimited subscription, you might suspect that it’s leaning towards the hardcore completists. At the same time, it’s a phone comic, and the Infinity Comics as a whole lean heavily towards accessible material for the casual fan. Somewhere in the overlap you get comics like this – a short Lila Cheney story played for light comedy.

To promote her new album, Lila grudgingly agrees to go on a reality show where pop stars pretend to be normal people and go on dates. And of course the three dates she gets are awful – a guy from Portland who won’t shut up about his own band, a right-wing bigot “who loves reading about conspiracy theories” (and is all in favour of the mutants living on their own island and withdrawing from the rest of the world), and… oh no, hold on, that’s as far as we get because a fight breaks out with him and his mates.

It’s a completely harmless little story which is more “mildly diverting” than anything else. It’s not as easy to play about with the vertical scrolling format when you’re doing a basically talky story like this, but EJ Su is a completely solid cartoonist. It doesn’t really find a pay-off for its premise, though. The original hook here is “Lila goes on reality TV”, and it kind of swerves two thirds of the way through to become “bigots are awful”. Which is more or less the generic X-Men ending these days; wheel out somebody just awful and have the heroes humiliate them. And that’s fine as far as it goes – by all means let’s have the bad guys get their comeuppance from time to time – but it also risks becoming something you can tack on to literally anything as the final act, and that’s kind of what it’s doing here.

Still, it’s basically fine, and the Infinity Comics continue to have more effort put into them than you might be assuming.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    I’ve liked Jason Loo’s stuff for years, but this one has very little going for it. The antagonists were just embarrassing. He’s done better Unlimited comics.

    And I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for wishing that X-Men Green sequel into existence. That one made this Lila story look like Watchmen.

  2. Alastair says:

    Unlimited can be a bit hit and miss. But it does give a chance to showcase characters that may not make a regular book, like Lila or the really enjoyable Maggot story.

  3. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I wish the Strong Guy and Madrox stuff was better, and this Lila story was weak. The random fight as a resolution especially – it felt like anything else might have made for a more interesting development.

    I started reading Demon Days. I stopped reading Demon Days. Couldn’t tell you what it was about. A girl discovers she’s actually… somebody… and people don’t want that?

    Obviously it’s not the first ‘Marvel characters as Japanese warriors and whatnot’ – at the very least there was also 5 Ronin if not others, by noted Japanese creator Peter Milligan. But it came out over 10 years ago and I still remember it, so it must have been doing something right.

    Though maybe it was due to David Aja covers.

  4. Chris V says:

    There was also the X-Men Fairy Tales issue written by noted Japanese creator CB Cebulski. I hear he’s really Akira Yoshida. Sana Takeda was the artist though.

  5. Jerry Ray says:

    I didn’t even find the Demon Days stuff to be particularly pretty, art-wise, and the story was dead boring. Just awful.

    I’m only reading the Unlimited stuff when it comes out in print, because I can’t be bothered to pay for a digital comics subscription. This one, with a villain that’s presumably the sort of punching bag caricature that most comics creators seem to think represents typical conservatives sounds particularly tedious. I’ll give it a read if they ever print it, but it’s not something I really feel compelled to seek out, even as an X-Men completist.

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