3.26.2009

3.25.09 Reviews

X-Force/Cable: Messiah War (Marvel): This is a stand alone issue that really sets things in motion for the crossover event. I’m still struggling to understand why this one shot was necessary when the crossover will already take place in three issues of X-Force and three issues of Cable. Perhaps this was for potential readers who buy neither title regularly(?), though I don’t see why those potential readers would suddenly be interested in a story which has already been gearing up for an issue or two and rush right out to get this special. Anyway. For me, it’s also hampered a bit by not featuring Clayton Crain’s art, though I will say that Mike Choi is steadily improving. The entire premise of the event is intriguing, Scott essentially propelling X-Force into the future with the orders to “find Cable, kill Bishop, and protect Hope.” I like how Wolverine has become the de facto field leader of the team; the uneasy bond between Scott and Logan is always fun to watch. This issue pulls a quick and effective recap of M-Day, the Xavier Institute attack, the creation of X-Force, the Cooperstown Massacre, Cable and Hope, and now Bishop’s pursuit of them. There’s a lot of information offered here, but it’s effortless and never expository. Scott’s narration about the survival of his species against seemingly insurmountable odds is chilling. It has the feel of something that Ron Moore or James Cameron would have created to lend a dangerous and important tone to their work. Scott’s continual references to “my son” (referring to Cable) and Xavier being “the man I think of as my father” are quite considerable. There’s deliberate effort on the part of many x-writers (Kyle, Yost, Fraction, and Ellis) to portray Scott as finally accepting his destiny. And it extends even beyond him as a character to the (only) other Summers brother I care about – Havok. While Scott leads the mutants on Earth, Alex is somewhere in the stars leading that band of mutants in space. The Mutant Marvel U feels more cohesive than it has in years. I’m hoping that the decision for Cable to be in the year 2973 and heading for Westchester (when it would have already been destroyed for 9 hundred and 60-some years) will pan out and make sense. Wow, I just can’t stop gushing about this issue. I'm still in shock that I'm enjoying... ahem... X-Force so much. Not only is the overarching story great fun, but there are plenty of little nuanced touches here and there. In no particular order… liked the scene between Hank and Scott, the secret of X-Force is starting to leak out. I like how the middle of this issue (dropping the team into the future) picks up directly from the action in the last issue of X-Force. I like the odd mélange of the team roster. We’ve got everyone from Archangel (one of the original five X-Men) to X-23 (the chic Wolverine clone, Laura) and everyone in between. We’ve got tons of comedy here from Domino, Wolverine, and the surprise appearance of Deadpool(!), who is just hilarious. Lines like “What the f--" followed by “Language, Wolverine” made me chuckle out loud. I want to know why Laura did what she did to that metal plate. This issue is paced and organized perfectly. The inclusion of Stryfe’s Strike Files harken back to the early 90’s X-Cutioners Song crossover, which was a bit hoary, but certainly had it’s dramatic moments. For $3.99, the extra pages are a welcome treat and feel like good value. As enjoyable and fun as this is shaping up to be, the name “En Sabah Nur” certainly lends some gravitas. Overall, this was a very satisfying read. Highly recommended. Grade A.

I also picked up;

A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarterly): This is a humongous brick of a softcover book, about the size of Blankets or Bottomless Belly Button, being the fourth of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s translated to English works, courtesy of Adrian Tomine and D&Q.

Planetary #1 (DC/Wildstorm/ABC): Actually, I didn’t buy this book. Because… *SEA DONKEY strikes again! DC’s doing a cool thing by reprinting some tasty #1 issues for just a dollar. Now, if your LCS got Transmetropolitan #1, wouldn’t you expect they’d also get Planetary #1 the following week? If you’re going to bother getting any, wouldn’t you just get them all? So lame. I didn’t even want it for myself, I mean I own the Absolute Edition and all of the Hardcovers, but my coworker has been on an Alan Moore kick and wanted me to pick up Volume 3 of Promethea for her – so I did. She’d given me a $20 bill. I had like 4 bucks leftover and thought, hrmm, maybe I’ll pick up the first ish of Planetary for her, it’s only a buck, total no risk read. But alas, Sea Donkey squanders yet another retailing opportunity.

* For those who may not recall this recurring riff, “Sea Donkey” is the name I give my LCS guy when he does something lame, like not order a book I want, pull a poor customer service move, etc. May be accompanied by the non-PC prefix “retarded,” as in “he was doing the retarded Sea Donkey dance again.” That is all.

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