1.04.12 Reviews

Wolverine & The X-Men: Alpha & Omega #1 (Marvel): Right from jump, I like the swagger displayed on the cover of this book. It’s too bad that Mark Brooks wasn’t able to handle the art exclusively. Roland Boschi and Dan Brown handle the Westchester sequences here, and I can’t say I’m a fan of the art in those passages. I thought the backgrounds were skimpy, there was some stiff, awkward, angular posing in spots, and the panels just lacked the detail to keep up with the visceral attitude of the script. The good news is that the script has that edge in abundance. The writing on the very first page captured Quentin Quire’s attitude instantly as he strolls the halls of the Jean Grey School and verbally spars with Rachel. It’s tightly crafted courtesy of Brian Wood, and a return to Marvel’s Mutants that only took 12 years. I also appreciate the way that a conscious effort is made to stay in tight sync with the continuity we just saw in Jason Aaron’s Wolverine & The X-Men series. Wood is really able to get in Quire’s head, capturing his rebellious justification for his own actions. I’m assuming we’ll explore just who Quentin really is, hero, anti-hero, villain, or something else, with the school as a fun backdrop. Logan told Captain America that Quentin was redeemable, so I’m curious to see if he was right. The concept of “psychwar” is a good one, as Quentin places Logan and Armor into a mentally projected virtual reality construct, and then tries his damnedest to sustain it, and cover his tracks out in the real world. Logan might be "the best there is at what he does," the best player, if you will, but if Quentin runs the game, who knows what will happen? It’s a smart way to level the playing field. Switching over to the construct sequences, Mark Brooks (and 4 other people!) nail the art. It just looks more like a proper Brian Wood joint. I enjoyed those passages a lot more, with equal critical gusto for both the art and the writing. Quire projects them into some sort of PKD futuristic dirty cityscape, which, forgive me for saying so, but it almost looks like a “mutant DMZ,” with Logan and Armor geared up and on the run like Matty and Zee, haha! Brooks’ art sells the construct, Armor looks great in torn fishnets and her mismatched attire. When she actually armors up, it calls to mind the John Cassaday look of the original. In Brooks, I see some Jim Lee in there, some Jamie McKelvie, and a level of European detail and figure scale variation that I can really get used to, all good stuff. This is a little arbitrary to get my grade to settle one way or the other, but since there were more Boschi pages than Brooks pages by my count, I’ll downgrade a bit and go with a Grade B+.

Uncanny X-Force #19.1 (Marvel): I think it’s a little odd that Marvel keeps doing these “point one” things. It basically only serves as a one-shot or prologue story to another book that’s starting up, so why not just have it exist as a stand-alone thing rather than shoehorning it in here to disrupt the flow of a great run? I guess the idea is to divert some of the interested UXF readers over? Not a huge deal, but it just sticks out as a pretty big departure point from the thrust of the regular series. So, Rick Remender, with Billy Tan and Jose Villarubia, takes us back to the AoA timeline where some mutants and a human resistance fight the dominance of the ApocaLogan, narrated by some guy I don’t know named Prophet, ‘cuz he’s, you know, prophetic or whatever. Tan’s art is not nearly as clean as Opena’s (which will forever serve as the high water mark on the title for me), but it’s still serviceable. The lack of Dean White coloring also takes away some of the book’s consistency. I suppose the rougher hewn look and pale washed out colors are oooooo-kayyyyyyyy for the timeline they’re in, but I’m begrudgingly admitting that because I really wanted to like this more than I did. The “Last City of Men” awaiting the Akkaba attack has a vague “White City of Gondor” feel to it. Clones of Wanda as a secret weapon was a total snoozer for me, because the “no more mutants” line is telegraphed for miles. However, there were some small bits like “Solar Hulk” that eked out a chuckle, like a Mitt Romney win in Iowa. Ba-dump-bump! He’s powered by the "good yellow sun." Man, Remender sure has a thing for clowning on Superman/DC, like he did with the Ma/Pa Kent riff in the last arc. This book is competent, but overall I think it just lacks any pizzazz, humor, or gravitas. The fact that it takes place in another timeline not our own doesn’t make these events feel like they possess much consequence. By the end, it all feels a fait accompli. Depowering the x-gene to save humanity doesn’t work. The Last City of Men is destroyed, along with the majority of the species, who were already admittedly too few to repopulate, so what’s the point of the series then? Apocalypse won this timeline, there’s nothing left to save. I’m not clear on the storytelling calculus. Grade B.


Post a Comment

<< Home