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Uncanny X-Men #600 [Review]

uncannyxmen600Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Sara Pichelli, Mahmud Asrar, Stuart Immonen, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo, David Marquez, Frazer Irving
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger, Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin
Colors: Marte Gracia, Jason Keith, Chris Bachalo, Frazer Irving
Cover: Chris Bachalo
Lettering & Production: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Assistant Editors: Christina Harrington, Xander Jarowey
Editors: Mike Marts and Mark Paniccia
Published by: Marvel
Cover Date: January 2016
Cover Price: $5.99

Winter Carnival

Writer: Mary Jo Duffy
Penciler: George Perez
Inker: Alfredo Alcala
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Cover Art: Paul Gulacy
Associate Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor: Dennis O’Neil

The first X-Men comic I clearly, consciously remember getting is Uncanny X-Men #300. The costumes, the characters, the cover–it fit the then-current animated series on tv that I was getting familiar with, and had a nice shiny cover to draw extra attention (to say nothing of being a thicker cover physically, making for a durable, high-quality issue to hold).

Several years later I picked up #400, and then years after that 500–though I hadn’t kept up with every issue of the title.

So again now, I bought #600 despite not being entirely current on the title (and overlooking the multiple reboots between the last legitimately-numbered issue and this) because of having bought the last several 100-issue round-number issues when they came up. Some 22 years after getting #300, here I am with #600.

My understanding is that this is Bendis‘ final X-Men issue, as far as being the driving force behind the main X-books. Despite catching up a fair bit on Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men recently via Marvel‘s Digital Unlimited, I’m still a bit out of the loop on whatever’s transpired between where I left off there and stuff immediately prior to Secret Wars and the Last Days stuff. But I do know the characters and the bulk of recent stuff in the most general of terms.

This issue finds Beast (Hank McCoy) experiencing an “intervention” by his teammates, forcing him to confront what he’s done of late–with emphasis on having time-traveled to bring the original X-Men into the present where they’re now stuck. Amidst the intervention/confrontation, we get some flashes to a number of smaller interactions–“original” Jean wants to leave the group for awhile; “original” Bobby confronts current Bobby on repressed feelings; Kitty, Colossus, and Illyana catch up with each other, and so on. Meanwhile, we also see Scott Summers’ recent dream to fruition…and it proves to be just a bit different than we’ve been led to believe.

We also get a lengthy “backup story” by Perez, a solo Iceman thing, that while it looks good does not feel particularly relevant nor current. It seems set in the early 1970s, though it feels like a more recent piece. The art is very good–I usually do enjoy Perez‘ art–though I don’t entirely appreciate the black-and-white instead of color. Perhaps it was intended this way, maybe it was a stylistic choice, but that contributes to it not feeling like it belongs in this issue.

The main feature’s story is solid enough, and though it doesn’t feel like an ongoing issue but more like a one-shot, it works decently enough as itself, as what it is. At the same time, I’m not thrilled at what appears to be Bendis trying to cement several key points just before taking off, like he has to solidify or shoehorn in some stuff to force subsequent writers to address things or leave Bendis‘ work to be an absolute character element. I do definitely approve of the supposed conclusion of the Cyclops arc, and hope to see stuff picked up on, that it’d “redeem” the villanous element applied to the character over the last several years.

Visually…while I appreciate the CONCEPT of letting a bunch of artists work on the issue as “the” big anniversary issue…I can really do without it. The shifting visual styles is distracting and draws attention to stuff in a way that takes away from the otherwise-natural shifting nature of the story, giving us some smaller character moments while addressing the larger overall confrontation with Beast.

I definitely enjoyed Perez‘ work on the Iceman story…but it’s such an unrelated thing that I’m honestly resentful at its inclusion, at this issue being over-priced at $6 over the “standard” $4 just for the story’s inclusion. Better a $3.99 issue without it than $5.99 WITH. That said, the story would work as some bonus/extra cheap attraction, as it really has nothing to do with current continuity, and has no likely/obvious ongoing elements to contribute to stuff, other than being a ’70s-looking/’70s-sounding story.

The main story’s art was distracting…and I was reminded how recognizable and unwelcome (to me) Bachalo‘s art is amidst it all…especially for the cover. It’s also very disappointing that the cover looks like it’s half of or one of several “panels” of a larger image, without even a wraparound…only a bunch of variants.

I bought this issue personally for being the anniversary issue, being the actual high-number or “legacy-numbered” issue. That’s for the personal element of having got #300 off the shelf, and each subsequent 100-numbered issue. In and of itself, if you have followed Bendis‘ X-work, you’ll want to pick this up. Otherwise, this is quite skippable for whatever will be ‘current” moving forward. Outside of whatever closure you’d get having followed this series, and/or All-New X-Men, I’d suggest skipping this and waiting for whatever nearest #1 most directly follows and grabs your attention.

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AvX: Consequences #3 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

AvX: Consequences #2 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Avengers #25 [Review]

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Walter Simonson
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Daniel Acuna
Assistant Editor: John Denning
Associate Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Published by: Marvel Comics

Well, this one really didn’t contribute anything of much worth toward the crossover! We see Cap shouldering the heavy burden of being a world leader, taking the blame for all the crap that’s going on and gone on–from the Secret Invasion to Fear Itself to stuff between. In the midst of Cap’s brooding, Thor shows up and tries to cheer him, followed shortly by Noh-Varr with a lead on an AIM hideout. Springing into action, several of the Avengers bust up the AIM hideout, adding a “win” to Cap’s ego, while Noh-Varr gains a new directive to his mission on Earth.

The story itself’s not bad, though honestly–it’s not one I really care about. I know there’s all this continuity from the past decade playing about, and I love that it’s there, at least in a subtle way for longer-time readers. But I bought this issue for being part of AvX, and feel REALLY cheated. There’s a two-page silent spread of the Avengers and X-Men mixing it up, and then the rest of the issue is basically a “flashback” to “Then” (shortly before AvX kicked into gear). But honestly…this issue has no other direct tie to the crossover, the vast majority of it takes place before the crossover, so it’s like they sacrificed a couple pages so they could say “but it contains part of the battle, of COURSE it’s an official tie-in!”

So if you’re a long-time reader, or already reading Avengers….I’m sure this issue continues ongoing plotpoints and otherwise has stuff that you’ll appreciate.

Visually, no huge complaint….I’m even shocked that one page DARES to have a whopping NINE panels. Nine, and there’s dialogue in six of them…MULTIPLE dialogue boxes in each of those! As opposed to, y’know…silent double-page spreads and full splash-pages that seem more filler than anything else. I skipped the credits on initial read-through, and though I have no complaint with the art, it doesn’t exactly blow me away (except again, that this isn’t half a dozen splash pages and a couple double-page spreads). I really liked when Thor showed up…the character looks good, and seemed to have a genuine joy about him, flying in to catch up with his old friend. Count me surprised to learn the art of the issue is by Walter Simonson–a name I’m more familiar with as a name than with his actual art.

In general, this is a solid issue of Avengers (to a guy who hasn’t touched the Avengers books since the #1s due to the $3.99 price tags). It’s got Cap, Iron Man, and Thor (and others), they’re facing classic-ish villains (well, as much as a bunch of science-worshipping terrorists are ‘villains’), and Simonson art, to boot (a ‘classic’ artist I associate with Thor).

But if you’re looking for AvX stuff? Nuh-uh…you’ll want to pass on this issue. Nothing here for that except the seemingly slapped-in spread of a scene we’ve already seen at least twice (in AvX #1 and last week’s New Avengers #24).

All in all, solid, but I’m dinging the story and the issue as a whole for wasting my time and money for a “red skies” tie-in to something I was–before this–having a bit of fun with jumping in whole-hog (and now am suddenly a LOT more concerned about the wisdom of doing so, “fun” or not).

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 6/10

Avengers vs. X-Men #0 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Uncanny X-Force #22 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

X-Men: Legacy #218 [Review]

Original Sin part four

Writer: Mike Carey
Penciller: Scott Eaton
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colorists: Jason Keith with Brian Reber
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Production: Joe Sabino
Assistant Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Editor: Nick Lowe
Cover: Mike Deodato
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Wolverine and Professor Xavier infiltrate the place Daken is being held, and a battle erupts between them and Sebastian Shaw with Miss Sinister…Daken caught in the middle.

The story is at once simple and somewhat boring. I don’t care about Daken, I knew nothing of the character prior to this Original Sin story. I do not like the way Marvel (in general) seems to be shoehorning so much crap into the past of their characters, casting a 180 on how they were viewed for the last three to four decades.

It’s fairly interesting seeing Wolverine and Xavier interact–I have long enjoyed their dynamic, as Wolverine struggles to be his own person, and almost grudgingly respects the professor–the man who helped him reclaim his humanity. This story suggests that a certain amount of Wolverine’s memory loss was actually caused by Xavier himself all those years ago–that Wolverine joined the X-Men intent upon killing Xavier, and I just don’t buy that. I have never found the Hellfire Club interesting, nor do I care one bit about their internal political maneuvering…I just don’t find it engaging at all.

The art of the issue is the best part–it’s pretty good, and I actually like the way Xavier and Wolverine are depicted. No real complaint visually…or at least, any visual complaint would have to do (Daken) with a story element I disagree with.

You could probably do much worse than this issue…but if you’re not interested in Daken-Son-of-Wolverine, and you’re not already following this Original Sin story, you’re just as well skipping this issue and coming back when X-Men Legacy is its own story again.

Story: 6/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7/10

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