February 15, 2014

The All New Uncanny X-Piles 154

It’a an all new year and that means you’ll be getting an All New Uncanny X-Piles! That’s right folks, we are back to deliver our batch of X-Title reviews for your mutant loving pleasure! Unless you’re not a mutant lover, and in that case you’re probably spending too much time trying to build your own Sentinel than reading this. So, for those that are mutant and proud sit back as The Comic Book Clergyman, Spider-Man Geek, Infinite Speech, and Capekiller (who we found roaming the Canadian wilderness naked with knives taped to his hands) return for your All-New Uncanny X-Piles!


wolverineWolverine #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Ryan Stegman

Maybe the Wolverine I remember from the 1980’s was just a figment of my imagination. You know, “This school was a lot bigger when I went here!”, “This movie seemed a lot scarier when I was younger!”, etc.  The Wolverine I fell in love with was brooding, fierce and mysterious. His healing factor didn’t define him, rather it enhanced his already amazing talents and abilities. Seems simple really!  Why then has it been so hard for writers to capture this keystone character over the past twenty years?

Like many, I was sceptical of yet another reboot of my favourite characters book.  In all honesty though, it has happened so many times that I have grown numb to the experience.  Of all the reboots however, this one seemed to make the most sense in terms of timing. With Wolverine entering a new (or semi-new) stage of his life without his healing powers, this seemed as good a place as any to restart his story. Advertise Ryan Stegman as the artist on top of that, and consider my interests piqued. Too bad potential doesn’t make for a good book.

I thought the story itself was absolutely horrible. I realize that there is a lot that the reader still does not know, but quite honestly, I don’t want to know any more. Everything from his new team, their stupid code names, their Bendis-Light banter and Wolverine’s claws coming from his forearms irked me.  Without trying to sound overly dramatic, this story was so poorly conceived that it angered me. I have no idea what this “new” Wolverine’s motives are, but likewise I don’t care.  His words, actions and fighting style are so out of character that I can only assume that he is a clone or life model decoy.  And instead of that explaining away the poor characterization, it merely further proves how weak the storyline is.

Stegman’s lines are solid but David Curiel’s colours are not sophisticated enough to keep up with them. The end result are panels that are too bright and don’t help tell the story at all.  So with disconnected dialogue, random plot lines and techno coloured images, readers are treated to a book that better resembles a migraine than the first step of Wolverine’s new journey.

I have no formal training writing comic strips at all, and I know I could do a better job than this.  All I can really say is, I am so sorry Wolverine. You have the potential to be the coolest character in the history of comics, but instead your are forced to skulk around as a punch line thanks to years’ worth of creators who have no idea who you are! –CK

Rating: 1/10


XMEN10X-Men #10
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist(s): Anka & Mann

The female wing of the X-Men have been slugging it out for several issues now against a revived Lady Deathstrike and her evil all-girls team of the Sisterhood. Now, this has been Lady Deathstrike’s team up until now as Wood makes it clear that Arkea is running the show and is now the Alpha of the crew. A message that Deathstrike isn’t too happy with but she knows there’s not a thing she can do about it…yet. There’s also some additions to the Sisterhood that Arkea feels will ensure they won’t have to worry about the X-Men anymore. However these two really don’t play well with others and even make LD nervous.

If you haven’t been reading this series from the beginning that is okay because Wood does a fine job with the recap while not sacrificing the main story to do so. There’s some pretty good character moments as the Sisterhood ranks are established and Wood’s dialogue and pacing makes for a nice read. There’s not a lot of action until the last few pages when the Sentinels finally arrive though I will admit that those few pages are the highlight of the issue. There’s a bit more levity here that mixes well with the intensity especially when the girls joke with Hellion about not telling him they were just “going to the beach”. Well played, Wood!

As far as the art goes it was a very mixed bag as the first half by Anka did a great job at moving the story but wasn’t too visually appealing for me. The characters seemed stiff and wooden for most of the first half until the panels where Arkea showed Deathstrike who she wanted to recruit for the team. Those panels were expressive and intense and you felt the impact of Wood’s script a bit more here. The last few pages by Mann were more to my liking from start to finish as events picked up and the art propelled the little bit of action we received right before the cliff hanger.

My only real reservation with this team book is the trope that an all (or mostly) female group of X-Men has to immediately go up against an evil all female team. Though it allows room for a lot more female involvement in comics doing really cool things it was just too predictable that this was going to happen. You can be glad that even with this being a title with a mostly female cast it hasn’t devolved into page after page of sexy poses and excuses to have them in in bikinis all day. There’s a good story here and Wood has all the right ingredients here to make it even better! – IS

Rating: 6/10


wolverineWolverine #1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Ryan Stegman

Well, I’ll give Marvel this: they know how to try to get new readers. I had dropped the last volume (vol. 36?) of Wolverine, as I just didn’t like Paul Cornell’s take on the book. But I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that maybe it was the art that just didn’t click. Marvel then announced a relaunch with Cornell and super-hot artist Ryan Stegman. So once again, I got suckered into thinking this might be different.

It wasn’t.

I just don’t think Cornell has a good grasp on Wolverine at all. This issue thrusts us into the midst of a scenario that had me scratching my head. It was the perfect opportunity to create a new status quo for Logan, but this felt like I was brought into the middle of a story. Logan is working with some new superhuman characters, none of whom I thought were the least bit interesting. They break into some place to rescue a Hand ninja and we’re not really told why. There’s no tipping of the hand as to what Logan is doing here, which doesn’t intrigue me, but rather makes me not care at all.

The only interesting thing about Logan right now is that he doesn’t have his healing factor. That’s been done before and done much better. Like, I thought his healing factor is what kept him from dying from adamantium poisoning? What happened to that? Taking away the healing factor opens up some good possibilities and Cornell hints at a few like the scene where Black Widow teaches him how to shoot a gun. I wanted more of that, not the scenario that framed the story.

I really want to like Ryan Stegman. His style is reminiscent of Todd McFarlane’s early work. His work on Scarlet Spider was incredible. However, his work on Superior Spider-Man left much to be desired and this issue falls into that category too. It lacks a tightness in terms of linework and panel layout. I feel like I’m reading a comic from the ’90s and not in the good way. Logan has a new uniform that also reflects this sentiment.

This just isn’t enough to get me interested in the current adventures of Wolverine. I’d much rather stick with Savage Wolverine, which has a rotating team and makes Wolverine more legendary. –JJ

Rating: 4/10


Be sure to check out previous editions of the All-New Uncanny X-Piles by clicking here!




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