Here’s an old Shi’ar joke: What do you get when you cross a pissed off D’Bari clergyman and weeping D’Bari prostitute? Answer: Nothing, the D’Bari were destroyed by the Phoenix. (uncomfortable pause) The Shi’Ar aren’t really known for their humor. While you wipe away tears of laughter (or is that sadness?), here’s another x-citing edition of the All-New Uncanny X-Piles!
All-New X-Men #24
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen
I have been comparing this storyline to the classic Dark Phoenix Saga, and while it is clear that Bendis is drawing inspiration from that story, he is going in completely new directions.
The story begins with the X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Starjammers trying to get to the tribunal in which Jean Grey is being tried. They hijack a ship in a very cool way, with Angela getting “captured” by the Shi’ar and taking them out from within. Since Angela’s species is not registered by the Shi’ar due to her being new to the Marvel Universe, she’s the perfect trojan horse. This begins the adventure of the team getting to the planet in order to start the rescue. My only complaint thus far is that these teams have been cooped up in a spaceship for far too long, so their battle scenes are long overdue. It is only at the end of this issue that we see them finally take on Gladiator and the Imperial Guard. Seeing Gladiator throw around folks like Drax and Angela reminds me of how powerful the guy really is. I’m still wondering why he’s so bent on killing Jean.
Jean’s trial takes an unexpected turn as she gets help from King J-Son of the Spartax (Peter Quill’s father). Bendis seems to be making J-Son a true player on the cosmic level, as his arguments against Gladiator in defense of Jean are interesting. This issue does a good job of moving more players around on the chess board.
Jean herself continues to be an awesome character under Bendis’ pen. She takes out most of the Imperial Guard herself in order to escape and at the end of the issue, she reveals something that has the potential to take her character into undiscovered territory. Overall, this story is really fantastic.
The art continues to excel. Immonen is just masterful in this story. The shots of the X-Men/Guardians/Starjammers are among my favorites. I love seeing big panels of the cast and he spares no effort in making those look awesome. This issue has it all: emotional beats, well-choreographed battles, and outright hilarious moments. Immonen can draw them all. He is quickly becoming a giant at Marvel.
This book is just plain awesome and I’m on pins and needles for the next issue. –JJ
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Rock-He Kim
Once again, we get a title headlined by Cable and his usual modus operandi. To give you a taste of what that is exactly, the first quarter of the book features Cable chatting with his X-Men peers via Skype for no other reason than to garner a ton of exposition only to end those conversations with a firm “…I got this. And all I need from you is that you stay the &^%$ outta my way.” What is it with this guy? It’s always about the ends justifying the means and this issue makes it its mission to drive that point home by repeating that same motto more than a handful of times.
Simon Spurrier does manage to get one thing right though, he successfully found a way to bore the reader to death. The issue opens up with an awkward introduction of a new mutant that somebody at Marvel decidedly thought was a good idea to name Meme. She’s like a dull version of The Lawnmower Man. Spurrier then fills the issue with so many words, it’s hard to discern who’s actually saying what. The writer also doesn’t seem to put forth any effort in having the reader care at all about the characters in play. There is no hint of relatable personalities found anywhere in this book and Fantomex’ french accent is so unbelievably thick that it makes him sound like a bleached version of Gambit.
The gist of this issue’s story has X-Force out in Saudi Arabia, seeking info on whomever it is that has managed to weaponize the young woman now known as Meme. If I understood the plot correctly, this same info is also supposed to help Dr. Nemesis and the team figure out how to fix Hope’s current predicament. She seems to be in some sort of a coma, but that is only briefly touched upon and nothing about it is mentioned in the recap page. The ending of this issue is also confusing. Aside from not letting the reader in on how Cable managed to escape the situation he found himself in, there’s a final page reveal that misses the mark and falls flat on its face. It in no way entices me to want to come back for issue 3 to find out more.
Rock-He Kim’s art is simply not pretty. X-Force is a title that will undoubtedly be very action oriented and unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be Kim’s strong suit. The action sequences found in this issue are very dry and void of any dynamic or fluid looking motion. The characters look like cardboard cut-outs. There is also an inconsistency in the interpretation of the basic human form. Otherwise, the color pallet is well suited for an X-Force book and the texturing is interesting.
The bottom line is that this newest volume of adjectiveless X-Force is far less enjoyable than its predecessor, Cable & X-Force, which was a title with a stronger dynamic between characters that kept the reader invested. Maybe that will develop over time in this title, but readers won’t stick around for that unless you give them something good enough to chew on right now. As a standalone, X-Force #2 has nothing to offer. –SG
What did you think about this week’s X-books? Let us know below! You can check out more X-Piles right here!