We’re back to deliver our batch of X-Title reviews for your mutant loving pleasure! Unless you’re too busy watching all of the the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie trailers that came out this past week. Then hopefully you’ll squeeze in some time to check out these reviews and maybe stay away from a horrible one. So, for those that are mutant lovin’ and proud, sit back as The Comic Book Clergyman, Spider-Man Geek & Infinite Speech return for your All-New Uncanny X-Piles!
I was really surprised to see a new Nightcrawler solo book coming out so quickly after his return. I was even more surprised to see Marvel put X-Men legend Chris Claremont as writer.
There’s no doubt that Claremont is responsible for the X-Men being what they are today. His influence on the characters is still evident. That being said, Claremont has not produced a solid X-Men book since the early days of X-Treme X-Men over 10 years ago. For some reason either Marvel just can not go long without throwing Claremont back onto an X-Men book. I don’t know if this is somehow contractual or if they feel sorry for the guy, but once again he is revisiting old characters and old storylines.
This is the problem with Claremont’s work on the X-Men these days…it is simply not original. He revisits old storylines so often that it becomes almost a parody of itself. I was joking with the guys that I fully expected this issue to start with a flashback of Nightcrawler being chased by an angry mob until Charles Xavier rescues him. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. However, other Claremont tropes are present and accounted for.
In this issue, Nightcrawler is getting used to being alive after returning in Amazing X-Men. That part of the story was well done, and felt fresh. Then Kurt goes to visit his old flame Amanda Sefton. For those of us who have been around a lot, this is so overdone. Whenever Kurt is on a solo adventure, he has to get roped into Amanda Sefton’s affairs just in time for them to get attacked by a demon sent by Amanda’s mom and Kurt’s stepmom (yeah, that’s weird) Margali Svardos. I felt like I was reading an old X-Men Annual.
It really is a shame because the art in this issue was magnificent. Todd Nauck is a perfect fit for a character like Nightcrawler. His smooth, cartoony style presents effective layouts and quick action. It’s really lovely to look at, but the story itself lacked any meat.
I will be passing on Claremont’s Nightcrawler book, which is a shame because Nightcrawler is my favorite X-Man. If Claremont could put him into new territory instead of relying on scripts that seem to be found in his desk circa 1986, I might be more pleased to stick around. –JJ
For years I’ve heard how “cool” and “great” Doop is and that people that don’t like him “just don’t get him”. So when Marvel announced this title it seemed like a golden opportunity to see what all of the praise is about for this little obscure character that hangs out with the X-Men. There’s also the fact that it’s written by Peter Milligan who goes way back with the character and probably has a better handle on him than most. Unfortunately there wasn’t much here to change my opinion even with the unique presentation of the story.
It begins during Battle of the Atom and if you haven’t been keeping up with the X-Men in a while it’s a great recap of that event. Milligan also cleverly shows you how Doop fits into that story and how he affected some events in a big way from behind the scenes. Other than this it seems as if this story was recapped only to bring us to a pretty lukewarm cliff hanger. Nothing here gives someone new to Doop anything to go on about the character other than that he has a crush on a fellow X-Man.
The story is visually strong and nicely moves the story along especially when Lafuente shows how Doop moves from event to event. The sequence where Doop is in his room is a nice look into his surroundings and that Cyclops clock was pretty cool indeed. Other than that, there’s just so many panels filled with images we’ve seen already that there’s very little “new” here that lets Lafuente and Allred impress us beyond what’s already established.
Maybe Doop is just a character that isn’t for me to enjoy or understand but I’m not a fan of buying a book that’s mostly comprised of a story that I’ve already read and images I’ve already seen. For a first issue, All New Doop just didn’t have enough to pull me in and make me want to come back but I hope the fans of the character enjoy it and get more out of t than I did. – IS
The basic premise of this milestone issue has Beast lying in bed, talking to a mysterious bald figure about the consequences and gravity of his decision in bringing the teenaged X-Men to the current Earth-616 timeline and also the fact that Beast has not been able to figure out just how to send the kids back to their own time.
Bendis uses this conversation as a device to showcase an impressive roster of guest artists as we navigate through a handful of single and two-page spread sized glimpses of possible realities stemming from the original X-Men’s disruption of the timeline. The narrative kind of falls flat and is rather forgettable. The reader is treated to a bunch of “What If?…” type scenarios that could have had more impact if the mystery figure had stepped out of the shadows on the first page. There’s nothing particularly interesting to be found in the meat of the story and the issue is bookended by shinning a grim, depressing light on Beast as a character. It’s unclear what Bendis’ end game is where Hank is concerned. Is the writer deconstructing the mutant, having him hit rock bottom so that he can reinvent him and redeem him in the reader’s eyes at some point?
The artwork is really the reason that this story is even told the way that it is. Marvel brought in a bunch of industry heavyweights like Bruce Timm, Arthur Adams, David Mack, Skottie Young, and J. Scott Campbell just to name a few. The visuals are a real treat though and we get style offerings from all ends of the spectrum.
The unfortunate bottom line is that this milestone seems rather superfluous compared to the twenty-four stellar issues that preceded it. Maybe it could have been better received if we were presented with a collection of quality short stories rather than dragging the book’s mood down with Beast’s lamenting. -SMG
What did you think about this week’s X-books? Let us know below! You can check out more X-Piles right here!