September 8, 2010

The Uncanny X-Piles VII

Welcome back to the non-adjectiveless Uncanny X-Piles! Every once in a while, our dear editor-in-chief Andy will give us a break from our, so I’m thankful that he covered the bases while I was doing “priestly things” (which sounds incredibly creepy). But watch out, the J-n-A combo is back and slicing through panels like Wolverine and fat dudes. Check out the words we type!

Avengers: Children’s Crusade #2
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Artist: Jim Cheung

Wow. Just wow. This book has every possible detail of a comic book that I absolutely love: 1. Great characters. There’s just so much that connects all the players of this book. From the obvious Wiccan/Speed/Scarlet Witch/Magneto/Quicksilver relationship to the fact that Wanda killed Cassie’s father and was once married to a previous version of the Vision. I have always loved the fact that Magneto has been a connection to both the Avengers and the X-Men. Heinberg also has the voices of each of the characters down perfectly. 2. Big stakes. How powerful is Wiccan really if he can teleport all the Young Avengers and Magneto around the globe like that? And we haven’t even gotten to Wanda yet! 3. Humor. I laughed out loud when Spider-Man made the crack about Ms. Marvel not being the kind of Marvel that can summon magic lightning. 4. Awesome moments we have all wanted to see. Who hasn’t wanted to see Quicksilver and Speed race? (And Speed made a Flash reference too.) 5. Art that makes me want to go back and study it over and over again. Jim Cheung is just phenomenal. He draws every detail with precision and fluidity. This is just what a comic is supposed to look like, especially one as big as this. 6. Character conflict. I’m really interested to see what part Patriot plays when he is obviously uncomfortable being on this mission. 7. Cliffhanger endings! Oh my, that last page! What is Doom going to bring to the table? This is not only my pick of the week, but it might be the pick of the month! And it’s only the beginning of September!!! -JJ

Franken-Castle #20
Writer: Rick Remender
Tony Moore, Paco Diaz, John Lucas

All in all, I had fun with this arc. I didn’t think I would at the beginning, but it grew on me. I never thought I’d care about Daken and Punish-er, Franken-Castle, but here all they’re doing is wailing on each other, page after page, and I can get behind that. It’s a no holds barred, knock down, battle royal! If we can’t see Wolveirne and the Punisher trying to kill each other, then Daken and Franken-Castle are a great substitute! In fact, I think this is why Daken was created; to give fans a version of Wolverine who is a total bastard, yet somehow you find yourself rooting for him. There were some nice daddy moments with Wolverine, and I find it somewhat endearing that he won’t let Castle kill his boy because…he’s his boy. That’s a good a reason as any. The scenes between Logan and Frank were well written, but Daken saying “niggling” came off really awkward. The ending was loaded with all sorts of WTF moments, however. First off all, it feels like it ends in the middle of an act, so it’s abrupt with no real resolution. Everyone, literally just goes their separate ways. So that was kind of lame. The art worked with the nastiness of the issue, and was a major reason why I was able to enjoy this book the whole way through. I have to admit, I’m not really hating on Franken-Castle anymore. I don’t like him per se, but I’ll stick around to see what happens in #21. And I’m definitely going to read Daken: Dark Wolverine #1 tomorrow. I hope his character really develops in that series. -AL

Origins of Marvel Comics: X-Men #1
Writer: Various
Artist: Various

A decent one-shot, and perfect for a rookie X-fan or someone whose been out of the X-loop awhile and just wants to check in on their favorite mutants. Characters are provided with one page bio stories, and those featured are: Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Iceman, Archangel, Beast, Phoenix, Havok, Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Colossus, Shadowcat, Psylocke, Cannonball, Magik, Karma, Cable, Domino, Deadpool, Gambit, Jubilee, Emma Frost, North Star, Madrox, Pixie, Fantomex, Armor, Danger, X-23, Daken, Namor, the X-Club, and Hope. That’s a mouthful of mutant scum! That the characters are loosely ordered by the year of their first appearance was a nice touch. I actually read every single word in this comic, and I actually found myself not wanting to put it down. The creative teams were well paired, and it was fun anticipating which character would spotlighted be next and whom the creative team would be. The writers include: Mike Carey, Chris Yost, James Asmus, Peter David, Jason Aaron, Duane Swierczynski, Fred Van Lente, Marjorie Liu, Valerie D’Orazio, Simon Spurrier, Daniel Way, and Si Spurrier. Artists include: Mick Bertilorenzi, Nick Bradshaw, Brian Ching, Pablo Raimondi, Tom Raney, Salva Espin, Jill Thompson, Stephen Segovia, Renato Guedes, Terry Dodson, David Lopez, David Yardin, Harvey Tolibao, Bob McLeod, Leonard Kirk, Dave Wilkins, Gabriel del Otto, Paco Medina (Jeff’s favorite!), Reilly Brown, Mark Brooks, Pablo Raimondi, Sara Pichelli, Eric Canete, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Stephen Segovia, Phil Noto, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Jamie McKelvie. PHEW! Like I said, it’s not for everyone, but certain people will be glad they checked it out. -AL

Wolverine #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Renato Guedes

First off, this book could have used an intro page. I was a little jarred by the fact that I wasn’t aware what Logan was doing hanging out with Wraith, and that Wraith was a preacher. But I’m guessing after Logan’s dealing with Kurt’s death at the end of Weapon X, it led him to Wraith. But other than that, I really enjoyed this issue. I love seeing Wolverine in a crazy situation, and Aaron seems to be the guy to come up with them, from the insane asylum arc to whatever’s going on in Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine. Now Logan is in Hell while his body is possessed by some crazy demons. Meanwhile, you got a bunch of new villains trying to kill Logan’s loved ones, starting with his new girlfriend, Melita. Not sure I like these villains…they remind me of Apocalypse’s Riders of the Storm rejects from the ’90s. I don’t know who Renato Guedes is, but his style fits. A bit gritty and detailed, which is what a Wolverine books should look like. I’m wondering why there was a Silver Samurai back-up story here. I really don’t give a flip about the Samurai, but I assume it will tie in later. But this is a great start, and if you’re overwhelmed with Wolverine in so many books, you might just ignore him in the others, and focus on him here. -JJ

Wolverine: Road to Hell #1
Writers: Jason Aaron, Daniel Way, Marjorie Liu, & Rick Remender
Artists: Renato Guedes, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Onofrio Cataccio, Will Conrad, & Leonardo Manco

I was worried that this was going to be a $4.00 preview book, but was happy to know that it was actually an anthology of introductions, setting the stage for the new “Wolverine family” of X-books. If these are any indication, these books are going to be pretty great. The Wolverine story has Logan already descending to Hell and meeting some familiar faces on the way. My prediction out of this story is that Sabretooth, if not others, will make their way back from the dead, and I certainly hope so. Sabretooth is one of the best Marvel villains and his psychotic personality has been missed. The next story wove the two Wolverine-spawns together–Daken & X-23. It seems they are on the same trail, and hopefully we’ll see these two duke it out. I’m not planning on picking up either of their solo books. One, because I don’t like Daken and I supremely hate his new costume, and two, because while I like X-23, I don’t trust her solo unless Kyle & Yost are writing her. And I’m miffed that she’s not on X-Force. And speaking of X-Force, we get a little hint of what’s to come with Wolverine & Archangel’s new team. This short story gives us some insight into why Logan chose Fantomex to join the team, as well as what Deadpool’s up to. I still am not quite sure of Psylocke’s part on the team, but I’m sure that’s coming. Finally, we are treated to a couple of actual previews, including Namor: The First Mutant, which I care nothing about, and Generation Hope, which looks pretty good. -JJ

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants: Namor the First Mutant #1
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Ariel Olivetti

The plan Cyclops revealed in X-Men #2 requires the finding of all Dracula’s displaced body parts; Storm and Gambit, the X-Men’s most skillful thieves, retrieved his body last week, and this time Namor goes after Dracula’s most important part, his wie- head! His head. However, the water vampires known as the Aqueos won’t let this trophy easily slip from their possession… Plus, Namor has to deal with an Atlantean who pretty much acts like a dick the entire issue. Which is why I liked him. He doesn’t back down from Namor (for politics or something else?) which is respectable. Also, Namor doesn’t budge for the guy. Which is why Namor has become one of my favorite characters to read in the last year. His bravura, coupled with a fearless sense of the hunt and total willingness to take the initiative is admirable. You want to see him kick some ass. Olivetti’s art is completely engrossing in this one; let your imagination go and it feels creepy. That goes for the writing too. It’s well paced with minimal expo. X-Fans, I have been pleasantly surprised at how well this whole mutants/vampires thing is going down. Talk about a rich, blood pumping, action packed story! Don’t skip this one. Also, don’t let what Jeff says below on Smoke & Blood dissuade you from anything. I actually liked that issue too. : ) -AL

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants: Smoke & Blood #1
Simon Spurrier
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

No. No thank you, sir. Nope. Nothing worked on this book. First of all, does anyone really care anything about the X-Club now that Beast is gone? Sure, Dr. Nemesis is great, and is the only reason I picked this book up, but without Beast, even Nemesis is starting to get boring. The X-Club desperately needs someone else on the team if they are going to continue featuring them in one-shots. I just feel like Kavita Rao is the Moira MacTaggart replacement, only not as good, and Madison Jeffries is written so inconsistently in every book. In one, he’s neurotic and dopey, in another, he’s bland and normal. In this, he’s neither. But while the premise is certainly bogged down, it’s only more hindered by horrible scripting and art. Spurrier’s over-jargoned showcase of why the scientists can’t cure vampirism slows this book down and at one point, I found myself skipping whole panels just to get through it. Couple that with Walta’s unflattering panels, and you’ve got yourself a stinker here. I think the title refers to the fact that you can either roll this up and smoke it, or soak up your next nose-bleed with it. -JJ

Young Allies #4
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: David Baldeon

Let me first say that I would not be getting this if Andy wasn’t making me. That said, I really liked it. Ha! You thought I was gonna dog it, didn’t you? Last month, I talked about how this reminded me of the New Warriors, and this issue is no different. In fact, if they renamed it, I would probably be collecting it (isn’t that strange?). The Bastards of Evil have the upper hand here, but the ragtag team pulls out a pretty big win (or do they?). And we find out who’s behind the Bastards, which is kind of funny. The thing I liked about the New Warriors was that they were a menagerie of different teenage characters drawn together for a common purpose. They were not quite Avengers-worthy, and that’s what I liked about them. Same is true for the Young Allies. I’m still questioning Firestar’s role here, as she’s supposed to be much older than the other characters, but for now, she’s the real reason why I’m reading this. I have always loved her and am crossing my fingers for a Young Allies/Avengers Academy crossover just so she and Justice and get back together. Baldeon’s art is really good here, too, and he’s a good fit for this book. I say pick this up if you’re looking for some good old fashioned Marvel B-to-C list action. -JJ

Andy Liegl

Jeff Jackson



  1. Billy

    Good job guys. I didn’t read all of the reviews because I won’t get my books until the end of the month, but the ones I did read, were cool.

  2. I am so not feeling this “curse of the mutants” story line. I think the vampire thing is played out. The Avengers: Children’s Crusade is definitely my favorite on this list, It’s awesome!

  3. Avengers: Children’s Crusade is awesome stuff. It’s truly a shame it only comes out once every two months.

  4. @Nick You aren’t liking Curse of the Mutants? I thought I’d hate it, I really did. However, Marvel has done a brilliant job in giving the vampires an actual mythos that has substance. This makes the whole thing come off as very legit to me and not a desperate gasp to capitalize on the whole vampire scene. I mean, I understand money had to play a factor, but it’s being executed very well. Did you read the Death of Dracula one-shot?

    And yeah, I agree with you, Arnab and Jeff; Children’s Crusade is fantastic!!

  5. @Andy I admit that it is better than i thought it would be, but i just can’t seem to get into or care much about the story. I didn’t read the Death of Dracula one-shot, maybe i should have.

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