October 5, 2010

The Uncanny X-Piles XI

Welcome again, friends, to another edition of The Uncanny X-Piles, where Andy & Jeff jibber-jabber about Marvel’s mutant-minded books!

Curse of the Mutants: Namor the First Mutant #2
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Ariel Olivetti

You know, for a guy who never gave two rat turds about Namor before he joined the X-Men, I’m loving this series. The art is perfect for the feel of the book, and the story is fast paced, intense, full of character moments and action. Namor finds himself in a difficult position; the Aqueos (water vampires) are ruthlessly murdering Atlanteans throughout the ocean, but few answer his rallying cry to arms because Namor, to some, is no longer the King of Atlantis: he has been away from the ocean for too long, living on the surface amongst mutants. To make matters worse, Namor figures out that he may not truly be the King of Atlantis….

Like I said, until he became an X-Man, I never liked Namor, but since then, and especially here, I’m really into his character. He may lack a sense of humor, but he makes up for it with his strength, combat awareness, leadership ability, and regal aura. In short, he’s everything that Aquaman isn’t. Yeah, I went there. Emma Frost and Loa make brief guest appearances in this issue, and while the banter between Frost and Namor is amusing, it was even more hilarious seeing Emma swim in her normal garb. Pretty ridiculous, actually. I like Olivetti’s artistic choice of not having bubbles around the Atlanteans when they speak, but having them present when surface dwellers talk underwater. Also, his blood effects look freakin’ sick! My only beef with this issue was the battle with the Aqueos – it didn’t really feel like a battle – more like a skirmish – as it seemed sparse in participants. But the brief origin snippet of Namor, and pretty much everything else, was money. -AL

Curse of the Mutants: X-Men vs Vampires #1
Writer: Various
Artist: Various

This issue is a collection of five short stories all pertaining to what the title would imply. Overall, it’s a good read – far better than some of the other short story X-books we’ve seen lately (*cough*Nation X*cough*). There was a nice balance in the stories; some focused on obscure characters who haven’t appeared lately, while others had more mainstream characters in interesting situations. The first story was all about Husk, Cannonball’s sister, who has the power to “shed” her skin and make it into any material she wishes. Here she’s fighting vampires so she turns into wood and kicks the mother-loving crap out of a squad of horny Vamps. Good stuff! Next up was a weird and rather lame-o Dazzler story. She has a run in with a cult of disco vampires (yes you read that correctly), but that’s not why it’s lame, surprisingly. We already know her light powers won’t kill them due to the charms the Vampires all wear around their necks, given to them by their leader, Xarus; the charms reflect light away from their bodies. It doesn’t matter here though, as Dazzler decides to not kill these Vampires because they police themselves, don’t kill humans, and have their own code of “morals.” Yeah, OK. You’re in the middle of a war and you trust the word of a group of disco Vampires. Think about that one. Story #3 had a cool twist to it, and I won’t ruin it for you here. Just know that it stars Rogue (sort of), Ernst, and mutantkind’s favorite brain in a glass jar, Martha.

The last short story, written by Rob Williams with beautiful art by Doug Braithwaite, was easily the best of the issue. It features Magneto and his inner monologue. He and a small strike team of X-Men are raiding a Vampire hideout, taking out lots of Vamps at a fast pace. One tries to escape and Magneto corners him, stating that he plans to eliminate their horrific race. But then the vampire turns and says, “Hello, Max.” Max – Magneto’s real first name, and the one he went by when in the Warsaw Ghetto, and then later as a captive in Auschwitz during World War II. That’s all I’ll mention here. The 5th story is just a reprint of half of Uncanny X-Men #159, Dracula’s first encounter with our band of mutants. Usually I don’t like it when classic stories get slapped into a montage like this one, but has a classic story ever been more appropriate to be reprinted in something like this? It was cool to refresh my knowledge of the X-Men’s first encounter with fanged blood suckers. So in that respect, I was totally OK with it. This issue shouldn’t be missed by folks who are enjoying this X-Vampire story! -AL

X-Men Forever 2 #8
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Ron Lim

There is no way in Hell that this series is really where Claremont wanted to take the X-Men in the 90s. No way. I mean really now: The Marauders are clones, Wolverine is Sabretooth’s son, Wolverine is dead, and Kitty Pryde has fused one of his adamantium claws to her wrist and somehow has a fraction of his healing factor too… yeah, right, man! And if this really was the direction he wanted to go, you gotta give a retrospective high five to the editorial staff for making the decisions they did back in 1991. Oh, and speaking of Kitty, the splash page in this issue was loaded with all sorts of WTF. Are you ready for this? She fucking grows bone claws out of her finger tips a la Lady Deathstrike, for absolutely no explainable reason! And they also go “snikt.” WHAT THE F&$%!?!? Moving on. Gambit killed a clone of Wolverine and Scalphunter, which was badass, I guess. But you know what isn’t badass? The fact that his name isn’t Remy LeBeau in X-Men Forever. No sir! His name is Remy Picard, Captain of the WTF-Enterprise. And his outfit of a black trench coat, red shirt and tie, plus a pair of Keanu shades are so far from cool that you can hear “MMM Bop” playing in the background whenever Picard appears on panel. Oh, and remember last issue when the big hook was Sabretooth vs. Sabretooth? Well Sabretooth (the good one) kills his clone OFF PANEL. What the F!? What’s even more annoying than all of this? A fucking robotic dragonfly that helps out the X-Men and talks like Yoda. What. The. HELL. But wait! How does the issue end? With the seemingly dead clone of Wolverine opening his eye, proving that he’s still alive…but a new Wolverine is already being grown in one of Mr. Sinister’s clone tanks ready to breathe life. So, wait a second – does this mean we may be in store for an army of renegade clone Wolverine’s running around? WTFFFF!!?!?? Why God? Why!!! The worst part about this book is that the artistic talent of Ron Lim is totally wasted here. This guy should be drawing Legacy, or heck, even Uncanny at this point (sorry Portacio), but no, he’s here drawing this weirdness. Stab me in the face, I’m done. -AL

X-Men Legacy #240
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Clay Mann

This was the only thing I got this week, and so to make this my “X-Cellent Pick” would be a stretch. Instead, I’d have to give this my “X-Crement Pick of the Week.” Once upon a time, Uncanny and Adjectiveless X-Men were the two premiere X-Men titles. Today, they are both awful. What happened to Mike Carey’s excellent work on this book? Ever since the focus shifted from Xavier (who has virtually disappeared from all the books) to Rogue, this book has suffered. But I don’t understand why. Carey had done a brilliant job with Rogue prior to “Legacy,” and the last time the Children of the Vault showed up, the book was simply fantastic. But this current arc lacks something I can’t quite put my finger on. It could be Clay Mann’s boring line work. It could be that I just don’t get the Children of the Vault. I don’t understand their purpose or their powers. I don’t understand why they speak Spanish. It could be that I don’t care one bit about Indra. It could be that I don’t find Luz to be an engaging character at all. I just find this whole book to be drifting aimlessly and in serious need of some shake-ups, in terms of characters, villains, and artist. Why is Magneto even in this book? I just can’t seem to understand the motivations of the characters in this scenario. If you’re the type who is wondering when to jump back on to Legacy, I’d say wait until this arc is over. You’re not missing anything. -JJ

Most X-cellent Pick:
Jeff: I abstain since I only read one book this week, so I’ll just second whatever Andy picks, unless it’s Legacy.
Andy: I gotta go with Namor the First Mutant #2. Namor’s joining the X-Men got me interested in him for the first time, but this series is making me a fan.

To check out previous installments of The Uncanny X-Piles, click here! For all things X-Men, visit this link.

Andy Liegl

Jeff Jackson



  1. Jeff Jackson

    It seems the only good thing about X-Men Forever is Andy’s hilarious reviews! I was going to say, “Let’s just vote Forever off the X-Piles,” but that review is just too good. Please keep reading this, Andy, and reporting back on the awfulness that is X-Men Forever.

  2. I stoped reading X-Men Forever after the first 3 issues (of the first series) and haven’t picked up another “Forever” book since. I did enjoy Andy’s review of it, hilarious!
    I have to disagree with Andy about Namor. I don’t find Namor interesting at all. I think he was better off when he was causing problems for Reed and Sue than here. I really don’t feel he belongs with the X-Men at all.

  3. Haha, I aim to please!

    And Nick, what don’t you like about Namor? I think it’s great; he’s so used to being in control and “the man,” but with the X-Men he’s just another mutant and now with the Atlanteans, he’s almost regarded as an outsider. For the first time in his life, Namor is at a real crossroads and perhaps even on the brink of a vulnerable identity crisis. But still, he manages to maintain his poise and be badass, which is respectable.

    I like him with the X-Men. He’s a mutant and totally fits there…for now.

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  5. Billy

    Gotta agree with Andy (sigh) about Namor. He’s awesome with the X-Men for lots of reasons. The sexual tension with Emma, the confrontations with Scott, and his “royal” attitude with everybody else makes him a great ant-hero type guy. One question about Forever. Why was Avengers Forever so good, but X-Men is so terrible?…Oh yeah, Kurt Busiek! 😀

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