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November 17, 2010

The Uncanny X-Piles XVII

Welcome Acolytes to another edition of The Uncanny X-Piles! Last week was a thin week for X-books, but look out for the next installment, because it will be loaded with mutant goodness!

Amazing Spider-Man #648
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Humberto Ramos

Not technically an X-book, but there was a tiny bit of Wolverine to justify my writing a review here. I was not at all planning to pick this book up, but the only thing on my list was Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3, and unfortunately, my LCS won’t do credit card purchases for less than $5.00, and I had no cash. So I wandered around a bit and debated whether or not I should pick this up. I’m a HUGE Humberto Ramos fan, and while I have heard so many mixed reviews of Brand New Day, since this is the first issue of a new era in Spidey-time, I decided to give it a shot. I used to love Spider-Man when I was in middle and high school. I particularly loved David Michelinie and Erik Larsen’s run. I loved the hard-on-his-luck Peter Parker, but also appreciated when Peter caught a break. I loved Spider-Man teaming up with other characters, and I just realized that before Spider-Man ever officially joined the Avengers, I always used to love when Spidey teamed up with the Avengers. I loved Spidey’s supporting cast of characters, especially J. Jonah Jameson. And above all…I loved the Sinister Six. So without thinking about these things, I picked this up on a whim and guess what? This issue has all the things I loved about Spider-Man growing up. There’s nothing for me to dislike about this issue. Slott does a great job of establishing Spider-Man’s new status quo as an Avenger, as the big brain he always has been, as the guy who hardly ever catches a break, but suddenly does, and as the best hero Marvel has in its stable of characters. And Wolverine laments that Parker is leading the Avengers into battle. Pretty great stuff! Ramos’ art is killer on this! A few years ago, I picked up his run on Spectacular Spider-Man with Paul Jenkins. He is the perfect artist for this kind of book. This issue sets up new characters, revisits old ones, and includes all of Spidey’s best villains. Overall, this is Amazing Spider-Man at its best, so if you decided to skip all the One More Day/Brand New Day stuff, now’s the time to hop back on! -JJ

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Artist: Jim Cheung

Let me first say this: Jim Cheung might be the best artist in comics today. There, I said it. Cheung’s art is masterful. Of course he draws the definitive Young Avengers characters, but I’ll go so far as to say that his precision of this craft on every character in this book is simply incredible. I just want to keep looking at it over and over again. Now…that said, this actually was a disappointing issue to me. After two stellar issues of characters standing around and talking about how powerful Wiccan and Scarlet Witch are, we get a third here, with more of the same. Last issue, we got the awesome Quicksilver vs. Speed race, but no such excellent action this time around. The main cast is with Magneto in Transia continuing their quest for Wanda Maximoff. Only now, they realize that Wanda is being held by Dr. Doom in Latveria. So what do they do? They talk about how powerful Dr. Doom is. Meanwhile, the adult Avengers are trying to get Wonder Man (the most boring Marvel character ever!) to help them. Thankfully, Wolverine puts Wonder Man in his place and gets punched through a building for it. Wonder Man and Wolverine decide to look for Wanda separately from one another and from the other Avengers, which makes me wonder why Wonder Man doesn’t just go after Wolverine and try to stop him from killing Wanda. Instead, now you have 5 trails of people looking for Wanda (Wiccan, Magneto & the Young Avengers, Wonder Man, Wolverine, and the Avengers). Overall, not much really happens to progress the story in this issue. I think we could have done without it. We all know how powerful Wanda and Doom are, so why belabor those points? This is a great issue to look at, but the exposition is poor at best. -JJ

New Mutants Forever #4
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Al Rio & Bob McLeod

I have to admit X-fans, Jeff has had his reviews ready to publish since last Saturday, and here we are, 1:15 am Wednesday morning, and I still haven’t read this issue, nor X-Men Forever 2 #11. Why you ask? How about because I’d rather pour sizzling hot bacon grease down my pants while having a piranha eat my face than read either of these issues. Sure, we could skip both of them this week, or heck, I could just not read them and tell you how unbearable they were…but what kind of reviewer would I be then? Would you still consider me a man amongst men, or a sissy boy who cowers at the sight of something terrible? So here I am, ready to man up for the good of mutantkind. Here goes… This issue begins with Warlock ready to kill Cypher who has been transformed by the Red Skull to look like the Red Skull, while the real Red Skull sits in a giant chair and grins maniacally. Sigh. Yes, you read all that correctly. Beyond this I’m kind of lost as to what the heck is going on, and I doubt reading issues #2 and #3 would have really cleared anything up for me. Essentially Selene (yes, that Selene) leads an army of peasant people against the Red Skull. Why she does this, I’m not sure, but the people respect her for reasons ‘explained’ in a few panels. Doug is kind of the main character, caught in Red Skull’s trap, forced to be his pawn and wear his face while his consciousness is fully aware of what is going on…do I really need to continue with this? Ok, one more thought: Magma looks way hot. Pun intended. If you’re thinking about reading this book, don’t. Pick up the main New Mutants series by Zeb Wells instead. -AL

X-Men Forever 2 #11
Writer:
Chris Claremont
Artist: Rodney Buchemi

How in the name of a polar bear’s satchel did I get stuck reviewing two Forever titles this week? Jiminy Cricket, this is worse than watching a high school play where all the actors are cardboard cutouts of Ellen DeGeneres. Yeah, picture that one. And this is WORSE! Ok, here we go… The story starts out with the appearance of (are you ready for this?) the Ghost Panther: a version of the Black Panther wearing a shiny metal suit, with glowing red eyes, that allows its wearer to fly. You see, Wakanda is ruled by Storm, like in the 616 Universe, only this version of Storm has gone bat shit crazy and has some serious anger issues. Meanwhile, the Starjammers and the X-Men are living in the depths of Summers’ Cove in Alaska…inside the Starjammer. I’m not really sure how that works, but yeah, they’re residing in a spaceship underwater. Little ‘Ro, a miniature version of Storm, has been captured by the psycho Storm for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. So, a rescue must be mounted- enter the Ghost Panther!

As much as I mock this book, I have to give Claremont credit for tying up a story he began in the early issues of X-Men Forever volume one. However, I’m then reminded of the ludicrousness of this series with a large panel of Sabretooth and his robotic hand, mention of a cloned Wolverine returning, and Kitty Pryde slowly but surely flipping out for odd reasons. Oh, and Callisto makes an appearance…she’s on Genosha. And on that note, I’m really looking forward to next week. -AL

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff:
Maybe I’m cheating here, but Amazing Spider-Man #648 gets my pick!
Andy: That is so totally cheating Jeff! My pick easily goes to Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3!

For more editions of The Uncanny X-Piles, click here.

Andy Liegl
andy@comicattack.net

Jeff Jackson
jeff@comicattack.net

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6 Comments


  1. Jeff Jackson

    You deserve an ice cream cone for getting through those books, pal. Why on earth does Cypher have anything to do with the Red Skull?

    The sad part is that these stories have been rattling around in Claremont’s mind for decades now, and unlike a fine wine, these ideas have soured.



  2. Not a big fan of the Forever titles. Not even a little fan of them either and I think I should just stop right there before I say something mean.


  3. Billy

    Avengers CC does look stunning!



  4. It certainly does. Jim Cheung is a master.



  5. I don’t know what i like more, Avengers CC or Andy’s reviews of the “Forever” books.



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