Hey there X-fans! In our effort to catch you up with all the X-madness hitting the shelves, we’re pumping out editions of The Uncanny X-Piles faster than Marvel pumps out new mutant characters. We’re just two segments away from being back on track, so read on!
Wow! This book is just gorgeous! I remember reading an issue of X-Force way-back-when Jim Cheung was starting out and thinking that I really liked the look of his style. 15 years later and this guy is simply knocking it out of the park! He has become a master of super-hero comics, and makes me hungry for him on a regular book. Once again, this mini-series is taking the next chapter in the Scarlet Witch saga to new levels. Why isn’t this book a bigger deal? On one hand, I’m glad it hasn’t been touted as a Marvel event, but I feel like no one is really talking about this book. Heinberg isn’t rushing through this either, taking us through well-paced chapters and developing the characters in ways that make a lot of sense. Dr. Doom becomes somewhat sympathetic when you realize that the reason he’s marrying Wanda is so he can protect the world from her powers…if that is indeed what he’s intending. The action starts to heat up significantly in this issue with the Young Avengers, the Adult Avengers, Magneto, Wonder Man, and Wolverine all descending upon Castle Von Doom in order to deal with this situation. I am wondering why Wolverine hesitated so much in killing Wanda when he obviously wants her dead. I know the real answer is because if he killed her, the story would end, but still, if Logan wants someone dead, he doesn’t belabor the point. Overall, this is shaping up to be an epic storyline, setting up Wanda’s future, Wiccan’s future, and the entire Young Avengers’ futures. Has anyone noticed that the Vision has been strangely quiet for a few issues?…. -JJ
Whereas I enjoyed Allen Heinberg developing the story in the above series, Kieron Gillen is dragging this first arc of Generation Hope out way too long. Here we are in issue 3 and nothing has changed. Kenji is still out of control, rampaging through Tokyo as a horribly unoriginal Godzilla cliche. Gillen has said in interviews that he intentionally used ideas like that and the comparisons to Akira because Kenji is supposed to embody the pop culture art of his homeland, but it’s still a little forced and uninteresting. However, Hope, using her deus-ex-machina powers, finally defeats him after getting a push from the supposed Phoenix. I like the hints of connection between Hope and Phoenix, and hope that they will bear fruit soon. But I still think you could have skipped issue #2 and gone to the end of this issue and it would have been a pleasant read. Salvador Espin’s work is really nice though with these characters, and I hope he will continue as the series progresses. I guess I’m just not feeling these characters yet. I had trouble when they were being featured in Uncanny X-Men, and while I had hope once Gillen had his own space to play with them, I’m still bored. I want to know why these kids would follow Hope other than the weird disciple-factor that they seem to be. Hope heals them and they follow. Is that motivation enough? I’m not sure. I will stick with this book because it’s not really bad, just bland. -JJ
Well, I’m happy to say this issue was far superior to the previous one, and my interest in this series is growing. Remember last time when a mimbo Wolverine was dancing, cutting women’s hair, and dressing like a metro? Well, happily, this issue isn’t more of the same. Even so, there are still some awkward moments, but for the most part, I like the tone of this book. It begins with Beast explaining to Wolvie how he was able to be mind controlled and act out of character last chapter (thank goodness this is the reason for all that madness), but at the same time, Huston jarringly writes Beast out of character for a page as he states, “I spend so much time denying my own bestial nature, Logan…If it had been me, so at odds with myself, I doubt I could have exerted the same self-control.” This may not sound like much, but Beast hasn’t been talking this way at all lately, and Ryp’s art has him snarling like a rabid animal, foaming at the mouth and loaded with saliva. It was definitely weird. Perhaps the pair had just read the conclusion to Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run? I don’t know, but weirdness seems to be the norm for this series. Anyway, Wolvie then gets in costume for the first time in this book, and seeks out the dude(s) who were manipulating him. Now things really kick into gear, as some fierce combat moments ensue, awesomely portrayed by Ryp. Wolvie hacks the crap out of an assailant, but then gets put into a trance by this creepy looking dude with a featureless, leathery face in a cowboy hat. Oh, and he has hypnotizing removable eyes. It’s gross and cool at the same time. What follows is an awesome full page spread inside Logan’s mind where we see all his femme fatales looking hot around him, a calendar with each year of his life crossed out featuring the words “Die Today” and a sexy shot of Jean as Phoenix in a swimsuit as the monthly photo, Logan committing Seppuku with what I assume is the Muramasa Blade, a young Daken stabbing the crap out of a Wolverine tailored voodoo doll, and a shot of the Giant-Size X-Men watching Logan struggle over to a skeleton hanging from a tree. Wolvie then breaks out of the trance, hacks up his manipulator, and then moves on to fry bigger fish. We get a funny scene with this strange British dude, and then the issue ends with Logan getting pumped full of lead. This series isn’t the best book on the shelf, but it’s one I think Wolverine fans can take to. Sure, it’s bizarre, but I think it will continue to get better as the story progresses. Don’t bail on it just yet. -AL
One thing I love about Peter David’s X-Factor is that when a character leaves the team, they don’t necessarily leave the book. While Darwin departs from the team, David is most definitely not through with him, and I’m as intrigued as ever with the possibilities Darwin holds, especially after his encounter with Hela last issue. But while one character leaves the team, another comes along. I admit, I was dismayed when Pip the Troll showed back up this issue to join the team. He doesn’t really fit and I never liked him as Adam Warlock’s sidekick and part of the Infinity Watch in the ’90s. I thought his inclusion in the last arc was a bit forced, but once again, Peter David proves that he always has a reason for the people he brings into this book. The last page hints that there may be more to Pip than meets the eye. This issue also ties up the Rictor/Rahne/Shatterstar love triangle, with not much drama. It’s nice when a writer ends a thread on a good note. Once again, X-Factor is exactly what I expect: a little intrigue, a little comedy, a little action, a lot of great character moments. While the series started with the “expect the unexpected” tagline, I think fans of this series know we can expect this series to continue to deliver month after month. -JJ
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week
Jeff: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade # 4 gets my pick!
Andy: I agree with Jeff, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 all the way!
For previous editions of The Uncanny X-Piles, click here!