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October 31, 2011

The Uncanny X-Piles LXI

Welcome to the X-Piles: Regenesis! This week kicked off the new status quo in the X-books, and we have a lot to say about it!

Astonishing X-Men  #43
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: David Yardin

Whatever!  Unfortunately, that is the best way to describe this book, “Whatever!”  The story wasn’t horrific, but it did absolutely nothing to forward the X-Verse in any way.  And unfortunately, this seems to be a pattern with this book lately. Astonishing has always marched to the beat of its own drum.  Hell, I can remember arguing with friends who were convinced that Astonishing was an alternative universe (back when Wolverine was acting like a school boy.) In the beginning, this worked.   Sure it was weird how these stories existed out of continuity, but it worked.  Now, it’s like they’re not even trying anymore. Danger; the former enemy, alien robot that now lives with the X-Men, is a semi-intriguing character in the X-Verse.  So, there is so merit in exploring her a little deeper.  If this is the approach Marvel wants to take however, they should try to make it original.  Using the robot that wants to know how it feels to be human plot device is just about as tired an approach as a writer can use.  I can assure you Marvel, nobody cares whether Danger wonders what it would be like to be human.   I’ll even take this one step further though.  Does anyone really believe that Emma Frost would accompany Danger on a soul searching mission that sees the robot illegally break into a Secret Avenger holding facility?  Maybe I am just jaded, but the day Emma Frost cares about Danger’s well-being by relating to her as a “woman” is the day Wolverine only appears in one monthly book.  And for me, this was where the book lost me. David Yardin’s artwork was acceptable.  It lacked a little punch in the details department when it came to creating backgrounds or settings for each panel.  But he made up for it with some nicely drawn Danger stuff.  James Asmus; who some might know as a stand-up comic or playwright, is altogether too wordy.  His introductory dialogue between Danger and Emma borders on Thesaurus rape!  I suppose he subscribes to the Grant Morrison school of, “You can’t understand this text, simply because I am smarter than you!”  Emma does speak with a certain eloquence and Danger is an advanced Shi’ar robot, but I am a lowly school teacher, so throw me a bone here Asmus! Ah well, there is always hope that issue 44 will be more relevant to current continuity.  Wait, is that Cyclops kissing mohawk endowed Storm on the cover?!?!?!?!  Dear Lord, give me strength…. –CK

Avengers Academy  #20
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Tom Raney

As the door closes on one chapter, it appears to be opening for another. With the exception of Thor and Bucky, the “Fear Itself” aftermath may not have effected anyone more than the Avengers Academy.  This issue dedicates itself to dealing with all of these issues.  Teachers leave, students quit, and Pym decides they all need a new location.  With all of this upheaval, it is difficult to say whether I like the direction this book appears to be taking.  I can say this though, Gage did a pretty good job of everyone’s decisions making sense.  None of the changes struck me as out of place, like I have been finding in so many Marvel books lately. Personally, I was a much bigger fan of Avengers Initiative than I ever was of Academy.  So the fact that this book seems to be moving more towards an Initiative focus has me a little excited.  And while the West Coast Avengers were the butt of many jokes back in the 80’s, I see it as only fitting that Hank move the new team back to the old Cali stomping grounds.Some of the additions to the school have potential, and carry some long forgotten history with them.  Should be interesting to watch as the team turns the corner towards a day for the Initiative, I mean Academy. –CK

 

Deadpool  #45
Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Salva Espin

Danny Way is wasting my time with this book.  All of the things that revitalized Deadpool during Secret Invasion have been stripped away, and we are left with this ridiculous book.  The thing that angers me the most is that the sky is the limit with Deadpool.  I think this guy could be one of Marvel’s most amazing characters and a cash cow for the company at the same time, if they just put together a little bit of a plan.  Marvel, Mr. Way, you are so missing the boat here it defies description. In this story Deadpool and an evil version of himself (don’t ask….) race back to New York after spending time in an insane asylum in England.  Deadpool’s doppelganger wreaks havoc the whole way home.  Deadpool meanwhile, inadvertently partakes in one good deed after another.  The journey is meant to represent some self-discovery for Deadpool.  The self-discovery has a sliver of merit to it, but the evil twin story is stupid, even by Deadpool standards! There is no question in my mind that Daniel Way is good writer.  That said, I do think it is time for someone new to jump on board.  This book needs to feel a little desperation to make it successful, and I think Way is just way too comfortable to provide that.  Salva Espin on the art is not bad.  He is a little cartoony for my tastes, but I understand why they use him on a Deadpool book. I think my tenure as a Deadpool supporter might be drawing to an end. –CK

New Mutants #32
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artists: David LaFuente & Robbi Rodriguez

I have finally determined why DnA’s run on this book has been mediocre at best. It’s not necessarily the story or plot, it’s the translation of those things visually. If you remember, I loved the issue where Michael Ryan filled in. However, I have not enjoyed David LaFuente’s work on this book and this issue highlights the reason why. LaFuente gets some help in this issue from Robbi Rodriguez, who’s art I’ve just recently become aware of, due to his next assignment on Uncanny X-Force. Rodriguez’s art just sings. He’s got a smoother line than LaFuente, which allows the reader to follow what’s going on a little better. LaFuente’s action sequences are frenetic and harsh. It’s difficult to see exactly how the choreography of a fight goes. To the detriment of this issue, Rodriguez doesn’t get to draw the action. The story overall is pretty good, considering this is a tie-in to Fear Itself. It really has nothing to do with Fear Itself, seeing has how the Dramaur, who are the villains here, have no resonance outside of this book. They add nothing to the over-arching story. In the long run, this tie-in doesn’t further the main story, nor does it enhance what’s going on with the characters in this title. The only notable things that have happened in this story are that Magma now has a debt to Mephisto and Sunspot has helped Nate Grey learn to use his powers better. Even in the latter of those, Nate comments that he’s not really a part of this team, and thus there’s not a lot of reason for him to be here. One positive twist on this story was the use of the raven as an avatar of Hela’s soul. The link between Hela and Dani becomes stronger here, but there’s no indication that Dani’s power is going to remain once she gets back to Utopia. I feel like this title is lost. It has a good status quo of tying up the X-Men’s loose ends, and I’m hoping they return to that soon. This tie-in business needs to stop, though, as well as LaFuente’s contributions. –JJ

Wolverine & the X-Men #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo

Prepare yourselves. It’s no secret that I have not been happy with the main X-Men books for quite a while. I have been a staunch critic of Schism. But no matter what happened in the titles to get them to this point, I can honestly say that for the first time in a while, I am really excited about where this is going. This. Book. Was. Awesome! The only criticism I have took place in the opening pages. Logan is showing Xavier around the new school. Logan keeps calling him “Professor” and Xavier keeps calling him “Son.” Despite this awkward misunderstanding of their relationship, Jason Aaron has crafted an exciting story here. Sure, it’s been done before (I think Generation X had an issue where the inspectors came), but Aaron executes it perfectly, balancing humor, action, and some really great new ideas. Using the inspectors as an introductory device allows old fans and newcomers to get on board efficiently. Not only that, but I’m convinced that this is the best cast on an X-Men book in a long time. Kitty has long-deserved to be a top-tiered leader, and as Headmistress to Logan’s headmaster, she’s perfect. Aaron is using Husk in a suitable role and is also using her strange power to develop her character and create some humor. Toad as the janitor and Iceman as bookkeeper is just wonderful. The students chosen here really work well. Hellion, Glob Herman, and Quentin Quire will make for some good tension. The inclusion of the Brood kid from the last story in Astonishing X-Men fits. I almost wet my pants when Kid Gladiator showed up. And having Kade Kilgore show up and basically tell Wolverine his plans goes against all villain tropes, which was a relief. Even the cast that didn’t appear on-panel, but showed up in the fantastic bonus materials in the back of the book, looks like my dream team of X-Men. By the way, I loved the course descriptions in the back! “Choir with Professor Doop” made me laugh out loud. Aaron also takes long-time X-Men ideas and turns them on their heads. Instead of a Danger Room, the whole building is a Danger School! As for the art, what more praise can I give Chris Bachalo. He is without a doubt one of my favorite artists of all time, and in my top 5 X-Men artists. His work has never looked better, giving the Jean Grey School a classic-yet-futuristic architecture, and crafting a look for the X-Men that’s both familiar and updated. While I’m not yet able to speak on Scott’s side of the X-Men, Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo have shown us what the X-Men are supposed to be about. I think for those of us who love the classic feel of the X-Men in a school setting, this book will please, all the while giving Cyclops’ team the opportunity to explore new territory. Call me a traditionalist, but this is the X-Men I love. –JJ

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Capekiller: Wolverine and the X-Men #1This book was awesome!  Bachalo rules! JGIFHL rules! And Wolverine/Kitty as headmasters rules!!!
Jeff
: Is there any question? Wolverine & the X-Men #1 gets the highest rating from this inspector!

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3 Comments



  1. I think that Astonishing and Deadpool were ok, not great but not horrible either. I also agree about Wolverine and the X-Men. I wanted to hate it and ended up liking it.


  2. capekiller

    I was so pumped about W&XM! Bachalo has such a wonderful style. Wolverine’s gruft dicomfort, Kitty’s youthful optimism, Beast’s mad scientist routine, the Mansion’s head to toe Danger Room upgrade, the name of the school, so much awesomeness!
    I hope this book takes a New X-Men feel with a focus on the students. That was one of the great losses from Marvel, cancelling that book!



  3. […] The newest batch of The Uncanny X-Piles, with over 5 X-Men reviews, including Wolverine and the X-Men #1 […]



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