February 6, 2012

The Uncanny X-Piles LXXV

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Avengers: X-Sanction #3
Jeph Loeb
Artists: Ed McGuinness
As we enter this, the third installment in this four issue mini-series, writer Jeph Loeb begins to pen the door a little bit allowing the reader some deeper insight into both his motives and means for this giant ambush on the Avengers. To date, this has to be counted as the best of the first three issues. The fighting seems to make more sense than the previous two issues and for the first time, I personally am starting to feel as though somebody needs to take Cable out.
All through the Messiah Complex X-arc I was routing for Cable. While it seemed like he was fighting against the whole world, I was always pulling that he would be able to put a bullet into Bishop and end the madness. Funny thing is, I’m starting to consider designing a t-shirt that says, “Bishop Was Right!” I think this months issue of X-Sanction clearly and convincingly shows us that Cable is out of his mind right now.
I won’t give too much away, but know that the fight between Cable and the Red Hulk was pretty awesome! And the visitors who drop in to Cables mysterious freighter at the end are really going to change the outcome of this book. Cable is now left to make some pretty tough decisions. I mean, what is left to fight for when the person you are fighting for tells you to stop?
Once again though, my one beef with this book is the art. I know I am in the minority here, but I really don’t like Ed McGuinesses art. It is way too “bulky” looking, and every character is depicted with a square head. Ultimately, McGuiness gets a little too excited when drawing muscles. If there is any question whatsoever that another artist could have done a better job on the interior art, check out the variant cover for this book by Leinil Yu (shameless plug for my boy Yu, who needs to be doing more interior work in the Marvel Universe!)  McGuiness’ work does not help tell the story. In fact, it makes it confusing at points!
Despite the artistic short comings, this series just got a little better with this book. Here’s hoping Loeb sends us off with a bang next month!
Art: 5/10 Writing: 7/10 Cover: 6/10 Relevance: 7/10

Uncanny X-Force #21
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini
I hate to say it, but I didn’t really like this issue. Can you believe it? Now, it wasn’t all bad, but it really didn’t do much for me. I’m not a big fan of Otherworld. Despite my love for the original Excalibur, I never really enjoyed the issues where they spent a lot time in Otherworld. I like the characters of Saturnyne, Jamie Braddock, and even some of the Captain Britain Corps. So what’s my beef? I guess I really just don’t like magical worlds in my Marvel Comics. I feel the same way about Otherworld as I do about Limbo or Mojoworld, even though there have been great stories in those settings. More than that, I really don’t like nameless, character-less demon armies, which the team battles here. What has made this book so great is that Remender has relied on developing longtime villains and making them feel important and threatening. This goat-guy who fights Wolverine and Nightcrawler is neither. Add to that a reveal at the end which had no weight to it because I didn’t know who that guy was, and I felt like Remender could have done better. He does, however, focus a little on Nightcrawler, who is a great addition to the cast. I had not put the puzzle pieces together that the 616 Kurt had a lot of Otherworld experience as a member of Excalibur, so throwing this new Nightcrawler in and seeing how he’ll react to characters like Meggan is a ton of fun. There again, Remender does well when he takes older concepts and characters and weaves them together to display their relevance today. Greg Tocchini’s art was near perfect last issue, but somehow it lost me in a few panels. His action sequences seemed a little brushy and I missed some of the detail that could have helped. Tocchini’s work is by no means bad, but I felt that this was not his best. Overall, this was one of my least favorite issues of this incredible run. Unless you really like the Otherworld stuff, I’d hold off on picking this up. –JJ
Art: 6/10 Writing: 5/10 Cover: 6/10 Relevance: 5/10

Uncanny X-Men #6
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Greg Land
I think this book is getting back on track. Be it small steps, I believe it is at least headed in the right direction. The story has my attention; despite the fact it is “appropriated” from Rick Remender’s X-Force, and that is more than can be said back during the Mr. Sinister story arc.
The self proclaimed elite X-Men squad, the Extinction Team, continues it’s trek through the mysterious jungle world Tabula Rasa. Through a rare tactical flaw by Cyclops, the mini teams of two are easy prey for the many dangers lurking in this advanced jungle ecosystem. Most important of all the contact made however, has to be Cyclops’ contact with an ancient survivor from a forgotten race. This quickly evolving humanoid quickly fills the Extinction Team in on the history of the area and the true identity of the mysterious iron clad warrior who keeps attacking the local indigenous people. All of these answers make perfect sense and create an interesting and new back story for Tabula Rasa.
The thing I think I appreciate the most about this story is that it feels a little like old school Uncanny X-Men. This story refuses to acknowledge the “real world” problems in the Marvel Universe, choosing instead to allow the X-folks to tackle a problem that only they can. I like the fact that when I read this story, I don’t find myself thinking about what Cable is doing in X-Sanction, or what the science team is doing in X-Club. This book is all about Scott’s premiere team getting things done their way.
I would never proclaim to be a fan of Greg Land’s recycled images. That said, his art is sound enough that it doesn’t distract me with it’s ugliness. His faces are a little repetitive and his action scenes feel a little posed, but ultimately, he creates “pretty” pictures. This, I can live with. In fact, his cover art is pretty decent. It has this nice 3/4 perspective thing going on, and I have to admit, I think it looks pretty good!
For the first time in a while, I am interested in seeing where this story will go. I want to know who will come out on top, Scott’s new acquaintance or the raged War Machine rip-off! One thing is for sure, the X-Men are going to have to save the day, and it looks like they are doing it the old fashioned way!
Art: 7/10 Writing: 7/10 Cover: 8/10 Relevance: 7/10

X-Club #3
Simon Spurrier
Artist: Paul Davidson
I’ve started following this story in a whole new light, and this might not be the kind of thing a comic book reviewer should ever admit out loud. I subscribe to Simon Spurrier’s Twitter feed (I am really, really new to the medium…) and I have to say, he seems like quite the character. His Tweets are always entertaining, and he seems like the kind of guy I would love to go out drinking with! This of course, has filtered the way I read his comic. No longer do I consider the starfish on Dr. Nemesis’ head to be heavy handed. Now I see it as a great device used by Spurrier to amp up the absurdity of the situation and open up Dr. Nemis’ character a little further. I know this might sound amateur, but hey, what the hell, I am an amateur!
In this issue the X-geeks continue to try and get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the company Stratocorp and their space elevator. Each member of the team fins him or herself embroiled in a mystery component of this drama, and each one feels as important as the next. Spurrier is a great fit to write these eccentric characters, considering he walks the fine line himself! Whether it is Dr. Nemesis riding a hammerhead shark or Madison Jefferies kissing Dr. Rao just to make sure he isn’t attracted to real people, this book borders between a dream and Cirque du Soleil!
My one complaint would have to be the art. I am not a big fan of Paul Davidson’s style. It feels a little too sketch-like for me, with the characters often coming off more as statues than human beings. Check out the interesting cover by Rodin Esquejo though, it helps make the price of admission worth it!
I am comfortable in saying that I don’t think this series would be for everyone. It is definitely off the beaten trail (did I quote that cliche right?) But for me, it is just what I need, and suits the X-Club like a a set of custom test tubes!
Art: 5/10 Writing: 6/10 Cover: 6/10 Relevance: 6/10

X-Factor #231
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Emanuela Luppachino
First of all, Peter David writes one helluva Jamie Madrox. You can tell that even after all these years, Madrox is the character whom PAD loves the most. This issue, we follow up on Madrox’s stumbling through realities after being killed by Bloodbath. While I wouldn’t want Madrox to star in Exiles or anything, this has been a fun adventure to see him in. Jamie is at his best when he’s completely out of his element. Having him slide through realities issue after issue disorients Madrox enough to keep the story fast-paced, the danger level high, and the laughs well-stocked. First, you have to appreciate the recap page, which usually features the entire X-Factor team, but this time is only multiple shots of Multiple Man. The realities in which PAD puts Madrox are fun too. This one is basically, “What if Wanda said ‘No More Humans’ instead of ‘No More Mutants?'” Only Tony Stark is left to keep the human race going after the world’s humans were decimated. In this, we get an awesome fight between Iron Man and a Deathlok-version of Captain America with Madrox and Mr. Tryp caught in the middle. Tryp is a great villain for Madrox, and to see him wrapped up in this is fun too. We are just as disoriented as Jamie is and that’s what continues to make this book so much fun. In the end, we get an idea of who might be behind this, but knowing Peter David on this book, nothing is what it seems. Once again, Emanuela Luppachino knocks the art out of the park with her slick cartooning style. She’s really the perfect kind of artist on a book like this. Her work provides the quality a book like this deserves and yet surprisingly, she’s not being snatched up to draw a more A-list book. I don’t know why this isn’t considered an A-list book, because it should be, but I’m always tickled when a quality team like David and Luppachino give their best work to these characters I love.  –JJ
Art: 8/10 Writing: 9/10 Cover: 9/10 Relevance: 7/10

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff:  X-Factor #231 beats out the rest! Great writing, great art, what more do you want?
CapekillerUncanny X-Force #21 was pure brilliance!  I thought the previous arc was good, this arc is great!  Deep, layered writing by Remender and fantastic dream-like art by Tocchini.  Bravo gentelmen!



  1. Jeff Jackson

    I think you and I must be reading different books, bro. UXM was awful and UXF was a bit disappointing.

    And how in the heck could Blaquesmith get a hit on Red Hulk?

  2. Capekiller

    Blaquesmith is like a ninja frog!

    This new UXF arc blows the doors off the previous arc.

    Your just getting all mature and indy, so you’ve forgotten what a good superhero book looks like. Keep reading Steel Magnolias or whatever the heck the name of the book is!

    • I wasn’t too thrilled w/ the arc due to the amount of Captain Britain involved. Not a huge fan of the character as he’s always come off as a pompous ass. He was tolerable in Xcalibur but not for too long.

      Blaquesmith is too fast for Red Hulk Jeff lol

    • You’ll have to spell that out for me man. I can’t see how this arc is better than the Dark Angel Saga.

  3. SpidermanGeek

    Uncanny X-Force was shit. I tend to agree with Jeff on this one. Why is Betsy wearing a bra on her face? The villain is some sort of Goat-Man and we get some vague ass cliffhanger/reveal in the last panel. Are we even supposed to know who this Hellraiser reject is?

  4. SpidermanGeek

    .. But Jeff, Blaquesmith is like Marvel’s version of Yoda. The dude kicks ass.

  5. Capekiller

    Dark Angel saga was recycled AoA stuff. Ultimately the whole Angel as Apoc thing was
    way too contrived. The only truly new thing was the new 4 Horsemen. This Captain Britain thing is great because it feels so new. I love the whole demon war thing (reminds me of Limbo). I love that Fantomex is an anomolly who only appears in 616. I mean, the goat dude turned Wolverine inside out!

    • The goat guy didn’t do anything that Magneto and Proteus haven’t already done to Logan.

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