May 31, 2012

The Uncanny X-Piles XC


Avengers vs. X-Men #4
: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: John Romita, Jr.

It is now apparent that the editors are the ones screwing this event up. There appears to be no communication between the various tie-in issues and this main book is little more than a cliff notes version of the things happening in other books. But let’s take this issue scene by scene to see what I’m talking about.

First, Hope rescues Logan after being kicked out by Captain America. Remember, Logan is trying to kill Hope. The only funny part of this was Wolverine walking around with a polar bear on. That happened.

Next, we return to the space team, who got taken out in Secret Avengers. Thor keeps fighting and ends up knocking the Phoenix into a planet, which it destroys. The only problem here is when does this take place in conjunction with Avengers #26?

We return to Hope and Logan, only to get a long-winded argument from Hope about why he shouldn’t kill her immediately, but should basically follow her around and if things get bad, then he can do her in. This is lame on so many levels because first, why would she trust Logan? Why would Logan give her yet another chance if he believes so strongly in his position (we find out later in the book)? Hope comes off completely idiotic here for even finding Logan, and the interchange was written poorly.

Meanwhile, Emma takes control of Toad at Logan’s school, and gets him to use Cerebra to find Hope. Unfortunately, it makes no sense why she would use the Westchester Cerebra over the one at Utopia.

The X-Men and Avengers split up and try to find Hope around the globe, which makes for the obligatory match ups and fights we see in other books. One of the main problems with this is the confusing nature of where people are. In this issue, She-Hulk is not found with Luke Cage’s team, but she shows up in Uncanny X-Men, but is also with the team watching the school in Legacy. Also, Tony Stark is both working on a Phoenix weapon and is at the school fighting the faculty. It’s just way too sloppy.

Wolverine and Hope steal a space ship and head to the Blue Area of the Moon, which is a great setting for this book. However, Logan betrays Hope to the Avengers which also makes no sense because of Logan’s betrayal by Captain America. If he wanted to just end it, why not just kill her rather than get her all the way to the moon? All of this is just ridiculous and poorly thought out.

Finally, I just want to mention that JRJR has been equally to blame for the lack of excitement in this issue. His panel lay outs are dull and uninteresting. His actual pencilling looks like he is copying his old work. There is a panel of Wolverine that I swear is from Enemy of the State. The inks are equally sloppy and heavy-handed.

This event is a disaster, through and through, right up there with Fear Itself. –JJ

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 3/10 Art: 1/10 Relevance: 8/10

AvX VS #2
Writers: Steve McNiven & Kieron Gillen
Artists: Steve McNiven & Salvador Larrocca

The problem with this series is that it is advertised as wanting to just show the fights and get definitive winners. While it focuses on the fights, it doesn’t even try to come up with logical winners.

First, Steve McNiven both writes and draws the Captain America vs. Gambit fight. Of course we know who’s going to win this because of Cap’s role in the whole story. But McNiven does a pretty good job of setting the fight up and making it well-choreographed. The big question of whether or not Gambit can charge up Cap’s shield is answered here, and even though Gambit gets some really good moves in (like charging up Cap’s chain mail…not sure how Steve walks away from that), Cap ends up winning.

The problem with this is that AvX #4 shows the fight a little and Cap is completely unscathed. Once again, it’s an example of creators not communicating with one another. All McNiven had to do was tell Romita that Gambit blows Captain America’s costume up and he could have drawn that in his issue. Instead, the lack of attention to continuity across the board is painful. I also miss Dexter Vines on McNiven’s inks. Instead, Jonathan Dell inks McNiven, which lacks the precision and depth of Vines.

Next is Spider-Man vs. Colossus. Of course, we know who will win this one both because Colossus is super-powerful and the fact that the X-Men haven’t won one of these fights yet. The fight is fun, although Gillen’s writing of Spider-Man is tedious. This is the worst match-up yet both in terms of personality and power. A better fight would have been Spider-Man vs. Domino or even Dazzler. In the end, Colossus only ends up winning because Spider-Man flees. Lame. So while the Avengers have gotten some wins, the X-Men still haven’t gotten a decisive victory.

Larrocca’s art continues to disappoint me, as he was one of my favorites back in the day. His figures look rubbery and artificial, like they are from a wax museum. I miss his old, Jim Lee-esque style.

Overall, this book is not worth reading for a lot of reasons. They can’t even get the fights right. –JJ

Cover: 4/10 Writing: 5/10 Art: 5/10 Relevance: 2/10

Uncanny X-Men #12
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Greg Land

Do you smell that?  Smells like a giant flaming bag of dog crap.  Oh wait, it’s just the latest issue of Uncanny X-Men. The story picks up where AvX #3 left off.  The X-Men have teleported off of Utopia and rendez-vous’d at X-Diaspora, which looks strangely like any common underground parking lot.  Here, Cyclops barks orders while everyone else makes jokes.  The mutant leader splits the team up to search for Hope in 5 possible locations.  This issue focuses its attention on Namor, Sunspot and Hepzibah who are tasked with searching Tabula Rasa.

Gillen must have been in a weird mood when he scripted this issue.  Almost the entire dialog is littered with bad jokes and one-liners which basically just filled up word balloons for lack of actual story.  The point here was to pit Namor against Thing for another round after the events of AvX:VS #1 (although there was no mention of that encounter here…weird). Spoiler: The outcome was a stalemate.  Go figure.

Most of Greg Land’s artwork is nauseating.  All of his women look exactly the same, most likely all drawn from the same reference model.  We get a lot of classic Land rehashed panels.  She-Hulk looks exactly like his Psylocke, but with green skin.  This makes She-Hulk look like a big-breasted crack-whore who likes to pull off the strangest poses at the most awkward times.  She’s also portrayed as being shorter than both Luke Cage and The Thing, what the F? Props are deserved for Greg Land’s monsters though.  Even Thing looks good in this issue.

Skip this issue, nothing happens. –SG

Cover: 6/10 Writing: 4/10 Art: 4/10 Relevance: 2/10

X-Factor #236
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Leonard Kirk

Shatterstar fans, you won’t want to miss this issue.  Previously, Multiple Man and Shatterstar go undercover and infiltrate a group of non-powered vigilantes who call themselves the X-Ceptionals, to hopefully get a lead on who has been killing off some of the wannabe heroes’ team members.   They’re method paid off and the trail leads them straight into conflict with a character we come to know Scattershot.

It is soon revealed that Scattershot is from the Mojoverse, a world which Shatterstar is all too familiar with.  Most of the issue has both of these characters duking it out with Shatterstar showing some impressive combat skills and utilizes some combat tactics you’d come to expect more from Multiple Man rather than Gaveedra Seven.  He must be rubbing off on him.

Peter David scripted a wonderful action story that sets up what we can only assume is an upcoming visit to or from Mojo himself.  If the panels in this book are any indication of what is to come, we’re in for a real treat.  It all has a very 90’s feel to it. I was certainly feeling a little nostalgic as I half-expected “The Blue Team” to show up any minute.  Aside from the Mojoverse reveal , a cryptic page with (elder) Damian Tryp and a social commentary about today’s reality TV, there isn’t much substance to this story.  But it sure is a lot of fun.

Speaking of 90’s nostalgia, did you check out that cover from David Yardin?  Absolutely gorgeous and the classic “MARVEL” team panel at the top left is a nice touch.  On the interiors, we have the clean and polished pencils of Leonard Kirk who includes one of the best Shatterstar panels you’ve probably ever seen.  It looks like something straight out of the Matrix where he skids on his knees under a squad car thrown by Scattershot and cuts it in half with his blades.  Awesome!

Marvel & Peter David, if you’re reading this, MOJOVERSE!!! …please. –SG

Cover: 9/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 9/10 Relevance: 6/10

Briefly X-Posed:
Avengers Academy #30:
This is a great tie-in to the AvX story and some of the fights are way better! Great to see some non-X-Men mutants like Ricochet and Whiz Kid get some panel time and seeing Sebastian Shaw take on Hercules and Tigra was excellent! 7/10JJ

New Mutants #42: The only fun thing about this issue was seeing the Asgardians in human guise, especially Thor with the Adventures in Babysitting reference. This story is dragging on, tries too hard to be funny, and is overall lackluster. Putting these characters together only ruins both books. 3/10 -JJ

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: X-Factor #236 had a great story and awesome fights, two things none of the AvX books had!
SpidermanGeek: X-Factor.  It was just, plain fun.  Shatterstar rocks!


One Comment

  1. So while I do agree that AvX has been a hot mess, I just thought I could answer a couple questions for you Jeff.
    Emma used the Cerebra at the school because she had easier access to it. Utopia has been taken over by the Avengers, so her people have been evacuated and the island has been overrun by Avenger scum.
    Then there’s Iron Man’s Iron-Men. Robots that look like him. Basically, Doombots. Which is why he’s everywhere.

    I feel like the biggest problem with AvX is that there are so many writers who want certain things for specific characters, and then everyone else has to juggle those things. Also, I feel like all those things the writers want, favor the Avengers. I mean there’s “AvX vs.” which is basically a love/lust letter to the Avengers. And then there’s the fact that the Avengers took an Army to kidnap a girl and not only do none of them protest, they all somehow blame the X-Men for this war?

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