December 22, 2010

The Uncanny X-Piles XXII

Welcome back, mutie lovers, to another edition of The Uncanny X-Piles. After a week off last week, Jeff rejoins his tag team partner to rummage through another pile of X-Men goodness!

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513
David Liss
Artist: Francesco Francavilla

I liked this issue, but I’m not going to review it per se, Infinite Speech already did that for us here, instead I’d just like to touch on why this title is here in The Uncanny X-Piles: Storm. Storm, as we all know, is T’Challa’s wife…or is she? In DoomWar it was clear that they were still together, but something was knocking their relationship out of whack. Now, with both characters seemingly vacating their country of Wakanda, what has happened to them as a couple? Well, we kind of find out in this issue as the situation is addressed, but no permanent resolution is given. In a one page scene, T’Challa and Ororo talk over “Skipe,” where T’Challa states that he needs some time alone. He needs to test himself, without Storm there to catch him if he falls (or provide a heavy dosage of chain lightning), to which she replies, “I understand my love. You have my word. Though it breaks my heart, you are…for as long as you wish…truly alone.” Touching words, but to be blunt, I thought it was a terrible choice to have these two carry on this conversation through the filter of a computer screen. Face to face it could have been a great, emotionally charged, and character driven scene between arguably the most powerful couple in the Marvel Universe; instead, it fell flat, and came off as a convenient way to get rid of Storm for awhile. While the two agree to live apart for now (T’Challa in Hell’s Kitchen, and Storm wherever the heck she is with the X-Men at any given time), and it’s evident that both parties love each other, it still isn’t clear if they are married or not. Which is probably the point. Great! Now that we’ve aired this dirty laundry, can we please get back to Storm having a leadership role in an X-Book? –AL

Deadpool MAX #3
David Lapham
Artist: Kyle Baker

Ok, anyone who still thinks Disney will “PG up” Marvel needs to read an(y) issue of this series, and they will realize how wrong that notion is! Especially after reading this one. Holy Hell David Lapham has some balls, and I’m loving it! Here he takes us into the sick, twisted, and highly racist mind of one Baron Helmut Emmerich Zemo. Pick a minority group, any minority group- he hates them. He’s the ultimate white supermicist whose face you’d love to bash in with a wet sock full of nickels. Here, Lapham shows us Zemo’s sick collection of ugliness; from his prized and numbered skin-lampshade, torn from a tortured Jewish soul during WWII and given to him by his Nazi grandfather, to his ever growing collection of decapitated heads, taken from non-whites, sliced from their bodies in an annual celebration of Hitler’s birthday. He even runs the second largest internet site in America, behind only (which is understandable). So how does Deadpool tie into all of this? Well, he has been hired by the Jews to assassinate Zemo. I shit you not. So what does ‘Pool do? He uses (poor) Bob as bait, dresses up like a Jewish man, and blows away the whole white robed cartel with a duo of machine guns, and a flurry of swords. He even sticks the sexy lingerie bitch on the cover with a blade through the head. Then he squares off against Zemo, and when the Baron asks Deadpool if he’s white, his last words to him are, “I’m always right, you racist piece of dogshit.” AWESOME! Can’t wait for next issue when Cable supposedly shows up! –AL

New Mutants Forever #5
Chris Claremont
Artist: Al Rio & Bob McLeod

And then there’s this series. I feel like these “Forever” reviews are roadblocks in The Uncanny X-Piles. For instance, in today’s edition there are two good books before this one, and then three great books after it…yet here we are, stuck in the middle with…New Mutants Forever #5. It’s like, when you’re driving the desert strip from New Mexico to Las Vegas; zipping along with nobody around you, laughing all the way in anticipation of the good times ahead, when suddenly there’s a dead freaking horse in the middle of the road. You’re like, “What the hell!? Is that a dead horse!?! …Shit!” You get out of your car to take a closer look, and you shockingly notice it’s still alive. Somehow. And in this heat! Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it because you’re in the middle of the desert, and AT & T DOESN’T PROVIDE COVERAGE IN THE DESERT YOU IDIOT! So you get back in your car, and BAM! It won’t start because you realize you were driving close to empty, trusting cruise control in saving you that extra bit of gas to make it to the next rest stop…22 miles away. Now you’re stranded in the middle of the desert, with no gas, a dying horse in front of you (how did it get there?), and you suddenly have to go number 2. Yeah, that’s what these “Forever” comics feel like to me whenever I have to review them…so do I have to review this one? Do you really need to read about how god awful this issue was? Must I be tortured? Can I instead stick my hand down the garbage disposal, leave it running for 10 minutes, ice it with a frozen steak, then stick my mutilated arm in a vise, and bolt said vise to the dog house of the pit bull that lives across the street? …No? Please? …Still no. Ok… Here, let me quote the opening sentences of this issue, “Theirs was the best laid of plans. Selene and her companion New Mutants had raised the citizenry of Nova Roma in revolt against their would-be conquerors, the modern “army” of The Red Skill.” Ugh. Basically there’s a huge battle, nobody of importance dies, and at the end of the story everything is returned to normal- including Doug, who at one point looked like The Red Skull. You know, as awful as this story was, the art by Rio and McLeod is pretty damn good. It’s stiff at times, but it’s also clean and detailed. I’d even venture to say it’s better than the stuff we’re seeing in Uncanny X-Men and X-Men Legacy right now. Why are the talents of these guys being wasted here? I don’t get it. Regardless, this mini-series is finally over, and hopefully it stays that way…forever. –AL

Uncanny X-Force #3
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jerome Opena

It’s like Rick Remender went into my brain, in the place where hopes and dreams are brewing, took a big wooden spoon and dished out everything filed under X-Men and slopped it onto some glossy pages. This book is all kinds of awesome. In this great issue, we get the origins of the Final Horsemen, all plucked from various places in the timestream to be Apocalypse’s last line of defense. Thank the Lord that Remender did away with the cliched X-Man-turned-Horseman trope, and decided to make truly awesome Horsemen again, reminiscent of the first Horsemen introduced back in X-Factor. Remender also gets how to make a team work really well. These characters have a common goal and common threads that tie them together, and then Remender plays with them in a fun and highly enjoyable way. Fantomex and Wolverine make a great duo. Now I have to admit, I was really worried about Deadpool being in this book. He’s everywhere these days. But once again, Remender handles him perfectly, making him perfectly Deadpool, but not so over-the-top that it’s distracting. Greatest panel is Deadpool trying to revive Archangel with pop rocks and soda. “Score one for the belt o’pouches!” Jerome Opena’s renderings are just wonderful. He gives each of these characters a unique look and stamps his own signature in ways I’ve never seen. In a world where everyone has done just about everything, Remender and Opena are making me like X-Men books again. I simply cannot wait for the next issue and hope Remender keeps that wooden spoon a-stirring! -JJ

Wolverine #4
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Renato Guedes & Jamie McKelvie

Oh wow, this is such a great story. But I just can’t like Renato Guedes’ art. Take page 18. Wolverine finally takes the Devil, the freakin’ Lord of Hell, down and he’s doing his badass walk away. And Guedes decides to make Logan’s arms about 6 inches too short. It kinda took away from the badassery that just occurred. He just doesn’t look comfortable with these characters or the story. Other than that, this book totally rocks. Like I said, Wolverine kicks major devil butt in Hell, while the demon in his body does the same to the X-Men. Drawing blood from Colossus in armored form, breathing fire on Iceman, and making Angel bleed from his eyes is all pretty hardcore. Not sure why Angel didn’t turn into his Archangel form there, but now I’m just nitpicking. It’s a good thing that the X-Men leave the back door to Utopia open for Mystique and Ghost Rider to pop in unexpectedly. You’d think if this was the last bastion of a dying race that they’d have better security. In the end, we find out that the mystery man in Hell who’s been with Puck helping Logan escape is none other than….wait, a second…go read it yourself. But that makes for an interesting twist that ironically, no one has ever explored before. There’s another great back-up here, though, this time with art by Jamie McKelvie, which looks really good. However, I’m not really into these bad guys who are trashing all of Logan’s stuff. The names are among the lamest I’ve ever heard. Cannonfoot? Really? Did Chris Claremont sell these guys to Aaron? If you can get past that, then you’ll really like this book. -JJ

X-Factor #212
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino

I’m not the biggest fan of Thor and the whole Asgardian thing. So I haven’t been really excited for this current arc in X-Factor. I have been enjoying it thus far, but this issue seems a little on the weak side. Maybe it was the art, but with X-Factor’s battle with Hela finally concluding, and the obligatory appearance by Thor, I was left with a bit of a dry taste in my mouth. At the end of last issue, it looked as if Thor may or may not be in X-Factor’s corner. But here we’ve got a full-on team-up, and I’m not sure why. Why again is X-Factor so interested in Pip the Troll? I think I lost that bit of information along the way. Especially since they are met with having to face the Goddess of Death in order to rescue him, it doesn’t seem to make much sense. The more I think about it, the more it boggles my mind. Thor’s presence in this issue is really not needed at all either. But despite all these struggles, there are still some of David’s usual great character moments. Longshot and Shatterstar continue to be excellent additions to the cast. For the first time I can honestly say I really like them. Maybe it’s just the haircuts. One interesting twist is that Shatterstar learns the truth about Rahne’s baby. So maybe that was the purpose of this whole story. But the “wow” moment for me was the fact that Darwin, the innocuous member of the team, is the one who takes Hela out in the end. And what’s more, we’re left with a twinge of evil left in him for future reference. Dark Darwin anyone? Lupacchino’s art is rather mild, and looks like she’s not tracing, but looking at artists like Coipel and Cheung for inspiration. It’s a harmless venture, but not one that’s really exciting. Her Hela is nice to look at, though. While not the best of David’s exploits of the bastard X-team, this book gets a solid average rating in my book. -JJ

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: Even without the Deadpool pop-up tent, I’d still pick Uncanny X-Force #3.
Andy: X-Factor, Wolverine, and Deadpool MAX are all honorable mentions, but Uncanny X-Force #3 gets the gold this week.

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

Andy Liegl

Jeff Jackson



  1. Eli

    I’m loving X-Force as well Jeff. Sometimes a story comes along that is just perfect. As if the writer has been listening in on all the nerd conversation at all the comic shops, and decided to give us our wish. Having them go after Apocalypse is by far the best way they could have started out this new book.

  2. Jeff Jackson

    Exactly. This is the kind of thing that was usually built up to over months and culminated in a huge crossover. But it goes to show that we don’t need big events to appreciate good stories. Remender and Opena have proven that even a group of 5 mutants can step up to a challenge as huge as Apocalypse.

  3. Jeff Jackson

    Haha, just read Andy’s review of New Mutants Forever. His reviews are the only good things that come out of the existence of that book.

  4. Erin

    Just letting you know, the artist on X-Factor is a girl.

  5. Jeff Jackson

    Ah, indeed she is! Good catch, Erin! Sorry about that!

  6. Jeff, you’re demoted to Alpha Flight.

  7. Billy

    Wow, does UXF sound great.

  8. Whew, I thought you would demote me to a Forever book!

  9. lol @ Jeff and Andy!

  10. Aron

    I think I should be reading Uncanny X-Force.

  11. @Aron you totally should it’s one of the best marvel books out right now.
    @Andy I think your review of New Mutants Forever has a good chance of being quoted on the back cover when it comes out in trade.

  12. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: Marvel Reviews: #Deadpool MAX #3 & Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513! #comics #xmen […]

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