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April 11, 2012

The Uncanny X-Piles LXXXIV

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Written by: Jeff
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Age of Apocalype #2
Writer: David Lapham
Artist:  Roberto De La Torre

This book has no right to be so good. It’s a book about humans in a mutant world, practically the reverse of the current 616. It doesn’t include an “X” in the title. The art is not flashy and super-hero-ish. However, it is proving to be one of coolest concepts Marvel has put out thus far, and trusting Lapham and De La Torre seems like a calculated risk, and one that is really paying off.

We continue to follow the X-Terminated as they try to find out what’s going on in Dark Beast’s lab. However, they find a resurrected Cyclops there. I, for one, loved Cyclops in the AoA. Conflicted, angry, and truly cycloptic, he was a great character foil. Having him, and the possibility of other mutants being cloned and resurrected seems reasonable to me and I’m excited about the ones that look like they might be coming back.

But lest we forget the human characters, Lapham has developed his cast into a really formidable group. When one is captured, we find out that they are all holding suicide pills in their mouths, which tells the reader how serious this world really is. Prophet, Fiend, Horror Show, and the rest are an intriguing team, and with the point-of-view character of Harper Simmons, we get a really fresh and helpful look at this world. It’s an effective  technique that Lapham uses.

The art in this book is surprisingly good. It’s dark, gritty, and really messy, yet contains a detail that is appreciated. As much as I love the cover by Humberto Ramos, De La Torre’s work is a stark contrast, but in a way that works really well. Marvel is using a fan-favorite artist to sell the book, I understand, and for once I’m glad Ramos isn’t drawing this as it wouldn’t suit his style (I still love the cover, though!).

This book is only 2 issues in and even if you’re not a mutant fan, or an AoA aficionado, you might find this a good read. It’s unlike many other things on the shelves and I hope to see it get a good run. –JJ

Cover: 8/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 4/10

Avengers vs. X-Men #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: John Romita, Jr.

Well, here it is, the one we’ve all been waiting for. For years, really, has this event been brewing since the Scarlet Witch disassembled the Avengers and decimated the mutants, since a new mutant named Hope was born in that aftermath. Lots of things have been leading to the confrontation before us, and I, for one, have been excited about this series, even though I’m just as event-weary as anyone. At least this one focuses on my 2 favorite teams.

The best thing I can say about this issue is that it has the scope an event should have. The stakes are extremely high with the Phoenix officially returning, a new Nova heralding its return, and the simple unresolved conflict in who Hope Summers is going to be. This just has the “wow” factor turned up, something that Fear Itself sorely lacked. Marvel has certainly learned from the mistake of last year’s summer event and is capitalizing on it on all fronts. With the new Avengers movie, the launch of Marvel AR, and Infinite Comics, this has the ring of a Secret Wars or Civil War to it.

However, sometimes Marvel can be its own worst enemy. In their fervor of promotion, they decided to let about 7 of the 27 pages of this issue be released in preview form in the back of many issues last month. Because of that, I felt a little let-down, considering I knew much of what was going to happen. I tend not to read the online previews that many sites release, but when they’re in the back of my comics, they’re hard to ignore. They released the middle 7 pages, which was an odd choice, and while they were interesting pages, I felt like I was watching a rerun.

This is an oversized issue, however most of it is drawn out, silent panels of Nova’s crash which made the book a quick read. We get some of JRJR’s best superhero work of recent years, but still, I felt like more could have happened overall in the issue. JRJR’s weakness, however, lies in his lack of detail with background characters. They stand there like hazy blobs.

That’s not to say that nothing happens. One of the best scenes was between Cyclops and Hope where Scott virtually kicks her ass until she gets mad enough to blast him with a Phoenix bird. This continues to create the tension between the two of them, which is great. Bendis also continues to up the tension between Emma and Scott, and I wonder if this event will finally spell their relational doom.

Finally, the action literally heats up at the end as the entire Avengers roster shows up to take Hope into custody. While I understand Scott’s defense, I have to agree with the Avengers at this point. It doesn’t hurt anything to take Hope into custody until they figure out what the Phoenix is going to do. Yet Scott’s response reminds me that he is being set up to become one of Marvel’s most powerful villains if he keeps it up. Why should he distrust the Avengers so much when they’ve been allies so many years?

This was a middle-of-the-road opening issue, however, I’m still on-board to see what will happen when folks start really battling. As much as this feels like events of yesteryear, I think Marvel is bringing their A-game. Or their X-game. Whichever way you want to look at it. –JJ

Cover: 10/10 Writing: 8/10 Art: 7/10 Relevance: 10/10

Wolverine & the X-Men #8
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo

Chris Bachalo deserves an award. Perhaps for “Most Awesome Artist” or better yet “Kick-Ass X-Men Artist of All Time.” He certainly is in my top 5 X-Men artists, and it’s due to his wonderful consistency and longevity on the X-Men. From his days on Generation X to the Seagle days to Morrison’s run to Claremont’s last run, and now this title, it’s hard to not put him at the top of any lists when it comes to drawing the mutants. And once again, this issue is proof.

If you’re a regular ComicAttacker, you know that Jeff Jackson loves superhero fights. I have always wanted to see Beast vs. Sabretooth, and to make it happen on SWORD’s Peak space station makes me wonder if Jason Aaron isn’t one of our power listeners on the Contest of Champions Live Podcast. And Aaron writes it just like he was writing a rationale for the debates we do. Sabretooth, who is now working for the Hellfire Club, decides the best way to get at the X-Men is to take out it’s “heart,” Hank McCoy. So he goes for Hank’s girlfriend Abigail Brand. This sets the stage for an awesome fight. I can tell that Aaron must have been giddy for Bachalo to draw this. It’s like he sets it up and says, “Here you go, Chris, go crazy!”

Second to this fight is Aaron including the students on a trip to the casino that Logan and Quentin escaped from last issue. Logan’s legs are all messed up and Angel wants to prove his worth to his headmaster. My only question was, “Why didn’t Angel use his healing blood?” but I think that power is long-gone in the minds of today’s X-writers. Probably better that way.

Once again, Aaron and Bachalo make a perfect X-Men comic. I don’t want this train to ever stop! –JJ

Cover: 10/10 Writing: 10/10 Art: 10/10 Relevance: 7/10

Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Jeff: Surprised to say it, but Wolverine & the X-Men #8 trumps even the big summer event this week!

Jeff Jackson



  1. All three of these were excellent! The only book that I’m actually worried about is the AoA book since the reveal at the end of this issue. I don’t want to read the same stories that made this a great concept back in the 90s. Give me “new” characters instead to read about.

  2. I thought AvX was very disappointing. The dialogue, as Bendis’s tends to be to me, was forcefully snarky, and JRjr’s art nearly spoiled the whole book.

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