Monday, September 22, 2008

The X-Axis: 22 September 2008

Hopefully, time permitting, I'll be getting to Vertigo's Greatest Hits #1 and Guy DeLisle's Burma Chronicles over the next few days. But let's round up some other stuff from last week.

Age of the Sentry #1 - It's a pastiche of Silver Age Superman stories. Perfectly fine if you like that sort of thing - and you certainly get the sense that the creators love having the opportunity to work in this style. But although it's well done, the routine is pretty familiar by this point. Actually, it occurs to me that there's probably a big chunk of the audience these days for whom the Silver Age is basically just a shared in-joke that they experience solely through the medium of pastiche. Odd, that.

All-Star Superman #12 - As good as everyone says, really. Now, I've never really been a fan of Superman. But with this title, Grant Morrison has produced a persuasive manifesto for how a Superman story should work, and made a compelling case for why - in small doses, at least - he's a great character. This is Superman as the archetypal hero, and template for everyone else.

Uncanny X-Men #502 - Um. This isn't really working, is it? It's fine in theory, and the ideas ought to work, but somehow it's just a bit lifeless on the page. It's tempting to blame the art, and god knows Greg Land's soulless Grazia-meets-Penthouse nonsense does the book no favours - not least because of his continuing overuse of manic grinning which makes all the characters seem weirdly inhuman. You almost wonder whether he's actually ever met another human being, or simply read about them in a book somewhere. But it's not just the art; between them, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction have written some excellent comics for Marvel lately, and this just doesn't seem to be clicking like the others.

X-Factor #35 - With the crossovers behind us, we're back to the regular stories, as the real Longshot shows up, and Darwin joins the cast. Peter David's writing is good as ever, but I'm really not sure about Larry Stroman's art these days. It doesn't have the crispness of earlier years, and his Longshot is way off. I really enjoyed Stroman's work in 1991, and yes, perhaps, as Greg Burgas has suggested, the problem is in the inking style. But the end result doesn't look too pretty.

X-Men: First Class #16 - This is the final issue of the ongoing series, with a one-shot and a 2009 mini to follow. (Not so much cancelled as winding down, then.) Iceman walks out on the team and forms a shortlived duo with the Human Torch based on mutual immaturity. It's a fun little story which sees the series go out on a high, and Patrick Scherberger continues to impress me with his teenagers.