Sunday, October 26, 2008

The X-Axis - 26 October 2008

Coming up over the next few days, we'll be looking at Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1 (as close to notable as any of this week's X-books get), Vertigo's Unknown Soldier #1 (Gandhi meets the Punisher in Uganda) and DDP's Rest #1 (pharmaceutical conspiracies with Mark Powers and Shawn McManus).

But here's the round-up of other X-books (and a Thor one-shot, just because).

New Exiles #13 - Well, hey now, that's a rather nice underwater sequence in the opening pages. But the book soon gets bogged down in Claremont's latest pet idea: characters literally fighting their own inner ghosts, that nobody else can see. He's now got Psylocke and Sage both doing the same plot at the same time, with no apparent connection between the two - and by the end of the issue, Cat's (kind of) at it as well. It's so blatant that you figure it's all got to tie together into some unifying story, but with different plot explanations in each case, it's hard to see how that can be done. In fairness, if you leave aside that point, it's a perfectly readable issue, and I do approve of Claremont's attempts to bring some ongoing storylines and subplots into a book whose "visiting alternate worlds" set-up tends to resist them. But he's hammering this idea a bit too much, I think.

Thor: The Truth of History - This is another of those random one-shots that Marvel like to shove out for no apparent reason. But it's an Alan Davis one-shot, which makes it worth a look. This is a solidly crafted old-school superhero story, taking advantage of the fact that Thor and his cast are meant to be immortal. Volstagg blunders his way into ancient Egypt, so Thor and co have to rescue him. The obligatory shenanigans and "Ah, so that's how it really happened" moments ensue. It's all quite familiar, really, but Davis does this sort of thing very well, and knows how to make a story's familiarity into a strength. There are a couple of uncharacteristic anatomy slips (the less said about page 25 panel 1, the better), but this is a nice, cosy package.

X-Factor #36 - Peter David said in a recent interview that he's still writing X-Factor as a noir series, which is interesting, because nobody seems to have told the rest of the creative team. This is actually one of Larry Stroman's strongest efforts on the book, at least in the first half - but a chunky Longshot and frankly bizarre Val Cooper make their appearance as the book goes on, not to mention some cartoon bystanders who seem to be drawn in a completely different style from the rest of the book. Good opening sequence, though, and David is on form with some clever wrongfooting of the audience.

X-Men: Legacy #217 - Part two of "Original Sin", and I'm slightly disconcerted to realise that I clearly don't quite grasp this Miss Sinister character. I was under the impression that she was supposed to be some sort of reincarnation of Mr Sinister, but she really doesn't seem to bear much resemblance to him, at this stage. All a bit confusing. Still, Carey tells a good story, and he's done enough to get me somewhat interested in Daken, which is a first. Perhaps the conclusion to draw from this is that my problem isn't so much with Daken as a concept, as with the way in which Daniel Way has been writing him.

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