Sunday, October 05, 2008

The X-Axis: 5 October 2008

It's a relatively uninspiring week for the X-books, and there are plenty of more interesting things to write about in full (such as No Hero, Four Eyes and Burma Chronicles), so let's just bounce through the mutants here and get them out of the way...

Cable #7 - This is the first part of a new arc, "Waiting for the End of the World", and as the cover rather awkwardly proclaims, the book now comes with added X-Men. Setting the book off in a commercial backwater always struck me as an odd direction if they were hoping to sell comics, even though it had obvious commercial advantages in keeping the book self-contained. Now, we've got this odd structure where Cable's off in the far future looking after the baby mutant in a post-apocalyptic farming refuge, while Bishop has conveniently returned to the present so that he can interact with the X-Men. Odd. Perhaps the "Lone Wolf and Cub" set-up was never meant to be permanent, and was merely a device to age the baby by a few years relative to the other characters. Or maybe they've hit the panic button already; I wouldn't put it past them these days, given how frequently they reboot New/Young X-Men/Mutants. Anyway, the big problem with this series is that they're trying to sell the idea that Bishop is genuinely convinced that the kid is a threat, but they're also trying to conceal why he thinks that. And inevitably, that means you get some horribly clumsy scenes where Bishop is supposedly trying to convince the X-Men that he's right, yet still doesn't offer the most basic explanation of his motivations, for no apparent reason other than to serve a plot structure that isn't really working. Some of the far-future stuff's quite good, but the book as a whole has some hideous internal logic problems which it doesn't even seem to be aware of.

Civil War: House of M #2 - Continuing the explanation of how Magneto came to rule the world, in a timeline that never actually happened, from a crossover three years ago. Of course, none of that would matter if it was a compelling story. But disappointingly, it looks like we're just going to go through the familiar Magneto-as-freedom-fighter routine, where the humans are such bastards before he arrives on the scene that he gets to be a hero instead of a terrorist. It's all perfectly adequate - and there are some nice moments where the Genoshans are written as if they were heroic defenders of their way of life, playing off the inversion of Magneto's usual role. Still, the story doesn't seem to have any new angle on Magneto, and the book can't justify its existence solely on the strength of filling such a trivial gap in continuity.

New Exiles #12 - Not a bad issue, actually. It's Cat and Sabretooth on the run from the bad guys, with some details about Cat's background finally being revealed. Obviously she's a version of Kitty Pryde, but the series has been intentionally vague about the rest of background. It turns out that she's the version of Kitty who signed up for Emma Frost's school before the X-Men got near her, which is a nice enough riff on Kitty's debut. Nothing earth shattering here, but it's all perfectly enjoyable.

Wolverine Annual #2 - Yet another throwaway Wolverine one-shot, although for some reason this one enjoys the status of an Annual. It's written by Cable's Duane Swierczynski with art by Mike Deodato, who does some good work these days, even if his Wolverine is a bit too muscular. (He's not a bodybuilder, Mike.) It's a curious story about Wolverine showing up in a small town and fighting a weird monster that deafens people. Not a bad idea for a one-off villain; after all, Wolverine's central gimmick is that he can take the damage and get better, so you can do the theme properly. And it's a pretty decent gimmick story, for the most part - until it suddenly decides, a few pages from the end, that it's actually a metaphor for the suffering of native Americans. Cue some tacked-on moralising that doesn't really help the story. Not bad up to the point, though.

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