Sunday, March 15, 2009

The X-Axis - 15 March 2009

It's not so much a quiet week as a dead one. There's only two X-books out - X-Men Noir #4 and the Nightcrawler one-shot - and I'll deal with those separately. And otherwise... um, virtually nothing of interest. The sum total of everything else I bought this week comes to...

Astonishing Tales #2 - Well, it's kind-of-sort-of an honorary X-book. The anthology is currently running two X-related serials. One is an undistinguished Wolverine/Punisher story which has interesting art from Kenneth Rocafort (though sadly he's picked up some of the worst habits of the Top Cow studio where female characters are concerned), married to a generically uninspiring team-up plot. Bereft New X-Men fans may wish to know that it features Kimura and Predator X, but there's little else of note here.

The other one is a Mojoworld story by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Patarra, which is endearingly mental and actually worth a look. Mojo abducts Cannonball and Sunspot to replace his striking writers (um, how long has his been in the pipeline?), and we get a whole story of contract negotiations, in Mojo's typically senseless style. A nice mixture of absurd and deadpan - Hickman gets that Mojo works best when he honestly thinks he's fooling someone.

You also get a forgettable Iron Man 2020 story, and a Modok short by Ted McKeever which runs through most of the usual Modok jokes, but does them well. All told, it's a mixed package, but there's some genuinely worthwhile stuff here.

Captain Britain & MI-13 #11 - Well, it needs all the support it can get. I assume Captain Britain's in the title for the recognition factor, because this is really more of an old-fashioned team book centred around Pete Wisdom. It's a fun title, as vampires invade Britain with the traditional mixture of melodrama and knowing silliness. The art's rather inconsistent; Leonard Kirk is on top form, but bang in the middle we get a few pages of exposition illustrated by Mike Collins, who isn't doing his best work, and was presumably in something of a rush. Still, it's all perfectly readable, and they've wisely kept it away from the pages that really needed to be dramatic.

Fables #82 - This is an epilogue issue following on Boy Blue's death last month, perhaps because there's a month to fill before the crossover with spin-off book Jack of Fables starts in April. It's a good one, though, following up cleverly on the obvious questions that should come up in this situation - such as, is it actually possible for these characters to die permanently? Aren't the really popular stories supposed to be immortal? The book neatly answers those points and uses them as the basis for some clever scenes. Oh, and the woodland creatures are getting restless. Fables recently completed the major storyline that ran through the first six years of the title, which is the point where a lot of books lose the way, if they bother to carry on at all. So far, though, Bill Willingham is keeping the quality up.

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