Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Part 01 Review

So I’ve done it, I’ve officially gone crazy, and not just crazy – crazy, I mean ‘should have been carted off to the loony bin years ago crazy. A while ago I came up with the idea to read and review the Marvel Ultimate Universe in a revised chronological order based off of events instead of publication order. I got into it but honestly I got bored with it. Then I decided to review an anime by the name of Saint Seiya which is about 130 episodes, 5 movies and a 25ish episode follow up; I got through about 85 episodes and 3 ½ movies and got bored with it. Now these are things that I’ve had little to no interest in over the years but I really wanted to start some big project like that and see it all the way through. You know, just to prove that I could do it. Long story short, I’ve been in an X-Men type of mood for a long time now and I decided to do this, I am going to review the X-Men universe from start to finish all main titles and crossovers. I know… I’m long past crazy, but oh well, what’s the worst that can happen?  I catch up on some titles that I’ve wanted to read for a long time, I kill some free time, I beef up the posts on this blog – it’s not like me reading this will lead to the end of the world or anything.

(The Uncanny)X-Men #1-

Now this is a strange one mostly because I had been a fan of the X-Men for a long time and I’m more aware of the stories from the late 80s-early 2000s, not so much the stories that started it all. Since this is the first issue every character is basically ‘new;’ this is the first time we see Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Magneto and Professor X. There are a few things that get retconned out or revised as the universe expands for example given how Hank is written in the first issue he doesn’t appear to have the immense vocabulary that he demonstrates over the years, Scott is introduced as Slim Summers, not Scott – both are changed rather quickly by the third issue. However there are some things that take a bit longer to resolve for example this issue leads us to believe that this is the very first time that Charles and Jean meet, over later it gets changed to the two of them meeting while Jean was a little girl, not a teenager. Also Charles tells the students that it was a childhood accident that led him to being in a wheelchair, again this is changed later on to an older Charles being crippled as a result of a battle.

(The Uncanny)X-Men #2-

It’s always hard to follow up a number one, especially with a self contained story that really does nothing to move the plot along. In this issue we meet Vanisher who appears a few times over the years, so I guess this isn’t as big of a throw away as it seems but at the same time the story isn’t really anything to get excited about. It moves things along in the sense that it gives us more exposure to the main characters and helps us get to know them a little bit better but that’s it. They do introduce Fred Duncan who serves as a sort of go-between/contact for the Xavier Institute and the FBI but ultimately he’s not anything to write home about. My biggest problem with this issue is the fact that the X-Men were always supposed to be feared and hated yet in this issue people are mobbing Angel for kisses and autographs, Jean has to beat his fans off with her powers and they’re generally loved, of course when they first lose to the Vanisher everyone hates them but it flip flops again as soon as they defeat him.

(The Uncanny)X-Men #3-

Well now it’s time to introduce The Blob. This issue is a bit odd for me, if for nothing more than the writing. It’s odd to see how comics were written back in the 60s compared to how they’re done today. It’s kind of like reading instant messages or text messages – it’s kind of depressing. Of course that speaks more to how the world has changed over the years and not the writing style, so I’m not going to comment too much on that any more. It was nice to see Hank speak more in character to what we’ve become accustomed to. The odd thing though is to see Blob speaking the way he does, in most media from the 80s on he’s been I guess you could say slow witted. I think this is what will prove to be the hardest to get over as this continues - knowing everything I know about future events within the cannon, yet finding the balance with the fact that I’m not supposed to know I know it yet. Ultimately this was a better issue than the second one. There is one really creepy thing (that will surface later, but again I’m not supposed to know I know this yet) is when Scott is thinking about how much he loves Jean and Warren, Hank and even Bobby are falling all over themselves to spend time with her; Charles Xavier himself, internally declares Jean as the woman he’s always loved, and always will. This is weird on so many levels, Charles is a lot older than his students who are in their teens, and it gets even more strange when in the future they retcon it into Jean and Charles meeting when she was a little girl.

Issue #1 – X-Men: A -
Issue #2 – No One Can Hold the Vanisher: C
Issue #3 – Beware of … the Blob: B

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