Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Part 12 Review

Let’s do the time warp again… or how I told you the tale of Professor Xavier and the X-Men.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #1 Trial by Fire-

The next pit stop in the reviews takes us to a short lived series that retold the early stories of the X-Men comics from back in the sixties- only this time they’ve been uptaded to make them slightly more modern and told through different perspectives and points of view. This time we see how Jean joins the X-Men, only this time it’s told from Jean’s eyes, her fear of learning how to use her powers and being accepted, her struggles with creating a name and life for herself, etc. A few things have been changed mostly now this issue comments on Jean’s telepathy, which she didn’t have the first time this story was told, it was first shoehorned in when Charles ‘died’ and then later changed yet again to her having latent telepathy all along. One thing that sort of stuck out was how powerful Jean was in this issue, when she first joined the X-Men she had difficulty moving things larger than a book, now she’s spinning the Beast around and moving cars with her powers. Hank seems a bit off… almost kind of creepy, not bad but he seems a lot more different than he does in the way he acted back in the original stories.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #2 The Gentleman Vanishes! -

Much like before issue two retells the story of wait for it… issue two of X-Men, they’re still switching up perspectives here, this time we get the story told more from Vanisher’s point of view. In all actuality I think it works better this time than the original story did. The idea of Vanisher gathering information on other mutants and collecting it is an interesting twist as well as him needing a van and having a crew of people who help him get around after he uses his abilities. It is funny when you think about it, I rated the retelling of issue one lower than the issue itself and this time I ended up liking the retelling much more than the original issue. I hope this trend continues for stories that I didn’t care for the first time out, but only time will tell how the other issues play out, if they play out at all.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #3 Freak Show-

Keeping up the trend issue 3 retells the story of issue 3 only this time it’s a little bit different. This time it focuses a lot more on the Blob’s time at the circus and how his mind works. We get a new element of the story included when they threw in flashbacks to Fred’s life as a teenager and when his powers first started to manifest and then later on when Charles confronts the Blob on the Astral Plane where Charles uses his abilities to erase Fred’s memory of ever meeting the X-Men or learning that he’s a mutant. That is a little bit off though considering he couldn’t do that to the Vanisher last issue yet he can do it now. It’s not as big of a mistake as Jean’s fluctuating power level because Charles’ powers have always sort of been at the whim of the current storyline. The thing that I liked the most about this particular retelling was that it paints Blob as a tragic figure where as in the original story it gives you the end game of why you should pity him, but with this point of view you get to watch the picture be painted before your eyes and you truly end up feeling sorry for Fred.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #4 Opportunities Missed-

This is the first issue that really isn’t a retelling of any particular story in fact it’s an all new story in which we see that Charles has previously been to Europe in an attempt to recruit Wanda and Pietro. Unfortunately he fails but before returning back to the states he goes off to Muir Island and spends some time with Moira MacTaggert. Granted as of yet she hasn’t been introduced into the main title, but this is the first time we actually se her within the context of the story. We also see that Charles is considering recruiting Ororo Munroe (Storm,) Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler,) and Piotr Rasputin (Colossus) but for various reasons- Kurt and Piotr being younger than Bobby, and it being too big of a culture shock for Ororo he currently decides against seeking them out, so for now they just appear in a series of photographs. The main point of the story though is dealing with Wanda and Pietro wanting to have a normal life and not deal with having to constantly fight the world just to survive. We finally see how the town they are in turns on Wanda even though she used her powers in order to save the life of an accident prone girl. That’s a nice touch because we get to see how Magneto ‘saved’ them so at least that ties up that one plot from the original issues.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #5 The Brotherhood-
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #6 Fallen Angel-

Issues five and six take place directly after the end of the last issue and they are retellings of the first standoff between Professor Xavier and the X-Men against Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that happened in issues four and five of the original series. This is pretty much a straight forward retelling I guess, there are some things that are done differently because we can see things from Warren’s perspective in the second half of the story, and we really didn’t get too much of that in the original story. I really wish they would have dropped the whole plot with Charles not being able to access his mental powers after the blast like they had done before.. but they left it in, at least it’s only quickly glanced over so it’s not too bad. The aspects of the story that they did cut out in order to make the story fit end up making it a bit more jumbled because things switch so abruptly that it might be confusing if you hadn’t read the original story.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #7 Supreme Notions -

This story retells the adventure from issue 6 of the original series where the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the X-Men battle over Namor, the Sub-Mariner. I know I said the last story felt really rushed and jumbled but this one is even worse. That actually makes it more difficult for me because I really didn’t care for the original story to begin with but with all the funky editing and removing of certain things to make the story fit within the space allowed make it really confusing- case in point when Namor turns against Magneto… it happens off panel so we don’t see it coming at all and to make it odd they switch up the reasons in the original story Namor turned on Magneto because of how he talked to Wanda and now he’s turning on him because he doesn’t like being given orders and pushed around. I don’t know, it just wasn’t my favorite issue and that’s pretty much all I can say about it.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #8 Maneuvers -

This time we get the retelling of issue 7 from the original series. The story is pretty decent, I guess. What I loved about the first time we got the Blob in this series was how it made him more tragic than he was but they cut that out of this story. My favorite part of the first time this story was told to us was how it ended with Fred being a self hating mutant and just wanted to be left alone by everyone and not fight anyone’s battles for them – instead now we get Fred and Scott coming to an understanding that the Blob can go about his business and that the X-Men will leave him alone as long as he doesn’t join Magneto. They should have just left it as is, especially with how much they beefed up Fred’s mindset a few issues ago. I’m not too sure how I feel about them changing it to Fred jumping in front of the bombs Magneto launched. I guess it looks better than how the X-Men originally hid behind Fred with out him knowing what was going on, but still….

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #9 Breaches of Faith-

A retelling of issue 8 is what we get this time out when they update the introduction of Unus. This is one of those times where the retelling works better than the original story I think. Granted I wasn’t too psyched to see this story again but it certainly was easier to get through this abridged version than the original story. There isn’t really much to tell about this one honestly, it was good, but there wasn’t enough changed about it for this to be a big review. The one thing I did like about this story though and we’ve been getting it on other issues as well; is the points of view and perspectives of various characters throughout the story. In this instance it helps make a not so worthwhile story much easier to get through. I know that they’re sort of going in order when it comes to the retellings but I would much rather have seen some other stories than to have them retouch on things like Unus’ origin and Namor- but what are you going to do about it?

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #10 The Devil Below -

This time out we get the retelling of X-Men number 9. While this isn’t my favorite story I guess they did alright with it, I like that they cut out all of the flashbacks and focused more on things that were currently going on- it did make for a more interesting read. However I would have loved it if they kept the flashbacks in, but also still included the fleshed out parts – it would have made for a more complete story I feel. There was one thing that I didn’t really like and that was how the X-Men already knew that Lucifer was the one who crippled Charles years ago. It’s a bit of  nitpicking though but at this particular point in the series that wasn’t a fact the X-Men had known yet. I guess I can live with it though. One thing that I really did enjoy actually had nothing to do with the story itself but it was the update in the art- in the original story for a race of space aliens bent on mentally controlling the Earth, they kind of looked rather silly, at least with the update in the art they don't look as goofy as they used to- so I guess that's something. Right?

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #11 Primal Urges-

See, this is what I want in a retelling. Throwing out the things that didn’t work or served no point but just slowed down the progression of the story; keeping the things that worked, expanding on the really good parts of the story. This is what this whole series should have been about. I’m not the biggest fan of anything ‘Savage Land’ but if done correctly I like it and this was done well. We get a nice mix of action with the original plot and we see more of Warren’s struggle with having to hide his wings in his daily life and the lengths he has to go to every day. We see Warren struggle with his feelings for Jean and not wanting to betray Scott and in the end we see a nice little bond with Warren and Jean that I think works out really well. My only wish for this story was that they found a way to expand it to two issues, some things could have been that much more enjoyable if they found a way to go through all the beats instead of having to move quickly to fit everything in.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #12 Sibling Rivalry-
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #13 Battle Stations-
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #14 Living Dangerously-

These issues give us the retelling of issues 12 and 13 of the original series. When they first told the story of Juggernaut there were a few things that I didn’t like- such as Charles taking the time out in the middle of a battle to have the X-Men sit down and tell them a story. Instead we get the flashbacks before Juggernaut even becomes a threat so it actually works better to get the exposition first and then all the action. Not much was changed in the flashbacks, just some things updated to make it a little bit more modern. There were some changes with the action part of the story, and I guess that makes sense because originally it was just a two part story, but now it’s been stretched into three. The whole scene with Bobby trying to stop Cain with a giant wall of ice and then turning it into water is new, along with the conversation between Bobby and Warren about how concerned they are and their fears. They did cut out one thing which honestly I’m not sure why they did, but they cut out the grenades part from the first story and they also cut out Charles wiping Johnny Storm’s mind in order to keep him from knowing the location of the X-Men. They did manage to tie up a loose end that didn’t really make sense to me in the original story, now it’s explained that Charles turned Cain Marko’s comatose body over to the Avengers (before he regains custody of him in the future) instead of Cain just magically vanishing until it’s later learned that Charles has been keeping him in the basement of the mansion the entire time.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #15 Dangerous Convictions -

Things move a bit out of order with this one, the last few issues retold the story of what happened in issues twelve and thirteen and now we get the retelling of issue eleven. The whole plot with ‘The Stranger’ was odd to begin with, but the things they cut out here make it even that much weird. We don’t see ‘the Stranger’ attempt to have a normal life like we did before, we don’t see Charles and Magneto seeking him out; a lot of exposition was cut out. Of course to counter that they threw in more action and we see a lot more of the battle between the Stranger and Magneto. I guess it’s alright, but considering it wasn’t that big of a thing the first time out (they didn’t even bother to deal with the return of Magneto from ‘the Stranger’s’ home world, that happened in a different book) I don’t really see the point of revisiting this particular tale. You would think that in a book that involves retelling the big tales of the X-Men’s early adventures that they would just omit the filler stories altogether.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #16 Enter the Sentinels-
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #17 Probes-
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #18 Final Sanction-

These issues are updates of the introduction of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask and Master Mold which originally took place in (The Uncanny)X-Men #’s 14-16. Like with all of the other stories that have been retold in this series there were changes made. Two of them worked out for the better, the first being we get to see a lot more of the debate between Trask and Charles on national TV. The other edit that worked out better was the removal of the giant crystal being waved over the Sentinels base being the way that the X-Men defeat them. That was something that I couldn’t stand in the original story, it was too convenient and wrapped things up way too quickly, so I’m glad it was something that was cut out. The one thing that they changed that didn’t really work was the fact that they expanded on Bolivar’s hatred for mutants (even after he hears Beast’s retelling of his childhood and early teen years) – now this didn’t work for me because the next time we see the Sentinels (this time they’re being led by Bolivar’s son Larry) we learn that Larry Trask is himself a mutant and this was something that his father Bolivar knew about. Granted Bolivar still dies so we never get to find out if he hates mutants because his son is one, but it seems odd that even though this is a retelling they don’t bring up that aspect at all. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t add in other things that had been shoehorned in over the years (Jean’s telepathy and the strength of her telekinetic powers among other things.) Since this is the final issue of Professor Xavier and the X-Men they don’t include the illusion to the fact that Magneto is back like they had in the original story; one would assume that is because there won’t be a new issue of this title.

Professor Xavier and the X-Men #1 Trial by Fire: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #2 The Gentleman Vanishes!: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #3 Freak Show: A
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #4 Opportunities Missed: A
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #5 The Brotherhood: C+
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #6 Fallen Angel: B-
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #7 Supreme Notions: D
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #8 Maneuvers: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #9 Breaches of Faith: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #10 The Devil Below: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #11 Primal Urges: A
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #12 Sibling Rivalry: A
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #13 Battle Stations: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #14 Living Dangerously: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #15 Dangerous Convictions: C
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #16 Enter the Sentinels: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #17 Probes: B
Professor Xavier and the X-Men #18 Final Sanction: B

1 comment:

  1. Where do you all the issues you read? Do you read them online as digital issues or scans or you've bought actual comics??