Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Part 17 Review

It’s like squatting at an apartment, only not at an apartment but in other Marvel Comics while the X-Men look for a place to call their very own. A Mutant Road Trip if you will.

Amazing Adventures #11 The Beast
Amazing Adventures #12 Iron Man: D.O.A.
Amazing Adventures #13 Evil is All in Your Mind
Amazing Adventures #14 The Vampire Machine

Umm.. okay, where to start with this one… I was actually kind of let down by the over all story. It’s one of those fixed points in the X-Men history that is so relevant that it can’t ever be ignored but at the same time I don’t think that it really lived up to all the hype it had in my head. It doesn’t help either that some things just don’t track: we’re led to believe that the X-Men are in hiding due to anti-mutant hysteria and that Charles has forbidden everyone aside from Hank from leaving the Xavier Institute yet in the few scenes we do have with the X-Men in this story we never actually see Lorna or Alex- it’s almost as if they don’t exist at all. It’s also unclear as to exactly how much time has passed between this and the end of the X-Men title (as well as the future Hidden Years book, but that becomes an issue with larger reasons in future books that I’ll talk about shortly) but it appears that a rather significant portion of time has passed because Hank is no longer with Vera, instead he is in love with his assistant Linda Donaldson. Anyway for the actual plot Hank is trying to single out and cure genetic mutation but through a series of events he has to take his own ‘cure’ and it ends up jumpstarting his mutation and turn him into the furry Beast that’s been around for years. There are a lot of characters that we touch base with through the course of this story: the X-Men, Iron Man, Mastermind, The Blob, Unus, Quasimodo, a strange woman always in the shadows who is looking for Hank, Patsy Walker, Buzz Baxter, Linda, and the ranks of ‘the Secret Empire’ who play a rather large role in the over all X-Men plot for the next year-ish. IN the end though, it just didn’t live up to the hype I had built up in my brain- it’s kind of sad actually, I really wanted this to be a lot better than it actually was.

Amazing Adventures #15 Murder in Mid-Air!
Amazing Adventures #16 … And the Juggernaut will get you… if you don’t watch out!
Amazing Adventures #17 Birth of the Beast!
The Incredible Hulk #161 Beyond the Border Lurks Death!

The next chapter in this story is a little better but it’s more disjointed. We find out that the shadowed woman has been Vera, Hank’s ex-girlfriend so it appears that the two of them either parted on good terms or it has been an even larger period of time that has passed since the end of the X-Men book and the last few adventures. She’s been looking for Hank to take him to Canada to stop some massive threat that can end the world. It makes you wonder if she had figured out if Hank is a mutant, but it turns out she just wants his help for his brain, the threat that can end the world actually ends up being Calvin Rankin, the Mimic who is quickly loosing control of his powers and is afraid that he will cause the death of everyone he comes in contact with. The Hulk comes into play for two reasons here: Amazing Adventures was canceled before this story could finish so it had to wrap up somewhere, and they explained the Hulk’s weakening powers as a result of Mimic inadvertently draining them. In the end it appears that Calvin dies of radiation poisoning from prolonged draining of the Hulk’s gamma radiation. Back in Amazing Adventures we see a sort of Halloween tale where Hank fights Juggernaut- which I think they could have skipped that story entirely because it would have allowed them to wrap up this plot without having to outsource it’s conclusion to yet another book. The final issue of Amazing Adventures ends up being a reprint of the Origin of the Beast that ran as one of the many back up features in the X-Men books. It’s basically just a reprint of: A Beast is Born, This Boy- This Bombshell, The Lure of the Beast- Nappers!, The Crimes of the Conquistador! And Welcome to the Club, Beast! There really isn’t anything to say about this so we’re going to move on now.

Ka-Zar #2 From the Sky, Winged Wrath
Ka-Zar #3 In the Den of the Dazzler
Marvel Tales #30 Te Cage an Angel!

Here we see the start of the story that gave us the plot of X-Men: The Hidden Years #13-15. We see how Dazzler (Angel’s uncle Burt, not the Dazzler we come to know and love later) had Warren Worthington JR killed, we see him capture Angel and learn that he is Warren Worthington III- there really isn’t anything much to say about that. We see the FBI agent who has been working with the X-Men for some time now try to talk Angel fof of a ledge and keep him from killing Dazzler’s men and we see more of Warren’s relationship with Candy. The story is pretty good, if not rushed, which is sort of to be expected considering it ran as a back up feature over the course of three books, so it’s barely large enough for one full comic book to begin with. I think my problem with this story is the fact that I read the retcon first, so I already knew that Burt didn’t die when Warren dropped him to save Candy from falling to her death, but at the same time we don’t actually see Warren tell Candy that he’s Angel, let alone take the time out to explain everything X-Men and Charles Xavier related to her. It’s a safe bet to assume that it happens off panel, but still with how bold Candy acts in the Hidden Years, you would at the very least think that Warren ‘outing’ himself as a mutant would have been shown.

Avengers #110 … And Now Magneto!
Avengers #111 With Two Beside Them!

This next story also sort of suffers from the retcon of The Hidden Years because this particular story then becomes very much displaced. We still haven’t seen Lorna or Alex, so this must take place around the same time they appeared in The Hulk, but that’s iffy too because in Amazing Adventures it is stated that Charles has forbidden the X-Men except for Hank from leaving the Institute. Now this story obviously takes place after The Hidden Years because Hank is now the blue furred Beast, but that doesn’t make sense because the X-Men are shocked that Magneto is alive but by that point they all should know he survived what happened to him in the Savage Land because they have dealt with him several times since then. We do learn one important thing here and that is that someone has systematically been targeting and abducting mutants for a while now and in the midst of the confusion between Magneto fighting the X-Men and then posing as Angel someone has made off with the real Angel. Another thing I found a little strange is during the whole Savage Land story in the X-Men Ka-Zar snapped the Piper’s neck in order to get him to stop, so it leads us to believe that he’s dead only now he’s up and around working for Magneto yet again. It’s just a little too weird. It would have been a good read but I’ve read maybe a total of 5 Avenger comic books in my entire life so I’m not familiar with that universe at all so I honestly didn’t care about Black Panther’s people wanting him to return home, Pietro and Wanda’s falling out over her falling in love with a robot (the Vision) or Hawkeye leaving the team to be with Black Widow only to find out she’s been shacking up with Daredevil and her eventually joining the Avengers to help replenish their ranks while giving her some time and space to pick between Hawkeye and Daredevil.

Amazing Adventures #11 The Beast: C
Amazing Adventures #12 Iron Man: D.O.A.: B
Amazing Adventures #13 Evil is All in Your Mind: B
Amazing Adventures #14 The Vampire Machine: B
Amazing Adventures #15 Murder in Mid-Air!: B
Amazing Adventures #16 … And the Juggernaut will get you… if you don’t watch out!: D
Amazing Adventures #17 Birth of the Beast!: C
The Incredible Hulk #161 Beyond the Border Lurks Death!: B
Ka-Zar #2 From the Sky, Winged Wrath: A
Ka-Zar #3 In the Den of the Dazzler: A
Marvel Tales #30 Te Cage an Angel!: A
Avengers #110 … And Now Magneto!: C
Avengers #111 With Two Beside Them!: C

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