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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 153

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at a cool moment from the first New X-Men story arc by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.

Enjoy!

The set-up of New X-Men #114 and most of #115 is a new villain named Cassandra Nova is trying to access Sentinel technology for some reason.

We learn for WHAT at the end of New X-Men #115, when the Sentinels are sent to the island nation of Genosha, which is filled with over 16,000,000 mutants…well, filled with over 16,000,000 for awhile, at least…

Such a thrilling piece of drama by Morrison and Quitely.

“The” moment for me is probably when the numbers finish counting down.

63 Comments

quite the klaxon-call announcement to usher in morrison’s very excellent and exceedingly transformative NEW X-MEN run. that first year hit all the right notes and yet strangely remaining a greatest hits pastiche of X-MEN past. quite the book, the yin to THE FILTH’s yang (or vice versa).

oh, and my nomination for the moment would be the 9/11 recall of the sentinel’s fist hitting magneto’s spire.

Travis Pelkie

June 3, 2009 at 3:52 am

Actually, wasn’t this coming out prior to 9/11, so it couldn’t “recall” it, per say. However, I may be wrong on the time frame.

I like the panels of Prof. X feeling the lights going out.

E is for Extinction was mind blowingly awesome, but I felt Morrison’s run may have petered out by the end. I believe he did say that working on XMen was depressing in a sense, and that led him to doing Seven Soldiers. The first issues of his run, though, wow.

Yeah… that was a stunning arc.

travis: yeah, i checked and you’re right, it was before 9/11, but i still think it’s apt to call it a “recall” in an anticipatory plagiarism way, haha, and also, you can’t really look at that scene (and that arc) critically without thinking about 9/11.

I liked the acknowledgement of continuity. One of the last stories before Morrison’s run involved Wolverine running Magneto through with his claws. I don’t remember where they left it–Magneto dead, or badly injured–but Magneto in the wheelchair implied that Wolverine had done some permanent damage. I was glad to see that somebody (Morrison or his editor) had actually been reading the earlier issues.

As stunning and shocking as this was, the fact that Morrison went a year or so before really bringing up its after-effects really diminished it for me. I mean, people STILL bring it up now, but back then it was just a few pages of New that was back-burnered to shwo off Nova’s fighting prowess.

Is there a list of the worst things that have happened int he ficitonal 616 Earth? This has to top the list.

“Is there a list of the worst things that have happened int he ficitonal 616 Earth? This has to top the list.”

Well, there was that time Ultron wiped out a fictional European nation, or the time Sentinels wiped out Washington, D.C.

Forget mutants, shouldn’t the general populace in the Marvel universe hate robots?

And the time Kang wiped out Washington, D.C. That place gets hit hard.

I know I’m usually alone on this one but I’ve never really been sold on Morrison’s run. At the beginning I generally felt the art was weak, in comparison to some of the other x-books out at the same time (X-treme and Uncanny both looked better to me than New did).

The Genosha arc also bugged me a great deal for the weakness in the story. Morrison killed 16 million people, in order to make Cassandra Nova into a “serious” threat. This is really no different than complaints about Wolverine killing everything that moves. It desensitizes the reader. Cassandra killing a few 100 people would be a tragedy as well, and establish her as a threat. Instead Morrison tried for shock value, and ended up making the “tragedy” into a poorly written example of excess. The new villain killing 16 million people is something I expect to find in Fanfic not in mainstream comics.

There were some high points in his run. The World was a neat idea, and Xorn was a neat creation until his secret was revealed, and the final dark future issues were also pretty good. But Genosha, and the Magneto arc which “climaxed” his run were weak and disruptive.

“There were some high points in his run. The World was a neat idea, and Xorn was a neat creation until his secret was revealed, and the final dark future issues were also pretty good. But Genosha, and the Magneto arc which “climaxed” his run were weak and disruptive.”

I disagree. This first arc had me hooked until the end where Xavier pops a cap into Cassandra Nova. I know it was later revealed that Nova had switched places with Xavier but they didn’t get back to that for some time, leaving the reader thinking that Morrison had written Xavier completely out of character. The biggest detriment to Morrison’s run was the atrocious artwork of Igor Kordey. I can’t believe that he was drawing so many Marvel titles at the time.

I liked this run (except for when Magneto realized he didn’t have a plan once he was in control) but was always kinda disappointed in how quickly Genosha gets wiped out.
My favorite moment here would probably be the telepath girl sitting alone in the classroom.

@Seangreyson and JeffRyan

Completely disagree with the assessment of E for Extinction. If someone was going to exterminate 16 million people then the cold and impersonal way Cassandra did it was in line with her personality when she was finally revealed. I also don’t see how killing a nation can be anything but shock value. I understand seeing this act as leaving one desensitized, but I saw it as imposing an overwhelming sense of doom.

The difference between that and Wolverine is that he’s been doing the same thing over and over and over for 20 years. She’s new and this genocide went to the heart of her character’s motivation which we didn’t learn about for almost a year. Now if she returns and does the same thing on this scale again then I might change that opinion but I doubt that story would happen…though I’ve been wrong before. And IIRC the first 8 issues or so take place in the course of about a month in comic time so the delay and the way the ramifications were dealt with was appropriate I thought.

However it is true the art was uneven in spots and I def agree that the Xorn/Magneto story was the turd in this otherwise delicious punch bowl of a run.

@Seangreyson:

I respectfully disagree with pretty much everything you said.

Frank Quitely was a total revelation to me as the artist on “New X-Men”. The X-Men is about social outsiders. Literally, they are the definition of a despised minority. They are every cliche about disliked and distrusted minority groups bundled into one. So, why are they drawn as being absurdly beautiful Anglo-Saxons, irrespective of their race? It makes the title utterly absurd.

The X-Men that John Byrne drew were off-putting for their time. Wolverine was short, hairy and looked like one of the Village People. Nightcrawler was creepy. Storm looked like a vampire. Only Scott and Jean were accessible. Then, the book was a hit . Everybody got prettier and prettier, until Jim Lee rolled up. During the ’90s, they all looked like they’d just gotten back from an audition for “Melrose Place”.

Quitely took the title back to those roots. Jean was still attractive, but she was back into the range of normal people. Scott looked like a prig. Logan looked like a rough trade thug. Hank McCoy looked weird. In other words, they looked like a group of people who would make you nervous. It brought the title back to its premise.

Sadly, it was an approach that lasted all of, maybe, five issues. The fill-in artists went straight back to pre-Quitely character models, so the visual look of Morrison’s run was totally incoherent.

@ Dean and David

Like I said, I’m usually alone on my dislike. I actually generally liked Quitely’s artwork for the main characters themselves. What I really started to dislike about the art (and the story), was that new characters were almost always monstrous. At least some of the students at the school, or in Mutant-town or wherever should still look like people rather than everyone being a Beak.

As for the story concept, you touched on Xavier/Nova as being out of character. That I didn’t have too much of a problem with (I could tell there was a story there). My problem was that the rest of the characters were being written very out of character as well. The dialogue and expressed views of the characters generally started sounding more like mutant supremicists than believers in peaceful coexistence. This also wasn’t coming from secondary characters either, it was coming from Phoenix, Beast, Frost and Cyclops.

The reason I tended to enjoy X-treme X-men more at this point was that LaRocca’s art was more to my taste (a personal choice) and because the X-men SOUNDED LIKE X-MEN, not like some Brotherhood off-shoot. It even came up when the two teams crossed over, with members of the X-treme team pointing out how much the other X-men had changed in personality.

There are definite elements to Morrison’s run that I like, but I’ve generally found that many of the concepts he introduced that I’ve come to like were developed into something more by later writers.

that moment showed why grant and the x-men are a nice fit and also showed that casandra is up there on the list of x villians for any one who would dare go after a mujtant haven overseen by magnetoe is one nasty villian that one should mess with carefully

You’re not alone, Seangreyson. Not a fan of the writing or art on this comic. I totally agree that killing 100 people might have been tragic, but killing 16 million people is just self-parody. Very fanfic.

“As stunning and shocking as this was, the fact that Morrison went a year or so before really bringing up its after-effects really diminished it for me.”

Uh, weren’t the X-Men sifting through the rubble in the very next issue?

“What I really started to dislike about the art (and the story), was that new characters were almost always monstrous. At least some of the students at the school, or in Mutant-town or wherever should still look like people rather than everyone being a Beak.”

Plenty of them did. The Stepford Cuckoos and Quentin Quire, among others, were normal-looking.

But, let me tackle your bigger argument. It doesn’t make any sense, because for decades, the vast majority of X-Men characters looked like normal human beings. Then, one writer introduces a fraction of that number of characters who look mutated, and your complaint is that there weren’t enough normal-looking ones in the group?

That’s silly.

“I totally agree that killing 100 people might have been tragic, but killing 16 million people is just self-parody. Very fanfic.”

Genocide is totally fan-fic. It’s the goofiest thing I’ve ever heard of, in fact.

And the fact that you preferred Ian Churchill’s bland, generic art from Uncanny over Quitely’s gorgeous stuff on New just about defeats any argument you might ever make in the future.

I thought one of the reasons for number of people killed in Genosha was an effort to downsize the number of mutants in the MU.

As for the run itself, when Quitely was drawing it it was spectacular. his art somehow grounds Morrison’s writing like no other artist can. His issues always felt special some how. Also, though I was excited to have Silvestri come back, the last arc didn’t meet my expectations for a “finale”. The characters were broadly sketched out so , besides the sentinel, I didn’t connect with any of them.

“I thought one of the reasons for number of people killed in Genosha was an effort to downsize the number of mutants in the MU. ”

That kind of goes against Morrison’s whole “mutants as part of culture” theme from later on in NXM, though. I always felt that getting rid of Genosha was just because the idea of mutants having an entire country to themselves was more than a little out there.

“Is there a list of the worst things that have happened in the ficitonal 616 Earth?”

Well, there was also that time when Spider-man made a deal with Mephisto to get rid of his marriage…

I loved the whole E is for Extinction and in fact up till Riot at Xaviers the whole thing was just manic energy and my favorite book.

I agree that Kordey’s art was both rushed and ugly, but per interviews with him, wasnt it Marvel signing him up to do 22 pages in less then 2 weeks. This was before it was accepted at marvel that some books should be late with consistent art and the sky will not fall. To get a better appreciation for Kordey art check out his Phantomex arc, where he was given proper time or even better was his IDW mini Smoke.

But back to New X-Men the book really shifted in a good way when they started rotating a penciller per arc. Jiminez, Quietly, Bachalo all delivered some great stuff. Hell the JP Leon one shot had some of my favorite moments, especially after everything is revealed.

-neil

I know it was later revealed that Nova had switched places with Xavier but they didn’t get back to that for some time,

They revealed that one issue later in #117. It was a bit late, as I recall, but that’s aboot it.

This is maybe the 10th best moment in NXM #115, anyway. That was the issue that punched my brain out the back of my head. The first time I ever dug the X-Men. And it made me a Morrison fan for life.

seangreyson

I have to agree with you. I know we’re in the minority in the internet world but Morrison’s run really didn’t do much for me. It seemed as if he was trying to make everything as weird as humanly possible for shock value. I also thought that destroying Genosha was, pardon the pun, overkill. 16M people gone in a matter of minutes just seemed like he was trying too hard to make us respect Nova as a villain.

Apodaca

Just becuase we don’t agree with you and your undying love for all things Morrison doesn’t mean we’re idiots and not entitled to our opinions. People like you give all comic fans a bad name. You are the sterotypical fan boy.

This might seem like a silly question, but why is Xavier wearing a pair of boxer shorts on his head in the last panel?

‘Just becuase we don’t agree with you and your undying love for all things Morrison doesn’t mean we’re idiots and not entitled to our opinions. People like you give all comic fans a bad name. You are the sterotypical fan boy.’

-I think you got that wrong, you certainly sound more of a stereotype.

I definitely agree with today’s moment, it’s a great scene.

@ Apodaca
Haven’t pulled these comics out in a while, but what’s stuck with me for years was that the new direction focused on the IN-humanity of mutants, rather than the basic concept of the X-men (that we’re all Human). The Stepford Cuckoos and Quentin Quire both fit this mold as well, and the art for these characters tended to emphasize this as well (in Quire’s case at least some of it was in-character style choice).

As with most of the other things in this run, when these characters and Beak found their way into other creator’s hands they grew on me a lot more.

And as for preferring Churchill’s art. At the time it was the more conventional style, and with the new direction the books had gone in, having something conventional made me slightly more willing to accept the story.

@ Anonymous
It’s the “Cerebra” design that the X-men instituted (Cerebro’s big sister, as it was described). He’s wearing some sort of X-shaped helmet to enhance his telepathy.

This was an awesome moment from a great issue. I don’t understand the complaints that this scene was meant to shock and make Cassie Nova look like a serious badass- that’s kind of the point, no?

Also, I’m very amused at Apodaca being called the “stereotypical fan boy.”

I bought these issues from a spinner rack at a grocery store and they blew my mind. I picked up the first Ultimate Collection trade a few months ago and reliving that feeling again was awesome. Seeing Igor Kordey art…. not so much.

The bye-bye to Genosha happened in issue #116. When they visit Genosha, which is an excellent issue, is issue #132, well over a year later. Considering this is the 9/11-Holocaust for mutants, for the first year it’s not given much of any play at all.

Roquefort Raider

June 3, 2009 at 12:45 pm

The Morrison run was the only X-Men I had read since… oh, the end of the Claremont-Lee era, and I thought it was a great re-imagining of the title (even though I’m usually not a Morrison fan). I don’t see the genocide in Genosha as being a bad plot twist; however, I think an event of such magnitude, to be taken seriously, would have had to be THE defining event in all Marvel titles for at least a year (something that, obviously, would have been a bit difficult to pull).

I agree that Morrison’s run petered out at the end. The demonstration of the outdatedness of the Megalomaniac Soliloquing Super-Villain concept made for an interesting statement about the tropes of the comic-book world, but also made for a rather boring story. And I’m apparently not alone in thinking that Xorn was a much more interesting character in and of himself than he was as a disguised Magneto, even though the subterfuge had been planned all along.

Regarding Igor Kordey : he did have to rush through many issues, but I thought he did a great job in difficult circumstances. I enjoyed his work as much as Quitely’s, and more than that of the other artists. It had a grit and a distinct personality of its own.

@Jeff Ryan
Issue #132 was released on 9/11/2002. It actually was one of Marvel’s 9/11 tribute books (there were a couple other good ones that day). That was the reason they went back to it at that point. Admittedly it would probably be expected for the characters to have done more earlier, but #132′s purpose wasn’t really to advance the Genosha story exactly.

Genosha was destroyed in issue 114, Morrison’s first issue. The very next issue, the X-Men are there looking for survivors, and find Emma Frost.

As much as I generally like Morrison’s writing (though I am not familiar with his X-Men run), I really think it’s about time that genocide is treated more realistically in superhero comics. After all, while most agree that the idea of superheroes going after bank robbers seems silly, genocide seems like just the sort of crime that normal humans commit, yet the superhero would be uniquely capable of stopping.

That said, compared to the historical genocides in the world outside of Marvel Comics, the extermination of 16 million Genoshans in just minutes would have made it the largest and most efficient genocide ever seen.

As much as we like to personify evil, real genocides aren’t the work of a single villain. They take many many people acting in concert, they’re motivated by deep seated ideologies, they don’t happen in a single instant. The victims don’t even have to be in the millions.

Mike Loughlin

June 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Seangreyson,

My take on Morrison’s conception of the X-Men was that mutant culture was making inroads into human culture, just as other minority cultures have become integrated into mainstream cultures. I really liked this direction, as it took the characters away from the adolescent angst that had defined the series for so long. I felt the inclusion of that characters of different types, not just super-heroes (Angel, Beak, the Special Class, Quentin Quire, Xorn pre-reveal) brought the series much-needed humanity.

Morrison’s dialogue, on the other hand, did feature some pith, and characters talking around (rather than to) each other. Perhaps that contributed to your sense of being distanced (and I’m not trying to say this is so, just suggesting a reason you may not have cared for the writing). I can see why that style may be off-putting, although I enjoyed the series.

Mike Loughlin

June 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm

As an aside, I really hate seeing genocides in comics. It makes the heroes seem completely useless, and no victory they achieve can overcome the initial failure. I don’t care that Ultron wewas stopped, for example, if an entire country was slaughtered beforehand.

” You’re not alone, Seangreyson. Not a fan of the writing or art on this comic. I totally agree that killing 100 people might have been tragic, but killing 16 million people is just self-parody. Very fanfic. ”

It’s true that Cassandra Nova would have created a tragedy by killing 100 mutants. In other news, Joseph Stalin could have gotten his point across to the Russian people by killing a hundred of them, instead of millions.

I think it’s very satisfying on an emotional level to see evil of this magnitude personified into a singular villain, but as nasty as Joseph Stalin might have been, the crimes that bear his name wouldn’t have come to pass without many thousands (millions?) of accomplices.

The superhero genre rarely addresses the crime of genocide directly, and maybe the genre isn’t really capable of dealing with such a topic. One of the few attempts that come to mind was in Mark Millar’s run on The Authority when the Authority take out the thinly-veiled Suharto regime for the genocide in East Timor. Though the Authority is able to declare a quick victory, there are numerous consequences– refugees, economic instabilities, et cetera.

@Mike Loughlin

You may be right about the sense of distance due to the dialogue

@Mike/Nitz/Ian
Genocide in comics is overdone, and the problem is that the scale grows every time it happens. Looked at purely as a storytelling issue, in order to make it shocking the writer inflates the number, setting a new floor for the shock value and after a while it gets ridiculous.

30 years ago Magneto destroyed a Russian city (though Claremont generally made it clear that the residents made it out). At the time that would have been huge. Now we’ve got Ultron or Cassandra Nova or Black Adam. If you don’t kill a million people, you’re just not trying.

Genocide is a serious issue, and while comics should address it, it shouldn’t be a throwaway incident in order to make someone seem Eeeevil!!!!, particularly when we consider the effect of much smaller mass murders in the real world. 9/11 changed the political, military and social status quo around the world, as one example of thousands.

16 million dead on Genosha had about the same emotional impact on me as the destruction Alderan, which is to say I went, “Whoa. Cool.”

Now, when Whedon had Ord casually take away Wing’s power… THAT was heartbreaking.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I’m surprised you could go past the first page of Morrison’s run for cool – a great splash of two character being cool, which set up one of the big goals of the run in one line of dialogue!

you can’t really look at that scene (and that arc) critically without thinking about 9/11.

In what way does a genocide recall 9/11?

As stunning and shocking as this was, the fact that Morrison went a year or so before really bringing up its after-effects really diminished it for me. I mean, people STILL bring it up now, but back then it was just a few pages of New that was back-burnered to shwo off Nova’s fighting prowess.

Shwa?

It triggered a lot of the run – suddenly everyone in the world was cool with mutants – no Genosha = no John Sublime, no genosha = no expanding of school, no genosha = explosion of mutant culture = no corporation x.
He didn’t spend page after page of people talking about it, he showed the outcomes as they affected the x-men.

The new villain killing 16 million people is something I expect to find in Fanfic not in mainstream comics.

Because smeone writing fanfic would have the balls to do such an event that totaly changes the world the characters live in… sure.

Oh, and it wasn’t just Casandra Nova, that was the first strike from sublime – an enemy the x-men never actually beat in the run.. they will beat it because Scott stayed and kept the school open, but never actually did in the run.

The biggest detriment to Morrison’s run was the atrocious artwork of Igor Kordey. I can’t believe that he was drawing so many Marvel titles at the time.

Blame the editors, not Kordey.

6M people gone in a matter of minutes just seemed like he was trying too hard to make us respect Nova as a villain.

Although she was under the influence of – or was part of (can’t quite remember) – Sublime, whose goal was to eliminate mutants.
Taking down the country full of them was probably a good start – with the unexpected consequence of making the world realise they were people to (much like with Jews after the holocaust – nothing quite kills the ‘He had the right idea’ vibe than seeing what that actually entailed.

Just becuase we don’t agree with you and your undying love for all things Morrison doesn’t mean we’re idiots and not entitled to our opinions. People like you give all comic fans a bad name. You are the sterotypical fan boy.

He never said that – he said loving Ian Churchill’s art doesn’t really scream ‘I know art’.
Other than that, he rebuffed the points people made, but instead of arguing them, you attacked him.
Tis you who are the fanboy.

Genosha was destroyed in issue 114, Morrison’s first issue. The very next issue, the X-Men are there looking for survivors, and find Emma Frost.

And to be a fanboy myself, it was destroyed in Morrion’s second issue, with the third starting with them in the remains looking for survivors.

” I think it’s very satisfying on an emotional level to see evil of this magnitude personified into a singular villain, but as nasty as Joseph Stalin might have been, the crimes that bear his name wouldn’t have come to pass without many thousands (millions?) of accomplices. ”

It’s worth noting that Cassandra was intentionally presented as a one-dimensional villain, a character who was acting on predatory instinct and only mimicking human dialogue. It’s also worth noting that the weapon she used to destroy Genosha was not her own power, but a Super-Sentinel built by thousands of human ” accomplices “.

“Genocide is a serious issue, and while comics should address it, it shouldn’t be a throwaway incident in order to make someone seem Eeeevil!!!!, particularly when we consider the effect of much smaller mass murders in the real world. 9/11 changed the political, military and social status quo around the world, as one example of thousands. ”

It’s also worth noting that for all the ” shock value ” apparent to Genosha’s destruction, the event’s presence was there throughout Morrison’s entire story; the country being destroyed led to the X-Men’s outing ( even if Cassandra was in Charles’ body at the time, the opportunity was presented for mutantkind to gain actual sympathy ), the emergence of mutant culture, Magneto being used as a martyr figure for a new generation of ” evil mutants “, the Weapon Plus program designing new super-soldiers under pressure, and basically every other shift in the human-mutant dynamic over the course of Morrison’s X-Men tenure.

Critics should not accuse a work of a lack of depth if they are not willing to try and read depth into it.

For me the moment this issue wasn’t the ending, it was that scene with Cyclops mercy-killing someone.

“Look into my eyes”.

That was more shocking than anything else in the issue, plus it showed more snap-decision leadership in Scott than I’d read in a long time.

I’m with the folks who enjoyed this arc overall, with all its highs and lows (even when they were really close together: for me, the Xorn reveal was a high, the rest of that arc not so much…)

Just to note: I haven’t read Morrison’s run on New X-Men. I have no idea how well he treated the topic of genocide. I was just noting that the scale of the Genoshan genocide is actually larger and more efficient than any real world genocide. The fact is that each genocide doesn’t have to be larger than the previous one to be horrific. The regime that exterminates 4 million isn’t really any more evil than the one that exterminates 400,000– they just have better technology and organizational skills.

I do have a problem with personalizing a genocide as the work of a single villain. The people who do the actual killing in real genocides rarely just get the idea that it might be a good idea to kill off a people because “Great Leader” just said so last week.

with the unexpected consequence of making the world realise they were people too (much like with Jews after the holocaust – nothing quite kills the ‘He had the right idea’ vibe than seeing what that actually entailed.

To an extent. The Lutheran Church did decide after the Holocaust that Martin Luther’s writings it which he advocated burning Jews was no longer an idea they would endorse– but the point is that those who ended up committing the crime had grown up with the idea– they only needed leaders to tell them “we’re really doing it this time!”

Black Adam committed genocide. On purpose.

One year from now he will be the star of a comic book and everyone will be talking about what a cool character he is is.

Or are we already there?

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 3, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I do have a problem with personalizing a genocide as the work of a single villain.

It was sublime.

More a bacterium than a villain.

Out to ensure it’s own survival.

Mutants threaten that.

And it does work that way – for years the X-men have had Sentinels to exterminate the mutants a an ever present threat, here was a sentinel doing just that.
It followed through on something that had been there for years.

I think it’s very satisfying on an emotional level to see evil of this magnitude personified into a singular villain, but as nasty as Joseph Stalin might have been, the crimes that bear his name wouldn’t have come to pass without many thousands (millions?) of accomplices.

The one thing that superhero comics does better than any other medium is boil complex, difficult issues down using metaphor and symbolism. Robert Wright in “Non-Zero” and Grant Morrison in “All-Star Superman” are saying basically the same things about humanity. It is just that Morrison is a much quicker read.

“New X-Men” had problems with inconsistent art, but it started off on amazing. Morrison was the first person to really think through the basic ideas of the title in, like, twenty years. He and Quitley made X-Men comics cool, which seemed almost impossible at the time.

Count me in as one of those who wasn’t a fan of Morrison’s run. I’ve got a Bachelor’s in English literature, so it’s not like I’m an idiot when it comes to dissecting fiction…and I couldn’t understand what he was driving at half the time.

And Sublime is one of the worst-executed ideas I’ve read in a while. If you have to explain the character via a complete info-dump through the generic narrator, you’re not doing a good job.

I think the moment for me is “Everybody’s going to die.” I still remember this issue. It was super fucked up!

so it’s not like I’m an idiot when it comes to dissecting fiction…and I couldn’t understand what he was driving at half the time.

I have a theory about why that happens with Morrison books: he writes very short panel descriptions. By that I mean “Panel 2: Magneto looks out the window” short. Meticulous artists like Quitely and JH Williams call him and ask “Hey Grant, did you have anything else in mind there?” That prompts a twenty minute discourse on the over-arching plot, how it all fits together and the symbolism of the scene. Less meticulous guys (or folks on tight deadline, lgor Kordey) just draw Magneto looking out a window.

A lot of what is going on with Morrison is pretty subtle, so it become hard to understand if the artist isn’t drawing his exact intent. You can place the blame for that a lot of places. Maybe Morrison should write fuller scripts. Maybe the editors should do a better job pairing Morrison only with artists that will get across his full intent. Maybe the artists shouldn’t take Grant Morrison gigs unless they’ve budgeted 10-15 hours of phone time per month into their schedules.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I suspect that is the problem.

I’m not talking about anything subtle; I’m talking about the overarching point of his work. If Sublime were supposed to be pulling the strings on…well, everything and then some, it certainly wasn’t presented very well.

I like Morrison’s work the shorter it is. On his longer runs, he starts to get a bit…odd.

I’m looking at you, Animal Man.

” Count me in as one of those who wasn’t a fan of Morrison’s run. I’ve got a Bachelor’s in English literature, so it’s not like I’m an idiot when it comes to dissecting fiction…and I couldn’t understand what he was driving at half the time. ”

With all due respect, it doesn’t matter if you have a high school diploma, a Bachelor’s, or a PHD, if you don’t use the ( apparent ) attached critical reading skills in the first place. Which is why these Morrison debates are frustrating; there’s a point where Morrison tends to be unclear when he could have made the same point in a more effective fashion, and there’s a point where the audience is just demanding things be spelled out for them.

I like Morrison’s work the shorter it is. On his longer runs, he starts to get a bit…odd.

Anymore, I like almost everyone on shorter, more defined runs. The story-telling is just a lot better when the author knows there is an ending. Compare Chris Claremont during the Dark Phoenix saga to Claremont staring his second decade on the Merry Mutants. The former used fresh ideas to set up plot twists that led somewhere. The later was adding and dropping sub-plots until those became an unreadable mess.

That is the big difference between writers and artists to me. An artist can draw a character forever. Curt Swan absolutely rocked “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” after spending decades cranking out forty Superman pages a month. I’d be perfectly happy if Gary Frank was drawing Superman twenty years from now. Once they settle into a character, it just works.

Writers, conversely, have a finite number of stories for a given set of characters. It all adds up to something for them. Once they reach that point, they are done. They are confronted with either repeating the stories they’ve already told with some slight variation, shaking up the cast of characters, moving on to another cast of character, or squeezing the stories they have into the story-telling engine of the existing character. That last is the worst. It gives you electric blue Superman, broken-backed Batman and Spider-Clones.

I’ll be the first to agree that Sublime was not delivered well as a concept.

But I can’t understand how you would think that Animal Man got worse as it progressed. That series grew exponentially, and really solidified toward the end.

Cyclops’ mercy-killing was the transformative moment for me. That was the point where I sat back and thought, “This is something different.”

Issue 115, dated August 2001. I bought it days before 9/11, at a corner store down the street from my girl-friend’s house.

For a REAL prescient 9/11 prediction in comics, check out Evan Dorkin’s World’s Funnest, featuring an all-star line-up of artists and a truly chilling page set on Earth-Prime. (Well, photo-montage Earth Prime.)

@Dean: Quitely is hit or miss for me on a character by character basis. I loved his Wolverine, Beast, Xavier, and Cyclops. But his Jean and Emma look so old and alienlike.

@Dalarsco: I disagree. For example, this image of Jean Grey is pretty sexy…
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_I9bvIbQAkVQ/SIfzJ7TbTFI/AAAAAAAAAFQ/gyDCa5BgN9o/s320/Quitely+Jean+Grey+shhh.jpg

However, it is for a purpose. Jean looks like a sexy librarian, which sort of reminds the reader she is a teacher. It is also a hint at her personality: introverted, but not wanting to be. Contrast it with this image …
http://graphicworlds.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/440px-jeangrey442.jpg

That could be any actress/model/whatever in a Phoenix costume. It tells the reader nothing beyond that fact that she is about a 34 C.

Once again with Emma Frost. Here is a Quitely …
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/179/432839838_79302a093e_o.jpg

Emma is attractive enough, but more importantly she looks both British and Upper Class. These are not trivial points for her character. Now, contrast it with this …
http://www.emmafrostfiles.com/wp-content/gallery/uncanny-x-men/uncanny_x-men_annual_2.jpg

Does that strike you as a plausible character? Someone with their own thoughts?

“Oh, and it wasn’t just Casandra Nova, that was the first strike from sublime – an enemy the x-men never actually beat in the run.. they will beat it because Scott stayed and kept the school open, but never actually did in the run.”

This was never really made clear at all.

Dean, that panel of Jean and Emma you brought up is hilarious. Jean’s proportions by Quitely are just as bad as the cheesecake picture of Emma. Yeah, but me down as someone who isn’t that huge a fan of Quitely.

The Morrison run for me is ok. The problem with Morrison is I like his ideas, it’s the execution and some of his tics that annoy me sometimes. The robots in this scene were just too over the top. And I’m saying that as someone who enjoys crazy, over the top, bombastic fight scenes

One more things, someone earlier said Genosha was wiped out was to trim the number the of mutants down. I don’t think that’s true, Morrrison inflated the number of mutants for his story purposes. Prior to his run, I don’t think there were even 16 million mutants in the world, let alone on Genosha.

Quitely isn’t a good girl artist but is very good at storytelling. I’m pleasantly surprised that someone like that gets hired given the industry’s predilection for artists who’ll pepper a story with cheesecake.

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