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Brad Surveys The X-Men: Hope He Survives The Experience!

Hey, remember when Dirk Deppey reviewed a bunch of X-Men comics that one time? This is sort of like that, but without the dripping disdain for Chris Claremont, so some of you may want to leave now.

Really, I just wanted to read more X-Men comics than usual and decided that blogging about it under the auspicies of “the state of the X-Men” kind of think Dirk did would help me maintain the facade of a detatched blogger with good taste and not a lapsed X-Men fanboy who really wants to read a bunch of Marvel mutant comics again. That shit ain’t gonna hold up long, mind you, since I liked all of these pretty well, but hey, I tried to try. Give me some credit.

Giant Size Uncanny X-Men First Class One Shot- I liked the all ages X-Men: First Class okay, but I’m glad that they’ve moved on to the cast that wasn’t an abject failure. Like the rest of comicdom, I like the “new” X-Men better than the original group. That holds up here.

Other than tapping out on Banshee’s Irish brogue infused story, I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s an anthology of stories about each member of the team. The framing story (which is about how much Cyclops hates all these new jerks) is pretty funny, but nothing tops Wolverine recapping his own origin. That’s really the only origin he will ever need. The Colossus, Storm, and Nightcrawler solo stories all hit the vital points of their origin stories; I’m always up for Nightcrawler in the circus stories. But really, this book is worth the $4 just for the Wolverine story. Trust me. I can be right sometimes!

I have a tendency to not follow the Marvel Adventures style all ages comics well. Even Wolverine: First Class, which seemed to be pandering exclusively to me by being a Kitty Pryde/Wolverine team up book written by Fred Van Lente, lost me eventually. When he made Kitty a furry, I guess. But I’ll at least check in from time to time. The Claremont/Cockrum era X-Men could use this approach, given how morose they were. But I’ll get to the old man later.

Uncanny X-Men #511- The one X-Men comic I’ve been following regulary since Grant Morrison left, although I suppose Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and Jeff Parker’s Exiles count now. Anyway, this is the end of the Red Queen storyline. I liked it. Even Land’s art seemed okay to me. I liked the resolution of Maddie’s plot, and the fact that Beast knows that Scott and Emma are doing some shady crap. Nice that he got to be the one to confront them for once, instead of Wolverine (of course, Logan’s on Scott’s secret hit squad, so he’d be a bit of a hypocrite if he did).

Fraction’s X-Men run is such an odd duck for me. I really like what he’s doing, even the stylistic flourishes that annoy others (love those character info boxes he plucked from either Scott Pilgrim or the Intimates), and especially what he’s doing plot wise. That said, I’m still always on the verge of dropping it. It’s just good enough, which isn’t good enough, especially considering what Fraction’s capable of. What may finally do me in is the upcoming, multi part crossover with the Dark Avengers. Marvel can go to a prostate buffet if they think I’m shelling out for that, especially since it appears to be nothing but set up for an X-Men team that features Daken and Cloak and Dagger. That’s a jumping off point.

Wolverine #73 and 74- I liked Aaron’s explanation for why Wolverine’s on a million teams more than Chad did, especially since it hinges on his getting his memories back in House of M. Good to see someone use that thing well. Also, he was on a fairly sensible number of teams in the ’90s for a cash cow, wasn’t he? It was pretty much whatever X-Men team needed him and ocasionally the Secret Defenders and New Fantastic Four, if I remember correctly. I did stop reading comics regulalry between ’95 and 2001, though, so maybe I missed more than I thought.

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Anyway, good fill in story here. I loved that Spider-Man was the guy who confroted him about it, too. For a character that doesn’t suit Aaron’s style at all, he writes him well. Nice art from whichever Kubert brother it was, too. I honestly can’t remember nor be bothered to google it or even look up in the issue which is right there which Kubert brother it was. I’m just going to pretend it was the rarely seen third Kubert brother, Sancho, and move on.

The other story (this was two single issues fill ins chopped in half and serialized together to fill the gap between Old Man Logan and Dark Wolverine, in case you didn’t know) is also solid. Logan bumps in to his 1,000,000,000th old friend we’ve never heard of (who resembles John Goodman) and helps him sort some things out. I think Marvel has a Mad Lib for pitching this story at this point.

It’s written by Daniel Way, and overcomes my low opinion of his work (which is unfair, as I’ve largely ignored it) by being pretty good. It even has some emotional resonance! That’s nice, even if it does comes from the stupid existence of Wolverine’s stupid son (who is stupid). That said, it could have been about anything, I wouldn’t care; the real draw of it was Tommy Lee Edwards’ art. Hell, I’m eventually going to buy that Marvel 1984 thing Millar’s did for it, too. He’s that good.

X-Factor #44- This is the first Peter David comic I’ve read in years. It’s also the first X-Factor comic I’ve read since I tracked down that issue where Doc Samson gives the team therapy that David wrote. The first time he was writing the team. When I was in grade school.

So, yeah, things done changed since then. Madrox is really the only link between the two incarnations besides Captain Punderful writing it (and I guess Val Cooper counts, too). For one thing, I have no real idea who Darwin is, because I’ve never read Brubaker’s X-Men. He seems like an okay guy, though, and I like the rest of the cast (Longshot FTW!) so everything turned out well there. I have to admit the cast is always a big part of why I like an X-Men comic, more than frivolous concepts like “plot” or “sense making”. I even came around on Joss Whedon’s X-Men eventually because I liked his team.

Anyway; I don’t want to get dragged in to any drama with David and the Scans Daily crowd (just thinking of that little spat makes me root for the meteor). So, I won’t spoil anything plot-wise, or even allude to it. I’ll just say I thought this was a solid comic. Maybe even pretty good. Not going to start buying it regulalry, but it was pretty okay and I wouldn’t rule out catching up on the trades at some point possibly, on a slow week, if I have purchased every other comic book I would ever want to read. Is that qualified enough?

X-Men Forever #0Alpha and #1- Yeah, so, I was going to ignore this, like every Claremont X-Men comic since he left the first time. But it does have a lot of my favorite X-Men characters in it (watching Pryde of the X-Men as a kid really hardwired me to always want Kitty and Nightcrawler on the team. I was able to except that Wolverine wasn’t Australian and that Dazzler sucked* eventually, though). And I never did read Claremont’s last issue of his first run, so I had to get the reprint of his last story arc with Jim Lee they tacked a teaser for the new series on to. How funny is it in retrospect that was meant to be a “passing of the torch” moment, given how long Lee stuck around to run the X-Men?

Also, I like Tom Grummett a lot. I know Joe Rice will finally disown me once he reads this but, well, it was gonna happen eventually. I just read some of his Superboy run with Karl Kessel recently; those were some fun comics. I want that guy back, damn it!

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Anyway, the last Claremont/Lee X collaboration showed why Marvel wasn’t big enough for both of them, because holy hell! They’re basically on two different planets! Claremont’s characters are so verbose they make Don McGreggor’s look… well, he was probably still wordier. But dear lord, all the soliloquies in that thing got ridiculous, especially given how much they exposed Jim Lee’s lack of range. It really cuts the dramatic tension off at the knees when Magneto’s giving his death speech and all I can think is “shut up and die already, old man, so I can stop reading this and take some Tylenol!” And yes, I realize I also am longwinded. I learned it from Claremont! That’s what reading his comics growing up did to me. That, and I say things like “no quarter asked, none given” way more than I should. Like, that one time I said it. That was too many times.

He’s actually much less verbose in X-Men Forever #1, which picks up where X-Men ’91 #3 left off. Except half the team has disappeared off panel, Kitty and Kurt have rejoined, Gambit and Rogue have real names (wait, Remy Picard? For real?), Nick Fury’s become more of a douche than he was in ’91, and a lot of the characterization is rewired to fit where Claremont wants to go instead of whatever they were setting up for after his departure. Otherwise, it’s just like it’s 1991 all over again!

That out of the way, I liked this issue a lot. I mean, they had me with that sequence where each member of the team shares their innermost thoughts before the mission. That will always work on me. And it did read like a classic issue of Claremont’s X-Men, with a bunch of subplots established and a big cliffhanger (which he really never could have done in 1991). Not sure I want to read this in bi-weekly installments, but I’m actually looking forward to the eventual trade.

X-Men Legacy #224- And we end with the actual X-Men series that’s continued since Claremont left in 1991. Despite liking Mike Carey as a writer, I’ve never tried his X-Men before. His initial run was drawn by my two least favorite artists in mainstream comics (yes, more than Greg Land), Chris Bachallo and Humberto Ramos. Since the comic took on the subtitle, I’ve been leary of trying it because it appeared to be continuity porn. Well done continuity porn, but still; I really don’t want to encourage that much navel gazing if I can help it.

That said, this was pretty good, too. I mean, Mike Carey made an actual character out of Danger and made Professor X chaining it up in the basement make him seem like an awful person. That deserves an award higher than the Eisner, folks. Like a statue the size of King Kong Bundy made of deep fried gold.

This is also a pivotal issue for Rogue, as someone finally got the go ahead to resolve the problem that’s been the crux of her character forever. Throw in some attractive Scott Eaton art and you have a pretty good comic in my book. Entitled “I Have Low Standards, But At Least I’m Not This Guy, Awesome As He Is.” I’m still looking for a publisher on that, by the way.

I’d love to declare the X-Men line healthy, but despite this sampling, I’m not reading everything in it. Between Warren Ellis’s glacially paced serialization of Astonishing X-Men (I’ll get the trade maybe), the New Mutants relaunch (which I would have bought but forgot. Twice), the Wolverine/Punisher and Mojo serials in Astonishing Tales (kind of want the Mojo thing because Hickman’s doing it), Cable, X-Force, Cable vs. X-Force, Cable Loves X-Force, all the X-Men one shots, all the Wolverine one shots, Cable and X-Force Are Just Friends With Benefits Now, and the confusion over whether Deadpool and Captain Britain are considered part of the X-Men family or not; crap, writing all that made me tired. You know, there’s only so much of this stuff I can afford/read before blood shoots out of my ears. What I did read was pretty good, though, so that’s nice to see. I like when my imaginary friends are doing well.

*Burgas, I already obtained a restraining order against you, so you better turn your car around and not head down here to strangle me. Besides, I think Dazzler’s okay in small doses. I’m just messing with you.


You’re dead to me!!!!!

I stopped reading at “I like Tom Grummett a lot.” That dude’s stuff is just totally bland and generic. It looks like the art on a giveaway comic you get from a government agency.

Like the rest of comicdom, I like the “new” X-Men better than the original group.

Except me. I prefer the original X-Men to just about every other iteration of that team. But, I’m looking forward to reading Giant Size First Class all the same. The creative teams involved are too good to pass up.

“I stopped reading at “I like Tom Grummett a lot.” That dude’s stuff is just totally bland and generic. It looks like the art on a giveaway comic you get from a government agency.”

Yeah, I’m willing to take shit from Joe on that, but not his half baked protege. Thanks for sharing anyway.

So, yeah, things done changed since then. Madrox is really the only link between the two incarnations besides Captain Punderful writing it (and I guess Val Cooper counts, too).

Was Strong Guy not in the issue you read?

‘Cause he’s been a member of the team as long as Madrox has…

I loooooved Grummett back when I was a younger lad, and still hold much fondness for him now, but the Messiah-like return of Jack Kirby himself wouldn’t get me reading a Claremont comic.

But I also love me some Bachalo, so we can’t be friends anymore.

And oh yeah, I prefer the original X-Men to the all-new, all-different X-Men, but I also prefer scabies to most X-Men comics, so…

I’ll be your friend if Bill won’t.

Everyone at CBR is so in love with Bachalo’s scrawls. Seeing his name for a solicited book is a guaranteed way to prevent me from buying it. Glad to see someone else doesn’t like Bachalo. I really feel for the colorists on his art. Can you imagine trying to figure that stuff out in black and white? I dislike Ramos less as he is Bachalo light.

X-Men Forever is not Grummett’s best work, but I did enjoy it. His style is comic book. Unlike Land who couldn’t draw without a light box or Bachalo who seems to scribble and hope for the best.

Thank God for Mike Carey on X-Men. I like a writer who respects and works with the material which came before him, even if some of it was crap (coughMilligancough)

BTW, Carey’s next Felix Castor novel is out in the US next month. I highly recommend them, especially if you’re into Jim Butcher’s Dresden books.

I hate Humberto Ramos’s art.
I dropped Runaways because of him and he’s also ruining Avenger The Initiative for me.
He draws everybody like a chimpanzee.

Of all the X-Books I’m only reading Astonishing X-Men but Ellis seems to be phoning it in on that one.

And yeah, that Superboy run with Tom Grummett was really entertaining. It probably holds up well to this day

“Yeah, I’m willing to take shit from Joe on that, but not his half baked protege. Thanks for sharing anyway.”

That is a really silly thing to say.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings. Honestly, I am. But you shouldn’t take my dislike of an artist personally. I’m just doing the blog-comment thing. You post your opinion, I post mine. I just sincerely don’t understand how someone can have a preference for Grummett’s art. Can you tell me what it is about it that you find distinct and good?

I’d better get on the walkie-talkie and tell Joe about all this. I missed the last hourly update and he gave me ten demerits!

What the hell does Humberto Ramos have to do with anything?

“What the hell does Humberto Ramos have to do with anything?”

He was part of a rotating team of artists consisting of Chris Bachalo and Humberto Ramos on Mike Carey’s X-Men maybe two years ago.

If you don’t care what Douchebag Jr. thinks, why should you give a shit what Douchebag Sr. thinks?


“(Grummett)’s stuff is just totally bland and generic.”

” I just sincerely don’t understand how someone can have a preference for Grummett’s art. Can you tell me what it is about it that you find distinct and good?”

A preference for Tom Grummett over whom? He’s far from the worst artist Marvel has. I guess I can see why you or Joe Rice might not like the guy – he’s sort of a throwback to the mid to late ’80s style of art – I see a lot of people these days knocking the Byrne / Perez influenced artists, if not knocking Byrne and Perez themselves, and as Grummett is from that school, it doesn’t necessarily surprise me that you might not like his stuff.

And I agree his work can run inconsistent depending on how his inker interprets him. But “generic”? No more so than the Image clones that still permeate the market, or the Ameri-Manga artists.

I really enjoy the work of bachalo and ramos on that solid run right around issue 200..as for land and dodson they make a very complementary team, and Ive been enjoying their run with fraction as well. Astonishing however, just makes me want to throw up when I look at bianchi’s arrogant ugly pages filled with disgusting looking art..am I the only one thats glad it only comes out once every 3 months?

I’m not sure comicdom liked the “new” X-men more than the originals. To me, it seems the “new” team only really became successful when they jettisoned half the team (Sunfire, Thunderbird, Banshee) and had the original team (sans Iceman) make regular guest appearances.

So I think comicdom just hated Iceman.

The Truth-Speaker

June 20, 2009 at 12:47 am

All X-Men comics are total shit and anyone who reads them is a complete loser.

I Love Gerbils

June 20, 2009 at 8:32 am

Amen, brother! TESTIFY!

Uncanny X-Men is so, so, sooooo godawful.


June 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm

“Astonishing however, just makes me want to throw up when I look at bianchi’s arrogant ugly pages filled with disgusting looking art..am I the only one thats glad it only comes out once every 3 months?”

astonishing x-men with whedon and cassaday was the first time i’ve bought an X-book in years. i really enjoyed it (though i’m biased as a huge joss whedon fan). when they left, and i heard ellis was coming in, i figured it’d be different, but still a good book.

holy crap was i wrong. its terrible. ellis’ story is awful. i completely agree with that assessment of the art. bianchi’s art infuriates me. i’m probably going to get the final issue of this shitty “ghost box” story and then drop this book.

re: Astonishing. When did Forge turn into a nutjob?

“A preference for Tom Grummett over whom?” Why are you asking me? I’m not the one who said I liked him. I want to know what he likes about him.

“But “generic”? No more so than the Image clones that still permeate the market, or the Ameri-Manga artists.”

And so what? Have I ever said I like those styles?

The way I see it the core X-Men books are really healthy; Uncanny, Legacy, Astonishing. Aaron’s Wolverine is solid stuff. Captain Britain is the best book Marvel’s putting out right now but I wouldn’t call it an X-book. Most of the rest is decent, but not wonderful.

New Mutants is promising, more than I would have thought; Wells is beginning to show what he can do. X-Force and Deadpool need new writers, and Dark Wolverine needs to go (or maybe just get a new writer).

I buy Uncanny and Legacy (and CB/MI13), and I read everything else in the store. Pretty good times overall.

“Can you tell me what it is about it that you find distinct and good?”
You have read the Superboy issues he inked? Yes? No?

“Why are you asking me? ”

Because you apparently didn’t phrase the question properly.

You specifically stated: “I can’t understand how anyone could have a preference for Grummett. What do you find in his work that is distinct and good?”

“How anyone” means any of us, not just Greg. So you were addressing us all, whether that was your intention or not..

So I’ll reiterate- a preference for Grummett over whom? Nobody can tell you why they have a preference for one artist’s work over another when they don’t know who they’re supposed to be comparing them to.
Grummett’s a solid “B/B+” artist. He is “good” because when you hire Grummett, you can pretty safely figure the characters will be on model, generally anatomically correct, backgrounds and scenery will be correctly drawn throughout the story, and that he’s going to follow the script.

Now, maybe you think those are givens. That all artists do that much. You’d be wrong. Several artists working at Marvel today don’t draw consistenly on model – half the time they don’t even know what the hell the costume colors are – and you know, it’s kind of hard to set your light / shadow effects on the figures correctly when you don’t know the color scheme!

I’ve seen artists like Jacopo Camagni (MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPERHEROES #9) draw Dr. Strange in one panel and his cape has no gold trim and no Eye of Agamotto, the next panel the Eye is there, but no gold trim, the next the trim is there, but no Eye. If I owned a copy of the comic, I’d scan and post the pages to show you, but I only looked at it on the ride home from the shop – my friend’s the MA nut (gods knows why).

But another MA Artist I can show – Jon Buran (MARVEL ADVENTURES THOR) – Take a look at this:


Thor seems to have lost his head… literally.

Now, Grummett’s not flashy, but I’ve never seen him make mistakes like these, either. Some readers might prefer a “generic looking” artist who can actually draw correctly and consistently over a flashier, more stylized artist who makes such mistakes.

@ knivesinwest11: Don’t leave the book now! Jiminez is coming on for a five-part arc! Maybe now the book can come out on time.

Are you people who are hating on Ramos insane? He is brilliant. In Runaways third volume it was Christina Strain who let the book down.
I’d read anything with Ramos art. Even the totally n utterly lousy Onslaught Saga or anything with those horrible “new X-Men.” Whats up with that book anyway? But I digress, Ramos is very good.

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