Why do bad things happen to good fans? Whether it’s atrocious art, ridiculous writing or something else entirely – some crimes against fandom cannot go unanswered. When that happens, it’s time to say ”BLAARGH!”
WonderCon – like any good convention – has been a source of a good bit of news regarding some of our favorite comic book properties. And, as is almost always the case, said news is causing a stir. While some announcements will have fans drooling in anticipation, Marvel’s launch of a new X-Treme X-Men series has at least one fan feeling downright queasy. Stitched together from some of the worst odds and ends Marvel has laying around, this book makes Franken-Castle look like a good idea. What’s got me in such a lather?
- The Concept – Spinning out of the “Exalted” story running in recent issues of Astonishing X-Men (culminating in #47), this book will follow a trans-dimensional team of alternate reality X-Men tracking down a villainous Xavier who calls himself Savior and no doubt becoming entangled with the politics and problems of the worlds they visit. So… it’s Exiles, with an evil leaper. Because we all remember Marvel’s track record with keeping an Exiles book on the shelves, and we all know that introducing a regular villain to fight is exactly the way to make a reality-hopping story successful. It worked for Sliders, right? (No. No it didn’t.)
- The Cast – Wolverine with god-metal bonded to his skeleton? Kid-Nightcrawler? Why am I not just reading Uncanny X-Force? Oh, because you’re including an Emma Frost and the 616′s own Allison Blaire? Yeah… that’s… that’s not really selling me.
“She’s wry and funny and tough and vulnerable and the Marvel Universe’s greatest showbiz surviver turned superhero and SHE WILL SAVE THE WORLD WITH ROCK AND ROLL. Shine on, people. Shine on.” – Greg Pak, as quoted on CBR. NOT HELPING!
The Talent – Speaking of Pak… I’m sure he’s a great guy. I’ve personally never loved any of his work, and my least favorite of it all has been his X-stuff. He reads like a sane person trying to emulate the insanity of Morrison. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean to imply that I actually believe he’s using Morrison as a template, it’s just that his stories tend to be full of overly wrought dialog and ridiculous concoctions like you’d see in a Morrison book, yet they never quite hit that same level of bizarre-to-the-point-of-sublime, what-the-hell-am-I-reading, did-I-drop-acid-when-I-wasn’t-looking kind of crazy that the Scot seems to exhale as the rest of us do carbon dioxide. And Pak’s promising the story will “twist back on the Marvel Universe proper” and have “revelatory repercussions on characters you know and love.” Oh. Super. Stephen Segovia on art does at least do a bit to entice me, but I’d rather read a good book that’s ugly than a pretty book that’s bad. There’s enough of those on the shelves already.
- The Title – X-Treme FUCKING X-Men? It was a stupid title when they slapped it on Claremont’s travesty of a book from 2001, and the fact that it conjures up memories of that unreadable shitstorm does nothing to improve my disposition towards this new book. Hey, maybe Pak will finally tell us what the hell ever happened to Slipstream and Lifeguard, though if we’re lucky, he’s forgotten about them just like everybody else.
I know the book’s not out until July. I acknowledge that it could – in fact – be amazing. I’m not complaining about the quality of the actual product here. I’m simply saying that, to my mind, you couldn’t come up with a much worse recipe for a new title in an already crowded marketplace than what Marvel is throwing together to create this new X-title. And for those keeping track? There are already a little over a dozen X-books that ship monthly. Why not add another log on the fire?
Pardon me… I think I’m going to be sick.