Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tales from the Long Box: X-Men Age of Apocalypse

I always had a pretty jaundiced view on grading comics, my opinion being that comics are meant to be read, good comics are meant to be re-read, and the best comics get better with age and with re-reading. A poster can accomplish the same thing as a graded comic- look pretty hanging on a wall- at a much lower cost. That being said, there are worse things that can happen to old comics, like wasting an increasingly pointless existence languishing unread in a long box. So every so often, I open up a long box and read what I pull out.

In light of the Age of Apocalypse's big anniverssary, Uncanny X-Force's recent adventures in that reality, and speculation that characters from AoA will appear in the mainstream X-books, perhaps permanently joining one of their rosters, I decided to take a trip down dystopian memory lane.

It was a trip well worth taking. I remember how the art, even at its worst, caught my eye. Even when the fight scenes looked cluttered and confusing, or the perspective was off, the art was still very sharp and vibrant. The biggest draw, however, were the characterizations. I figure the only misstep was with Juggernaut in X-Calibre 1-3, not because it would be so far-fetched for a completely different, alternate reality version of the character to become a monk. Rather, I felt it implausible that an ostensibly Catholic monk would feel conflicted to the point of giving himself a lethal aneurism over taking up arms to defend the innocent.

While I absolutely love Morph in the comic books, I felt that his over-the-top brand of comic relief wasn't always a good fit in the AoA universe. Even so, it proved again impossible for me not to like the guy. One character who I like upon rereading that I didn't like at all at first was Blink. I always did like the AoA take on Cyclops, but in light of the way he was written for the past couple of years in Uncanny X-Men, I enjoy reading the conflicted "lawful evil" he was in AoA even more now.

Overall, I think most of the Age of Apocalypse books stood the test of time well. My opinion on them has improved upon rereading and probably will even more with future rereadings.

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