Thursday, January 19, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Uncanny X-Force 20 and Wolverine and the X-Men 4

Humble apologies for my long silence- or if you'd enjoyed that silence, no apologies for me breaking it. My long sojourn offline involved a great deal of real world travel. Seeing the the US from the Columbia to the Chattahoochee over the past few weeks gave me abundant time to read, but few opportunities to actually visit a comic book store and no chances to write and post reviews.

Uncanny X-Force 20 defied a lot of odds stacked against it. I found the interior art rather inconsistent, running the gamut from beautiful and dreamy, to suitably dynamic, to just a bit too loose. I caught a couple of little nits that perhaps the art director or an editor should have picked. Nightcrawler's pupils, for instance, became uncharacteristically visible in one panel. And I don't think there is any "Captain Whales" in the Captain Britain Corps.

Remender wrote AOA Nightcrawler as arrogant, self-centered, vengeance-driven, foolish malcontent that made me wish some good person would knock some sense into him- and yet I rather liked that. It shows that Remender knows this "Not-crawler," as some fans call him, is not the Kurt Wagner fans have loved since 1975, and he makes no attempt to pass him off as any kind of substitute. Nonetheless, this longtime fan of the Fuzzy Elf felt a bit sad.

Still, I'd long anticipated seeing Fantomex being held to account for his crime, and I love how Otherworld is being written, drawn, and in this battle for it, completely turned inside-out. It made for a rather fun issue, especially for UXF.

Wolverine and the X-Men 4, on the other hand, did not strike me as quite as much fun as the previous three issues. Sure, there were moments chock full of hilarity, like the faculty meeting, reactions to Deathlok's lecture, and little details like a picture of Cyclops on a dartboard. Unfortunately, the ramifications of Fantomex's misdeeds in Uncanny X-Force have spilled some excessive gloom over into this book. I had been hoping that the events in X-Force would, as Kitty Pryde put it, "never be allowed to affect what happens at the school." Of course they had, and now not only do I fear for a number of young characters that have grown on me lately, but I'm a bit worried that this book might take a darker direction.

I can only hope that Jason Aaron leaves the darker plot threads for Rick Remender to tie up in UXF, and keeps WATX the fun break from all the doom and gloom that it has been so far.

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