It’s back to school and as I gear up for another year in the classroom with this new crop of neophyte geeks, I’m really excited to discover something awesome:
An issue of Uncanny X-Men that I actually liked!
Imagine my elation in discovering a storyline that I gave up on that turns into one that genuinely moved me.
Also, for you podcast aficionados, check out my guest appearance on the Book Guys Show where I talk about all manners of geeky things like the recent Fan Expo Canada 2014, Dr. Who and, of course, comics and more comics!
Okay … okay, before I get too far ahead of myself, I should actually list out the comics I read this month:
Justice League United #4
Kudos to Jeff Lemire for establishing some of the continuity setting for all the different Justice Leagues that are out there right now. Good story … solid basis for establishing some of the various characters’ eventual destinations. However, even though this issue is supposed to wrap up the Justice League Canada arc, I feel like it didn’t really make its mark. I really didn’t get a true understanding of Equinox’s origin, and I’m just a little bit fuzzy on how Hawkman transitions from JLU to his present whereabouts in Future’s End. So, all in all, I’m a little bit disappointed with this issue.
Justice League #33
Now this was an enjoyable read. A great match-up with the Doom Patrol, featuring a showdown between scientific genius, Dr. Niles Caulder and other scientific genius, Lex Luthor. We also see why Batman is one of the greatest superheroes in the DC pantheon and finally, the resolution to the problem of Luthor wanting to shed his villain skin and adopt a hero’s cape.
I was really pleased with this comic. As I mentioned in the latest episode of the Book Guys Show podcast, comics are about fun, and this was a fun read. DC has allowed us to forget the history and focus on the here and now, and right now in this issue, Lex Luthor wants to be a part of the Justice League. What a great incident and the resolution is a pretty sophisticated one that also illustrates what a great character Batman is.
Meh… Pretty much what I’ve come to expect with the modern day X-Men. You see, I’ve grown accustomed to mediocre storylines, semi-reasonable art when it comes to my favourite super-group of childhood yore. I had my expectations raised though when I saw that Rachel and Terry Dodson did the cover, only to have them dashed when I discovered that they didn’t do the interior art. It was a bit of a let-down.
Uncanny X-Men #25
… But then came this issue.
This was the reveal issue in which the conclusion to Charles Xavier’s final will and testament that was introduced about, what, three issues prior? It was a bit of a time getting here, but I have to confess that I’m glad I stuck around for the destination.
This was a moving issue in which Charles Xavier confessed to being guilty of compromise. I won’t go into any details, but this issue not only brought back a little bit of Xavier’s guidance and presence to the X-Men, but also managed to restore, for a little while, what has been missing from the recent schismatic X-Men comics: leadership.
Xavier was the foundational force that held the X-Men together, regardless of their various incarnations. His message and teachings were their motivation and while killing him off may have been thought to be a major dramatic plot event, I honestly don’t think the Marvel writers really thought the potential consequences through. Xavier’s death retained the status of a cheap stunt. Did it sell any more comics? I don’t know, but when I read the third final page and see Cyclops and Wolverine together in the same panel, listening to Xavier’s holographic message, I was immediately struck by a sense of how right that was.
Even though I hate bringing characters back from the dead, Xavier needs to come back.
Moon Knight #7
This new introduction of this classic Marvel character just hits all the right notes. I have to say though, the emphasis on the mystical background is subdued yet just present enough to make Moon Knight stand out and grab my attention. I love what Brian Wood has done with Marc Spector and think it’s a fantastic job. Of all the Marvel comics that I would recommend to readers wanting to get back into comics, I’d tell them to put this one in their top three.
Brian Wood manages to effectively combine all three aspects of Moon Knight’s personality: the Egyptian mythology, the hard core mercenary and the detective. This is a great character and I love that Wood manages to create single issue adventures that you can read alone, but are connected to multi-issue arcs. He’s making this comic a really fun experience for me.
So this week, I’m going with …
Uncanny X-Men #25
For the simple reason that after years of putting up with mediocrity, this comic has finally managed to redeem itself of being worthy of such a great heritage title. This was an Uncanny X-Men issue that I was pleasantly surprised by and relieved to discover that I enjoyed it. I think that seeing all of the original X-Men together in one place, putting aside their differences and Scott Summers re-united with Wolverine in a spirit of unity just made the last few years of schism go away … even for a little time.
Maybe I’m just over-relieved or maybe I’m just desperately happy to read an X-Men comic that entertained me; either way, it does feel good to read an X-Men title and enjoy it for a change.
There’s some good news to tell students at the beginning of the school year.