PDA

View Full Version : The state of the X-men


Dead Man Wade
2011-10-09, 04:53 AM
I've been kind of out of the game, comics-wise for a while, but I've spent the last couple months getting caught up with what's been going on.

X-men Schism - So, the big split has finally begun, and Wolverine's reaction struck me as a little odd. First off, this isn't the first time a bunch of mutant teenagers have been asked to fight a Sentinel. Where was Logan's righteous indignation when Hellion lost his hands fighting wave after wave of them during Second Coming? Or when Cyclops drafted Laura into X-Force, against his wishes, depriving her of her chance at a normal life? Or any of the myriad other times Cyclops has had to make the tough calls since naming himself Supreme Overlord of the Mutants?

"Event" comics - These are sort of part and parcel of the industry at this point, I know. But, is it just me, or are the X-books doing way more of these than normal? Necrosha, Utopia, Messiah Complex, Messiah War, Second Coming, Schism, Age of X, X-Infernus, Curse of the Mutants. And that's in addition to the Big Summer Events like Siege and so on. You know what would be great? A single ****ing year without a cross-over. Just one, after which they could go right back to pumping out crossovers and Alphas. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Twelve issues of Uncanny X-men or X-men Legacy where you didn't have to have read every other series on the stands.

Chris Claremont - Marvel needs to lose his number. He's like Simon Furman, as everything he works on becomes a litany of "Remember that one issue of...". Can anyone name a single new idea he's come up with in the last decade of working on X-books?

Age of X - My original thoughts on this were going to be summed up as, "**** you, Mike Carey". Having thought about it some more, I've decided that's not quite accurate. To be fair, there were one or two interesting ideas here, but certainly not enough to fill, what was it, eight or nine issues? Legacy was a nice take on Rogue, and....that's pretty much it. And the title was, what, supposed to remind me of other, better storylines? Mission accomplished, as I got bored halfway through and went off to read Age of Apocalypse. The whole thing could have worked as a "What If...?"-style one shot or even a prestige format. Instead, we get a threadbare plot with only a couple of lingering effects. So, yeah: **** you, Mike Carey.

Chamber - Speaking of Age of X, Chamber was my favorite character from GenX (when they dialed back the "woe is me" schtick), so there's a part of me that's mildly stoked to see him back the way he was. Then the other parts shiv that part and bury it in an unmarked grave by the train tracks, as it completely undoes everything that's been done with him for the past six years. Chamber was in a better place, as a character, than he had been at any point since his creation, and now that's gone.

New Mutants - Doug Ramsey was killed, and stayed dead as long as he did, for a reason. While I do not mind the character himself (quite the opposite), he has no reason being part of a field team, hence why he took a bullet. You can sit there and prattle on about "The Language of Violence" all you want, Cypher is a support character. He belongs back on Utopia, not fighting demons in Limbo.

Uncanny X-men - Given Marvel's tendency to end a series, then bring it back with a new number one, then resume the original numbering, what's the point of ending anything in the first place? A couple years from now, they'll be putting out Uncanny X-men #600, so why even interrupt the numbering in the first place?

Curse of the Mutants - Were there issues that I missed, or did this straight up fizzle? Vampire politics aside, not a whole lot really happened. Though, it is nice to see Jubilee doing something again, and the ploy with Wolverine was fun, if a bit obvious.

Rogue - Nice of them to finally do something about her powers. The whole "Ah cain't touch somewhun without absorbing their powers and memories. Ah'm so alone." thing worked for a while, but has been wearing thin for the better part of a decade.

Cliffjumper
2011-10-09, 05:02 AM
I lost interest completely just after Grant Morrison left X-Men (more coincidence rather than ardent following of him) after it became clear the titles were going to fall to the then-prevalent (and for all I know still prevalent) Marvel habit of getting in a new writer who spent most of their time retconning and/or comtradicting the previous writer's run. I wouldn't mind so much if this had meant good stories - IIRC I bailed when Claremont returned to one title (surprise, surprise, his first issue featured the X-Men playing baseball, complete with Rachel Summers returning for the only reason Rachel Summers ever shows up in Claremont comics - an editorial diktat preventing him from using Jean) and a second Xorn who was totally Xorn turned up in Chucky Austen's title.

It's always struck me as a shame that the Marvel Universe, while a bit outdated, hung together pretty well for 30-40 years and then the concept was basically killed off by Joe Quesada's desire to court edgy DC writers (who typically spent 12 months destroying a title and then ****ed back off to writing the Green Arrow).

I don't think I maintain any interest in any Marvel titles since Millar was replaced by that nonce Loeb on The Ultimates (where he proceeded to retcon and contradict, blah blah - how the **** did that **** Loeb get to be Marvel's golden boy? I remember when he was writing shit Cable comics). Reading all that I'm pretty glad about that.

Cliffjumper
2011-10-09, 05:05 AM
The Furman/Claremont comparison, incidentally, is spot on. Claremont from his late-1990s return onwards is IDW Furman - he knows all the words, but he just can't get the tune right.

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-09, 05:27 AM
It's always struck me as a shame that the Marvel Universe, while a bit outdated, hung together pretty well for 30-40 years and then the concept was basically killed off by Joe Quesada's desire to court edgy DC writers (who typically spent 12 months destroying a title and then ****ed back off to writing the Green Arrow).

Pretty much.

I'm sure, from a business standpoint, Joe Quesada was a godsend. But looking at the output, I don't think one would be accused of hyperbole if they said that he was the worst thing to happen to comics since Seduction of the Innocent, or that he should be drawn and quartered for Brand New Day alone.

how the **** did that **** Loeb get to be Marvel's golden boy? I remember when he was writing shit Cable comics

He managed to turn out a few good years' worth of comics, which are looking more and more like a fluke, and has since proceeded to turn the Ultimate universe into an orgy of death and destruction for no other reason than because he ****ing well can.

The Furman/Claremont comparison, incidentally, is spot on. Claremont from his late-1990s return onwards is IDW Furman - he knows all the words, but he just can't get the tune right.

Yeah, it's really rather depressing. The man's clearly past his prime. Yet every time the Marvel editors get stuck for a new direction, he gets work. And every time geeks see his name on the cover, they buy it, because comic shops are apparently patronized exclusively by Alzheimer's patients.

Edit: Have you seen anything about X-men Forever? That's positively mind-boggling.

Cliffjumper
2011-10-09, 05:46 AM
I'm sure, from a business standpoint, Joe Quesada was a godsend. But looking at the output, I don't think one would be accused of hyperbole if they said that he was the worst thing to happen to comics since Seduction of the Innocent, or that he should be drawn and quartered for Brand New Day alone.


Yeh, I mean that's the problem with criticising Quesada - the sales tell a different story. The problem seems to be that Marvel didn't know where to stop - it wasn't just the big names that were given carte blanche to mess with continuity, and I think the approach is going to have (already having?) long-term problems. Many books gained short-term fair weather readers and lost ardent fanboys.

Don't get me wrong, there was lots of stupid shit and brainless retcons before Quesada, but it never felt like every title was being turned upside-down every 12 months just to generate a short-lived burst of hype. It might create jumping-on points, but it also creates jumping-off points.

The other thing about the editorial direction that bothered me was that there never seemed to be any long-term planning with writers, probably because they were only meant to last 12 issues.

He managed to turn out a few good years' worth of comics, which are looking more and more like a fluke, and has since proceeded to turn the Ultimate universe into an orgy of death and destruction for no other reason than because he ****ing well can.

I do love the way it's only taken about a decade to completely **** over the Ultimate universe.

The other thing I really hated with X-Men was Austen's character stock-piling... I found his stories to be pretty average and occasionally good, and a couple of really stupid moments (Paige and Warren having sex in front of the Guthries, the Nightcrawler's dad thing - the latter should be given for shitting all over one of Claremont's more brainless ideas, though) have made it out to be worse than it was. However, it felt like every couple of issues were adding a new character to the roster - Husk, Northstar, Juggernaut, Havok, Polaris - who would then stand in the background doing nothing. I mean, shouldn't someone, somewhere have been saying "Okay, Chuck. Juggernaut joining the X-Men, I like it, it's got potential. But what are you going to do with it?".

Edit: Have you seen anything about X-men Forever? That's positively mind-boggling.

I vaguely remember the late-1990s one which was an attempt to mimic Avengers Forever but was nowhere near as good (AF is pretty damn nerdy, but Busiek's good at nerdy and kept the story moving nicely). I'm guessing this is a new one, though?

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-09, 06:49 AM
Don't get me wrong, there was lots of stupid shit and brainless retcons before Quesada, but it never felt like every title was being turned upside-down every 12 months just to generate a short-lived burst of hype. It might create jumping-on points, but it also creates jumping-off points.[/i]

Which is why I love guys like Mark Waid. Back when he was doing the Fantastic Four, there was the 9-cent issue. I picked it up on a whim, and it managed to perfectly encapsulate everything the FF was about, while still being a good read (probably one of the absolute best single issues of the book I've ever read). After that, I read every issue of his I could get hold of. He was constantly taking risks and trying new things, but it didn't have the same "blow everything up and pick through the rubble for the bits that are worth keeping" feel that a lot of other writers tend to have.

The other thing about the editorial direction that bothered me was that there never seemed to be any long-term planning with writers, probably because they were only meant to last 12 issues.

Not that there's any payoff when people are allowed to go for years at a time. Bendis has pretty much had the run of the Marvel U for the better part of a decade, and it's amounted to approximately jack squat. Hardly anything's really changed, as most of the things that have occurred have been set back to right.

Marvel has made it abundantly clear that the most important thing is servicing the status quo. You can do whatever you want, as long as you put your toys back where you found them when you're done.

I do love the way it's only taken about a decade to completely **** over the Ultimate universe.

The worst thing about it all is the fact that, while there were a few false starts in the Ultimate universe, Loeb managed to pretty well destroy the whole thing in just eleven issues.

However, it felt like every couple of issues were adding a new character to the roster - Husk, Northstar, Juggernaut, Havok, Polaris - who would then stand in the background doing nothing. I mean, shouldn't someone, somewhere have been saying "Okay, Chuck. Juggernaut joining the X-Men, I like it, it's got potential. But what are you going to do with it?".

Austen's run was really hit or miss, certainly. Northstar's introduction into the book was pretty decent, as I recall, but the Draco nearly made me drop the book I'd been reading since I was child. Juggernaut's arc was interesting, but was characterized by the same "Will He/Won't He" crap that's haunted him since he first started becoming a hero. It's almost a blessing that he's gone back to being a villain again, if only so that we won't have to sit through that crap anymore.

I vaguely remember the late-1990s one which was an attempt to mimic Avengers Forever but was nowhere near as good (AF is pretty damn nerdy, but Busiek's good at nerdy and kept the story moving nicely). I'm guessing this is a new one, though?

Volume 2 of X-men Forever (and volume three, for some reason named X-men Forever 2) is basically Marvel telling Claremont, "Yeah, you left X-men back in the 90s under fairly bad circumstances, so do whatever you want."

The storyline picks up after the end of X-men #3, Fabian Cortez's attempted murder of Magneto, and the destruction of Asteroid M. Claremont is then given free reign to create what amounts to an alternate timeline. The first issue ends with Storm killing Wolverine.

Several characters say some variation of "This guy took down Magneto, so he's not to be take lightly". In a page and a half.

I've not read past that yet. Sabretooth shows up in issue two, apparently, and he's Wolverine's father, which was CC's intent all along. The Sabretooth that the X-men had so many dealings with is, I guess, revealed to be a clone created by Sinister for....the sorts of reasons Sinister does such things.

It's a magical train wreck.

Skyquake87
2011-10-09, 07:11 PM
I've never felt X-Men something that's easy to get into. Since the 1990s the X-books have largely been impentrable. That said, i really enjoyed Mystique's short lived series, the two limited series X-23 had (I bought #1 of her ongoing and found it a massive turn off as it invloved required knowledge of latest set of X-bun fights) were good, if unspectacular. I started reading Peter David's X-Factor (the modern series) and have found that enjoyable as it seems to stand somewhat apart from the other X books. These have been the exception rather than the rule. Marvel's incestuous approach to the X-books makes me wonder why they just don't run one title as a weekly anthology. They might as well do, given how things have turned out.

Elsewhere in the Marvel U, I've only been reading Invincible Iron Man which has been excellent up until this Serpent nonsense and Ghost Rider (probably my favourite Marvel character - and the Ketch one at that). GR is a constant source of frustration for me. I'm not particularly fond of Blaze, and the last sustained run spent far too much time squaring away a very muddled continuity from the 1990s. They rebbot the character and introduce a new host only to f**k it all up by doing this as part of Fear Itself and keeping Blaze on board as a sop to those whiny aging fanboys who can't live without Blaze being GR. Boo. Plus, the book still needs to be more like The Crow and less like Scooby Doo.

And don't even get me started on the perpetual fecking around with numbering....

Denyer
2011-10-09, 07:15 PM
It might create jumping-on points, but it also creates jumping-off points.
This is what I don't get about current comics, particularly DC. The money, whilst dwindling, seems to be in the existing readership... but there aren't many "normal" stories between events now, it's almost all events. Hype burn out has to set in after a while.

Cliffjumper
2011-10-09, 07:29 PM
This is what I don't get about current comics, particularly DC. The money, whilst dwindling, seems to be in the existing readership... but there aren't many "normal" stories between events now, it's almost all events. Hype burn out has to set in after a while.

Comic companies seem unable to accept that the days of million-sellers that make a genuine cross-cultural impact are long gone. They're forever tinkering with the format to find this elusive, non-existant "impulse" market (IDW being a case in point) rather than maintaining the readership they have. I think the problem is that BIG storylines and/or reboots only provide a brief spike to sales; the commercial answer is to make as many of these as possible. This will not work in the long term.

I mean, how many people can actually name who's in the X-Men now?

Denyer
2011-10-09, 08:51 PM
I'm going to guess at;

Wolverine
Cyclops
Beast
Colossus
Iceman
Storm
Shadowcat

Because regardless of whether writer A develops them outside of a particular group configuration, writer B wants everything back to how it was when he was wanking over leotards (which could be any time from decades ago to yesterday.)

I'm still game for the occasional well-written standalone story or short run, but DC have generally been better at it so far. And I'm well aware that I'm not the audience they can afford to target at the expense of others... except I don't think it would be.

Springer85
2011-10-09, 08:59 PM
I have no clue of what's currently going on in any X-men title. I tried getting back into them a few times, but got so confused that I passed. :|

DrSpengler
2011-10-09, 09:31 PM
The last post-Morrisson X-Men story I followed was Astonishing X-Men, mostly because it was entirely self-contained (it had to be, considering how late each issue was). Once that was through, though, I stopped.

It's funny; the X-Men titles I read as a kid weren't any less impenetrable than the stuff out now. I mean, what was going on in the early 90s? X-Tinction Agenda? X-Cutioner's Song? Fatal Attractions? Phalanx Sanction? Mother ****ing Age of Apocalypse and Onslaught!?

And all that was built off stuff like Inferno and Mutant Massacre and Fall of the Mutants, which in turn were built off twenty years of whatever Claremont had been up to.

When I was 8 I never read the complete storylines and was perfectly content with my Chapter 5 here and my Chapter 2 there. But now? That crap's a dealbreaker. I guess I'm pickier now than when I was 8.

Cliffjumper
2011-10-09, 09:49 PM
I think X-Men is one of those things that when you're into it, you're into it, but once you're out, it's very difficult to re-envelope yourself in. That said, I always felt the number of books you 'needed' to read in the 1990s was greatly exaggerated - aside from the odd crossover, get Uncanny and Adjectiveless and you were fine; things like Gen X and Wolverine didn't have much impact on what else was going on; you'd get the odd thing like Colossus or someone going "No, we can't get Logan to help, he's in Madripoor*" [*= See Wolverine #88], and that was about it.

I can see why the Blue/Gold team division never worked, though - the idea of these guys who live in the same house and have been friends and team-mates operating as two seperate teams regardless of suitability was a bit silly... This tends to be the problem whenever they try to split the books up.

DrSpengler
2011-10-09, 10:14 PM
I think X-Men is one of those things that when you're into it, you're into it, but once you're out, it's very difficult to re-envelope yourself in. That said, I always felt the number of books you 'needed' to read in the 1990s was greatly exaggerated - aside from the odd crossover, get Uncanny and Adjectiveless and you were fine; things like Gen X and Wolverine didn't have much impact on what else was going on; you'd get the odd thing like Colossus or someone going "No, we can't get Logan to help, he's in Madripoor*" [*= See Wolverine #88], and that was about it.



Yeah, it probably seemed more daunting to me when I was a kid because I had to be so frugal with my meager allowance so the thought of owning a, gasp, 4 issue story arc seemed impossible.

X-Tinction Agenda crossed only, what, 3 titles, right? And even when arcs like X-Cutioner's Song and Fatal Attractions had a chapter in each Mutant book, it was only 1 issue a piece, I think.

At a $1 a week allowance I was able to eventually complete my whole Fatal Attractions set, which felt like such a huge accomplishment back in the day. I think my copy of X-Men #25 is the only thing I've stroked more than my youknowwhat. And of course its worthless because it was a comic published between the years of 1990 and 1999, but it has sentimental value!

One of the reasons I bought so many trading cards in lieu of comics as a kid. Int he pre-internet days, they were the best way to keep up with the rest of the Marvel Universe in all the titles I didn't follow; it was the only way I ever knew what was going on with Spider-Man. Also helpful in getting issue numbers of what to look for in the quarter bin.

Cliffjumper
2011-10-09, 10:25 PM
I think X-Cutioner's Song was three issues each of Uncanny, Adjectiveless, X-Factor and X-Force. IIRC the X-Factor ones had batshit insane Jae Lee art at the time and mainly consisted of Peter David's usual banter with the overall storyline being sidetracked. Which was awesome.

I mainly remember that the storyline appeared around the same time as a D-list villain called the X-Cutioner was doing the rounds, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with him.

Fatal Attractions I always thought was pretty clever in the way the issues were connected but all pretty self-contained. X-Men #25 was dynamite, however, really epic little comic. I'm a bit of a Scott Lobdell fanboy, truth be told (did he write that one? Or just a lot of the other stuff in that era?) - he was a tidy writer, kept things moving forwards without much wholesale scrapping. He actually did a little fill-in run between Claremont V2 and Morrison that's one of my favourite little storylines.

Onslaught I loved, just because it did actually shake things up big-time for a year or so, but in a fairly logical fashion that didn't shit over everything else.

DrSpengler
2011-10-09, 10:59 PM
Fatal Attractions I always thought was pretty clever in the way the issues were connected but all pretty self-contained. X-Men #25 was dynamite, however, really epic little comic. I'm a bit of a Scott Lobdell fanboy, truth be told (did he write that one? Or just a lot of the other stuff in that era?) - he was a tidy writer, kept things moving forwards without much wholesale scrapping. He actually did a little fill-in run between Claremont V2 and Morrison that's one of my favourite little storylines.

It seemed the bulk of the story was confined to the chapters in Uncanny, Adjectiveless and Wolverine, and it was a very tight and exciting arc. Except that part where Wolverine slashes Magneto and someone forgot to tell the colorist to include blood, so it looks like Magneto is flipping out because Wolverine tore his shirt; "You have exposed my abs for the last time!"

I was the only child on the face of the planet without a copy of X-Men #1, meaning that "Fatal Attractions" was my quintessential Magneto story growing up.

It bugs me that it hasn't been collected since the 90s, since my floppies are falling apart from excess stroking.

Onslaught I loved, just because it did actually shake things up big-time for a year or so, but in a fairly logical fashion that didn't shit over everything else.

It's a lot of tedious stuff (much of the Sentinal crossovers in non-Mutant titles) with some great single moment payoffs. And not filled with nearly as much fluff as Age of Apocalypse, to be sure. Even if the shake-up didn't stick, such things rarely do in the long run in comics anyway. At least it didn't hit a reset button like AoA did.

Lobdell is a bit fire and ice with me, these days. He's been getting a LOT of flack for his (admittedly awful) DC work right now. And his run on IDW's Ghostbusters was the worst kind of Donald Glut-style phoning it in for a quick check. But I generally loved his X-Men stuff back in the day, and it's hard to describe just what it was that I liked so much. He didn't try to get so outrageously "high concept" as writers like Morrisson and he didn't try to completely deconstruct everything in an vain effort to leave a mark with his name on it. But he didn't "play it safe" either and hiw work isn't some forgettable borefest. He was "just right", I think.

Hound
2011-10-10, 01:17 AM
I currently buy Uncanny and Legacy and also read Wolverine, X-Men, New Mutants and X-Factor. I like all of them and they actually aren't crossing over hardly at all. The last couple crossovers have been small and have only involved 2 or 3 titles out of, what, like 9 or 10. I'm really enjoying X-Factor and Uncanny. Peter David is almost always solid and I'm pleasantly surprised to find that I like this Gillen guy quite a lot.

I stay away from almost all of Marvel nowadays. I read the Avengers books and Iron Man and ignore the rest. I might read Fear Itself eventually but so far I'm getting the gist of the story from the comics I already buy and I'm not actually all that interested.

I was going to read Schism and I even had the issues on my computer to read them and then decided I had enough other stuff to read and said forget it. I might get back to it someday but I read so much. There is only so much time in a day...

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-10, 05:23 AM
Fatal Attractions I always thought was pretty clever in the way the issues were connected but all pretty self-contained. X-Men #25 was dynamite, however, really epic little comic.[/i]

The panel in Wolverine #75 still stands out in my mind. It was a huge deal back then: Wolverine on his knees, blood everywhere, heretofore unknown bone claws jutting from his hands.

And the fact that the whole thing started with an off-hand comment from Peter David is just cake.

Onslaught I loved, just because it did actually shake things up big-time for a year or so, but in a fairly logical fashion that didn't shit over everything else.

Onslaught and Zero Tolerance were really the last of the great X-Crossovers. The seeds were laid for months before, and even when the final reveal of Onslaught's identity came, that was only the beginning.

That's really the issue that I have with a lot of the big event comics now. They spring up, basically out of nowhere, and everyone acts like it's the end of the world. Six months later, it might as well have never happened.

I mean, how many people can actually name who's in the X-Men now?

Pretty much every mutant in existence is an X-man now, as even the holdouts (like Sebastian Shaw) are supposed to be joining up.

The last couple crossovers have been small and have only involved 2 or 3 titles out of, what, like 9 or 10.[/i]

Yeah, but when there's six of them in two years, it adds up. Make no mistake, a crossover that spans two books (and a host of one-shots) is preferable to something as unwieldy as Civil War. But that doesn't change the fact that they've become kind of rapid fire in the X-books of late. There've been more "events" (which I've come to define as anything involving a separate miniseries or an "Alpha" issue) in the last three years than in any decade prior to 2000.

I read the Avengers books

Okay, seriously. How many Avengers books are there at this point? Five?

Looking back at the first post in the thread, I do feel kind of bad that I didn't really bring up very much of the stuff I've liked, but the crap does tend to stick out more.

Cliffjumper
2011-10-10, 08:42 AM
I must admit with Onslaught that I have a paired-down version for reading (handily, in the UK it was reprinted as part of the four-weekly Essential X-Men series, which necessarily focused on the main bits rather than Iron Man fighting sentinels). The last one-shot especially is still pretty damn epic. But then I have more time for Heroes Reborn than most people - good idea, middling execution. But as you say, I liked the way the influence was felt for a year or so afterwards - the Thunderbolts (still one of the best ideas Marvel have ever had, such a shame they did the reveal so early), the rise in anti-mutant stuff... Plus the Heroes Return bit saw all four Reborn titles come back in really solid style.

Avengers I got put off by Johns followed by Austen, six years of epic Busiek work undone by two morons completely ill-suited to the title.

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-10, 08:54 AM
Thunderbolts was, for quite some time, my favorite non-mutant book. Pity it's been jerked around by several new directions, all of which miss the point in spectacular fashion. Most frustrating, by far, was the team that cropped up during Dark Reign. Haven't bothered to check it out since then, as I'm afraid of what I'll find.

Hound
2011-10-10, 08:33 PM
I think there are still just 4 Avengers books. I only buy Avengers and New Avengers and then read Secret Avengers on my PC but I think there's still the Avengers Academy book. I've not read it though and it could be cancelled, I don't pay attention really.

I haven't read Thunderbolts in over a decade. I had the first 30 issues or so but I traded them away for some old Avengers comics I think. Haven't paid much attention to the book since then. *shrugs*

There seems to be a general dislike of Bendis among the comic nerds I hang out with. I quite like the books of his that I read. He writes dialogue well.

As for old X-Men crossovers, maybe I'm jaded now, I dunno, but all the old crossovers don't hold up nearly so well to a reread compared to the stuff being done nowadays. Well, maybe Inferno does as it was really pretty good but everything after that is pretty crap. Except maybe Age of Apocalypse which is good but by no means great. Fatal Attractions is ok if you only read two or three of the comics. X-Cutioner's Song is mostly lame. Phalanx Covenant is ****ing awful. So is Operation Zero Tolerance. "OMG, the situation for mutants is getting even worse! For the fifth time this decade! OMG! You've just got to read all 15 titles now!" *facepalm*

I'll take any of the crossovers from the last decade over any of those from the previous one.

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-11, 02:15 AM
I'll take any of the crossovers from the last decade over any of those from the previous one.

No, you're absolutely right. "Oh my God, the dead rise (ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THIS STORYLINE AND A CERTAIN DC STORYLINE ARE PURELY COINCIDENTAL AND UNINTENTIONAL), but it's okay, cause it only cost us a few fifth-string characters and now Cypher is back, even though the only one that gave two shits was Chris Claremont!" is way better.

Or maybe you prefer, "There's been a vampire coup, which we'll devote an entire ****ing issue to, even though a single page of some random guy staking Dracula would have been enough! And they're after mutants 'cause why the **** not? And Blade is here! Remember him? Remember when he was relevant?"

Or perhaps, "There's an alternate reality! And Legion's to blame! And Magneto's leading the resistance! And there's a two issue mini-series with scrambled versions of popular Marvel characters! And Xavier is somehow the key! It's completely new and never done before!"

I'm not going to hold up the nineties as some Golden Age of Comic Book Literature, but let's not pretend the newer stuff is something it's not.

There seems to be a general dislike of Bendis among the comic nerds I hang out with. I quite like the books of his that I read. He writes dialogue well.

Bendis is kind of a mixed bag. Ultimate Spider-man was pretty great, barring the later Norman Osborn stuff. His big event stuff wears thin, though, and I couldn't have been happier when they did the Sentry in.

Tony Stark, in particular, was done a massive injustice; why bother with the first actual character growth the character's gotten since "Demon in a Bottle", when you can just hit a big reset button? It's really difficult to keep track of "Good man dealing with the fallout of an unpopular decision that pitted him against friends and colleagues, resulting in incarcerations and deaths". "Alcoholic" is much easier to remember.

Yes, I know the point was to get everybody on good terms before the Heroic Age (and the forthcoming movie), but could there be a slightly more realistic way to do it? During Secret Invasion, I thought having Stark turn out to be a Skrull would have been the biggest cop out imaginable. Leave it to Marvel to prove me wrong in the worst way.

Also, Thor told Tony in no uncertain terms that their friendship was over. Given their run-in following Thor's return, it makes no sense that they'd immediately go right back to being teammates and friends (especially since the sheer number of Avengers teams means they don't necessarily have to be on the same one).

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-11, 03:15 AM
I think the problem is that BIG storylines and/or reboots only provide a brief spike to sales; the commercial answer is to make as many of these as possible.

http://i693.photobucket.com/albums/vv298/sjerusalem06/th_Punisher.jpg (http://s693.photobucket.com/albums/vv298/sjerusalem06/?action=view&current=Punisher.jpg)

Black Panther is nearly as bad.

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-12, 07:48 PM
Going back to the original post, a couple of addenda.

Nightcrawler - Dead in 616. Dead in Ultimate, where he was kind of not quite all there to begin with. Kurt's gotten kind of a raw deal simply because no one seems quite sure what to do with him.

The Constant Labeling - UXM has kind of been getting on my nerves with the cutesy labels on every character, every issue. Yes, there are a ****-ton of characters roaming around, but my guess is this: If someone's picking up an issue of Uncanny X-men, no matter how uninitiated they may be, they probably have a pretty good idea who Wolverine is. He doesn't need a label every time he shows up.

Dr. Nemesis - I know there's nothing particularly new and interesting about the character, but I can't help liking him. Also, the one label box I've rather liked was "Dr. Nemesis. PhD in Nemesising."

Shadowcat - Why did she have to come back so quickly? The headstone probably hadn't even been carved yet, and already she was back. Pity, as Astonishing was the first decent thing that had been done with her in forever. Now it's back to more Will They/Won't They crap with Peter.

Namor - Not overly thrilled with Namor lately. While I am glad they've been playing up the mutant thing, the character's becoming insufferable. It seems like everybody's gotten bored with making him a regal prick, and decided to play up the only other character trait he seems to have: Hitting on blondes in committed, long-term relationships. Also, as much as I tend to like Alex Maleev's art, the balding, unshaven Namor in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign looks like a sex offender.

Hound
2011-10-13, 05:38 AM
No, you're absolutely right. "Oh my God, the dead rise (ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THIS STORYLINE AND A CERTAIN DC STORYLINE ARE PURELY COINCIDENTAL AND UNINTENTIONAL), but it's okay, cause it only cost us a few fifth-string characters and now Cypher is back, even though the only one that gave two shits was Chris Claremont!" is way better. Surprise! Zombies are popular...

Besides, Marvel was doing the zombie comics before DC.

Yeah, terrible that they brought back a long dead character and made him infinitely more interesting. I hate when that happens too...

(I want the eye rolling smiley back!!!)
Or maybe you prefer, "There's been a vampire coup, which we'll devote an entire ****ing issue to, even though a single page of some random guy staking Dracula would have been enough! And they're after mutants 'cause why the **** not? And Blade is here! Remember him? Remember when he was relevant?"Not a crossover, but ok...

That aside it was a well written story, why are you complaining?
Or perhaps, "There's an alternate reality! And Legion's to blame! And Magneto's leading the resistance! And there's a two issue mini-series with scrambled versions of popular Marvel characters! And Xavier is somehow the key! It's completely new and never done before!"
Yeah, not an original idea. Still better written than the original and not as cumbersome as it didn't interrupt any more than two titles and included about half as many issues.
I'm not going to hold up the nineties as some Golden Age of Comic Book Literature, but let's not pretend the newer stuff is something it's not.Who's pretending? I stand by what I said. The X-Men crossovers that have been done recently have all been better written than the crossovers done in the nineties.

It's probably something to do with how nowadays big stories like that are masterminded by one or maybe two writers instead of having to form a coherent story out of ideas from 8+ writers and editors.

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-13, 05:39 PM
Yeah, terrible that they brought back a long dead character and made him infinitely more interesting. I hate when that happens too...[/i]

Matter of opinion, I suppose, as I find him quite dull these days.

Not a crossover, but ok...

Not counting the two-issue limited series and the one shots, it spanned issues of X-men (Vol. 3), Namor The First Mutant, and Deadpool. How it that not a crossover?

That aside it was a well written story, why are you complaining?

A whole lot of nothing happened. Jubilee and Wolverine got turned into vampires (which I already said I liked), but other than that, what really happened? A bunch of vampires showed up in San Francisco and did a whole lot of nothing.

Then, there's the big attack on Utopia, which seems to happen with about the same regularity as lunchtime, only for Dracula to return and put an end to the whole thing. Frankly the whole thing would have been a whole lot better if it had been a whole lot shorter.

Yeah, not an original idea. Still better written than the original and not as cumbersome as it didn't interrupt any more than two titles and included about half as many issues.

I tend to prefer the original, personally, as it had some weight to it (figuratively, not literally). Age of X, coming on the heels of everything else that's been done recently, felt like nothing actually happened. It was treated as some earth-shattering event, some big deal where everything was going to change. But what changed? Anything? Yeah, Chamber's back to having furnace face, and Frenzy's trying to be an X-man. But what's different?

And yes, AoA interrupted a lot of books, but that's because they were altering all of reality. Age of X was able to be fairly self contained because it was a pocket universe, or whatever, but things like AoA and House of M need to have a large effect. Hell, AoA was fairly minor all things considered, as a case could be made that EVERY Marvel book should have been affected, yet wasn't.

Who's pretending? I stand by what I said. The X-Men crossovers that have been done recently have all been better written than the crossovers done in the nineties.

It's probably something to do with how nowadays big stories like that are masterminded by one or maybe two writers instead of having to form a coherent story out of ideas from 8+ writers and editors.

And I disagree. I'm not saying that they're necessarily worse (on the whole), but I would certainly argue that they're better.

As for the committee approach, I wouldn't dream of saying that's the best way to go about things, but you can't tell me that putting Bendis in charge of everything has resulted in a better Marvel U. And that's the issue that I have: One or two people running the show leads to inconsistent characterization and more awful ideas finding their way in than if you had other writers and editors providing feedback.

Hound
2011-10-13, 06:29 PM
Matter of opinion, I suppose, as I find him quite dull these days.You're crazy.
Not counting the two-issue limited series and the one shots, it spanned issues of X-men (Vol. 3), Namor The First Mutant, and Deadpool. How it that not a crossover?X-Men v.3 #1 is part one of "Curse of the Mutants" and at no part during the story does it direct you to read any other book. Not a crossover.
A whole lot of nothing happened. Jubilee and Wolverine got turned into vampires (which I already said I liked), but other than that, what really happened? A bunch of vampires showed up in San Francisco and did a whole lot of nothing.

Then, there's the big attack on Utopia, which seems to happen with about the same regularity as lunchtime, only for Dracula to return and put an end to the whole thing. Frankly the whole thing would have been a whole lot better if it had been a whole lot shorter.Better if shorter? You could say that about Onslaught (I think Cliffy did basically upthread) oh and Fatal Attractions too, you could definitely say that about AoA. Actually you could say that about just about every single crossover that has ever been done in the X-Men that you're praising.
I tend to prefer the original, personally, as it had some weight to it (figuratively, not literally). Age of X, coming on the heels of everything else that's been done recently, felt like nothing actually happened. It was treated as some earth-shattering event, some big deal where everything was going to change. But what changed? Anything? Yeah, Chamber's back to having furnace face, and Frenzy's trying to be an X-man. But what's different?

And yes, AoA interrupted a lot of books, but that's because they were altering all of reality. Age of X was able to be fairly self contained because it was a pocket universe, or whatever, but things like AoA and House of M need to have a large effect. Hell, AoA was fairly minor all things considered, as a case could be made that EVERY Marvel book should have been affected, yet wasn't.The X-Men books weren't really affected at all after AoA. Well unless you count adding another title and a few refugee villains popping up to do **** all. House of M reduced the mutant population to a couple hundred. The X-Men have been dealing with the consequences of that nearly constantly since House of M ended.

Age of X gave Rogue a personality, which she dearly needed. That's what changed. Now Legacy is worth reading. That's important if you ask me. We're seeing changes in New Mutants too from Age of X too. It's early to say what will be long term as the story just ended a few months ago though.
And I disagree. I'm not saying that they're necessarily worse (on the whole), but I would certainly argue that they're better.

As for the committee approach, I wouldn't dream of saying that's the best way to go about things, but you can't tell me that putting Bendis in charge of everything has resulted in a better Marvel U. And that's the issue that I have: One or two people running the show leads to inconsistent characterization and more awful ideas finding their way in than if you had other writers and editors providing feedback.I'd say the exact opposite. One person running a big story means that things are more consistent and less awful ideas find there way into the mix. To say different is completely counter-intuitive.

Bendis doesn't have any say in the X-Men books right now unless you know something I don't.

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-14, 02:03 AM
You're crazy.

Why, because I'm sick of this compulsion to make every character an uber-badass? Why can't a character just have shitty powers?

X-Men v.3 #1 is part one of "Curse of the Mutants" and at no part during the story does it direct you to read any other book. Not a crossover.

The scans I have say quite clearly at the end, "Hey, Namor #1! Storm & Gambit #1! Blade #1!"

Frankly, this is the problem I have with using a term like "crossover" in the first place, as it allows for things like Deadpool/Thunderbolts, but not for things like Schism or House of M. It's why I tend to stay more with words like "event" or similar.

Better if shorter? You could say that about Onslaught (I think Cliffy did basically upthread) oh and Fatal Attractions too, you could definitely say that about AoA. Actually you could say that about just about every single crossover that has ever been done in the X-Men that you're praising.

My point was that AoX was a grand total of, what, ten issues, and didn't have enough actual story to fill half that.

Onslaught and Zero Tolerance I praised primarily for laying groundwork for months in advance rather than everything just springing up. Both can be read in a fairly condensed manner if one ignores the tie ins (one could easily get away with reading, at most, ten issues of the Onslaught storyline). I never said anything about the storyline, and my use of the word "great" was meant not in the "really good" sense, but in a more "grand" sort of way.

In the case of Fatal Attractions, I brought up a single issue of it that had stuck with me, the effect that it had (Wolverine was bone-clawed for far longer than anyone expected) and the manner in which it came about. I said nothing about the storyline itself, one way or the other.

Finally, in the case of AoA, yeah. I find it far superior to AoX, and I seriously doubt I'm the only one on the planet that does.

The X-Men books weren't really affected at all after AoA. Well unless you count adding another title and a few refugee villains popping up to do **** all. House of M reduced the mutant population to a couple hundred. The X-Men have been dealing with the consequences of that nearly constantly since House of M ended.

There were threads from AoA that lasted for years afterward. The Bishop storyline dovetailed into Onslaught as I recall, and it's having a fairly major impact on Uncanny X-Force as we speak.

As far as House of M, I enjoyed it immensely, and I think that Decimation is by far one of the best things that has happened to the X-men (story-wise) in some time. The mutants were getting out of hand, and the whole persecuted minority thing doesn't really work if you outnumber the people oppressing you.

Age of X gave Rogue a personality, which she dearly needed. That's what changed. Now Legacy is worth reading.

Rogue had a personality before Mike Carey and his ilk got a hold of her. It used to be that her powers informed her character, rather than being a shortcut to avoid having to make an effort. Rogue has always been one of the stronger female characters in the X-men, and if she's not, then you're doing it wrong.

We're seeing changes in New Mutants too from Age of X too. It's early to say what will be long term as the story just ended a few months ago though.

I'll grant, maybe I'm being too harsh. It just seems like a lot of the newer storylines end, and only one or two things have moved a quarter inch and that's called progress; used to be, someone died, or a planet was destroyed.

[i]I'd say the exact opposite. One person running a big story means that things are more consistent and less awful ideas find there way into the mix. To say different is completely counter-intuitive.

Bendis doesn't have any say in the X-Men books right now unless you know something I don't.

I brought Bendis up simply because, to my mind, he's a clear cut example of the dangers of one man running things, not because he's in charge of the X-Books.

My point is not to say that every issue needs to be written by someone different, or that every writer needs to have a say in the broad strokes, but simply that Marvel's policy of "Here's what's happening. Deal with it." isn't the answer. All I'm getting at is that, if Madrox is appearing in a story, maybe talk to Peter David before you just do whatever you damn well please.

Understand, also, that my point in bringing up a lot of the more recent storylines was not to say that they all suck (I didn't bring up Second Coming, for example, which I rather enjoyed). It's just that they seem to be happening with much more regularity than they have in the past.

For example, X-men Legacy breaks down as follows:

#226-7: Utopia
#228-30 & Annual: Nation X
#231-3: Necrosha
#234: The only issue that was in any way stand-alone
#235-37: Second Coming

That's a year's worth of issues that are tied into a mini-series or a major storyline. In the nineties, they came up regularly, but to that degree? You can't tell me something hasn't changed.

Hound
2011-10-14, 06:48 AM
For example, X-men Legacy breaks down as follows:

#226-7: Utopia
#228-30 & Annual: Nation X
#231-3: Necrosha
#234: The only issue that was in any way stand-alone
#235-37: Second Coming

That's a year's worth of issues that are tied into a mini-series or a major storyline. In the nineties, they came up regularly, but to that degree? You can't tell me something hasn't changed.Yeah but that's just the reality of reading any Marvel comic since Civil War really. How many books had that stupid "Dark Reign" banner on it for almost two years?

At least amidst that ridiculousness the comics have remained relatively well written and interesting.

Uncanny X-Men has been one of the most consistently good Marvel comics since it was given to Matt Fraction a while back and now under this Gillen guy and it's remained relatively free from all of the big event stuff that Marvel has been doing to compete with DC. Well, up til Fear Itself but the Juggernaut story they just did for that was ****ing awesome!

They take a character who isn't badass and make him badass because a writer wants to tell stories about that character. Wants to show why that character's powers aren't lame. If the character is just lame it's because the writer is lacking in imagination.

As for the Dracula story. I didn't read anything but the X-Men book and it never actually said to be continued in some other comic but I get what you're saying and I'll agree. If for no other reason than it's not really important, the Dracula story was still really well written.

Rogue has had a personality before... Sometimes. Now she has one that doesn't completely revolve around her being all sad that she can't touch anyone like it has for the last 25 years. I'm going with that being an improvement...

Lastly, planets don't have to explode and characters don't have to die for a story to be good or have an impact on the characters. Sometimes bad guys attacking and the good guys beating them and saving people is enough to mean that something did happen.

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-15, 02:47 AM
Yeah but that's just the reality of reading any Marvel comic since Civil War really. How many books had that stupid "Dark Reign" banner on it for almost two years?

I'm aware of the realities of the industry. That doesn't mean I have to be happy about them.

So, here's what I want to know. When talking about the failings of an upstart like IDW or Dreamwave, it is perfectly reasonable to say something along the lines of "If we don't demand more of them, they'll keep putting out the same crap." Yet, here we are talking about one of the big two, and it becomes "Well, that's just the way it is." Why is that?

At least amidst that ridiculousness the comics have remained relatively well written and interesting.

For the most part, yes. I agree that Fraction's Uncanny was overwhelmingly positive (barring the cutesy descriptions), though I'll be overjoyed when Greg Land finally retires to do whatever it is untalented hacks do when they're not sucking the life out of comics. Fear Itself, I'm holding off on judgement. The story itself was great. If Colossus becoming the Juggernaut leads to good stories, then I'll be happy with it. If it becomes a retread of Marko's time with the X-men, or if it becomes yet another thing to try and make Peter and Kitty's relationship anything other than the dull waste of time it has been for the past few years, then I'm going to be less than overjoyed.

They take a character who isn't badass and make him badass because a writer wants to tell stories about that character. Wants to show why that character's powers aren't lame. If the character is just lame it's because the writer is lacking in imagination.

Which goes back to what I was saying about a character being defined by their powers. There was nothing wrong with Doug, or Pixie, that a decent writer making an effort couldn't have fixed. If the character is lame, it isn't a consequence of their powers, it's because the people writing them clearly don't know what to do with them.

I never had any problem with Doug as he was back in New Mutants volume one. The character was often quite likable, and his powers were interesting (if not flashy). I have no overwhelming problem with bringing him back, I simply take issue with the way that it's been done. Admittedly, I'm still trying to track down some issues of volume three, so it's possible my feelings will change once I've got the entire picture.

Rogue has had a personality before... Sometimes. Now she has one that doesn't completely revolve around her being all sad that she can't touch anyone like it has for the last 25 years. I'm going with that being an improvement...

I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, in the very first post, I said:

The whole "Ah cain't touch somewhun without absorbing their powers and memories. Ah'm so alone." thing worked for a while, but has been wearing thin for the better part of a decade.

As I recall, I was trying to be conservative in saying "a decade".

The issue with Rogue in years past is two-fold. One part of it is the fact that Rogue is inextricably part of the Rogue/Gambit dynamic, which worked for a time, but has (more often than not) done them both more harm than good. The other is the fact that, as stated, her powers have become her personality. She's no longer the brassy, reckless, independent woman that she was for a long time before Gambit came along.

For his part, Gambit's become fairly crap in the last few years as well. When Rogue was showing an interest in Joseph back around X-men #60-70, Gambit put up a fight for the woman he loved. Few years ago, Mystique shows up with a potential suitor (one that Rogue immediately rejects) and Gambit's reaction is basically, "Whelp, that's it for me. Might as well join Apocalypse."

The X-books would be well serviced to get them both the **** away from each other, before they become like Scott and Jean.

Lastly, planets don't have to explode and characters don't have to die for a story to be good or have an impact on the characters. Sometimes bad guys attacking and the good guys beating them and saving people is enough to mean that something did happen.

All I'm saying is, that if you're going to take the time and effort to do a big storyline like that, the result needs to be something more than "Jubilee becomes a vampire". That's something that could have been accomplished in a single issue of Uncanny, Legacy, or a half dozen other titles, rather than splashing a banner down the side of several books for months at a time and fooling people into thinking that they were in for something of consequence.

I'm not saying that a planet has to explode (that and the death thing were just the first examples to come to mind, based on the first "big" storyline that came to me), but if they're going to slap a banner on a title, there damn well ought to be a reason, especially with that many happening in that short an amount of time. I don't think it's being unreasonable to expect that, if Marvel's going to go to the time and effort to design a logo for the thing and get several writers and editors to toe the line, the status quo should be shaken just a little more.

As you pointed out, House of M rocked the X-Books to their core, as well as playing a large part in the development of Civil War. Second Coming marked the first time new mutants had appeared since Hope was born, who was herself a big deal. In Utopia, the X-men sealed themselves away on an island of their own, seeming to signal an end to Xavier's integrationist ideals. All of those storylines herald a fundamental shift in the way the X-books are handled; what did Curse of the Mutants accomplish, other than making Clevon Little's performance in Once Bitten seem menacing? What did Necrosha accomplish, other than to bring back Cypher and clear out a couple of nothing characters (I was more than a little shocked to discover that Diamond Lil was even still around)?

Hound
2011-10-16, 01:48 AM
I'm aware of the realities of the industry. That doesn't mean I have to be happy about them.

So, here's what I want to know. When talking about the failings of an upstart like IDW or Dreamwave, it is perfectly reasonable to say something along the lines of "If we don't demand more of them, they'll keep putting out the same crap." Yet, here we are talking about one of the big two, and it becomes "Well, that's just the way it is." Why is that?Generally that has more to do with the quality of the stories though. The stories that Marvel and DC are telling are good. You just don't like the way they group the stories. Which is fine. You don't have to like them that way.

You do have to get used to it though. Stories that can be neatly grouped into one or even several TPBs aren't going away, at least not anytime soon. Sorry.
Which goes back to what I was saying about a character being defined by their powers. There was nothing wrong with Doug, or Pixie, that a decent writer making an effort couldn't have fixed. If the character is lame, it isn't a consequence of their powers, it's because the people writing them clearly don't know what to do with them.I agree and now Doug isn't lame. Now he's alive and useful and interesting. He was lame and useless before. He hung out with Warlock and really not a whole lot more than that.
The issue with Rogue in years past is two-fold. One part of it is the fact that Rogue is inextricably part of the Rogue/Gambit dynamic, which worked for a time, but has (more often than not) done them both more harm than good. The other is the fact that, as stated, her powers have become her personality. She's no longer the brassy, reckless, independent woman that she was for a long time before Gambit came along.Not anymore though. She's grown beyond all of that and now she's been given a personality just as dynamic. She's better now than she was in the past.
For his part, Gambit's become fairly crap in the last few years as well. When Rogue was showing an interest in Joseph back around X-men #60-70, Gambit put up a fight for the woman he loved. Few years ago, Mystique shows up with a potential suitor (one that Rogue immediately rejects) and Gambit's reaction is basically, "Whelp, that's it for me. Might as well join Apocalypse."Gambit has almost always been crap. As far as I'm concerned the only interesting thing that has ever been done with him was his relationship with Rogue and that got old pretty damn quick.
The X-books would be well serviced to get them both the **** away from each other, before they become like Scott and Jean.They've done that. Well, they put a halt to the relationship. Which is good.
All I'm saying is, that if you're going to take the time and effort to do a big storyline like that, the result needs to be something more than "Jubilee becomes a vampire". That's something that could have been accomplished in a single issue of Uncanny, Legacy, or a half dozen other titles, rather than splashing a banner down the side of several books for months at a time and fooling people into thinking that they were in for something of consequence.

I'm not saying that a planet has to explode (that and the death thing were just the first examples to come to mind, based on the first "big" storyline that came to me), but if they're going to slap a banner on a title, there damn well ought to be a reason, especially with that many happening in that short an amount of time. I don't think it's being unreasonable to expect that, if Marvel's going to go to the time and effort to design a logo for the thing and get several writers and editors to toe the line, the status quo should be shaken just a little more.I don't know what you expect to happen. The Dracula story wasn't nearly as big a deal as you seem to think it was supposed to be. Just because it had a banner on it's side doesn't mean it was an event. And it wasn't about Jubilee, her becoming a vampire probably had more to do with her just being completely useless and uninteresting for so long that someone decided to do something... anything with her. The story was about Dracula and it was a pretty well done. I don't care much for vampires and all that crap but they are popular right now so I can see why Marvel wanted to cash in. At least it wasn't phoned in. They actually did a pretty good job of making it a worthwhile read. It didn't need to shake up the X-Men, it wasn't about the X-Men.
As you pointed out, House of M rocked the X-Books to their core, as well as playing a large part in the development of Civil War. Second Coming marked the first time new mutants had appeared since Hope was born, who was herself a big deal. In Utopia, the X-men sealed themselves away on an island of their own, seeming to signal an end to Xavier's integrationist ideals. All of those storylines herald a fundamental shift in the way the X-books are handled; what did Curse of the Mutants accomplish, other than making Clevon Little's performance in Once Bitten seem menacing? What did Necrosha accomplish, other than to bring back Cypher and clear out a couple of nothing characters (I was more than a little shocked to discover that Diamond Lil was even still around)?Again, what are you expecting?! The story was good. It was interesting and well told.

Preacher is about a southern reverend, his sometimes GF and an Irish guy wandering around trying to bring god to account for being a prick. At the end what's changed? Not much really, but that's not the reason the book is so great. It's violent and crude and wonderfully hilarious.

Transmetropolitan? Almost exactly nothing changes for Spider from where he was to start the series to where he's at at the end. Still a great story.

Sometimes you just have to except that a story is good without something earthshaking happening. Sometimes the story being told being good has to be enough.

Dead Man Wade
2011-10-16, 03:16 AM
You do have to get used to it though. Stories that can be neatly grouped into one or even several TPBs aren't going away, at least not anytime soon. Sorry.

And if Marvel wants to do that, that's their business. I'm fine with the decompressed storytelling that has become standard in the industry, and I realize that writers are always keeping one eye on the TPB. That's not the problem.

You know what? If Curse of the Mutants or Necrosha had been a six issue storyarc in one of the X-books, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I still would have thought they were crap, but they would not have crawled up my ass the way they did. It was only because they treated them like an "event" (and I'm sorry, but tie-ins and companion one shots spell "event storyline" to me) that I felt there was even a problem.

I agree and now Doug isn't lame. Now he's alive and useful and interesting. He was lame and useless before. He hung out with Warlock and really not a whole lot more than that.

This new and amazing characterization must be in the issues I have yet to read, cause I've read about twenty (conservatively) issues of the current volume, and I'm just not seeing it.

They've done that. Well, they put a halt to the relationship. Which is good.

I'm not holding my breath. Rogue and Gambit have called it quits more times than I can count, but they inevitably wind up back together. If this is the end for them, great, but I'd say it's fairly unlikely.

I don't know what you expect to happen. The Dracula story wasn't nearly as big a deal as you seem to think it was supposed to be. Just because it had a banner on it's side doesn't mean it was an event.

It had tie-in issues across three titles, a two issue limited series, and a bunch of one shots. I don't think it's unreasonable that someone somewhere might have thought it was a thing. Not as big a thing as House of M, but a thing.

The story was about Dracula and it was a pretty well done.

I disagree. With the exception of the Wolverine/Trojan Horse thing, it was a bunch of vampires doing approximately ****-all, while the X-men watched. Yeah, there was a bit of an attack on Utopia, which ended the minute Dracula came back and he and Cyclops smirked at each other for a bit.


It didn't need to shake up the X-Men, it wasn't about the X-Men.


I'm sorry. I seem to have been confused, what with it saying "X-men" on the cover.

Again, what are you expecting?! The story was good. It was interesting and well told.

Which clearly I would disagree with.

Preacher is about a southern reverend, his sometimes GF and an Irish guy wandering around trying to bring god to account for being a prick. At the end what's changed? Not much really, but that's not the reason the book is so great. It's violent and crude and wonderfully hilarious.

Transmetropolitan? Almost exactly nothing changes for Spider from where he was to start the series to where he's at at the end. Still a great story.

Vertigo books carry a much different expectation than X-men does. I have a different idea of what's supposed to happen when the X-men fight vampires and zombies, than I do in picking up an issue of Transmetropolitan.

If you want to talk about the lack of character-defining moments in Bloodties, or a host of other X-men storylines, that's fine. But bringing in another book solely because it happens to be in the same medium will keep us going around in circles indefinitely. I could just as easily say that Age of X sucks because it's not Maus.

Sometimes you just have to except that a story is good without something earthshaking happening. Sometimes the story being told being good has to be enough.

Which is fine when talking about Quarantine, Deathmark, or any other storyline taking place in a single book. But when I see something like Necrosha, Second Coming, or House of M, which takes place across more than one title, I don't think an expectation that something bigger than average is going to occur is necessarily unreasonable. If Marvel thinks it's big enough to warrant months of advance advertising and several tie-ins, why am I in the wrong if I think it fails to deliver on that expectation?

Hound
2011-10-16, 04:12 AM
What you're saying is that the real problem isn't the actual stories but that they weren't as grand as you expected them to be.

Fair enough.

A bit of advice: Pay no attention to the hype or build up or whatever and just sit down with your comics and enjoy them or not without expectation. Save yourself the disappointment...

Dead Man Wade
2011-11-05, 08:08 PM
Sorry. Moving.

A bit of advice: Pay no attention to the hype or build up or whatever and just sit down with your comics and enjoy them or not without expectation. Save yourself the disappointment...

Hype is largely irrelevant. I'd been reading a lot of these six months or more (often up to three years) after they came out. I didn't see the ads until right before I got around to reading them (half of the storylines I caught up on, I picked at random based upon perusing Wikipedia), so I hadn't had a chance to build them up in my own mind. The only expectation I'd had was the one that's been fostered by the comics industry in the 26 years since Crisis, that something deserving of a proper title is going to yield results (whether I like them or not), and that no longer seems to be the case.

If that makes me naive, so be it, but I doubt seriously I'm the only one that feels that way.

Moving on, I've now embarked on a super-enormous reread, starting with X-men #1 and carrying through to the present day. Pray for me.

Hound
2011-11-06, 12:09 AM
Moving on, I've now embarked on a super-enormous reread, starting with X-men #1 and carrying through to the present day. Pray for me.Like 1963 X-Men #1? I did that like 5 years ago or something. It was crazy. I read everything, New Mutants, X-Factor, Excalibur... All of it. Took me the better part of that whole year. I of course have forgotten nearly everything. Still, even with all of the ups and downs and stuff it was very fun.

Dead Man Wade
2011-11-06, 02:14 AM
Like 1963 X-Men #1? I did that like 5 years ago or something. It was crazy. I read everything, New Mutants, X-Factor, Excalibur... All of it. Took me the better part of that whole year. I of course have forgotten nearly everything. Still, even with all of the ups and downs and stuff it was very fun.

Yep, starting in 1963. I've made a pretty good show of it thus far (skipping 66 through 93 makes it easier to get to the triple digits). Out of curiosity, how did you handle the Uncanny/X-men bits? Did you read one, then the other, or did you do it concurrently? I'm leaning toward reading them separately (proper crossovers aside), as I have a decent enough grasp on continuity to know what they're referencing at any given time, but I'm open to suggestions.

Hound
2011-11-06, 02:22 AM
I read everything side by side.

I really hate the 90s... :(

Dead Man Wade
2011-11-06, 02:33 AM
I read everything side by side.

I really hate the 90s... :(

You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

Doing something like that's fine whenever they pare it down to a couple of titles a month, but when you have a situation (like the 90s) where there are fifteen ongoing titles at once, it's a little overwhelming. I'm thinking I might try to keep up on Uncanny X-men and X-men, but read the others on their own just to keep myself sane.

Ozz
2011-11-08, 09:54 AM
I did that huge re-reading few years ago (caught up with current issues in the middle of House Of M, IIRC). There's a text file around the net called X-Men Continuity Guide or somesuch, which has some mistakes of course, but can be useful.

TBH, there wasn't fifteen ongoing series in the 90's, it was about ten, which is about how many there is now. And from what I remember, the continuity between them was much better and it was easier to work out an order of stories from various titles. Now (by now I mean few months ago, because I'm slightly behind) you have characters other than Wolverine appearing as regular cast in various titles and serious problems like how exactly Kyle and Yost's X-Force is supposed to be working with Fraction's Uncanny.

And it's even slightly harder when you're reading it in trades. ;)

Dead Man Wade
2011-11-08, 05:59 PM
I did that huge re-reading few years ago (caught up with current issues in the middle of House Of M, IIRC). There's a text file around the net called X-Men Continuity Guide or somesuch, which has some mistakes of course, but can be useful.

May have to see about that.

TBH, there wasn't fifteen ongoing series in the 90's, it was about ten, which is about how many there is now.

I was exaggerating, of course. The X-books, like a lot of franchises, go through periods of expansion and retraction. You get a large crop of titles, then a bunch get cancelled. The number slowly creeps back up, and then a bunch get cancelled.

And from what I remember, the continuity between them was much better and it was easier to work out an order of stories from various titles.

Depends. The continuity is much more difficult to work out, but a case could be made that less crossover makes it easier to follow one book exclusively.

Mind, I do kind of miss the days when the Marvel Universe was inextricably connected. The mass of Venom symbiotes cropping up in the middle of New York would have had an impact far greater than just New Avengers, for example. Yes, it could get confusing at times, but it contributed to a feeling that these characters all inhabited the same world (which is kind of important, given that a good chunk of Marvel's titles take place on or around the island of Manhattan).

Alpha Trion
2011-12-03, 08:16 PM
I've been pretty frustrated with the franchise for a while now. We have an excellent set of writers on the books: Gillen, Carey, Aaron, Remenderm, DnA and Wells before them have all done great things. But it feels like editorial is just throwing out horrible idea after horrible idea that these writers are left to try and work with. Schism felt so forced and silly. Suddenly after all these years, Wolverine's lost his stomach for putting kids on the front line?

A big contributing problem is the publishing schedule itself. How do these stories fit together? I have no idea. Aaron did a 16 issue story in Wolvy's solo book that goes some way towards explaining his new feelings re: the kids, but it's last issue (which leads directly into Schism #1) came out the same time as the last issue of Schism. There are so many titles featuring nearly the same cast of X-Men, but they don't seem to reflect each other. Clearly Archangel is going to be taken off the playing field somehow in the excellent Dark Angel Saga's conclusion, but this story's been taking its merry time and meanwhile the rest of the franchise has moved on. So we get stuff like characters awkwardly trying to talk about Warren in Regenesis and Uncanny #1 without saying what exactly happened to him.

And what the hell is the point of Adjectiveless and Astonishing? The franchise does not need two continuity-lite books by semi-mediocre writers. Gischler's X-Men Team-Up has yet to produce a good read and I dropped Astonishing like a flesh-eating baby the moment Daniel Way turned up.

Uncanny X-Force has been consistently excellent though, which I couldn't have imagined coming off the back of the awful Kyle/Yost run. To anyone not reading any X-books, I can't recommend this one enough. It's also probably the most standalone series going now.

Dead Man Wade
2011-12-04, 07:01 PM
Suddenly after all these years, Wolverine's lost his stomach for putting kids on the front line?

Yeah, that really didn't make a whole lot of sense. Jubilee and Shadowcat have been front and center for all sorts of mayhem, and Logan never had any problem. A bunch of kids volunteer to protect their home at a time when there isn't a single team of X-men on site, and suddenly he goes all weak-kneed? Seems to me that Wolverine, of all people would understand the nature of necessity.

And what the hell is the point of Adjectiveless and Astonishing? The franchise does not need two continuity-lite books by semi-mediocre writers.

Adjectiveless has yet to offer any reason for its existence beyond seeing how many books they can have running at one time before the inevitable mass cancellation. Astonishing, I haven't read consistently since Ellis' run, but I don't really see a point to it anymore. Every character in that book is being handled better elsewhere.

Uncanny X-Force has been consistently excellent though, which I couldn't have imagined coming off the back of the awful Kyle/Yost run. To anyone not reading any X-books, I can't recommend this one enough. It's also probably the most standalone series going now.

Uncanny X-Force has been one of the most pleasant surprises in some time. Remender has turned out a book that is endlessly entertaining, with characters that are engaging and funny. K/Y's run on X-Force was largely crap, which I only continued reading so that I could say I'd done so. It was a chore, whereas Uncanny is something I actively look forward to.

SO. The read-through continues. Have now finished Uncanny and X-men/Legacy. Began New Mutants a day or two ago, but this one is slow going, as returning to the days of Claremont after re-reading every tiresome retread is torture.

I tried reading them concurrently for a while, but decided to leave that largely for crossovers. Reading like that got to be too big a headache.

Cyberstrike nTo
2012-06-23, 08:01 PM
IMHO X-Factor is not on the best x-title it's the best damn book Marvel publishes. David avoids most the crossover nonsense but when he's forced to use it he works his storylines into the crossovers and doesn't burden the reader with tons of pointless recaps and exposition he tells you what need to understand the story and figures most readers are either reading the rest of the crossovers, read about it on the internet, or both.

Sometimes he does stories that actually feels like he's commenting on the crossover or event. He had one issue where the team is investigating a possible vampire and one of them makes a crack something to effect: "I wonder what would happen if mutants got into war with vampires?" the reply was "Yeah, like that will ever happen!" and this was shortly after Curse of the Mutants had finished.

He also takes a character like Jamie Maddox and makes him a a great leader (I mean if you told me back in the 90s that this third string character would be the star of the best books on the market and one the best characters in the Marvel Universe I would have I laughed) who is VERY flawed, and screws up and you like the guy. He's one of the few mutants to have the guts to stand up to BOTH Cyclops and Wolverine.

relak
2012-06-25, 05:15 AM
About the crossover events peeve: lol that's why i stick to buying the collcted hardcover editions for X-men instead of following any one series

It's so much easier to read that way