Archive for November, 2012

New X-Men #145

November 30, 2012

Grant Morrison // Chris Bachalo
October 2003
****

GM brings the run back to techno-pop adventure, tho’ he forfeits Wolvie & Cyke’s emotional arcs. The baddie who created the U-Men also leads Weapon Plus, a program of Sentinel supersoldiers disguised as a comic book team! All this on an exploding orbital satellite laid out superbly by Bachalo.

last issue: New X-Men #144
next issue: New X-Men #146

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
Avengers/JLA #2 of 4

New X-Men #144

November 29, 2012

Grant Morrison // Chris Bachalo
September 2003
****

Much of #144 has Fantomex exposit on Weapon Plus, the anti-mutant corp that bred him. The ultra-cool antihero, like his creator, delights in misdirection as a mode of self-definition. Under all that, however, lies an autopilot conceit: Weapon XV, spliced w/ a super-Sentinel, awakens to megalomania.

last issue: New X-Men #143
next issue: New X-Men #145

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
JLA/Avengers #1 of 4

New X-Men #143

November 28, 2012

Grant Morrison // Chris Bachalo
late August 2003
*****
Synthetic time speed-breeds generations of supersoldiers in an artificial city surveilled by corporate scientists—until one test subject escapes! But Fantomex drags Logan & Summers to the scene. Bachalo’s design sense complements the arc’s theme of 21C superscience well—just look at his AIM outfits!
[last issue: New X-Men #142]
[next issue: New X-Men #144]

New X-Men #142

November 27, 2012

Grant Morrison // Chris Bachalo
early August 2003
****
Gloomy Scott Summers gets drunk w/ Wolverine at the Hellfire Club (now a mutants-only gentleman’s club). Tho’ Bachalo’s nose-heavy toons, strong outlines, & sense of pace are great, fine acting is his short suit. GM doesn’t give Wolvie the Zen wisdom that he’s had previously, but his Cyke is strong.
[last issue: New X-Men #141]
[next issue: New X-Men #143]

New X-Men #141

November 26, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
July 2003
***
Super-cops solve the Murder of Emma Frost—& Phoenix resurrects her—but deeper mysteries are afoot. Like, who supplies the mutant vapo-steroid? A mole in the mansion! But the plot feels like wheel-spinning, the chars are duds, the only clever bit is the speedy gestation of Beak & Angel’s brood.
[last issue: New X-Men #140]
[next issue: New X-Men #142]

New X-Men #140

November 25, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
late June 2003
***
This issue, I think, is where the wheels come off Morrison’s run. X-Treme lends its cop protags to investigate the murder of Emma Frost. After her psyche was blasted by Jean Grey, Emma literally fell to pieces—a thousand diamond shards! Phoenix, however, easily proves her innocence via cosmic gaze.
[last issue: New X-Men #139]
[next issue: New X-Men #141]

New X-Men #139

November 24, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
early June 2003
****
If you find Quitely too mod, you might prefer Jimenez’s ’00s capes (w/ more N. Adams & Pérez in his matrix). As he stages the astral confrontation btw Jean & Emma, he sticks w/ super-realism rather than trying for surreal magic. Still, great to see real emotions behind those mutant love triangles!
[last issue: New X-Men #138]
[next issue: New X-Men #140]

New X-Men #138

November 23, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
May 2003
*****
Mutation, for Morrison as for Claremont, is the mag’s key theme. Kid O, hopped up on a mutant steroid inhalant, sublimates into psy-energy. Prof X, recognizing his failure, resigns as headmaster. But Emma F. refuses to change, even as her Cuckoos leave her &, for good measure, expose her affair w/ Cyke!
[last issue: New X-Men #137]
[next issue: New X-Men #139]

New X-Men #137

November 22, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
April 2003
*****
Kid Omega’s restaging of If… falls apart. The boy acts as a mirror for Xavier: Magneto Y2K (Morrison sidesteps Claremont for the Lee/Kirby megalomaniac). GM usually defends rebels, but here he favors evolution over revolution. The cost is too great: students die, incl. one of the weird psi-quints!
[last issue: New X-Men #136]
[next issue: New X-Men #138]

New X-Men #136

November 21, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
March 2003
*****
The students of Xavier’s Institute take the spotlight. A light subplot has the special class learn teamwork when U-Men raid the grounds. Kid Omega’s gang, meanwhile, kidnaps Prof X & stages a riot! FQ’s at his most riveting as he stages Xorn’s break from non-violence even as he teaches a Zen lesson.
[last issue: New X-Men #135]
[next issue: New X-Men #137]

New X-Men #135

November 20, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
February 2003
****
W/ FQ’s return & GM’s renewed focus, this mag has found its swing. The Institute gets some welcome elaboration, foregrounding the student population and their challenges to authority. Kid Omega decides on violence & uppers as a mode of acting out; Xorn takes the “special” class on a camping trip.
[last issue: New X-Men #134]
[next issue: New X-Men #136]

New X-Men #134

November 19, 2012

Grant Morrison // Keron Grant
January 2003
***
Tho’ peripheral, Xavier’s school has been integral to NXM. Kid Omega, a nerdy psychic, takes a popular kid down a peg & chafes against Prof X’s authority. The art’s simple in its toonishness (also, Marvel’s using lowercase fonts), while the script is a rare case of GM doing trad character building.
[last issue: New X-Men #133]
[next issue: New X-Men #135]

New X-Men #133

November 18, 2012

Grant Morrison // Ethan van Scriver
December 2002
***
Prof X’s world tour gets interrupted, first by Pakistani terrorists & then by the Shi’ar (who intone a warning re: Phoenix). Meanwhile, Wolvie & Fantomex rescue an Afghani mutant from slavers. A low-watt issue. Points for contempo relevance but the girl is a blank slate. It’s all tease, no plot.
[last issue: New X-Men #132]
[next issue: New X-Men #134]

New X-Men #132

November 17, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
November 2002
****
Children of the late Magneto visit the toxic site of the Genoshan Sentinel massacre. Quicksilver & Toad erect a statue, while Polaris unearths a blackbox magno-recording of her father’s final words. Comic book allegory supplies the necessary distance for a respectful memorial to the 9/11 attacks.
[last issue: New X-Men #131]
[next issue: New X-Men #133]

New X-Men #131

November 16, 2012

Grant Morrison // John Paul Leon
late October 2002
****
GM writes an artful variation on the usual X-soap, contrasting a domestic drama with a comedic underplot. Cyclops initiates a psychic affair w/ bad girl Emma. JPL’s scratchy style doesn’t quite mine the surreal potential. Also, two unglamorous X-students, outcasts of the new mutants, hook up.
[last issue: New X-Men #130]
[next issue: New X-Men #132]

New X-Men #130

November 15, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
early October 2002
***
Kordey finally hits the right tone, a murky horrorshow. The Prof faces a fractal consciousness that infects by touch (Claremont-like psi-villainy!); Jean gets exposition from a mystery man. This super-conscientious objector is  Fantomex, AKA Weapon XIII—which makes Logan’s “Weapon X” the number 10!
[last issue: New X-Men #129]
[next issue: New X-Men #131]

New X-Men #129

November 14, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
September 2002
***

A new antihero—a suave French mutant named for Fantomas & costumed like Diabolik—improves greatly on Gambit. But imagine what JH Williams III could do w/ the master thief & his beaux arts UFO! Kordey’s just wrong for this mag. Another clever revision: Weapon X = 10, and big bad number XII is loose!

last issue: New X-Men #128
next issue: New X-Men #130

also indexed for Sept. ’02
Alias #11
Alias #12
Avengers #56

New X-Men #128

November 13, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
late August 2002
***

NXM double-ships this month! But #128 is much worse than #127. That’s due to Kordey, whose hideous chunky lines undercut the arc’s cosmopolitan tone & subtle psychology. Jean’s Phoenix & Scott’s inhibitions threaten the marriage. And in Europe, X-mutants stage a rescue op in the Channel Tunnel.

last issue: New X-Men #127
next issue: New X-Men #129

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
Avengers #55
New X-Men #127

New X-Men #127

November 12, 2012

Grant Morrison // John Paul Leon
early August 2002
*****

New cast-member Xorn, a blue-nova boddhisatva in an iron mask, seeks a malformed mutant in Alphabet City. This one-off paints a finely detailed portrait w/ zen-like simplicity (ignore, please, GM’s upcoming reveal). JPL’s choppy pencils add an urban grit, better even than Maleev on contempo DD.

last issue: New X-Men #126
next issue: New X-Men #128

also indexed for Aug. ’02
Alias #10
Avengers #55
New X-Men #128

New X-Men #126

November 11, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
July 2002
****

Jean Grey, Phoenix once more, stashes Prof X’s mind among mutantkind to act as a booby-trap. Defeated by teamwork, his evil twin (& Jungian psi-beast) Cassandra Nova is to be rehabilitated! A superb finale to Morrison’s first year on NXM, a top-notch first act—despite Kordey’s fill-in art.

last issue: New X-Men #125
next issue: New X-Men #127

also indexed for Jul. ’02
Alias #9
Avengers #54

New X-Men #125

November 10, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
June 2002
***

Cyke & Xorn stage an orbital jailbreak; on Earth, the students & teachers make separate contingency plans. The plot threads harmonize rather than locking step. And the dialogue is pitch-perfect, which overcomes the squishy faces. Even Kordey, despite his ugly manner, can relate the story okay.

last issue: New X-Men #124
next issue: New X-Men #126

also indexed for Jun. ’02
Alias #8
Avengers #53

New X-Men #124

November 9, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
May 2002
**

Kordey’s back. His sloppy rush job detracts heavily—bewildering that Marvel would publish a flagship that looks this bad—but it only needs to depict a brawl btw the team & super-aliens. GM’s script carries the momentum, absent its usual depth. But this is the nadir of his superb X-work.

last issue: New X-Men #123
next issue: New X-Men #125

also indexed for May ’02
Alias #7
Avengers #52

New X-Men #123

November 8, 2012

Grant Morrison // Ethan van Scriver & Tom Derenick
April 2002
****

Diverse hands don’t detract from Morrison’s momentum. Jean Grey presents the X-campus as a utopia of human/mutant culture. Cue an alien invasion—the masterplan of archfoe Cassandra Nova, whose nano-Sentinels have also infected the team! Even the student body gets its share of plot beats.

last issue: New X-Men #122
next issue: New X-Men #124

also indexed for Apr. ’02
Alias #6
Avengers #51

New X-Men #122

November 7, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
March 2002
*****

A heady ish packed w/ action, suspense, even character beats. Backed by FQ, GM intros a dozen new ideas, but he presumes you’ll keep up! The team’s catching up too, on Cass Nova: a bodiless consciousness who stole Prof X’s body. She, meanwhile, has demolished the mag’s galactic empire, the Shi’ar!

last issue: New X-Men #121
next issue: New X-Men #123

also indexed for Mar. ’02
Alias #5
Avengers #50

New X-Men #121

November 6, 2012

Grant Morrison // Frank Quitely
February 2002
*****

Mandated by Marvel to produce a wordless issue, GM & FQ create avant-pop, one of the greatest single issues of the X-Men ever. No mere gimmick, they convey a pivotal story beat (Prof X fought his evil twin in utero) using silence to build a surreal astral space for the heroines’ psychic journey.

last issue: New X-Men #120
next issue: New X-Men #122

also indexed for Feb. ’02
Alias #4
Avengers #49

New X-Men #120

November 5, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
January 2002
***

The U-Men are reduced to opera buffa racists by Jean Grey, who catches fire w/ Phoenix Force. Her ascension tingles the reader’s spine, tho’ hasty fill-in art obscures the action & undercuts the sense of awe that GM intends. Compare to Quitely’s numinous cover: Phoenix as modern Byzantine icon.

last issue: New X-Men #119
next issue: New X-Men #121

also indexed for Jan. ’02
Alias #3
Avengers #48

New X-Men #119

November 4, 2012

Grant Morrison // Igor Kordey
December 2001
**

Kordey, tonally the opposite of Morrison, shreds the mag’s mod-pop adventure w/ rough, murky pencils. A close read salvages a few concepts & story beats tho’. Jean Grey preps for lone battle to defend the school. A roadhouse bigot pulls a shotgun & sob story on Logan & his new teen protege.

last issue: New X-Men #118
next issue: New X-Men #120

also indexed for Dec. ’01
Alias #2
Avengers #47

New X-Men #118

November 3, 2012

Grant Morrison // Ethan van Scriver
November 2001
***

A cornerstone of this X-era is mutant popularity. Non-glam mutants like Beast & Beak got spotlit last ish; in #118, a chubby teen gets thrown out by her bigoted dad for growing bug wings. Less successful is GM’s riff on anti-mutant cadres: meet the U-Men, vivisecting mutants for post-human uplift.

last issue: New X-Men #117
next issue: New X-Men #119

also indexed for Nov. ’01
Alias #1
Avengers #46
Avengers: The Ultron Imperative

New X-Men #117

November 2, 2012

Grant Morrison // Ethan van Scriver
October 2001
****

EvS, a melodramatic realist in the N. Adams vein, is no Quitely. Fortunately, Morrison offsets him w/ lots of good new ideas. Beast is key, caring about his uglier students, fighting a psi-attack of self-loathing over his devolution. His attacker: Cassandra Nova, super-mutant & Xavier’s evil twin!

continued from New X-Men Annual 2001
last issue: New X-Men #116
next issue: New X-Men #118

also indexed for Oct. ’01
Avengers #45

New X-Men Annual 2001

November 1, 2012

Grant Morrison // Leinel Yu
September 2001
****

The team investigates an alliance btw Red China, a US pharm corp, & a self-help guru whose pro-mutant stance covers an evil agenda. Organ harvesting, international espionage, a beatific mutant w/ a star for a brain: GM’s ’01 Annual tells a rare X-tale that feels essential & a la mode, if not quite coherent. Yu flips the page for letterbox effect, tho’ his raspy layouts echo GM’s style for + and -.

continued from New X-Men #116
continued in New X-Men #117
last issue: X-Men Annual 2000

also indexed for Sept. ’01
Avengers #44
Avengers Annual 2001
New X-Men #116