Archive for February, 2015

The Sentry #4 of 5

February 28, 2015

Sentry 4 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
December 2000
****

Core Marvel heroes recall the Sentry, whose previous face-off w/ his (literal?) nemesis the Void ended in self-exile & a rewrite of reality. This mini maintains its weird sensibility partly thru a pacing akin to Grant Morrison’s: scenes begin in medias res w/ no exposition to orient the reader.

last issue: The Sentry #3 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #5 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35
Maximum Security #2 of 3

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The Sentry #3 of 5

February 27, 2015

Sentry 3 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
November 2000
*****

None of Marvel’s original heroes recognize this Superman riff except the Hulk (a tender, lovely scene). Yet the Sentry’s okay with this—preternaturally so, which gives his tale a dreamlike tone. Lee’s art furthers that eerie atmosphere with splattery backgrounds & great use of silhouettes & shadows.

last issue: The Sentry #2 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Avengers #34
Maximum Security #1 of 3
Thunderbolts #44

The Sentry #2 of 5

February 26, 2015

Sentry 2 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
October 2000
*****

A cult gem in Marvel’s early ’00s brush w/ experimentalism. Jenkins’ Sentry also debuts the company’s decade-long obsession w/ the ‘spliced retcon’. Before Cassandra Nova, Jessica Jones, & the Winter Soldier, Bob Reynolds got married, w/ Reed Richards as his best man—only now no one remembers him.

last issue: The Sentry #1 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #3 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’00
Avengers #33
Daredevil #13
Marvel Boy #3 of 6
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
Thunderbolts #43

The Sentry #1 of 5

February 25, 2015

Sentry 1 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
September 2000
****

A strange ‘adult’ comic from Marvel’s Knights imprint. Framed as a sad sack battling depression (‘the Void’) & alcoholism, the protag’s delusion of Silver-Age superheroics is revealed as reality in the final panel. Jae Lee art is the real draw, his unique ’90s style augmented here by Kirby pastiche.

next issue: The Sentry #2 of 5

also indexed for Sept. ’00
Avengers #32
Marvel Boy #2 of 6
Thunderbolts #42

Marvel Boy #6 of 6

February 24, 2015

Marvel Boy 6 of 6Grant Morrison // J.G. Jones
March 2001
****

Closure for an origin arc (#1 + 4-6): Noh-Varr the super-Kree helps his GF defeat her megalomaniac dad, then he’s incarcerated by SHIELD. He’s an outsider in the grand Marvel manner, pitted even against that tradition. Such raw potential in this character & also in GM’s style, not picked up till Nextwave.

last issue: Marvel Boy #5 of 6

also indexed for Mar. ’01
Avengers #38
Daredevil #14

Marvel Boy #5 of 6

February 23, 2015

Marvel Boy 5 of 6Grant Morrison // J.G. Jones
December 2000
*****

All that #4 lacked & more. The ultra-cool superboy & the hyper-violent vamp show genuine chemistry, but even better are their dense backstories. He’s the sole survivor of a collapsed universe; she’s the lab creation of an evil scientist. They’re mad heroes full of gonzo potential for future writers.

last issue: Marvel Boy #4 of 6
next issue: Marvel Boy #6 of 6

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35
Maximum Security #2 of 3

Marvel Boy #4 of 6

February 22, 2015

Marvel Boy 4 of 6Grant Morrison // J.G. Jones
November 2000
****

A bad-ass dominatrix bests our hero, then saves his bacon from her 1% daddy. She’s rebelling against dad’s incestuous tone & buy-it-all arrogance, but those are the only notes of characterization to this ish. Fortunately, Jones’ urbam action spectacle is A+: widescreen comics, not storyboards.

last issue: Marvel Boy #3 of 6
next issue: Marvel Boy #5 of 6

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Avengers #34
Maximum Security #1 of 3
Thunderbolts #44

Marvel Boy #3 of 6

February 21, 2015

Marvel Boy 3 of 6Grant Morrison // J.G. Jones
October 2000
*****

With #3, Morrison writes the Marvel comic his fans were hoping for. His surly superhero fights an alien viral idea that reconstitutes civilizations as corporations, & devastates planets’ resources. In this context, M. Boy shows individual growth & civic responsibility by wrecking the system!

last issue: Marvel Boy #2 of 6
next issue: Marvel Boy #4 of 6

also indexed for Oct. ’00
Avengers #33
Daredevil #13
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
Thunderbolts #43

Marvel Boy #2 of 6

February 20, 2015

Marvel Boy 2 of 6Grant Morrison // J.G. Jones
September 2000
****

Kid Kree lays waste to blocks of NYC as a punkish, antiauthoritarian declaration. Morrison, impressed by The MatrixFight Club, & other blockbusters of the era, revels in violence that emulates the WTO protests of ’99 but also discomfits the reader who lived through the terrorists attacks of ’01.

last issue: Marvel Boy #1 of 6
next issue: Marvel Boy #3 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’00
Avengers #32
Thunderbolts #42

Marvel Boy #1 of 6

February 19, 2015

Marvel Boy 1 of 6Grant Morrison // J.G. Jones
August 2000
*****

An angry teen alien crashlands on Earth—a mod revision of the Superboy archetype in the trendy widescreen fashion. A rare Marvel mag by Morrison, MB is swollen w/ his stylistic hyper-density (the hero’s a super-Kree ensign from an alt dimension). Likewise, Jones stuffs his panels w/ great designs.

next issue: Marvel Boy #2 of 6

also indexed for Aug. ’00
Avengers #31

X-Men: Omega #1 of 1

February 18, 2015

X-Men Omega 1 of 1Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid // Roger Cruz
June 1995
****

Magneto sends a time-tossed hero into a cosmic crystal to restore the true X-universe. Waid’s tense, dramatic script masks Cruz’s errors (an unoriginal Ameri-manga artist, he’s the weak link here). Lobdell, the crossover’s mastermind, has done commendable work. Tho’ individual minis may’ve faltered, his cumulative plot & vision makes AoA  the pinnacle of mutant mags between Claremont and Morrison.

continued from The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
continued from Factor X #4 of 4
continued from Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
continued from Generation Next #4 of 4
continued from Weapon X #4 of 4
continued from X-Calibre #4 of 4
continued from X-Man #4 of 4
continued from X-Universe #4 of 4
continued in X-Men Prime #1 of 1

X-Universe #2 of 2

February 17, 2015

X-Universe 2 of 2Terry Kavanagh // Carlos Pacheco & Terry Dodson
June 1995
*

In a parallel timeline, Marvel’s heroes hijack a space ark, airlift refugees from London, and head for the stars. Lobdell (architect of the AoA X-over) hands his plot to Kavanagh, who seriously obscures it with ’90s clichés. Kav’s only able to write in high dudgeon, and lacks a basic grasp of storytelling. The two capable artists work hard to draw the tale, but they’re defeated by the confusion.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: X-Universe #1 of 2

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #2 of 2

X-Universe #1 of 2

February 16, 2015

X-Universe 1 of 2Terry Kavanagh // Carlos Pacheco
May 1995
*

An alternate reality co-opts the X-mags for a quarter, creating an impressive implied backstory. Naturally, readers wonder what’s happened to the rest of the company’s heroes; here’s the answer. Surviving Avengers & FF provide humanitarian aid & defense. And replacing Peter Parker, KIA, is Gwen Stacy! Pacheco has a nice eye for detail & drama, but he can’t clarify a confusing script’s vague stakes.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Universe #2 of 2

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3

X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2

February 15, 2015

X-Man Chronicles 2 of 2Howard Mackie // Ian Churchill
June 1995
*

Generally, Age of Apocalypse is best when it implies a backstory as intricate as the actual X-books; X-M:C negates that feature by filling those gaps. #2 plays out the love triangle of Gambit, Rogue, & Magneto while their team fights a brute with ill-defined powers. The hammy script makes it impossible to care about these emotional adolescents; the era-standard art is awful settings and hypertrophied bodies with tribal tattoos & bad hair. This low point for the AoA doesn’t justify its existence.

last issue: X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

February 14, 2015

X-Men Chronicles 1 of 2Howard Mackie // Terry Dodson
March 1995
**

Chronicles replaces the quarterly X-mag for the Age of Apocalypse, a sort of What If…? riff on Days of Future Past, w/ a remit to provide backstory. The first mission of Magneto’s team: to prevent an evil mutant, Apocalypse, from stealing US nukes. Mackie, a hack, writes flat characterization & generic bombast. He fumbles the death of Scarlet Witch, meant to be a pivotal sacrifice & the end of innocence. Dodson, however, draws in a buoyant style that owes a quite a bit to ‘good girl’ art.

next issue: X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1

Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4

February 13, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 4 of 4Fabian Nicieza // Salvador Larroca
June 1995
**

The sort of romantic melodrama that Nicieza & his era of X-Men excels in. His pet hero Gambit chooses to rescue his gal pal (not Rogue, by the way) and so damn the universe. This is heroism? Larroca, at least, shows artistic growth. He uses chiaroscuro well to avoid an impulse towards Image rococo.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4

February 12, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 3 of 4Fabien Nicieza // Salvador Larroca
May 1995
**

Gambit, of all characters, saves the multiverse, repairing its crystalline nexus by “sacrificing” his love for Rogue. Nicieza thus equates him w/ Claremont’s Phoenix—a ludicrous comparison! Larroca improves on Daniel, tho’ his art often foregoes environment, a key to good space-adventure comics.

last issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
next issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Universe #1 of 2

Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4

February 11, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 2 of 4Fabian Nicieza // Tony Daniel
April 1995
*

The M’Kraan Crystal, unrepaired by Phoenix in this timeline, threatens to obliterate existence! Like the whole series, this concept rests wholly on Claremont’s work; the ish itself is an exposition dump. Daniel’s Liefeld-like pencils, all posturing & grimacing, underscore the lack of incident.

last issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
next issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Factor X #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
Weapon X #2 of 4
X-Calibre #2 of 4
X-Man #2

Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4

February 10, 2015

Gambit and the X-Ternals 1 of 4Fabian Nicieza // Tony Daniel
March 1995
**

This mini replaces X-Force during the Age of Apocalypse (a fun ’90s metaseries that takes itself way too seriously). Despite its terrible title, G&XT revamps its parent mag more radically than most. It reconceives Gambit as a mutant Robin Hood & sets up in the space-opera corner of the X-mythos.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Man #1 of 4
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 4

X-Man #4

February 9, 2015

X-Man 04Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
June 1995
**

Exposition time: a rebellious Darwinist splices the DNA of this alt-Earth’s Cyclops & Jean Grey to create a weaponized eugenic superman: the protagonist. The concept has a seed of mad-science brilliance, but it’s followed up by a ham-handed declaration of individuality delivered via punching.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: X-Man #3
next issue: X-Man #5

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

X-Man #3

February 8, 2015

X-Man 03Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
May 1995
*

All-combat issue: a troupe of uglies & a squad of assassins kill each other to control this ‘verse’s Cable analog. Like many ’90s comics, X-Man is so melodramatic it’s silly. Its emotions are histrionic, its action is mock-tough proclamations. But just try to describe the protag’s character? Nada.

last issue: X-Man #2
next issue: X-Man #4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Calibre #3 of 4
X-Universe #1 of 2

X-Man #2

February 7, 2015

X-Man 02Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
April 1995
*

As X-Man tests the limits of his psi-power, he’s torn btw two mentors: tough-love Forge & indulgent Mr. Sinister. To fill out Middle America in this dystopia, Loeb exploits Holocaust iconography like trains of human cargo & charnelhouse experiments. Skroce’s 4 inkers undercut that w/ blank locales.

last issue: X-Man #1
next issue: X-Man #3

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Factor X #2 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
Weapon X #2 of 4
X-Calibre #2 of 4

X-Man #1

February 6, 2015

X-Man 01Jeph Loeb // Steve Skroce
March 1995
**

Cable’s iteration in this alt-dystopia is a teen mutant messiah unaware of his birthright. Conceptually, X-Man goes further than any other mag in the Age of Apoc metaseries; in execution, it’s one cliché after another. Skroce seesaws btw ugly, Image-like posturing & Quesada’s doe-eyed influence.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Man #2

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Calibre #1 of 4
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

X-Calibre #4 of 4

February 5, 2015

X-Calibre 4 of 4Warren Ellis // Ken Lashley
June 1995
***

AoA‘s writers mostly steal Claremont’s X-cast & the Byronic moping, but Ellis pilfers CC’s collaborative teamwork! The mini’s trio of heroes use their superpowers in tandem to defeat the baddie. Despite the atrocious art, his writerly craft makes X-Cal more compelling than most of AoA.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: X-Calibre #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
Weapon X #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2

X-Calibre #3 of 4

February 4, 2015

X-Calibre 3 of 4Warren Ellis // Ken Lashley
May 1995
**

Doing his best to write a recognizable person, Ellis brings depth to Mystique. Her conscience has warred with her survival instinct, exiling her from salvation & her son till now. But this mini is drawn by Lashley, who has no eye for normal human behavior—it’s all grimaces, screams, & posturing.

last issue: X-Calibre #2 of 4
next issue: X-Calibre #4 of 4

also indexed for May ’95
The Amazing X-Men #3 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #3 of 4
Factor X #3 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #3 of 4
Generation Next #3 of 4
Weapon X #3 of 4
X-Man #3
X-Universe #1 of 2

X-Calibre #2 of 4

February 3, 2015

X-Calibre 2 of 4Warren Ellis // Roger Cruz, Renato Arlem, Carlos Mota, & Eddie Wagner
April 1995
**

The ultra-’90s AoA gives Ellis the chance to write a truly dark plot. Demonoid Nightcrawler, tracking a smuggler’s route to an Antarctic X-haven, avenges himself upon human traffickers who dump refugees into the ocean. The many hands of this issue’s artists blend into something nearly readable.

last issue: X-Calibre #1 of 4
next issue: X-Calibre #3 of 4

also indexed for Apr. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #2 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #2 of 4
Factor X #2 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #2 of 4
Generation Next #2 of 4
Weapon X #2 of 4
X-Man #2

X-Calibre #1 of 4

February 2, 2015

X-Calibre 1 of 4Warren Ellis // Ken Lashley
March 1995
*

Editorial revamps the mutant line, pitching readers into the grimmest comics they could imagine. For Excaliber, that means Nightcrawler follows a refugee pipeline to the Savage Land. Awful Jim Lee-style art has distended anatomies & weightless bodies; Ellis entertains himself w/ a religious theme.

continued from X-Men: Alpha #1 of 1
next issue: X-Calibre #2 of 4

also indexed for Mar. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #1 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #1 of 4
Factor X #1 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1 of 4
Generation Next #1 of 4
Weapon X #1 of 4
X-Man #1
X-Men: Chronicles #1 of 2

Weapon X #4 of 4

February 1, 2015

Weapon X 4 of 4Larry Hama // Adam Kubert
June 1995
***

Wolvie leads humanity, Strangelove-like, to nuclear armageddon—& snikts retracted claws thru his stump! Under Hama, Weapon X feels more like its parent mag than the rest of the AoA minis. He’s a stronger craftsman than most of the X-bullpen, tho his testosterone-heavy romanticism isn’t my taste.

continued in X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
last issue: Weapon X #3 of 4

also indexed for Jun. ’95
The Amazing X-Men #4 of 4
The Astonishing X-Men #4 of 4
Factor X #4 of 4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #4 of 4
Generation Next #4 of 4
X-Calibre #4 of 4
X-Man #4
X-Men: Chronicles #2 of 2
X-Men: Omega #1 of 1
X-Universe #2 of 2