Archive for the ‘Stepford Cuckoos’ Category

Astonishing X-Men #8

December 17, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 08Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
February 2005
****

Somehow a suicide acts as a blood sacrifice, demon-like, freeing the Danger Room AI from its protocols. And a half-scrap Sentinel worships it as a mother goddess! An okay ish made v.g. by Cassaday. His art epitomizes the era—highly realistic, cinematic—but its colorful clarity trumps the convention.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #7
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #9

also indexed for Feb. ’05
Iron Man #2

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Astonishing X-Men #7

December 16, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 07Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
January 2005
*****

Back to superhero adventure for another strong issue. As the X-Men help the FF fend off a mole monster in midtown NYC, their internal monologues add a touch of wit. Darker plots perk tho’: SWORD Agent Brand visits a shadow council, while a de-powered student commits suicide in the Danger Room.

last issue: Astonishing X-Men #6
next issue: Astonishing X-Men #8

also indexed for Jan. ’05
Iron Man #1
The Pulse #6

Astonishing X-Men #5

December 14, 2012

Astonishing X-Men 05Joss Whedon // John Cassaday
November 2004
****
Despite the first issue’s claim to be plain superheroics, under Whedon the mag is more of a return to the “world that hates & fears” theme. A raid on the corp that’s funded a mutant cure solves nothing (except the rescue of Colossus), while the cure itself raises troubling issues for the subspecies.
[last issue: Astonishing X-Men #4]
[next issue: Astonishing X-Men #6]

New X-Men #154

December 9, 2012

New X-Men 154Grant Morrison // Marc Silvestri
June 2004
****
Despite dodgy panels from Silvestri, Morrison sticks his finale with acrobatic beauty. The enemy of his entire run is finally unmasked: Sublime, a 3B-year-old viral consciousness that subverts evolution to survive! Jean G. ascends to godhead & defeats the villain w/ love by blessing Scott & Emma.
[last issue: New X-Men #153]
[next issue: New X-Men #155]

New X-Men #153

December 8, 2012

New X-Men 153Grant Morrison // Marc Silvestri
May 2004
*****
GM’s white-hot with hyper-compression, an abstruse style that, at its best, delivers complex plotting but doesn’t neglect emotional beats. Led by a rehabilitated Cass Nova (AKA Ernst!), a future X-team confronts Phoenix & the Beast—who’s infected by Sublime, a virus that thrives on mutant conflict!
[last issue: New X-Men #152]
[next issue: New X-Men #154]

New X-Men #152

December 7, 2012

New X-Men 152Grant Morrison // Marc Silvestri
late March 2004
*****
In the far future, the Beast wants to mass-produce life rather than letting evolution work. Morrison’s riff on Days of Future Past equals the original & surpasses its ’90s echo Age of Apocalypse. Silvestri also outdoes his past X-work, retaining the sturm & drang of Inferno but surer on shapes.
[last issue: New X-Men #151]
[next issue: New X-Men #153]

New X-Men #151

December 6, 2012

New X-Men 151Grant Morrison // Marc Silvestri
early March 2004
*****
At the end, an arc to match the inaugural #114-17! GM flings the mag 150 years into the future & briskly builds an alt Marvel Universe. The Beast, fur silver with age, has turned evil; all-new X-Men include a boy & his pet Sentinel; a Phoenix egg may save the timeline, ruptured by Cyclops’ despair.
[last issue: New X-Men #150]
[next issue: New X-Men #152]

New X-Men #150

December 5, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
February 2004
***
A great cover! Magneto, humiliated, zaps the resurrected Phoenix w/ a touch & rips a hole in spacetime. Is Mags Xorn or visa-versa? It’s ambiguous but neither option feels plausible. Take the former as read—it’s a stronger theme. Zealotry & violence (by Bin Laden or Bush) is a failed philosophy.
[last issue: New X-Men #149]
[next issue: New X-Men #151]

New X-Men #149

December 4, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
January 2004
****

Tho’ Morrison probed Magneto’s X-role better in the Kid Omega arc; here he argues that the original Silver Age supervillain isn’t a radical, he’s a self-loathing reactionary. On another level, GM brings Beak’s arc to a scruffy head, as the youth stands up to the terrorist & joins the X-revolution.

last issue: New X-Men #148
next issue: New X-Men #150

also indexed for Jan. ’04
Alias #28

New X-Men #148

December 3, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
December 2003
***

A hurried issue in a compressed climax: this isn’t Morrison at his best. Logan & Jean piece a plot together from sketchy evidence & debatable retcons to the previous 2½ years of comics. But one nice bit of drama has Wolvie stab Jean in a mercy-kill; she then resurrects as they plunge into the sun!

last issue: New X-Men #147
next issue: New X-Men #149

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

New X-Men #147

December 2, 2012

Grant Morrison // Phil Jimenez
late November 2003
***

After destroying NYC & the X-Men, a drug-addled Magneto’s theatrical histrionics fail to inspire mutant revolution. A fascinating failure, Morrison’s Mags ignores Claremont’s, reckoning w/ McKellen’s movie perf & Bin Laden’s real-life evil, but most of all with Stan Lee’s original raving nut.

last issue: New X-Men #146
next issue: New X-Men #148

also indexed for Nov. ’03
Alias #26
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #146

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 #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 #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