Saturday, March 24, 2012

X-Men: With Great Power (comics)

Writer: Victor Gischler
Artists: Chris Bachalo, Al Barrionuevo
Collects: X-Men (vol. 3) #7-11

It's Round Two for Victor Gischler on X-Men. Does he come out or the corner swinging? Or are we in for another fair-yet-disappointing outing like last time?

Gishlers sophomore arc has a few select X-Men teaming with Spider-Man. Seems kids are going missing back in New York and Cyclops - who seems to be taking a break from being a massive dick this volume - decides he can't find anything just as good for the image of the X-Men close to home and sends them across the country. Things get a bit cold-blooded from there as it looks like The Lizard is the culprit.

The one off issue after the main arc has the X-Men throw a birthday party for Jubilee, whose teeth are a bit pointier after the events of last volume. Jubes, no longer one to pass up a good chance for some angst, blows the whole thing off to go brood, not realizing Batman has that market cornered. Sensing the danger of infringing on Batmans territory - or worried about her, whatever - Professor X goes to cheer her up with a tale from the days when he went on rad adventures prior to the eight or nine times he went through the process of being crippled and subsequently healed.

He's currently able to walk, by the way; much as I hope he stays that way this time, I have a nasty feeling it's a matter of time before some writer drops a rock on his legs or something.

Victor Gischler continues to have problems writing certain characters, unfortunately. While his Wolverine doesn't say anything quite as dumb as "come get some" this time, he still sounds off. Same for his Gambit. He does an okay Spidey, though, having the character as a wisecracker who constantly verges on annoying. The plot is otherwise standard fare; it's nothing to write home about, but Gischler gives his artistic partner interesting things to draw - like the heroes turned to lizard men - often enough to make it worthwhile.

Speaking of the art, Chris Bachalo's on tap here. He is, as usual, completely awesome. I know some folks don't care for his work much, but the more I see of Bachalo the more I'm convinced they should be arrested for being so horribly wrong. I love the way he draws everyone, especially Spidey. His Spideys white eyes are huge round saucers, which has the effect of making Spider-Man look adorable and/or constantly amazed at everything he sees. I love it. Also, more awesome layouts.

If Bachalo could handle a monthly schedule on a well written book, I'd be one happy dude; as it is, his work makes a story that is merely alright completely worth the read.

The one off is a bit clunky as far as the writing goes, but it's enjoyable enough. It features Professor X as a bald hunter in Africa way back when, which I'm totally on board with. Unfortunately, it also features more angsty Jubilee, which I'm not quite as down with. Someone needs to inform every living writer that Twilight selling about a bajillion copies does not mean that stories of vampires angsting all the time is suddenly anything other than a pile of shit. It's still shit; middle aged women just inexplicably gained a fetish for bodily waste. The only thing related to shit that vampires should be in contact with is the asses they kick.

Art duties go to some other dude for this one. It's decent, but occasionally off, mostly in the present day pages; for the most part the flashback stuff is perfectly fine work. I'm going to cut the guy some slack because next to Chris Bachalos work just about anything is going to suffer in comparison.

The Score: 7 out of 10

I have concluded that I need more Chris Bachalo art in my life. Oh, and this volumes not too bad, I guess. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than last time did, anyways. Give it a look if you appreciate Chris Bachalo art, otherwise drop the score half to a full point.


  1. I've loved Bachalo's art since the '90s, when he was doing the art on my favorite book at the time -- Generation X. He's had his ups and downs since then, but he's really been in fine form since the beginning of Brand New Day. I didn't even know he'd been doing the X-books again so recently, so I'll have to check this out. Even if it [i]does[/i] have Gambit...

  2. You don't like Gambit?


    It's safe for you to read. Gambits on the team send to New York, but he's not crucial and Gischler doesn't have the best handle on him anyways. Which is a downer for me, but would probably be an upside for you.

    Chris Bachalo makes this volume worth the read. Love his art. Apparently he's also going to be rotating on and off Wolverine and the X-Men; if I hadn't already been convinced by Jason Aaron writing that book, that would have done it.

  3. My dislike of Gambit knows little bounds. I didn't hate the first of his two early-2000s solo series, though (I didn't read the second). A while back I actually reviewed the first (and so far only) Gambit Classic trade, which I gave a generous 1-point score:

    I had forgotten about that review until a few days ago, when I received an email notification that someone -- who I can only describe at this point as Gambit's biggest fan -- left some comments that I found rather hilarious (if barely comprehensible).

    Anyway, I can handle Gambit in small doses, and Bachalo's artwork sounds like it's more than worth the trade-off.

  4. I'm a pretty big fan of Gambit, but I've been a bit upset with how he's been portrayed lately. To some extent he lost his edge years ago and I keep waiting for that roguish, lovable thief to emerge. Unfortunately, he's mired in melodrama half the time. I used to like the Gambit and Rogue relationship, but I think it's ruined the character in the later years.

    Speaking of Rogue, god, she's the most laughable character in the X-Men these days. When I heard she was boinking Magneto, I just cracked up. Magneto - murderer and terrorist supreme - tells a sob story to the woman he once mindscrewed to the point she equated it with rape and she shags him.

    I'm not sure I'll ever be able to take her seriously again after that and the whole Sentry thing from "Fallen Sun"; she's practically an unintentional comedy character now to me.

  5. I find the Sentry thing pretty disturbing, from a creative standpoint. At the end of the day, I don't care about the reputations of imaginary characters -- but the recklessness with which they undermined the character in this case, all for the sake of what was ultimately a throwaway gag, is disgusting, especially when you realize that they would never in a million years put a male character in that position.

  6. I found the Sentry bit so utterly wrongheaded it looped back around to being funny. Who thought that was a good idea? Actually, who thought making the Sentry canon in the 616 was a good idea?

    It wasn't meant to be a gag; it was played deadly serious, which is ultimately why it ended up being funny. What can I say? I like unintentional comedy.

    All that said, unless it's a major thing - like her screwing Magneto - I just sweep things like that under the rug. For all intents and purposes, we can easily forget it ever happened and say it isn't canon. It will never be referenced again. Hell, more likely it will be directly contradicted down the line by a disgusted writer who hated that.

    I save my energy for being angry at things like DC deciding it would be a great idea to hand the Teen Titans and the classic Titans roster to 90's washouts. I have a greater connection to the Titans than the X-Men, honestly. The X-Men disappointed me so many times over the years I essentially gave up. At this point I like them, but I have no tolerance for bad stories. If a run on an X-Men book isn't good to great, I won't even bother continuing.