Great X-pectations by Jason M. Bourgeois

Something Old, Something New

Welcome back to another month of me blabbing about absolutely nothing of consequence! As I write this, I’m staring out the window, laughing, because the radio stations keep saying we have a chance of snow, of all things, so I’m rather amused. That has nothing to do with the rant this month.

So, what is the rant this month? Why, New X-Men, of course! It’s only one issue in, but I feel like talking about it. Alternately, I’m lost on anything else worthwhile to discuss. Well, I do, but I need to spread stuff out.

Let’s get right into it. New X-Men 114. Written by Grant Morrison, and with art by Frank Quitely. This is being heralded as the start of a brand new era of X-Men. Innovation! Good stories! Good art! Social relevance! How does it do? Not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, this is one of the best X-Books in a long time.

Most of the ideas here are nothing new. Mutants in danger, Sentinels, a Trask, a megalomaniac bent on destroying lotsa folks, Xavier being a bit of a bastard, etc. The difference is the presentation. All of these things are presented in clear ways, so everyone can understand it, and nothing like, "This is exactly like something that happened way back when, remember that, Cyclops? (Buy these issues they’re talking about! Don’t be confused! Spend!)" We are given all we need to know about the Sentinels in a clear way, and in a very natural method of speaking. You can actually picture a person giving most of these lines. There are a few clunkers, but not many.

My favourite scene must be when Xavier’s mind is invaded by an unknown force, and he pulls a gun on himself. This is something Xavier would do, but you would never see him do in recent years, since he has been castrated and made a proper father figure to the mutant family.

In fact, that is one minor quibble I have, and that is the ignoring of past characterization. It’s every writer’s right to use characters the way they see fit, but usually we get at least some transition, as the writer would take what is already there, and build on it, making the character their own. Here, we get Wolverine reverted back to his wild devil-may-care attitude, and no trace of the honorable character we’ve had for something like 15 years or so.

Now, for the art. Mostly, I like it. I’m not a huge Frank Quitely fan, but he has a very distinct look, and most of the time does some absolutely gorgeous art. But he has this tendency for eerily lumpy heads, that make everyone look damn ugly. After seeing a picture of Frank, I understand where his inspiration for heads comes from. Jean used to be a model. She should not look like someone smacked her around with the ugly stick. Frank’s sense of proportion, design, layout, and panel flow, almost makes me look past all that though, since this book, aside from the strange heads, is gorgeous.

Now, some quick comments by me about some of the other complaints surrounding the issue.

The new look of the Beast: I love it. It’s a fun design, definitely makes him unique, and so long as an explanation is forthcoming, which from what I’ve read there is one, then I’m willing to let this go and see what happens. I sometimes wish I could have seen how the Beast’s original change would have played out over the internet. "What’s this crap with him turning grey and furry? This is dumb! He’s looked human all this time! And that stupid haircut!!" Sound familiar, complainers?

The new uniforms: Again, I like them. I’ve always felt that a team should have some kind of unifying team look, which the X- Men originally had, but strayed away from. The Legion of Superheroes is some of the best examples of a team look, but each character having its own originality. Now, the X-Men just need that originality back in the designs.

All in all, a fun book, a good book, and a book that leaves me wanting more.

I have high hopes for the future of the X-Men.

When was the last time an X-Book made me say that?

[more X-pectations] [Back to Collector Times]
[Prev.] [Return to Comics] [Disclaimer] [Next]

Copyright © 2001 Jason M. Bourgeois

About the Author