Monday, May 16, 2011

First Relaunch, Then Refocus.

Not as good as the first volume, but not the worst.
This week is the continuing saga of Grant Morrison and the X-Men or, as it is also known, New X-Men Ultimate Collection Volume 2. The Amazon thingo the kids all bang on about can sell it to you for about $23 US which is reasonable value for 360 pages. It's just a pity about some of those pages.

You see, this volume contains a number of stories which have good ideas, but don't quite hit they way they should. It's also fair to say that this volume does most of the real set-up work for what should have been Morrison's final New X-Men story (more about that next week). What you do get are more hot Xorn action (that also give hints about his real identity), the introduction of Fantomex, Beak and Angel forming a relationship, Scott and Emma getting caught psychically cheating (what you thought Scott and Emma just hooked up after Jean died? For Shame!), Polaris in Genosha, the introduction of Dust, the whole Riot at Xavier's story, and the Who Shot the White Queen.

No X-fan could pass up this cat-fight.
It sounds like a lot to read, but a number of those stories are one or two issues long, and a lot of them can be ignored. The Scott and Emma stuff is great, Riot at Xavier's was solid, but could have been so much more (it did give us some of the more juvenile humour I can recall in an X-Men title in the last decade), watching Jean grow towards Phoenix level powers is great, and Who Shot the White Queen was also enjoyable. But all the Fantomex stuff is so easily passed.

RIIIIOT! All the dweebs are doin' it.
The art varies from issue to issue depending on who out of Igor Kordey, John Paul Leon, Phil Jimenez, Ethan Van Sciver, Keron Grant, and Frank Quietly. Apart from most (there's the odd panel or two that are pure gold) of John Paul Leon's work, there should be no real complaints about the art, so becomes clear that the downside is the writing. The thing is every complaint I have is based on how much better things could have been. How much better Riot at Xavier's could have been if the riot had lasted more than part of an afternoon. How much better Kick could have been explained. How things would have been different and maybe better if Jean had found Scott and Emma earlier (before going on crowd control duties - as I'd like to see her take the same mindset out on the mere humans). Most importantly, I'd like to have seen Quentin Quire take his psychic abilities and do something that is truly apart from the Xavier/Magneto divide: cut mutant hatred out of the minds of humans.

Would I recommend this book. Not really. I don't see any of it as required reading for the current status quo. I don't see any of the plot lines (apart from Scott and Emma getting found out) as becoming classic. I see this as nothing more than a stepping stone on the road to the "stunning conclusion" in volume 3. If you don't intend to read that, don't read this.

If you own this already, would you really re-read it if you weren't reading the whole of Morrison's run? Really? I can't admit that I would.

Next Week I'll polish off New X-Men and allow us all to exhale and get onto something a fair bit different.
100% more controversial than anything reviewed thus far.


  1. I honestly don't remember much of this. I'm sure there's a reason for that.

  2. Jean v Emma. Only bit worth remembering.