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Chris Claremont’s Run on Wolverine (Vol. 2) (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

Although his extended run on Uncanny X-Men is one of the most renowned runs in comic book history, it’s easy to forget just how massively Claremont developed the X-Men franchise beyond that core book. He did, after all, launch spin-off titles like New Mutants or X-Calibur. The writer also shepherded the development of Wolverine outside the Uncanny X-Men book, producing the original Wolverine miniseries with Frank Miller, Kitty Pryde & Wolverine with Al Milgrom and even Save the Tiger in Marvel Comics Presents. Claremont also drafted nine of the first ten issues of Wolverine’s first on-going solo title and, while not the writer’s finest work by a significant stretch, it is a pulpy and entertaining read – one more firmly grounded in pop culture conventions than grim violence and anti-heroic nihilism. The issues are a light, fun collection of stories featuring the character, nothing more and nothing less.

A cut above the rest?

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X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga – 30th Anniversary Edition (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

Chris Claremont enjoyed the company of some of the most respected and renowned artists in comics while working on Uncanny X-Men. He had the pleasure of helping to establish talent like John Romita Jr., Marc Silvestri and Jim Lee, all modern giants working in the field. However, it’s hard to argue that Claremont ever worked in tighter synergy than he did with John Byrne. Byrne succeeded artist Dave Cockrum on the book, and helped Claremont helm several iconic and defining X-Men stories, delivering pay-off on years of set-up and radically reshaping notions of what a superhero comic could and could not do. Though the pair produced several genuine classics, The Dark Phoenix Saga stands as the artistic triumph of their run. One could make a compelling case that it’s Claremont’s finest X-Men story, or the finest X-Men story, or – if one weren’t feeling especially modest – perhaps the finest mainstream superhero story ever told.

Bird of prey…

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X-Men: Inferno (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

I don’t like Inferno. There, I said it. There have been dry patches in Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men run before, and some would argue that his work following Inferno would be quite esoteric, but Inferno has always represented, to me at least, the creative low-point of Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men run. That doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate it for what it is, or acknowledge the care with which the writer crafted it, but it is just too much of a big random mess to really enjoy it. It’s a disjointed crossover that resolves the long-running Madelyne Pryor mystery that Claremont had been weaving through the book, but also features demons and goblins for some reason. It’s just a great big mess.

There’s a Storm comin’…

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X-Men: Mutant Massacre (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

Mutant Massacre represents something of a minor game changer in the world of the X-Men titles that Marvel was producing. Originally proposed by Uncanny X-Men scribe Chris Claremont as a story to be told within that title, editorial seized upon the opportunity to connect their developing line of mutant titles, having each monthly issue of Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor and The New Mutants serve as a single chapter in an expansive storyline. It really was the first X-Men crossover, setting the template for dozens to follow over the coming decades from “thematic” crossovers like Fall of the Mutants to more straight-forward examples like Inferno or X-Tinction Agenda, or even ones that came long after Claremont like Messiah Complex or Second Coming. More than that, though, Mutant Massacre demonstrated the key attributes of Claremont’s rapidly expanding universe, reintroducing a sense of uncertainty and dread into the comics.

Tearing the X-Men to pieces…

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Non-Review Review: X-Men III – Last Stand

I’ll confess right off the bat that I don’t share the same honest-to-goodness hatred of this third film in the X-Men series that most on-line commentators do. It isn’t a patch on Bryan Singer’s original two films (and – looking at Superman Returns – it might have been better for all if he’d stayed on here), but it isn’t quite as weak as other third-instalments in other superhero franchises (Spider-Man III and Batman Forever, for example). It’s not a fantastic film, and it’s not the final chapter that the film series deserved, but it’s not a complete disaster.

Weathering the Storm...

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