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X-Statix Omnibus by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred (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.

There’s been a lot written about how fiendishly clever Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix was when it was published by Marvel in the early part of the last decade. Spanning two titles (beginning in X-Force and then spinning into its own title in X-Statix), it offered a forty-issue re-examination of the core X-Men thesis. Published at approximately the same time, it actually serves as something of a spiritual companion to Grant Morrison’s equally controversial, challenging and provocative New X-Men run. Both series dared to consider that Chris Claremont’s once revolutionary idea, casting mutants as a feared minority because they were inherently “different” might need revision in the early years of the twenty-first century. Both series have been attacked by critics for not conforming to the model that Claremont designed for the franchise three decades earlier. However, I’m going to be controversial, and I’m going to state that both Morrison and Milligan were more faithful spiritual successors to Claremont than any X-Men writers since the nineties.

Nobody’s Doop…

Note: You can read my review of Milligan and Allred’s initial X-Force run, collected in the hardcover “Famous, Mutant & Mortal” here. This is a review of the recently-published omnibus, which collects all their work on the characters, so I won’t go into too much depth on that initial run.

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Tinkers, Tailors: The Phantom of the Prestigious Sequel…

If rumours are to be believed, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is such a dramatic success that discussions have begun about a possible sequel, with Gary Oldman even chiming in that a follow-up might do well to adapt both The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People into a single film – reducing leCarré’s trilogy to a duology. Still, even if there’s only one more film produced, the news can’t help but seem a little strange: after all, it’s very intellectual material for a Hollywood franchise, isn’t it?

Every right to be Smiley...

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Are Spin-Offs the New Sequels?

It seems that year-on-year, the cinemas are flooded with sequels to banal action movies. This year we have Iron Man 2, Shrek 4, Predators and Sex and the City 2, among others. It’s been that way for years. If you summer blockbuster isn’t an adaptation (of television show, novel, comic book, earlier film or even video game), chances are that it is a sequel (or a prequel). It makes shrewd business sense. Given the huge amount of money spent on these tentpoles ($150m for just the production budget, let alone other costs), so it feels somewhat safer to spend it on a known quantity. Franchises have built in fanbases, more merchandise, already had several DVD releases (which means more people are aware of it than casual cinema goers), which means a bigger audience, more awareness and more money. It can be quite exhausting, however, from a cinema goer prospective. However, Hollywood likes to innovate in its own insanely boring way. Much as they redefined cinema by bringing back a gimmick from the fifties, and turned the glut of sequels into prequels, it appears Hollywood has found a new way of generating money from established properties: the spin-off.

Think of the Gross, baby!

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Magneto’s Magnetism…

Another day, another superhero movie. Still, the long-rumoured X-Men Origins: Magneto is a project which has aroused quite a bit of my interest, if only because it has the potential to be unlike any other film in that genre. And if – as it appears – the superhero film is here to stay, we should at least welcome those that are willing to deviate from the norm, even a little bit and even if they don’t work out. Still, I wholeheartedly accept that it could end up being as pointless and soulless as Wolverine was, so I won’t be priming my hopes too much.

"You shall not recast!"

"YOU SHALL NOT RECAST!"

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TV Movies…

It surfaces every now again. Talk of a Sopranos movie. It’s the same deal-io with the oft-requested Veronica Mars movie or a sequel to Serenity. It seems that the big screen has become the desired home for any number of TV shows – whether they ended before their time (as Firefly did) or as planned (per the Sopranos). I’m a little surprised, though, that everyone seems to think this is a good idea.

Seeing red...

Seeing red...

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The Incredible Avengers…

The Avengers has gone form being the movie project I was most skeptical about to one of my most anticipated movies of the comic years. Indeed, the summer of 2011 is looking to be one for the books with a whole rake of massive cult and comic book films coming out – Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern and, should Gary Oldman be believed, Batman 3. However, the culmination of Marvel’s planning within the cinematic world will be the release of The Avengers in 2012. I’ve never been much of a Marvel fan, but I will concede that they have pulled off an amazing movie-making feat. They have created a fully-integrated film universe from a variety of disparate sources building to to a clear target.

Avengers Assemble...

Avengers Assemble...

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Sequels Separated by Decades…

Flynn lives! Jeff Bridges’ career declines! The viral marketing campaign for the sequel to Tr0n kicks off this week at Comic Con and I’m skeptical – but not just because they haven’t decided to go with the logical title Tr1n. I’m mostly skeptical because it’s a sequel to a cult movie produced twenty years after the fact. How many sequels separated by decades have actually succeeded?

It was cutting edge for the time, I swear...

It was cutting edge for the time, I swear...

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