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Kieron Gillen’s Run on Uncanny X-Men – Avengers vs. X-Men (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Wolverine later in the month, we’re taking a look at some classic X-Men and Wolverine comics every Monday, Wednesday and Friday here. I’m also writing a series of reviews of the classic X-Men television show at comicbuzz every weekday, so feel free to check those out.

Kieron Gillen is one of the unsung heroes of modern superhero comics. Over the past few years, Gillen has come to the attention of readers for replacing or supplementing a-list talent on a-list books. He took over Thor after J. Michael Straczynski abruptly wrapped up his run on the Norse god, only to shuffle off the book when Matt Fraction took over. While Straczynzki’s run was collected in an omnibus, Gillen’s has yet to receive hardcover status. He wrote the wonderfully underrated Journey into Mystery as a supplement to Fraction’s Thor, which might hopefully get a deluxe reprinting at some point in the future.

He took over Uncanny X-Men following Fraction’s departure. He barely had time to establish his run on Marvel’s merry mutants before writer Jason Aaron up-ended the status quo with Schism, essentially restructuring Marvel’s X-Men line. Gillen remained on Uncanny X-Men in the wake of Schism, the title resetting to #1. However, less than a year into the run, Gillen’s Uncanny X-Men was caught up in Marvel’s high profile crossover of the year, Avengers vs. X-Men.

Explosive...

Explosive…

Gillen departed the book following Avengers vs. X-Men, in yet another reshuffle of Marvel’s X-Men line. (Brian Bendis promised to push the line in a new direction, writing both All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men.) Half of Gillen’s run on the relaunched Uncanny X-Men was tied into the gigantic Avengers vs. X-Men.

But don’t let that fool you. It’s really very, very good. In fact, it ranks as among the very best X-Men work since Joss Whedon and John Cassaday left Astonishing X-Men.

All fired up...

All fired up…

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Doctor Who: Rose (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Rose originally aired in 2005.

So, I’m going to go up there and blow them up, and I might well die in the process, but don’t worry about me. No, you go home. Go on. Go and have your lovely beans on toast. Don’t tell anyone about this, because if you do, you’ll get them killed.

(beat)

I’m the Doctor, by the way. What’s your name?

Rose.

Nice to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!

– the Doctor and Rose

It’s amazing to think of the pressure weighing down on Rose. Sure, Doctor Who has gone from strength-to-strength since its revival in 2005, but there was a time when its resurrection seemed unlikely, to say the least. Although fans had kept the show alive in various media, it must have seemed highly unlikely that they show would ever return to television, let alone as a massive success. Producer Russell T. Davies might have seemed like an unlikely choice. Although he had written some spin-off material, like other British television writers including Steven Moffat and Paul Cornell, Davies was best known for producing shows like Queer as Folk and The Second Coming. Nevertheless, he had been campaigning to bring the show back for quite some time, notably in 1998 and 2002, before finally bringing the revived show to screen in late March 2005.

Although the edges are still a bit rough in places, Rose serves as an effective introduction to the Russell T. Davies, and contains the seeds of what would become the show’s success. Borrowing (and reinventing) heavily from perhaps the last seismic re-tooling of the series in Spearhead from Space, the show presents a version of Doctor Who for a new generation.

Run!

Run!

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