Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

Jason Aaron’s Run on Wolverine & The X-Men – #1-8, 17 (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.

Superhero comic books have had a somewhat rocky relationship with the concept of “growing up” since the mid-eighties. Books like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen proved that it was possible to craft mature tales with incredible depth using these icons. However, it seemed like the industry learnt all the wrong lessons from the success of Frank Miller and Alan Moore. For the past couple of decades, it seems like the ideal for superhero comics is grim and nihilistic nonsense, that “maturity” is measured in blood and bodycount.

There was a sense that the comic book industry was afraid of being seen as childish or unsophisticated, which created an ironic situation where the industry’s immaturity was on show in its fixation with adult material. “When I was ten,” C.S. Lewis once mused, “I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men feels like it subscribes to this philosophy. It’s an incredibly silly and  goofy piece of work, revelling in the clichés of the superhero genre, but it’s also a surprisingly sincere and intelligent one.

It's a bit of a gamble...

It’s a bit of a gamble…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Dan Slott’s Spider-Man – The Amazing Spider-Man & Human Torch (Review/Retrospective)

The Amazing Spider-Man and Human Torch is a sweet little book, if just a little bit too nostalgic for my tastes. A five-issue miniseries, it allows Dan Slott to show us five vignettes exploring the relationship between Marvel’s iconic webhead and the youngest member of the Fantastic Four. Slott leans a little bit too heavily on continuity in places, trying too keenly to fit the story inside an established mythology, but The Amazing Spider-Man and Human Torch reads like an affectionate homage to the relative innocence of the Silver Age. I don’t doubt that Slott’s solid character work here helped secure the writer his current position as author of The Amazing Spider-Man, and the story is a fun (if light) look back on the hokey adventures of yesteryear.

At liberty to discuss it…

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Peter Milligan & Michael Allred’s Run on X-Force – Famous, Mutant & Mortal (Review/Retrospective)

For the past few months, I’ve been taking a look at Marvel’s sometimes convoluted crossover chronology as a sort of lead-in to The Avengers, arriving in cinemas in 2012. Later on today, I’ll be reviewing Messiah War, a crossover between two of the series relaunched in the wake of Messiah Complex so I thought I might take a look back at some of the series leading into it beforehand. However, the two series – Cable and X-Force both have roots in the “darker and edgier” period of X-Men history known as the nineties. Driven by Rob Liefeld, the two series became by-words for ridiculous violence, convoluted storytelling, shallow characters and lots of guns. Lots of guns.

That is not the version of X-Force I’m going to look at today.

British writer Peter Milligan apparently laughed pretty hard when he was asked to write X-Force. However, the early part of the naughties was a different time at Marvel. Perhaps the financial collapse of the company in the nineties had made the company bolder, more willing to take creative chances. Perhaps they figured that, with Grant Morrison working on New X-Men, there wasn’t anything that much more radical that Peter Milligan could do. Either way, the author was granted incredible creative control and the chance to do something truly different. He took advantage of it, and produced one of the most fascinating comic books of the past decade.

At least he’s honest about it…

Continue reading