Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

Mark Waid, Ian Churchill and Ken Lashley’s Deadpool – Sins of the Past (Review/Retrospective)

This May, to celebrate the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, we’re taking a look at some classic and modern X-Men (and X-Men-related) comics. Check back daily for the latest review.

It’s interesting to try to chart the meteoric rise of Deadpool. Over the past decade, Deadpool has emerged as one of Marvel’s most popular comic book characters. He features in various miniseries and variant covers, populated quite a few books from month-to-month. While his exposure hasn’t quite reached the same level as that of Spider-Man or Wolverine, Deadpool is easily one of the most frequently-appearing characters in Marvel Comics.

It is strange to think that he is a relatively young character, originating in Rob Liefeld’s New Mutants shortly before it became X-Force. First appearing in February 1991, Rob Liefeld created Deadpool as a decidedly nineties character – “the merc with the mouth”,  he felt like a conscious composite of Spider-Man with more outrageous villains (or anti-heroes) like Deathstroke. Indeed, the similarity is something of a cheesy joke. Where might one practise their Deathstroke? In the Deadpool, of course.

Crossing swords...

Crossing swords…

Liefeld created a cheesy and hyperactive foe for his mutant characters, allowing the character all manner of cheesy and awkward one-liners. However, that version of Deadpool is almost unrecognisable when compared to the character as he exists today. The modern version of Deadpool is a character aware of his own fictional nature, with dialogue balloons painted yellow to distinguish him from the less self-aware characters around him.

Today’s Deadpool is more of a comedy force of nature than a serious anti-hero, a character basking in the absurd rather than trying to appear badass. It’s interesting to wonder how that character transformed so radically (and so thoroughly). Certainly, his first solo miniseries seems to occupy the strange space between Rob Liefeld’s half-serious mercenary psychopath and Joe Kelly’s comic book comic. While still a little too steeped in nineties aesthetic for its own good, Mark Waid’s Deadpool is a small step in that direction.

Well, at least he knows how to make an entrance...

Well, at least he knows how to make an entrance…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost’s Run on X-Force – X-Necrosha (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.

I have a bit of a soft-spot for Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost’s X-Force. It’s nowhere near as good as Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, and I’m not even sure that it’s good comics. However, it does capture the mood of the X-Men comics between House of M and Second Coming remarkably well.

Being frank, I think that the editorial direction of the X-Men line between House of M and Second Coming was a disaster. In fact, the work of Kieron Gillen on Uncanny X-Men and Jason Aaron on Wolverine & The X-Men following Schism demonstrates that the franchise spent six long years running in a gigantic circle to get back to where Grant Morrison’s New X-Men and Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men had left it.

However, Yost and Kyle’s X-Force captures the mood of the line a lot better than Ed Brubaker or Matt Fraction’s work on Uncanny X-Men, willing to embrace the cynically and nihilitistically nineties vibe of the entire line.

Country of the dead...

Country of the dead…

Continue reading

X-Force Omnibus by Rob Liefeld & Fabian Nicieza, Vol. 1 (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.

Rob Liefeld has become something of a polarising force in comic books. The artist was a driving force in the industry in the nineties. Along with creators like Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee, Liefeld really helped turn comic books into an artist-driven medium during that decade. (Rather pointedly, X-Force #1 credits Liefeld as responsible for “everything but…” the specific tasks dolled out to other contributors.) The artist became a celebrity in his own right. He got his own Levi commercial. He famously sketched while speeding inside a car.

Liefeld has arguably become more a symbol than a creator. His heavily involvement in the second year of DC’s “new 52” reboot really solidified the impression that former Marvel head honcho and current DC editor-in-chief Bob Harras was trying to channel the nineties comic book market. (The fact the line has been heavily emphasising contributions by Jim Lee and Greg Capullo, other nineties superstars, really underscores the notion.)

It’s hard to look at X-Force without seeing it as a hugely symbolic work. This is really one of the comics which defined the nineties – arguably even more than Jim Lee’s X-Men or The Death and Return of Superman. If you wanted a glimpse into the mindset of American mainstream comics in the nineties, X-Force is the perfect glimpse.

Welcome to the nineties!

Welcome to the nineties!

Continue reading

X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda (Hardcover) (Review)

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.

X-Tinction Agenda makes for a potentially fascinating X-Men crossover, tying together Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor and New Mutants to tell a single cohesive story. It’s not a new approach – it was pioneered by The Mutant Massacre and Inferno – but it is perhaps the definitive approach to X-Men related crossovers (it’s still in use today for stories like Second Coming). It’s fascinating, because it sees the creative teams pick up on something that Claremont had introduced over thirty issues earlier, as if recognising a gem of an idea really deserved further development. That said, despite some decent writing and art, X-Tinction Agenda can’t help but feel like it wastes its potential, hitting on an absolutely fascinating premise and deftly tying the three on-going monthly comic books together, but ending up as little more than an explosive knock-down brawl.

The Wolv pack…

Continue reading

X-Men: The Asgardian Wars (Review)

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.

It has been said that the X-Men rarely interact with the broader Marvel Universe. While characters like Wolverine and the Beast might have appeared on a roster or two of The Avengers, and Storm might have popped up in Fantastic Four, events within the X-Men line seemed to be self-contained, with Marvel’s mutants generally fighting their own problems in their own way. After all, Captain America was hardly a champion of civil liberties if he didn’t stand up for mutant rights, so it made sense to keep the mutants relatively self-contained.

However, despite this (somewhat deserved) reputation, it’s interesting to look back at the connections that writer Chris Claremont fostered with the wider Marvel Universe. Some of these (like the Claremont’s frequent connections to the Ka-Zar mythos) were relatively frequent within the pages of the main title (and no less strange for it), but Claremont was also a fan of making an event of a crossover between the X-Men and any other major players – things like Fantastic Four vs. X-Men. This story arc, told over four special issues, is something similar, making a big deal of the crossover between the world of Thor and the X-Men.

The Goddess of Thunder!

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

Brian Michael Bendis’ Run on Ultimate X-Men – Vol. 4 (Hardcover)

Talk about a change of pace. Apparently it was originally conceived that Bendis would be in charge of both Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men during their run. Instead he’s spent almost a decade at this stage with the web-spinner, but he did migrate over to the sister title for a year at the end of Mark Millar’s run. The run is unfortunately too short to fully develop the potential of Bendis on the title, but it represents a massive upwards swing in the quality of the book from the crazy illogical and teen-angst-filled Millar run. It’s still far from a classic, but – read in the context of the entire series – it is perhaps a better representation of what Ultimate X-Men could have been.

And he still doesn't shave...

And he still doesn't shave...

Continue reading