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Roy Thomas & Neal Adams’ X-Men – X-Men Omnibus, Vol. 2 (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.

Roy Thomas and Neal Adams (with the odd fill-in here and there) brought the first era of the X-Men to a close. At the end of their run, editor Martin Goodman would cancel the title due to low sales, only to bring it back as a reprint magazine a few months later. The title would continue as a reprint magazine until the publisher decided to resurrect it with Len Wein and Dave Cockrum’s Giant-Sized X-Men and Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum’s subsequent revival of the original magazine.

The last stretch of issues on this initial run is fascinating. While it lacks the raw energy and sense of direction of Claremont’s early work on the title, it’s easy to argue that Thomas and Adams helped to pave the way for their successors. Thomas and Adams’ X-Men lacks focus and vision, but it does have its own quirky style. The duo would introduce and tease all sorts of ideas that would remain with the X-Men after the cancellation and into the revival.

Suit up...

Suit up…

It may be too much to credit Thomas and Adams with saving or redeeming the franchise – although, apparently sales were increasing during their run- but their influence on the creators that followed is obvious. There are a number of clever ideas and premises that were effectively introduced by the duo, which would become almost expected from an X-Men comic book. Even if it seemed like Thomas and Adams were really just making it up on the fly, their work fits quite comfortably with what would follow.

It may not have been enough to save the mutants at that moment in time, but one could argue that it did provide Claremont with a solid base to build from.

They certainly do...

They certainly do…

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Non-Review Review: The Matrix Revolutions

Today I’m taking a look at the Matrix trilogy. All three films, all watched and reviewed in one day. Join us for the fun! All three reviews will be going on-line today.

I remarked in my earlier review of The Matrix Reloaded that I feel I’m in the minority in regarding the final part of the trilogy as a much stronger film than the second film in the cycle. I mean, if you look at the Rotten Tomatoes score, the second film is almost regarded as highly as the first (higher among top critics), while the third is very clearly “rotten.” On the IMDb, the second film scores higher among audiences than the third. However, while neither sequel comes close to matching the impact of the original, I do have a fondness for the third over the second. Perhaps my preference derives from the same reason many find it weaker – the fact that the only way to enjoy it is to really disengage from the underlying philosophical questions posed by the second film.

Whoa...

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Robert Kirkman’s Run on Ultimate X-Men – Vol. 7-9 (Hardcover)

Ultimate X-Men is a tough title to get a read on. The fact that the run has been broken down into blocks by all manner of superstar writers means that there’s really no consistent underlying principle feeding through the eight-year life of the title. On the other hand, the fact that none of these big name writers like Mark Millar or Brian Michael Bendis could create a book living up to the series’ potential indicates that maybe there wasn’t a writer who could steward the book through its entire life cycle. Ultimate Spider-Man serves in many ways as a fulfillment of the promise of the Ultimate line, it’s almost a single, decade-long story of growth and development, the very evolution of a world of superheroes. Ultimate X-Men is very much the opposite, the constantly bending backwards over itself, jolting, starting and reversing as it seems unable to decide where exactly it’s going at any given moment. Robert Kirkman’s run is perhaps the best examples of the series’ strengths and ultimately (ha!) its weaknesses.

Somebody's been watching Terminator a bit too often...

Note: Some of Aron Coleitte’s work is covered in the Hardcover Volume 9 (with the rest of his short run spilling over into the Ultimatum Hardcover). If I can bring myself to pick up Ultimatum, I will run a review of his rather short tenure on the title. This review is only concerned with Kirkman’s run – up until the end of the Apocalypse arc.

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