Thursday, October 11, 2007

X-MEN ANNUAL #1 - 1992

The Slaves of Destiny (Shattershot Part One)
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Jim Lee (layouts), Russell/Stelfreeze/Hughes/Immonen/Panosian/Capullo/Texiera (pencils), Russell/Stelfreeze/Rubinstein/Candelario/Panosian/Texiera (inks), Orzechowski/Buhalis (letters), Joe Rosas (colors)

On Mojoworld, Mojo’s troops attempt to capture the “toy maker” Arize, the creator of Mojo’s humanoid slaves. They do capture Quark, a rebellion leader who was protecting him, but Arize is able to teleport to Earth. The X-Men are alerted by Cerebro to a mutant “non-humanoid” that has suddenly appeared in Afghanistan. The X-Men discover that this is Arize, who is now comatose after teleporting to Earth. Mojo has Spiral teleport a group of his soldiers, including a brainwashed Quark, to Afghanistan to capture Arize. The X-Men successfully defeat Mojo’s soldiers, and Mojo suddenly decides that he doesn’t need Arize to create his own slaves.

It’s hard to view a comic that has one layout artist, seven pencilers, six inkers, and two letterers as anything but a rush job. The various art styles are distracting, but most of the artists still produce good work. There’s just no smooth way to put P. Craig Russell and Mark Texiera on the same story. The actual plot itself isn’t bad. A lot of fans don’t like Mojoworld stories, but I think they work in moderation. This storyline tries to move away from the broad humor of previous Mojo stories and goes back to some of the dark themes introduced in the original Longshot mini-series. Nicieza also tries to draw parallels between tribal violence in Afghanistan and the X-Men’s battles with fellow mutants, which isn’t the type of thing you would get in X-Force at this time. It’s an okay issue, even if you get the impression that it might have been put together over the weekend. The rest of the annual is filled with pin-ups, Handbook-style pages of the X-Men’s mansion and plane, and a back-up written by Dan Slott. It counts down the X-Men’s greatest foes and, as a sign of the times, places the Upstarts and Omega Red ahead of the Sentinels.


James said...

I think the problem of Mojoworld (and Longshot as a character, for that matter) is that they were set up for one story (the Longshot series). That story was self-contained and didn't lend itself to carrying a narrative any further (though I guess Longshot as a character in the "Marvel Universe" has potential, which has never really been met).

Mojoworld was created as a parody of network television. How do you extend that into the themes of the X books? How can you expand that at all? It worked once for me (in the Uncanny annual, #10, where Mojo created the X babies), but never again. Shatterstar is supposed to be a product of Mojoworld, but Liefeld dropped that concept quick, it was (sort-of) retconned out by other writers, and the character is just a generic swordsman. Longshot at least has a concrete personality.

Kerry said...

Spot on about Mojoworld, James. It seems like every couple of years Mojo is overthrown and reinstated again. I'm still not clear on Shatterstar's deal; I know John Francis Moore, late in the original X-Force run, had a whole "Is Shatterstar an escapee from a mental ward?" plotline but I don't recall how conclusive that was.

wwk5d said...

I liked all the different artists. It might not have meshed well together as an issue, but it still looked pretty good.

And yeah, the 10 Ten, if you look at it today, is pretty embarrassing.

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