Monday, February 16, 2009

UNCANNY X-MEN #340 – January 1997

Relativity
Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Joe Madureira (penciler), Tim Townsend (inker), Comicraft (lettering), Steve Buccellato & Team Bucce! (colors)

Summary: Iceman watches over his father in the hospital, as Storm and Gambit arrive to visit. Iceman tells Storm the details of the past day. While riding in Graydon Creed’s limo, Creed pointed Iceman (still disguised as a campaign worker) towards the nearby woods. As Creed flew away in his private jet, Iceman discovered the battered body of his father. Creed’s men had tracked down his father after his earlier outburst, and connected him to Iceman. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Creed begins to question Cannonball. Phoenix later asks him if he wants to abandon the undercover mission, but Cannonball decides that Creed no longer suspects him. In New York, Creed’s henchmen prepare to attack the X-Men gathering around Iceman’s father, but Wolverine stops them. While watching over his father, Iceman tells Storm that he’s leaving the team in order to spend more time with him. After Storm and Gambit leave, Iceman’s father begins to regain consciousness.

Miscellaneous Note: According to the Statement of Ownership, average sales for the year were 455,570 with the most recent issue selling 426,229 copies.

Review: Well, it’s an entire issue built around Iceman’s father getting beaten. Take on its own, it has some nice moments, but it doesn’t exactly work if you’re familiar with Lobdell’s earlier interpretation of the character. There is a brief attempt to justify his change of heart, but it doesn’t go any deeper than the senior Mr. Drake declaring that Creed threatened his family, and he couldn’t have that. If Iceman’s father had only been portrayed by Lobdell as just a normal bigot, and not a super-bigot, this would’ve been more palatable. Knowing that future stories just ignore his father’s condition (unless this is one of the forgotten plots Mike Carey’s picked up), also dampens the impact of the story, making it feel like a quickie justification for writing out Iceman, rather than an important event.

I do like the conversation between Storm and Iceman, which has Iceman struggling with his feelings over a verbally abusive father, and Storm mourning the parents she barely knew. It’s a pairing of two long-time X-Men who’ve barely ever spoken to each other, and Lobdell makes it work. The art is Madureira’s typical blend of manga and Western superhero comics, and it’s as strong as usual. Rather than distracting from the quiet scenes, Madureira’s stylized characters help to sell the story and keep the visuals interesting.

2 comments:

wwk5d said...

I always liked this issue. Def one of the better produced during this era. Yeah, much of your criticisms regarding Iceman's father do make sense, but I still liked it. If anything, this issue is hurt by the fact that the Graydon Creed story gets derailed with little pay-off, but for the most part, I would def recommend people buying/reading this issue, as opposed to most of the post-Onslaught issues, which I'd recommend people just skip. The scenes with Storm and Iceman and very good, and I also liked the scene with Cannonball and Graydon. I like how Lobdell uses a common theme of father/parents to further characterization, and it works well.

rob said...

I agree that I've always really liked this one. I'd even go so far as to place it as one of Lobdell's better issues (along with 309 and 326). I understand your criticism of Iceman's father's change of heart, but I've always just read it as a parent finally just realizing what is important to them and standing by their child.

The scenes with Iceman and Storm are very nice, and there's a wonderful part between Gambit and Iceman's dad (where the latter says that Gambit is just a normal looking guy like his son, how can he also be a mutant) that I've always loved. Joe Mad usually excels at over the top action, but his style is perfectly suited to a quieter story like this. Def one of the best issues of the era. It's a shame Creed's story ends so abruptly right after this.

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