Monday, March 8, 2010

X-MEN UNLIMITED #14 - March 1997

Innocence Lost

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Comicraft (letters), Kevin Somers (colors)

Summary: Storm, Gambit, Artie, Leech, and Franklin Richards join the Beast for a vacation at his parents’ farm in Illinois. A drunken anti-mutant mob invades the farm and kidnaps Artie and Leech. Meanwhile, Franklin Richards uses his powers to force Joseph to materialize in the wheat fields. Franklin demands that Joseph bring his parents back, and grows violent when Joseph denies he is Magneto. After the police break up the mob, Beast arrives and helps Gambit talk Franklin out of harming Joseph.

Continuity Notes: Franklin wants Joseph to bring his parents back because of that whole “Onslaught is partially Magneto” thing.

Review: If Unlimited wasn’t going to do “important” stories, this is at least an acceptable alternative. As this issue demonstrates, Unlimited could’ve been used to assemble characters from the various X-spinoffs and resolve some of the dangling plotlines. Franklin Richards was supposed to join Artie and Leech as a part of Generation X’s cast during “Heroes Reborn,” which was as good a place as any to put him. Joseph was supposed to be dealing with the actions he committed as Magneto (back when Marvel still thought he was Magneto), so his role in Onslaught’s creation and its impact on Franklin should’ve been addressed. This issue doesn’t do anything remarkable with the setup, but at least the situation is acknowledged and executed in a competent manner. The drunken rednecks are stereotypes, and of course we get an inspirational speech about tolerance towards the end, but I think Franklin’s scenes and the character work at the start of the issue are enough to compensate for the more predictable elements. Jim Cheung delivers a solid job, drawing in an expressive cartoony style without going overboard. That’s obviously a style the editors wanted during this era, and Cheung was far better than most of his contemporaries.

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