Wednesday, April 28, 2010

X-FORCE/YOUNGBLOOD #1 - August 1996

Credits: Eric Stephenson & Robert Napton (writers), Stephen Platt, Dan Fraga, Richard Horie, Ching Lau, Michael Linchang, Mark Pajarillo, & Andy Park (pencilers), Marlo Alquiza, Eric Cannon, Robert Lacko, Sean Parsons, Norm Rapmund, & Lary Stucker (inkers), Kurt Hathaway (letters), Dan Shadian, Extreme Color, & Quantum Color (colors)

Summary: X-Force rejoins Ricochet Rita in the fight against Mojo. Mojo enlists the aid of Youngblood’s enemies, the Four, to squelch the rebellion. Meanwhile, Youngblood member Sentinel develops a transdimensional accelerator that enables the team to return to Mojoworld. With Youngblood’s help, X-Force defeats the Four. The heroes are shocked when Dazzler emerges from Youngblood’s craft. She takes Shaft and Shatterstar to Mojo’s dungeon to release Longshot, as the united teams confront Mojo. Outmatched, Mojo triggers an explosion. Badrock and Caliban protect their teammates from the debris, but Mojo escapes.

Continuity Notes: Dazzler reveals that she was actually Mojo’s servant, the Agent, from the first chapter of the crossover. After Mojo’s nexus in the Extreme Universe was destroyed, his magic wore off and she returned to normal. She hid out in Youngblood’s ship and emerged when they reached Mojoworld.

Gimmicks: There’s an alternate cover by Rob Liefeld that manages to get the title mixed up.

I Love the ‘90s: Badrock calls breaking through a wall his impression of the sitcom Home Improvement.

Review: Okay, this one is the mess you were probably expecting. I’ll start with the art. Apparently, each individual pouch on a character’s costume required its own artist, so approximately nine thousand people were brought in to draw this thing. The issue opens with Stephen Platt doing his standard McFarlane/Adams impersonation:

It ain’t pretty, but you at least have the impression that some effort went into this. As the story progresses, the amount of detail lines drop, and the composition somehow manages to get even worse:

By the time you reach the final pages, the art looks like a napkin sketch that was blown up to standard comic size:

Why, it’s almost as if the book was thrown together at the last minute to meet a deadline.

The first chapter of the crossover was at least coherent and enjoyable on its own terms. This just reads like a generic team-up of generic ‘90s heroes fighting generically ugly ‘90s villains. The wit of Stephenson’s first script is gone, as the characters are now incredibly stiff and barely anyone shows signs of a personality. Not only is the plot an awkward fit with the first chapter (Ricochet Rita is given a lot of attention in the opening, while Mojo II, a fairly prominent character in the first chapter, has just disappeared in-between issues…plus, the idea that Badrock would be a “savior” to Mojoworld is forgotten), but it also introduces ideas seemingly at random that are never resolved.

After the issue opens with a lengthy monologue by Ricochet Rita, lamenting Dazzler’s death, Rita disappears without explanation. Dazzler’s “death” is resolved, but Longshot is thrown into the story for no real reason. He’s freed during the final pages, as Mojo escapes the fight, and has literally nothing to do. There’s also an abortive plot thread about Shatterstar, Siryn, and Warpath abandoning Cable during the fight with Mojo’s minions because they feel he’s wasting time. Shatterstar perks up when he hears Longshot’s name, reviving the long-forgotten hint that he’s Shatterstar’s father, but it’s another idea that isn’t addressed by the story’s end. Another abandoned idea is the concept that the X-Force and Youngblood team-up is actually helping Mojo, since it boosts his ratings. There’s no resolution, as the issue just ends with a big explosion and another hint that a sequel is on the way. The story isn’t as much of a mess as the art, but it’s close. It’s a shame, since the first installment proved that these comics don’t have to suck.

1 comment:

Teebore said...

Apparently, each individual pouch on a character’s costume required its own artist, so approximately nine thousand people were brought in to draw this thing.

Bwa-ha-ha! I love it!

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