Monday, August 23, 2010

MAVERICK #4-#5, December 1997-January 1998



Found and Lost

Credits: Jorge Gonzalez (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Chris Eliopoulos & VC (letters), Kevin Somers (colors)

Summary: Chris Bradley meets up with his girlfriend Donna in New York’s West Village. They’re suddenly attacked by the Friends of Humanity, who tapped Donna’s phone after Chris was outed as a mutant. Maverick and Elena Ivanova, who’ve tracked Chris since he ran away from home, arrive to help. Area resident Wolverine also joins the fight. After Maverick gets Donna to safety, Elena uses her telepathic powers to convince everyone nearby they died in an explosion. Later, when Maverick returns home, he’s abruptly seduced by Elena, who’s hiding a secret.

Review: Hey, that cover’s deceitful -- Wolverine and Maverick don’t fight in this issue. I can’t believe a comic book company could be so dishonest. Wolverine and Maverick do, however, have an argument about Maverick keeping his Legacy Virus remission a secret from his teenage protégé Chris. Four issues into the series, this seems to be the major internal conflict for Maverick, and it’s pretty weak. Why is this macho tough guy leading man so hung up on potentially hurting the feelings of a teenage boy? And how does he know Chris wouldn’t be happy for him? Plus, why does Wolverine care so much about this? The emotional arcs in this book just don’t feel properly fleshed out. Another example would be Chris, who often seems overly emotional about everything, but doesn’t respond to his girlfriend’s belief that he’s dead with more than a “Aw, that’s too bad.” Rather than stoically accepting that she’s better off thinking he’s dead, shouldn’t he be upset with Elena for creating the illusion? I think this would hurt him more than learning that Maverick actually isn’t going to die of the Legacy Virus.


Pressure Points

Credits: Jorge Gonzalez (writer), Jim Cheung & Leo Fernandez (pencilers), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Chris Eliopoulos & VC (letters), Kevin Somers (colors)

Summary: Maverick and Elena get into an argument when he discovers that she’s still tracking Sabretooth. Maverick leaves angry, and lets off steam by attacking the henchmen of mobster Big Louie. After sending them the message that Louie owes him money, Maverick heads to a bar. A drunken Blob picks a fight with Maverick. During the fight, Maverick’s powers give out, but he finishes Blob with a grenade. Maverick returns home, now willing to help Elena, only to discover her goodbye letter.

Continuity Notes: Maverick advises Elena not to confront Sabretooth, fearing she’ll end up like another telepath, Birdy. Maverick claims that Birdy was killed by Sabretooth’s father, but it was actually his son, Graydon Creed, who pulled the trigger (as seen in the Sabretooth miniseries).

We Get Letters: A letter writer asks what happened to Maverick’s mutant power to see short distances into the future. The editorial response confirms he had the power, but says it disappeared when he developed the Legacy Virus. What are they talking about? When could Maverick ever see into the future?

Review: The previous cover with Wolverine wasn’t anything special, but this is an attention-getter, isn’t it? Blob doesn’t serve much of a role in the story; he’s mainly there as a disposable X-villain who’s free for a one-issue beating. He also drunkenly accuses Maverick of being a Nazi (due to his accent, although it’s never phonetically spelled out and he doesn’t use any German exclamations, like a certain X-Man), which Maverick finds unusually upsetting. This is foreshadowing for a future arc, and having it wrapped into a fight scene is one way to bring some action into the issue, I guess. Pitting Maverick against the mob for a few pages is another excuse for some action, although the motivation for the fight is interesting. Maverick’s only searching the mobsters out because their boss owes him money, which he needs since the Legacy Virus has prevented him from working for a year. I’m not sure if anyone’s ever bothered to explain how exactly the various unaffiliated mutants in the Marvel Universe make money, so I’ll give Gonzalez credit for addressing the topic.

I wish Gonzalez had more of a knack for natural dialogue, as the argument between Maverick and Elena doesn’t showcase much of a personality for either character. Maverick doesn’t want Elena to risk her life chasing Sabretooth, and Elena wants to kill Sabretooth, because that’s the motivation she’s had since her first appearance and no one’s developed her since then. Elena does raise the valid point that her “obsession” with Sabretooth isn’t different from his own pursuit of Ivan Pushkin (who presumably was intended to be the major villain of this series), but it’s the only memorable part of their argument. Well, Elena does slap Maverick when he suggests she lured him into bed as a part of her anti-Sabretooth crusade, but both characters politely apologize afterwards and go back to the discussion. Thankfully, Cheung’s art alleviates much of the tedium, and the Blob fight is rather enjoyable.

3 comments:

The Estate of Tim O'Neil said...

You touched on an old pet peeve of mine - the fact that the X-Men have seemingly unlimited pools of discretionary income despite no obvious source of said income. There have certainly been periods when it has been possible to dismiss the problem simply by saying they all have expense accounts from Xavier's trust fund, and that's been done a few times, but after all this time and all the fancy electronic equipment the teams go through like pinatas, Xavier's bank account has to be just about empty.

J said...

@Tim

I remember after the Kitty/Pryde Alien issue that was the last John Byrne issue Xavier had to actually go to Angel to borrow some money to repair the X-Mansion. Somewhere along the line that was just forgotten apparently.

izzat said...

As far as I know, Maverick never demonstrated any precog abilities in the comics, but the official X-Man trading cards (with all Jim Lee art) said he did.

I think it might be one of those things that got changed last minute when John Byrne was scrambling to script those issue of X-Men.

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