Tuesday, July 19, 2011

JLX #1 - April 1996

A League of Their Own!

Credits: Gerard Jones & Mark Waid (writers), Howard Porter (penciler), John Dell (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Gloria Vasquez & Heroic Age (colors)

Summary: The Judgment League Avengers face off against the JLX, a group of former members aligned with accused eco-terrorist, Aqua-Mariner. Mr. X uses his telepathic powers to distract the JLA and allow JLX to escape. JLX travels with Aqua-Mariner to find Atlantis, the ancestral home of mutantkind. They find the city abandoned, and are soon attacked by Will Magnus and his Sentinel robots. During the fight, Mr. X is forced to reveal his hidden Martian powers to defeat the Sentinels. Although they’re shocked by Mr. X’s true identity, JLX decides to stay with their ally.

Continuity Notes: The JLX consists mostly of mutant ex-members of the JLA. The line-up includes Mr. X (Martian Manhunter, posing as a mutant and wearing a Bishop-style “M” on his face), Apollo (Cyclops and the Ray), Aqua-Mariner (Namor and Aquaman), Mercury (Quicksilver and Impulse), Runaway (Rogue and Gypsy), Wraith (Gambit and Obsidian), Firebird (Phoenix and Fire), and Nightcreeper (Nightcrawler and the Creeper). In this reality, Will Magnus is Magneto’s brother, which is a play on Magneto’s original “real” name of Magnus.

Review: What does it say about 1996 that Marvel and DC gave us JLX instead of JLAvengers? Amalgam happened to occur during Mark Waid’s brief association with the X-Men, so it makes sense that he would help to develop one of the Amalgam X-teams, although I'm sure he would've had more fun with the Avengers characters. I have mixed feelings about this one. In a way, it captures the Amalgam sentiment, as the book is filled with references to imaginary storylines (The JLA has split! Angelhawk is secretly a mutant! Wraith’s darkness is slowly tainting Runaway!), and it’s hard to fault the characters chosen to be amalgamated. Martian Manhunter working as an undercover X-Man? Will Magnus creating the Sentinels? Nightcreeper -- a cool visual and funny in-joke? This is good stuff. The execution is iffy, though. Aside from Porter’s inconsistent art, the script is often a bore. I can’t tell if the overwrought dialogue is intentionally or accidentally bad, but either way it drags the book down. If this is deliberately a parody of the X-style, it’s so dry that it’s hard to read it as a joke. And were any other characters held up for ridicule during the Amalgam event? Singling out the X-Men doesn’t seem fair.

1 comment:

wwk5d said...

I dunno, I liked this issue...the art was horrible, but I liked the story.

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