Wednesday, January 4, 2012

EXCITING X-PATROL #1 - June 1997



The Curse of Brother Brood!
Credits: Barbara Kesel (writer), Bryan Hitch (penciler), Paul Neary (inker), Joe Andreani & Digital Chameleon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Shatterstarfire reluctantly leaves Niles Cable behind during a battle with Brother Brood, returning to the X-Patrol’s base for help. The team leaves on a rescue mission with their mysterious new member, Jericho. Landing on Zenosha, X-Patrol soon faces the Brood-infected Niles and Terra-X the Destroyer. While battling Niles, Jericho’s rocky disguise is destroyed, revealing Jericho as Niles’ younger self. Niles decides to let his techno-organic virus consume his body and kill the Brood infection. Near death, Niles is saved by the spirit of Raveniya the Healer. Inspired by his younger self, Niles vows to continue fighting.

Continuity Notes: The island of Zenosha is presumably an amalgam, yet plain ol’ Genosha was shown to exist in the Amalgam world in the previous year’s Magneto and the Magnetic Men. This reality’s version of Jericho is a combination of DC’s Jericho, the Thing, and X-Man. Brother Brood is Brother Blood infected by the Brood Queen. Terra-X the Destroyer is an amalgam of the Teen Titan’s bucktoothed traitor Terra and Galactus’ herald Terrax the Destroyer. Raveniya the Healer merges Raven with Mother Askani.

Review: Oh, another Bryan Hitch comic that isn’t marred by excessive detail lines and “realistic” faces. That’s like finding an old Greg Land comic without any traced porn. I’m sure someone at the time thought using “eXciting” on the cover was a cute parody, unaware that Marvel was a mere four years away from using a gratuitous X-dash in the actual title of a comic. Anyway, eXciting X-Patrol is the sequel to the previous year’s X-Patrol, the title that was nominally a merger of the Doom Patrol and various X-spinoffs. Apparently, someone just liked the name, because the Doom Patrol did not play a large role in the amalgams. This year’s special makes it even more obvious that the creators want to do a Teen Titans/X-Force mash-up -- which is fine, but why is this even called X-Patrol? Wouldn’t “X-Titans” or “Titans-X” work just as well?

I’m only familiar with the Titans from a few trade paperbacks, a handful of cartoon episodes, and the relentless Jericho hate online, but I think I’ve caught most of the jokes in this one. It’s hard to deny that Terra-X the Destroyer is a great gag. The Marvel characters chosen to be amalgamated surprised me, but as much as I dislike the Askani and X-Man in the mainstream continuity, Barbara Kesel works them into this story in surprising and funny ways. Her dialogue is a fairly accurate representation of ‘90s era X-team interactions, without crossing the line into snarky condescension. This is a dense read, packed with characters and action, but there’s enough humor to keep fans of either franchise entertained. I can’t imagine what someone unfamiliar with the material being referenced would think of this, though.

1 comment:

Scott Church said...

I remember hating the art in this issue and it's funny to now see it was done by Hitch who I love now as an adult.

I love that you are just bringing back childhood memories and good times.

I feel like we should compare what Wizard was saying about these books when they were released and the hype with them.