Friday, March 8, 2013

X-MEN: CHILDREN OF THE ATOM #4 - July 2000


Child’s Play
Credits:  Joe Casey (writer), Paul Smith and Michael Ryan (pencilers), Paul Smith and Andrew Pepoy (inkers), Paul Mounts (colors), Jim Novak (letters)

Summary:  Scott Summers awakens inside Xavier’s mansion, still reluctant to join his side.  Meanwhile, Fred Duncan discovers William Metzger is working with his superiors.  Using technology taken from the Sentinel prototype, Metzger plans on helping the government locate mutants.  Later, Xavier invites Bobby Drake and Jean Grey to join his new school, while Magneto is rejected by a neophyte mutant.  Finally, masked men attack Warren Worthington’s home.  They’re stopped by Xavier, who asks Warren to join him.

I Love the '90s:  William Metzger appears on “Politically Inept with Bill Czar” to discuss the mutant issue.  This is a reference to Bill Maher's previous talk show, "Politically Incorrect." 

Review:  So, someone thought it would be a good idea to help the book’s deadline problems by replacing Steve Rude with Paul Smith.  That’s…c’mon…was Adam Hughes not available?  Smith doesn’t even last a full issue without needing a fill-in, although Michael Ryan’s pages thankfully aren’t a jarring transition.  This is possibly the finest looking issue of the series so far; Smith’s interpretation of the gawky teenage X-Men is fantastic, and Paul Mounts’ colors are competitive with any of the Photoshop coloring going on today.  

The story still suffers from far too much setup, however.  There are four different scenes in this issue of either Xavier or Magneto approaching a young mutant and asking him or her to join his side, along with more pages spent hinting that William Metzger is up to something nasty.  It’s been four issues now; the guy should’ve done something at this point to appear even somewhat menacing, but instead we’re stuck with more closed-door meetings and talk show appearances.  There is some action in the issue, though, as Angel is attacked in his home by a Marvelized version of the Klan.  This hate group wears black hoods and burns Xs on lawns instead of crosses, though, so you’ve got to be a sharp reader to pick up on the connection.  (They’re such a prosaic, and easily filmable, villain for the X-Men to face, I’m surprised they haven’t made it into any of the X-Men movies yet.)  Michael Ryan handles the action well, and the colors used on the flame effect as the house burns look great, but this is still a meager amount of action in a comic filled with monotonous conversation scenes.

1 comment:

Teebore said...

That’s…c’mon…was Adam Hughes not available?

Ha!

I knew Steve Rude didn't last on the book, but I'd completely forgotten that Paul Smith was one of the people brought in to replace him.

If I had to guess, I'd think they were trying to get someone whose style wouldn't be too off from Rude's, but since I didn't even recall Smith's involvement, I certainly don't remember how his stuff looked, and whether it was more in line with his original work on the X-Men (and thus more in line with Rude's approach) or more in line with his later "THAT'S Paul Smith?" work on stuff like X-Men Forever.

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