Monday, March 31, 2014

X-BABIES REBORN #1 - January 2000

Beware the Babymaker!
Credits:  Ruben Diaz (writer), Juvaun J. Kirby (pencils & colors), Caleb Salstrom (inks), Comicraft (letters)

Summary:  While training in the Danger Playpen, Sugah accidentally touches Psychilde, which leaves Psychilde in a coma.  Soon, the X-Babies realize that her neoplasm is unstable.  They travel to Mojoworld, where they hope to find a cure.  Spiral, however, wants Psychilde’s neoplasm to create more stars for Mojo.  Her latest creations, the Mitey ‘Vengers, are unleashed on the X-Babies, but eventually they realize that Mojo is the true villain.  Iron Ace and Sugah attempt to repair Psychilde’s damaged neoplasm, but in the process alter her body into that of an Asian ninja.  Soon, Mojo is defeated by the united teams.  Later, however, Mojo creates more new creations…baby villains. 

Continuity Notes:  This story introduces the Mitey ‘Vengers, which consist of Captain Amerikid, Iron Ace, Big Boy, Thunderson, Wisp, and Hawkey.

I Love the '90s:  One corner of Mojoworld is revealed to be the Fad Dump, which houses last year’s hits, such as “digital pets, teen boy bands, yo-yos -- again.”  Unfortunately, boy bands don’t die out in 2000 as the comic predicted.

Review:The cover might fool you into thinking this was released during the Quesada/Jemas days, since the company name is written across the top and there’s no corner box (the new look adopted to signal Marvel’s new direction in 2001).  Plus, the interiors bring us lower-case lettering, when the X-Babies speak at least, another “innovation” from the Quesada/Jemas era.  The comic’s actually from the final year of the Bob Harras days, however.  It might be tempting to think this comic influenced the future look of Marvel Comics, but I can’t imagine any of Bob Harras’ replacements ever glanced at it.  I don’t even recall much of a fan response to this one-shot, even though the first one was received fairly well.  X-specials were far from “special” at this point, and virtually anything with the X-Babies on the cover was probably automatically rendered unimportant to most readers.  And fans of the original one-shot possibly didn’t even know this existed, because I certainly don’t remember any promotion for it.  

X-Babies Reborn isn’t as much fun as its predecessor, but it has its moments.  Aside from some cute jokes, including a running gag about where babies come from and the introduction of ninja-baby Psylocke, there is some legitimately good character work between Sugah and Psychilde that evokes a Claremontian feel without turning the sentiment into parody.  The plot has more than its share of puzzling diversions, however, such as a detour to an abandoned library that doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose outside of making a joke about kids not reading books anymore.  Too often the story just feels padded in order to fill up the double-sized page count.  Like the previous one-shot, the real highlight of the issue is J. J. Kirby’s art.  I think his X-Babies rival the original Arthur Adams’ versions, and the ‘Vengers are great cartoony reinventions the heroes (especially tiny Hawkeye and Iron Man.)  If Kirby could apply this style to six-foot superheroes, I don’t see how he couldn’t have had Ed McGuinness’ career.  

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