Friday, October 31, 2014

X-MEN FOREVER #18 - April 2010


Arctic Thunder!
Credits:  Chris Claremont (writer), Tom Grummett (pencils), Cory Hamscher (inks), Wilfredo Quintana (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters)

Summary:  The mother of Ziggy Trask monitors the Consortium’s study of Fabian Cortez’s powers.  Meanwhile, Cyclops takes Nathan on a motorcycle ride.  After stopping a group of bikers from harassing a waitress, Cyclops spends time at home with his guests, Havok and Polaris.  While playing outside, Nathan is kidnapped by the Consortium.  With the help of Corsair’s spaceship, Nathan is rescued and the Consortium agents are captured.  Corsair promises to protect Nathan while Cyclops returns to the X-Men.

Continuity Notes:  
  • The waitress is named Phoebe, perhaps after the Friends character.  
  • Cyclops wants the Starjammers to shield this group of captured agents from the Consortium so that they can be interrogated.
  • Havok and Polaris are wearing their early ‘90s X-Factor uniforms, although their dialogue suggests that they’re still working as scientists.  Cyclops is back to his uniform from the ‘70s-‘80s, even though the cover has bizarrely merged it with his ‘90s costume.

“Huh?” Moment:  Polaris alternates between talking to herself and thinking to herself while investigating the Consortium’s ship (and explaining how her powers work).  That’s a comics scripting quirk I’ve never understood.  Most of this dialogue would’ve been better suited as a third-person narrative caption anyway.

Review:  And I thought the last issue was padded!  The pacing this issue has reached, dare I say it, Spawn levels.  Gratuitous splashes, giant panels, and a pointless opening fight scene all mark pages while the story gradually reveals itself as a (very unambitious) kidnapping plot against Nathan.  Honestly, I wouldn’t mind a simple story of the Summers clan rescuing Nathan from the Consortium if I felt the issue had some meat to it.  This would’ve been the perfect opportunity to actually explain the garbled continuity that surrounds Nathan, or to give him some legitimate bonding time with Cyclops, but instead we receive an issue that’s mainly filler.  The only real point of the story, aside from introducing another mystery (the Consortium wants Nathan for an unidentified reason), is to have Cyclops decide to rejoin the team.  Claremont’s always seemed adamant in interviews that he considered Cyclops’ time as an X-Man over as of UXM #200, and a previous issue of this series was even dedicated to his goodbye, so this is at best a peculiar decision.  

The major draw of the issue is the return of Tom Grummett and Cory Hamscher, who deliver possibly their nicest-looking issue yet.  I’m still getting an early Capullo/ McFarlane vibe from the art...the art, Orzechowski letters, and dawdling plot really are giving me Spawn flashbacks.  I particularly like the decision to revert Cyclops’ costume to what’s generally considered his “classic” look.  At least this is one X-Man that’s in a recognizable uniform.  If Marvel really wanted to ditch the Jim Lee designs, I would’ve much preferred going back to previous costumes over designing new ones.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!

Question unrelated to your post:

Any chance you might do Sovereign Seven in your DC casualties after you finish with Superman?

G. Kendall said...

Thanks.
I've considered Sovereign Seven in the past, but don't now if I'll get around to it. I only read a few issues of S7 and don't know how interesting the reviews would be.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I get what you are saying.

I'm currently rereading the S7 issues I have and they come across as a cheap knock-off of the X-Men with the Claremontism cranked up to 11.

Matt said...

Agreed on Cyclops getting his classic costume back, and on the idea that most or all of the characters should've been similarly reverted rather than redesigned.

Funny thing -- after looking at your posts for the past few issues, I was reminded that the only new costume I liked from this series was Rogue's, and it was dumped early!

Also, with all the costume changes that went on in this series, I'm confused why Havok and Polaris weren't removed from their ugly X-Factor uniforms. I would've appreciated almost any change to those two, whether it be reversion to old outfits or a change to all-new ones.

And regarding Polaris -- if Claremont is ignoring the published ending of "Muir Island Saga", shouldn't she still be musclebound and sans magnetic powers here? Unless his unknown ending to that storyline also restored her to normal somehow...

wwk5d said...

The costume Rogue is wearing isn't exactly "new". She wore it twice, in part 1 of the Muir Island Saga and it's epilogue. Or, rather, a similar one to it.

http://uncannyxmen.net/sites/default/files/images/costume/rogue-bigcostume7.jpg