Friday, October 2, 2015

ADVENTURES OF THE X-MEN #9 - December 1996

Credits:  Ralph Macchio (writer), Derec Aucoin (penciler), Ralph Cabrera (inks), Paul Becton (colors), Michael Higgins (letters)

Summary:  Jubilee and Storm take Gambit shopping in a futile attempt to cheer him up.  At an electronics store, Spiral suddenly materializes.  She kidnaps Storm, leaving Jubilee and Gambit behind.  In the Mojoverse, Mojo explains to Storm that she tested higher than the other X-Men during their first visit.  Storm signs a one-year contract to star in her own series, thinking that this will give her an opportunity to find an escape path.  Meanwhile the Vanisher, under the Hellfire Clubs employ, steals blueprints for a new model of Sentinel developed by the government.  Vanisher double-crosses Sebastian Shaw by planting evidence inside the Pentagon implicating the Hellfire Club.  Shaw retaliates by having his new employee, Bolivar Trask, activate his newest Sentinel model, ordering it to kill the Vanisher.  The Vanisher teleports away, materializing at the X-Men’s mansion.  The Sentinel follows but is defeated by the team.  As a show of gratitude, Vanisher agrees to teleport the team to the Mojoverse.

Continuity Notes:  
  • The X-Men appearing this issue are Xavier, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Gambit.
  • The Vanisher has never appeared in Adventures continuity before.  
  • The Hellfire Club is actually called by name, as opposed to the “Circle Club” of the animated series.
  • Mojo’s homeworld is referred to as Mojoverse and Mojo World interchangeably.

Review:  Pretty much anything would’ve been an improvement over the previous issue, although I have to say this is actually entertaining in its own right.  Derec Aucoin’s art is fairly bland at this stage, but it’s a bit of a relief to have one issue without deformed interpretations of the cast, and in fairness to him, he’s asked to pack a lot into this issue.  I like the prospect of taking characters from various corners of a universe and tossing them together, since at the very least it breaks up the tedium of the same villains reappearing with the same schemes.  This story could easily be a mess, but so far Macchio has managed to fit the Vanisher, the Sentinels, Mojo, and Sebastian Shaw into the same story without falling on his face.  There are moments that don’t quite stand up to scrutiny, such as the Vanisher’s convenient (and unexplained) knowledge of Xavier and the X-Men’s secret mansion, but they’re not egregious enough to kill the story’s momentum.  Predictably, the weakest element of the issue involves Mojo, who remains not-particularly-funny, and the less said about his obnoxious screenwriter Vroot the better.  (Was this an in-joke gone wrong?)  Unfortunately, the next chapter is the one that seems to be Mojo-specific, which isn’t giving me a lot of hope for the story arc’s finale.  Still, this chapter shows that Adventures can occasionally surprise you, and even present issues that aren’t a minimum forty percent exposition.

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