One of the new resolutions lately is to keep up with my comics -- which may sound strange as far as resoltions go "spend money on that thing you like" -- but sometimes its harder than you think. In order to gain this reward, however, I'm going to try to write up review on those I buy -- which means, if I can't think of anything nice to say, maybe its time to unsubscribe. (Yes, I've finally broken down and gotten a "drop box" at my local shop -- the fairly wonderful downtown location of Graham Crackers Comics.
The last time I seriously returned to comics a couple of years back, it was hard for me to figure out where to start because I'd always been a Marvel (specifically X-Men) guy. And even now, it was hard for me to stay into Marvel because the Avengers are the main focus of the Marvel Universe (as they should be, as they've become the most popular), but the Avengers have never been my, in the words of Jusin Bieber (to John Waters in regards to his 'stache), jam. However, Spider-Man is newly reborn again (after the Brand New Day fiasco) and it turns out, there's a lot of good going on with my beloved X-Men again.
Take, for example, Uncanny X-Force. Angel and Psylocke have but together a team to do the secret, more hardcore, morally questionable work that needs to take place for the good of mutant-kind. As IGN said in a review "the surest way to make the X-Men the biggest team in comics again is to offer more books like Uncanny X-Force." Warren and Betsy are co-leading a team with Wolverine, Deadpool, and Fantomex against right now Apocalypse -- who non-fans need to know lists among his more evil acts of torturing Angel into Archangel. Apocalypse has been brought back by his followers in the form of a young boy who is being trained to be evil incarnate. This week's issue #3 shows how the 4 Horsemen of the Apocolyps (War, Famine, Pestillence, and Death) were brought together - and though the origin story is well-work territory, this stuff was great -- and works into how X-Force gets out of the situation -- which, though as dark and bloody and violent as X-Force has been in the recent past -- is also clever and uses the characeter's backgrounds and their powers (both our heroes and the newly esablished villains). And the cliffhanger is a winner.
On the opposite side of the "dark/light" X-Title spectrum is X-Factor -- the mutant detective agency full of interpersonal dramas with a far lighter touch. I've always been a big fan of the group's leader Multiple Man - and the laid back, humourous attitude of the whole thing makes it feel like it's the X-title for Generation Me. Then Peter David goes ahead and write a same sex coupling between Rictor and Shatterstar (who I've always found fairly crazy hot - even if he is sometimes an insecure redhead who acts cockier than he feels - which makes finding him hot a problem at best, narcissim at worst) Recently, X-Factor has gotten involved with Hela, an evil Norse goddess, so of course, Thor shows up. In this week's conclusion (perhaps) X-Factor #212, what happens to Darwin in an attempt to defeat her uses his powers (of evolution) in a creative way which seems like it will have lasting consequences.
And this is what the X-titles have always done that makes them interesting. The mutant abilities aren't like other super powers. They aren't something these people are born with or gain through choices. They just happen. And whether it be for evil (with the horsemen) or for good (with Darwin), they affect the characters. The reason why these two titles work best are because of this characterization.
Other Marvel Titles
I also picked up Amazing Spider-man #650 this week, but I need to find a copy of #649 before I read it.