Friday, March 23, 2007

It's Friday Night With Lee

As I did not have time to put together a post, Lee passed along this post to me to post for him as his wife won't let him use the computer tonight.


So, it’s another Friday, and Jim is playing poker which leaves… BWAH HA HA… you know who in charge!!!

AND, as with most Fridays, I gots nothing. I could make up stories…. Errr I mean retell factual accounts of events that occurred in the past but I already did that. I could tell sordid tales of my youth, but that would only incriminate me. I could remind people that there’s barely two weeks until MY BIRTHDAY, but y’all already know that.

I KNOW! I’ll review some comics. That never occurs on this blog. So last night, I read X-men 194-196. This was a three part story that dealt with new villain Pandemic, or Pan for short. This arc was really cleaning up storylines presented in the first arc. Pan is the typical mad scientist who created a virus that allows him to duplicate mutant powers. Basically, he catches the powers like a cold and gets to keep them for as long as he wants. There are some good moments and neat battles as Pan uses all the X-men’s own powers against them. But, in the end he is defeated.

Mike Carey writes a nice straightforward story. It superheroes by the books with the current storyline, new plot lines presented for the next arc, leftover questions from the first arc answered , and some pretty good action sequences. Unfortunately, I found that I don’t really care about any of the characters. The team, lead by Rogue, is supposed to be an X-men strikeforce to do things the regular X-men can’t. Throw in government oversight and I may have seen the concept once or twice before. ANYWAY…

Rogue is the leader but she seems way out of character to me as a hardnosed, ultraconfident, badass leader. Then again, I have read a Rogue story since 2000 so there may be some storylines I missed. As a side note, with Rogue now leading a team, I think every single X-man ever has been a team leader at some point. Reality break here people, not everyone wants to lead. There are lots of people who are happy being followers. I guess it’s just not the Rogue that I remember.

Additional members include a robot sentinel chick, Mystique, Iceman, Cable, and Cannonball who’s always got a toothpick in his mouth to show how tough he is. I don’t really care about them either. Someone decided Sabertooth needed more page time so he’s here. And, let me tell you, I am so sick of Sabertooth being on X teams I could scream. The last member is the new Mastermind, formally of the Hellfire Club. To give some credit, I will say that Carey has used the new Mastermind quite well but the ludicrous costume totally detracts from the character. I know it’s the way of the current world to make female characters basically nekkid but it would be a refreshing change to have them be normal. Seriously, it doesn’t have to be realistic but do the boobs always have to hang out.

Humberto Ramos goes a good job on art. For three issues it is great, but after a whole bunch of issues it might get annoying. A couple of years ago Ramos’s style was all over the place but since the Marval Manga boom died out he is different from everything else on the stands.

Overall, it was good but not spectacular. As a long time reader it seemed old and played out. And when I look to the future, I’m not sure that I care about the subplots. I just finished the latest three parter, now is another three parter, and then issue 200 starts a four parter that leads into the falls *event* Endangered Species. Marvel is asking for a whole lotta commitment for a simple X-men series.

Bottomline: It’s better than it has been for a long time but it’s still generic superheroes by the numbers.

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