Week of November 18, 2015:
In which we’re still having trouble getting into Extraordinary X-Men; Deadpool & Cable: Split Second is kind of delightful; and Wolverine gets mauled by a bear.
- Extraordinary X-Men #2 (00:31)
- Deadpool & Cable Split Second Infinite Comics #1-3 (02:58)
- Secret Wars Too #1 (06:30)
Pick of the Week: Deadpool & Cable Split Second Infinite Comic #3 (08:34)
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The review for Secret Wars Too was one of the most.. bizarre reviews I’ve ever seen. And I read the story. I would love to have seen that review with no context whatsoever.
(this is going to bug me all night if I don’t say it. The review was bear-zarre)
((and I’m terrible. I know))
I’ve read a fair number of positive, enthusiastic reviews for EXM so far, but I’m of a similar mind as the X-perts. It’s just not doing it for me so far. For what is the “flagship” book of the X-Men line, this seems like a very leisurely, pedestrian getting the band together story that is going to take the first arc. Maybe it’ll get going by # 6 or so? Or perhaps Mr. Sinister will spice things up over the second half of this arc.
I’m wondering too if maybe the advanced lead time has something to do with this feeling underwhelming. Hearing about the new line of X-books at the beginning of July feels like a long, long time ago. To get this arc after waiting this long just kind of feels a bit underwhelming. I imagine the first Old Man Logan arc might feel the same when it launches in the new year, considering that story is taking place before EXM #1.
Thank goodness for All-New wolverine!
My problem with Extraordinary so far is they’re playing up this big twist (mainly what happened to Cyclops). There’s one problem with that though: everyone in the story already knows what it is. Literally only the reader is in the dark about it. The heroes may not be in on the whole story, but they at least have a working version of it. I have a hard time figuring out how they’re going to sell the big reveal of whatever it is when it will be old news to all of the cast.
Compare it to the way this sort of thing is handled in the video game Final Fantasy X. In it Tidus is the character through which the player views the world and as the analogous Dorthy in the land of Oz everything is brand new to him, thus justifying the constant explanations of the world and the people’s way of life. So when Tidus is finally let in on the big secret that the whole rest of the world knows already it can come as a genuine surprise assuming the player didn’t already figure it out (which many probably did). You could say that the well known fact never slipping out is pretty far-fetched (but hey, fiction), but at least you can buy all of his friends deliberately avoiding the topic because it was too depressing for them.
That’s my issue with how Ex is unfolding so far. Cyclops’ fate is a big tie in to the team’s eventual direction of which there really isn’t one right now aside from the state of mutantkind is horrendous which has always been the case. And when they get around to telling us it’s only going to be new to the reader.
There’s a few problems I have with EXM. One big problem is that it all feels like it’s been done before. Even the idea of X-Haven feels pretty similar to Utopia. More, it feels similar to how the Xavier school always operates. It’s always felt like a way of hiding from the world. Even the death trap element isn’t that dissimilar from the JGS being one big Danger Room.
But the thing that bothers me most about EXM is that it’s too cynical. This is a story about the X-Men giving up on even trying to achieve coexistence. That is stupid. It’s ridiculous. Mutants are a metaphor for The Outsider, and EXM’s message, so far, is that if you’re an outsider, you can never gain even the tiniest bit of acceptance. That you should just give up, hang out with people like you, and hide away from the rest of the world. And that is THE DUMBEST GODDAMN MESSAGE.
The only way – the ONLY way – for this series to be redeemed is if it ends with mutants in an objectively better place in society than they’ve been since M-Day. We need to see political campaigns within the book. We need to see groups fighting in defence of mutants. We need to see mutants as part of the in-universe pop culture.
If it remains “everything is awful for everyone forever,” then the whole series will have ultimately been a waste of time.
Lemire had similar problems with his opening run on Justice League United. He spends considerable time getting the band together, getting comfortable with their voices and their team dynamic, so much so that the A-plot ended up feeling underdeveloped. On the other hand – amusingly – when he came into Justice League Dark, a book with an already established team line-up and dynamic, Lemire came out running.
All that said, Lemire is one of my absolute favorite writers and I have complete faith that he’ll find his footing and give us a stellar X-Men title.
I’ve been digging EXM, and I’m not too stuck on the 8 month gap, nor does the decompression bother me. I like the pace of it, but I do agree that not a lot of story has actually happened two issues in.
Side note: is the 8 month gap not closer to 12 or 16? After all, it’s 8 months since Secret Wars ended, but there was another gap between the end of most 616 stories (excluding Last Days) and Secret Wars as well. There was a jump before the Secret Aars prelude, Time Runs Out, during which Cyclops and Beast (and other mutants I presume) lived in “Nation X” and had a Phoenix Egg. We have no idea how that status quo happened; presumably it comes from the outcome of UXM 600, but how is unclear. That gap interests me just as much as the later gap.
I was wondering if the Rasputin flashback in EXM 2 was editorial error, an indication this post Secret Wars III timestream isn’t the 616, or if Magik is just Gaslighting her brother again.
Namely, at the age they show the young Piotr gaining his powers, 616 Illyana wasn’t born yet. (Plus Colossus refers to himself as a ‘Brawler’ rather than artist, and their father’s image is somewhat demonized… oh… I guess I should reserve that word for Magik’s metaphysical condition…)
I’d heard part of the reboot was to “simplify” continuity, and given that Magik’s story is about as convoluted as Cable, Rachel, or Legion’s, maybe they’re starting with the Russians, and seeing how the fans accept retcon mania.