War of Kings is a blog dedicated to my favourite comic books, books, games and movies.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

From the Front - Late for November

This is probably my last 'From the Front' post, because it looks like I'll only be buying trades from now on, and trades are reviewed in 'From the Trenches'. You may be asking yourself what I am doing writing reviews on Christmas Day. I shall explain. My great-grandparents were Danish, and the Danish tradition was that you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. I have no idea if that’s what they actually do in Denmark these days, but that’s how our family does it. So we had all the eating and carolling and opening presents last night, and this morning we went to church, so there isn't really much to do on Christmas day except read our presents (because most of the presents we get seem to be ones that you read). I've been reading the Fantastic Four pocketbook I got. It has the first appearance of the Black Panther and Claw, some weirdness with Prestor John, Johnny Storm and Crystal pining after each other, and a storyline in which Dr Doom steals the Silver Surfer's powers and rides around on his surfboard. Yes, that was in the movie. But the FF pocketbooks are hard to read all in one go, so I'm taking a break. Spoilers abound.

X-Men: Pixies and Demons - Director's Cut
Which is a fancy way of saying 'We're re-publishing the FCBD story, but we need a way to justify it, so it gets a cardstock cover and the script added onto the end'. How can a comic book be a director's cut you ask? Comics don't have directors! Well, the name is justified because the script has directions from the writer to the artist as to haw the page should look. The story itself was ok, and could have easily been put in one of the Divided We Stand anthologies. Like some of those stories, it shows us what happened to one of the kids that got stuck out in the cold when Cyclops closed Xavier's. The kid being, of course, Megan Gwyn or Pixie. She went back to her small hometown in Wales, a town which is, according to all the other children there, very boring. Megan starts to suspect that something is very wrong when people start disappearing, but no one believes her - they think the people have just got fed up an left town. But then Pixie starts seeing demons that no one else can, demons called the N'Gari. I'm sure it would make a whole lot more sense to me if I had read any other stories involving these beings, but I'm not sure where to look for them. As far as I can tell, these beings feed on death. A mining accident which left a whole lot of people dead, including Megan's father, was what allowed them to appear in the town. Now they are abducting people to feed their leader, who is partially manifested at the scene of the mining accident. Poor Pixie is attempting to fight them all by her lonesome, with no idea whether any of her messages have got through to the X-Men. It is a bit too much like the other DWS stories, in that it shows us important things happening to an important character, yet it doesn't do it very well. Yes, Megan is important now. She's a main character in Uncanny. And this is how she got to be there. But there is only one moment that really shines - in the middles of a heated underground battle with the N'Gari, Pixie collapses the mine and teleports all the X-Men out, leaving them all standing around in heroic battle poses with nothing to fight. Nightcrawler is astounded by Pixie's teleportation abilities, and says she makes him feel old, which I assume has something to do with him quitting the X-Men next year. The script at the back is interesting, but it doesn't add anything new to the story.
Verdict: Minor Loss.

X-Factor #37
Yay, the X-Factor I know and love is back! Lots of harsh lighting and shadows, verbal sparring, real sparring, detective work, and evil dupes of Jamie doing nasty things. I hate saying it, but Longshot is proving a pretty good replacement for Layla, with his luck powers giving the team the same sort of edge (or X-Factor if you will) that Layla's precog powers did. And he's a lot less creepy than her. Oh, and now we have a new artist, he actually looks like Longshot, and when M gets luvy duvy with him, it actually makes sense. Anyway, whilst Val Cooper tries to convince Siryn and Rictor that she's only there to protect the baby, Madrox, Guido, M and Longshot arrive at the base of Mr. Manu looking for Darwin. I don't have the last issue, so I'm not entirely sure how found out who Mr Manu was (I'm guessing Longshot's object-memory power) but they manage to find Darwin. A whole lot of him actually. Either Manu has cloned him, or he's managed to give a whole lot of his lackeys adaptation powers. That would have been a pretty good cliffhanger, but the actual cliffhanger is Siryn's water breaking. There isn't a huge amount of storyline taking place here, but sometimes slowing down is good, especially after that sudden timeskip a few issues back. I've felt a bit disconnected from the characters since the timeskip, but this issue seems to give a glimpse at what each of the characters are thinking, and thus I feel a lot more connected to where the characters are. And - is it just me, or does Mr Manu's chin look a bit bumpy?
Verdict: Major Victory!

1 comment:

  1. Very good reviews. I myself hate the Director's Cut stuff Marvel puts out to make an extra buck. DC does it every once in a while but not as much and it's never as annoying.