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comics news and comics read, 11/7/13

Oh, look. Another of the titles I subscribed to a month ago is getting the axe. This time Sam Humphries' Uncanny X-Force is colliding with Cable & X-Force in a crossover, and coming out the other side we have a single X-Force title involving... none of the creative team from either previous book.

I'm really sad about this. I have sitting around a half-written post singing the praises of Uncanny X-Force, which is a gray-ops team of 3-4 ladies, a black dude, and a single token white guy. The first trade involves lots of passing the Bechdel test between multiples different parties, lots of Betsy angst and anger, and a mind-walking subplot that comes with nifty-cool art by Adrian Alphona. The second volume promises to have a triangle (no, a real actual triangle, not just a V) that may or may not resolve into a threesome (I don't know yet; plz don't tell me!). It's a book that really seems to fallen under the radar; it didn't get the press of Wood's X-Men, so the lady-loving crowd who might have ventured to the X side of the force don't seem to have heard of it, and meanwhile the dudebros complain that it doesn't go anywhere and has too much romantic drama.

Despite all that, its sales have been moderately okay, so I thought it was safe for a while. Apparently not.

And in its place we get a new X-Force title whose tone appears more in keeping with Remender's run (which I got pretty invested in, but despite the tone, not because of it). On the upside, Psylocke is still on it and Fantomex has joined the main team again, and that alone means I'll have to give it a few tries, because right now they are two of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe right now, whether together or separate. So we'll see.

Author Simon Spurrier's primary previous Marvel accomplishment is the X-Men Legacy book starring Legion that's in the final stretch now. I figured I'd read the back issues of that, just to see how I feel about him.

X-Men Legacy #1-9 - Spurrier, Huat, Molina, possibly another fill-in artist or two
Apparently Charles Xavier has a son, code name Legion, with hundreds of personalities that each has its own power. They live in a prison inside his head, but sometimes they break out, wreaking havoc, since they are all nasty, villainous personalities bent on destroying the world - which bums Legion out some, since that is not a desire he shares.

This book is much more in the spirit of, say, Hawkeye than the rest of wriggling mass of X-men continuity. That is, it's sharply focused on one character, and it's fairly quirky. The art is quirky, too (if not quite as much so as Mike del Mundo's completely zany covers would have you believe). The themes and the character engage heavily with the greater X-universe, but still feels pretty independent of its events, which is nice, because the interdependence of the main X-titles is a gelatinous tentacled disaster of a continuity. This is exactly the kind of book I wish there were more of from the X-men side of the line.

Given all that, I wish I actually liked this book better. It's a problem of elements, not execution. I just haven't got in me to care very much about Legion's attempts to tame his internal demons and right the world, especially not when all his efforts are tied so heavily to his daddy issues, which we're explicitly reminded of on a regular basis. In addition, his friendship and flirtation with mutant seer Blindfold is everything I'm tired of with regard to female characters: he explicitly tells her several times that she gives him purpose, that having her around or even just thinking of her helps him fight his internal battles, and even that, it's implied, he relies on her as something of a conscience. This makes me even sadder given that she's one of that generation of teenage/young adult mutants that I seem to be automatically interested in.

It's possible that Spurrier means to deconstruct this down the line, although I'm not super hopeful, but even if he does so thematically, in terms of actual text this is still a guy's story being serviced by a girl's story - complete with tragic backstory and homicidal, mutant-hating brother - and I'm over that, folks. I am over that.

Daredevil #2-4 - Waid, et al
I started with #2 because #1 inexplicably is not available on Marvel Unlimited. Weird. I finally got around to trying this, since latenightcuppa keeps talking about him, and now ladymercury_10, too.

I have to say, so far, I'm paralyzed with not caring very much. The writing's fine enough, and the art is fun; I like the simple, uncomplicated approach to coloring and reliance on shapes and lines instead of shading. OTOH, I have zero feelings about Matt Murdock. I don't care about his fragile anonymity, I don't care about his buddy Foggy. There's no there there, for me. And there are no ladies, except a cameo by the assistant DA that Foggy has apparently been playing footsie with. NO LADIES.

Has this begun as it means to go on, or does it take a few more issues to find its feet?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 8th, 2013 03:05 am (UTC)
Ahh, sorry about X-Force. That always sucks when something you like gets axed, and it sounds like it was pretty cool. Every time Betsy shows up in something I'm reading, she seems great.

Daredevil #1 is on MU, it's just inexplicably stuck between issues #10 and #11. I dunno, man, sometimes their sort function just breaks or something, it's weird. :P It's true though, there aren't that many ladies in Daredevil. Well, there kind of aren't that many characters at all, actually. The DA keeps showing up, though, and Black Cat shows up later with Spider-Man. (I love Black Cat because I have fond memories of her from the Spider-Man cartoons I watched in middle school.) I guess the part I like best about Daredevil is how Matt tries to stay optimistic even in really bad situations? Like, he isn't always on top of things, but he just kind of throws himself into things and manages to get by.
Nov. 8th, 2013 03:44 am (UTC)
Ah ha! So it is! Perhaps I will go back and read it.

It's not that I dislike Matt. He seems like an upstanding individual. I think it'd help if he spent more time interacting with supporting characters, which he may still do in future issues.

Betsy's pretty great. I hesitate to actually recommend Remender's Uncanny X-Force to anyone, because plotwise it's big and messy and thematically it's preachy, but the character work in it is fab, and Betsy is the POV character through the whole thing. So. Just saying. :D
Nov. 8th, 2013 06:23 am (UTC)
The team-up issues are fun. I think #11 was pretty great if I am remembering right. And there is the added bonus of the Spider-Man issue that goes with #8 is illustrated by Emma Rios.

How far back did you go when you started X-Force? I know Laura Kinney was on the team at one point, but I think that was kind of a long time ago.
Nov. 8th, 2013 07:10 pm (UTC)
I shall look forward to team-up issues, then. I know there was recently one with the Silver Surfer, which sounds like a can't-miss.

I started with the first incarnation of Uncanny X-Force, which was by Rick Remender and started in 2010. As I said, I can't in good conscience recommend it to people, because the plotting is kind of a mess and it pulls on tons of X-men backstory, but Remender's telling one single story over those 35 issues, so there's a satisfying beginning-middle-end feel, and there's some really neat character stuff that goes on for Betsy and Deadpool and Fantomex.
Nov. 9th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
Ahh, good to know, thanks!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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