Rating: 3/5 – Too Heavy To Fly.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Hank Johnson.
I have been generally unimpressed of the reincarnation of adjective less X-men series (otherwise known as X-men, Volume 3). The series has been up and down with a few more low lights then shining moments. Issue #10.Now continued this trend. The problems with the issue begin on the cover. Historically speaking, Marvel comics has promoted “NOW” titles to be jumping on points for new readers. Having the .NOW number plus a very large #1 in the upper right hand corner would lead the buyer to believe this is a great jumping on point. Unfortunately, it is not.
I do not blame the creative team for the marketing shenanigans displayed on the cover. However, when Marvel pulls a stunt like this it furthers the stigma that the X-universe is inaccessible to all but the diehard fans. If I bought this issue hoping to jump on I’d have felt angry and ripped off. Brian Wood has been telling a decent story, especially with his reimagining of Lady Deathstrike and the formation of the New Sisterhood. It is apparent that Wood is a fan of the franchise and appreciates the fact that what makes the X-men unique is its impressive continuity and wide variety of characters.
However, instead of winking and nodding at continuity like Bendis does in All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men, Woods’s use of continuity makes the book feel heavy and weighted instead of fun. Using characters such as Gabriel Shepard, Sabra, Sublime, and Omega Sentinel are great, but we don’t spend enough story time with them to make them meaningful. There are references to the past that are great fan service, but for an issue that is a “jumping on point” they are a bit to obscure.
The books pacing felt a bit off as well. The last page of Kris Anka’s art felt like it should be the end of the story. There was a great page that could have functioned as an ending cliff hanger that certainly would have had old time X-men fans squealing in delight. However, the book continued with another 4 pages in a separate location that seemed really to be the first 4 pages of the next issue. The art duties by Kris Anka and Clay Mann are certainly serviceable. Anka penciled the first 15 pages and several of them had little or no backgrounds making the book feel rushed. On one page Jubilee has a pizza hanging out of her mouth with it somehow defying the laws of gravity. That being said, Anka’s facial acting was top notch especially with Lady Deathstrike. The switch to Clay Mann for the last few pages of the book were a bit jarring, but I really liked his art more. It seemed to have a little more dynamic feel to it and his character work was excellent.
Overall, this book is probably not a great read except for hardcore X-Men fans. Despite its labelling, there are much better jumping on points for new readers. The art feels a bit rushed and the story somewhat inconsistent and confusing. However, the events of this issue give me high hopes for the future of this title. Introducing the two new antagonists mentioned in this issue have the potential to turn this book from good to great. If you are interested in picking up this title start with issue #7 or buy the trade.
Reviewed by: Hank Johnson
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