New comic day hangover

I’m back from my trip to yesteryear, complete with new comics!  This week we have:

Justice League: Generation Lost #3 in which the JLI fights a bunch of OMACs.

Booster Gold #33 in which Booster goes after Max Lord in the past.

Uncanny X-Men #525 in which the X-Men run around fighting.

X-Men Hellbound #2 in which different X-Men run around fighting.

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #2 in which I consider dropping the title.

SPOILERS will be included should you decide to join me after the jump for a look at these comics.

Justice League: Generation Lost
I would like to mention that this title seems to be having pacing issues…as in it’s been three issues of setup.  But that’s an inherent problem with doing a year-long 26 issue series.  Unlike 52 (the only one thus far to get the format right), which was broken up into tons of individual stories, this is one big story and its the very example of decompressed storytelling.  Using that many issues to tell a single story is going to drag and feel forced after a while.

But enough about the series as a whole and let’s focus on the issue at hand.  Captain Atom, Ice and Booster Gold were lured to El Paso to be attacked alongside Blue Beetle by a whole mountain of OMACs.  Just how Max Lord so suddenly produced said mountain is not discussed, so we’ll politely ignore it.  Beetle is targeted because his scarab apparently remembers Max Lord (even though Beetle himself does not), giving him a reason to tag along for the book – apart from simply having the name of an old member of the JLI.  Fire is the next person to have Max Lord hallucinations, causing her to kill an agent of Checkmate and flee the scene.  Oh, and the other four end up in Russia simply so a Rocket Red can get tossed into the cast next issue…even though the JLI one died five years ago.

I’m actually finding myself more and more uninterested in this title.  True, it does have all the old JLI characters, but none of them act like their former selves.  And I don’t mean they need to be all ‘Bwah ha ha!’, but Ice is coming off as unlikable, and there’s really no characterization to either Captain Atom or Fire.  You could replace them with any other hero and it would work just fine.  And yes, I am aware we’re only three issues in, but still – we need something to keep us caring about these characters.  As for the plot, I still find it odd that Max doesn’t just do his mind whammy bit on the four remaining to make him completely forgotten, as obviously he can influence the minds of Captain Atom and Fire just fine.  And what are Blue Beetle’s abilities, exactly?  It seems like he can do pretty much everything.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have, though, is that this situation is being handled much, much better in Booster Gold.

Booster Gold
This book is handling the Max Lord situation much, much better than Justice League: Generation Lost, but that’s mainly because its hero is already well established and gets the entire spotlight to himself.  Booster decides that since Max Lord wiped evidence of his existence from the present, he’ll simply go to the past and get something.  This puts Booster into the JLI Embassy during the early days of the run in which he has to try to escape notice while conducting his search.  The amusing part is that he is immediately discovered by the telepathic Martian Manhunter, but escapes the notice of Guy Gardner and even Lord himself.

The really interesting part here is that Booster has so much trouble in his goal.  If he finds DNA evidence, how can he use it to prove anything about Lord in the present?  He finds something good, but discovers he can’t simply bring it to the present with him.  This likely means that he’ll be going back to try again, which is good.  Rip Hunter has some good moments with the little girl brought in last issue.  What mainly stands out is the level of development Booster has had since his JLI days, which is noticed by pretty much everyone.  And that includes writers Giffen and DeMatteis who thankfully have gone with Geoff Johns and Dan Jurgens’s development of Booster over the series rather than simply reverting him back to his immature self (who does appear in the issue).

In just two issues, I am once again hooked on Booster Gold.

Uncanny X-Men
It’s been a couple weeks, but you might recall that last time in Second Coming,  the X-Men ran around fighting for a while.  This issue, they run around fighting.  And that’s what this entire storyline has been about – running around fighting while waiting for the big finale in which Hope does something amazing.  It seems like the story is simply killing time, waiting for the ending to get a little closer before doing anything substantial.  We have some good moments with Charles Xavier finally coming into the scene and the various Marvel U heroes trying to break through Bastion’s shield, so that’s a plus.

But then there’s X-Force turning up in the future to stop the invading Nimrod robots.  I suppose ‘contrived’ would be the word I’d choose for the scene in which the team finds a giant poster with many of Marvel’s heroes crossed off and labelled as deceased.  Any X-Men fan would immediately recognize the homage to the iconic John Byrne cover from Days of Future Past, but here it seems hokey that someone took the time to print and hang that poster in a ravaged area.  Of course, X-Force quickly gets discovered, fights, then gets their target location.  Expect more running and fighting next week.

Oh, and if no one but the Dodsons were ever allowed to draw Rogue again, I’d be completely cool with it.

X-Men Hellbound
Did you want more running and fighting this week?  Well, you are in luck.  While advertised as a search for Magik, this issue is really a bunch of random X-Men (Cannonball, Dazzler, Northstar, Anole, Trance, Pixie, Gambit) fighting a horde of generic demons.  We get some payoff to Gambit’s ‘Death’ persona from Peter Milligan’s run on X-Men, as Gambit is overtaken by the evils of Limbo who look to serve Death.  His seducing Dazzler and Northstar into Death-like figures themselves doesn’t make much sence, but I do like the idea that all of the ‘senior’ X-Men have been taken out, leaving just Cannonball and Anole to fight them.

The big moment here comes when Pixie is seduced by N’astrish’s offer to restore her soul if she kills Magik.  This, of course, is going to end with Pixie betraying the demon for Magik, but it gives a good visual for the end of the issue.  But I still question the use of N’astrish, a demon who died during the late 80’s crossover Inferno.  I suppose it really doesn’t matter – he is one of the more recognizable figures of Limbo, so why not?  This mini almost seems like it needs an extra issue to its run, but next issue will be the finale, so I’m intrigued.

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis
I like Warren Ellis a lot.  I was first introduced to him in Excalibur around the time of the Age of Apocalypse, and I’ve enjoyed much of his writing that I’ve come across.  When I heard he would be taking the reins of Astonishing from the departing Joss Whedon, I was pleased.  What could Ellis do with the characters?  But this – this is downright awful.  Mutant babies that aren’t mutants, a lot of standing around and a reference back to Ghost Boxes, which wasn’t particularly that good in itself.  And using the mutant-aide group tossed out by Chris Claremont during his Genoshan Excalibur run?  That’s quite a stretch.  It all makes for a dull read, but not so much bad.  What really kills it is Emma Frost.

It should be said that the character who appears here is not Emma Frost.  At least not any Emma Frost I’m familair with.  This Emma is lazy, whiny, clingy and flat out odd in everything that she does.  I’m not sure if Ellis just doesn’t get the character or is trying something new with her, but it simply doesn’t work.  This story supposedly takes place before moving to Utopia, but Frost doesn’t act at all like she should be around that time.  The bit where she looks to kiss another woman when telepathically sharing teaching a new language is dreadful…though that may be an art thing.  And with the art on this book, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I don’t know who green-lit the look on this book, but it’s awful.  Cyclops is too big, Beast looks like his old gorilla form (he’s been a cat for almost a decade now), Storm’s back in her mohawk and Armor is generic teenage rebel stereotype #3.  But the really problem here is Emma Frost.  Good lord, Emma Frost.  While established as icy, beautiful and sporting the best body money can buy, Emma is instead drawn here as a four foot tall teenage girl with hair nearly down to the floor.  And I’m pretty sure actual female breasts do not look like that – creative art style or not.  It’s like she glued two giant balloons filled with pudding to her chest.  No one else in the book looks like Emma Frost – and it makes her look like a cartoon character in all of her appearances – which is almost every page.

I hate to say it, but this may well be the worst comic book I’ve picked up this year.  I’m a completist, so I’ll probably stick with it to the end, but I may have to hold the next issue with one hand as I’ll likely have to hold my nose.

Next Week

  • New Mutants #14 involves more running and fighting through Second Coming.
  • Astonishing X-Men #34 still doesn’t come out…but it’s been two weeks since it’s last been delayed, so that’s a plus.
  • Speaking of delays, the final chapter of Second Coming has been pushed back a week, giving us another down week between the final two chapters of the crossover…so that sucks.  It will now finish the same week as the release of the new X-Men #1.
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