Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Uncanny X-Men: Fatal Attractions

 Man, am I a sucker for a Marvel Omnibus. I love the format so much, I find myself buying books that I just know I'm not gonna like. I avoided THE X-MEN like a plague from the late '80's on, starting around issue 213 or so, when Chris Claremont's massive, preachy blocks of text cluttering each panel became unbearable.
"I'm the best there is at what I do, yadda yadda yadda!"
"I know, in my heart of hearts, yadda yadda yadda."
"Unglaublich!"
"By the Bright Lady!"
Cliche piled upon cliche, catch phrase after catch phrase....my beloved X-Men were gone, replaced by preachy snorefests. Did anyone really talk like Claremont's characters?
And once Claremont was booted from the books, things just got worse.
THE UNCANNY X-MEN: FATAL ATTRACTIONS reprints 22 issues, mostly of varying degrees of awful, with a few gems thrown in to make the $99.99 MSRP easier to swallow.

 First off, the bulk of the collection is written by Scott Lobdell, who is, easily, the worst Writer ever to work in comics. He follows the Claremont "Blocks of text" lead, and makes it his own. Characters talk, and talk, and talk, and TALK....yet say almost nothing. (I was reminded while reading Sean Howe's excellent MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY that Lobdell was an aspiring Stand-Up Comedian. I can see why he never made it, as there is not one single word in his stories that conveys any form of humor or personality whatsoever.) Other issues in the collection are written by Fabian Niceiza, who is a good writer in most cases, but not here, and Peter David and Larry Hama, who are both excellent. (I'd forgotten how ham-fisted David's humor could be earlier in his career, as witnessed by the unfortunate "Rahne and Simpy" sequence contained in this book, as well as the "APEX Tech" joke that no one on Earth would get at this point, except me.) The story revolves around the return of Magneto, and contains the famous "Holy crap, he sucked the Adamantium out of Wolverine's body!" fight scene. The art is typical early '90's Image ripoff, aside from a few folks like Romita Jr.and the Kuberts, who do their own thing. The collection features all of the covers and variants, a massive gallery of related poster, pin-up, and trading card art, and a Marvel Age article about how the Hologram covers for the original anniversary issues were created. The MSRP is $99.99, but I got it for around half-price at Barnes & Noble using a coupon and my Member's discount. Don't pay full price!

 I really can't recommend this book....the story is a meandering mess, the art is terrible in places (And great in a few others, to be fair...), and the villains, who take up the bulk of the book, are dreadful. (The Acolytes...could they have lazier names? They all go by their last names, which are awful.....Cortez, Voght, Kleinstock, and my favorite, MELLENCAMP...who thinks this shit up?) That said, the book itself is a thing of beauty....sewn binding that lays flat no matter where you open the book is a MAJOR selling point to geeks like me. Even if the story within is sub-par, Marvel at least gives you a beautiful physical product.