Sunday, June 23, 2013

New X Men Omnibus

 This book pretty much solidifies my "No more floppies!" stance, and even makes me consider a "No more trades!" stance, in favor of an "Omnibus only!" stance. (If only all single-Author runs were collected in the glorious omnibus format......)

 I didn't really "get" a lot of Grant Morrison's run on NEW X MEN when I was reading it in monthly chunks roughly a decade ago. By the time I got to his four-issue wrap-up story, "Here Comes Tomorrow!", I was totally lost. This is clearly, like so much of Morrison's work, not meant to be read in little bits and pieces. Reading all 42 issues at once, you can really see and appreciate all of the little clues that he scattered throughout the story, and it's a much fuller, more rewarding reading experience.

 There might be spoilers ahead, but the story is over a decade old, so you really can't complain too much if you DO get spoiled, right?

 Morrison starts off with a bang, introducing Cassandra Nova, Charles Xavier's twin Sister, who died In Utero after a life-and-death Fetus fight with her Brother. Morrison builds his new Big Bad up to legendary status immediately, and he pretty much throws the whole decades-long status quo up in the air and lets the chips fall where they may. Xavier outs himself as a Mutant, and reveals the true nature of his school. Or does he....? Morrison gives readers the ultimate Magneto story (Which was immediately undone by Marvel about a month after Morrison left NEW X MEN...), shakes up the dry Cyclops/Jean Grey romance, mutates poor Beast even further, and makes Emma Frost an A-List character.

 Morrison made a bold choice to limit his cast of characters to Cyclops, Professor X, Jean Grey, Beast, Emma Frost, Wolverine, and Xorn. I've always found Jean, Cyclops, and The Professor to be among the most boring fictional creations ever, and the fact that he made them interesting speaks volumes. Not everything in the book didn't work for me....there's a lot of "Grant Morrison" stuff that went right over my head and made my eyes glaze over- The same type of pseudo-science that made THE INVISIBLES and FINAL CRISIS almost unbearable is on display here, but it's kept to a kind-of minimum. The artwork runs the full spectrum, highlighted by Frank Quitely's grotesque-yet-spellbinding faces and forms, and the amazing linework of both Ethan Van Sciver and Phil Jimenez. Low points include the unfortunate pairing of John Paul Leon and Bill Sienkiewicz, and the hideous art of Igor Kordey. I can barely draw a stick figure, so I generally don't complain about art unless it's REALLY distracting, and Kordey's work is. I considered it an eyesore over a decade ago, and it's no better now, especially scattered in amongst art by Quitely, Van Sciver, and Jimenez.

 NEW X MEN OMNIBUS is an amazing read...some of the best X-Men work ever produced. (Still can't compete with the Claremont/Byrne/Austin era, though!)
Highly recommended.