The X-Men family of comic series have varied greatly in quality over the years. They’ve gone from some of the most entertaining and poignant stories in the medium to unreadable dreck and back again. Like most readers in my generation, I cut my teeth on X-Men comics and that undoubtedly shaped my tastes regarding all types of fantasy. And naturally, many of the best and brightest authors in the industry are eager to take a shot at writing these characters, and while some of these new takes on Marvel’s Merry Mutants have redefined the characters for a new generation, other visions fell so very, very flat. And the remarkable aspect, of this creative quagmire is that some of the most spectacular failures in the history of X-Men comics have been at the hands of otherwise phenomenal writers.
There are a great many runs of the series that are either forgettable or contemptible, but nonetheless unsurprising. For instance, Scott Lobdell’s long tenure as writer of both core X-Men series in the 1990s. These issues, despite being published at the height of the X-Men’s popularity, are largely forgotten. And that was no accident. Any stories in his run that aren’t shunned are remembered only for their art. But no one is doing a spit-take over a shitty Scott Lobdell story. Lobdell is a master of ruination, he’s currently hard at work in his efforts to make Superman an irrelevant footnote over at DC and seems to be doing a wonderful job of it. Similarly, Chuck Austen’s runs on X-Men and Uncanny X-Men are often cited as the worst in the history of these series, but it’s not as if we had any reason to suspect they wouldn’t be. Everything else he had done up to that point had been unimpressive, so the clusterfuck he left behind at the Xavier Institute only stands to reason.
And that’s my point. When bad writers write bad stories, it doesn’t come as a shock. However, when otherwise acclaimed writers step up to the plate to work on the X-Men, they very often fail as well. These books are, in that sense, sort of akin to the Sword in the Stone. These capable knights, so to speak, approach this task with confidence and great expectations, and then shamble away in defeat a few months later. Today, I give a few of those enormous letdowns.
2013 was a banner year for geekology, but with our sights toward 2014 there is a lot to be excited about between all the movies (SIN CITY 2!?!), video games, tv shows and etc on the horizon, but I’d like to focus on comic books in this article. More accurately, Biff comic books.
Superior Spider-Man (Marvel)
It’s been mentioned on the site before, but this is probably my favorite series of 2013. It’s energetic, interesting above all else refreshing. I know there’s a lot of nay sayers who refuse to read it based solely on principal, but dammit you don’t know what you’re missing out on (not to mention stubbornness is not an attractive quality) and honestly what do you have to lose? You know if you wait it out long enough the real Peter Parker will return. Just think of this series as a long interlude. Why not stick around for the ride?
Slott is my favorite kind of writer, it’s obvious that he’s planned story lines for years in advance and has the ability to subtly weave subplots through them that you always know are going to pay off. You don’t stay on a book as its author for that long if there isn’t something to it. With a book consistently being this good and being put out twice a month is heavenly. Things are heating up in 2014 with the beginning of the Goblin Nation story line that’s been building since the book debuted with some speculation that the series will wrap you shortly afterward. It’s been an exciting year for Spidey but 2014 seems to be starting off strong as well.
Good morning, I’m Martian Luthor Kang the 117th filling in for Arthur Harkness, who has fallen victim to a demonic possession.
Now come in close my little poppets and I shall tell you a tale of a dastardly rascal. Today we turn the spotlight to the now-defunct Wildstorm branch of DC Comics, in specific the pages of Planetary. I’ve never been shy about the fact that Planetary is perhaps my all time favorite comic series, and one of the most intriguing ideas presented by the book was the premise behind it’s underlying antagonists: The Four.
There’s still a huge chunk of “recent” Marvel history that I need to catch up on. I’m familiar with the idea of the Civil War event and its overarching concepts, but I had yet to read anything that took place during those events or in the immediate aftermath. When I heard about the Thunderbolts it was hard to not want to read more. A team of government sanctioned villains whose job was to be sent out and capture non registered super heroes very publicly and to top it off, it was run by Norman Osborn. Seriously, what’s not to like here?