Uncanny X-Men 153 “And now for something completely different”:
Because this week was slow for new releases, I decided to review a classic comic instead of a new series. Usually I try a new series I’ve never touched before without researching it beforehand.
Anyway, this classic issue released back when comics were 60 cents each, and was written by Chris Claremont who has over 17 years of X-Men writing on his resume. He wrote many famous storylines including The Dark Phoenix Saga, which is still widely considered the greatest X-Men story ever. He’s since declined in his writing skill, but he will always remain the man who made the X-Men awesome.
Uncanny X-Men 153 is from an age where comics were supposed to be fun, and this one is no exception. It begins after the X-Men were attacked by the power-hungry hellfire club and their mansion was heavily damaged. While the long-time X-Men are rebuilding the mansion, then newcomer Kitty Pryde tells Colossus’s sister Illyana a story to help her sleep. What follows is a cute, funny, and kind of awesome fairy tale about a group of characters loosely based off of the X-Men. Kitty and Colossus are good pirates, Professor Xavier is some kind of wizard, Wolverine is a nameless monster and other characters have unique spins as well.
This story also introduced several characters that would later appear in the actual X-Men universe, including Bamhs, mischievous mini-nightcrawlers, and lockheed, Kitty’s pet dragon (both of which are in the new “Wolverine and the X-Men” series.) The story is loosely based on the Dark Phoenix Saga, but has a much happier ending. It’s a cheesy yet very entertaining issue and it’s worth hunting down. I found my copy in a bargain bin for $1.
Back then, every issue explained everything you need to know through expository boxes. At the same time, X-Men comics were very wordy back then and it might be a turnoff for those who aren’t expecting it.
Wolverine’s zany search for money ends in this issue. In the previous two issues, Wolverine has been hunting for the money that was stolen from him so that he could build the new school for mutants.
This issue wasn’t quite as good as 17 and 18, but it was a satisfying conclusion to this hilarious storyline. The banter between Wolverine and Gorilla Man continues while Fat Cobra talks about how hungry he is. Even with dragons, a slave rebellion and an opium drug dealer, the story is still tightly wound and nothing feels pointless. The villain is defeated but not killed, so maybe she’ll show up down the road. This issue ends with a teaser for the next storyline, which is promised (in the solicitations) to be the biggest Wolverine story ever.
I don’t have any complaints here, but the issue wasn’t quite as good as the previous two. It’s still a lot of fun, it’s just the previous two were more fun. The artwork is good and still fits the mood perfectly. It’s a nice break from the normally dark series and if you like Wolverine or you just want a zany story, Wolverine 17, 18 and 19 are definitely worth it.
For those who don’t know, Gorilla Man is a talking gorilla and Fat Cobra is a more recent character (created in 2007) and is large, very strong, and can call upon the powers of lightning to aid his fighting style. It’s also possible that Fat Cobra is immortal. That’s all I know about him, and that’s all you’ll need to know about him for this comic.
X-Men Legacy 259:
The Schism event ended in early October, and now X-Men Legacy finally has its tie in. It’s a little behind since it’s about Rogues choosing her side of the split even though we already know she’s siding with Wolverine. Sure, Legacy was in the middle of a major storyline where Polaris, Havok, and Rachael Grey Summers returned to Earth, but it still feels really late.
That said, this was a great issue, much better than I was expecting. There are several conversations between Rogue, Magneto (who sided with Cyclops) and Gambit (who sided with Wolverine.) What really surprised me is that this issue was more about the return of another ally of the X-Men, but saying who would spoil the entire issue. The whole issue builds up on the anticipation to find out who this character is, and I didn’t see it coming. This is Mike Carey’s second last issue on his long and glorious run the series (he started on issue 188 in 2004, before “Legacy” was added to the title.)
I wouldn’t recommend this to new readers as they probably won’t care about half the characters here, but for fans of Carey’s Legacy run this is an easy recommendation. The series is soon being taken over by Christos Gage, the writer for the Avengers Academy series.
The only other comics I read this week is FF 12 and Uncanny X-Men 2.
I only started reading the FF series this past week after I bought the first Hardcover collection (the local store is having a holiday sale on paperbacks and hardcovers.) I’m a little confused with what’s going on with 12, but I thought it was good. I’ll probably start reviewing this series once I’m caught up. To fully understand 12, you’ll probably have to read Hickman’s entire Fantastic Four run starting with issue 570 and the entire FF series so far. As far as I can tell, it’s well worth it. Unlike most Marvel superhero teams, the Fantastic Four/FF is more about a somewhat normal family that does extraordinary things; travelling to alternate dimensions, exploring deep underground, and greeting societies from other planets. It’s a fun science fiction series with lots of humour, cute moments with the FF kids and enough action to keep up the pace. In other words, this series is kind of awesome.
I enjoyed Uncanny X-Men 2, but I’m not quite sure what to think – it was weird. Good artwork though. The next issue looks very promising.
That’s all I read this week. I only ended up buying X-Men related comics because nothing else really interested me. I would have got Uncharted 1, but my local store didn’t have it.