ResurrXion, Part 4 — Hopelessness and Greg Land (Rantings)

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Holy crap, that’s an ugly haircut… and costume. Also, what the hell emotion is Yardin trying to convey with that face?

Jean Grey
Written by Dennis Hopeless (aptly named)
Art by Victor Ibanez

When ResurrXion was being teased, lots of people thought the original Jean Grey, killed during Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, was returning. Well, that’s not the case. But even disregarding that, this comic is just… hopeless (I know, I’m so clever).

The plot will feature Jean confronting the Phoenix Force, without the experience her older self had. The world needs her to be the Jean they need her to be. It’s an okay twist on things, but it still just sounds so boring. She’s obviously going to be the Jean they need or is going to disappear at first and eventually take up the burden. That or she can just go home and Rachel Summers, who writers remember exists since she’s in X-Men: Gold, can just get the Phoenix. Or maybe the original Jean does finally come back. It doesn’t help that Jean’s just not very interesting. This Jean’s characterisation varies depending on where you read her, and not because she develops naturally; but because she’s just poorly written. Hopeless states that Jean wanting to get prepared for the Phoenix Force’s arrival is relatable to young adults thinking of the type of adult they want to be, and how this is largely based on people’s expectations and your own experiences. Which… is how that works, last time I checked. It’s pseudo-philosophical bullshit that just comes off as dumb. Jean can prepare for the Phoenix: learn self-control, mediate, psychologically prepare herself like Hope Summers in AvX, learn to use her powers more, make plans if it goes wrong, etc. Really, there are ways to prepare, and suggesting otherwise is pretty stupid. Like this series, actually.

If it wasn’t clear from the last two paragraphs, let me make it clear: I don’t like Dennis Hopeless. At all. The guy’s dialogue is godawful and he seems to think it’s clever, but comes off as a dumber and shallower Kieron Gillen or Matt Fraction. He doesn’t care about characters’ histories and personalities and bends them to suit his mediocre plots, such as in the awful Avengers Arena, Avengers Undercover and All-New X-Men (volume 2) series. And when he’s not killing off new characters with potential or writing generic fluff, he’s writing mediocre popcorn stuff like Cable and X-Force. And when he’s not doing that, he’s writing cliche-filled boring stuff like Spider-Woman. Hopeless likes to romanticise things like teenage waywardness and motherhood and frame them within the superhero genre, but he’s just too transparent about it and does little else in his stories. The guy is just a bad writer who somehow gets consistent work, and I can’t even say he’s got some magnum opus that justifies keeping him around, or even some good but flawed stuff like Cullen Bunn does with Magneto. At least not anything that’s relevant enough that people talk about it (maybe there’s some amazing, obscure series of his out there that nobody ever bought, like Alex + Ada (except even that series is popular and acclaimed enough to be cited as a work in solicitations). Hopeless seems to be kept around because Marvel need someone to write the books they seem to only publish because they have the IP.

That was a huge rant, so I’m going to give Victor Ibanez his own section. Looking at his prior Marvel works, he seems to be a fill-in artist, and an inconsistent one at that. He did a few issues of Storm and Extraordinary X-Men, and judging from them, he seems to really hate backgrounds because they’re nonexistent in a lot of his panels. His characters look good, however, and he’s got some range. He can do a less stylised look while not being minimalistic or intentionally ugly. Or he can do a more typically superhero look with lots of detail when called for. However, the man’s faces are just off sometimes, and his stuff seems to go off-model somewhat frequently, with things like absurdly long necks and just weird body proportions in general. He’s got potential, but right now, he’s a mixed bag.

Jean Grey already had an uphill battle by using the time-displaced version of the character that the majority of fans have grown tired of. But then Marvel saddled it with their worst writer, and I have absolutely no interest in this series. Jean Grey looks like it will be another crap series by Dennis Hopeless. No thanks.

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I already think I’ve seen that Logan somewhere before.

Weapon X
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Greg Land (I just threw up in my mouth a little)

It’s not really an original thought to suggest that the only current X-Men series that are actually good are All-New Wolverine and Old Man Logan. So when Weapon X was announced, it was assumed that one of the writers of those series, Tom Taylor and Jeff Lemire, respectively, would be writing Weapon X and that it would be a kind of team book featuring the Wolverine family of characters (Logan, Sabretooth, X-23, Daken, etc). However, at best we were about a quarter right.

But ignoring all of that, I like most of the cast. I don’t think Old Man Logan has interacted with the now sort-of heroic Sabretooth yet, and it will be interesting to see how that works out. Jeff Lemire wrote a good Lady Deathstrike over in Old Man Logan, and Pak wants to build on that, which I’m glad to hear, and she does have a weird relationship with the Weapon X project (her father developed the method by which Adamantium was bonded to Wolverine’s skeleton). I know next to nothing about Domino, but she’s got a kind of cool look. Thunderbird is boring to me (you can tell I don’t care about him because I forgot he also went by “Warpath”, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever read him as Warpath), but he was an okay supporting character in Ed Brubaker’s X-Men run. Also of note: why isn’t X-23 here? Pak has said that there will be some familiar faces as guest stars, and I hope Laura shows up, because it’s weird that she’s not on this team, given their goals.

The actual story involves a new Weapon X project, one with even more power and resources than the original. That’s an okay plot, though I swear it’s been done before and I really hate sinister shadowy organisations with unseen goals. It barely ever works out. But yeah, Logan and Sabretooth have to form a team to stop the bad guys, using methods that group members won’t agree on. Pak also said that Weapon X will test the heroism of the heroes and the villainy of the villains, and deconstruct the morality of the characters. With a huge threat like a bigger, better Weapon X, I think that it might actually work, especially since everyone on the team is already an anti-hero, at best. The series seems to be an X-Force series in all but name, focusing mostly on Weapon X-related characters.

Greg Pak is a good writer who excels at emotionally grounding characters, such as in Storm and Action Comics. While his work can lack strong narratives, his character work is always very well done. But then there’s the art. It’s Greg Land. The internet has archives of his bad artwork. The guy’s artwork is badly posed, because he’s copying other work, and does not flow well at all. And that’s when characters aren’t blatantly traced from born, such as in Uncanny X-Men, where Emma Frost dodging a missile was blatantly a tracing of a woman masturbating. His actions scenes suffer because of the aforementioned copying, his characters can look different from panel to panel because of the aforementioned copying, and his dramatic stuff fail because there’s always a part of you that knows, or at least thinks, that you’ve seen the picture somewhere before because of the aforementioned copying. Apparently Land will also be doing a decent amount of splash pages in Weapon X, and I can already see the awkward photoshopping, posing and placement. When he actually draws original art for a story, things look okay, or even good like in Nightwing. But I think Land long ago stopped caring about the quality of his work. Hopefully a new artist comes on after an arc or two, but I doubt it since Land is the “bad, but gets stuff out on time” kind of artist.

Weapon X sounds like it will be an interesting read with bad art. There’s room for good character development and interactions, and hopefully the villain is just a plot device to allow for it. The art is not going to be good, there’s really no avoiding that, but hopefully it’s at least inoffensive in how bad it is. I’m looking forward to it.

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ResurrXion, Part 3 — Something Original and Interesting and Something That Is Neither (Rantings)

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Magneto should never have that much stubble or be that pretty, Sinister looks like a pretty boy Disney villain and Juggernaut looks unfinished… Mystique and Apocalypse look cool though

Iceman

Written by Sina Grace
Art by Alessandro Vitti

For those who don’t know, Iceman sort of came out as gay within the pages of All-New X-Men (volume 1). There was controversy regarding the way writer Brian Michael Bendis went about this, but it’s something that seems to be sticking with the character. Once the teen, time-displaced Iceman tells his adult counterpart that he’s gay, the adult Iceman acts relieved in what’s actually a touching scene. Sina Grace promises to delve into Iceman’s past relationships with women, which I think will be interesting (and hopefully it’s not another excuse to make Polaris crazy). Little else is known about the series, so I’m going to believe it’s a more character-driven one, especially given the statement about exploring Iceman’s past relationships.

I’m not familiar with the creative team, but I do like that a gay man is writing it. Having personal experiences comparable to that of the characters allow you to relate your experiences and always helps with authenticity, but I just hope Sina Grace doesn’t get typecast as “the gay writer” like Christopher Priest did with Black characters. I’m not familiar with Grace’s work as a writer, but I did enjoy his art on Li’l Depressed Boy (though writer Steven S. Struble’s colouring probably played a big part in that). I’m not very familiar with Alessandro Vitti’s work at all, but he did draw Charles Soule’s run on Red Lanterns, and his work there was appropriately messy, but in a controlled way. I’m not sure if that’s just his style or if he went for that look intentionally.

Iceman has a creator I like and has the potential to be a better exploration of homosexuality than many other comics, but I just do not care about Iceman, and the way he was “revealed” to be gay irks me. I’d actually be much more interested in this comic if it were a newer character, or an older one whose homosexuality had a less… controversial history. Someone like Rictor would suit a project like this (in fact, Peter David actually did tackle Rictor’s relationship with a woman after she found out he was gay), basically any gay character who dated a decent amount of people of the opposite sex before coming out as gay. But if you’re looking for a good exploration of a gay character, and don’t mind the way that Iceman was “outed”, and/or are interested in Iceman, this sounds like it will be a decent read.

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What is even this cast?!

Generation X

Written by Christina Strain
Art by Amilcar Pinna

I repeat: what is even this cast? No, really, we have Jubilee, Bling (who I think is gay and might have a crush on Jubilee), um… the guy who checked out Magik’s ass but then was revealed to be gay (in case you didn’t know, Bendis makes things up as he goes)… he makes himself look like other people or something. Quentin Quire (why does he keep getting use?!), um… Disney Princess Girl, and I think Northstar. Oh, and Eye-Boy. I did not make up that last one.

It’s apparently going to explore the cast as a bunch of misfit outsiders within the new X-School, which is now in New York, to further connect the X-Men with the wider Marvel universe. I honestly don’t care. New X-Men: Academy X was the best version of “Hogwarts for mutants”, and it didn’t use the tired trope of the losers vs. jocks. And you just know some characters are going to be written out of character to justify this misfit band getting together.

The characters are all D-listers except Jubilee, who’s a C-lister Marvel doesn’t know what to do with. She’s a vampire now (don’t ask, it was dumb) and also a single mum because she literally stole a baby and just kept it. She also really liked dumping the baby on other characters, and was honestly just an awful parent. And yet, the future version of the kid comes back at one point and says she was a great mother! As an Education student, Jubilee’s treatment of Shogo just annoys me. Quentin Quire is an edgelord mutant teen who likes to act edgy and kicked off the horrible Schism event. He’s awful and never develops but is shilled by Jason Aaron, and I don’t get why he still gets use. The rest are boring and/or pointless which was probably intentional to fit in with this misfit idea, but that still means they’re boring and/or pointless.

I’ve read nothing by Christina Strain, but she apparently is a cover artist and did some of the Runaways covers. I’m not sure if she’s done any interior art, but I sincerely hope so, since that would at least be some storytelling experience with comics. Amilcar Pinna is also relatively obscure, but drew the first arc of the short-lived All-New Ultimates. The art was… okay. It was pretty but didn’t work for actual storytelling, everything looking a bit too stilted and too posed. Male faces resembled Steve Dillon’s to a degree, and that is not a positive in my books. There was also the problem of conveying motion… in that it was nonexistent. So the creative team seems to be inexperienced, to say the least.

I don’t get why Generation X exists. It’s got a boring cast, a boring premise and seems to exist so there’s a young mutant book on the stands. Why is it even called Generation X? The original was a bad pun, so aside from some slight brand recognition, why use that name? Aside from it maybe fitting with the whole “misfit” idea, I mean? Whatever, this series looks pointless.

(note: this was NOT published on the 6th of December like it seems to think it was. It was published on the 12th of December.)