So, this week I picked up the Age of X trade paperback.
My first thought is that it’s not as good or as emotionally satisfying as Second Coming (reviewed a couple of months back), but it’s still a pretty good graphic novel.
I’m a sucker for alternate world stories, because they offer creators a freedom to cut loose with the characters and their world. The old series, What If? Was a favorite comic of mine back during the early 1990s, and Age of Apocalypse (which is a thematic precursor to this story) was mind-blowingly good. I suppose since I’m comparing Age of X to its predecessor Age of Apoc, it comes up short. Then again, comparing anything to a bad ass sci-f story with art by Joe Madueria at the top of his game, most things would come up short.
On its own merits, though, I’d give Age of X a solid 7 out of 10, maybe even 8 of 10 if I’m feeling generous. My biggest problem was despite the huge cast (pictured at left) the story only focused on a few characters: Rogue/Revenant, Mageneto/The General, Cyclops/The Basilisk, Wolverine, Cannonball and Legion. All the rest of the characters had glorified cameos, and quite a few characters had no speaking role at all.
This left me feeling a bit unsatisfied, and there were a lot of tantalizing questions posed by the excellent Clayton Mann art that the script left unanswered. In no particular order: what the hell happened to Collosus’s arms, and can he turn back human now? Where exactly did Gambit pick up the musket? Who the hell was the red haired telekinetic with the X scar on her check? She wasn’t Jean, nor was she Rachael, and I don’t think she was identified by name any where in the entire storyline. She was a cipher, which is a disappointment, because I really liked her bondage-harness costume. It was kinky enough to catch my eye.Also speaking of ciphers, I find it really disappointing that the creative staff decided to include Avalanche, give him a redesigned costume, and not give him one single line any where in the book. I’ve been reading since the Claremont days, and Avalanche has always been the thug in the back of a crowd scene- a soldier with a cool power and neat helmet but no discernible personality. I figured we’d finally get to see some humanity from this guy after 30 years of being a non-entity. Nothing.
Anyway, the wrap up was a bit quick and considering it involved the alteration of reality a bit too easy, but based on what I’m seeing in current issues of X-Men: Legacy the repercussions will continue to be explored. I gottta say one thing though: why hasn’t anybody in the Marvel Universe come by and smoked Legion like he’s a Polish sausage?
Seriously, this guy has broken reality twice now. The Scarlet Witch only fucked up reality once, and everybody was ready to kill her. And the Scarlet Witch, for most of her career, was a cute, cheerful superhero. Legion, by contrast, has been a selfish, twitchy little dweeb since his first appearance. Letting him live just makes the X-Men seem too dumb to live themselves.
Anyway, I’ve only got two pieces outstanding on Otherverse America, which means that this beast will be ready to go soon. I’m also working on a short companion PDF to Fursona, that uses the same basic character generation system to build robotic heroes and villains. It should be a fun one.