It was going to happen eventually: a comic was going to break me. I didn’t think we’d ever get to a point where they would be made to fill a list, but here we are: all of them X-Men this time around. What happened here? They won’t be making movies of these. No matter what Brian Singer or Hugh Jackman does, you can’t make silver-screen gold out of these clunkers. In any universe as broad as Marvel with as many X-Titles as there were every month there were bound to be a few strays in the mix… but when X-Men goes bad, it really goes bad.
So without further ado, here they are: 5 X-Men comics so bad, I can’t even bring myself to write a full review for them.
This one might actually piss me off the most, because I was legitimately looking forward to it. Finally a sequel to Origin, a comic that was very much integral to me starting to write that captivated the imaginations of me and my friends? I was sold. But whereas Origin subverted our expectations of where we thought Logan would have come from (making him the product of a rich affluent Canadian family), this sequel panders to the type of Wolverine-in-the-wilderness story we’ve seen a million times before. When it isn’t pandering to that old chestnut, it’s taking the stories in directions that make no logical sense and conflict with existing canon and motivations. Things like the origin of the feud between Logan and Sabretooth, and the fact that apparently Mr. Sinister of all people was deeply involved in Logan’s backstory at this point? Sorry, I can’t accept that. There’s too much of this that just smells of bad, poorly-researched fan-fiction and I do not accept it in the slightest.
I tried, I really did. I wanted to like this book, which features Joseph (the newest excuse to make Magneto a member of the X-Men) trying to find the secrets to his past and doing so by masquerading as Magneto and infiltrating Magneto’s terrorist cell.
This miniseries was written close enough the the dawn of the Internet age that the fact that Joseph can’t just look up everything he’s done along with YouTube videos of it is actually quite noticeable. Other X-Men comics at this time were noticing where the internet trend was going and incorporating it into their stories, so this one feels very backward. It’s like Milligan was living in a cave for 10 years right before writing this. Beyond that, it is a painfully boring story. I should have been a one-shot, or (better yet) one issue of the main X-Men series.
This illustrates why most of the mini-series’s released around this time didn’t work well: part of the charm of the X-Men is that there are always multiple plots going on at the same time, meaning that the writer/ camera can switch from one to the next whenever they see fit… especially when a scene is about to get boring. If this was broken up over several issues of the main series as a subplot, the holes would be much less noticeable and I might even be fooled into thinking its enjoyable. Like this though? No sir, not at all.
I respect Michael Golden, and I kind of see what he was going for here. There are several stories of normal people living their normal lives that all converge on a chance meeting with Generation X, the members of which also just happen to be going about their own daily lives. The problem is the opposite of the one above with Magneto… it switches too quick, and we have no investment in these characters, both because we don’t know them (and they never show up again) and because we don’t get enough time with them. It doesn’t help that the blandness of the art makes them all but indistinguishable from one another.
This seems like it might have worked better in a comic-inspired novel, which is the sort of thing Golden is famous for… only now I realize that he does that in his novels, often. Seeing this pattern, it may actually affect how I judge his novels in a negative way. I have pulled back the curtain and revealed the wizard is just a man, and now I cannot unknow that. Cheesy as that sounds, that’s a big problem for an author: you cannot get suspension of disbelief back, once broken.
For some reason, Marvel could not get it through their heads that it was not appropriate the follow up a time travel story with a period piece. Those are two vastly different beasts. A time travel story is, typically, about the travelers: not the period itself. That didn’t stop them from trying though. The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix was followed by Askani’Son, a miniseries so bad I didn’t finish it and thus can’t review it. Now, in the same vein, we get a sequel to The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix called Rise of Apocalypse. And it’s bad. Again, devoid of the time-traveling mutants to give us content and to give the audience an avatar to follow, this is just following En Sabah Nur around through the most boring episode of Stargate SG-1 ever, which is also mired by the continuity of having to have the Fantastic Four show up and attempt to make the Rama-Tut connection canon. I wish i could say this was the worst Kavanagh would ever do, but he also wrote “The Clone Saga”… so yeah.
The New Mutants was the first X-Men spinoff and as such it tried some very experimental things with the franchise. The biggest was the link between the young mutants and Asgard, specifically to Dani Moonstar, which I discussed in my “Of Faith and Fable” review. Sometimes it worked… other times it really, really did not.
This whole plot by Louise Simonson is just mind-numbing and impossible to comprehend, and it is also very jarring when compared to the other X-Men stores going on at the time. I think this is around the time that they maybe learned that, even in a spin-off, X-Men comics had to be on theme. Despite that, ramifications of this plotline still exist today.