Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Challengers Comics, Rogues Gallery Opening: Eduardo Risso

Over at my photography site I've posted pictures from the Rogues Gallery's most recent opening for artist Eduardo Risso. The exhibit will remain on display through this week into next, then it will come down shortly before September 9th when Challengers welcomes Wizard of Oz artist Skottie Young. Stop in and see Risso's work for yourself while you can! Among others, there are pages from 100 Bullets as well as Flashpoint mini Batman: Knight of Vengeance, Risso's most recent collaboration with Brian Azzarello. Did I mention these pages are always on sale for prospective art collectors? If you have yet to visit the Rogues Gallery for an opening, these images may entice you to stop by in the near future; fun, free events where you get to view comic book art and meet top creators in the industry. What more could you want?
Above, cover artist Dave Johnson curiously looks at the camera.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vertigo to End House of Mystery, Scalped

Talk of DC's relaunch and the "New 52" have continuously dominated mainstream comic news cycles, whether it be about the various changes made to characters origins and designs, to rumblings about the lack of female creators. Lost amongst the shuffle were the recent announcements concerning the end of two of Vertigo's best titles, House of Mystery and Scalped.

During San Diego Comic Con last month, it was announced that Jason Aaron and R. M. Guera plan to end their long running series with the 60th issue. For those that read it in trade, that's only 7 issues left. Aaron was not available at the show to comment, but has since confirmed on his blog that this was not an editorial decision but has always been the plan. The book has never been a big seller in individual issue form, though I count myself among its enthusiastic fan base. It is a series that I recommend on a near weekly basis for fans of crime / noir comics. 

Fan enthusiasm for House of Mystery never quite got this series the attention it deserved, though the trade paperbacks have frequently debuted among the top ten sellers in the months upon their release.  No formal announcements were made concerning its cancellation; a "Final Issue" note was added to the solicitations for issue 42 in October (see the cover for the final issue above). Sadly, it does not look like we will get to see a final Halloween annual, a comic which has been a standout anthology each year it has been released.

I am especially sad to see these books end as they've each been on my "Best Of" year end recommendations; to have them both end so soon will be hard to reconcile. Expect to see a series recommendation from me for each upon their completion.

(On a side note, this is my 100th post to the blog. Here's to two years of sharing my love for everything comic book related!)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Odyssey X, Week 6: X-Men Schism #3, X-Factor #224, Generation Hope #10, Uncanny X-Men #542

(For those joining late, please see the introductory post on Odyssey X, where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism. This week's post is still on its way as I am perpetually one week behind.)

X-Men Schism #3
Jason Aaron
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Cover Price: $3.99

While issue #2 felt like a detour from an otherwise superbly presented mini, Schism #3 gets us back to the tight storytelling and well-placed humor Aaron delivered in the first issue. The bulk of the issue takes the X-Men off of Utopia (wow, just typed that out as "Genosha"; no wonder Utopia feels dull and overly familiar) to the opening of the Mutant History Museum in San Francisco. It's interesting to see well known and new characters alike reflect on their shared heritage, and it also reveals how Aaron is constructing this story to define a new chapter in that short history. Once all hell breaks loose (courtesy of the new Hellfire Club), the X-Men find themselves face to face with a young enemy they will surely underestimate. Often fight scenes in event titles play out like a round of Street Fighter; each issue has plenty of brawling, with it all coming down to two fighters with an inevitable K.O. Both Jason Aaron and Daniel Acuna prove the exception by presenting clever challenges unique to the characters. Comedic moments are not in short order either, as the kids of the Hellfire Club make as many wisecracks as you'd expect from 12-year-old villains. I don't think one boring old punch is thrown in this book. Then again, Acuna has some experience in portraying memorable fight scenes (see Black Widow with Marjorie Liu). I look forward to seeing what will happen when Aaron actually brings the big guns and pits Logan and Scott against one another. Perhaps Schism's greatest weakness is that the audiences know what will be the climax and end result.

Verdict: It'll be tough for the next two issues to be as good as this one, but I'm willing to buy them and find out!

X-Factor #224
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Emanuela  Lupacchino
Cover Price: $2.99

X-Factor is a book that I always count on to deliver the goods, and this issue did not live up to its predecessors. For starters, events transpire between #223 and #224 that make it necessary for even a longtime fan to read the prologue. It felt like Peter David didn't know how to get around a plot hole, so he had certain events happen off panel. Specifically, Rahne is left at the end of the last issue being helped into a cabin by a stranger so she can give birth to her unborn cub; now we find her prisoner of said stranger. Of course, she is never in any real danger as the (very gruesome) birth of her cub results in the would-be baby snatcher getting his comeuppance. Rahne's immediate abandonment of her child also seems poorly justified. Sure, the wolf murders the first person it sees, but fighting a primal urge to kill is nothing Rahne isn't familiar with. David also ignores very recent events by presenting Hela in her original form despite having her character defeated / combined with X-Factor's own Darwin just last story arc. Am I being nit-picky? Am I that crazy fan that thinks the writer is ignorant of their own work? I may be straying into whiny fangirl territory, but I have high expectations for this title and this arc did not meet my standards.

Verdict: Not the finest moment in this series, but I'll still be coming back for more. Here's hoping I'm not disappointed.

Generation Hope #10 (Schism tie-in)
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Tim Seeley
Cover Price: $2.99

Despite having a repetitive concept (we get to see the same events of Schism #3 but from Idie's viewpoint), this issue was an insightful read for fans of X-Men: Schism and Generation Hope alike. Idie, a young new mutant on Hope's team, finds that she has become the last line of defense between the Hellfire Club and the incapacitated X-Men, as well as a vulnerable group of human bystanders. Despite objections from an absent Wolverine, Scott tells Idie to do what she feel she has to. We know from the beginning of the issue what that will end up being. The events that lead up to this final harrowing moment show us just how different the younger generation of mutants are from their mentors. While the older ranks experienced far more personal tragedies, partly because they did not know what they were, the newest generation weren't just gifted anomalies. They were born into a hatred that went beyond a fear of the unknown. Their loved ones knew what they were, and Xavier's school was never a well hidden sanctuary for these children. They grew up with the X-Men. Sadly, this issue does not reveal anything about Idie's past, and as a new reader I don't know if it has yet to be revealed or just hasn't been discussed since I began reading. Either way, the next issue (another Schism tie-in) would be a perfect opportunity to show readers why this character considered herself a monster long before she got blood on her hands. Tim Seeley takes over the art for this issue, and though he is very capable, it is difficult to cultivate regular readers with such frequent artist changes.

Verdict: An improvement over the last issue, but these young mutants still struggle to find their own place in the line of x-books.

Uncanny X-Men #542 (Fear Itself tie-in)
Kieron Gillen
Artist: Greg Land
Cover Price: $3.99

Another surprising issue this week, Uncanny X-Men #542 was an engaging read with an ending that makes this event tie-in relevant to the X-Men. Rather than the comical introduction seen in issue #541, here we see exactly how unstoppable this supernaturally enhanced villain can be. In an effort to stop Juggernaut from attacking San Francisco, Cyclops sends in mutant after mutant, resulting in failure each and every time. A solution is sought through Magik, a team member that has recently been deemed untrustworthy due to her attraction to the dark arts (and we quickly see why). I think this story functions well on two levels; one, it presented the Fear Itself villain as an enemy with a lasting impact rather than a distraction to be dealt with in three issues, which is the m.o. for most event tie in issues. Secondly, the tie in does not overshadow the regular narrative of the book. We still get to see some of the internal conflict the X-Men books are famous for as Emma Frost fights a murderous desire for one of her teammates. Though I'm still not keen on Greg Land's artwork, he does well with the action sequences and creates easy to follow imagery in some challenging settings like the Crimson Cosmos. His work here only really distracts from the story whenever female characters are presented (they all. look. the same). Clearly the males get different photo references, so why not the ladies?

Verdict: A decent tie in that doesn't feel like a detour from your normal Uncanny X-Men story.

Week 6 Summary
Potential Cost: $13.96
2 Books Purchased, 2 Books Shelved

Most weeks during Odyssey X where I've had this many books to read, it has not been a task worth looking forward, but I was pleasantly surprised by the reading this week. Not one title felt like a waste, and that's even with two books that dealt with the same event (Schism). But even a good read can be unwanted when it is too frequent, and thus too costly. Three out of four of this weeks titles have seen their last issue less than three weeks ago. Another way to see it, half of these issues have been bi-weekly this month. Quality and interest are mighty hard to maintain on that kind of schedule, and I hope that a "less is more" mentality will be adopted for the x-books post-Schism. I'm not holding my breathe though.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Odyssey X, Week 5: X-Men #15.1, X-Men Legacy #253, New Mutants #23, Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #2 (Bonus Book)

(Catch up on earlier posts and read the introduction to Odyssey X where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism) 

X-Men #15.1
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Will Conrad
Cover Price: $2.99

Marvel's recent attempt to make books "new reader friendly" has revolved around a series of "Point 1" issues. Usually self contained, they are meant to convey the feel of a title and introduce the characters and their unique struggles. With that in mind, X-Men 15.1 was a great Ghost Rider / New Mutants point 1 book! I kid, it wasn't actually great, but it really didn't have much to do with what I know of X-Men. Not only are the writer and artist different from the last issue, but the main characters featured here are an amalgam of Uncanny and New Mutant regulars - oh and Ghost Rider. The story itself centers around a demon-posessed Native American. The perfect job for Ghost Rider! Wait, who called the X-Men? Their presence is rendered completely pointless when, after disaster is averted, Cyclops pretty much tells Dani Moonstar that their job is to just show up and do their best sometimes. Awkward humor was abound in this issue as well, like when Cyclops mentions Ghost Rider looking "a little shorter" than he remembers. Just shy of pointing out her tits, this was the dumbest way of reminding readers that the new Ghost of Vengeance is a woman. As if this issue wasn't problematic enough, the artwork is inconsistent throughout. Conrad awkwardly portrays the female Ghost Rider, though that is a tough job for even a seasoned artist since facial expressions of the character range from "flaming skull" to "flaming menacing skull". Though I admire Conrad for trying some challenging angles, without a telling hairstyle, some of the characters were indistinguishable from one page to the next.

Verdict: A misleading introduction for new readers and a distraction for fans of the regular X-Men title. I am neither, and pretty well expect this kind of inconsistency from a book like X-Men.

X-Men Legacy #253
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Khoi Pham
Cover Price: $2.99

Didn't I just force myself to read this book two weeks ago? No wonder the art looked rushed. Awkward humor seems to be one of the themes this week for the X-Men titles, and in Legacy's case, some of the jokes are definitely unintentional (see Legion's ridiculously named "personalities"). The confusing conclusion to this team's battle with the mutant equivalent of Sybil results in the revelation that Legion was actually Rogue! After latching onto Legion and absorbing the countless number of powers he has amassed, Rogue gains a  "mutant compass" that leads them to space and Shiar aliens. I don't start and end too many books with a heavy sigh and eye roll, but there you go.

Verdict: Maybe I'm just being cynical. Perhaps a new, overused location could be just what this book needs!

New Mutants #29 (Fear Itself Tie-In)
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Dave Lafuente
Cover Price: $2.99

Well there goes my desire to add this book to my pull list. Much in the way the X-Men book was hijacked by the Point 1 initiative, New Mutants has been overtaken by Fear Itself. Cyclops has asked Dani Moonstar to fly to Vegas and make an ally of Hela, queen of the Asgardian underworld. This fits in with the events of Uncanny X-Men #541, another Fear Itself tie in, where the X-Men of San Fran are fighting a hammer-weilding Juggernaut. Repeated references to Dani's "Asgardian connection" and "relationship with Hela" all hint at events that I am unaware of as a new reader. With the number of times Abnett and Lanning refer to said relationship, they could have easily explained it in the same amount of space (then again, I haven no idea how convoluted the connection is). In addition to the story taking a sharp left turn into "universe altering event tie-in", the artwork has changed once again. If you aren't keeping count that's three different artists within three issues. This is one bizarre approach at keeping regular readers. Another inconsistency from this story is that Hela recently had a confrontation with X-Factor's Darwin which resulted in a big change for the character. Guess the editors forgot to tell the writers of New Mutants?

Verdict: This book is really starting to make me feel like I'm being jerked around! I just want the same creative team for one story arc, is that possible?

(Bonus Book)
Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #2 (Fear Itself Mini)

Writer: Rob Willliams
Artist: Simone Bianchi
Cover Price: $2.99

I was curious to see if the quality from Remender's X-Force had carried over to this mini; alas, I found the only real similarity was in the team's reputation for hyper violence. I also missed the first issue, and jumping in mid story point I had little interest in X-Force's showdown with a sociopath surgeon / genetic purist. The connection to Fear Itself feels like a bit of a stretch as well, so fans of the big Marvel event may find this mini lacking. Some of the philosophical musings of Rob Williams are interesting (do the world's super-heroes really help mankind or only make the world a more hectic place, the idea of a mad man moving beyond the use of martyrs to indiscriminate massacre) but in the end my interest could not be held, partly because of Bianchi's artwork. A talented artist no doubt, his ultra detailed style feels overworked at times, especially when it comes to the characters (what he does with Psylocke's costume would make Jim Lee blush.)

Verdict: This book embodies the superfluous nature of tie-ins / minis; not necessary reading to understand the big event title, and it probably won't add much to your enjoyment unless you choose books based solely on the characters.

Week 5 Summary
Total Potential Cost: $11.96
0 Book Purchased, 4 Books Shelved

This week really tested my patience. I started to consider changing my parameters, like maybe I could stop reading some books as I go along and only continue picking up the less-than-awful ones. But then I wouldn't get a real sense of this line of titles, which is the whole point of Odyssey X. The most difficult part beyond the poor quality is the frequency with which some of these books are being released. By my count, at least 3 of the ongoing titles were released in a 5 week period, and that's not even counting the first two issues of Schism coming out within two weeks. This must frustrate retailers (and some readers) to no end. Rather than the mantra "we'll stop putting books out late when you stop buying them" used by DC in the past, perhaps someone should remind Marvel that overproduction can have an equally negative effect on readership when a lack of quality is being exhibited.

Odyssey X, Week 4: X-23 #13 , X-Factor #223

(These reviews are part of an ongoing series. Please see the introductory post on Odyssey X where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism)

X-23 #13
Writer: Marjorie Lui
Artist: Phil Noto
Cover Price: $2.99

After having read every other x-book out there, X-23 stands out amongst the bunch as one of the few worth reading. While many X-Men titles struggle to find a distinct voice, X-23 knows what it is, and that's the story off a girl trying to become her own person after circumstance and evil men have tried again and again to create and control her fate. What's best is that there aren't any overused characters looking over her shoulder along the way. Not one cameo from Wolverine, Emma, or  Cyclops. Gambit is the closest this book has to an older mentor but he seems to be led as much by X-23 as she is by him. There are moments when X-23 reminds me of the Terminator of T-2; understanding normal human emotional behavior is her greatest challenge, not the struggle to go against her training as a killer. Phil Noto's painterly manga style is pleasing and easy to follow (my eyes are still recovering from some of last week's art), and I especially enjoyed his take on Spider-Man. Next issue promises cameos from the rest of the FF as well.

Verdict: A Worthwhile read, and I'll be keeping my eye on this book!

X-Factor #223
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino
Cover Price: $2.99

The last few issues of X-Factor have been chase-heavy, and #223 brings us closer to the end of the manimal-hunt for Rahne's demon werewolf baby. A mysterious wolf-man (Jack Russell) has come to Rahne's rescue, apparently because his ancestoral instinct have told him to protect his distant as-yet-to-be-born kin. X-Factor's trademark comedic moments are not in short order here, from the enterrogation of the less than trustworthy troll Pip to the quick banter between Madrox and Monet. Events hint at a less-than fortunate future for X-Factor as the arrival of Rahne's baby may not be a joyous occasion (Peter David's track record for births implies heartache is on the way). As long as Lupacchino sticks on this title, I'm happy. Speaking of artwork, it must be said that I always appreciate the cover art for X-Factor. Not only are they often enticing to  readers, but they *gasp* actually relate to the events within the issue.

Verdict: Enjoyable as always. There's not a bad time to start reading this book, but the best time would be ASAP!

Week 4 Summary
Total Potential Cost: $5.98
1 Book Purchased, 1 Book Shelved

Easily this has been the most enjoyable week of reading for Odyssey X. Besides both taking place in New York, these books each offered something different to readers perusing the shelves, with neither issue disappointing. In regards to the project in general, I'm one month in and I now know which books will be a chore for me to read, though I hope to be surprised. I have decided not to add any new X-Men titles to my list till the end of the project in order to discern if I truly want these books on a regular basis or if they just seem like good ideas compared to the rest of the x-books. New Mutants, X-23, and Uncanny X-Force currently have long term potential. The last few weeks I have fallen behind on posting, though I am read up through this week. Expect things to be back to normal by next week!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Odyssey X, Week 3: X-Men Schism #2, X-Men Legacy #252, Astonishing X-Men #40, Uncanny X-Force #12, New Mutants #28, Bonus Book Generation Hope #9

(For those joining late, please see the introductory post on Odyssey X, where I explain my attempt to read every X-Men title during X-Men: Schism)

X-Men Schism #2
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Frank Cho
Cover Price: $3.99

Perhaps expectations were high after such a satisfying first issue, but Schism #2 felt like a letdown. This issue is cheaper and shorter than the first and unfortunately, those extra pages are missed in the storytelling. The exciting revelations in issue one are expanded upon, but often the action is happening off the page. The character interactions that made the first issue emotionally engaging are now shorter, and at times repetitious (it's becoming pretty obvious who the young X-Men will end up following since they've had little or no time with Scott). After wreaking havoc at an international delegation, Quentin Quire returns seeking asylum from the world leaders and super-heroes attempting to apprehend him. His return appears only as another way to show the differing views of Cyclops and Wolverine. Meanwhile, X-Men around the world are working to save man and mutantkind alike from recently reactivated sentinels. Schism #1 had many humorous moments, but the jokes in this issue are overshadowed by their political angles (Kitty Pryde saving a misogynistic middle-eastern leader, as a Jewish woman, is funny but not ha-ha funny). The most interesting part of the book centers around the Hellfire Club's new leader and his equally young minions. How these kids became so darn evil will surely be an intriguing back story. For those that need convincing to pick up issue #3, the change of artwork from Frank Cho to Daniel Acuna may be enticing. Though Cho does a fine job on this issue, I'm excited to see one of my favorite artists continue the story. Acuna has proven in the past his ability to create compelling stories with uniquely recognizable artwork. Here's hoping Aaron will be back on his a-game for issue #3.

Verdict: Not as good as issue #2 but still leaps and bounds above most x-offerings this week. Keeping it!

X-Men Legacy #252
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Khoi Pham
Cover Price: $2.99

The past year or so whenever X-Men comics came up in conversation at my local comic shop, several fans were quick to say that X-Men Legacy was the "good" one. I can't say I understand this assumption. Of all the x-books I have randomly started reading, this one has been the most confusing thus far. When I feel the urge to look up a character on Wikipedia for further explanation, it is safe to assume something is lacking. Though I may be familiar with the heavy hitters here, and there are lots (Magneto, Rogue, Gambit) I have no idea who Legion is, or why he has a gigantic flattop. Unless he's heading to the Pajama Jammy Jam, ala House Party 2, this ridiculous hairdo only serves as a distraction. Seriously, I am 18 pages in and I keep looking at it wondering if it is a result of his mutation. Speaking of which, Legion's mutant ability is that he is host to many fractured, powerful personalities, ones that can escape and wreak havoc. Instead of a character with one confusing mutant power to describe, he has several. The enemy of this particular confrontation is "Styx", an entity that is also holding Legion's father Charles Xavier hostage in the catacombs of Paris (First appearance of Charles during Odyssey X and he's the mindless slave to a third rate character's alter ego. Fan-tastic.) Oh and one of Legion's contained personalities, Time-Sink, is fighting to escape as well. I'm bored just describing the plot. When I talked about being confused by this comic, it wasn't just Legion that felt fractured, but several times the characters referred to other events with no frame of reference. Editors used to annotate these comments to get readers to pick up past issues, or simply bring them up to speed. I guess here they felt it would be better to infuriate / confuse new readers rather than enlighten them. It wasn't all sighs and rolling eyes for this book; the art is pretty descent. Pham's sketching appears looser as the story moves on, perhaps the result of a fast approaching deadline, but the rougher edges created more tension as less is revealed. Seeing a looser approach from Pham made me wish the entire issue were a little less polished.

Verdict: I give Carey credit for boldly attempting to tell instead of show, but it's back to the shelf for X-Men Legacy.

Astonishing X-Men #40
Writer: Cristos Gage
Artist: Juan Bobillo
Cover Price: $3.99

My expectations for the x-titles were pretty low going into this, but Astonishing X-Men has managed to push the envelope of awful mainstream comics. What was once a well written and top-selling title just 3 years ago has become unrecognizable in its necessity. This particular issue reads like a low budget science fiction movie from the 50's, minus the kitschy charm. Everything in this book is over-explained to the point where you wonder if this ever crossed an editors desk before going to artist Juan Bobillo. Since there are already plenty of X-Men titles dealing with the threats of humanity and alternate timelines, Astonishing deals with galactic threats to the X-Men (well I guess this book does fill a unique role, just poorly). The bloodthirsty Brood race is attempting to infiltrate Earth after being hunted to near extinction by other intelligent races. Before agreeing to nuke em from space (it's the only way to be sure) Beast uses some seriously flawed scientific reasoning to justify letting the Brood live, and the X-Men hatch a scheme to re-program the violent race into more agreeable carnivorous creatures. The team also fails to see the irony in swapping one extreme measure for another, but if I tried to apply logic to this book I may end up with an aneurism (why is Kitty Pryde in a bubble suit here, but not in Schism? Did this problem solve itself off-panel? I still don't fully understand the bubble suit). Though it is nice to see an X-Men title that does not stick to a traditional super-hero style, Bobillo's street art inspired approach was not my cup of tea, nor do I understand why anyone would like an x-book where Storm looks like Lawrence Fishburne in drag.

Verdict: If my review doesn't convince you to pass this up, perhaps the astonishingly-awful cover will.

Uncanny X-Force #12
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Mark Brooks
Cover Price: $3.99

From the worst to the best, Uncanny X-Force is a title that's really growing on me. The rather large cliffhanger from issue #11 pays off as we meet the Age of Apocalypse version of Jean Grey, and she's not the only love from Wolverine's past to make an appearance here. Both Remender and Brooks are equally skilled in their ability to present a well-paced story, even though it is a book crammed with tons of characters and alternate timeline versions of said characters. Brooks actually knows how to use panels to his advantage. If everything is busting from the confines of the panel and every other page is a splash-page, nothing ends up being dramatic. Brooks wisely uses these tools sparingly as ways to enhance the big picture. Remender's characterization of Logan continues to be fantastic and I loved the internal narration even more in this issue. This may be one of the few x-books where Wolverine feels  well-rounded. It is rather impressive that  the story remains clean and easy to follow despite the rather complex circumstances introduced to a new reader like myself. Throughout the book, the focus remains on the relationships and varied personalities of the X-Men dealing with the harsh realties that face them if they should fail. A solid book all around!

Verdict: Not buying it this week; I'm going to give my local shop a few weeks to catch up on their orders, but this one will be added to the pull list by the end of Odyssey X.

New Mutants #28
Writer: Dan Abnet & Andy Lanning
Artist: Michael Ryan
Cover Price: $2.99

A scant two weeks after the last issue, New Mutants returns with a new story arc, new artist, and same writing duo. My wishes have been granted and this issue has plenty of moments with Dani Moonstar, the spunky leader of the New Mutants team. After a difficult but ultimately successful fight with Sugar Man, Dani invites a counselor to Utopia to help her teammates work through their various issues. Abnet and Lanning successfully use Dani as the comedic relief of New Mutants. When she gives therapist Gus Grim a brief history of the Summers family, she does so while acknowledging the ridiculousness of the situation. There is not enough fun in the x-verse, and I think this title will continue to stand out because of the lighter tone. Cyclops and Emma make a brief appearance, once again proving that no x-book about younger characters is complete without the "old guard" appearing and dispensing opinions. Considering the frequency of appearances from Cyclops, Emma, and Logan, I'm beginning to think it may be an editorial mandate that they appear in every single X-Men title. Cyclops isn't the only over-exposed Summers either as Hope also shows up to offer her assistance.

Verdict: Oh man, am I about to add New Mutants to my pull list? If Michael Ryan stays on art for the next issue, I may have to do just that....

(Bonus Book)
Generation Hope #9

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Cover Price: $2.99

I missed this issue last week as my local shop chooses to keep this title under "G" as opposed to grouping it with the x-titles. Similar in tone to New Mutants, Generation Hope sees a team of relatively young and unknown mutants tasked with a mission that the big boys are too busy to worry about. Hope Summers and her team must locate "newborn" mutants and use her mutant abilities to stabilize their dangerous metamorphosis (I guess her powers are a reverse of Rogue's?). This concept of unstable genealogy amongst mutants is new to the X-Men mythos, and I believe it only serves as an excuse to give Hope and her team of misfits something to do. This issue even shows that they aren't doing it very well, as the newest member to the mutant ranks decides his grotesque appearance is the worst possible thing that could happen to him, so he kills himself. If their was ever I time that I have missed Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, it is now. This  overly-complicated concept of a title could benefit from the simplicity of mutants in school learning to deal with their unique situations. Instead we have another book where Wolverine has to convince someone to pity the fearful humans.

Verdict: Definitely back to the shelf. The issue isn't nearly as good as the cover design.

Week 3 Summary
Total Potential Cost: $20.94 (slighly higher due to the "bonus book" missed last week)
1 Book Purchased, 5 Books Shelved

Do the editors of these books talk to each other? Attend any of the same meetings? Perhaps they should share notes more often, or at least better plan the release dates of these series. This week had more x-titles released than I had on my pull list from all publishers (hence my lateness in posting these reviews). As a reader forcing myself to pick up all of these books I found myself dreading the task, and I'm betting I'm not the only one who felt that way once they saw the end of the Marvel alphabet. It is far to easy to see the similarities (and inconsistencies) between these books when they are all released at once. Will Schism bring a clearer vision to these titles?