Catching Up on Reviews, Part 1 — X-Universe A-C (quinnelk)

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Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted any reviews, but I didn’t want to let the previous comics I’ve read (all of which I’m catching up on) go without reviews and grades, so I’m going to do some pretty heavy catching up on reviews over the next two weeks. Instead of doing a strict chronology, I’m going to group them together by topic and alphabet. The first batch is X-Men comics that start with an A through a C.

Age of X: Universe #1 (Marvel) – One thing the X-Men comics have always been good at is telling good dystopian stories and Age of X has one of the better set-ups in that history. The Universe series is one of the common Marvel cash-in tie-in series to make more money off of a big event, but every once in a while those cash-ins provide us with good comics. This is one of those times. We find out here what the non-mutants are doing in this dystopia and the alternate characterizations of some of Marvel’s biggest heroes is chilling.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Age of X: Universe #2 (Marvel) – Issue two highlights the true nature of heroism that goes through some of the Marvel non-mutant heroes, even in a tale like Age of X, where many of them are anything but heroes. Captain America and Dr. Strange get the best examination here and the story isn’t quite as good as issue 1, but it’s still very good.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.5

Alpha Flight #0.1 (Marvel) – I’ve always been a huge fan of Alpha Flight, discovering them as one of the first cultural links to my Canadian heritage (my father is from Montreal), and being sucked in by the complex and original stories and the amazing John Byrne art. It’s great to see the team restored to its former glory and done with such beautiful art from Ben Oliver and Dan Green. The story is a pretty good launch for the series, I just wish they had a more permanent home. Also good to see the comic display a gay interracial kiss so openly and as simply one of those things that happens in the real world.

Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5

Alpha Flight #1 (Marvel) – I’m not sure I like that issue 1 of the mini-series is a Fear Itself tie-in, meaning that we don’t get as many Alpha-oriented tales that are their own tales and not someone else’s tales. The art continues to be great in this one, with the epic shot of Attuma riding a tidal wave being one of the best scenes of the year to date. The story also has a great twist that it’ll be fun to see how things work out in the end.

Story: 8.25 Art: 9.25 Overall: 8.75

Astonishing X-Men – Xenogenesis #5 (Marvel) – The best thing about this issue is that it wraps up one of the worst mini-series from Marvel in a few years. The story’s end isn’t any better than the rest of the series in its pointlessness and departure from the nature of the characters and the art continues to be some of the worst coming from Marvel.

Story: 5 Art: 3.5 Overall: 4.25

Astonishing X-Men #36 (Marvel) – Some of the art in this issue is great — such as a closing shot of Fin Fang Foom — but a lot of the faces and details are subpar or too anime-like for my tastes. The story is nothing great, with the use of characters like Fin Fang Foom and Mentallo not being particularly compelling.

Story: 6.5 Art: 5 Overall: 5.75

Astonishing X-Men #37 (Marvel) – Even fewer of the big shots from artists Jason Pearson and Jason Pichelli means more bad facial shots. That’s not good. The story continues from the previous issue with no real increase in tension or compelling points. It’s not that this issue is bad, but it certainly isn’t that good, either.

Story: 6.25 Art: 5.5 Overall: 6

Astonishing X-Men #38 (Marvel) – I’m not sure about the off-sequence issues here, as this is part 1 of the next storyline, when the previous storyline hasn’t finished yet. The art isn’t particularly good and the story is only somewhat better. There’s a return of the Brood, one of the greatest X-villains ever and a good twist ending, but it’s not enough and it’s not the next chapter of the story we were following.

Story: 7 Art: 4 Overall: 5.5

Astonishing X-Men #39 (Marvel) – While Nick Bradshaw’s art isn’t the same as the art done in the earlier Fin Fang Foom/Mentallo issues, it isn’t any better, either. Astonishing X-Men once had the best art/writing combos in the X-comics, these days it seems like it’s at the other end of the spectrum.

Story: 6 Art: 5 Overall: 5.5

Cyclops One-Shot (Marvel) – I’m not sure what the point of these one-shots with the original X-Men is, but they don’t seem to serve any purpose that I can tell. The art here is cartoonish (and not in a good way) and the story makes little sense in terms of continuity or character development for Cyclops.

Story: 5 Art: 5 Overall: 5