Tag Archives: Madelyne Pryor

Nuclear Family banner ad

Review: X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1

X-Men: Grand Design - X-Tinction #1

Cartoonist Ed Piskor wraps up the 1980s era of X-Men comics in the first chapter in the final installment of mutant magnum opus, X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1. On the first page, he picks a narrative through-line (The fate of baby Cable and his parent Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor) and a Big Bad (Mr. Sinister) and then runs with it to an optic blasting, dimension hopping, ginger psychic battle finale. Along the way, he writes one badass Storm and synthesizes complicated X-Men concepts like the Siege Perilous, Roma, the Outback years, and the deal with Forge and the Goblin Queen into one action-packed, entertaining narrative.

X-Men Grand Design: X-Tinction #1 has all kinds of interdimensional and psychic events in it, and this gives Piskor an opportunity to diverge from his underground comics meets Paul Smith, early John Romita Jr, and Marc Silvestri (Any time the Reavers appear.) style and use cool techniques like “ghosting” his figures against a black ground. He first uses this when Kitty Pryde is stuck in her phase state, or when Storm is on a physical journey with Forge’s ally Naze to get her abilities back. It transports the reader to a world beyond the melodrama of superhero comics and uses the mutant powers to further the story or tell something about Storm, Cyclops, and Madelyne Pryor instead of just making the punching look cooler.

Speaking of punching, Ed Piskor does not neglect one of X-Men comics’ usual strengths: well-choreographed team fight sequences. And he uses those fights in an economical way pulling off a three panel sequence that some writers and artists would pad for half an issue. Other than his retelling of the classic hand to hand fight between Storm and Cyclops for the X-Men leadership, my favorite fight in X-Tinction is a three panel old school/new school fight when Archangel flies Iceman up to freeze some of the Goblin Queen’s goons and Colossus and Rogue punch them out. In a single panel and thanks to some big Jack Kirby poses, you know that Colossus and Rogue are the team powerhouses while Archangel and Iceman rely more on strategy and subterfuge in a callback to the fights in the first volume of Grand Design.

The only real weakness I could find in X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1 is toward the end of the issue. Up to this point, Piskor is easily juggling the Storm and Madelyne Pryor/baby Cable subplots and crafting a downward spiral for the X-Men as their team’s strength is diminished by the Marauders and the Mutant Massacre. This leads into the Outback years, the big Madelyne Pryor reveal, and after some psychic foreshadowing: the return of Jean Grey. However, Piskor immediately throws the original five X-Men into the narrative without mentioning X-Factor or establishing their return. It makes for a cool team-up sequence, but muddies the narrative a little bit.

However, Piskor does redeem himself with a funny final couple pages where the different X-Men basically ask each other, “What the hell is going on?” Like Arcade, Ed Piskor has set up a death trap of continuity mimicking the increasing density of the X-Books with multiple titles and crossovers in the late 1980s, and it looks like he will use X-Tinction #2 to get our heroes, er, readers out of it. Even if the different characters’ backstories are a little opaque and it’s hard to keep track of a growing cast of characters, Piskor’s storytelling is always smooth with clear narration and bright eyed artwork.

Ed Piskor’s X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1 is an achievement in focus as he chooses not one, but two characters with convoluted backstories (Cable, Madelyne Pryor) to be the anchor point of his exploration into late 1980s X-Men comics. For all the cool digressions and sizzling subplots, Piskor rides the momentum of this mother/father/child/ex-girlfriend/creepy scientist guy melodrama from page 1 to page 40 and even plays telekinetic baby keep away along the way. Like Renaissance painters who would find their own story out of a complex tapestry of Biblical stories and classical mythology, Ed Piskor turns the “X-Overs” of the late 80s into a powerful family drama that happens to involve eye beams and psychic powers.

Story/Art/Letters: Ed Piskor
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Inferno #3

inferno003Inferno was one of the first releases under the Secret Wars banner, and while it might have been overshadowed by some other titles by this point into what is becoming a pretty big crossover, it still has its fans.  The first issue was received pretty well, despite the fact that the readers didn’t exactly know what they were getting into with the series.  The series was inspired by the original crossover, and featured Colossus as he ventured into a demon infested New York City while he tries to rescue his sister, Magik, who was captured there by demons and who seemed happy enough to stay that way.  Occurring on the anniversary of her abduction, Colossus leads a strike team into the city to free her, but not yet having succeeded he launches one last mission despite the protests of Scott Summers.

If there are any armchair generals that have been following along with the plot, then they would know that letting your enemy know the general timing of an attack is a bad idea, and that is the case here.  After all it is easier to defend than attack, and Magik is more than aware of that as she has successfully manipulated the situation over the course of the first two issues.  At the end of the last issue she managed to both imprison and corrupt Nightcrawler, and he now becomes her teleporting demon-mount.  With no place that she can’t go, she is now under less restrictions and launches a full-on assault on the X-Men, hoping to defeat them once and for all.

The interesting part about this series is that there are a lot more question marks than usual for its resolution.  As has been shown elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, there are less restrictions across the board on wiping characters off the roster.  Numerous big names have already died in various tie-ins across the Secret crossover, though of course there are several versions of each character.  This adds to the tension here, as readers are used to the heroes usually winning, but that might not be the case here at all.  As it stands the odds are against the heroes, and it makes this easier to enjoy.  It continues its solid performance as a less noteworthy but equally good entry into the Secret Wars world.

Story: Dennis Hopeless  Art: Javier Garron 
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5  Overall: 8.5  Recommendation: Buy

Review: Inferno #2

Inferno002Setting a comic inside a post-apocalyptic world run by demons inside another mini-dimension run by a powerful overlord might seem like one of the strangest concepts for a superhero book, but it is the basis for the Inferno series which is tying into Secret Wars.  The first issue was a solid introduction to this universe, where the X-Men patrol what is left of New York City against a demon horde, while the same horde led by Colossus’ sister does pretty much as they want inside their own domain.  Once per year Colossus leads a strike team to try to rescue his sister, and the first issue focused on the most recent attempt to do so.  Previous attempts resulted in tragedies of one kind or another, and this attempt seemed equally doomed from the onset.

It should be said that even for someone following along that this setting is pretty weird and confusing.  Domino and Colossus were separated and thrust into two different sub-plots involving the Goblin Queen, Madelyne Pryor.  As the characters try to regain a stronger foothold, the development of the story takes some strange twists as the strike team is fractured and then almost reunited.  Meanwhile Magik and Nightcrawler face off against each other, with Nightcrawler at a distinct disadvantage being her prisoner.

There is a general lack of description in this issue, as the reader is seemingly supposed to let go of trying to make sense of what is happening in the interest of allowing the demon world to exist.  While this is a bit of a letdown in terms of the pacing the issue is saved by the well written characters, as specifically the interaction between Colossus and Madelyne, and also between Domino and Madelyne’s son save this issue from going off the tracks.  Heading into the next issue it would seem as though there is a stronger direction for this series, and while the setting is bizarre, that the creative team is making it work.

Story: Dennis Hopeless  Art: Javier Garron 
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3  Overall: 8.3  Recommendation: Read

Fish Kill side ad