Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Young X-Men #4 Review

Recently reviewed by me at CBR: Young X-Men #4, about which I write the following sentences: "I'm going to boldly state that 'Young X-Men' is the best of the recent X-Men comics. While Mike Carey spins his wheels with the nostalgic 'X-Men: Legacy,' and Ed Brubaker stumbles toward Matt Fraction for help with 'Uncanny X-Men,' this series presents intriguing characters who are trying to make sense of the new, Post-Messiah Complex scenario. It's more streamlined than the two main X-Titles and more graceful than either the new 'X-Force' or the new 'Cable' series. Plenty of problems still exist with 'Young X-Men' -- problems I'll articulate in a bit -- but it's been a solid launch with some really nice art by Yanick Paquette. Part of the reason why I'd rank this book slightly higher than the other X-Titles is that Yanick's work reminds me of Paul Smith and Kevin Nowlan -- his pencils are nothing if not a combination of the Smith/Nowlan aesthetic -- and that combination works well for a series such as this. A series where a young team heads toward an uncertain future. A series where Cyclops acts as a father figure and a taskmaster. A series where the old New Mutants (oxymoron?) have become the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Or have they? Things are not what they seem, and while that makes for some intrigue, it also makes for a bit of confusion in this first story arc."

Read the entire review HERE.


Matt St. Pierre said...

I'm surprised you'd name this title the strongest X-book, Tim. I'm not sure I'd agree. This isn't to say I think it's a weak book - I have faith in Guggenheim, and the book shows some great promise if he takes it in a good direction - but I don't think it trumps either Legacy or Cable. It definitely trumps Uncanny, though, and probably X-Force. It's hard to rate Young and X-Force, though, as neither have even finished an arc.

Don't get me wrong. Guggenheim's cast is ideal for how he's set the book up - a core of a "secret agent," two dimwits, and one who's far too innocent and trusting for her own good (Ink, Rockslide, Wolf Cub, and Dust, respectively). And the writing's been fine, for people who don't condemn it outright for having Rockslide in it. (Why doesn't Cyclops sound like Cyclops should or would? Well, gee, fans, perhaps not all is as it seems!) But then, Guggenheim creates and puts Ink in, but doesn't establish any rules for how Ink's power works. Is Ink even a mutant? Yes, some leeway is allowed and I can give, but only so much. After four issues, it starts to be a flaw, however small (Guggenheim needs to establish rules for Graymalkin, too).

But as it currently stands (and again, it's unfair to rate it midway through the arc), the writing and art does not surpass what's going on in Legacy and/or Cable. Carey is doing with Legacy something very similar to what Morrison is doing on Batman - and Carey's use and love of the X-mythos, his cherrypicking of past events, shows in what he's adding to the X-mythos. Swierczynski on Cable has such a strong grasp on the character as to end with a fierce, poignant moment in what was otherwise pretty much a "shoot 'em up" type of arc - and keeps an engaging narrative by not writing Bishop off as a voiceless villain. And other things.

But definitely, Young X-Men has the potential to get a lot better, and be quite a strong X-title. I think Guggenheim will go in a great direction if he lets the old New Mutants become the new teachers and run the new team of kids out of the Hellfire Club.

Timothy Callahan said...

I think you have the exact opposite taste as I do, because I'd rank the books this way:

Young X-Men
Uncanny X-Men
X-Men Legacy

None of them are very good right now, but I have hopes for Uncanny after Fraction joins. And Young X-Men looks nice, at least.