Thursday, 26 July 2012

Wolverine and the X-Men #14 review

Once they were Love's Young Dream. Now Kitty Pryde and Peter Rasputin are on opposite sides of the Avengers vs X-Men conflict. While Shadowcat tries to keep the Jean Grey School running with most of the staff off fighting alongside the Phoenix Five, Colossus - empowered by the cosmic force - has been changing the world 'for the better'.

But if his personal Paradise is to be attained, he needs to win back his sweetheart. So he asks Kitty on a date and despite her feelings for him having changed, she agrees. Well, it's a chance to suggest that swanning around flaunting omnipotence isn't actually a good idea when the power you're using belongs to the corrupting madness that is the Phoenix Force.

Things don't go well ...

Well, not for Kitty and Peter. We readers, though, are treated to probably the single best Avengers vs X-Men story yet. Not just for the hardly romantic reunion between Kitty and Peter, which runs the gamut from hilarious to horrific. No, there's also Iceman's powerful realisation, while supportng Phoenix Fiver Magick, that he's on the wrong side - writer Jason Aaron allows Bobby Drake to display the maturity that befits a veteran hero and certified accountant.

And best of all, there are the endlessly amusing attempts of headmistress Kitty to wrangle her ragtag staff - Husk, Toad, Doop, Warbird and 'Substitute Teacher Deathlok' - into covering classes they're seriously unqualified to teach. Some of the gags tend towards the delightfully black, such as the private manifestation of Toad's crush on the skin-shedding Husk (click on image to enlarge/feel ill).
Kitty is, frankly, magnificent, managing to stay calm while surrounded by idiots, some of them godlike idiots. And her bravery in the face of the creepy Colossus is inspiring, showing why she's such a big favourite among X-Men fans. Peter is as pathetic as he is powerful, the ultimate ex who won't take no for an answer; I really hope that post-Phoenix Five he falls on good times, as I don't think this sweet soul has had more than two consecutive good days in decades of comics.

The dramatic highlight comes as Peter spouts a very familiar motto, showing that he's well on the way to being more Dark Phoenix than Colossus. Which is terrific, as it means that as well as a memorable character piece amidst the sound and fury, we're getting some movement in the bigger story.
The pencils and inks are by Jorge Molina and Norman Lee, and they're breathtaking. Kitty looks like a delicate flower, but the steel  is evident, while Peter's sensitive side and Phoenix forcefulness battle before our eyes. The dramatic beats of Aaron's script gain their full impact, while the comedy is likewise mined to best effect. Intelligent use of angles pulls us into the story, while the fight scenes - in particular, the Thing vs Magick, Iceman and Angel - are fantastic. And when the school staff face off against Colossus - wow! Is it wrong to want to hug Krakoa the Living Island?

Adding to the effectiveness of the artwork are the colours of Morry Hollowell, who may have hit a career best here. His intense, intricate tones set the pages pulsing with life

It's a reviewer's cliche, but if you buy just one Avengers vs X-Men tie-in, make it this one, Because despite the event livery, it's actually a brilliant X-Men story in disguise.

14 comments:

  1. Wow, this is your first review I vehemently disagree on. I've thought this book has suffered worst of any from tie ins and that this is the worst example yet. The art was barely average and the ongoing character assassination of X-Men continues full throttle. I went into AVX believing that a company that couldn't imagine a married Peter Parker could imagine the X-Men winning and it's worse than that. This 'power corrupts' trope is sandbagging the X-Men and Marvel Now will have to be hella good to get rid of the awful taste of issues like this have left...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wonder what you thought of issue 13 with warbird mart, I thought it was incredible good

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey mart who are your favourite character on this book, I love quire, broo, idie, kid gladiator, genesis, and most of all beast

      Delete
    2. It varies, I think they all have something to offer.

      Delete
    3. okay, which is your favourite issue

      Delete
    4. I dunno, I'm rubbish at lists. Ask me on Twitter sometime ;)

      Delete
  3. Hi Steve, they really have gone the predictable route in terms of the main business - it'd have made more sense, perhaps, for the Phoenix Force to inhabit members of both teams, bringing the X-Men and Avengers together to take them on, and set things up for the joint-team aftermath .

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree that the X-Men have come out the worst image and personality-wise because of this horrible AVX "event". I'd be less critical of the X-Men if they weren't made to look so obviously villainous and wrong, that it's not even funny. They don;t even have a credible argument to stand on, as the the whole Phoenix Entity has always been an force of death and destruction than hope and renewal. Are we made to believe that the future of mutants is so dire, that they'd turn to any port in a storm, namely the Phoenix? Really? Even after all years of experience that clearly demonstrates anytime the Phoenix shows up it's not good? And they(Cyclops really) still thing it's a symbol of salvation. Amazing. I can only imagine how massively disappointed Prof. X feels about his former students and how far they've fallen. Hopefully the X-Men(or what's left of them) will be built back up again, and restored to their former glory.

    It just baffles me as an X-Men fan for a long time, that the current crop of fans are letting this go without a serious amount of verbal anger and backlash. Sheep I tell you.

    I too hope when all this is said and done that Colossus is restored back to his old self, and that him and Kitty and move past this this unfortunate occurrence. I'm not saying they should get back together, just that they can reconcile this whole horrific story-telling debacle, and get back to a solid, more friendly place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not reading all the crossovers, Dale, but I think I'm safe in saying that Marvel hasn't addressed Cyclops' contention that the PF will save mutants, never mind shown why so many would follow him. Surely there could have been another way into the story. I hope that, as teased, Professor X does have a big part to play in this story because he's so important to the history of Marvel's Merry (hah) Mutants. And I'm sick of seeing a good man painted in ever murkier shades of grey.

      Delete
  5. Merciful Minerva is this relationship between Colossus and Kitty still going on?!? I dont really keep up with the X-books as much as I can but I thought this was resolved years ago - not to mention I heard Peter had actually died...is it true that he and Juggeranut are now 'combined' in some way? Howd that come about?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, the relationship is over, Karl. But Colossus wants another shot - I've been there!

      If I knew how Colossus bonded with Cyttorak, I've forgotten. Better get Googling ;)

      Delete
  6. Colossus came back when an alien race had a cure for death. It was no more complicated than that because Astonishing X-Men wasn't really all that good. Colossus is the Juggernaut now, bitch, because when Juggs was attacking with his power plus the Serpent's in Fear Itself, Cyke sent Ilyana and Peter to tell Cain Marko's original boss he was moonlighting. Ilyana was supposed to take the power but instead noble yet incredibly stupid Peter decided it was wrong for a fully trained demon sorcerer to have to take on the mantle of something she could handle easily and became Cyttorak's avatar instead...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoyed a lot of the characterisation in Joss Whedon's run, but the big threats - Danger and those aliens - not s much. And that Colossus could come back, after we saw his ashes scattered, was just daft.

      Delete