June 21, 2008


X-Men : The Dark Phoenix saga writer, Chris Claremont.
Reviewed by Grady

Chris Claremont's X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga is a joy to read. It chronicles the ascension of Jean Grey from a telekinetic mutant into a sun-eating super being called Dark Phoenix. The story starts with a battle with the Hellfire Club, New York's mutant elite, that ends when Jean Grey manifests her new power and attacks her friends. As the Dark Phoenix becomes a menace to those around her, the story comes to involve beings from other planets and even the benevolent watcher who lives on the moon. Claremont shows his strength as a writer in the execution of this story. He's writing about a force that's much more powerful than any of the X-Men and presenting a conflict that couldn't be resolved with a simple super hero battle. The Dark Phoenix Saga could have just been a boring story of Jean Grey ripping through her friends and the rest of the universe but Claremont knew how to show the humanity of Dark Phoenix. Dark Phoenix is shown as an out of control being with too much power that is infinitely craving more power. This is shown as she eats a sun, killing off every being within its solar system, and still craves more energy, knowing that the ecstasy she feels is nothing compared to what she will soon feel. She becomes a cosmic force of nature and the forces governing the universe ultimately have to step in to stop her. This story is necessary for understanding what the X-Men are about and shows what could happen when a superhero becomes too powerful.

Astonishing X-Men V.2, Dangerous writer, Joss Whedon.
Reviewed by Grady

“Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous” is a joy to read. It's written by Joss Whedon, the creator of the television series “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” and he brings angst to the comic that is reminiscent of the show. The story involves the X-Men's Danger Room battle simulator as it comes alive and rebels against them. The Danger Room takes the form of a robotic woman with long metal dreadlocks. She presents a fierce challenge to the X-Men because she's fought each of them countless times in battle simulations and is able to predict every move they make. Whedon humanizes the characters, breathing new life into X-Men that have been written about for decades. In the preceding graphic novel Whedon brought Colossus back from the dead and in “Dangerous,” Colossus becomes over-protective of his girlfriend Shadowcat. The greatest strength in the story is the Danger Room because Whedon took such a simple part of the X-Men storyline and invented an entirely new character with a point of view. Through her perspective, the reader receives a new way at looking at the X-Men as the Danger Room calculates their weaknesses and hypocrisy. Overall “Danger” is not an epic story or a necessary read but it provokes new thoughts about the series and Joss Whedon's writing makes it worthwhile.

Ultimate X Men V.2, Return to weapon X writer, Mark Millar.
Reviewed by Grady

Mark Miller's “Ultimate X-Men: Return To Weapon X” is a fun fast paced thriller. In the “Ultimate X-Men” series, the X-Men story is retold from the beginning and taken in a new direction. “Return To Weapon X” begins with the kidnapping of the X-Men as they are whisked away to the Weapon X program where super-powered mutants are turned into weapons for the government. The story centers around their missions under the direction of Weapon X and their struggle against the program. This story really brings out the new X-Men and uses their Weapon X captivity as a vehicle for exposing their character. One highlight of the story is the flashback to Wolverine's past as a Weapon X killer in the first Iraq War where he is shown as ruthless but still maintaining his morals. Wolverine's story drives the plot as he's brought back into Weapon X only to find his friends captured with him. Sabertooth, Wolverine's nemesis, makes his first Ultimate appearance here and in their back and forth tormenting each other a complicated history is suggested and both of their story lines are developed. This is one of the best graphic novels in the Ultimate series and would be a great place to start for anyone just beginning with the X-Men series. For readers familiar with the X-Men, “Return To Weapon X” is a fun take on their beginning and brings their story in a new direction worth exploring.

X-Men : Days of future past writers, Chris Claremont and John Byrne.
Reviewed by Grady

Chris Claremont's “Days of Future Past” is an X-Men classic. The graphic novel contains the stories “Rage,” “Demon,” and “Elegy” as well but “Days of Future Past” which is the most memorable and powerful. The story begins when Kitty Pryde of the future mentally switches places with Kitty Pryde of 1980 to prevent the assassination of Senator Kelly, a politician with a strong prejudice against super-powered mutants. In the future storyline monstrous robotic Sentinels rule America killing and imprisoning any mutants they find and only a few X-Men remain. In the storyline set in 1980, Kitty Pryde of the future leads the X-Men against the mutant would be assassins. As the X-Men series progressed there were many conflicts between the government and the mutants but in “Days of Future Past,” Chris Claremont showed a conclusion of that conflict. He showed a cold world with most of Marvel's favorite characters dead, including Spider Man, Iron Man, and Captain America. The imagery of John Byrne collaborated with this cold setting by providing the menacing Sentinels who are in themselves a dark picture of the future. The story is at its strongest when the few remaining X-Men go against the Sentinels in what would have been their last battle and their humanity and inner character is exposed just before its beaten down by the calculated efficiency of the machines. “Days of Future Past” is overall a story of catastrophe evolving from people unwilling to accept their differences. It is one of the best X-Men stories ever written.

Librarian's note:
Go to J 741.5973 X-MEN for fifty or so X-Men collections.

Posted by library at June 21, 2008 02:39 PM
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