AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
2.5 out of 5
Uncanny X-Men: Poptopia
(Art by Ian Churchill, Sean Phillips, Mel Rubi, Ashley Wood, Tom Raney, Tom Derenick, Mark Morales, Art Thibert, Norm Rapmund, Danny Miki, Scott Hanna, Lary Stucker and Sandu Florea)
Nightcrawler, Archangel, Iceman and Wolverine travel to England hoping to return Chamber to the fold of the X-Men. However, Chamber is embroiled in a high-profile relationship with popstar Sugar Kane and the X-Men's mission is further complicated by a fascist group hunting mutants in the sewers of London.
There are some really good thematic elements in this book which explore new avenues of the prejudice that is a core theme of the X-Men stories. Specifically this book tackles how the tabloid media (apologies to all of history for that being my country's contribution to posterity) is in support of minorities when it suits them but eventually always turns against them when public bigotry gains supremacy. I also enjoyed the latter section of the book which explores the concept of a mutant brothel.
I would've rated this book higher if not for the era of X-Men stories that it comes from. The X-Men here are the painfully 'edgy' versions that appeared in the early 2000s (around the time of Joss Whedon's X-Men movie), when Marvel was too embarrassed to give them anything like their traditional look and instead has all of the X-Men wearing black leather and, often, sunglasses. This whole era of 'we want to make superhero stuff but we're too worried that they're not cool, so we'll try to hide what they are' has always annoyed me and my enjoyment of this book suffered as a result. And, although I actually like the character here, Stacy-X (the mutant hooker) is just another example of Marvel trying to distance the X-Men from what they once were and make them more adult and relevant. It's so transparent and nauseating to see a comic ashamed of what it is (and should be). Bring back the yellow spandex.
3 out of 5
Wolverine/Cable: Guts And Glory
(Art by Stephen Platt, Batt, Lary Stucker, Bob Wiacek, Mark Pennington, Johnny Greene, Scott Koblish and Rod Ramos)
Nathan Dayspring Summers arrives in the 20th Century and begins to learn about the world he has travelled through time to save, however he has been followed back through time by a powerful enemy. The rampaging attack of that enemy triggers a response from Canada's top secret Department H and their most potent agent, Weapon X AKA the Wolverine.
I love the premise of this book, having a newly arrived Cable (not actually known as Cable yet, by the way) cross paths with Logan in his days as a Canadian secret agent. There's loads of story potential both for the crossover and for those particular times in each of the characters' lives. I liked seeing Cable musing on his intended meeting with the near-mythical Charles Xavier, as well as having a head-on encounter with the Vulture. It's also good to see Logan in his days as Canada's top secret weapon, before his fateful first encounter with the Hulk and subsequent admission into the X-Men.
The problem is that this is a short one-shot story and none of that great story potential gets explored to any significant degree. Just as things get interesting, it's all over. The fact that there was so much possibility here actually makes the book we get seem worse than it actually is simply because it could have been so much more. Definitely a concept that Marvel should've saved for a full miniseries/longer graphic novel.
2 out of 5