Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Ultimate X-Men volume three

Mark Millar, Chuck Austen, various Kuberts, some other guys...
Ultimate X-Men volume three (2001)

I suppose I could save myself the effort of writing this review by referring you to its predecessor, as found here. Pretty much everything I said in June applies here, but possibly moreso. I guess the last three X-Men movies were based on the Millar version, and they were decent as movies but this is a comic book; and while it's fine to reinvent characters and situations every so often - if you really must - there really needs to be a reason for the revision beyond just revision. Whilst many elements of those early Chris Claremont issues of X-Men may now seem clunky, dated, and packed so full of corn one might almost think they were aimed at - titter! snurf! - eight-year old boys, they did their job and they did it well. I liked Storm as a po-faced weather-Goddess and Wolverine as Ernest Borgnine with claws. They didn't need to be sulky smart-arsed eye-rolling text-messaging teenagers, particularly not as part of a team comprised exclusively of the same. It's not like they were particularly rich or well-rounded as characters to begin with, but at least you could tell them apart from one another.

Here we get a mash-up of the Proteus storyline from 1979 and the first appearance of Legion in New Mutants, but with more whining and Buffyisms; and it's okay and it does its job very well, but I still can't see why anyone bothered. Betsy Braddock gets recycled as yet another generically deadly telepathic female - a development which can fuck right off; and then there are two issues of revisionist Gambit back story, still with the total arseache of everything written in that annoying phonetic rendering of Cajun which really should have been made ill├ęgal by maintenant, mon cheri. I always found Gambit a tedious non-character anyway, so his revival negates the one thing this version had going for it.

I usually like Mark Millar's writing except for when I don't, but this is the first time I've found it workmanlike and bland. For all its flaws, the Claremont run from John Byrne through to Marc Silvestri makes this thing look like Monster High. Grant Morrison's run was pretty radical in some respects, but it worked because he kept his eye on what made the thing great in the first place.

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