X-Men Legacy 260.1
As many of you probably know, the “point” of the .1 issues is to delineate a good “jumping on” spot, or highlight an issue that is a bit set apart from the others in a running series. A lot of times I find it debatable whether or not these issues achieve this goal – but I have to say that X-Men Legacy 260.1 certainly hit the mark.
The first hint that this is a good jump spot is the change of authorship as this series shifts from the hands of Mike Carey to those of Christos Gage (Avengers Academy) with art by David Baldeon. It is the first issue where the legacy team is actually stationed at Wolverine’s Jean Grey School (post-Schism). We see the role that the team is going to play – they are the teachers, just like how we see the adults in Wolverine and the X-Men, but they are also a defined team who is ready to take on missions and protect the foundational principles of the school.
Rogue is the leader of this team, and she is really stepping into her role in this issue – juggling battle with the maintenance of a normal school day for the youngsters. Normally, fluffy issues are hit or miss There wasn’t a TON going on in this book that actually related to anything else – but I really rather liked that. I felt like this issue was needed in the midst of all the drama of the schism and the crazy X-Men finding missions that the legacy team has been going on as of late (welcoming back both Rachel Grey and Ariel). There is certainly some interesting character development going on here – especially between Gambit and Frenzy (who has really come into her own lately).
Overall, this was a highly entertaining introduction into the new X-Men Legacy arc. I have high hopes for Christos Gage, as well as for David Baldeon. I was impressed with the art – he was able to draw the characters cleanly and in a way that enhanced the fun feel of the issue.
For the five issues that this comic book has been running, it has maintained a level of beauty and quality writing throughout. This is one comic that I have hardly seen anything negative said about it by critics at large, and I am afraid all I can do is shrug and agree – it’s awesome. While the first issue didn’t get me immediately sucked into it, by issue five, the complex plot with the supernatural twist and the ever-unfolding mystery, has got me hooked.
Issue #5 both semi-wraps up the first plot arc while seamlessly leading into the next. The weeping woman is put to rest, but at the same time there is still the missing kids to find. Batwoman is at a cross roads when she is presented with a choice – she could join the Department of Extranormal Operations and work for the government or she can choose to color outside the lines with Batman. On one hand, if she chooses the DEO, they will help her find the missing children, a mission close to her heart, and also free her father of any criminal charges he might have accrued recently. On the other hand, joining the DEO will, ultimately, but her at odds with her long-standing ally, Batman. He knows her decision and she assures him that she knows what lines not to cross.
This comic series really knows how to address and embrace adult issues with an amazing amount of grace. It is almost silly to talk about the art by issue 5 – it’s still amazing. It is still in complete sync with the flowing narrative. Williams and Blackman are truly a dream team.
If you haven’t picked up Batwoman for any of the following reasons: a) it’s about a chick b) it’s about a lesbian c) she’s the black sheep of all the bat-family d) who’s Bawoman? – you need to disregard that reason immediately and hop on board. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Scarlet Spider #1
Alright, I’m speaking for this issue from the point of view of someone who wasn’t a reader of comics at the time of the original Scarlet Spider saga and I haven’t yet delved into it in my own research. (I say research like this is some kind of scholarly field, but sometimes it feels like it, in a fun kind of way.)
For those of you in the same boat who haven’t read the original Scarlet Spider saga I first recommend flipping to the back of this issue first. There is a handy dandy little catch-up guide (rare in comics these days) that will give you the general background story. Once you’ve read that, process it for a second. Realize how amazingly screwed up it all sounds without knowing the details to fill in between the lines here, and then just take this new #1 issue for what it is – interesting in its own right.
(For those of you who are familiar with the original storyline, I’m afraid I have no idea how this new story stands up in comparison for better or for worse. But at least I’m honest!)
Considering my lack of knowledge, I certainly felt like I was missing something while reading, but I also rather enjoyed this issue. It was entertaining and a mystery to me. This character obviously has a lot of backstory. He is troubled (not exactly a new concept) with a dark past where he was violent and has major regrets (still not overly new of a trope). He must decide if he is willing and able to overcome this dark past to make himself a new, bright future (ok, still done before).
Hmmm. I’m still not making an overly well-argued reason for why I liked it. Perhaps I’m not even sure, myself. There was certainly enough here to neither bog me down with backstory, yet enrapture me with what the future of Kaine will hold. I rather liked him. He is brooding, sure. But I can’t help myself but like a well-written character who has to struggle to be the good guy. If we were all Captain Americas and just naturally good, then the universe would be far less interesting in its story telling ability.
While the plot here is centered on a human trafficking ring with the potential to be just mediocre, the true story is about the internal struggle within this man who finally finds himself not dying, not evil, and not hunted. That’s a good feeling and he’s not sure if he’s ready to lose it in order to step into the role of a hero.