Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CBR X-POSITION: Marjorie Liu - My Questions Asked for One of My Favorite Comics

Another week and it's yet another reason for me to dance naked with joy. Usually I don't need much reason. A bottle of whiskey and a Blu-Ray copy of the Hangover is usually enough to get me more worked up than Anthony Wiener at a co-ed frat party. Today, CBR had their weekly X-POSITION column and that's usually a great prelude to new comic day. Sort of like being flashed by a stripper before going to the VIP room. This week it was Marjorie Liu.

 CBR: X-POSITION - Marjorie Liu

Now I've made no secret of my love for her work. My past two reviews of X-23 have been laced with the kind of praise I only reserve for the truly awesome. I wouldn't be that generous if it wasn't earned. The story of X-23 has been so amazingly compelling. The story of a teenage girl/mutant killing machine sounds like something you would only see in a Quintin Tarantino movie. But X-23 is more than an idea a semi-sober college student would conjure. It has action, depth, and above all heart. Not too many characters get that kind of treatment. Majorie Liu has done an amazing job and me being the curious drunk I am, I have a lot of questions. And CBR was kind enough to ask two of them.

MarvelMaster616 had a couple of questions that cut to the quick:

Marjorie, you're doing an amazing job at making "X-23" one of my favorite books. For this, I thank you. Keep up the excellent work, and here's my questions:

1) Wolverine seems to have his hands full with both Jubilee and Laura, but Laura seems to be doing a lot worse than Jubilee. Can you talk about how he's planning to help her?

That's a good question, though I don't know if I have a great answer. Wolverine isn't going to stage an intervention, but in this case he doesn't really need to.  Just being there -- showing X-23 through his presence that he does care -- will go a long way.  I think, too, that Wolverine might also feel that Gambit has taken over his role as father-figure and mentor.

2) In recent issues, you dealt with a pretty serious theme -- self-mutilation. Why is X-23 resorting to this? How did her battle against Daken in  "Collision" lead her to such a state?

She killed the innocent victims of Colcord's experiments -- and some of those victims were children.  She was able to put that aside during "Collision," but the memories are still with her...and so is the guilt.  Not just guilt for those deaths, but all the people she's killed over the years.  Guilt, like any powerful emotion, is difficult for X-23 to deal with, and pain is a safe response for her when she feels too much.

She was thorough in her answers. More thorough than Swedish masseuse trying to pay off her gambling debt by giving happy endings with her feet. It's more than usual and it pointed out something I didn't pick up on in my reviews. X-23 was messed up not just from her confrontation with Daken. But having to kill those test subjects of his (some of whom were surely kids just as unfortunate as her) messed her up. Unlike Daken, she does feel guilt when she's forced to kill someone who doesn't deserve it. Having been in that position before, it does mess her up and self-mutilation is a pretty extreme way to deal with it. Then again, X-23 is from an extreme world.

The idea of Gambit taking the role Wolverine was once inclined to fill is also intriguing. Gambit is also damaged goods in a lot of ways. He's in a somewhat better position to relate to X-23 because let's face it, Wolverine is about as stable as Larry King's last marriage. Plus, X-23's comic started during the whole Hellverine story. Now that's not to say Gambit is any better. This is a guy who willingly allowed Apocalypse to fuck him up. But compared to Wolverine, he's an amateur and he has a way with teenage girls (that goes beyond simply sleeping with them). Even if he's there during the current arc, he hasn't been there for X-23 as much as he probably should have been. He was there for Jubilee. He probably has to go a lot further with X-23 because Jubilee isn't the one cutting herself. That's something that hasn't been resolved in the current arc, but Marjorie Liu has me more excited about it than a fly around a pile of cow shit.

So now I have all the more reason to follow X-23. The current arc is heavy on drama and bloodlust. It's like the Lifetime channel meets Fight Club. There's so much going on and Marjorie Liu has worked it masterfully. I'll be sure to post another thorough review when the next issue comes out. I might even do the review sober, but I can't make any promises. Nuff said!


  1. Nice one. I saw she tweeted the link to your review as well, so double flawless victory.

    I think we can offer a minor criticism of the Daken crossover and X-23 #10 now, in that it didn't adequately form the link between killing those beast children and the self-harm. Instead the crossover ended with Laura fairly happy looking, and affirming that she's not just a killer. To be fair the last episode of the crossover was in Daken, so it would be harder to justify putting too much X-23 stuff in, and X-23 #10 was already full without including an extra flashback page. But there's not even a direct mention of the beast children being killed in the recap text, which (while bad for us) would really suck for new readers: they don't even have a chance to guess why she's regressed to self-harm.

    And it sounds like Wolverine's a bit of a dead-beat dad, pawing off responsibility onto Gambit. Man needs to start paying his child support before he ends up on Jerry Springer. :p

  2. Thanks Herring! You make some good points. It was hard to infer from the end of the crossover that she had been affected. But I wouldn't say she looked happy at the end. She looked conflicted. Not to the point that you would expect her to start cutting herself, but she was clearly in a difficult state. Even if she affirmed that she wasn't a killer, that doesn't mean the guilt didn't get to her.

    As for Wolverine's parenting skills, I'll only say he's nowhere near as bad as some of the guys on Jerry Springer. He's had to juggle a lot lately. Jubilee being turned into a vampire along with the Hellverine affair does cut into parenting time. That and his dealings with Uncanny X-Force make entrusting Gambit a bit more viable. Now I wouldn't say Gambit's the best choice, but he's not the worst by any stretch. It's a crappy situation for both of them. This is probably the best they could hope for at the moment. Maybe someone should forward the "it gets better" link to X-23. She really seems to need new hope.

    Thanks again! I look forward to reviewing Marjorie Liu's next book.