Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CBR: Kieron Gillen X-POSITION - Rising To The Challenge

I admit that sometimes I have unreasonable standards for my comics. Some of it is a result of following comics longer than any pathological drunk ought to. Over the years I've heard Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, and every other schmuck that can draw that their next work will be their best. As time goes on, it gets harder and harder to meet those standards. I've found that out first hand with X-men Supreme, but the standards are much higher in the flagship X-books from which X-men derives so much of it's awesome. Throughout the history of this blog, I've levied some harsh criticism towards Uncanny X-men. This series is after all the mack daddy of the X-books. It was around when I was still a partially formed sperm cell floating around in my father's scrotum. So when after nearly 50 years Marvel decides to end and reboot the damn thing, I think it's not unreasonable to expect the quality to be so awesome that it can induce multiple orgasms.

That brings me to Kieron Gillen. He took over for Matt Fraction, a writer that did more to make Uncanny relevant again than any other writer. Sure, I had my criticisms about the guy. I ran out of jokes about how he often propped up Cyclops and how his characterization was off at times. However, he told some damn good stories. He took the X-men to San Francisco and he made it awesome. For that, I rank Matt Fraction's Uncanny run right up there since it did so much to make the series great again. Kieron Gillen had the daunting task of taking what Fraction established and making it more awesome. In wake of Second Coming, Generation Hope, and Fear Itself I think I can say without being marginally drunk that he has succeeded.

Kieron Gillen has turned the weaknesses of Matt Fraction's run into strengths and created a coherent, compelling narrative that I haven't seen since Joss Whedon decided he wasn't awesome enough and went onto direct the Avengers movie rather than keep writing Astonishing (honestly, can anyone blame the guy?). Gillen's characterization, dialog, and vision have given the kind of balance to Uncanny that it hasn't had in quite some time. Now I haven't given all his books perfect scores as I've reviewed them, but he's still managed to make Uncanny X-men a consistent source of awesome. So much so that I have faith that the man can end Uncanny X-men after nearly five decades and relaunch it. Now I don't place that kind of faith in many people. Between my drug dealer and the guy who invented Jack Daniels, Gillen is in elite company in my book. So when he was slotted to do X-POSITION this week I had a couple of burning questions. To my usual elation, they were asked.

CBR: X-POSITION - Kieron Gillen

MarvelMaster616 is wondering about some other characters who weighed in and found that the scales tipped toward Cyclops:

1) I'm a bit surprised that Hope decided to stay with Cyclops' team. Can you talk about why she and most of the Lights are sticking with him?

Hope sees her mission as rescuing emerging mutants. The school simply doesn't start with the infrastructure to support what she requires. I half-suspect she'd have stayed anyway. She doesn't need training. She's been training all her life. She wants to be active in the world, saving mutants. And it's not as if her Dad was ever one to back down from action.

The rest of the team? I suspect this one may best be shown in "Generation Hope" #12. But at least some of the team are starting to have sympathies with rescuing mutants. The mind-control thing, of course, is starting to nag.

2) Speaking of Hope, I understand that Jeph Loeb's "X-Sanction" will begin later this year. Will any of the events of this story tie into the events of "Generation Hope" or "Uncanny X-Men?"

I think I'm going to have to No Comment this one.

Now the second response I fully expected, but I thought it was still worth asking. The announcement that Jeph Loeb had been tasked with bringing Cable back from the dead with X-Sanction has been treated like a case from Wikileaks. Marvel is so tight-lipped about it that I'm sure they're working with the CIA to condition everyone inside and outside of Marvel from divulging any information on it. I just hope that they went easy on installing a chip in Mr. Gillen's brain. We can only assume that Cable's presence in the 616 books again will cause the kind of damage Sarah Palin can only do to the English language when she gives a public address. Since that shit doesn't come out until December, I'm okay with waiting and biting my nails in anticipation. X-men Regenesis is more than enough.

As for my other question, it actually does clear up something that has been bothering me since the revelation about who Jea-I mean Hope (still can't get it) would side with. She made it pretty clear in Second Coming and even a few times in Generation Hope. She didn't really like or respect Cyclops. Hell, she spent most of the Uncanny X-men Annual belittling his ass to the point where I was hoping that Cyclops would slap some respect into her sorry ass. But beyond that, Cyclops's team still makes the most sense for her. She's not the kind of teenage mutant that needs to be trained. She was trained by Cable in an apocalyptic future. That's the equivalent of Navy SEAL training for mutants. Her being in a school and going to class to learn about the joys of factoring multiples just doesn't work with her. So regardless of how she gets along with Cyclops, his team would probably work best for her.

There are still some burning questions I have about Uncanny X-men, but I'm too high to list them at the moment. I'm content with leaving the relaunch in Kieron Gillen's capable hands. The man has proven himself in ways that I admit have exceeded my expectations. Seeing as how every major comic series is jumping on the relaunch bandwagon, I'm not having a freakin' heart attack over this stunt. If Kieron Gillen and Jason Aaron can make this shit work, I'm in! Nuff said.


  1. I added Uncanny to my pull list based on Mr. Sinister trolling Cyke in the preview, but any smidgen of doubt I had was blasted with a full-blown nuke after reading that interview. Villains as twisted reflections of the heroes? I've been saying that is what Cyclops has truly needed more than anything else for years.


  2. Oh I agree! The presence of Mr. Sinister in Uncanny makes it worth it's weight in adamantium! He's definitely a worthy villain for Cyclops. He's also striking at a time when Cyclops is much weaker. I look forward to seeing what he does when the team has to start following him. I also hope that at some point, Sinister takes an interest in the mutant messiah. With power like hers, he's just too psychotic to ignore it. lol