Sunday, August 24, 2008

Comics round-up 24/8/2008

Air # 1, by G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Perker

This is Vertigo's latest exciting new comic, the cover of which features an air hostess falling through the sky. The story follows her as her hum drum every day air hostess life becomes stranger and stranger, with an intrusion of weirdo secret organisations and mysterious men of shifting identities making her life more dangerous and less routine. So maybe we are on broadly familiar Vertigo territory here, or maybe this will spiral off to become one of their more exciting titles. I liked this well enough to reckon I will buy the next issue or so, so maybe it is a keeper.

In broad terms, I like the art, with Mr Perker giving the characters a semi-surreal angularity. However, I thought he missed a trick by not conveying the sheer claustrophobia of life inside a long-haul passenger plane.

Uncanny X-Men # 501, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, & Greg Land

Every so often I buy an X-title, hoping (usually in vain) to get hooked in. Fundamentally, I reckon the X-titles are trading on former glories to an even greater extent than super comics generally, and it might well be better for everyone if they just stopped. Still, Grant Morrison's successful run writing one of the X-titles a couple of years ago suggests that their might just be life in the horse yet. This, I reckon, must be why Marvel keep the X-Men going and I keep (occasionally) buying.

Just in case you have been living under a stone for the last number of decades, the basic X-Men premise is that there are all these people knocking around who have various special powers as a result of genetic mutations. The unmutated hate and fear the mutants. Some of the mutants pander to the normals' fears by becoming badass supervillains, while the X-Men are a mutant team of superheroes who work to both protect mutantkind and prevent the evil mutants from fucking it up for everyone. The mutants spend a lot of their time being a metaphor for African Americans or the gays or whatever is the current minority de jour.

In this issue, following some kind of big Marvel Universe event of which I have no knowledge, the X-Men have left New York, their normal haunt, and relocated to San Francisco. Here some crazed rightwing nutjobs are charging around beating the shite out of any mutants they come across, but, in an astonishing twist, it turns out that the rightwingers' leader is secretly a mutant. Makes you think. And that guy is taking his orders from a former member of the X-Men, someone who has died and been resurrected any number of times in the history of the comic. Blimey.

For all that, this is still pretty engaging in an X-Men-by-numbers kind of way, so maybe I will buy the next episode to see if there are any kewl superhero fights in it.


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