Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: New X-Men: E is for Extinction

Hot off my successes with All Star Superman and We3, I thought I'd give another Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely collaboration a try. Emboldened by a capes and tights story that I actually enjoyed, I snagged a copy of New X-Men: E is for Extinction off the shelf at my local library. My thinking being that perhaps the Morrison/Quitely combo is just so damn good that they can make capes and tights not only palatable, but highly enjoyable. Well...this one came close, but it wasn't quite what I had hoped for.

For this X-Men tale, Morrison did a bit of revamping: Gone are the spandex uniforms and in their place are "stylish" leather ensembles that really only Wolverine can pull off...but I got sick of seeing that guy with his leather coat unzipped and no shirt on underneath. The X-Men team is also slimmed down, for reasons I'll get to in a bit, which is potentially nice because then there is no extra bodies clogging up the panels, or extra characters clogging up the narrative just because they are on the team.

The story goes like this: A creepy looking bald lady named Cassandra Nova has discovered an unknown Sentinel factory in the middle of the jungle. She uses that factory to create new, highly adaptable Sentinels that are hell-bent on terminating all the mutants of the world. And they damn near succeed. In a violent act of genocide, Nova manages to kill around sixteen million mutants, leaving a scant few hundred left on the planet. Too bad for Nova, but six of the remaining mutants just happen to be Proffessor X, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, and Emma Frost. Six folks you do not want to piss off.

This concept initially struck me as one that I would enjoy quite a bit, but though the idea was there, I felt that the execution was lacking. Morrison didn't hit any emotional chords, which I thought, realistically, should have played a larger role. There were also times when I felt like the story jumped around in illogical ways which took away from the flow of events and made things feel sort of cobbled together.

Quitely's artwork was quite good, but it was decidedly lacking in eye popping moments. I never once found myself staring at a panel or a splash page in amazement. That doesn't mean that the art was bad, it just wasn't nearly as high a standard as I've come to expect with Quitely.

All in all, this was a pretty much a swing and a miss for me. The whole thing felt uninspired and lacked the magic that usually graces the pages when Morrison and Quitely team up. If anything it just goes to show that I've more or less grown past the super-hero tales, and left the spandex behind. As much as I wanted to like this one, it just didn't do it for me.

Grade: C-

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