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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

X-amining X-Men Annual #5

"Ou, La La -- BADOON!"
1981 

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men help Arkon free his world from the Badoon. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Brent Anderson
Inker: Bob McLeod
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The Fantastic Four respond to a police call regarding a woman with a laser gun. They arrive on scene and discover the woman is a Shi'ar agent, battling a group of invisible Badoon troops on her way to seek Professor Xavier's help. The Badoon kill her and capture Mr. Fantastic, Thing and Human Torch, leaving Invisible Girl to seek out Professor X. At the X-Mansion, Storm awakens from her latest recurring dream of fighting alongside Arkon as Invisible Girl arrives with her son. She informs the X-Men of the situation, and her information combined with Storm's dreams is enough to convince the X-Men to return to Arkon's world and help free the Fantastic Four. When they arrive on Arkon's planet, they are greeted by Sashia, apprentice to Arkon's Grand Vizier, who explains that she sent the dreams to Storm in the hope they would bring the X-Men to help free their world of its conquest by the Badoon. Though heavily outnumbered, Cyclops devises a plan which sends Storm and Invisible Girl to infiltrate the citadel to rescue the FF while Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Sashia attempt to destroy the Badoon stargate to prevent reinforcements from arriving, with Cyclops, Colossus and Sprite hanging back as reinforcements.


Unfortunately, Invisible Girl breaks cover when she hears her husband being tortured, causing the reserve X-Men to spring into action. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler, recognizing the design of the stargate from the X-Men's time with the Shi'ar, manages to destroy it, signaling Arkon's warriors to attack the Badoon. At the Citadel, the X-Men manage to free the rest of the Fantastic Four, as well as Arkon, and the Badoon leader activates the base's self-destruct mechanism. As Colossus and Thing work to prevent the detonator from firing, Mr. Fantastic locates its power sources and uses the combined powers of Invisible Girl and Cyclops to destroy it. With Arkon freed and the Badoon defeated, a feast is held in the X-Men's honor. However, Storm and Arkon must once again deny their passion for one another, as neither is willing to give up their responsibilities for the other.  

Firsts and Other Notables
The Fantastic Four guest star in this issue, appearing between issues #235 and #236 of their title, with the male members of the team captured by the Badoon in the early goings, allowing Invisible Girl to spend the bulk of the issue fighting alongside the X-Men. I'm not aware of any reaction from John Byrne to Claremont's use of the FF in this issue akin to the Doombot retcon sparked by the Arcade/Doom story in issues #145-147. So presumably Claremont either cleared their use through the proper editorial channels, was asked directly to include them, or Byrne was satisfied with Claremont's portrayal of the characters (of course, it's possible Byrne may have pitched a fit over this issue and I'm just unaware of it). 

Arkon, whose world the X-Men helped save in their third annual, returns, and picks up where he left off with Storm.


The villains of the story are the Badoon, a reptilian race of alien warriors. They first appeared as Silver Surfer villains back in the 60s, but are primarily known as the antagonists of the futuristic Guardians of the Galaxy, a group of humans and aliens fighting against the Badoon in the 30th Century, after the Badoon have conquered Earth and most of the solar system.


The art in this issue comes from Brent Anderson (who filled in on issue #144) and Bob McLeod (who will guest pencil issues #151 and 152 and co-create the New Mutants), and it's actually quite nice (if not particularly flashy), with some fantastically-detailed panels throughout.

A Work in Progress
Moira MacTaggert is still hanging out at the mansion, sans Banshee. 


Professor X has a nicely expository thought to remind readers of his relationship with Lilandra.


Both Storm and Cyclops are reluctant to bring Kitty along with them even though she's proven herself (and they do ultimately allow her to come along), a nice reminder that Kitty is still just a young teenager. 


Kitty ditches her rainbow costume for a new one she's designed that's only slightly uglier; thankfully, this time Professor X tells her to put the damn school uniform back on.


The X-Men use Arkon's lightening bolts, leftover from Annual #3, to travel back to his world.


I Love the 80s
I'm not terribly familiar with the Invisible Girl's post-Lee/Kirby, pre-John Byrne "Invisible Woman" characterization, but her characterization here struck me as a touch old-fashioned. First, she gets mad at the rest of the FF for forgetting about the dinner she cooked for them.


Then, she loses her cool at the sound of Reed being tortured by the Badoon, wrecking the X-Men's plan. 


Reed, meanwhile, is rocking a pipe as the issue opens, evoking Professor Impossible from The Venture Bros. even more than usual. 


Young Love
Colossus flies into a rage when one of the Badoon soldiers targets Kitty.


Later, after the battle, Kitty gets dolled up by Sashia, prompting a reaction from Colossus.

Easy there, Piotr; she's only thirteen...

Storm is still attracted to Arkon, and he even considers making her his queen, but the two ultimately decide to remain friends as neither is willing to give up their respective duties.


The Best There Is At What He Does
Nightcrawler asks Wolverine if he'll use his claws in battle against Badoon, and Wolverine says he will, saying it's war and he's a soldier in it, sparking a nice debate about morality between the two. 


For Sale
A Dungeons & Dragons ad for the nerdliest of comic readers: 


Teebore's Take
Like the previous annuals, nothing here is terrible, but nothing here is terribly good, either. This is a big, overstuffed slugfest issue, the kind of thing that was often found in annuals at the time. A few character moments (such as the Colossus/Kitty interactions or the Nightcrawler/Wolverine debate) aside, and though Claremont works to tie the story in with the X-Men, first by connecting it back to the events of X-Men Annual #3 and then establishing an indirect threat to the Shi'ar, there's nothing about this story that makes it an inherently X-Men story. The presence of the Fantastic Four is largely superfluous, and seems to be born of no reason other than the fact that overstuffed annuals of the time meant random guest stars. This could have been a straight-up Fantastic Four annual, or an Avengers annual, with little revision to the plot. In the end, it's a perfectly average bit of superhero comics that does a workmanlike if unremarkable job of telling its story and thus, it fits in perfectly, issue #150 notwithstanding, alongside contemporaneous issues of the series.     

Next Issue: Marvel Fanfare #1-4
Angel returns to help launch, along with Spider-Man and the X-Men, a new title, and we return to the Savage Land.  

23 comments:

Matt said...

Yeesh, look at the huge word balloons on some of those images you posted! It's comics like this one that got Chris Claremont his reputation as the wordiest of all comic book writers.

I've never actually read this issue. In fact, I didn't even own it until I purchased the Marvel Masterworks volume reprinting it last year. I have flipped through it, though. Next time I re-read the full run of #94 - #176, I'll add it into the mix.

"I'm not aware of any reaction from John Byrne to Claremont's use of the FF in this issue..."

Interesting, I never thought about that. Perhaps he was satisfied! It seems unlikely, but it's not impossible. I think he was still somewhat reasonable in 1981.

"Moira MacTaggert is still hanging out at the mansion, sans Banshee."

I meant to mention this in my comment to #150, but I forgot -- maybe he's spending some time with his long-lost daughter? Because of their reunion in issue #148, I'm willing to let Claremont off the hook for any Banshee absences around this time. He probably took her to Cassidy Keep to meet the leprechauns.

"The X-Men use Arkon's lightening bolts, leftover from Annual #3, to travel back to his world."

I just want to point out again that Chris Claremont wrote seven Uncanny X-Men annuals from his arrival on the title until Cyclops left to join X-Factor. Four of those annuals feature Cyclops. Three of those annuals depict Cyclops using Arkon's lightning bolts to transport the X-Men to another dimension. 75% of the Claremont-written annuals featuring Cyclops include a scene where he uses the lightning bolts. I don't know why I find this so funny and noteworthy, but I do.

"...her characterization here struck me as a touch old-fashioned."

I've always thought it would be funny if just one of Marvel's Silver Age female characters was kept in the Silver Age mold. Let them all evolve with the times except for Sue, or Jean, or Wanda, or whoever. Have that one character who legitimately wants to be in the kitchen all the time, and is a classic Stan Lee-style "hair-brained female" in a fight. And show all the other, evolved women reacting to that. I think it'd be pretty funny.

"Reed, meanwhile, is rocking a pipe as the issue opens, evoking Professor Impossible from The Venture Bros. even more than usual."

Wow, that's fantastic. Bonus points for mentioning The Venture Bros! Now I want to see Reed exclaim "Hot sandwich!" about something.

"A Dungeons & Dragons ad for the nerdliest of comic readers..."

Hey, I take offense at tha-- wait, no, never mind. Your description is accurate. Carry on.

Teebore said...

@Matt: It's comics like this one that got Chris Claremont his reputation as the wordiest of all comic book writers.

Yet, oddly enough, this didn't strike me as a particularly wordy comic (not like, say, issue #144 did) as I read it. Maybe because, in the example of the Nightcrawler/Wolverine debate, which is a particularly word balloon-errific page, the words are relatively engaging?

I've never actually read this issue.

I'm pretty sure my re-read for this post was only the second time I'd ever read it.

He probably took her to Cassidy Keep to meet the leprechauns.

Ha! Yeah, that's pretty much been my assumption in these issues (that Banshee is palling around with his long lost daughter), but I still feel inclined to point it out. Mainly because I know you're missing Banshee. :)

75% of the Claremont-written annuals featuring Cyclops include a scene where he uses the lightning bolts. I don't know why I find this so funny and noteworthy, but I do.

It is kind of funny when you break it down like that, especially since Cyclops only ever uses them in the annuals.

Now I want to see Reed exclaim "Hot sandwich!" about something.

Indeed. While Modern Day Reed is a far cry from Prof. Impossible, but it's hard for me to not read old school Reed that way.

Hey, I take offense at tha-- wait, no, never mind. Your description is accurate. Carry on.

While I've never played consistently enough to consider myself a "gamer", I have played D&D in the past (I was a thief named Vale), so I'm allowed to throw that particular stone. :)

Chris K said...

No hate for the story title? When i bought this comic at age 9, I knew nothing of the "Ooh la la Sassoon" commercials, and just thought "WTF" about the Pepe le Pew-esque title. Then I saw one of the commercials a few months later, and was seriously annoyed (in the way only a 9 year old can be)that they used a title that was a joke on a commercial in a serious story...

Claremont's characterization of Sue Richards stands out against his typical Strong Claremontian Woman; she comes off as pretty waifishly ineffectual both here, and in a Marvel Team Up issue from a couple of years earlier. It always seemed to me like Claremont was responding to the criticism his trope was getting by proving he could write a "weaker" woman (just not one of HIS OWN regular female characters... You'll note that Storm is the one who has to tell Sue to get it together and be strong...)

Teebore said...

@Chris K: No hate for the story title

Yeah, I meant to mention something about that, then completely forgot.

Basically, I'll just say that I'm a guy who loves his puns/lame jokes, and that title is a bit much even for me...

it always seemed to me like Claremont was responding to the criticism his trope was getting by proving he could write a "weaker" woman

Interesting idea. His Sue definitely isn't on the level of, say, Stan Lee's back in the day, even though she is written very differently than Storm. Part of me almost wonders if Claremont was trying to genuinely write a super-heroic wife/mother, something that doesn't appear in a lot of comics, and slightly missing the mark (though only slightly; despite her botching the plan over concern for Reed, she's still pretty effective in battle. She's just, as you say, different than Storm, as well as the later characterizations of the character with which I'm more familiar).

Anonymous said...

Was going to say this last time he showed up as penciler, but I'm a huge fan of Brent Anderson. Though I think I originally knew him from his series Strikeforce: Morituri and then recognized him retroactively in God Loves, Man Kills. He also did the upcoming Belasco and Dracula issues. Always struck me as a very real, naturalistic take on superheroes. Great at portraying emotions and body language and the strength of 'powerhouse' characters like Colossus and Strikeforce's Marathon. My only problem with him is that he draws Wolverine too lanky. Scott is Slim, not Logan.

This Annual is at least slightly more entertaining than the first Arkon adventure. A bit more characterization and some actual plot. In fact, it's the character beats that elevate it beyond just a generic slugfest. Ororo and Arkon's relationship issues, the ethical discussion between Logan and Kurt, even the Invisible Woman's Silver Age daffyness, all help to sell it as a story that kinda counts.

Of course that's only because Claremont seems to be telling a continuing story in the Annuals. Something about Ororo wanting a relationship, and Cyclops wanting to travel between dimensions using thunderbolts, and Loki wanting revenge on everyone, but specifically the X-Men, and the Impossible Man just wanting friends, and Mojo wanting pointless X-Men spin-offs. Or something. Sorta falls apart at the end there but it is interesting that these threads come up again and again in the Annuals, making them feel slightly more important than most Annuals. Especially the later, horribly forced cross-overs.

-- mortsleam

Teebore said...

@mortsleam: Great at portraying emotions and body language and the strength of 'powerhouse' characters like Colossus and Strikeforce's Marathon. My only problem with him is that he draws Wolverine too lanky. Scott is Slim, not Logan.

Agreed on both counts. I was never terribly familiar with his work until Astro City, but re-reading #144 and this, I've really enjoyed it. I'm now looking more forward to #159 and 160, and God Love.

A bit more characterization and some actual plot.

Agreed again, though I'll always enjoy annual #3 just for the novelty of seeing George Perez drawing the X-Men.

Something about Ororo wanting a relationship, and Cyclops wanting to travel between dimensions using thunderbolts, and Loki wanting revenge on everyone, but specifically the X-Men, and the Impossible Man just wanting friends, and Mojo wanting pointless X-Men spin-offs. Or something.

Ha! I never really thought about it before, but there definitely is some thematic/narrative connections to Claremont's annuals. Many of them (#3, #4 (kinda), #5, #9-11) feature travel to other dimensions, and the Storm/Arkon attraction is kind of paralleled by Loki in #9.

Matt said...

Not to be a nit-picker, but issue #159 (the Dracula story) is drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz, as is the next annual (the Dracula sequel). And it's good Bill S., too, drawing in his Neal Adams-clone "Moon Knight" style, before he started using that horrendous, vomit-inducing "abstract" style that made his New Mutants run completely unreadable.

(Yes, I know I'm pretty much alone in my assessment of his later style... but I really, really hate it!)

Teebore said...

@Matt: Yes, I know I'm pretty much alone in my assessment of his later style... but I really, really hate it!

Have you by chance revisited it recently? I remember absolutely hating it (and finding it more or less unreadable as well) the first time I read that run, but I returned to it again a few years later, and I actually really liked it, and gained a lot of appreciation for it that remains to this day.

(I know I lack the necessary artistic knowledge to articulate WHY I like it so much, at least enough to even attempt to change your opinion, but hopefully when we get around to those issues, I might be able to improve your regard of them a little).

Matt said...

Actually, I will admit that I hadn't read much New Mutants at all until just a few years ago. I never really thought it "counted" since it didn't have an "X" on the cover (yes, I was just the sort of fan Marvel has catered to since the 90's).

But a few years back I picked up all the New Mutants Classic trade collections to date, so fairly recently, I read (approximately) issues 1-50. I loved the work by Bob McCleod and Sal Buscema over the first 20 issues or so, but Bill S.'s art elicited just as much violent physical illness in me recently as it did when I was a kid.

(And let me interrupt myself to mention that I loved Bill's work on Moon Knight. He was an amazing talent there, and what he did on the character was, and still is, some of my favorite comic book art of all time. Anything negative I say about Bill S. applies specifically to his post-Moon Knight output.)

I don't want to get into a full-on rant here, but I find that when he actually drew normal people doing normal things, it was mostly fine. But the sequences where he tried to get creative really left me cold. And what was up with Xavier's eyebrows?? That was not the Professor X that had previously been drawn by Kirby, Roth, Adams, Cockrum, Byrne, Smith, etc.!

In fact, that could be a big part of my issues with Bill S. -- he's one of the first artists I can think of who seemed to deliberately draw characters "off-model". Eventually we had more and more artists doing it, but I can't help feeling that stemmed partially from Bill's work and from Jim Shooter allowing Bill to get away with it.

But everyone in the comics field, and every fan seems to love the guy, so maybe I'm just looking at it wrong.

(Incidentally, Bill also inked Sal Buscema on Spectacular Spider-Man in the 90's, during the clone era. His work brought Sal's pencils, which I normally adore, down to a point where I couldn't stand looking at them. He did moody really well, but he made every scene moody, and he sometimes seemed to think that throwing ink at the page in random spots was a good idea.)

So maybe it was a rant after all... for some reason, Bill S. elicits possibly the most visceral responses from me of any artist I've ever looked at. There are good artists who I love and bad artists who I hate, and then there's Bill S., whose art I really just want to tear up when I see it.)

Jeff said...

The non-Arthur Adams annuals are such a waste of time. That's really all I can think of to say about this.

Teebore said...

@Matt: Anything negative I say about Bill S. applies specifically to his post-Moon Knight output.

Which is funny, because I've never been terribly impressed by his pre-New Mutants stuff, having read that first, and thus finding his earlier work boring, for lack of a better word, compared to New Mutants.

In fact, that could be a big part of my issues with Bill S. -- he's one of the first artists I can think of who seemed to deliberately draw characters "off-model".

I'll give you this: I think Bill S. is a great artist, but not necessarily a great X-Men artist, if that makes sense. His characters were definitely off model and his style vastly different from anything else being done at the time, and while I enjoy it as art on its own merits, I definitely agree that it didn't "fit" the look of the books. Consistently and uniformity of vision is important, especially in long form serial narratives like super hero comics, but I just enjoy what he did so much that it outweighs whatever slight frustration I have with him going off model.

(That said, his Cannonball remains my default image of the character, and nobody ever drew Warlock as good as Bill S.; he was such a Bill S. character they should have just written him out of the book when Bill left).

...whose art I really just want to tear up when I see it.

In that case, I'll be sure to keep you away from my New Mutants issues. :)

Teebore said...

@Jeff: The non-Arthur Adams annuals are such a waste of time.

The only other one I'd maybe bring up to the level of the Adams annuals is #11, the Alan Davis one, but it's been awhile since I last read it, so it may not hold up.

Matt said...

"I'll give you this: I think Bill S. is a great artist, but not necessarily a great X-Men artist, if that makes sense."

I can buy this. I would also add that he's not a great Spider-Man artist either, and probably not really a great superhero artist in general, unless he was put on a character like, say, Batman or Daredevil. I still wouldn't care for his exaggerations, but at least his darker, grittier style would fit those characters a little better.

But really, if he was just off doing his own thing, I'd be okay with it. I still wouldn't really like his style, but I also wouldn't feel like he was intruding where he didn't belong. It's the fact that he was placed on a mainstream title like New Mutants, where his style just didn't work -- especially when you had the clean, attractive lines of John Romita Jr. over on X-Men -- that's the problem.

"[Warlock] was such a Bill S. character they should have just written him out of the book when Bill left."

Agreed! The character was so obviously created (or at least designed) to showcase Bill's style, that it's kind of painful watching anyone else try to draw him.

"In that case, I'll be sure to keep you away from my New Mutants issues. :)"

Obviously I was using hyperbole, but that may not be a bad idea, just in case!

Anyway, sorry to go all anti-Bill S. in the comments to an issue that has nothing to do with him. I will now bottle up my hatred and let it simmer and build until you get to New Mutants #18, at which point I will unleash it once again, stronger and more vile than ever before!

Teebore said...

@Matt: I will now bottle up my hatred and let it simmer and build until you get to New Mutants #18, at which point I will unleash it once again, stronger and more vile than ever before!

And I will be ready to again feebly and fruitlessly defend it! :)

Blam said...


I have no holiday-related excuse for my lack of comments this week. Just behind on stuff...

The first time I saw the Badoon was in some random, late-'70s Guardians of the Galaxy story, a guest appearance or a Marvel Presents issue. And I reacted pretty much like the X-Men (especially the ladies) do here, with repulsion, although to be fair just about everything regarding the GOTG creeped me out a bit at circa 7 years old — "Charlie 27" was a weird name for a superhero; Vance Astro had vaguely haunting time-discordance stuff going on plus one of those full-face masks that conformed to his features which I never liked as a kid; Starhawk was a man and a woman. Adults, we lifelong comic-book readers know, have little discernment when it comes to picking up something from the store for us, which in my generation usually meant disappointment to a superhero fan presented with a random Harvey "kiddie" comic or Charlton TV tie-in but could also mean being freaked out by horror-inflected SF with vaguely superhero trappings like Woodgod or Killraven / War of the Worlds in a Marvel showcase series.

Quick thoughts:

While I don't love the art on this issue — the layout's pretty good, but the rendering is uneven — that's a really neat effect with Sue on bottom Pg. 7 (which you can really only get monochromatically, so good on Glynis Wein too).

Sashia has been sending Storm dreams for two weeks and she's just waiting in that clearing where the X-Men show up at that moment because... she knew it would take that long for them to take the hint?

I like the debate between Wolverine and Nightcrawler quite a bit; it could've felt too prosaic or belabored or expository, but it doesn't.

The blast of Scott's involving Reed's stretching and Sue's force-field ability was rather genius — unlike, say, the Z'Nox business, it actually made sense.

Blam said...


Matt: I never thought about that. Perhaps he was satisfied! It seems unlikely, but it's not impossible. I think he was still somewhat reasonable in 1981.

Ha!

Teebore: I'll just say that I'm a guy who loves his puns/lame jokes, and that title is a bit much even for me...

I was a kid when the "Ooh la la... Sasson" commercials aired (pronounced, in the ads, "Sasoon") and I thought that the pun was ridiculously frivolous for a serious comic book — still do. 8^)

mortsleam: I'm a huge fan of Brent Anderson. ... My only problem with him is that he draws Wolverine too lanky.

Yeah, I agree. In fact I called out a weird panel, which I mostly love, from #150 as seeming a lot more Anderson then Cockrum on my blog recently. Wolverine should be short 'n' beefy, which folks from Byrne to Paul Smith have done in their own ways exceedingly well.

Although I must say that overall I'm not as big a fan of Anderson as you. I appreciate his work technically, and I thought that the dark, "grown-up" feel (even in relation to the relatively mature X-Men series) that he brought to God Loves, Man Kills worked well. But I suspect — more than suspect, having seen his pencils — that it often loses something in the inking. What constantly frustrated me with it on Astro City was how the highly fussy colors were at odds with Anderson's fine figure work and feathering, something not at all unique to that project in the past couple of decades when computer separations became the norm.

VW1: ladvat — n. Melting pot for reconstituting unwanted male members of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

VW2: sitare — n. Nasty look from Ravi Shankar.

Some of these buggers are just a bitch to type right, but I also think that Blogger just rejects me outright now and then to show it's boss. Five tries and counting!

Blam said...


Matt: And let me interrupt myself to mention that I loved Bill's work on Moon Knight. ... [F]or some reason, Bill S. elicits possibly the most visceral responses from me of any artist I've ever looked at. There are good artists who I love and bad artists who I hate, and then there's Bill S., whose art I really just want to tear up when I see it.

I'm totally opposite on this. Until his New Mutants stuff, I hadn't paid much attention to Sienkiewicz as a Neal Adams clone; his Moon Knight work wasn't bad, and indeed he's a darn sight better than many other Adams clones, but when he started to push things I loved it. To me really great things happen when you have someone who has all the foundations nailed, who can draw or paint very realistically, and then he (or she) jumps off from there back into the realm of the stylized and fantastic. Sienkiewicz getting all angular on round edges and spattering ink and just exaggerating stuff, intelligently and with purpose, was/is awesome. Bob McLeod on New Mutants was fine, but so pedestrian compared to Sienkiewicz, and I can't imagine McLeod drawing, say, "Demon Bear". Furthermore, I always appreciated Sal Buscema's journeyman professionalism but never really cared for his work, yet when Sienkiewicz was inking him during that spell I thought that it was a surprisingly brilliant marriage.

You're more than allowed to have artists with styles you just can't stand, though; I could rattle off more than a few, some of whom, like Frank Quitely, are almost universally celebrated.

Teebore: I think Bill S. is a great artist, but not necessarily a great X-Men artist, if that makes sense.

While I think that it makes sense in theory, I'll disagree in the specifics. I love me the George Pérez, especially the classic Pérez of my teenage years, but I never thought that he quite clicked on what little X-Men work he did (perhaps because of that very fact, his relative lack of familiarity). Sienkiewicz is mostly tied to New Mutants, granted, but I wouldn't put him on a list of artists who don't work on X-Men proper because of that; I like his cover painting to the original TPB of The Dark Phoenix Saga a lot, and the cover to Uncanny #195 that he did with Dan Green is another fave (despite his Wolverine being too long and lean, like Anderson's).

Matt said...

I Googled Bill Sienkiewicz the other day to see if my thoughts on his post-Moon Knight stuff hold up, and I've found that when he wants to, he can still draw in a style that appeals to me. I still think he was ill-placed on New Mutants, though.

Also, I had forgotten he drew THIS, which really helps to dampen my irrational hatred of his artwork...

Teebore said...

@Blam: although to be fair just about everything regarding the GOTG creeped me out a bit at circa 7 years old

Yeah, I've never been a big GotG fan either, though I recently picked up on the cheap a nice Marvel Premiere hardcover featuring their first appearances; I'm interested to see how some of those stories hold up for me now.

Sashia has been sending Storm dreams for two weeks and she's just waiting in that clearing where the X-Men show up at that moment because... she knew it would take that long for them to take the hint?

Ha! I automatically assumed she'd just been camping out there from the moment she started sending the dreams, which isn't much better.

I wouldn't put him on a list of artists who don't work on X-Men proper because of that

I was thinking more in terms of consistency of vision. If one of the goals of long form superhero comics is to present a consistent portrayal of the main characters (even while said portrayals will vary slightly based on individual styles), then Seinkiewicz isn't a great fit on New Mutants, since his work is nothing like anything that came before or after it on the title.

So while it's fantastic on its own merits, it doesn't necessarily "fit" the visual aesthetic of the other artists on the title.

That assumes, of course, that consistency of vision *is* something you believe to be important/strove for. Personally, I do and I don't. I like the characters to be "on model", so to speak, but at the same time, I have a great deal of affection for art takes the characters in a totally different direction with a completely unique vision.

@Matt: Also, I had forgotten he drew THIS, which really helps to dampen my irrational hatred of his artwork...

Love that art. If I recall correctly, that Venture Bros. set came with a set of postcards done by Sienkiewicz that were similarly awesome.

Blam said...


@Teebore: I was thinking more in terms of consistency of vision.

See, I thought that the jarring change from Buscema/McLeod (which I didn't like as much as straight-up McLeod) to Sienkiewicz was an active move forward in expressing the New Mutants' adolescence. Not that I necessarily thought of it that way consciously until now... 8^). Going in that direction made sense; going back to a more youthful, "conservative" style after that did not, but then again I dropped the title when Sienkiewicz left for a variety of reasons.

Teebore said...

@Blam: Going in that direction made sense; going back to a more youthful, "conservative" style after that did not

Oh yeah; don't get me started on the horrid Bret Blevins art that followed Sienkiewicz. I didn't mind it when I was young (and thus the target audience for it) and before I had really read New Mutants in one siting (instead of in pieces as I got a hold of back issues) but even putting aside the different styles, the Blevins art is just not very good, and in the complete wrong direction for the title (something Weezie has fessed up to several times).

wwk5d said...

"some of whom, like Frank Quitely, are almost universally celebrated."

I wouldn't say almost universally celebrated at all...a lot of people, myself, included, aren't fans...

As for the annuals, while only a few of them are spectacular, most of them are just good solid fun. This one is no exception. Again, it's not as good as CC and his artist when they're at their best, but like I said, it's good solid fun, and the pluses for me outweigh the negatives.

Blam said...


All I can say in defense of my blanket statement, wwk5d, is that Quitely sure seems to be "almost universally celebrated" among folks I know and whose opinions I read. Me, I can't stand his stuff. I was just trying to point out, in support of Matt's hate for Sienkiewicz, an example of someone who to me felt like an acknowledged great yet whose art seriously turned me off.