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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

X-aminations in August 2019 & January 1995 Power Rankings

As summer winds down, so too does "Age of Apocalypse", as we reach some of the series' fourth and final issues next month. Quick note: I've been traveling (somewhat unexpectedly) the last couple of weeks (and am again later this week), which has been the cause of some of the posting delays. I don't expect to be able to get X-Universe #1 posted until late this week or early next, but I should be staying put (with regular internet connections & my regular schedule) next week.

Also, I've never been terribly good at keeping up with current comics (in part because of the need to read stuff for these reviews, which always take priority), but I have read House of X #1 and am hoping to post some comments on it and the subsequent HOX/POX issues on Twitter, in an effort to force me to stay at least partially current. If I can find an easy (read: with minimal formatting effort) way to re-post those mini reviews here, I will, but otherwise, you can read them by following me on Twitter @AustinGorton.

On Sale March 1995
August 7: Generation Next #3
August 8: X-Man #3

On Sale April 1995
August 14: Astonishing X-Men #4
August 15: Factor X  #4
August 16: Weapon X #4

August 21: Amazing X-Men #4
August 22: Gambit and the X-Ternals #4
August 23: X-Calibre #4

August 28: X-Men Chronicles #2

January 1995 Power Rankings
Ranking the AoA titles individually is interesting because, unlike in the "prime" reality, all of the series are, structurally, in the same place: launching a new book while tying in to the larger event-wide narrative. So judging them comes to down, in all cases, deciding which ones handle their setup better, are still entertaining while doing it, and, of course, the art. It's also interesting because, for the most part, none of these books are bad (at least at this point). Pretty much all of the creators are on point, and even the worst of these issues is still, ultimately, just average.

1. Factor X #1
2. Generation Next #1
3. X-Man #1

With Factor X, Moore & Epting lay a moody setting filled with Shakespearean machinations over the AoA template, to great effect. In Generation Next, Lobdell & Bachalo barely miss a creative beat, picking up where they left off with Generation X. And X-Man takes advantage of a unique-for-AoA setting and it's more Campbellian hero's journey plotline to rise above the pack.

4. Amazing X-Men #1
5. Astonishing X-Men #1
6. Gambit and the X-Ternals #1

All three of these issues are especially setup heavy, with Astonishing, while featuring arguably the best art of the three, suffering from repeating a lot of the same plot beats as other series (and X-Men Alpha), while Gambit suffers from the worst art of the three, even as it does some interesting things by dropping it's down-to-earth characters into a space opera.

7. Weapon X #1
8. X-Calibre #1

X-Calibre is the weakest of the various introductory setup issues, in that it is merely average, whereas the rest are pretty good. Weapon X, meanwhile, feels a little thin, borrowing plot elements from Factor X and Amazing X-Men in its first issue and struggling to differentiate its version of Wolverine from the Prime one.

9. X-Men Chronicles #1
The biggest problem this issue has is that's it's largely unnecessary. Which isn't the worst thing to be, but still.

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