Wednesday, May 26, 2010

X-Men: Liberators (1999)

My most recent random story grab was this 4-issue limited series from 1999. I remember thinking it was ok, so let's see how it holds up!
Joe Harris' story actually reads surprisingly well. Harris opens each issue with a nice, quick anecdote of Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Wolverine as they became friends, giving a nice sense of depth to the four friends' journey to Russia to visit the grave of Colossus' parents.

I'm a huge Colossus fan, but I'm surprised to find Nightcrawler the most fun character in this series. Colossus does spend too much time moping and while Wolverine is best when hanging out with his friends, he doesn't get too much unique stuff to do here. The three heroes are traveling through Russia when they sort of link up with a disgusting death-mutant with powers similar to Omega Red. Of course, Omega has to show up, this is an X-story in Russia after all. I did like seeing Omega and this sloppy mutant fight, their similar power sets make it a fairly undramatic fight as the two just drain each others' life force. The X-guys do get some nice moments in the conflict, although the series is a bit short on super-fights.

Harris has a tendency to be really talky in his caption boxes. I couldn't skip them though, because sometimes he has a nice observation or moment there, it's just that most of the time they are unnecessary. All in all, he does a nice job giving three of the most popular X-Men a side-quest that works well for all of them. I like the going drinking and traveling together parts more than the secret orphanage plot, but overall, this is an entertaining story.

Phil Jimenez starts out strong but by the end of the series fill-in artists and inkers are having to carry more of the load. I'm guessing Jimenez likes Nightcrawler, because he looks the best in every issue. Jiminez does a nice job on the classic pointed-shoulder costume for Colossus. I wish he would have done the square-shouldered one in a flashback, that would have been neat!


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