Friday, June 4, 2010
X-Men/Alpha Flight (1998)
Man, there sure were a lot of pretty decent X-Men limited coming out in the late 90's. I still say this era gets a bad rap. Heck, this was co-plotted and penciled by John Cassady, it must pretty, at least!
This is a pretty solid little mini dealing with James Hudson's sale of early Guardian prototypes to Hydra. I'm pretty sure we saw them in Alpha Flight -1 or one of those flashbacky type issues of the time. I have vague memories of seeing these suits before. Hydra is run by Baron Strucker who is big, fat, sweaty, dirty, and generally non-threatening. I don't remember era of the character but it is amusing seeing him like this compared to his more modern portrayals.
The X-Men is the team from around the mid-150's, I think. So we've got Kitty Pryde but not Rogue. Colossus and Kitty are about to go on their first date, when they are attacked by Hydra. Strucker grabs all the X-Men, and Guardian rallies Alpha to come to the rescue. There are some nice character moments scattered throughout. Colossus tosses Puck on a Fastball Special. Sasquatch gets some awesome feats of strength. I always like Snowbird too, she's such a cool idea, I wish there were more good comics with her in them (she has the power to turn into any creature of the North). Ben Raab, Cassady's co-writer, never really wrote spectacular stuff, but he did solid super-hero work that holds up nicely, especially with nice art.
Cassady's art is awesome, even back in 98. He draws more feet per issue than any other artist I can think of; there are numerous full-body shots of people talking to each other. It's a neat look, seeing the bottom of the panel function as the floor of the room. His Sasquatch looks tremendous, and I loved that old Shaman costume too, so that was fun to see. Cassady already has a great feel for Wolvie, Cyke, Colossus, and Kitty. It's clear he liked the characters even this long before Astonishing X-Men.