Friday, January 4, 2013

12 Days of X-Mas: X-Men: Phoenix Endsong #1-5 (2005)

So I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the last time the Phoenix force came back, when it only got a five-issue limited series, not a publishing event to tell the tale.

Greg Pak wrote the series, and it is sort of a mixed bag. I really like his take on Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Jean Grey, but I don’t necessarily love them together. Cyclops is crazy in love with Emma Frost, which is weird, seeing how they’ve been together so long in real time now. Emma Frost is still trying to prove herself to the rest of the X-Men, and the Kitty Pryde vs. Emma Frost conflict is in full effect. Jean Grey is more a force of nature than anything else; in fact, her most moving scene is the one where we see the X-Men remembering their fondest moments with her. 

Pak has done some work I’ve loved over the years, but this stuff is just OK. The exception is Cyclops; I really love his take on the X-Men's long-suffering leader. Cyclops directs the team through each issue, and his unrequited (at the end) love for Jean Grey is palpable in his dialogue.

One thing that really hit home reading this is how much I miss Nightcrawler. He really belongs with the X-Men, and his long team-up with Storm during this story could have used more panel time. The two don’t have complementary powers, really, but they joined the team at the same time and share a lot of history.

Quentin Quire serves as a distraction for all five issues as he tries to get the Phoenix force to ramp up his already omega-level abilities. Angel, Storm, Kitty and Beast all get some work (this is when Angel still had his weird healing blood) but Wolverine is the only other guy given a lot of dialogue. He pines and suffers as Phoenix changes outfits, but his main role is to stab her. It is interesting seeing how many AvX plot points get directly called out here, too. 

As for the art, wow. Greg Land full on draws ladies with no clothes on and counts on the coloring to hide that fact. I swear there are panels with Jean Grey’s bare @$$, it is just painted red to distract you. The adult film faces are in full effect too, Jean Grey is really enjoying herself with all that power. Emma Frost looks like her costume needs to go too. Land actually does a nice job with Nightcrawler, and it does make sense that Angel looks like a model. But wow, Beast totally looks like the Muppet Ralph, a weird mix of dog and lion. 


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