Monday, January 4, 2016

12 Days of X-Mas: Uncanny X-Men #329 (1996)

Now let's start the review of Ninja Scroll #1! Oops, that actually probably starts a little more obviously next issue, but it sure is clear what Joe Madureira likes to draw. His manga influence is clear, but this is the story where he really gets to indulge it. With Psylocke on the verge of death back at the X-Mansion, Archangel and Wolverine head out to Little Asia to find more mystical help. They end up fighting some generic photoshop smoke ninjas. The poor quality of the photoshop really pulled me out of the comic, making it hard to get through. I don't remember having this problem when I first read the comic, but tricks like this don't age well. Putting Dr. Strange floating in front of an actual picture of New York City just looks distracting, not cool or realistic.

As always, though, Mad excels when drawing the costumed heroes. Archangel and Wolverine look great, even when rocking street clothes. Dr. Strange's big scarf look is well done too.

Scott Lobdell is joined by Jeph Loeb for this arc, and I wish I could say it helped. But there is the same stilted, purple dialogue that can be extremely hard to get through. After all, when the Mandarin changed Psylocke into a ninja, she came back as "something more. And something less." Ugh.

The other thing I noticed in this issue is how overpowering the caption boxes became. This is almost Chris Claremont levels of text crowding each panel. Trust the artist to tell the story, man! Joe Mad can handle it!

I had fond memories of this issue, but on re-reading it, I don't think it quite held up to my memories. The awful photoshop smoke warrior and the captions made it a lot harder to lose myself in the action than some of my other X-Mas reads.


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