Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

13 January 2010

X-Men: The Shattering (mini review)

I’ve been struggling with Peter Gross and Mike Carey’s The Unwritten, v. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity. I started the review last Friday, but I still can’t decide what to make of it: the beginning of an exciting metatextual saga or a lot of potential wasted on an overexposed copy of Harry Potter with a penchant for pointing out literary geography? It’ll probably be somewhere in the middle, but to which side of the middle? Find out Freya Day.

X-Men: The Shattering coverSo, while I figure that one out, I will note that I just read X-Men: The Shattering. This book mainly duplicates the contents of Astonishing X-Men: Deathwish. Aside from the more appropriate name, there are two main differences: one, Shattering costs about $20 more new, and 2) it contains five more issues (X-Men #93-4 and Uncanny X-Men #372-4).

Is it worth the extra Jackson for five issues? No, not really, unless you’re slightly obsessive about your collected editions. (You know who you are.) Admittedly, X-Men #94 is a double issue, and there are a few pages at the end of Shattering from the X-Men 1999 Yearbook. But those pages are low-rent versions of the out-of-context ramblings that made “Stryfe’s Strike File” such a classic back in the early ‘90s. And the extra issues add to the crossover style conflicts, with the high point being Alan Davis (mainly) doing a workmanlike job. Do you get joy from seeing people do workmanlike jobs? I do not either.

On the other hand, the extra story does make the nonsense at the end slightly more comprehensible, and it does water down the bad taste that is Astonishing X-Men #1-3. The first time around, I found Astonishing inoffensive; this time, it was a chore to go through.

So if you need to read this — I don’t know why, maybe it’s an Apocalypse fetish, although that would make me weep — go for Deathwish. The stories haven’t really aged that well in the decade since Deathwish came out, and you can still buy Deathwish new online. (Although the price difference drops to about $10 on Amazon.)

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