Uncanny X-Men; Demo; Teen Titans/Legion Special; Youngblood: Bloodsport
Uncanny X-Men #450
by Chris Claremont, Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Much better than the previous couple of issues, Claremont begins with several character bits before launching into a storyline involvine a mutant killer in District X, finally remembering that whole 'XSE' thing. It's not the greatest story in the world, but it doesn't jump all over nonsensically like the previous story. Claremont is using thought balloons and narrative captions, techniques that have pretty much been abandoned in comics these days, but for which the verbose Claremont is well-known. Of course, the real reason for picking up Uncanny is for the art by Davis & Farmer, and they don't disappoint. The opening two-page splash of Rachel & Kurt playing at fighting zombie pirates is great, and their storytelling is strong throughout. (An uncharacteristic mishap occurs on the last page though, as Davis breaks the 180 degree rule, causing some confusion as to who was popping their claws in the second panel.)
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)
by Brian Wood & Becky Cloonan
The stories in Demo run hot or cold for me, but I generally liked this story, with a twist near the end that I didn't see coming, even though we've been perfectly set up for it. But Cloonan's art--usually pretty strong if a bit unpolished--seems very weak this time out. It appears rushed; Wood writes in his afterword that Cloonan is the fatest artist he's ever worked with--it might behoove her to slow down a bit, as I think she's capable of some very good work if she gives herself the chance.
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)
Teen Titans/Legion Special #1
by Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Marc Campos, & Barry Kitson
Picking up where last month's Teen Titans left off, this crossover--mostly one big fight scene--sets the stage for both the Titans time travel arc and the Legion reboot. It does a less great job of wrapping up the current legion though, leaving the heroes in an unsatisfactory limbo. Despite the big battle, Waid & Johns fit in some character moments, particularly with Kid Flash and XS. This story also serves to highlight some of the huge continuity holes that are going to be left by the reboot, but then those types of problems have existed since the last reboot during Zero Hour. I'm probably giving this an extra half point for purely nostalgic reasons. Plus, somebody remembered Koko!
Rating: 3 (of 5)
Youngblood: Bloodsport #1
by Mark Millar & Rob Liefeld
I imagine that there are 12-year-old boys across the land who are snickering mightily at the 'edgy' humor, but the rest of us are just going to find this immature. As for the story, it's the flip-side of Millar's Wanted, with the heroes triumphant and bored rather than the villains. But the villains in Wanted are more interesting--if only because they're all analogues to the DC villains we all know--and Liefeld is certainly no J. G. Jones. And the major plot, when Millar gets past the juvenile sex jokes, just makes no sense. Why would a bunch of heroes want to kill each other off just to take part in some sort of interdimensional Youngblood team? Sure maybe there would be one or two who are unstable enough to think that's a good idea, but the remainder would certainly take them down and Graves as well. Maybe Millar is going someplace intersting with this, but given the low road taken by this first issue I highly doubt it. But then, what are the chances we'll ever see a second issue of this anyway? Oh well, at least it's got a pretty Frank Quitely cover.
Rating: 1.5 (of 5)