Sunday, October 5, 2003

New X-Men #147 - A Review

Written by: Grant Morrison
Penciled by: Phil Jimenez
Inked by: Andy Lanning
Colored by: Chris Chuckry
Lettered by: Rus Wooton
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The cover makes no secret about what was the surprising revelation at the end of last month’s issue. That is, Magneto… long thought dead in the Sentinel attack that destroyed the nation of Genosha at the beginning of Morrison’s run… is back.

It turns out that he has been masquerading himself as Xorn; a mutant with healing powers who became a teacher at Charles Xavier’s school. Using his position, Mageneto has formed a new Brotherhood of Mutants from the problem students of the school and slowly set about taking out the big guns of the in-house X-Men team. Now, he overlooks the city he has dubbed “New Genosha” and plots his next move as he gloats to his minions and, later, to a subdued Professor Xavier.

Morrison has given the X-books a much needed kick to the pants. Famed for some of his more unusual writings under the Vertigo imprint, Morrison combines his near-trademarked loopy ideas with old school comic book heroics in a way reminiscent of his work on JLA. Morrison has taken quite a bit of flack for some of the revelations he has brought forth, but all of these revelations do make an odd sort of sense. Consider, for instance, how Magneto has apparently discovered how to channel his powers into a healing power; similar to the holistic medical theories about using magnets to treat some major ailments as well as the MRI machines used to diagnose physical disorders. It is an unique idea, but in terms of comic-book science it works quite well.

As for the old school heroics, Morrison depicts Magneto in top form; arrogant as his is powerful, like an opera hero taking the center stage. Yet, Morrison also pokes fun at Magneto’s self-importance, as he tries to deliver a speech from the top of a skyscraper… and gradually realizes that nobody in his captive audience can see him or is taking him seriously. And in a line that stabs at Marvel’s policy of having people yo-you through Death’s Door, to paraphrase Toad “You’ve come back from the dead so many times, a lot of them don’t believe it is really you…”

Sadly, Magneto does get the spotlight throughout his issue and a lot of his Brotherhood members barely make it out of the wings. We do get brief glances as to how some of the members see themselves in the new order and what roles they play but not nearly enough of them. Toad is still toadying away, though he appears to have traded his bowl-cut for an Afro. Bird-boy Beak appears to be serving Magneto more out of fear than any solid belief in Magneto’s ideals. And Esme- blond telepath and ex-Honors student of Emma Frost is setting herself up as the manipulative woman behind the man in a fashion that would do the Emma of the Hellfire club proud.

All of this is gloriously illustrated by frequent Morrison illustrator Phil Jiminez, doing some of the best work I’ve seen since his run on Wonder Woman. Whether it be depicting the various deformities of the freakiest Brotherhood to date, or showing the massive damage that Magneto inflicts with his powers around the island of Manhattan, the pencils are detailed without becoming too cluttered as they often were during Frank Quitely’s tenure on the book.

No comments:

Post a Comment