Sunday, June 13, 2010

Uncanny X-Men #525

I understand the reasons behind crossover events. The comics companies want to give you a reason to pick up different titles and lure you into following them.

I realize I'm not a typical comics buyer, but these mega-crossovers have the opposite effect on me - they make me want to drop the title I've been following, rather than pick up additional comics.

If it's a book I enjoy or have been collecting a long time (the two don't necessarily go together), I'll usually just keep buying the issue I follow and ignore the others, assuming I'll be able to keep up.

That's what I've been doing with World War Hulks, for example (only buying the Incredible Hulk comic), and with the Second Coming series running through the X-titles, including the Uncanny X-Men (the only X-book I buy).

The index on the last page lists 21 comic books covering the event over five months, and when it's over I will have bought three issues. Needless to say, even reading the text recap page doesn't fill in the gaps. (Am I the only one who usually ignores those?)

So I'm left feeling like I'm wasting my time, trying to follow a comic that's such a small part of a big, expensive story. It wasn't long ago that I finally dropped the Amazing Spider-Man - a comic I've followed practically since it began - and I feel I'm close to doing likewise with the X-Men.

With all that said, there's a lot to recommend this issue. There's a big story going on here, as the X-Men (and their extended family) are cut off from the world by an impenetrable force field, and those trapped inside are trying to survive an attack by futuristic Sentinels.

The X-Force team (I think) has been sent into a familiar-looking (and terribly bleak) future. Matt Fraction's story cracks along, and I can almost follow what's going on - but it's not enough to entice me to track down all those other issues. (By the way, the dig at the Watchmen movie was just childish.)

The art by Terry and Rachel Dodson is fantastic - some amazing layouts, power splash pages and great characters fill the issue.

But since I'm only getting a small part of the story, I can't help but feel cheated. It's the trap of success - when a comic does well, the company tries to expand the line by offering more titles with the same character(s) - thus we're overwhelmed with comics starring Wolverine, Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, the Avengers and some version of the X-Men.

But more doesn't equal better, and I (for one) would much rather have one comic a month starring those characters that was really outstanding, instead of a dozen mediocre ones. Quality is what counts, not quantity.

At this rate, I'm going to have to drop another comic from my list that I've been reading for more than four decades. A shame, really.

Grade: B


Jim said...

Picked up my first comic when I was three in '68 and I know just how you feel. Didio and co. have ruined a complete run of Titans books, and that title has seen some truly low points. The current books are just horrid. And as to events, any new title I begin buying these days is usually one that I feel is relatively safe from being sucked into the heart of some crossover.

Chuck said...

I guess it must be effective since they keep doing these kinds of crossovers, but I still have to wonder if they don't lose as many readers as they gain.