Sunday, March 10, 2013

All-New X-Men #8

One of the interesting things about the original (1960s) X-Men is that there really wasn't a "breakout" character - one that became more wildly popular than the others (like Wolverine did with the New X-Men in the late '70s).

The original team was made up of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman and Beast. They were all good characters - likable, solid heroes, and each got their turn in the spotlight - but none of them really stood out as being anything more than a solid Marvel-style hero.

But if young Chuck had been forced to name a favorite at the time, it probably would have been the Angel. Which seems surprising, when I think about it, because he was the weakest of the bunch.

His power was: he could fly. That's it. No ray beams, no super-strength - just flying.

But one of the things I liked about him was the fact that he reveled in his abilities. When he flew, he'd talk about the wonderful feeling of freedom - it made it sound like lots of fun. There were lots of heroes who could fly, but the difference is, they all acted like it was nothing unusual. The Angel loved it as much as - I suspect - I would.

In the intervening years, they've worked over the character (sometimes for good, sometimes for ill). They made him into the Archangel, with mechanized wings that fire immobilizing blades.

More recently, after nearly being transformed into the evil Apocalypse, the Angel's mind was wiped and his powers altered.

So I was happy to see this issue with the spotlight on the new Angel (who's much more upbeat) and the original version (who has time-traveled with the rest of the team to the present).

It's an odd little tale, but it gives the Angels a chance to shine, and brings the whole time-travel business to the attention of a certain powerful super-team.

It's a solid issue, though the ending seems to twist a couple of heroes (including a certain favorite of mine) into actions that seem out of character.

But this continues to be a very entertaining story, which is more than I've been anle to say about an X-Men comic for a long time.

Grade: B+


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