Chris Bachalo packs every panel with overwhelming amounts of detail as he guides Wolverine, Spider-Man, Emma Frost, Storm and Gambit through the Manhattan sewers, on a child and lizard scavenger hunt.
Credits & Solicit Info:
X-Men #9 - "To Serve and Protect" part 3
Writer: Victor Gischler
Pencils and Colors: Chris Bachalo
Publisher: Marvel - If you did not know that, stop reading comics now.
Official Marvel.com Summary: "The X-Men, with Spider-Man's help, return to the depths of the Manhattan sewers to rescue the outcast teens that have fallen into the clutches of a mysterious menace. But Logan, Emma and crew are about to walk into a trap that strikes to the very core of their DNA, and the surprise villain pulling the strings is an all-too-familiar face! Can the X-Men save the innocents when they might not even be able to save themselves?
22 Pages: Not counting ads, of course
On some level you have to feel bad for the unknown man or woman who goes to an award show with a nominated star. The star is being interviewed left and right while not one person cares about the star's guest. It is quite rare when the interviewer says, "Ah that's an interesting story about your popular movie, but who is this random person with you and what do they think?" This is the experience X-Men #9 writer Victor Gischler ends up having when paired with the force of nature that is artist Chris Bachalo.
X-Men #9, the third part of the "To Serve and Protect" storyline, has Spider-Man accompanying a small group of X-Men as they scour the sewers of Manhattan in search of nerd children who were dragged away by lizard-people. The issue opens with Wolverine literally cutting some of the lizard-people into pieces. Wolvie stabbing a lizard-lad through the head and cutting another's arm off (as seen below) are just some of the energetic battle highlights in X-Men #9.
The heroes continue on through the sewers only to discover they are too late to complete mission FLN (Find Lost Nerds). Stupid acronyms aside, I found myself not caring about the story, and instead, wondering about irrelevant things such as: Why are the abducted kids nerdy loners? I'm pretty sure a strong lizard-freak can grab a couple taking a stroll in the park or a whole pod of hipsters (yes, the scientific name for groups of dolphins and hipsters is the same) while not being noticed. In the hipsters' case I doubt anyone would even care.
Once I finished reading X-Men #9 I realized the whole point of this reptile-romp was simply to see what Chris Bachalo would do. The Marvel team threw a few popular characters at Bachalo and asked him to go crazy. And go crazy he did.
Bachalo's signature art is Herbie Hancocked all over this issue. His hyper-exaggerated body designs and jam-packed panels overwhelm X-Men #9 to the point of visual suffocation. With so much detail and movement in every scene the comic book ends-up wearing readers out by the time they hit the last lizard infected page. The art is, as always, amazing. I'm not saying it isn't. But damn Chris. Give a reviewer a moment to catch his breath.
Overwhelming art. So-so story. Done.
(Side Note: Including in this note, the word "lizard" was used 6 times in this review.)
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Review by: Dom Gazzuolo