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Review Group: X-Men Forever Annual #1

Written by John Martin on Monday, April 26 2010 and posted in Reviews

Jude Terror had the pick for new comics shipping April 21st and he of course selected X-Men Forever Annual #1 by Chris Claremont and Sana Takeda.


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The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

Welcome to the X-Men Forever Do-Over! The first X-Men Forever week? Disaster. This X-Men Forever week? Less so.
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0421-xmfannual_cover.jpgReview by thefourthman

Well, that was a much more pleasant experience then the last issue, so Fly Goes By.

The art is amazing. The romantic scenes are handled nicely, but once the Hand shows up and then even more so when the team shows up to save the day, the book becomes dynamic and the art compels the reader to keep reading, making the second half of the book fly by. However, while Takeda provides brilliant and beautiful art for close up or intimate scenes and great action sequences, the look is morphed and awkward when a panel pans out.

The gist of the plot is funny things are happening and Fury hires Logan and Jean to go do reconnaissance somewhere in the South Pacific. Unfortunately, a bunch of security devices seem to be playing with the psychic's powers, or is it something more sinister.

The writing is better this time around, even if there are groan inducing lines like "We've no one to save but ourselves." Other than a few clunky lines like that, it doesn't seem to be the relentless cheese fest of the last issue I read for the RG a while back.

Spoiler:

My only real gripe with the book is that there is not much explanation given for the brainwashing done to Logan, much less how Jean breaks free of it. However, when a device is that weakly employed the stupid love will save us all way out of it is much more believable, if not any less exasperated sigh worthy.

This was not a great comic, but it was not a horrible cheese filled nostalgia fest either, it felt fresh and new. It is easy to see why someone might be enamored with a book with this much charm. That being said, it still really isn't my thing.

Story 7
Art 8
Overall 7.5

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Review by starlord

I was surprised the last time we reviewed this how much I actually enjoyed the issue. This time, not so much. Not a fan of the art which in my mind borders dangerously close to manga at times.

The plot seems horribly weak with little explantation of how Logan and Jean are really able to escape the danger they are in. I cringed several times at the dialogue and for a brief moment wondered if all 1980's dialogue was that hokey.

I was very dissapointed since I enjoyed the last issue I read. Though everyone has an off issue now and then.

Story: 5
Art: 3
My Score: 4.5


08.jpgReview by Spicy Dick

X-men Forever Whatever

5


Review by 48THRiLLS

This was an okay, not a big X-Men fan so that is saying a lot. I did really enjoy the art though and I thought the coloring was great. I guess this is a story which takes place prior to where the book currently is which is weird considering this whole series takes place in the past or whatever. Anyways it is the story of the beginning of Jean and Logan's secret romance and ninjas!
My main complaint is Claremont's over usage of thought bubbles having to spell out every little detail of the plot but it still reads okay I guess. It was about as good as the last X-Men Forever book we reviewed, in the end it is just not my thing but that could be more of a me refusing to get involved in anything X-Men oriented. I would write more but I didn't love this enough to gush and I didn't hate it enough to tear it apart.

STORY - 5.5
ART - 8.5
OVERALL - 7

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Review by Jude Terror

Fantastic Issue! First of all, the art in this one was just beautiful. X-Men Forever, while featuring some talented artists, has been very rushed at times and suffered from revolving writer-itis, which causes it to lose some consistency and hurts overall (though it is still awesome, of course). Seeing an artist like Takeda take on Claremont's writing is a sight to behold.

The story was satisfying on several levels. For one, of course, it fills in some gaps between Uncanny X-Men and X-Men Forever, but it also explores some concepts from Uncanny that we never got to see, and thanks to what occurred in the twenty years between Claremont's Uncanny and Forver, never will. For instance, Wolverine becomes an assassin for The Hand, if only for a few pages. This was, of course, something Claremont had intended to do with Logan before his run on Uncanny ended, but once he got back to Forever, had already been done by Millar in Enemy of the State. This was obviously a nod to that, and a hint of a storyline that might have been.

The big story, of course, was the relationship between Logan and Jean, hinted at and teased in many issues of Uncanny, but never brought to resolution. Here, Claremont finally brings it to a head, the issue ending with a kiss between the two, with Jean stating that she was making her choice. The moment is bittersweet of course, as we know that Logan will soon be dead, and the romance a tragic one, and this gives the moment conflicting layers of emotion. Another hint of something that might have been.

I didn't see any problems with the dialog that some others did, though of course I recognized Claremontisms when I saw them (We've no one to save us but ourselves!) To me, they're charming, reminiscent of a more innocent time in comics.

X-Men Forever has been firing on all cylinders, and anyone who hasn't been reading should really pick this sup in trades. Like anything by Claremont, the longer it runs, the better it gets as subplots are piled upon subplots and multiple storylines start to come together after simmering for ten to twenty issues. Hopefully, this series will continue for as long as the original Uncanny run.

10/10

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Review by amlah6

Nice simple stand alone story. More of a refreshing throwback than the continuity porn that we experienced last time around with XMF. I liked the art a lot. Pretty, pretty colors.

Story: 7
Art: 8
Overall: 7.5

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Review by guitarsmashley

Bad Jude. Maybe it's because I didn't read comics 20 years ago but why are there so many thought balloons? Characters can just do they don't need to narrate. I will go ahead and spare you the frustration of reading my review because it was awful and the art looked barely finished.

2

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Review by Chubbles

X-Men forever is one of those books that people either love or hate and there's not much room in the middle. I really enjoyed the first several issues but then I just didn't have the time to keep up so I have been slacking on my reading. Takeda is one of my favorite artists, her syle is just gorgeous. She draws absolutely beautiful women and the scenes just flow so incredibly well. Her Ms. marvel run was awesome as well, she was perfect for that book. Anyways, needless to say the art is the highlight of this book as the story is ok but nothing gripping or thought provoking happens. I always thought Logan and Jean should be together since Scott's pretty much banged anything he could get his hands on. It was cool seeing them together in this issue. The fight with the Hand was cool but the whole reasoning behind who the big bad was never really discussed and i was confused by the plot a little. I don't mind the thought bubbles. I'm glad they are not in every book i read but claremont uses them just fine here. He has gone overboard with them in the past but it's acceptable here.

Story 6
Art 9.5
Overall 7.75
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That gives X-Men Forever Annual #1 a group score of 6.41. Watch your backs guitarsmashley and starlord, Jude doesn't take kindly to low XMF scores. Yell

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Thanks to Eyjafjallajökull, not everyone could get their grubby little hands on copies of XMF Annual. Reviewer's Choice FTW!
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0421-uxm210_cover.jpgReview by Punchy

Story - Much like the 'All-New, All-Different' X-Men were brought together by Krakoa, the living island, a natural disaster has effected this week's Review Group for me. The Icelandic Volcano has meant that there are no comics in the UK this week, and therefore no X-Men Forever. So instead I've decided to review another Claremont X-Men, any Claremont X-Men really, I wasn't bothered which, so I just chose this one based on the cover. It's a bad-ass cover for sure, but unfortunately this is kind of an average issue, really just a breather, setting up future stories, in particular, the famous 'Mutant Massacre'.

This issue mainly features a series of character moments, you have the mysterious Marauders hunting down some Morlocks, setting up the crossover, you've got Dazzler being bitchy, Rogue hunting for Phoenix II, Magneto being offered membership of the Hellfire Club, Shadowcat and Colossus rescuing Nightcrawler and Storm and Wolverine working out some leadership issues. Because I hadn't read the previous issue (which was the X-Men Vs Hellfire Club and Nimrod, say what you want about older comics, but they do exposition the hell out of you), a lot of this character stuff was lost on me, I was just confused about why Magneto was leading the team, and how there could be an X-Men book with only one page of Wolverine. I did like how the original X-Factor kind of hovered around the book, with most of the characters thinking that they were Mutant hunters and not actually the original X-Men.

Claremont's writing was mixed here, there are some of his usual quirks and problems, over long dialogue, clunky descriptions of character's powers, and I counted at least 2 passioned mutant equality speeches. But there were also more subtle moments, and even some humour, 'don't you dare fight in here -- This is Bloomingdales!'. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it had me chuckling.

Overall, this was an odd issue, I enjoyed it on the whole, partly out of... not nostalgia, because I wasn't born when the issue came out, but from that nice feeling you get from reading an old comic, transported back to another time and place, I was in the 80s, I was experiencing the X-Men in their pomp, and Claremont in his, it was interesting to visit this period I've read about and know about, but never actually read. Part of that even comes from the ads, the pimping of the New Universe, Gumby, all that stuff, glorious.

But really, it was an issue in which nothing much happened, and there were some bad moments. Maybe I should have picked a different issue.

Art - The art here comes from John Romita Jnr, one of the best Marvel artists of all time, but this is 80s JRjr, and he's not quite at the level he's reached today yet, part of that may be due to the old-fashioned colouring, it makes his art look flat, even compared to the cover, it looks washed-out. I did also notice that at this time (1986) his art isn't as distinctive as it is now, you can still clearly see it's him, but it's smoother, and actually more reminiscent of his dad's work.

Best Line - 'Gentlemen! Gentlemen!! Don't you dare fight in here -- This is Bloomingdales!!!'

7/10
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For lots of talk about the pick two weeks from now, join us in this week's thread found in the News Stand forum where you are invited to post your own review!

Comment or post your own review!
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0428-siegesw_cover.jpgGLX has the pick for next week and he has selected Siege: Secret Warriors published by Marvel Comics. Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning.

Siege: Secret Warriors

WRITER: Jonathan Hickman
PENCILS: Alessandro Vitti

Nick Fury’s plans are revealed in Siege: Secret Warriors, from the team of Jonathan Hickman and Alessandro Vitti! One-Shot/$2.99


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