Monday, 3 November 2014

Amazing X-Men #4 - Marvel Comics

AMAZING X-MEN No. 4, April 2014
There is something slightly uninspiring about Issue Four of “Amazing X-Men”. A palatable sense that the book’s creative team may well have simply ‘gone through the motions’ when creating a comic that despite shifting 48,161 copies in February 2014, still sold more than three thousand less magazines than its predecessor. This palpable, disconcertingly apathetic aura arguably starts with the twenty-page periodical’s rather bland, monochrome cover illustration which, despite competently depicting an icily frozen Wolverine crouched low in the snow with the svelte figure of Northstar stood shivering some distance in the background, contains so much ‘empty-space’ that it appears both decidedly unfinished and rather rushed.

This sense of haste does not unfortunately dissipate with the publication’s interior artwork either, as Ed McGuiness’ ordinarily most pleasing pencilling worryingly appears slightly ‘out of kilter’ courtesy of some bizarrely amateurish-looking depictions of a heavily-fatigued Jean-Paul Beaubier or an abnormally well-endowed Firestar heating up hell via the mutant’s “ambient electromagnetic energy”. The American’s layouts also seem to contain an unusually high number of large-sized panels and splash pages. Something which invariably suggests there isn’t really all that much going on within the comic’s script to keep the former “Superman/Batman” sketcher fully occupied. Why else would the Beast’s battle with Kurt Wagner take an astonishing five pages just for Storm to remove a demon-possessed sword from Hank McCoy’s back, or it then require an equally lengthy sequence for the fuzzy elf to locate Angelica Jones and Bobby Drake, and subsequently teleport them to safety?

Ultimately Jason Aaron’s substandard storyline would appear to be based solely upon depicting the various X-Men finding one another in the Underworld and forming a rather jovial crew for Captain Nightcrawler, so Dave Cockrum’s swashbuckling co-creation can ready his ship and set sail to do battle with his demonic father’s fleet in the story-arc’s concluding instalment; “I dare say… I was born for this. Raise the flag, X-Men. And let’s go be amazing.” Such an indolent placement of his playing pieces means there’s little, if any, real substance to the contents of the Alabama-born writer’s narrative and all this fourth chapter in “The Quest For Nightcrawler” is noteworthy for is its collection of drawings portraying one of “the most recognisable and successful intellectual properties of Marvel Comics” reacquainting themselves with their former fallen member.
Writer: Jason Aaron, Penciler: Ed McGuiness and Inker: Dexter Vines

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