Friday, 15 April 2016

Amazing X-Men #6 - Marvel Comics

AMAZING X-MEN No. 6, June 2014
Whilst this comic book series’ sixth and final contribution by Jason Aaron undeniably contains plenty of action, such as a motorbike chase and an armoured van-jacking, as well as more guest appearances than any of this publication’s 45,095 strong audience could ever have wished for. Its basic plot does unfortunately rather boil down to an uninspiringly simple tale of Kurt Wagner’s mother, Raven, attempting to kill Azazel before her former lover can be successfully transported to Rykers Island penitentiary by S.H.I.E.L.D. Transport Zeta.

So straightforward a storyline was clearly was never going to sustain a twenty-page periodical, nor arguably hold the attention of any casually perusing bibliophile. But the Alabama-born author’s decision to ‘pad’ the narrative out with an X-Man “get together” at Harry’s Hideaway public house was arguably not the solution this comic's creative team was hoping for. Indeed the overly cheerful ‘Welcome Home Nightcrawler’ drinking celebration, which even features a brief cameo by Captain Britain and Meggan, essentially doesn’t come to an end until this publication is almost half-finished. Hardly the most auspicious of starts for an edition dramatically advertised by “Marvel Worldwide” as one which may well see the fuzzy blue elf “returning to the afterlife very soon”; even if partway through the festivities Scott Summers and his Extinction Team do arrive and gate-crash the party.

Fortunately once a momentarily-disguised Mystique learns of Azazel’s secret destination and starts waving a firearm in her son’s face, Aaron’s writing undoubtedly picks up pace, and this “Family Feud” soon has Wagner riding atop his father’s bullet-proof conveyance battling red bamfs whilst simultaneously trying to teleport the vehicle’s hapless S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives to safety. This wonderfully dynamic sequence even allows the Shelby County High School graduate to demonstrate just how devilishly evil the Neyaphem’s leader is by having the red-skinned demonic humanoid mutant allow his “children” to murder a trapped guard before the man could ‘mercifully’ take his own life…

Perhaps the biggest disappointment to “All In The Family” however has to be Cameron Stewart’s artwork. Admittedly there is nothing actually unpleasant about the Joe Shuster Award-winner’s illustrations themselves. In fact the sense of speed the Canadian imbues his action sequences with is quite simply breath-taking, especially his drawings of Mystique powering her motorbike over an upturned van, her dual pistols firing for all they’re worth. What is frustrating though, is the fact that “Marvel Worldwide” never forewarned its readership of the change from regular artist Ed McGuinness in its marketing, and even has the popular “Superman/Batman” sketcher continue to draw this comic’s cover. As a result it comes as something of a surprise to encounter Stewart’s somewhat ‘rougher’ pencilling style within the book’s interior pages, and therefore takes a little while to appreciatively acclimatise to his work.
Writer: Jason Aaron, Penciler: Cameron Stewart and Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg

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