Thursday, January 26, 2006

Good News Round-Up

Or: "All Things Just Keep Getting Better"

Okay, from the top:

1) Chris Claremont finally gets the boot off "Uncanny X-Men" after two years of nothing, preceded by six months of nothing, preceded by sixteen years - the first seven of which were excellent, the last nine of which were spent gradually sliding down the ladder of quality. Those who still enjoy his work despite the fact that he's got nothing intelligent or creative or particularly insightful left to say about the X-Men can be comforted with "New Excalibur" and various fringe projects, where he won't be able to embarrass himself. Much.

I must again quote my X-guru on the matter: "I'm an enormous fan of his 1980s work. Wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him. So it makes me sad to see him sullying that run with this frankly dreadful nonsense we're getting now. He could have been remembered as the greatest X-Men writer ever. Now, that statement is going to have to be qualified. 'Not his second [or third] run, you understand. Not that one. The GOOD one. ... Claremont has not been able to write consistently good stories in over a decade. When he was on miniseries, people said it would all be okay when he was on an ongoing title again. When he was on Sovereign Seven, people said it would all be okay once he was on the X-Men again. When he was wrecking Fantastic Four, people said the same thing. (And incidentally, how many of those terrible early plots from his arc did he get around to resolving? None.) And now he's on the X-Men. What's the excuse now? A dwindling number of fans are still trying to argue that we have to think in the long run. It's the only fig leaf they've got left."

2) Claremont's replacement is Ed Brubaker, a writer of great versatility and talent, who has demonstrated a firm grasp of the X-Men in his preliminary miniseries "Deadly Genesis". Combining a sensibility about when (and how much) to use continuity with a fresh perspective, and the added bonus of not being connected to "Civil Bore", the Mighty Marvel Millar Moron Mega-Event... well, what more could I ask for?

3) How about another X-Men book getting some upward mobility? Doomed from the start by stylistic incompatibility, Peter Milligan finally bows out, dismantling his team in his coda storyline, "The Blood of Apocalypse". He's replaced by Mike Carey of Vertigo fame, and while much has been made about his unorthodox choice of cast, I refer the doubters to this Newsarama interview: It's very comforting to see that Carey, unlike some of his predecessors, has devoted quite a bit of thought into who he's writing, and why. And it doesn't connect to "Civil War". The only downside is that Carey will be working with Chris Bachalo, whose recent work looks like he just swallows a bottle of ink and vomits it onto the page.

4) Cassandra Nova - my pick for the best X-Men villainess introduced since Dark Phoenix - makes an appearance in issue 13 of Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men". Nice to know some people haven't forgotten what Grant Morrison brought to the canon.

5) And speaking of the Shiny-Headed Lunatic, Grant Morrison's retooling of the Wildstorm line, scheduled for this summer, will include two series he'll be writing. The first is "Wildcats" (with Jim Lee), which I'm not familiar with but am willing to try provided it's accessible; the other is "Authority" (with Gene Ha), a book I have been waiting for this particular writer to get to since Millar left it. Be still my frontal lobe. :) Gail Simone will be writing "Gen13" (with Talent Caldwell), which falls into the same category of "Wildcats", but I'm optimistic.

6) "Ultra", one of my favorite recent miniseries by the Luna Brothers, has been picked up for a television series adaptation. A tribute to its quality.

And there was much rejoicing in comicsdom. :)