Thursday, April 09, 2009

AMBFAD (Comic) Book Club

I've continually extolled the virtues of one of my favorite comic artists, Mike Allred, w/ earlier full-fledged love-fests over both 'Madman' and 'Red Rocket 7'...only the art of Kirby and Ditko before him can elicit such a vibe. Currently, i'm finishing up the TPB's for his interesting contribution to Marvel's X-Men franchise in the 'X-Statix' spin off that ran from 2002-2004.

Originally, Allred was paired w/ Peter Milligan to helm a revamp of X-Force but, X-Force was canceled with issue #129 in 2002 and re-named X-Statix. There were a few tweaks made to the previous team, but characters more like popstars or reality TV contestants than traditional superheroes remained. Milligan continued an uber-satirical take on the superhero team and general cynicism toward the entire genre that alienated a lot folks w/ their take on X-Force...but garnered some decent critical response from folks like Rolling Stone.

Outside of Mike's fantastic art, it's a page-turner for the off-the-wall storylines rooted in the parity between superheroes and the cult of celebrity. Even though I love the more traditional stuff, I equally enjoy weirder twists on the genre. That said, at some points, Milligan's writing seems too forced (or maybe canned)...even for a comic book. Regardless, you have to give props to a writer so no-holds-barred, he was prepared to deploy Princess Diana as a character in a story-arc beginning in X-Statix #13...slated to return from the dead as a mutant superhero.

That didn't happen (public outcry), but the overall series so far is still a biting commentary you can sink your teeth into. Unfortunately, after a story-arc that pitted X-Statix against The Avengers, low sales prompted the title's cancellation in 2004. In the last issue Milligan and Allred killed off the entire team, serving up one one last parody of the superhero genre, while tying up the remaining plot threads. Luckily, this freed up Allred to do more Madman and his own take on the superhero team, The Atomics...which, i'm sure i'll pimp later.

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