All-New X-Men 28

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing All-New X-Men 28, originally released June 11th, 2014.

Taylor: Madness fills an interesting role in our imagination. Just enough madness and you’re considered a genius. A little too much madness and you’re considered a nut. We tend to think of someone as being “mad” if they have any of a number of mental defects but retain enough of their personality to still be somewhat coherent. Perhaps the most well known madman of all time is Ahab. His singular quest to destroy the white whale consumed his entire life, even if he did retain the vestiges of a sane man. And that’s perhaps what makes him such a disturbing character. Despite (or perhaps because of ) his madness, he is charismatic. We forget that he’s insane sometimes and actually feel that his quest against Moby Dick is justified. Xavier is similarly hell-bent on killing the X-Men of the past, and similarly might have good reasons for wanting to do so. All-New X-Men 28 has me wondering if this quest is the errand of a madman or the product of love gone awry.

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All-New X-Men 26

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Today,  Patrick and Greg are discussing All-New X-Men 26, originally released April 20th, 2014.

Patrick: Superheroes are tools. No, not the “Superman is such a tool” kind of way, but in that they are all able to act as narrative and emotional shortcuts. Between shapeshifters and psychics, healers and teleporters, extra-dimensional sorcerers and reality-manipulators, there’s really nothing that the X-Men aren’t capable of. The brevity with which they can be used to evoke emotions might be even more impressive — just think of the ennui immediately invoked by the appearance of Jean Grey, or the uneasy sense of righteous revolution that accompanies Magneto. Brian Michael Bendis’ All-New X-Men seems designed to celebrate this tool box: bring the original quintet of X-Men to the present day brings all of those emotional shortcuts to the fore. Issue 26 might be the first time Bendis actually uses those tools, instead of laying them out neatly for us to all to quietly admire before putting them back in their protective cases. Continue reading

Wolverine and the X-Men 37

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Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing Wolverine and the X-Men 37, originally released October 23rd, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Patrick: Marvel and DC are known for their outrageously fun sandboxes. Each publisher has an impossibly large sack of toys to play with, and creators work their entire lives to have access to them. And when they finally get their hands on those toys, the gloves come off, and the story telling gets ambitious, bombastic and spectacular in every sense of that word. Brian Bendis, Brian Wood and Jason Aaron may have been given access to a shallower sandbox, but their gleeful deployment of several versions and generations of the same handful of characters has cast an enormous number of iconic characters into the spotlight. We’ve had the pleasure of watching them wrestle with the emotional result of all of these characters coming together, but Wolverine and the X-Men 37 finally gives us the Battle Royale (of the Atom) we’ve been waiting for. It trips every pleasure-center in my lizard brain, and I’m suddenly 9 years old, playing with my toys in my childhood bedroom. In this way, Battle of the Atom achieves something amazing — not only do I have to confront time traveling X-Men, I have to reconcile my own prepubescent excitement, as it rockets from the past and lands squarely in the present. Continue reading

Uncanny X-Men 13

Alternating Currents: Uncanny X-Men 13, Taylor and Shelby

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Uncanny X-Men 13, originally released October 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Taylor: Mutants share a special connection with one another. Given that they’re discriminated against and face obstacles your average human would never face, it only seems natural that they would find solace in each other’s company. For that reason alone, many a mutant (in particular those who are X-Men) find the idea of mutant fighting mutant to be a violation of an unspoken mutant rule. However, just because mutants are united in their tribulations doesn’t mean they always agree on everything. The classic case of this is the struggle between Magneto and Professor X, who share different ideas of the role mutants should play in the future of humanity. But they aren’t the only two mutants to ever disagree on something and in Uncanny X-Men 13, part of the Battle of the Atom event, we see mutant battling mutant and the anger and sadness it causes.

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Wolverine and the X-Men 36

Alternating Currents: Wolverine and the X-Men 36, Drew and TaylorToday,  Drew and Taylor are discussing Wolverine and the X-Men 36 originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Isn’t it worth a few bruised children to save the entire future?

Xavier

Drew: Sacrifice is a funny thing. If helping others requires harming yourself, people will hail you as a hero, but if it requires someone else being hurt — even with the same net result — people hem and haw about ends justifying means. Obviously, the sticking point is free will; it’s perfectly okay to willingly do something yourself, but each of us must be free to make that choice. Of course, that can become a bit of a sticking point in time travel narratives, where there’s a sense that certain things have to happen — Sarah Connor has to survive to give birth John, Marty McFly’s parents have to kiss at the enchantment under the sea dance — in order for the story to even be possible. We tend to focus on the potential paradoxes there, often forgetting that the affected characters have effectively had their free will’s sacrificed by whatever time-travelers happen to be meddling with their pasts. The morality of that act is under scrutiny in Wolverine and the X-Men 36, as Jason Aaron adds new players to both sides of the debate. Continue reading

Uncanny X-Men 12

Alternating Currents: Uncanny X-Men 12, Drew and ShelbyToday,  Drew and Shelby are discussing Uncanny X-Men 12 originally released September 18th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

atom dividerDrew: I’ve always loved the hypothetical question: “if your friend/family member/significant other committed a crime, would you hide them from the police?” It pits our relationships against our morals, or, more elegantly, our loyalty to people against our loyalty to ideas. What do you value more? Obviously, there are a number of mitigating factors, including the relationship to the given person, and the severity of the crime in question, but the point of the exercise is to think about where those factors start to matter — is this love truly unconditional, or are there conditions that trump it? Some situations are harder to call than others, but Uncanny X-Men 12 might mark the first narrative I’ve ever read where a man is conflicted with the idea of aiding and abetting himself. Continue reading

X-Men 5

Alternating Currents: X-Men 5, Ethan and TaylorToday,  Ethan and Taylor are discussing X-Men 5 originally released September 11th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

atom dividerEthan: If you’ve ever run away from home, or snuck out in the middle of the night to dodge your curfew, or even just stormed off in the middle of a fight, you know the feeling. The conviction that you’d rather be ANYWHERE but where you just left; an undirected need to get away; but the nagging little awareness that your escape is only temporary. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to turn around and confront whatever it is that pushed you away — finish the conversation with your parents, make amends with a friend or significant other — in short, come home. In X-Men #5, we find Jean and Scott on the outbound leg of this sort of journey, and contrary to their fears, they might not have to go home quite as soon as they think.

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All-New X-Men 16

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Today,  Shelby and Ethan are discussing All-New X-Men 16 originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Battle of the Atom event. Click here for our complete coverage of Battle of the Atom.

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Shelby: 

“I think that you X-Men are so used to the space and time and life and death craziness in your lives that you don’t even notice how crazy it is anymore.”

-Triage, All-New X-Men 16

“And which of our numerous, terrible mistakes are you referring to?”

-Wolverine, All-New X-Men 16

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