Sunday, January 4, 2015

X-Men by Chris Claremont issue #6 (1992)

The only memorable thing about this issue was the fact that it was such an utter mess! It was alienating which therefore made it a rather frustrating read. It's never a good sign when every other page I turn to makes me involuntarily mutter different variations of "No, no, no," under my breath. It just isn't. And it's not okay.

There are only a few things I genuinely liked about this issue entitled Farther Still which also coincidentally summarizes the deluge of feelings I have as I painfully crawled my way through reading the scenes that did not make any sense to me.

Again, a few things I liked: (1) the fact that Psylocke was suddenly under Matsuo's command and is now betraying her teammates much to her chagrin. You would think this should increase the stakes but it all feels underwhelming. So why would I like it? Because it's Psylocke and the bitch needs to have more roles even if it's the bad-guy one. She's quite an underappreciated telepath for me considering what a badass she is because she also has 'em ninja skills.

Another thing I liked was (2) Sabertooth making an appearance because that entire scene with the captive X-Men and the villains gathered around him was hilarious. Everyone is making a light of the situation for some reason like this was just another day at the office. I specifically took pleasure when Sabertooth rips into Gambit's chest and tasted his blood, remarking the spicy quality of it. Gambit quips that it's probably his mother's Cajun recipe. And then Sabertooth makes vaguely cannibalistic comments about devouring sweet little Jubilee. I don't know, those panels just made me laugh because it's so cartoonish and campy in the best way possible! Just typing them again in this review makes me giggle like a dork. It helps to laugh because the other parts of this issue are head-scratchers.

The Wolverine aspect of this issue was composed of flashback sequences to clarify the events from the past that have now come back to haunt Logan, as well as to clue readers in regarding to the history Logan as with his mysterious rescuer from the previous issue whose name is Maverick. We get snippets of Logan's ongoing strife with Creed (Sabertooth) for added context as well. There is some sort of rivalry between Maverick and Logan too which the latter has totes forgotten about until Maverick enlightens him. The two unlikely allies call it a draw for now though, and proceed to make the most of the bad scenarios at hand, starting with a fight between Sabertooth and Psylocke. I feel really awful for Wolverine at this point. Sabertooth, Matsuo and Omega Red all want a piece of his prime meat. It's horrible. And the rest of the X-Men are mere collateral damage. Honestly, the Wolverine part could have been expanded some more because I don't mind as long as there is some compelling drama to be had. I'm also curious to know as to how he and Psylocke formed a telepathic link with each other. Has it always been that way? How does that help either of them aside from being able to share a communication thread during combats? I refuse to believe it's something more personal (like they're secret lovers because Psy is not the female telepath Logan is after, everyone knows that). Anyway, that part of the characterization was illuminated on.

And that's because of the other side of this issue which made Farther Still so incomprehensible halfway through: the Dazzler/Longshot/Mojo World. I don't know why this was necessary other than the fact that it served as some sort of commercial to the story I was following more closely. I looked through the next issues of this title and it looks like Longshot makes another appearance as the central figure of a story. Maybe that's why Claremont felt the urgent need to include him in--but it was just wasteful. It also underplayed the conflict among the X-Men and the villains because it took me away from that story so I can attempt to care with supporting characters that have no direct involvement for the series as of now. I really could have done away with those six to seven pages of commercial subplot. Those pages could have been utilized more for better scenes. I'm not under the impression that Claremont is just stretching this story until we get to the last installment which was why this issue was just not enjoyable unless you count the random cartoonish hilarity I've mentioned above with Sabertooth and Gambit. Not a good standalone issue. Lots of details are not explained further, and the high-stakes conflict felt rushed.


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