Sunday, January 16, 2005

X-Men 161 - 165

So why is it again that I waste my money on Austen written X-titles? Oh yeah, because I'm an X-whore. I wish I could somehow break myself of the attachment I have to the X-Men because it would save me a ton of money every month, but alas I just can't bring myself to quit buying them. I always figure that when a title starts it'll get better with time. I kept thinking that throughout the entire Austen tenure and it never got better... ever.

In this series of issues, the Brotherhood of Mutants returns to attempt to destroy the X-Men. Why? Well... Austen doesn't really give them any motivation. I guess we're supposed to assume that the Brotherhood just doesn't like the X-Men and always want to kill them for no other reason than that's their purpose. So the Brotherhood is back together with a couple new members. The first new member is Nocturne, on of the members of the Exiles who is now stuck in the normal Marvel U. Another new member is Mammomax, an elephant man. An elephant man? How unbelievably lame. There's also Exodus, one of Magneto's disciples and a revamped Black Tom Cassidy. Apparently, Black Tom doesn't just control wood anymore, he is wood, a tree in fact.

In the process of the Brotherhood's lame-ass assault on the mansion, Sammy the fish boy, is killed. Does anyone care? He was one of the dumbest characters that Austen created on his X-Men tenure. We are also supposed to believe that Juggernaut is giving back into his evil nature, but Austen telegraphs Juggie's fake allegience to the Brotherhood so it never creates any tension or ambiguity in Juggernaut's nature.

Issues 163 & 164 are almost completely gratuitous fighting while 165 is a special holiday issue written by Chris Claremont. The holiday issue would be completely unfulfilling for anyone not already reading all the other X-titles. He includes members from all of the X-titles including New X-Men: Academy X, which I don't think a lot of X-readers are getting right now. Claremont doesn't tell the reader who most of the unfamiliar faces are and just assumes everyone should know who they are.

In spite of the tremendously aweful stories written by Austen and Claremont, Larroca continues to draw some very appealing X-Men. I like Larroca's style for the most part--it's sleek, easy on the eyes, and isn't covered up too much by excessive inking. If not for the art, these issues would have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Thank God that this arc makes up the end of Austen's run.

Art: 3.5
Story: 1
Overall: 1.25

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