X-Men Noir: The Review
It’s been almost a year since I squeed about how much I was anticipating the X-Men Noir mini-series, and now I’ve finally obtained a copy. Man, this is one beautiful book. Even if the plot was complete and utter crap, I would probably want this trade paperback in my collection simply for the awesome art alone, and that can be directly attributed to Dennis Calero, who apparently did some work on the reboot of X-Factor in 2006 (might explain why I like him so much). He’s good, but he’s still no Pablo Raimondi.
Fortunately for us – the story doesn’t get too far in front of the art. While the plot becomes convoluted at points, I was still able to follow it, or ignore it with ease over the sheer excitement of seeing how the author strips away the superhuman powers of the characters, and still retains the basic elements which make them interesting.
Witnessing them applied to the confines of a noir story was the thrilling part, while the actual reading and following the twists and turns becomes less exciting. Honestly, I couldn’t puzzle out who Tom Holloway was without doing some internet research, and I was getting the Angel references confused with the actual Angel (Warren Worthington) who was supposed to be dead. Well, is dead. And so is Jean Grey. Kind of. Hence all the confusion that I mention.
The trouble with the X-Men, which I might have stated before, is just that there are so damn many of them. And NOT including someone’s favorite character in one book or plot or series is looked at the same as if you spit in that person’s face. Lucky for me, all my favorite characters were featured…but none of them seemed to survive the book. Which was fine – it was a mini-series and you have to expect that characters are going to die (however, the body count does mount incredibly high by the end).
Well, it’s not so fine to me now. I loved the one-off feel of this collection and was actually musing on the fact that Fred Van Lente had neglected to include my most hated of X-Characters – The White Queen, Emma Frost. Ugh, but she is a whore. And the sickening way in which ALL of the X-books have pimped her on the audience in the last four years is nauseating.
But that could get rather ranty – and what I’m trying to say is that I delighted in her absence and thought better of the author for leaving her out. Except when I sat down to start crafting this entry, I discovered there is a second X-Men Noir series (X-Men Noir: The Mark of Cain) which features our surviving heroes, Logan and Scott (along with the boring and over-used Holloway) meeting up with none other than the White-f*ing-Queen in Madripoor where she laments over Genosha and her dead students.
Bah. The inclusion of her character makes me absolutely loathe to attempt the reading of this second mini-series. And furthermore, Van Lente has killed off all the other females, in the true noir style of making women twisted, conniving whores and then murdering them.
So, what is the draw, for me as a female reader, to this second installment? I would say very little at best. I certainly won’t be rushing to purchase the floppies or trade paperback any time soon.
But I will say that I certainly enjoyed this adventure into the noir realm for my favorite band of merry mutants. It was interesting seeing their “super-powers” played out as metaphors for real life talents or personality disorders. There is definitely real thought that went into crafting this series – even down to the Watchmen-esque inserts following the genetically pure Nimrod and his escapades to destroy all Muties in The Sentinels as written by Bolivar Trask. So freaking clever!
In fact – these inserts were some of my favorite pieces of the book, and it’s another blow against my reading the Mark of Cain series, as I learned they will not be included.
This whole ordeal reminds me of how the Phoenix: End Song mini-series and sequel played out. First one = awesome. Second = suck.
The noir concept is highly intriguing, and I might check out other Marvel books in this same vein now that I’ve wetted my palate.
Plan is to get my hands on a copy of X-Men Noir and hopefully locate Calero and Van Lente at Comic Con this summer for signing and fawning. *fingers crossed*