The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans 1 (September 1982)

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I’m hard-pressed to think of a worse comic than The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans. Besides the Chris Claremont writing, which is atrocious, laughable and so on, there’s the Walt Simonson art. I’m not a big Simonson fan, but I’d never thought he was capable of being terrible or incompetent (he’s got some Liefeld body proportions here). So it’s not even pleasant to see. Terry Austin does his many dot backgrounds, which is cute, but he certainly doesn’t fix the awful art.

The story involves Dark Phoenix and Darkseid teaming up. Big whoop.

Claremont tries to introduce a shared universe—the TItans have just never run into the X-Men before (so they don’t feel bad about trying to kill Professor X). Claremont writes the Titans terribly, unless Starfire’s supposed to be a slut. The X-Men get all the page time anyway.

It’s complete garbage.

CREDITS

Apokolips…Now.; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, Walt Simonson; inker, Terry Austin; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editors, Len Wein and Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

The Uncanny X-Men 203 (March 1986)

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I’m banging my head against the wall trying to figure out this question–how the heck did Uncanny X-Men sell? I mean, Claremont’s writing is the wordiest drivel I think I’ve ever read in a mainstream comic book, possibly because he refuses to shut up. He writes on and on in his exposition, on and on in his declarative dialogue. It’s just endless.

Unfortunately, the Beyonder doesn’t kill all of the X-Men this issue and I really, really, really wish he had. They’re all obnoxious and whiney. Only Storm comes across as less that a complete twit and only by a hair. Everyone else spends the issue having personal revelation after revelation.

I always mocked X-Men comics without having read them. Having now done so, I just feel sorry for myself. These fifteen minutes are never coming back.

And apparently Romita Jr. could never draw. Art’s awful.

CREDITS

Crossroads; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Al Williamson; colorist, Glynis Oliver; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editors, Terry Kavanagh and Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The New Mutants 37 (March 1986)

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While I’m loathe to say anything nice about Chris Claremont, especially in an issue where he apes dialogue from Little Big Man to show how conscious he is to the plight of Native Americans regarding the John Wayne cavalry movies, he almost does a good issue here.

Well, maybe not. I mean, the Beyonder’s still idiotic, but he’s torturing the superheroes here and, while Claremont’s got some lame characterizations for them, the Beyonder’s really freaking evil. It makes no sense in context of the initial Secret Wars II stuff, but whatever. It’s nice to read this book and not be dreading every moment, especially given Sienkiewicz’s far more traditional artwork this time.

I don’t know what else to say about the comic. Usually, I can just rip on it, but this issue–oh, the She-Hulk cameo was dumb. So was the cop not knowing what the Avengers were called.

CREDITS

If I Should Die; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, Mary Wilshire; inker, Bill Sienkiewicz; colorist, Glynis Oliver; letterers, Tom Orzechowski and L. Lois Buhalis; editor, Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Uncanny X-Men 202 (February 1986)

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Say what one may about Romita’s artwork, but damn if he doesn’t draw the cutest little feet on the Beyonder the last issue? Does Secret Wars II really boil down to penis envy?

Similarly, even with Claremont’s awful writing–he really thought he needed to explain Cerebro to readers in an endless expository thought balloon–he does pack the issue. It’s a chore to get through it, because it’s so lame, but it’s a packed issue. Lots of thoughts, lots of action, lots of dialogue. Though I don’t know where Nightcrawler went. He wasn’t in the big battle scene.

The more I read Secret Wars II and its endless tie-in issues, the more it’s clear what dumb ideas Shooter had for it. Seriously, they could have left the Beyonder alone–he doesn’t really do anything this issue to provoke an attack from the “heroes”–they’ve decided to preemptively strike.

CREDITS

X-Men, I’ve Gone To Kill the Beyonder; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Al Williamson; colorist, Glynis Oliver; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editors, Terry Kavanagh and Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The New Mutants 36 (February 1986)

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I mustn’t have ever picked up a New Mutants comic as a kid when I was getting Secret Wars II crossovers. I think I’d remember being this totally perplexed. Claremont’s approach to this title is apparently to throw everything he can think of into the issue, up to and including a floating subway car (and a Ghostbusters reference).

There are demons, there are religious things, mutant things, dating things, it’s just way too much. It’s like instead of creating characters, Claremont wants to discuss “issues” just really, really immaturely. It’s kind of like social commentary with stick figures.

The Secret Wars II crossover is actually all right (it’s far better than demons), just because it deals with the fallout of someone encountering someone as powerful as the Beyonder. What’s incredible is apparently no one realized the Beyonder’s a perfect stand-in for the comic book writer, metaphorically.

Big surprise there.

CREDITS

Subway to Salvation!; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, Mary Wilshire; inker, Bill Sienkiewicz; colorist, Michael Higgins; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editor, Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Uncanny X-Men 196 (August 1985)

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I thought this issue was going to be a mystery, but it’s not. It doesn’t even have the pretense of one, except for Professor X asking the X-Men to investigate something. It’s too bad, since it might have been a better comic book with that approach.

It’s an X-Men book so I can identify the more popular ones, but when it comes to all the girls, I’m lost. What’s the difference between Kitty Pryde, Rogue and Rachel Summers? How do people keep up with this stuff? And do X-Men readers make fun of soap opera fanatics; they really shouldn’t.

Claremont packs the issue, which is impressive, I suppose, and desirable for its audience. I just couldn’t wait for the damn comic to end.

The artwork is incredibly loose and uninteresting.

The Secret Wars tie-in is all red skies.

I don’t get X-Men comics at all.

CREDITS

What Was That?!; writer, Chris Claremont; pencillers, John Romita Jr. and Dan Green; inker, Dan Green; colorist, Glynis Oliver; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editors, Peter Sanderson and Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The New Mutants 30 (August 1985)

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I don’t think I’ve ever read a Sienkiewicz comic before. I know, I know. I was a DC guy in the eighties for the most part and, even if I did, I was a kid and probably wouldn’t have appreciated it. Sienkiewicz did mainstream books? It’s incredible to think about it–his work’s design oriented but also has a narrative flow. It’s absolutely great.

The comic itself, a Secret Wars II crossover, is all right if unspectacular. Even though I’m completely unfamiliar with the title, I could figure some things out (though not all the character names, besides Dazzler and Kitty Pryde), maybe because Claremont is the wordiest comic book writer I think I’ve ever seen.

I wonder if the title was produced “Marvel style” (Sienkiewicz illustrating off a plot, then Claremont filling in text)–there’s a lot of art covered up here with exposition.

It’s a decent enough comic.

CREDITS

The Singer & Her Song; writer, Chris Claremont; artist, Bill Sienkiewicz; colorist, Glynis Oliver; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Peter Sanderson and Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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