Monday, April 19, 2004

Although they helped get me into comics nearly 20 years ago, I don't really read a lot of X-Men comics these days -- and there's about 98 separate titles these days to keep track of, anyway. I was reading Grant Morrison's New X-Men before his run ended and enjoy the wacky pop culture parody X-Statix (with art by fellow Oregonian Mike Allred), but the rest are mostly just lazy tie-ins, attempts to bloat the market and endless spinoffs and permutations of Wolverine in pointless teamups (i.e., "Wolverine/Punisher," "Wolverine/Captain America," "Wolverine/British Prime Minister Tony Blair").
Still, in all the dross, one thing I do like is Paul O'Brien's weekly X-Axis review column, which I get by e-mail. Even though I don't read 80% of the books he writes about, he's just a darn funny, thought-provoking and insightful reviewer. The Scotsman specializes in "taking the piss" out of some of the appalling junk out there -- whether it's writer Chuck Austen and his "complete inability to write a convincing human relationship" or the ridiculously out-of-place semi-soft porn covers on the "Emma Frost" comic book.
His dissection of what sounds like a truly hideous comic last year, Uncanny X-Men #433, is one of the funniest reviews I've ever read. Better him than I.
This week, he takes Marvel to task for its recent head-scratchingly odd tactic of having lame "pin-up" type covers that have absolutely nothing to do with the comics inside.
You have to love reviewers like O'Brien -- willing to plow through acres of bad comics so the rest of us don't have to. It's a shame that there are so many terrible comics, of course.

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