Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review- MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 7

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 7 (Marvel, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Avengers Annual No. 10, X-Men Annual No. 5, and Uncanny X-Men Nos. 151-159 (cover dates November, 1981- July, 1982)
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Dave Cockrum, Brent Anderson, Bill Sienkewicz, Bob McLeod, Bob Wiacekc, and Michael Golden.
I owned the floppies to every single one of these issues, but sold them off after my Mom died in 1995. Re-reading these issues in “high def” was a treat. Old comic books are fun, but when you go back and read these '80s comics on the shitty pulp paper that they used at that time, the colors are all washed out and faded, and the pages yellow even when properly stored. I have no nostalgia for them as old objects, only for the stories as such. And what stories they are! Claremont crammed so much dialogue, characterization, and story into each and every issue. Modern day decompression kings would have made a trade paperback out of each issue. Claremont made these characters live and breathe.
The X-Men were such great characters back then, before Wolverine became some lame ass immortal ninja, before Cyclops was a “tactical genius”, before Professor Xavier was a manipulative prick, before half of the team was killed off and the brought back from the dead for no real reason. 
Maddy Pryor? Was this ever explained as tying in to Madelyne Pryor, who later became the Goblin Queen? Was this a name that Claremont liked, and was unaware that he had used before? I couldn't find any information linking this Madelyne Pryor to the other one.
Dave Cockrum returns to the fold, and his art is sometimes great, sometimes not. His Storm, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler look great. His Ariel/Kitty Pryde looks like a space alien, with an oblong head and narrow, pointy jaw. The world lost Cockrum a few years ago to complications with diabetes. It makes me sad that we have lost so many of the Silver and Bronze Age creators, and at such young ages. 

Bill Sienkewicz does a fill-in issue, and his artwork is in it's earlier, Neal Adams clone mode. I love his early phase artwork. 
The Brood and at-that-time villain, soon-to-be X-Man Rogue are introduced in this volume. Many of the exciting story elements that would unfold in the title over the next 3-4 years are laid out here. This entire book is an excellent read, and I already have Vol. 8 in Ye Olde Backlog.
 
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