This week the X-Men of the classic cartoon return, and Superman’s secret is OUT!
X-Men ’92 #1
The 90’s X-Men cartoon served as an entry point for numerous comic fans. It had a team ripped straight from the comics, current storylines adapted for TV, and of course, hundreds and hundreds of characters that became toys. It seems strange that Marvel hasn’t done a series set in the world of the cartoon until now, with this version of the team as part of the larger Battleworld of Secret Wars. Written by Chris Sims and Chad Bowers and featuring art by Scott Koblish, X-Men ’92 nails the characters and tone of the original cartoon, but it’s a little too bogged down in exposition in parts.
In this area of Battleworld, a massive battle took place between the X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood of mutants. After Magneto’s death, the realm of Westchester has been peaceful, and the Baron of Westchester, Senator Kelly, has even come to see the X-Men in a new light. However, after a rogue Sentinel attacks the X-Men, Kelly alerts them of the Clear Mountain Project, a government sanctioned facility that helps rehabilitate former “evil” mutants. The X-Men head out to investigate, and are met by Cassandra Nova, the woman in charge of Clear Mountain. But not all is as it seems with Ms. Nova…
Chris Sims and Chad Bowers are clearly big fans of the X-Men animated cartoon, and it shows in their depiction of these versions of the characters. Wolverine flies off the handle at nearly every moment, Cyclops is overly protective of Jean Grey, and Gambit flirts with anything that has a pulse. Simply put, this book reads exactly like an episode of the series. But as good as the duo’s characterizations are, they stumble a bit in the middle of the book where the dialogue starts to get a little clunky, and many characters turn into exposition vehicles.
Many of the problems come from the characters talking about “Doom” and “God Doom” and how this world connects with Secret Wars as a whole. These references are so blatant and weirdly thrown in that I wouldn’t be surprised if this was originally pitched as a series set in the world of the animated series first, and then changed to fit into the mega event. There are also a few weird meta jokes that don’t quite stick the landing. Thankfully the two recover by the issue’s end, but I worry that this might be a recurring pattern throughout the series.
Scott Koblish’s art is really good in this issue. There are a few strange panels, and Koblish struggles with keeping his characters consistent from time to time, but for the most part his art is solid. The book’s sole action scene where the team is attacked by the sentinel is great, and there’s a fun panel that instantly reminded me of the first episode of the series.
X-Men ’92 is a really fun, if uneven, comic. For fans of the original cartoon this is a must buy, but those with no knowledge of the animated series might be wondering what the hype is all about. Sims and Bowers have a lot of knowledge of the series and tie this issue into the continuity of the cartoon really well. While they stumble a little bit, they’ve got a lot of potential, and I’ll definitely be sticking around to see what else they do with Marvel’s mutants.
Every Superman book that’s hit after Convergence has focused on one story point: Superman’s secret identity being revealed by Lois Lane. Well, after Action Comics, Batman/Superman, and Superman Wonder Woman have hit; we finally get the story that reveals what happened.
Well, not exactly.
Yes, Superman #41 from Gene Luen Yang and John Romita, Jr. doesn’t tell us how Superman’s identity was revealed. Sure, it sets the stage for how it happens, but if you’re looking to get straight to the events that made Clark Kent start rocking a Superman t-shirt again, you’ll be disappointed. Really the only things we get this issue is a conspiracy involving a newly elected Senator, and a mysterious “source” who has not only been giving Clark Kent scoops on big stories, but knows his secret identity as well.
That’s not to say Superman #41 is a bad comic though. In fact, it’s pretty good. Yang’s debut reads like he’s been scripting comics for years, and the mystery behind the person who knows Clark’s identity is really intriguing. He also has a great sense of the different characters in Clark’s life, even though we don’t get a whole lot of Lois in this issue.
In terms of the art, I’ve always been hot and cold when it comes to John Romita, Jr. However this issue is one of the best ones he’s done since starting the book. There are tons of great action moments, and Romita also does an excellent job of building tension with the messages that Clark’s been receiving. When the person on the other end shows Clark their evidence of him being Superman, Romita captures the look of panic and disbelief on Clark’s face perfectly.
So while Superman #41 doesn’t give you what you want, that’s not a strike against it. The stakes are set up in this issue really well, and it seems like “Truth” will be a game-changing story when all is said and done. Gene Luen Yang and John Romita Jr. have done a great job of setting up the story of Superman’s defunct secret identity. They just need to give us a little more next time.