This week the 90’s X-Men cartoon universe gets an ongoing series, and Batman & Robin: Eternal wraps!
X-Men ’92 #1 (Marvel Comics)
The 90’s X-Men cartoon holds a special place in my heart. It was one of my first introductions to the X-Men and their place in the Marvel universe. The Secret Wars miniseries from the summer was a pretty big success, so it’s not surprising that Marvel would expand upon it with a new ongoing series. What is surprising is that I found this starting issue from Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, and Alti Firmansyah to be much more entertaining the opening issue of the previous mini series.
X-Men ‘92 picks up after the events of the Secret Wars tie in, and finds the Xavier School opening up for a brand new semester. With tons of media coverage, the Mutants are definitely gearing up for a much more publicized school year, and that stress is added to by the mutant known as Maverick crashing in during Beast’s opening lecture. After uncovering a secret weapon created in Russia, Maverick’s on the run from the Russian Government, who have sent along their greatest weapons (Omega Red, Vostok, Ursa Major, Darkstar, and Red Guardian) to get him back. The X-Men naturally do battle with them, and learn that the weapon Maverick discovered isn’t on its way to the school; it’s already there.
Like I said before, this new version of X-Men ‘92 is a lot more fun than the previous series. That’s not to say that Bowers and Sims’ script doesn’t have any flaws though. Their writing style for the series is still a little off from what I remember on the cartoon, and the final reveal of the Russian’s secret weapon (named “Alpha Red”) is very reminiscent to that time the X-Men fought vampires a few years ago. But despite all of this, I’m still charmed by this book. Sims and Bowers’ script flows way better here than it did in the miniseries, and they’ve been able to mimic the tone and style of 90’s comics without making the book unreadable.
Like Bowers and Sims, Alti Firmansyah is back for X-Men ‘92, and his style has remained pretty much unchanged from the miniseries. In any other instance this would be a bad thing, but Firmansyah’s work is really great here, and he does a great job of showing off the different X-Men in action. Firmansyah also has a real knack for cool action scenes, a great example being when Rogue throws Ursa Major (aka giant bear member of The People’s Protectorate) at Omega Red.
X-Men ‘92 isn’t the best comic book out there, but it’s certainly got a special kind of charm to it. Just looking at the cover made the classic X-Men theme song play in my head, and it’s hard to read this and not hear the voice actors from the classic cartoon. Sims, Bowers, and Firmansyah are showing a great deal of improvement with X-Men ‘92 #1, and if they keep at it, they could become a very special team.
Batman & Robin: Eternal #26 (DC Comics)
Did you forget that this book existed? That’s okay, I almost did too. The sequel to last year’s hit weekly series Batman: Eternal, Batman & Robin: Eternal is a book with a much smaller scope than its predecessor. From a smaller issue run (26 as opposed to 52) to focusing on Batman’s sidekicks and “B-Team”, the James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder lead sequel has been a bit of a let down when compared to the series that came before it.
Despite this, Batman & Robin: Eternal has been full of great character moments for Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Cassandra Cain, and Harper Row. Hell, for a lot of these characters this book has been the only place to see them in the DC universe. Issue 26 finds the team of Robins and other sidekicks successfully thwarting Mother’s plans to turn every child in the world into her personal assassins, and yeah, the plot is pretty dumb. But this issue has some pretty stellar moments for Cassandra Cain and especially Harper Row, a character that I honestly couldn’t have cared less about when she was first introduced.
James Tynion IV handles the scripting duties for this issue, and that’s largely why these character moments work so well. Tynion’s been working his way up the DC ranks lately, and with this issue I’m officially pumped to see what he does with Detective Comics in DC’s Rebirth relaunch this summer. On the art side of things, this issue has four different artists with Scott Eaton, Carlo Pagulayan, Igor Vitorino, and Geraldo Borges in the book’s credits. However, I didn’t notice too much of a difference between these four artists, which both speak to their ability to complement one another, and makes you wonder what’s going on at DC for them to need this many artists to complete an issue.
While Batman & Robin: Eternal was a bit of a bore when compared to the previous weekly Batman book, there are still plenty of great character moments that make it worth checking out. Hardcore fans of Batman’s allies will find plenty to like with this series, and it proves that between this and Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles James Tynion IV has what it takes to write for a “big league” Batman title.