This week the battle between the X-Men and the Inhumans ends, and Goosebumps writer R.L. Stine makes his Marvel debut with Man-Thing!
IVX #6 (of 6) (Marvel Comics)
After six issues and multiple tie-ins, the war between the Inhumans and the X-Men draws to a close in IvX #6. While Marvel’s made no secret of hyping up the next installment of the X-Men franchise, ResurrXion, that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t any loose ends to tie up in Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule’s event. Thankfully for us, Soule and Lemire are able to buck the trend of every Marvel event and give us a truly satisfying ending that sets up interesting stakes for not only the X-Men, but the Inhumans as well.
It’s all out war between the Inhumans and the X-Men, but the cracks are starting to show in Emma Frost’s plan. The two sides throw down in a truly epic match up, and Soule and Lemire give both sides pretty ample time in the spotlight. Many of the battles that have been teased throughout the event finally happen, as well as some pretty awesome scenes like Colossus straight up palmimg a laser beam in his hand, and Medusa using razors inside of her hair to attack Psylocke.
But the real surprise here comes when the X-Men learn the truth about why they are fighting the Inhumans. It’s an element that I won’t spoil here, but it’s from the recent Death of X miniseries, so if you hadn’t read that event, you might feel a little left out here. But it’s still a pretty stunning revelation that I honestly wasn’t expecting to witness in this series, and puts a character that’s always been a little morally grey more towards the side of evil again.
Lienil Yu is back on the art duties for this final issue, and after a few issues of fill in artists, it’s definitely nice to have him back. Yu is able to give the throw down between the two teams the epic scale it deserves. There’s really not a bad panel in the entire issue from Yu, so while it sucks that we had to have different artists in the middle of this series, the fill in artists ended up helping Yu deliver a pretty great final issue.
Unlike many Marvel events, IvX not only ended in a satisfying way, but it’s made me interested in what’s to come for BOTH the X-Men and The Inhumans (okay, that might be a stretch). This was a necessary event to get all of the correct players back into place, and while it definitely dragged in some spots, this final issue was well worth reading. Where the two franchises go next, that’s up to Marvel and the creators involved to figure out.
Man-Thing #1 (Marvel Comics)
What do you get when you cross a well-known children’s horror author like Goosebumps’ R.L. Stine with a little-known character like Man-Thing? If you said “an interesting comic book”, well, I have some bad news for you. Much has been made about the famous children’s author Marvel debut, but unfortunately the German Peralta drawn Man-Thing #1 isn’t much to write home about.
Marvel’s been known for making some interesting and out there premises as of late, but this one is really a stretch. Man-Thing, newly able to speak and with access to his memories, has gone Hollywood. Yes, you read that right, Man-Thing, Marvel’s less cool version of Swamp Thing, moves to Hollywood in this issue. In fact, he’s been in Hollywood working as a creature actor for some time when we meet up with him in this issue. Unfortunately this premise, while unique, isn’t very intriguing, and it doesn’t help that Stine glosses over the fact that Man-Thing’s never been able to speak or think before.
R L Stine also uses a dated writing style for his captions in this issue, and while I’m sure it was meant to be a nod to the original Man-Thing comics of the 70’s, it just doesn’t work here. In fact, it comes off as being extremely corny, and it makes me wonder why one his editor didn’t look at it and tell him to change it. Even Man-Thing’s dialogue can be pretty head-slappingly bad, especially when he interacts with regular people on the street. Stine’s script really only works in the horror comic throwback back up story, which is miles better than the main feature.
At least the art looks pretty good. German Peralta’s style is in the same wheelhouse as Francesco Francavilla, and it works really well when Stine decides to recap Man-Thing’s origin in the middle of the issue, even though this part grinds the issue’s pacing to a halt. But when he has to draw Man-Thing walking around Hollywood Boulevard, it just looks weird and out of place.
I never intend to start these reviews to hate a comic. I think comics thrive on being diverse and having different stories, characters, and tones. But sometimes certain tones and characters just don’t mix, and Man-Thing is one of them. It’s a real shame, because I was really looking forward to R L Stine’s Marvel debut, but there’s little here to recommend. It’s hard to even think of anyone who might be a fan of the character that would want to read this series. If you’re out there, I hope you enjoyed this, and if you didn’t, well, I’m sorry.