I take reviews with a grain of salt. Seeing as I use a mail order system I’m issues ahead in books before they arrive and the discussions start. I usually ignore these discussions but when you cruise sites like I do you get the jist of what people are saying. Some of what people are saying about the new X-Men book is that its next best book on the market. I did run into a bad review and I positively believe all material needs bad reviews but I can already see the lovers of the book disregarding a different opinion. If you don’t like this female driven book thats gotten high marks you must be wrong. Right? No, fuck that.
X-Men #1, from an objective stand point, has a thin set up. John Sublime is following Jubilee who is carrying a baby. By the time you hit the end you may already know what the reason is, if not, you will not be impressed. What works about X-Men #1 is first and foremost the art. Its excellent. Followed by Jubilee herself, she shines. The other characters have a few moments but only 20 pages and having to introduce the plot set up and a cast of six plus Sublime leaves little time to give everyone a scene. It’s a fine book, it just did not leave an impression on me. Better than the low review I saw but nowhere near 5 stars. This of course is my feelings about it and its obvious there are fans who are praising this book greatly at the moment. Hey, thats cool but is it really that good or is it just good in comparison?
I feel at times that all it takes to get excellent reviews on a female driven title is to have non exploitive art and well rounded female characters. That the plot itself, the way the story is executed, can take a back seat. Or in some cases, the stories fine but the art is bland-not bad just not frustrating for a certain audience so they keep behind it. That few of these books really hit all the notes, there is always something major off but it gets a pass where if it was a different title it wouldn’t.
Batwoman is a book that has deep characters, though I do not care fore Kate Kane and the book has made me lose my love of Cameron Chase, there is no doubt the writers are working on complex and rich characters. The art has been fantastic. I include Amy Reeder in that, she is awesome. The stories themselves have felt lackluster to me. When I think of Batwoman, I think of visuals and thats all. Its beautiful and it eclipses the story itself. This is how I feel. When I read great reviews for Fearless Defenders sometimes it seems they talk about everything but the Will Slinely art. Thats not to say I’m the only one who feels this way. I’ve noticed in the last few months the praise for Batwoman has died down and I’ve talked to some fans who feel they would enjoy Defenders more with Slinely replaced.
I don’t want to sound like a drag, I’m very much a ‘like what like kind of guy.’ I’m also the kind of guy who looks past the flaws in material to enjoy it. Though usually that material is considered general bad (or heavily mixed reviews). Still, I’m not trashing on the books I just feel the heavy praise of some of these books ignores certain flaws that stick out.
Now, going back to the debut X-Men issue, its one issue in. I am already ordered up to issue 3 at least. Maybe 4 by the time I get issue 2. Its entirely possible the second issue will knock it out the park. I can be back saying, “Okay, they were right.” I really do want to get back to reading X-Men books with Rogue. However, if I was back at a comic shop I would question picking up issue 2. I know, I know, you should always give a book a few issues. But you notice people only say that about the titles they like? If I told you to give Winick and March’s Catwoman a few issues I’d have a rock thrown at me by some ladies. Not all the ladies though.
And yes, I liked Catwoman. I find complete reckless abandon, style over substance and craziness in mainstream superhero comics fascinating and entertaining.