Friday, April 8, 2022

Quick Sips 04/08/2022

Somehow we’re already fairly deep into April. How dare! Seriously it’s hard to wrap my head around the year already being a quarter over, but I guess here we are. I don’t necessarily feel all that much closer to my goals of “try to do less other things and write more creatively” but…uh…that’s largely my own damn fault, likely. I mean, it’s probably most to do with general burnout and just not being able to dig myself out of the hole that I created over the last few years. Especially with everything being a fucking crisis, from local elections to world events. But I’m trying. That’s…something.

Not too much news on the me front this week. I did get some preliminary WisCon programming assignments, and it looks like I’ll get to be on at least 4 panels, which is pretty sweet. One on mutants as metaphor, one on bisexuality, one on queer joy, and one on the death of the author. I’m quite excited to be returning to WisCon after two years away, though I’m always nervous about being on programming of any sort. Still, I’ve had some wonderful experiences on panels and at panels at WisCon, and I can’t wait to see who else is going to be there. Just as an FYI, there are lots of ways to get involved with WisCon which, like many conventions, has struggled amidst the pandemic. I do highly recommend WisCon, and if there’s things you can do to get involved, please do!

Otherwise, work with the local queer nonprofit is ongoing and still taking more time and effort than I’d like, but that’s largely because there’s a lot of opportunities to do good and make a difference, and it’s hard to let those go without a fight. Still, I am looking forward to things there being a little more under control. We’ll see!

In media, the Father Brown watch continues and…uh…that’s about it. It remains a show that I’m more bored with than anything else, but it mostly manages to be not-terrible. I wish there were better options, basically. I have also been slowly working my way through Hilda, which is a delightful show, and I’m sad that I’m nearly at the end of it. Boo. I’ll have to figure out what to watch after I get through the last of that.

Most of my attention outside of reviewing, though, has been reserved for the big event I’ve been working through as part of my big comic book read/reread—The Age of Apocalypse. I have now read through the entire event, and though Omega I feel stumbles a little in wrapping things up, the event as a whole really does stand up pretty well. All of the eight 4-issue miniseries are solid, though if you want to know my personal order, from 8 (pretty okay) to 1 (just wonderful) it would be…

8. Weapon X (suffered from really not being a mission you want to succeed, the nuking of America, and otherwise because Jean bails very early in the series, after which her absence is rather keenly felt)

7. X-Calibre (Kurt traveling to the Savage Land is interesting but the conclusion to this one is a little underwhelming, and it would have had more impact if the Shadow King has actually died instead of…not)

6. Gambit and the X-Ternals (Jubilee is the star of this one, which goes to some interesting places. Alas, Gambit himself and his relationship with Lila is complicated and imo made worse by his constant pining for Rogue)

5. X-Man (I love the premise of the resistance hidden as traveling players/actors, and the cast is really interesting as a bunch of most villains here being heroes. It’s also rather grim, with many casualties, and the impact is high in that Mister Sinister presumably dies. For all that, though, I found Nathan a bit annoying)

4. Generation Next (the grimmest of all the series, and with the most casualties, I like the look and feel of this one a lot. The confidence of the students is a deeply tragic thing given what happens, but Omega cheapens this series more than any of the others and Colossus and Kitty are underutilized)

3. Astonishing X-Men (Morph, Blink, Sabretooth, and Rogue all make really interesting studies, here, and even Sunfire shines. The battle against Holocaust is intense, and really the main reason this didn’t place higher is because that battle isn’t resolved, and the series lacks a bit in the way of impact)

2. Factor X (I actually really like this take on the Summers brothers, and it’s helped that so much of the series is about siblings. The Summers, the Guthries, the Bedlams. This one also flushes out Heaven and Angel’s role there, which I like, and gets to do the most with Beast, who is really creepy)

1. Amazing X-Men (Storm and Pietro are fantastic. I just love Pietro in this setting, really, and as a title that features him as a leader, fully realized, it’s really good. Bonus for this being the one team that still holds to the no-killing X-Men code, and also getting the most done. Not only do they manage to outright take down a Horseman, Abyss, they also succeed in helping the great airlift. Plus Iceman makes a great study in contrast to his canon version, which I think deserves bonus points)

As I said, Omega as a conclusion does stumble a little. Most obviously with the Generation Next crew, and I just do not like how that was handled, what it did with Colossus and Kitty who were already not used to their fullest. To have them written out like that was rather insulting. Otherwise, though, there are some great moments. Magneto finally going all out against Apocalypse was visceral and memorable. Things work out…kinda. Like with Days of Future Past, there’s a sense that this was supposed to be the end of the line. Only of course they had to muck that up by revisiting the series.

Because, yeah, I did immediately read the 2005 10-year anniversary miniseries right after Omega. Which…wow, really wasn’t good. Unfortunately, the ten years led to kind of forgetting the characters, it seems, as well as having to narrow the focus way down, so really the only characters who get room are Magneto and Weapon X. But Weapon X is much changed, and the whole premise, that Magneto was taking credit for something he didn’t do…was not well handled. Add to that resurrecting some characters while killing off others with barely any thought (including Gambit and Pietro, who were team leaders in the original) just didn’t sit well with me. Boo.

I don’t have that much more to say about the event. I’ve probably written enough about it, really. I think it was largely successful in what it wanted to do, even as it’s mostly skippable in terms of canon-impact. Having not read it until now, I don’t feel like it’s “required” reading, even as it’s loads better than most of the other 90s crossover events.

Moving back to the “regular” X-Universe, X-Men Prime sort of relaunches things back into continuity. Some interesting works, though honestly it’s not a great comic imo. Especially funny to me is the bit with X-Force, who were literally in the middle of something when they got pulled into AoA and who are just magically through it. No explanation about Reignfire, no…anything. So I did chuckle a bit there. Anyway, time to see where the setting is going now that it’s expanded to nine ongoing titles (with the addition of X-Man). Onward!


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