Friday, September 08, 2006

X-Men: Phoenix Warsong #1 (of 5)

Greg Pak & Tyler Kirkham

Greg Pak follows up his rather surprisingly good mini-series X-Men: Phoenix Endsong with a new five issue mini-series. Apparently, the Phoenix just won't leave the X-Men alone. Pak demonstrated a skill of taking elements of the X-Men and using them in new, classic ways with the last series. Example: The Phoenix eats suns (a side effect being that they go supernova and destroy worlds). Cyclops' blasts are like having the power of the sun behind his eyes. Do you see where a weak phoenix would try to draw strength from? It's that sort of thing that really elevated Endsong to another level. That and the art by Greg Land.

In X-Men: Phoenix Warsong, Pak takes another such obvious circumstance of those living in the X-mansion, particularly the Stepford Cuckoos, and says "Even now, when their whole world's about to crumble, they never ask the obvious question. What is a cuckoo?" Fortunately, from many long hours in front of Animal Planet, I knew what a cuckoo was and saw where Pak was going with this. A cuckoo is basically an imposter who's deposited by its mother into a nest of songbirds, where it takes them all out. See where this phoenix storyline is going?

A series has to be more than clever conclusions, however. While Endsong had a great plot, fantastic action, and beautiful art, Warsong rather flounders in all such areas. Kirkham gets the job done, but does little to elevate the work beyond that. Really, the story just comes off as silly and clumsily-orchestrated. Maybe an artist like Greg Land (who I may be giving too much credit here) could have saved the script and turned it into something a little more cohesive and lovely, but Kirkham's talents aren't quite that evolved. Not that the art is horrendous or anything. It just looks mediocre. As is the rather dull tale the writer weaves amid a flurry of unimpressive action (and dream) sequences. This series' major fault was being a sequel to a really well-done series. Unfortunately, Marvel didn't see fit to up the ante with the following story, instead lazily riding on the former's success. D+

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