Tuesday, May 31, 2011

52 Number Ones... With A Bullet

Between the initial article in USA Today, the letter from Bob Wayne, and the follow-up information also on Comic Book Resources, the internet is abuzz with the news of DC Comic's impending massive reboot of, apparently, 52 titles.  From Superman to Wonder Woman to Teen Titans, it appears nearly every corner of the DCU is going to be affected by this Flashpoint-induced change. 

With only a few details leaking out, it looks like Grant Morrison will helm a Superman book, Birds of Prey will go on without Gail Simone, Geoff Johns will still own the Green Lanter-verse while simultaneously helming a JLA book with Jim Lee on art, while Hawkman & Aquaman will get their own titles once again.  And that's not even all of the details out at this moment...Teen Titans, JSA, & Wonder Woman were all also on the list for new #1's. 

Never before has something on this scale been attempted by either of The Big Two.  Once upon a time, following the 13-issue "Heroes Reborn" maxi-series, Marvel, under the "Heroes Return" banner, started Captain America, Thor, The Fanatastic Four, Iron Man, and The Avengers back at issue #1 with resounding success sales-wise (at least for the first issue).  They did the same with Marvel Knights titles like Punisher & Daredevil, with Amazing Spider-Man, and are also slated to do it once again with Captain America, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, & Punisher in the next couple months.  A brand new Moon Knight started with #1 once again just recently which marks perhaps the 6th volume of a series bearing his name.  The new Punisher series might just be the 7th or 8th volume of a book bearing that name...quite ridiculous considering it has essentially been one on-going series since 1987.

Now in the case of ASM, Daredevil, and the Heroes Return comics, all of them eventually resumed their original numbering (usually as they approached a milestone issue) after several months, if not years, of using BOTH numbers on the front cover.  Talk about confusing when you're reading issue 30 of Daredevil and it also has a 410 in the corner box. 

I recall lots of outcry at the time to resume the original numbering, which is what led to Marvel first double numbering and eventually just going back to the original numbers.  I can easily see the exact same thing happening after a few years of a new DD comic, especially considering DD morphed into Black Panther: Man Without Fear in Matt Murdock's absence.  Why not give Panther the new #1 (it would have been his 5th volume) and move DD back into his proper book?  Why restart Moon Knight or Punisher or Ghost Rider? 

The argument would probably be that it's a new status quo to go along with the new number one but really that can be done within the context of an exisiting numbering sequence.  It's a sales thing, plain and simple...nothing to do with status quo or reboots or whatever label gets attached to it.  It is proven to make money, and ultimately, comic book fandom be damned, Marvel & DC & every other company is looking to make money.  Especially in a market that has drastically fallen when comparing sales figures from just a few years ago to today.

I can't fault the companies for finding ways to make money, especially if they can find ways to make it work within the context of whatever story arc is going on.  What better way to push reset on the entire DC Universe than as a results of a story that is dealing with time travel &  its effects?  So my issue isn't so much with the renumbering, although it would be heartbreaking to see Detective Comics & Action Comics get reset, it is with the following quote from DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio...

"This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today's audience."

...and these from DC's Senior Vice President-Sales Bob Wayne explaining that the new No. 1 issues "will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character's legend -- but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph...Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes," he wrote. "Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once."

So now I'm scared....and the image at the top of this little rant plays directly into those fears.  I know I'm being presumptious and guessing at what the future will entail (as I'm sure most of the internet is doing as well), but those are two of DC's top guys essentially saying that things like age will change, and that new origins may emerge! Buzz words like modern & diverse, catch phrases like "real world situations", these all make my brain scream of the marketing for Marvel's Ultimate line all those years ago.

The main difference being that Ultimate was, from day one, a totally seperate Universe in which younger, hipper, less continuity laden, blah blah blah....versions of our Marvel faves got to play.  In theory they didn't come with all the baggage of the 616-Marvel proper version and thus could come off more like the movie versions without pissing off the core fanbase; you know the ones that buy the books through thick & thin.  Great in theory, and Bendis put out great material with Ultimate Spidey, especially compared to Ultimate X-Men, but it all degenerated into "I wonder what Ultimate (insert name here) looks like" stories.  Hell, the Ultimate Universe required a story like "Ultimatum" (as awful as it was) to try and bring the concept back to what it was intended to be.  So now I don't read a single Ultimate book....

Now, what does any of that have to do with DC's new initiative?  My fear is that the outcome of "Flashpoint" that leads into this #1-Fest is essentially an "Ultimatum", or to keep it company consistent, another "Crisis on Infinite Earths".  Has DC reached a point once again where they've decided that all the rich history that has made Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc. cultural icons is in fact baggage?  Is their too much backstory for your average reader? 

Honestly, I'm probably not the best person to judge that because I've been reading Batman for 15 years and have 20 years worth of back isssues.  It's impossible for me to pick up a book and NOT know what the backstory is.  I know the nuances of every character, of their relationships with Batman, and I know why they are they way they are.  I can see how someone would pick up an issue of R.I.P and wonder why the Joker is slitting his tongue in two, why he doesn't seem like the Jack Nicholson, Mark Hammil, or Heath Ledger takes on the character. 

Instead of the layers of story wrapped up in this one scene, it appears (based on the image above), that we will be greeted in September with a gaggle of characters who are younger than their pre-Flashpoint iterations.  In particular the Superman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman in that Jim Lee piece look young to mine eye by comparison to their current depictions.  So it leaves me to wonder several things:

1) Is this a short term story line point where the characters have to correct the ramifications of Flashpoint & return the world to status quo? (All signs point to no)

2) Are we going to get retold origin tales a la Frank Miller's Batman: Year One or John Byrne's Superman: Man of Steel? (Could be interesting)

3) Will Action Comics & Detective Comics get the #1 treatment? (I hope not)

4) Can Grant Morrison write if he can't dredge up ancient continuity points? (I kid, I kid)

I know I need to take a wait & see approach with this whole situation, but I figured I may as well get my initial gut reaction down on e-paper while it was still fresh in my head.  As a long-term fan of Batman, I am a bit scared of the idea of restarting the world & how it will impact Bruce and family.   And as a fan of everything Geoff Johns has done with GL in recent years, I really hope that the majority of that sticks (I'm hopeful since Johns seems to be the architect of this endeavor).  I don't want to see, and this is my fanboy nature at its most paranoid, Tim Drake & Stephanie Brown disappear from continuity in favor of bringing back Dick as Robin & Barb as Batgirl. 

I don't want to see a Lois & Clark who aren't married (had enough of that with Brand New Day) or a cocky, arrogant Hal Jordan circa Emerald Dawn.  I appreciate that characters have grown, matured, and evolved over the course of my readership.  I mean it's not as if anyone of my generation started following Batman with 'Tec #27 or Superman with Action Comics #1, but we have managed just fine.

So, I will head into this new endeavor with those fears, but also with hopes.  Hopes for something great from the Johns/Lee collaboration on JLA, for a return to greatness for the JSA & Wonder Woman, and definitely high hopes for the Morrison Superman project (maybe he'll get to do something like Superman 2000 finally....oh wait Spider-Man ripped it off already, and All Star Supes was kind of that anyway).  I am intrigued to see what other news will come on this subject in the ensuing weeks...it's only June after all and this party doesn't start until September!

Please DC Comics, Dan DiDio, Geoff Johns, and whomever else is spearheading this....please prove me wrong.  And be prepared for the deluge of letters, e-mails, tweets, and what not pestering you with questions about what is still considered continuity if this things goes all Crisis-like.  And be prepared for Grant Morrison to ignore all of it as he dredges up some random incident from 53 years ago and turns it into a key ingredient in the life of Superman....

And if anyone is looking for some random comics, please check out My Ebay Store!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blackest Night: One Year Later

In conjunction with the one year anniversary of Blackest Night's resolution, in light of Free Comic Book Day just passing (2009 saw Blackest Night #0's release), and because I bought the Hardcover upon finding out the DC had ceased soliciting it, I decided to reread DC Comics line-wide crossover from 2009/2010!  So here's what a look at what I thought while going over this story for the first time in a year.

Now let me start by saying I ONLY read the core mini-series this time; not the Green Lantern or Green Lantern Corps issues, not the 7 different mini-series that tied in, and not the dozens of other issues that bore the Blackest Night logo on their covers between June 2009 - May 2010.  My choice was done with purpose, not because I didn't want to dig through 20+ boxes of books to get all the issues out (although that may have played a part honestly), but because I wanted to see how Geoff Johns story read by itself without the addition of any outside stories.  In short, it was a mixed bag.

First, a little backstory for the uninitiated.  Blackest Night was the culmination of several years of story built on the part of GL author extraordinaire Geoff Johns.  Johns, ever since bringing Hal Jordan back in "GL Rebirth" had crafted an opus of sorts with various peaks and valleys.  The first major peak was in the "Sinestro Corps War" and the close of that excellent story also marked the beginning of the build to "Blackest Night". 

The ensuing two years built up the ground work for BN between the issues of GL and GLC by introducing the Blue, Orange, and Red Lantern Corps; restoring the Star Sapphires to prominence, setting up the Black Lantern Corps via Black Hand, and teasing the existence of an Indigo Tribe.  The Blackest Night was upon the DCU shortly after "Final Crisis" came to an end and the apparent death of Bruce Wayne was one of the final catalysts.  In fact the entire zero issue is devoted to two formerly dead guys, Hal Jordan and the newly-resurrected Barry Allen (in their Flash & GL gear), conversing over the unmarked grave of Bruce.  After they leave, Black Hand robs the grave and steals the skull from the casket and we are underway! The start of Blackest Night #1 continues from #0 with Black Hand unleashing the black rings, but then it goes into the opposite direction, all daylight and happiness on what has been named a day of rememberance for the heroes that had died.

Then the fun and chaos begins!  The dead heroes of the DCU are resurrected en masse as evil Black Lanterns intent on, quite literally, stealing hearts.  Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Jade, Aquaman...anyone that could elicit an emotional response from the living was resurrected save for the original Dove.  When the rings tried to bring him back they were denied and the message "Don Hall Of Earth At Peace" was spit out.  Hell, Johns even broke my heart by finally, OFFICIALLY, declaring the Jean Paul Valley Azrael dead when he wandered the streets as a BL in BN #4 :c(

Unfortunately there isn't really an explanation given in the specific issue for why the original Dove wasn't able to be resurrected (Johns did say we would learn more here) and there wasn't really one given during the whole of BN.  Was it written in one of the tie-ins?  The problem of Dove is just one example of not having blanks filled in without reading the tie-ins but I will get back to that after I'm done singing praises.

The guts to so brutally murder Hawkman and Hawkgirl in the close of the first issue using the Dibny's, the horror of death all the way across the DCU, the way in which the characters so often take it for granted that people will come back, all those things are right in the readers' face from jump street.  And the scene so wonderfully rendered by Ivan Reis in which Hal shows Barry everyone who has died in his absence just drove it home.  The first issue had me clamoring for more and damn did it keep delivering.

Although the shock of seeing the dead heroes return wore off pretty quickly, the awesomeness of zombie sharks was pretty damn cool!  And the visual of Deadman begging to stay dead was just so...powerful.  That one single page did more for Deadman than anything else I had ever read him in, and it served as a perfect moment in light of his future (something else I get to later).  The constant onslaught of the BL's, the omnipresent feeling of doom, the inevitability of death all hung over every panel of this comic when I was able to read it in one lump.  The countdown to 100% that accompanied every page only served to enhance the impending feeling of dread as the reader wondered what the hell was going to happen when the meter was full. 

Don't let me forget the art of Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert...in large part due to the art, I felt every emotion...particularly when Firestorm (a character I have very little familiarity with) was forced to kill his own girlfriend under the control of BL Firestorm.  That art served to really show you how huge a deal it was that The Spectre was corrupted, the grotesquery of Black Hand, the ugliness of death personified by the BL's, and the fear in that moment when Nekron comes to Earth.

Then there is the moment where the tablecloth is really pulled out from under the heroes with the line "Bruce Wayne of Earth...

In that moment every hero who had ever been resurrected, every one who had every cheated death, fell victim to the Black Rings.  Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Kid Flash, and more all succumb to the power of the Black.  Hal Jordan & Barry Allen figure out a way to break the tether between themselves and the rings by jumping just slightly ahead in time.  Meanwhile out in space...

The scope of just what is heading for Earth is amazing, and once again the art just captures the stark terror of how much death is on the way.  The moment where Ganthet makes himself a member, followed by his splitting of the rings, provided some great moments as well in which each of the rings find another host.  The Scarecrow getting the Yellow Ring was a great nod to a moment earlier in the GL series, Lex Luthor getting the Orange Ring was perfect, and Mera as a Red Lantern was awesome.  Much like Deadman, she was a character that truly benefitted from this series in terms of exposure and generated interest.  Hell, I bought her action figure...in part due to it containing a Dex Starr to be honest...

How can you not love that Kitty Face?

Anyway, the ultimate reveal of Nekron's desire to destroy The Entity...the source of existence itself...and the immediate reactions of Sinestro to take on the White Lantern responsibility as his own was epic.  Here is a man who has strived to bring order to the universe (at least his version of order), had been evicted from the GLC, formed his own Corps, sought to expose the Guardians as frauds, and now thinks he can use the power of the WL to justify his belief that he is the greatest Lantern of them all.  It's no wonder the power abandoned him, thankfully cause it allowed for a supercool visual of the resurrected heroes (Superman et al) to become WL's for a moment to win the day.  Oh yeah, the Anti-Monitor comes back too...big stuff, just like a mega event-wide crossover should have! 

And as if that wasn't enough...we get the resurrection of 12 of the heroes who were dead prior to BN (well the Hawks died in the first issue but you get the idea), and set the table for the Brightest Day to come with the White Lantern popping up on the very last page of the very last issue.   The immediate future of the DCU was established and damn if I wasn't interested.  Oh yeah, and to bring everything full circle...Hal Jordan & Barry Allen (this time in civvies) meet once again over the Wayne grave to discuss how they now accept Tim Drake's belief that Bruce is alive! 

Damn did this story have some great moments, and damn is it so much better to read it as a whole than it was to read it monthly...with delays...with that month gap, and with a lot of negativity from the internet if I recall correctly.  No worry about reading a thousand tie-in issues, no concern with breaking the bank just trying to follow the story, just me and the comics.  I applaud Geoff Johns and company for their work on this mini-series because you can see how much of their heart & soul was on the page.  This book piqued my interest in Deadman, in Mera, in the fate of a dozen characters that I didn't really care one way or the other about prior to BN.  It set-up the next year of DC comics, and with the background resurrection of one Reverse Flash (as well as some time travel), it set-up this year's story in "Flashpoint".  The tease of Bruce Wayne's fate and the purpose of the 12's resurrections set up the larger DCU, and the intro of the various Corps laid the groundwork for the next year of GL-centric books as well. 

If I recall correctly, BN got a lot of flack because fans felt like the end was nothing more than set up for another story.  Well that is still true upon reading it again one year later, but that is by no means a bad thing.  The DCU is one cohesive universe, and the events of one thing...especially something as major as BN...should lay the foundation for what comes next.  The story of the Blackest Night has its conclusion in these pages, and a satisfying conclusion at that.  But of course there is going to be fallout from the event, hell if there wasn't than fans would just complain about that instead.  Gone, long gone at that, are the days where a comic book event happens and there are no lasting repurcussions.  I don't know if that day every truly existed....maybe in the Marvel Comics Annuals like "Atlantis Attacks" or "Evolutionary War".

Now despite all my praise, there are negatives to the book as well.  Chief among them, the tie-ins and their importance.  There are certain parts of BN that just don't read so well unless you have knowledge of the events within Green Lantern & Green Lantern Corps in particular.  Now, that's not entirely surprising given that this was born as a GL-centric story that enveloped the DCU as a whole, but it doesn't make the reading any smoother for someone unfamiliar with GL who only picked up the book because of its line-wide influence. 

Still it is the mini-series (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Titans, & JSA) that are the most irritating and in particular the Bats, Supes, and WW ones.  In an event like this, you just want to scream "where are they?" and I frequently feel it becomes a neccessity in DC crossovers to find ways to write them out for extended periods (in particular Superman due to his power levels).  But to answer the question of where they are, you have to read their mini, or in the case of Wonder Woman to see what happened with her, Mera, & the black ring.  If you want to know why Donna Troy is half a BL, or what's up with Dove, read the Titans mini.  Reverse Flash (who is barely acknowledged in the main series) then go to Flash's mini.  So on and so forth...you can claim it only fleshes out the core story, but in reading ONLY the core story, it certainly feels like there are holes, very important holes. 

Most of my other complaints at the time of initial release just faded away with this read-thru.  Sure it felt like a Skittles commercial when there were multiples of every Lantern fighting Nekron, and to the cynical it probably felt like an advertisment for DC Direct when all these characters got rings (and in fact all the special lanterns did get figures), but it was cool as all hell to see Orange Lex & Blue Flash!  Hell if I had the opportunity to write such a universe-spanning saga as this, I would definitely have my fair share of geek-out moments like this:

I think, in hindsight, one of my favorite parts of BN was in fact how well it set-up the post-BN world.  The Brightest Day maxi-series & Justice League: Generation Lost (two generally excellent books IMO) both came directly from this, as well as a bunch of other books of varying quality (Titans probably being the worst) that expounded on the purpose of each resurrected character.  It laid the framework for the War of the Lanterns raging in the GL-centric books currently, it put the question of "Who's buried in Bruce's tomb?" out there for Grant Morrison to answer, and gave us the generally great Luthor-centric run on Action Comics! 

I think that the GL/GLC series as a whole has been one of the consistently best books on the shelves since I started reading it at "Sinestro Corps War" (after "Rebirth" was given to me), and upon reading what I missed, I can safely say it's been one of the best books out there since GL's return to the racks.  Hell, I think the reason GL & GLC has gotten so much grief from the intentionally bitter internet since BN is because of how awesome everything was on the road to Blackest Night.  It's hard to battle with your own success, especially success of such a high level as that which Johns achieved leading up to BN.  I for one have wholely dug everything that has come since BN, and am looking forward to what the future brings post-War of the Lanterns. 

Johns' Green Lantern is one of the books I encourage people to read, and BN is the culmination of the first four years of hard work he...along with Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke, and many many others...put into creating the GL-verse.  Pick up Blackest Night, pick up all of Johns' GL work for that matter, and experience one of the best sagas in comics today!  Click on the link below to invest in some quality reading material: Geoff Johns GL on Amazon.

And if you want to help me pay some bills, or are just looking for some older comics, including Geoff Johns' GL run from "Sinestro Corps War" to "Brightest Day" (which includes Blackest Night), check out my Ebay Auctions HERE!

Monday, May 9, 2011



Now that that's out way....

I almost wrote this blog immediately after I finished reading the final part of "Age of X" in New Mutants #24 but decided to wait until I had the opportunity to re-read the Alpha issue, the 6 issue story, and the two "Age of X Universe" issues as a whole.  After doing that, my opinion as a whole has not really changed.  It is a terribly flawed, terribly disappointing story, and here is my view on the how's and why's...

The "Age of X" (henceforth referred to as AoX) all started in November 2010 with this little image below:

New X-Men Teaser - AGE OF X

A handful of blacked out images, a teasing logo that references a historic story from fifteen years ago, and plenty of speculation.  Would it related to "Age of Apocalypse"?  Is that Magneto, Wolverine, or Gambit in that image? Does "X" stand for X-Men?

Over the course of the next couple weeks, the fans were treated to another image with blacked out characters that were revealed a bit at a time...

...as well as QR codes that linked to historical logs fleshing out the AoX world (check them out at the AoX Wiki page).  Comic Book Resources added it's own Age of X Communiques that gave back story to several of the characters, and prior to the actual release of the books, I was quite excited.

The first story of the AoX world, AOX: Alpha, came out in January 2011 and gave me plenty to be intrigued about as it gave origin info on Basilisk (Cyclops), the Guthrie Family, Wolverine, and Magneto, as well as estabilishing the general tone of this brave new world.  I dug it, was very curious to see where it was going, and excited for the X-Men: Legacy & New Mutants issues to come.

My interest continued after reading the first two parts of the story in Legacy #245 & New Mutants #22 as the central conflict was established, the question of just what did Katherine Pryde's camera contain was posed, and the nagging wonder of just what Madison Jeffries was talking about regarding the stars lingered.  The identity of X, Bartender Wolvie, comatose Prof. Xavier, the strange dog tags...it established a mystery to sink my teeth into as I worked to figure out just what the hell had created this world.  And I think that mystery maintains pretty well through Chapter 3...after that, the wheels slowly fell off.

Enter Chapter 4, and the slow downfall of this AoX story for me.  There were definite moments in the first three chapters that brought out my inquisitive side: why was Moira one of the only humans in Fortress?  Why were only telepaths in the brig? Why were mutants who had otherwise lost their powers repowered in this world?  And the cliffhanger of Chapter 3 had me excited for the possibility of Basilisk & Wolverine working to uncover the mystery as well as Legacy (Rogue) and Gambit.

Enter Chapter 4 and the first four pages essentially scream at you identity of the parties responsible for the AoX.  The page featuring Legion & Moira may as well be a picture of the reader being hit in the head with a hammer.  We find out the entire universe is being kept in a box, that Doctor Nemesis is in some wierd stasis in a room that shouldn't exist & someone's brain scans are on his wall.  The entire feel of this chapter just felt different to me, like there should have been more chapters to this story to unfold it in some meaningful way, but Carey was only given 6 in order to accomplish that goal, 7 with the Alpha issue.  Truly not enough to really flesh out the whole AoX world in my opinion, and I guess that was part of the reason for AoX: Universe.

The month that Chapters 3 & 4 came out was also the release of the first issue of AoX: Universe and essentially worthless given the revelation via Katherine Pryde's camera that nothing existed outside of the force walls created by Legion & the Force Warriors every day.  The AoA version of this book fleshed out the world away from the X-Men and this was intended to do the same.  Instead we ended up with a story that really didn't matter because, according to the core text, NOTHING existed outside the walls.  Yes, the reader is brought into this via the memories Legacy has apparently absorbed from the AoX Captain America but does anything that happens here matter?  Hell, how is any of it even remotely possible in a world where nothing exists until it enters the Force Walls and the Fortress?  Are memories spontaneously generated by the constructs as soon as they enter the area?  How are these heroes a part of this world?  These are questions that are never answered, as if these AoX: Universe stories were written with Simon Spurrier having no idea what Mike Carey's larger plan was.

And that brings me back to the last two chapters, 5 & 6, of the AoX world; the chapters where everything becomes revealed to the Brotherhood of X (the name being a further tell that the character of X is the one manipulating everything).  Chapter 5 is a huge dialogue drop in which we learn that all of this is because of Dr. Nemesis' attempts to heal Legion's fractured mind and Xavier looking to fix the damage the Doc caused.  A super personality was created inside Legion's brain that took on the identity of Moira MacTaggert and had the (very vague) power to create worlds.  It decided to create a world where Legion was a coherent personality, a world in which Legion was the hero of the day, a world where it became the voice in charge known as X (hence the Age of X), but it was a world at constant war.  It was even expressly stated that things only existed if X was paying attention to them ("Why do the human battalions disappear when your attention is elsewhere?" said Xavier).  Oh yeah, and it's a shame that the tease of Basilisk & Wolvie joining the search for the truth amounted to nothing...

Okay so now my problems with all of this: why on Earth would X keep Dr. Nemesis around in any form?  Or Xavier? Or any of the telepaths for that matter?  If X could create any world, why would it be a world in which the methods to break that world are still intact? How did any of the events of the Universe books even take place if no world existed outside the Force Walls, if X wasn't paying attention to it, as Xavier stated?  Who the hell are all these random, faceless mutants in The Fortress if those on Utopia were the one's affected?

And I think, with the final chapter, we get the ultimate problem with this entire story arc: none of it matters.  Not one second of anything that has happened, not any of the X-Communiques, not any of the QR historical logs, none of it has mattered. I think that's core reason why such moments like Wolverine leaping into battle with claws extended, despite The Cure probably killing him in the process, has no emotional impact to the reader.  Nothing mattered...

It's a bit odd to write that statement because the same could be said for the AoA in the 90's, but this is different in many ways.  That story, that reality, while only in print for four months managed to draw you in so much more and felt so much more...real.  Perhaps it was the multi-faceted look at the world with something like 10 mini-series' devoted to giving you a full picture of the entire world as well as Alpha & Omega bookends.  The relationships between characters felt fuller and the desperation of their situation more dire, as opposed to the same sort of circumstances in the AoX.  For example, the relationship of Basilisk & Frenzy is surprising in the AoX but it just doesn't ever feel right like the relationship between Jean Grey & Weapon X in the AoA.  And I know I keep comparing the two, but the choice to call it the AoX is just one way in which Mike Carey intended to connect the two stories. 

Another obvious way they are connected is in the use of Legion as the impetus behind the change.  Not wholly original, and entirely unforseen by anyone reading the X-Books really.  There has been nothing in any of the X-Titles that served as precursor to this tale.  No instances of Prof. X expressing concern over Dr. Nemesis' treatments of Legion that have been going on for months now, no signs of Legion having any problems; when the reveal of the "how" is laid out on Chapter 5...it just felt out of left field to me.

I wanted to like this story, I wanted to be impressed and wanted this to be a story I looked forward to re-reading from time-to-time.  Unfortunately that was not the case...hell it took me forever to actually pick up Chapter 5 again after I finished Chapter 4 the second time around.  I just felt...robbed?  No, that's not it, just disappointed in the whole situation.  The answer to the "how" should have been a logical progression of story, the reveal of Moira as X should have had more oomph, and the fallout on Utopia should have felt like something big was on the horizon.  Instead I got none of that...and I don't feel like any of that is coming.

This was something major, or at least should have been.  We should see the repercussions in not just X-Men: Legacy, but also in X-Force, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, and New Mutants!  This was a story that changed the world, changed relationships, changed status quos, and brought characters into 616 existence that weren't there before.  I know I need to wait and see what's to come, but there was nothing in the close of Chapter 6 that made me feel like there was anything coming.  I could barely tell what Legion was doing on the last page given the quality of the art (that's a whole other story...couldn't even keep wardrobe consistent from chapter to chapter, just like at Moira in 5 & 6).

I guess it's only the future that will show if AoX has any importance whatsoever, but in the 3 months of its existence, it proved to have very little positive impact on little old me.  Shame too, I've generally liked Carey's run on Legacy, not as much since X-Necrosha, but still a solid book.  I hope that the post-AoX stories can redeem the last 3 months and that I'm proved wrong about their impact on the X-Universe proper. 

But for now, let me just say that this is NOT something I recommend for those who have not read it.  If you want to read some alternate reality X-Books, go pick up the AoA trades or Days of Future Past book, don't worry about the AoX.  Leave that up to obsessive fanboys like yours truly...