This Week in STUFF – An X-cercise in Updating
February 20, 2010 Leave a comment
Our Youtube channel chugs updates along at an irregular pace (Zelda Let’s Plays and Spelunky, for our amusement and yours), whilst our increasingly barren blog is mostly being held up by Deadpool. It’s okay though, we don’t have any readers! Today Safeer reviews Princess and the Frog and Nation X. And because he wants to, he’s going to standardise all his reviews as out of 5 stars from now on, because that makes (more) sense to him (***** is Exceptional; * is Crap).
Princess and the Frog – I am most definitely indulging in nostalgia when I say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film (Adam and Bradley already had their say on it in a previous podcast). The animation is pleasant, if not groundbreaking (Hayao Miyazaki has already spoiled us there) and the music is digestible (that is to say, it’s not bad, but most of it isn’t memorable barring catchy stuff like “Almost There”), and of course the most important piece, the story, holds up; a cute “fairytale with a catch” grounded inexplicably in New Orleans at the height of the Roaring Twenties. The setting and story are handled well, though I wouldn’t exactly call it fresh; What it is, however, is damn entertaining, something that kids should enjoy and old-timers (hah!) like us will also get a little buzz out of seeing. Try watching it more than once; it really grows on you. ****
Nation X (All of it up to this date) – The Deadpool arc was a mess of awkwardly executed jokes and what I believe was a failed attempt at developing Deadpool’s character. It was mostly just weird. Art wasn’t terrible or remarkable, but it was inconsistent. **
The X-Factor one-shot is much like the Nation X mini in that it feels like a vignette to the whole mutant situation. A well written one, with the expected funny character moments you would expect from X-Factor. Liked it more than the recent post-#50 issues. Some more art that fails to stir me; it was simplistic and used a lot of shading, and again, I felt it was a little inconsistent. ****
As I implied, the Nation X mini is an anthology. A bunch of creative teams create couple-page character stories about Utopia (Magneto, Gambit, Jubilee and the New X-Men, et cetera), to varying degrees of entertainment (Michael Allred is a snazzy, snazzy artist) and relevance. I’d go into detail but, frankly, one sentence summaries would probably encompass the entire plot of most of them (so far). Some good, some bad, and some in between and I feel that if you had more emotional investment in these characters than me you’d probably get more out of it. For me, though, I’ll have to settle in the middle. ***
Uncanny X-Men started out weak in this tie-in, with some lame stretched out Emma/Scott stuff (it’s tiring that they came back to this) in the form of even lamer Void stuff (a shard of the Void is stuck in Emma’s head, it’s hard to get out PSYCHIC SURGERY blah blah blah). Then there are some lame villains I don’t care about with some lame Predator X’s and then there’s Fantomex (okay, he’s pretty cool) and also there was some actually interesting character development in the form of Magneto and his arrival to Utopia. Unfortunately the page count of dull, lame story arc to non-lame story arc kind of wins out here. And I despise Greg Land, just sayin’, pornography tracing sitting disgustingly in the uncanny valley is not art (there is some other artist on this, but he gets barely an issue and his art was okay except for the blockiness of his characters’ heads). **
I’m pretty much in love with the Nation X mini. Some of the stories are more miss than hit, but any comic that can make me care about Jubilee deserves it’s props. Re Uncanny X-men, I’m not quite so opposed to Greg Land’s work. I recognise that the guy traces mostly all of his work, so that should remove him from a job, but I also acknowledge that some of his work is traced from some of his earlier work. There’s some talent in there, but he seems to ignore it. He should be taken off my comic, or he should actually do some drawing. I love the colorist though. I’m not sure if it’s Land, or another member of the team, but the texture on Emma’s diamond skin is perfect. No other colorist does it better. As far as the narrative goes, I have the same issues with the nameless boring z-lister villains, even with the John Sinclair reveal. I however loved the Predator X threat, and I loved how it was dealt with. I also enjoy Fraction’s hold on Cyclops. I enjoy reading that Scott Summers more than others. This is mostly because of his interactions with San Francisco Politicians, Erik, Xavier and Emma. The Void plot strand, however, was objectively stupid. I’m an issue ahead of Safeer, so I won’t spoil the current Uncanny X-Men issue, but it makes the whole tie-in arc worth it.