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REVIEWS: The X-Axis - 1 June 2003

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Paul O'Brien

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Jun 1, 2003, 3:28:43 PM6/1/03
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THE X-AXIS
1 June 2003
===========

For more links, cover art, archived reviews, and information on the
X-Axis mailing list, visit http://www.thexaxis.com

------------

This week:

MYSTIQUE #2 - "Drop Dead Gorgeous, chapter 2 of 6"
by Brian Vaughan and Jorge Lucas

UNCANNY X-MEN #424 - "Holy War, part 2 of 2"
by Chuck Austen, Ron Garney, Mark Morales, Nelson and Dan Green

X-TREME X-MEN #26 - "God Loves, Man Kills II, part 2"
by Chris Claremont, Igor Kordey and Scott Hanna

INHUMANS #1 - "Lunar, part 1"
by Sean McKeever, Matthew Clark and Nelson

------------

MYSTIQUE actually had the highest chart placing of the first wave of
Tsunami books, which was a pleasant surprise. It suggests the book
should be around for a while yet, which is fine by me, since it got off
to a decent start.

Brian Vaughan seems to have a better idea than some of his compatriots
about pacing six-issue storylines for serialisation. Progress on the
overall arc is actually fairly slow - the main advance here is to bring
Mystique together with Xavier. The big threat from the first issue
isn't even touched on. But there's plenty going on within the bounds of
this issue, which is actually quite heavy on action by Vaughan's
standards. He seems more comfortable with the fight sequences than he
has in the past, which is a good sign.

There are some slightly odd pieces of plotting here with don't entirely
work. Xavier turning up in disguise to break Mystique out of government
custody is all cutely Silver Age, but doesn't sit easily with his
concern earlier in the issue to avoid being linked with her. Doesn't he
have anyone else he could get to do the job? Oh, and one niggle:
Mystique's meant to revert to her normal form when she passes out, so
the scene where she's found unconscious blending into the road markings
shouldn't really work. Mind you, I much prefer it Vaughan's way, so I'm
not going to protest too much.

Mystique's attempt to talk her way out of government custody is a little
odd as well, as she attempts to rely on her presidential pardon from
back in the 1980s. As her questioner points out, she lost that when she
returned to crime. She tries to argue that somebody was impersonating
her since then; I'm not sure whether the idea is that she's trying to
wheedle her way out of the situation, or whether Vaughan really is
setting up for a whopping great retcon to eliminate Mystique's recent
stories. From the point of view of Mystique's coherency as a character,
it might not be a bad idea - her inexplicable return to villainy never
really made much sense in the first place.

It's another book using the Department of Homeland Security as the
villains, which will doubtless annoy a segment of the audience, but if
you ask me, you can't have nearly enough books about why the Department
of Homeland Security is a bad thing. Besides, they're such a gift to
writers that it would be a shame to pass it up. Corrupt elements of the
government have been a staple of thrillers for years. It's hardly the
fault of writers that the current US government behaves in a manner that
renders these stories uncomfortably close to home.

Anyhow, politics aside, it's a good little action story, with some fun
sequences and misdirection thrown in there. On any view, Vaughan
inherited a thoroughly messed up and broken character, and he's doing a
solid job of re-establishing some consistency to her personality.
Another decent issue.

Rating: B+

LINKS:
http://www.marvel.com

------------

Readers may recall that last year, Wolverine #177-178 featured the title
character locked in battle against evil Catholics who planned to use
mind-control to convert New York. It is undoubtedly the stupidest
religion-themed story in the history of the X-books.

Or at least, it was undoubted until this week, when UNCANNY X-MEN #424
made a brave bid for the title. While Wolverine secured its position
with a mixture of awful art, inept plotting and total failure to include
any thematic elements pertaining to Catholicism, Chuck Austen goes for
the high ground. His story at least makes a certain degree of sense,
and has competent enough illustration from Ron Garney. Never one to run
from an issue, Austen grapples head-on with the issues of Catholicism.

The result is predictably terrible.

The last couple of issues have already shown that Austen has a certain
antipathy towards the Catholic Church, including his desperate attempt
to retcon Nightcrawler out of being a priest - always a slightly odd
plot but hardly one which needed a massive retcon to remove it. Austen,
however, seemed to feel the need to explain the whole thing away as a
mind-control storyline involving the Church of Humanity.

Now, true enough, there was a storyline dangling from the Joe Casey run
about Nightcrawler being mentally manipulated by the Church of Humanity.
But let's be honest, in this day and age Austen could quite easily have
ignored that. The days when writers bothered resolving dangling
storylines are long in the past (and in fairness to Casey, he did wrap
up most of his loose ends in his final issue - there's a limit to how
much he could do in the space).

Here's where it gets bad.

Austen jettisons Casey's origin story for the Church of Humanity's
Supreme Pontiff - which was about the only interesting thing in the
original story - and replaces him with a disillusioned Catholic nun
who's been, you guessed it, the victim of sexual abuse in the Catholic
church. So she sets out to bring down the Church by - brace yourself,
this is the good bit - creating an evil plan to instal Nightcrawler as
the Pope under an image inducer, and then revealing him as the supposed
Antichrist at the same time that she simulates the Rapture. Then
Catholics the world over will turn on the Church and the Church of
Humanity will step in to take over!

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Wow. That's an
incredibly stupid storyline." And do you know what? It's even worse on
the page.

You may also be wondering how the Church of Humanity plans to simulate
the Rapture. After all, that involves good Catholics being taken up to
Heaven. Well, they're going to disintegrate people using evil doctored
communion wafers.

I'll just repeat that. The villains are going to usurp command of
Catholicism by installing Nightcrawler as the Pope and using murderous
disintegrating communion wafers. No, this is not meant to be a comedy
story.

This story is so bad that it deserves to be immortalised in derision for
years to come. Even as a hardcore atheist, I have little sympathy for
Austen's bizarrely twisted idea of the Catholic Church, which seems to
revolve exclusively around the twin concepts of sexual abuse and
bigotry. Granted that those may be the Church's most prominent flaws,
in Austen's stories they seem to be the Church's only features.

The idea of a plan to instal Nightcrawler as Pope - never previously
mentioned prior to this issue - is comically over the top. The idea
that the world's Catholics are going to react to a simulated Rapture in
anything like the manner described is little short of ludicrous and
suggests that Austen still thinks ordinary Catholics are little more
than dogmatic slaves of their church. I rather suspect the average
Catholic in the street would continue their existing policy of generally
acting much like everyone else.

Oh, and let's not forget the disrespect shown to previous writers of the
Church of Humanity and Nightcrawler's priest (also a pre-existing
character). The original stories may not have been great, but they were
better than this.

Why the hell would anyone want to wrest control of the Catholic Church,
anyway? It's not like it's a significant political power any more. I
suppose it's all very well if you have an evil scheme which entails
interfering with the distribution of condoms in Angola, but otherwise
they might as well be fighting for control of the West Godalming Yoga
Centre.

Competent art from Ron Garney can't raise this issue significantly - for
the most part, these days Garney sticks to telling the story as
efficiently as possible. He's not the sort of artist who can make a bad
story readable solely through the power of visual aesthetics.

The fact that this storyline was selected for a 25c issue is utterly
baffling. Can we have Joe Casey back, please?

Rating: D-

------------

Considerably better is X-TREME X-MEN #26, the second part of "God Loves,
Man Kills II."

As I've said already, it's hard to avoid being slightly cynical about
this storyline, which yanks the original story into continuity for the
primary purpose of generating a tenuous tie-in to the movie. Not only
that, it creates a previously unmentioned connection between Stryker and
Lady Deathstrike, totally unrelated characters, who have now apparently
known one another all their lives. It's difficult to avoid concluding
that Deathstrike is only in this storyline because she happens to be a
henchman of Stryker's namesake in the movie.

Even so, the storyline is proving surprisingly readable. It's old
school Claremont, of course, but then that's what people buy X-Treme
X-Men for. Despite the artificiality of the set-up, it reads like
Claremont has found an angle that he's genuinely interested in, and he
does seem to be having fun with his characters.

This issue makes the thematic parallels with the original storyline a
little clearer. The basic conceit of the original story is to play off
the three-way set-up to create an alliance of convenience between
Magneto and the X-Men. That works because, even though Magneto was
still a villain at that point, nonetheless he's a well-intentioned
character from his own perspective. Stryker, a sincere religious
fanatic, is similarly well-intentioned and so, with Magneto out of the
way, this storyline positions him in the alliance-of-convenience role
against what seems to be an even more lunatic religious fringe.

Simple, but it works - and it does justify this as a genuine sequel to
the original storyline rather than just a re-use of a long-forgotten
villain. Claremont isn't just reusing the format, either, since Stryker
remains more clearly a villain than Magneto did in the context of the
original story.

Igor Kordey seems surprisingly at home here, no doubt helped by Scott
Hanna's inks giving him a somewhat smoother look than normal. The
layouts are typically strong, nonetheless, and Kitty's hallucination
sequence is excellent stuff.

Perfectly decent superheroics.

Rating: B+

------------

Back with the Tsunami launches, Sentinel's Sean McKeever writes
INHUMANS. McKeever's take on the characters is most clearly influenced
by the well-received Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee miniseries from a few
years back.

It also seems to pose a few continuity problems. As I recall, the last
we saw of the Inhumans was in that Pacheco/Larroca miniseries where the
entire race departed for the stars; only the Royal Family returned to
Earth in Fantastic Four. So what we really ought to have here is an
empty city with a handful of characters in it. But we don't. We have a
fully populated city. This doesn't add up; the last miniseries was
referenced in other books, so it can't just be dismissed as out of
continuity (much as I'd like to do so - it wasn't much good). Pretty
fundamental stuff, and it can't really be brushed under the carpet.

Anyway, for whatever reason, Attilan's there, and it's full of Inhumans,
which is handy because it means McKeever can do what he does best.
Despite the change of setting, we're still dealing with character-based
teenage drama, one of McKeever's favoured areas.

San is a teenage Inhuman who's confident of following in the family
tradition and becoming a warrior. Unfortunately the Terrigen Mists
don't agree with him, and he finds himself saddled with talents he has
no interest in whatsoever. It's a nice little character piece, using
the Inhumans' set up as a metaphor for all the standard themes of
identity and adolescence that McKeever tends to be keen on. Granted, it
doesn't make much headway on setting up the overall storyline, but
there's enough interest in San's backstory to carry the first issue on
its own.

Matthew Clark's artwork is beautiful stuff, including some imaginative
designs for the less athletic Inhumans that distort their physiques
while still looking plausible. Okay, the guy with a violin bow for a
finger might be pushing things, but that's an exception. It's great
looking work, and worth a look in its own right.

Continuity problems aside, a strong first issue.

Rating: A-

LINKS:
http://www.seanmckeever.com

------------

Also among this week's comics...

AVENGERS #67 - Ah, more anti-Americanism. It warms the cockles of my
heart, it really does. Oh, alright, let's be honest - it's a passable
superhero story with above average art, but nothing particularly
special. For those who haven't been following the series, the main
storyline involves the Avengers feuding with US Secretary of Defense
Dell Rusk (hint: anagram). If it's not meant to have political
overtones, it's all a bit pointless; if it is, it's perhaps a little
over the top, to put it mildly. Nice art, though. B
http://www.geoffjohns.com

CAPTAIN MARVEL #10 - In which our hero joins forces with a serial killer
to set up his own parallel legal system. It's far from subtle, but I
like the direction Peter David's taken this title in. It says something
about the title character that it took something this drastic to make
him interesting, but it's worked nonetheless. Captain Marvel the
satirical psychopathic nihilist has certainly got a lot more personality
to him than the other guy. The story has a very silly twist, but it's
funny enough to be allowed through. B+ http://www.peterdavid.net

GLOBAL FREQUENCY #8 - Chris Sprouse is this month's guest artist, and
the story is the Global Frequency organisation rescuing founder Miranda
Zero from villains. I'm increasingly dubious that there's enough in
this concept to carry a twelve issue miniseries - it's a series of
one-act action stories that are deliberately low on characterisation,
and the high concept on this one isn't all that extraordinary. It's
basically a paean to the efficiency of hackers, but goes a bit over the
top. Middling. B- http://www.wildstorm.com
http://www.globalfrequency.org
http://www.warrenellis.com

NAMOR #2 - Okay, this isn't working. It's beautiful, to be sure, but
there isn't really much of a story here. What's Namor looking to
achieve? What's the goal? By the end of the issue the answer is
apparently "to hook up with the girl from issue #1", whom he's been
pining for in the intervening years. How fortunate that she should
stroll by at just the right moment. Look, let's be blunt here. This is
supposed to be a love story. The goal of the characters is to fall in
love and have a relationship, and it's taken you two issues just to get
as far as establishing vague interest in one another. In order to make
it into an actual story you need blocking forces, which traditionally
means "the parents of the girl" but in this case will presumably be
"chronic cross-cultural barriers." The cultural barriers haven't been
effectively illustrated - we haven't even seen Sandy's life at all - and
all we have, two issues in, is some attractively drawn figures
meandering around expressing the desire to go on a date. You can't blame
it on the dialogue; the events aren't there to advance the plot. It's
just too damn slow - by which I don't mean that there isn't enough
action, I mean that there isn't enough anything. Andi Watson's skill is
in constructing stories, in the sense of arranging events, and he's not
a good enough dialoguer to save the thing on his own - even with the
undeniably excellent artwork. C-

PETER PARKER, SPIDER-MAN #56 - We're still in fill-in territory as the
book waits for its upcoming relaunch, but never mind - that means we get
a two-parter by Zeb Wells and Sam Kieth. Wells has proved to have a
pretty high strike rate for entertaining stories, and Kieth is an ideal
match for this Sandman story, a character whose fluid appearance suits
his style to a tee. I'd like to see Wells work on something a little
longer than a fill-in story one of these days, come to think of it.
Anyhow, good stuff. B+ http://www.samkieth.com

SWEATSHOP #2 - Peter Bagge's series about underpaid studio cartoonists
is showing a tendency towards industry stories, which does give it a
slightly inward-looking quality. Nonetheless, it's very funny - Carrie,
who would clearly be out of her depth buying a newspaper, is hopelessly
at sea trying to negotiate a TV deal. The sales aren't exactly great,
but it deserves better. A- http://www.dccomics.com
http://www.peterbagge.com

ULTIMATES #10 - Insert obligatory gag about how late it is. That said,
the delays are a problem - this is the sort of story which would fit in
just fine as part of a regular title, but ends up a touch frustrating
when you know history shows the next issue probably won't be out till
the autumn. Still, it's undeniably gorgeous to look at, and when Hitch
is allowed to go to town like this, you can't complain too much. It's
worth having just to gaze at. A- http://www.millarworld.biz

------------

Before anyone asks: yes, I do know that X-Men: Phoenix came out this
week as well. I flicked through it in the store and decided it didn't
look remotely interesting. Having given up on the last Mangaverse
series halfway through, and absolutely loathed the original one-shot,
I've decided to stop wasting my money on the line.

I gather Weapon X #9 came out in the States last week as well, but it
didn't show up at my store. It'll probably turn up next week. Regular
readers will probably have guessed that I couldn't be bothered checking
other stores for a book I don't particularly like.

Last week's Article 10 is still up at Ninth Art. http://www.ninthart.com

Next week, it's Chuck Austen week! He writes Exiles #28, in which the
team come to the mainstream Marvel Universe; he writes Uncanny X-Men
#425 (yes, two weeks running); he contributes a story to X-Men Unlimited
#48; and outside the X-books, he also brings us Call #3 and The Eternal
#1. Yes, that's five Chuck Austen comics in one week. Oh, and the
trade paperback of his first Captain America storyline is out too.
Truly a great week if you happen to be a fan of Chuck Austen.

For the rest of us, Agent X has the second half of Evan Dorkin's
storyline; New X-Men goes hunting for Cyclops; and Wolverine: Snikt!
continues the art showcase.

--
Paul O'Brien
THE X-AXIS - http://www.thexaxis.com
ARTICLE 10 - http://www.ninthart.com

Negative numbers, presumably.

Paul O'Brien

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Jun 1, 2003, 11:31:03 PM6/1/03
to

Laura M. Parkinson

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Jun 1, 2003, 4:05:16 PM6/1/03
to
On Sun, 1 Jun 2003 20:28:43 +0100, Paul O'Brien
<pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote:


>MYSTIQUE #2 - "Drop Dead Gorgeous, chapter 2 of 6"
> by Brian Vaughan and Jorge Lucas

Why do people keep typing that? It's *not* "Drop Dead Gorgeous" :p

>It's another book using the Department of Homeland Security as the
>villains, which will doubtless annoy a segment of the audience, but if
>you ask me, you can't have nearly enough books about why the Department
>of Homeland Security is a bad thing. Besides, they're such a gift to
>writers that it would be a shame to pass it up. Corrupt elements of the
>government have been a staple of thrillers for years. It's hardly the
>fault of writers that the current US government behaves in a manner that
>renders these stories uncomfortably close to home.

Heh, actually although I'm an American, I'm with you on this one.
Although I'm not sure if it's the fact that this Department is a bad
idea in and of itself - you could see it as the sort of "police force"
for the country, politically, which in itself isn't a bad thing. Just
the way it's set up, and with all of the powers, makes it Very Bad.

*sigh*


*snipping Uncanny, since I haven't got the chance to read it yet. Of
course, Paul hates it from what little I saw in snipping, so chances
are I'll love it. ;) *


>Before anyone asks: yes, I do know that X-Men: Phoenix came out this
>week as well. I flicked through it in the store and decided it didn't
>look remotely interesting. Having given up on the last Mangaverse
>series halfway through, and absolutely loathed the original one-shot,
>I've decided to stop wasting my money on the line.

Good choice. On this one, especially.

>I gather Weapon X #9 came out in the States last week as well, but it
>didn't show up at my store. It'll probably turn up next week. Regular
>readers will probably have guessed that I couldn't be bothered checking
>other stores for a book I don't particularly like.

*snicker* You don't say. Well, you're not missing much here, either.
Though I do as always look forward to your own take on it...

>Last week's Article 10 is still up at Ninth Art. http://www.ninthart.com
>
>Next week, it's Chuck Austen week!

And I'm sure you'll just love that...


Sean Walsh

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Jun 1, 2003, 4:57:00 PM6/1/03
to
"Paul O'Brien" <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:Id1I$$DrPl2...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...

This review not only made me laugh to the point of tears, but it also
inspired me to buy this clusterf*ck of a story..........cheap, but I must
see this in its insane entirety...

--
Sean

My webpage: http://www.Sean-Walsh.com
Quantum Piett! http://www.geocities.com/quantumpiett/
¤°`°¤ø,¸¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸¸,ø¤°`°¤ø


teepee

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Jun 1, 2003, 5:20:52 PM6/1/03
to
Great review. Makes me feel smug about dumping Austen X-men.

But in the spirit of asking irrelevant questions on this thread, why do
you always post twice?

Paul O'Brien

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Jun 1, 2003, 7:08:25 PM6/1/03
to
In message <opmkdv0sfk60l3pjv...@4ax.com>, Laura M.
Parkinson <lpark...@mindspring.com> writes

>On Sun, 1 Jun 2003 20:28:43 +0100, Paul O'Brien
><pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
>>MYSTIQUE #2 - "Drop Dead Gorgeous, chapter 2 of 6"
>> by Brian Vaughan and Jorge Lucas
>
>Why do people keep typing that? It's *not* "Drop Dead Gorgeous" :p

<checks cover>

"Dead Drop Gorgeous." Oh yes. Took me a month to notice that...

>Although I'm not sure if it's the fact that this Department is a bad
>idea in and of itself - you could see it as the sort of "police force"
>for the country, politically, which in itself isn't a bad thing.

No, I'd agree - there's a semi-sensible role for a co-ordinating body in
that role. That's not inherently objectionable.

>Just
>the way it's set up, and with all of the powers, makes it Very Bad.

Of course, from the perspective of non-Americans it's great, because it
gives us even more ammunition to attack Americans who claim to live in
the Land of the Free. :-)

More, please.

>*snipping Uncanny, since I haven't got the chance to read it yet. Of
>course, Paul hates it from what little I saw in snipping, so chances
>are I'll love it. ;) *

I have a sneaking suspicion that we will be united on this one.

>>Next week, it's Chuck Austen week!
>
>And I'm sure you'll just love that...

Oh yes. Actually, I may skip The Eternal #1 altogether. I don't like
the writer, or the artist, and I've never liked the Eternals, and it
isn't an X-book. So buying the thing would be masochistic even by my
standards.

Paul O'Brien

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Jun 1, 2003, 7:11:51 PM6/1/03
to
In message <wMtCa.800992$OV.733974@rwcrnsc54>, Sean Walsh
<arcad...@yahoo.com> writes

>
>This review not only made me laugh to the point of tears, but it also
>inspired me to buy this clusterf*ck of a story..........cheap, but I
>must see this in its insane entirety...

I would like to add that I have now been e-mailed by a reader who tells
me that the Rapture, as described in Uncanny #424, is actually
Protestant theology and not orthodox Catholic at all. As a lifelong
atheist, I managed to avoid going to Sunday school. Can anyone confirm
whether this is true?

Obviously, if so, it destroys the entire plot and raises the issue to
the level of sublime antigenius.

Paul O'Brien

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Jun 1, 2003, 7:13:29 PM6/1/03
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In message <vdkrivm...@corp.supernews.com>, teepee
<noemai...@hotmail.com> writes

>
>But in the spirit of asking irrelevant questions on this thread, why do
>you always post twice?

Because for some reason posts to rac.reviews don't make it to a large
chunk of Usenet. So I have to do one post to rac.reviews and one to the
other groups. And the rac.reviews modbot is set up only to allow
crossposts - so racmx gets two copies.

I did suggest a while back that I abandon the rac.reviews crosspost, and
I was deluged in e-mail from lurkers from rac.reviews asking me not to.
I swear, it provoked more response than anything else the X-Axis has
contained in the last two years.

Bob Is Not Here But Garry Is

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Jun 1, 2003, 7:52:30 PM6/1/03
to
I'm not Christian, but I have read revelations and any and all Christian
religons pretty much take it the same way (baptist, protestant, catholic,
etc.) as the primary focus of all religions comes from the same literature,
the Bible. I'm not sure of the specific views on the rapture though. I
think some take it more literally then others, but I'm pretty sure they all
believe in the overall concept that Christians will be removed from the
earth and a lot of really bad crap is going to happen.

Ken

"Paul O'Brien" <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message

news:EQybMyB3...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...

Franklin Harris

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Jun 1, 2003, 8:21:08 PM6/1/03
to

"Paul O'Brien" <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:EQybMyB3...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...

> In message <wMtCa.800992$OV.733974@rwcrnsc54>, Sean Walsh
> <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
> >
> >This review not only made me laugh to the point of tears, but it also
> >inspired me to buy this clusterf*ck of a story..........cheap, but I
> >must see this in its insane entirety...
>
> I would like to add that I have now been e-mailed by a reader who tells
> me that the Rapture, as described in Uncanny #424, is actually
> Protestant theology and not orthodox Catholic at all. As a lifelong
> atheist, I managed to avoid going to Sunday school. Can anyone confirm
> whether this is true?

Yes. The Rapture is distinctly Protestant, and limited to only some
Protestant sects at that.

--
Franklin Harris
Pulp Culture Online, www.pulpculture.net
"The truly psychotic don't need to cop an attitude." -- Poppy Z. Brite,
alt.horror, 2/21/03


Billy Bissette

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Jun 1, 2003, 9:17:02 PM6/1/03
to
Paul O'Brien <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> THE X-AXIS
> 1 June 2003
> ===========
>

> ------------
>
> This week:
>
> MYSTIQUE #2 - "Drop Dead Gorgeous, chapter 2 of 6"
> by Brian Vaughan and Jorge Lucas
>
> UNCANNY X-MEN #424 - "Holy War, part 2 of 2"
> by Chuck Austen, Ron Garney, Mark Morales, Nelson and Dan Green
>
> X-TREME X-MEN #26 - "God Loves, Man Kills II, part 2"
> by Chris Claremont, Igor Kordey and Scott Hanna
>
> INHUMANS #1 - "Lunar, part 1"
> by Sean McKeever, Matthew Clark and Nelson
>
> ------------
>
> MYSTIQUE actually had the highest chart placing of the first wave of
> Tsunami books, which was a pleasant surprise.

Is there any shot of these being thrown into a TPB? Or will Marvel
simply publish them and forget them.

> It's another book using the Department of Homeland Security as the
> villains, which will doubtless annoy a segment of the audience, but if
> you ask me, you can't have nearly enough books about why the Department
> of Homeland Security is a bad thing. Besides, they're such a gift to
> writers that it would be a shame to pass it up. Corrupt elements of the
> government have been a staple of thrillers for years. It's hardly the
> fault of writers that the current US government behaves in a manner that
> renders these stories uncomfortably close to home.

Except is it really a play against current politics? If it weren't a
Homeland Security conspiracy, it would just be a generic nameless
government group. Like you say, its been a staple for years. That it
has a "real organization" name doesn't make it some kind of statement.
It just means people feel safer picking on the new group than using
FBI, CIA, NSA, or similar. :p And it already is a bit overdone.

How long until the Sentinel program officially becomes part of Marvel
Homeland Security? :p

> ------------
>
<Uncanny X-Men, already in progress>


>
> This story is so bad that it deserves to be immortalised in derision for
> years to come. Even as a hardcore atheist, I have little sympathy for
> Austen's bizarrely twisted idea of the Catholic Church, which seems to
> revolve exclusively around the twin concepts of sexual abuse and
> bigotry. Granted that those may be the Church's most prominent flaws,
> in Austen's stories they seem to be the Church's only features.

It's not like it is hard to take shots at the Catholic Church, with all
its problems and scandals on top of any theological, political, or other
things you can bring up.

Which makes it sad that it is so often done so badly.

> The idea of a plan to instal Nightcrawler as Pope - never previously
> mentioned prior to this issue - is comically over the top. The idea
> that the world's Catholics are going to react to a simulated Rapture in
> anything like the manner described is little short of ludicrous and
> suggests that Austen still thinks ordinary Catholics are little more
> than dogmatic slaves of their church. I rather suspect the average
> Catholic in the street would continue their existing policy of generally
> acting much like everyone else.

So, a group with some sort of mind control ability in addition to access
to an image inducer goes through extreme lengths to perform a very rickety
power swap and mass murder in order to hijack a church.

Why not just use the image inducer to reach the current Pope, kill him,
and replace him with the person you want to have power using the image
inducer? Skipping the whole fake rapture and Pope-is-a-devil routine.

And they are killing off probably some of the more religious Catholics
in the process. And would the image of Nightcrawler be that shocking for
the X-Men's universe? No wonder they need the mass murder fake Rapture
angle, just to keep people from immediately screaming "Mutant". It might
take days for someone to notice that the majority of people taken in the
rapture were eating communion wafers... Of course within a week of someone
noticing there will be about 50 news programs on it.

> Why the hell would anyone want to wrest control of the Catholic Church,
> anyway? It's not like it's a significant political power any more. I
> suppose it's all very well if you have an evil scheme which entails
> interfering with the distribution of condoms in Angola, but otherwise
> they might as well be fighting for control of the West Godalming Yoga
> Centre.

There are people who still care what the Pope says. But most of the
world by now has probably caught on that the Church is generally behind the
times by a matter of centuries, and basically ignore anything that they
conflict with too much.

> ------------
>
> Considerably better is X-TREME X-MEN #26, the second part of "God Loves,
> Man Kills II."

<snip>
> Rating: B+

Darn it Paul, now I can't complain that you mark the book down just for
having Claremont's name attached.

Unless...

That's it. You read Uncanny before making this review, and against it
you bumped up Claremont's score by two letters!

I'm right, aren't I? ;)

Terrafamilia

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 9:21:02 PM6/1/03
to

Paul O'Brien wrote:

> In message <wMtCa.800992$OV.733974@rwcrnsc54>, Sean Walsh
> <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
> >
> >This review not only made me laugh to the point of tears, but it also
> >inspired me to buy this clusterf*ck of a story..........cheap, but I
> >must see this in its insane entirety...
>
> I would like to add that I have now been e-mailed by a reader who tells
> me that the Rapture, as described in Uncanny #424, is actually
> Protestant theology and not orthodox Catholic at all. As a lifelong
> atheist, I managed to avoid going to Sunday school. Can anyone confirm
> whether this is true?
>
> Obviously, if so, it destroys the entire plot and raises the issue to
> the level of sublime antigenius.

Quite. The Church of Humanity was trying to create a faux pre-tribulation
rapture which is part of the premillennial view of Christian eschatology
which is found in the more Evangelical and Fundamentalist sections of
Protestantism, particularly the Dispensationalists. It's the scenario
spelled out in the _Left Behind_ series of books. The Catholic Church holds
to a more amillennialist view.

For more on the Catholic view, see
http://pages.prodigy.net/aesir/catmil.htm

Ciao,

Terrafamilia

Marc-Oliver Frisch

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 9:44:04 PM6/1/03
to
Paul O'Brien wrote:

: And the rac.reviews modbot is set up only to allow


: crossposts - so racmx gets two copies.

I don't think so. Any reviews I sent to rac.reviews in recent months were separate posts.

Worked fine, as far as I know.

--
Marc-Oliver Frisch
Dersc...@hotmail.com

Freedom is untidy.

--
[Please note: This is a Usenet message, originally posted to the rec.arts.comics.* groups.
If you see it in a moderated or censored forum, it was copied there without my consent.]


Franklin Harris

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 10:11:54 PM6/1/03
to

"Billy Bissette" <bai...@coastalnet.com> wrote in message
news:Xns938DD88C6A71...@207.217.77.22...

> Paul O'Brien <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>

> > MYSTIQUE actually had the highest chart placing of the first wave of
> > Tsunami books, which was a pleasant surprise.
>
> Is there any shot of these being thrown into a TPB? Or will Marvel
> simply publish them and forget them.

Actually, they are published with the bookstore market and TPB format in
mind. They are only published as pamphlets at all because Marvel still wants
to cultivate the collector market, while it still exists.

Saxon Brenton

unread,
Jun 1, 2003, 10:23:02 PM6/1/03
to
Paul O'Brien <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in his X-Axis
reviews for 1 June 2003 about Uncanny X-Men #424 (among other
titles):

> You may also be wondering how the Church of Humanity plans to simulate
> the Rapture. After all, that involves good Catholics being taken up to
> Heaven. Well, they're going to disintegrate people using evil doctored
> communion wafers.
>
> I'll just repeat that. The villains are going to usurp command of
> Catholicism by installing Nightcrawler as the Pope and using murderous
> disintegrating communion wafers. No, this is not meant to be a comedy
> story.

< blink blink >
My goodness. Literal 'Death Cookies'. Between this story and the
Wolverine arc that had the Shadow Pope planning to mind-control New York
into becoming Catholic, it sounds to me like Jack Chick might have
infiltrated Marvel Comics. Do the villains laugh by going "HAWHAWHAW!"?

Thank you Paul. I stopped paying attention to most of the X-universe
years ago, including skimming them on the stands. Without your reviews
I wouldn't know that this is something I should at least give a brief
look at in order to get some laughter back into my day.

----------
Saxon Brenton Uni of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon....@uts.edu.au

Dan McEwen

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 4:03:19 AM6/2/03
to
Paul O'Brien <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in
news:Id1I$$DrPl2...@esoterica.demon.co.uk:

> Readers may recall that last year, Wolverine #177-178 featured the
> title character locked in battle against evil Catholics who planned
> to use mind-control to convert New York. It is undoubtedly the
> stupidest religion-themed story in the history of the X-books.
>
> Or at least, it was undoubted until this week, when UNCANNY X-MEN
> #424 made a brave bid for the title. While Wolverine secured its
> position with a mixture of awful art, inept plotting and total
> failure to include any thematic elements pertaining to Catholicism,
> Chuck Austen goes for the high ground. His story at least makes a
> certain degree of sense, and has competent enough illustration from
> Ron Garney. Never one to run from an issue, Austen grapples head-on
> with the issues of Catholicism.
>
> The result is predictably terrible.

I had been debating whether or not to drop this title. I knew I wasn't
happy with it, but this story was too much. I found the entire plot
ludicrous, right down to the fact that the X-Men have actually seen
Kurt wearing his priest collar in previous issues. This book is
dropped.

> ------------
>
> Also among this week's comics...

> ULTIMATES #10 - Insert obligatory gag about how late it is. That


> said, the delays are a problem - this is the sort of story which
> would fit in just fine as part of a regular title, but ends up a
> touch frustrating when you know history shows the next issue probably
> won't be out till the autumn. Still, it's undeniably gorgeous to
> look at, and when Hitch is allowed to go to town like this, you can't
> complain too much. It's worth having just to gaze at. A-
> http://www.millarworld.biz


I was actually told not to read this issue until the next one was out
to avoid a _long_ wait on the cliffhanger.

--
Dan
a.a. #1617

James William Moar

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 4:12:35 AM6/2/03
to
On Mon, 2 Jun 2003, Billy Bissette wrote:

> > MYSTIQUE actually had the highest chart placing of the first wave of
> > Tsunami books, which was a pleasant surprise.
>
> Is there any shot of these being thrown into a TPB? Or will Marvel
> simply publish them and forget them.

Amazon.co.uk already lists Namor, Crew, New Mutants, Inhumans, Eternal,
Human Torch, Mystique, Quest, Runaways, Sentinel, Venom and Snikt TPBs,
for late 2003/early 2004. Along with dozens of TPBs for the established
series.


--
James Moar

Paul O'Brien

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 4:03:56 AM6/2/03
to
In message <Xns938DD88C6A71...@207.217.77.22>, Billy
Bissette <bai...@coastalnet.com> writes

>>
>> MYSTIQUE actually had the highest chart placing of the first wave of
>> Tsunami books, which was a pleasant surprise.
>
> Is there any shot of these being thrown into a TPB? Or will Marvel
>simply publish them and forget them.

The Tsunami books are supposedly an attempt to produce something more in
tune with the tastes of the bookstore manga readers, so I'd say the
prospects of MYSTIQUE receiving a TPB are almost 100%.

Pradera

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 4:43:29 AM6/2/03
to
On 02 cze 2003, Billy Bissette <bai...@coastalnet.com> scribbled loosely:

> How long until the Sentinel program officially becomes part of Marvel
> Homeland Security? :p

It is in a fanfic I'm writing ;)

--
Pradera
---
Hark you shadows that in darkness dwell,
learn to contemn light,
Happy, happy they that in hell
feel not the worlds despite.
-John Dowland, "Flow my teares"

RANT - Regulars Against Non-Topicness (on RABT)

http://www.pradera-castle.prv.pl/earthdawn

Sequoia Swennes

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 8:27:52 AM6/2/03
to

Paul O'Brien <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:EQybMyB3...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...

> In message <wMtCa.800992$OV.733974@rwcrnsc54>, Sean Walsh
> <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
> >
> >This review not only made me laugh to the point of tears, but it also
> >inspired me to buy this clusterf*ck of a story..........cheap, but I
> >must see this in its insane entirety...
>
> I would like to add that I have now been e-mailed by a reader who tells
> me that the Rapture, as described in Uncanny #424, is actually
> Protestant theology and not orthodox Catholic at all. As a lifelong
> atheist, I managed to avoid going to Sunday school. Can anyone confirm
> whether this is true?
>
> Obviously, if so, it destroys the entire plot and raises the issue to
> the level of sublime antigenius.

It's absolutely true. Catholics do not believe in the Rapture, and consider
the whole idea false and rather idiotic. Austen claims he can write garbage
like this because he "used to be Catholic" - if so, it's obvious he never
bothered paying the least bit of attention to actual Church teaching.

Fabulous review though.

Sequoia


Sean Walsh via GOOGLE!

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 8:29:43 AM6/2/03
to
Paul O'Brien <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<EQybMyB3...@esoterica.demon.co.uk>...

> In message <wMtCa.800992$OV.733974@rwcrnsc54>, Sean Walsh
> <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
> >
> >This review not only made me laugh to the point of tears, but it also
> >inspired me to buy this clusterf*ck of a story..........cheap, but I
> >must see this in its insane entirety...
>
> I would like to add that I have now been e-mailed by a reader who tells
> me that the Rapture, as described in Uncanny #424, is actually
> Protestant theology and not orthodox Catholic at all. As a lifelong
> atheist, I managed to avoid going to Sunday school. Can anyone confirm
> whether this is true?
>
> Obviously, if so, it destroys the entire plot and raises the issue to
> the level of sublime antigenius.

And to add to the train-wreck chaos of analyzing this comic:

Skin, a perfectly competent X-character, died to get this story "over."

--
Sean

Sequoia Swennes

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 8:52:29 AM6/2/03
to

Saxon Brenton <saxon....@uts.edu.au> wrote in message
news:15f3bff1.03060...@posting.google.com...

> < blink blink >
> My goodness. Literal 'Death Cookies'. Between this story and the
> Wolverine arc that had the Shadow Pope planning to mind-control New York
> into becoming Catholic, it sounds to me like Jack Chick might have
> infiltrated Marvel Comics. Do the villains laugh by going "HAWHAWHAW!"?

That would be too obvious. They've got to be subtle and introduce the
bigotry and insanity slowly, or they'll never indoctrinate all those 13 year
old boys. Perhaps next year Austen will step up his tribute to Chick and
write about gay rights activists calling for gay men to poison the nations
blood supply with HIV+ blood, or show how Muslims worship the moon and Wicca
has "Satan's hoofprints" all over it, and how both encourage the eating of
children and whatnot ;)


starblood

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 9:11:58 AM6/2/03
to
"Paul O'Brien" <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:G4Ubm3Cs...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...

> The Tsunami books are supposedly an attempt to produce something more in
> tune with the tastes of the bookstore manga readers, so I'd say the
> prospects of MYSTIQUE receiving a TPB are almost 100%.

I don't see what the Mystique series has to do with manga. It's not even
imitation manga like some of the other books.


Terrafamilia

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 10:21:17 AM6/2/03
to

Sequoia Swennes wrote:

Well, they have already gotten us used to bad artwork.

Ciao,

Terrafamilia

Shawn Hill

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 4:59:59 PM6/2/03
to
In rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks Dan McEwen <dannyb...@aol.com> wrote:

:> The result is predictably terrible.

: I had been debating whether or not to drop this title. I knew I wasn't
: happy with it, but this story was too much. I found the entire plot
: ludicrous, right down to the fact that the X-Men have actually seen
: Kurt wearing his priest collar in previous issues. This book is
: dropped.

Strangely (very strangely) I'm still on board. I'm not offended by the
Catholic stuff (though I knew that Rapture crap sounded all too familiar,
kudos to those who identified it as Protestant extremism; I saw too many
of those fear-inducing pamphlets on the subject as a Bible Belt teen); but
I have thought of one good thing to say about this book.

Well, a few: this issue, for all it's ludicrousness, every bit as bad as
Paul claims, did show the team swinging into action to save
their teammates. And it did show Nightcrawler leading, to the best of his
considerable ability.

It's nice to see Alex back, and it's nice to see Lorna's
motivations/problems become a bit clearer. The idea of their enemies
mowing them down while they fought illusory battles was a truly scary one,
and though the attempt at banter was poor and awkward, there was an
attempt. Austen has potential to tell a reasonable story with the crew
he's assembled. He's even carefully put all the parts into place; he's
assembled the right teammates, and even the Nurse Annie stuff is working.
As is the Juggernaut power-down and sign-up.

But the art is only serviceable, and the threats and plotting are
ridiculous. Basically, his villains suck. They're unbelievable (Church of
Humanity), amorphous (Werewolf Mutants), or non-enemies (Alpha Flight). It
hasn't reached drop level yet for me, because the teamwork (one of the
reasons I read the title) is still there, moreso even than in New X-men.

But I wish they'd actually find a threat worth facing.

Shawn

BlackFalcon

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 5:24:14 PM6/2/03
to

"Paul O'Brien" <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:EQybMyB3...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...

> In message <wMtCa.800992$OV.733974@rwcrnsc54>, Sean Walsh
> <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
> >
> >This review not only made me laugh to the point of tears, but it also
> >inspired me to buy this clusterf*ck of a story..........cheap, but I
> >must see this in its insane entirety...
>
> I would like to add that I have now been e-mailed by a reader who tells
> me that the Rapture, as described in Uncanny #424, is actually
> Protestant theology and not orthodox Catholic at all. As a lifelong
> atheist, I managed to avoid going to Sunday school. Can anyone confirm
> whether this is true?
>
> Obviously, if so, it destroys the entire plot and raises the issue to
> the level of sublime antigenius.
>

I'll chime in with the others - the Rapture is definitely a Protestant
concept, and is definitely not a part of Catholic theology.

I've been a Catholic for a few decades now, so I think I know a little about
the faith.

Unlike Austen, of course.

George Grattan

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 5:50:09 PM6/2/03
to

Indeed.

It gets even more complicated than what's been said so far, though.....

Sure, there's an argument to be made the aspects of what's predicted to
happen in "The Rapture" are Catholic in their origins, in that they draw
upon the iconography and broad strokes of plot found in Revelations. But
Revelations is notoriously vague, and has generally been interpreted by the
Catholic Church in even its most literal periods as, essentially, metaphor--
not literal prophesy. Current Catholic teaching (that is, anything post
Vatican II) tends to say next to nothing about Revelations in general, and
you'd have to search far and wide before stumbling upon a Catholic priest
describing anything *like* "The Rapture" in his homily. It simply has no
currency in the Church, and most Catholics are a bit freaked-out by it when
they're told about it. (I'm Catholic myself and have taught at two Catholic
colleges-- it's great fun to blow their minds with this stuff....)

"The Rapture" isn't exactly a mainline Protestant bugaboo, either, but took
root, instead, in more conservative and, especially, in many fundamentalist
Christian religions. *Many* people who were "born again" in the 1970s and
1980s in America and Europe (often after leaving either the Catholic Church
or various Protestant denominations) were well tutored in "The Rapture"
storyline-- it's a central tenet of several apocalyptically focused sects.
It also has great currency in the far-right political movement in the US,
and these combining threads of currency have done everything from create a
lucrative market for the "Left Behind" books and films to, perhaps, begun to
influence US policies in the Middle East (the final disposition of
Jerusalem, the Israelites, and the land of Palestine being pretty important
parts of the story). It's a frighteningly short step from there to the
theories about how UPC codes are going to imprint the "Mark of the Beast" on
our heads so that the Roman Catholic Church (which often is figured as being
in league with the Anti-Christ in these tales) can more easily track us all
in conjunction with the New World Order.

So that's probably where Mr. Austen got tripped up-- he swallowed the
association of the Catholic Church with all the bad parts of the Rapture
story (fundamentalist Christians have always been *profoundly*
anti-Catholic), but got confused about the fact that the Evil Catholics are
Evil precisely because they *don't* believe in the Rapture (and all it
portends), and hence won't be in any position-- for long-- to benefit from
it.

My, it's delicious when they give idiots pencils. Anyone got the
appropriate editor's address at Marvel? I feel a letter of complaint coming
on. If they're going to let their writers be bargain-basement bigots, they
should at least require them to get the plots and players straight. Next
thing you know, we'll have Magneto as a Holocaust-denier......


--
Shalom, Peace, Salaam

George Grattan

(This post is intended for a Usenet newsgroup only. Its appearance in any
other forum that does not clearly identify it as originally posted to Usenet
is therefore a misrepresentation, is done against my wishes, and may
indicate other unauthorized distortions of content and/or context. Correctly
attributed and/or unedited copies of this post in other forums do not
necessarily indicate my willing participation in them.)

>
>
>

Paul O'Brien

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:12:17 PM6/2/03
to
In message <f70c7c01.03060...@posting.google.com>, Sean Walsh
via GOOGLE! <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes

>
>And to add to the train-wreck chaos of analyzing this comic:
>
>Skin, a perfectly competent X-character, died to get this story "over."

And here's a thought to strike fear into the heart: in a few months
time, according to the solicitaitons, Austen will be revealing the "true
origin" of Nightcrawler.

Paul O'Brien

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:13:49 PM6/2/03
to
In message <BB013ED1.1D8CE%gra...@rcn.com>, George Grattan
<gra...@rcn.com> writes

>
>My, it's delicious when they give idiots pencils. Anyone got the
>appropriate editor's address at Marvel?

The editor of Uncanny X-Men is Mike Marts, although given the very high
number of assignments Austen is getting lately, you might be directing
your efforts more effectively by complaining to Joe Quesada.

Paul O'Brien

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:14:37 PM6/2/03
to
In message <y2ICa.635$x35.4...@newshog.newsread.com>, starblood
<moonh...@hotmail.com> writes

>
>I don't see what the Mystique series has to do with manga. It's not
>even imitation manga like some of the other books.

Nor do I. In fairness, Marvel described the Tsunami books as an attempt
to reach the manga audience, not necessarily as an attempt to do actual
manga. They're not quite the same.

Billy Bissette

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:18:37 PM6/2/03
to
"BlackFalcon" <Bl...@falcon.com> wrote:

> I've been a Catholic for a few decades now, so I think I know a little
> about the faith.
>
> Unlike Austen, of course.

I'm not trying to make light of such a thing, but I honestly now wonder
if Austen was the victim of a Catholic scandal. Since he has apparently
said he once was Catholic (didn't he?), and is so anti-Catholic now yet
doesn't even have basics of the faith down?

Of course, it could just be that he was turned off of the faith for some
other reason while still young enough that enough of the basic beliefs
didn't stick into mind. Or that he just never paid attention and only ever
gave the slightest lip service anyway before turning.

Ralf Haring

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:25:18 PM6/2/03
to
On Tue, 3 Jun 2003 00:12:17 +0100, Paul O'Brien
<pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>In message <f70c7c01.03060...@posting.google.com>, Sean Walsh
>via GOOGLE! <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
>>
>>And to add to the train-wreck chaos of analyzing this comic:
>>
>>Skin, a perfectly competent X-character, died to get this story "over."
>
>And here's a thought to strike fear into the heart: in a few months
>time, according to the solicitaitons, Austen will be revealing the "true
>origin" of Nightcrawler.

Lets hope it has waterfalls!

-Ralf Haring
"The mind must be the harder, the heart the keener,
the spirit the greater, as our strength grows less."
-Byrhtwold, The Battle of Maldon

Brian Doyle

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:23:40 PM6/2/03
to

"Paul O'Brien" <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:El7LRsBR...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...

> In message <f70c7c01.03060...@posting.google.com>, Sean Walsh
> via GOOGLE! <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
> >
> >And to add to the train-wreck chaos of analyzing this comic:
> >
> >Skin, a perfectly competent X-character, died to get this story "over."
>
> And here's a thought to strike fear into the heart: in a few months
> time, according to the solicitaitons, Austen will be revealing the "true
> origin" of Nightcrawler.

Does anyone mind if I whimper a little now, and beat the rush then?


Brian Doyle

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:27:29 PM6/2/03
to

"Paul O'Brien" <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:2lYHhcCd...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...

> In message <y2ICa.635$x35.4...@newshog.newsread.com>, starblood
> <moonh...@hotmail.com> writes
> >
> >I don't see what the Mystique series has to do with manga. It's not
> >even imitation manga like some of the other books.
>
> Nor do I. In fairness, Marvel described the Tsunami books as an attempt
> to reach the manga audience, not necessarily as an attempt to do actual
> manga. They're not quite the same.

Indeed, perhaps they are trying to depict it as a non-superhero capes and
masks format, which is what the bulk of US comics are, but manga are more
varied in tone (And can be based on sports, or just soap opera day to day
life etc).

Of course, the same could be said with equal, indeed possibly more, truth
about the Continental European market, though that perhaps lacks the
"exotic" tinge of Japan.. And would the US currentl be receptive to an
imprint called Bandes Dessinee?


Graeme

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:43:55 PM6/2/03
to
"Ralf Haring" <ra...@duke.edu> wrote in message
news:3edbdcec...@news.verizon.net...

> >And here's a thought to strike fear into the heart: in a few months
> >time, according to the solicitaitons, Austen will be revealing the "true
> >origin" of Nightcrawler.
>
> Lets hope it has waterfalls!

If it does, you can bet they'll be on the Mississippi.

Graeme
--
http://members.optusnet.com.au/graeme

"Cut myself shaving this morning. Got pretty scratched
up shaving the cat, too." - Bug-Eyed Earl (Red Meat)


Peter Dimitriadis

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 7:44:53 PM6/2/03
to
George Grattan wrote:
> on 6/2/03 5:24 PM, BlackFalcon at Bl...@falcon.com wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > I'll chime in with the others - the Rapture is definitely a Protestant
> > concept, and is definitely not a part of Catholic theology.
>
> > I've been a Catholic for a few decades now, so I think I know a little
> > about the faith.
> >
> > Unlike Austen, of course.

> Indeed.
>
> It gets even more complicated than what's been said so far, though.....
>
> Sure, there's an argument to be made the aspects of what's predicted to
> happen in "The Rapture" are Catholic in their origins, in that they draw
> upon the iconography and broad strokes of plot found in Revelations. But
> Revelations is notoriously vague, and has generally been interpreted by
> the Catholic Church in even its most literal periods as, essentially,
> metaphor-- not literal prophesy.

While the story and plot was bad, there is something I think being
missed in all this. This was a plot to destroy and discredit the
Catholic Church, by another church led by a woman who no longer believed
in the religion (but believed in the God). They were to make the
Catholic Church out to be lead by the antichrist, after all. As such,
including elements from other religions isn't out of the question, and,
in fact, to some degree (though not entirely as Austen states it), it
makes sense (if the pope of the Catholic church appears to be a demon,
and other aspects of the apocalypse seem to be coming true (including
the Rapture) the fundamentalists of the whole 'Revelations-is-literal'
crowd might certainly do everything in their power to destroy the
Catholic Church). It also might shake their own core beliefs; after
all, _they_ weren't swallowed up in the Rapture, but saw a number of
other people disappear all at once, inspiring them to get on the side of
the 'real' God (provided by the CoH). Individual Catholics might
also 'see the error of their ways' (Oh, the Rapture's literal, not
metaphorical? But the Pope said... oh, wait, the Pope was a demon.
Check.).

Granted, even with all this, it's a foolishly optomistic and horribly
convoluted plan, but these people aren't thinking too rationally to
begin with, but I don't think it's necessarily an 'error' per se...
these people are idiots... they just happen to be idiots with access
to technology and powerful mutants, and they made an idiot plan. They
didn't seem to be any less the idiots under Casey's run, so let's just
hope we've seen the last of them.

Peter Dimitriadis

George Grattan

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 9:46:36 PM6/2/03
to
on 6/2/03 7:18 PM, Billy Bissette at bai...@coastalnet.com wrote:

> "BlackFalcon" <Bl...@falcon.com> wrote:
>
>> I've been a Catholic for a few decades now, so I think I know a little
>> about the faith.
>>
>> Unlike Austen, of course.
>
> I'm not trying to make light of such a thing, but I honestly now wonder
> if Austen was the victim of a Catholic scandal.

And I'm not going to parse that sentence too much, because I know you meant
no offense by it, but I've simply got to observe that things have come to a
pretty pass when the phrase "a Catholic scandal" can be used to stand in for
"sexual molestation," as if such a horror were as Catholic *by definition
and origin* as, say, confession, St. Peter's, or transubstantiation.

(Sigh.)

Not that the Church-- my Church--doesn't deserve it, to an extent. But it's
pretty damn hard these days to walk that line between criticism and what's
been wisely identified as the last publicly acceptable prejudice in America:
anti-Catholicism. I have no idea what motivates the writers and editors at
Marvel these days in such matters-- and Catholics certainly aren't the first
group they've given cause to take offense, nor even the most aggrieved, by a
long shot (paging Luke Cage, paging Luke Cage....)--but perhaps they have
tapped into an overall mood in the culture which says such things are fair
game right now.

Jeremy Henderson

unread,
Jun 2, 2003, 10:26:51 PM6/2/03
to

I think I see what you're saying. As George has outlined, The Rapture
is a belief of fairly extreme Protestant sects, who believe that the
Catholic Church is in league with the Devil. So in UXM someone is out
to get the Catholic Church by convincing people this is literal truth.
The Pope is revealed to be a devil, and the Rapture is revealed to be
true when people start disappearing.

The problem with this...the only people disappearing would be
Catholics (since they'd be eating the...sigh...disintegrating wafers).
So what's that going to say to all the Rapture believers when the only
people being beamed up to Heaven are the very people belonging to the
Church led by a devil? No matter how you cut this, this is an evil
plot that just makes no freaking sense whatsoever.


>Granted, even with all this, it's a foolishly optomistic and horribly
>convoluted plan, but these people aren't thinking too rationally to
>begin with, but I don't think it's necessarily an 'error' per se...
>these people are idiots... they just happen to be idiots with access
>to technology and powerful mutants, and they made an idiot plan. They
>didn't seem to be any less the idiots under Casey's run, so let's just
>hope we've seen the last of them.
>
>Peter Dimitriadis

_______________________________
Life's a lot like a freak show.
Nobody laughs when they leave.

Billy Bissette

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 12:04:51 AM6/3/03
to
George Grattan <gra...@rcn.com> wrote:
> on 6/2/03 7:18 PM, Billy Bissette at bai...@coastalnet.com wrote:
>> "BlackFalcon" <Bl...@falcon.com> wrote:
>>
>>> I've been a Catholic for a few decades now, so I think I know a
>>> little about the faith.
>>>
>>> Unlike Austen, of course.
>>
>> I'm not trying to make light of such a thing, but I honestly now
>> wonder if Austen was the victim of a Catholic scandal.
>
> And I'm not going to parse that sentence too much, because I know you
> meant no offense by it, but I've simply got to observe that things
> have come to a pretty pass when the phrase "a Catholic scandal" can be
> used to stand in for "sexual molestation," as if such a horror were as
> Catholic *by definition and origin* as, say, confession, St. Peter's,
> or transubstantiation.

To be fair to the statement, I did intend the "Catholic" aspect,
implying the participation of a priest or someone else of the Catholic
Church.

Whether you prefer the phrase "Catholic scandal" or "molested by a
Catholic priest"... The former at least to me sounds 'kinder' to the
victims of such acts, and the church can honestly take a few swings
considering the number of cases as well as the responses taken.

Which is not meant as an insult to anyone connected simply due to their
faith. Or any priests who aren't guilty of such offenses. (And even if
you happen to believe the worst case figures, that would still be the
majority.)

> (Sigh.)
>
> Not that the Church-- my Church--doesn't deserve it, to an extent. But
> it's pretty damn hard these days to walk that line between criticism
> and what's been wisely identified as the last publicly acceptable
> prejudice in America: anti-Catholicism. I have no idea what motivates
> the writers and editors at Marvel these days in such matters-- and
> Catholics certainly aren't the first group they've given cause to take
> offense, nor even the most aggrieved, by a long shot (paging Luke
> Cage, paging Luke Cage....)--but perhaps they have tapped into an
> overall mood in the culture which says such things are fair game right
> now.

I wouldn't call it the last publicly acceptable prejudice in America.
It still seems overly fine to be both anti-male and particularly
anti-caucasian. But I do know what you mean.

As for it being fair game... That really is because of said scandal I
would say. By nature a decent amount of America is "anti"-Catholic simply
because they don't subscribe to the Catholic faith. But this particular
scandal is a kind of thing that turned into something that was a bit
spread out and the Church continually tried to cover it up. That was
really the nail in the coffin, in that how the Church reacted to protect
itself.

Of course there is also the distinctions of being anti-Catholic Church,
anti-Catholic faith, and simply anti-Catholic. I know several who are
against the church itself (for examples why, just look at the paragraph
above), some who are against the faith, and can't think of any who are
against the people any more than they are the people of any religion they
don't believe in.

Personally, I think the Catholic Church (the governing body and mindset
and such) has been deplorable for centuries. It is hardly like this kind
of scandal was "new" after all, and the Church has actually done far worse
in the past than this coverup.

I don't really support the faith, and disagree with it on several levels.
But I have problems with all forms of Christian based religions. Probably
in part because that is what I was indoctrinated with as a kind and thus
had many of the 'flaws' exposed, and I do mean indoctrinated.

As for the people... I don't like the sheep mentality that religion
tends to install in some people, but that is a broad concern.

It can be easy to take comments that are against the Church as against
the faith or the people though,

Marc-Oliver Frisch

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 7:56:18 AM6/3/03
to
Shawn Hill wrote:

: But the art is only serviceable, and the threats and plotting are


: ridiculous. Basically, his villains suck. They're unbelievable (Church of
: Humanity), amorphous (Werewolf Mutants), or non-enemies (Alpha Flight). It
: hasn't reached drop level yet for me, because the teamwork (one of the
: reasons I read the title) is still there, moreso even than in New X-men.
:
: But I wish they'd actually find a threat worth facing.

Agreed.

I like Austen's cast and his tendency to utilize the characters' established backstories,
but his plots and villains have been real stinkers.

I don't quite dislike his writing as much as I do Tieri's (who's much in the same
department) yet, because Austen at least manages to make the protagonists interesting to
some degree. He needs to take some lessons in Plotting and How to Make Antagonists
Interesting quickly, though.

--
Marc-Oliver Frisch
Dersc...@hotmail.com

Freedom is untidy.

--
[Please note: This is a Usenet message, originally posted to the rec.arts.comics.* groups.
If you see it in a moderated or censored forum, it was copied there without my consent.]


Marc-Oliver Frisch

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 7:56:20 AM6/3/03
to
Paul O'Brien wrote:

: And here's a thought to strike fear into the heart: in a few months


: time, according to the solicitaitons, Austen will be revealing the "true
: origin" of Nightcrawler.

Didn't he already pointlessly screw around with the backstory between Mystique and
Sabretooth in an issue of X-MEN UNLIMITED?

Bonehammer

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 1:03:11 PM6/3/03
to
Paul O'Brien <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<EQybMyB3...@esoterica.demon.co.uk>...

> In message <wMtCa.800992$OV.733974@rwcrnsc54>, Sean Walsh
> <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
> >
> >This review not only made me laugh to the point of tears, but it also
> >inspired me to buy this clusterf*ck of a story..........cheap, but I
> >must see this in its insane entirety...
>
> I would like to add that I have now been e-mailed by a reader who tells
> me that the Rapture, as described in Uncanny #424, is actually
> Protestant theology and not orthodox Catholic at all. As a lifelong
> atheist, I managed to avoid going to Sunday school. Can anyone confirm
> whether this is true?
>
> Obviously, if so, it destroys the entire plot and raises the issue to
> the level of sublime antigenius.

I'm a (lapsed) Catholic, have attended catechism for some eight years,
and served at the altar for three, and I had to go and look it up
because I had no clue as to what it meant. Dunno what the hell it
comes from, but it's *clearly* not Catholic.

Nice shot in the balls, Chuck. Thanks for making us anticlericals look
like bigoted morons now. Cardinal Ratzinger will surely 'preciate
that.

Ciao
Bonehammer

Jim Connick

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 2:00:51 PM6/3/03
to

"Paul O'Brien" <pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:El7LRsBR...@esoterica.demon.co.uk...
: In message <f70c7c01.03060...@posting.google.com>, Sean Walsh

: via GOOGLE! <arcad...@yahoo.com> writes
: >
: >And to add to the train-wreck chaos of analyzing this comic:
: >
: >Skin, a perfectly competent X-character, died to get this story "over."
:
: And here's a thought to strike fear into the heart: in a few months
: time, according to the solicitaitons, Austen will be revealing the "true
: origin" of Nightcrawler.

Evil Catholic Priests sexually abused Mystique, while she had shape shifted
into the form of an alter boy.
As part of a plan to overthrow communist Russia, or something equally
ridiculous.

Brian Doyle

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 2:03:19 PM6/3/03
to

"Bonehammer" <boneha...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:c22e31f9.0306...@posting.google.com...

> I'm a (lapsed) Catholic, have attended catechism for some eight years,
> and served at the altar for three, and I had to go and look it up
> because I had no clue as to what it meant. Dunno what the hell it
> comes from, but it's *clearly* not Catholic.

Likewise it's not a tenet of faith I'd heard of. The closest I came was the
Rapture, the fundamentalist "supervillain" team (Though they never saw
themselves as that of course) in the Bill Willinghams Elementals comics, who
didn't have codenames so much as code-Scripture-References...