Sunday, February 5, 2012

X-Cutioner's Song

I meant to post about this three weeks ago, but I'm reading more than I really have time to write about lately, plus it's crunch-time for a big art show, involving 22 new canvases I've been working on since June. Really busy!

"X-Cutioner's Song" was a crossover storyline published by Marvel Comics in twelve parts from late 1992 to early 1993, involving the Uncanny X-Men, X-Men (vol. 2), X-Factor, and X-Force titles. It was heavily hyped and priced higher than the other titles at the zenith of both the X-Men franchise and comics popularity, in general. A few of the issues I picked up were still polybagged with a special trading card, as the issues of this crossover were originally released, all part of the heavily hyped event that warranted a $.25 hike in price!

I'm not going to give you a plot summary or anything like that; good or bad, it's all been discussed.  But in a nutshell, Cable's nemesis (and clone) Stryfe, shoots Professor Xavier with a techno-organic virus. X-Factor & the X-men are out to bring Cable down, while X-Force try to find their framed leader & get to the bottom of what really happened. It is thought that Apocalypse might be behind the assassination attempt, who is awakened from his regenerative sleep to be informed of the situation. Mr. Sinister is then thought to be the mastermind behind Xavier's assassination attempt & the kidnapping of Cylops & Jean Grey, but he is merely a pawn in Stryfe's endgame: revenge on his (or Cable's?) parents for leaving him. In the end Cable must sacrifice himself to take out Stryfe, but we now know of course that Cable will return!

Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, & Whilce Portacio, the popular artist's of these books who had rocketed Marvel & it's X-books to the top only a year before, suddenly left to form their own company prior to the crossover event, leaving editor Bob Harras to scramble a new team together. I liked Greg Capullo's art in X-Force, as I did Andy Kubert, Jae Lee, & Brandon Peterson's penciling on X-Men, X-Force, & Uncanny X-Men respectively.

I've been reading X-Factor from issue #1 here in the last couple months or so, digging up the individual issues in the dollar comics bin, uncovering nearly every issue up to # 40. I missed all this back in the early 90's, so it was all new to me. 90's comics have a somewhat bad reputation for a reason: they're  over-the-top in every way,  filled with some of the ugliest costumes, most desperate marketing tactics, and worst, most melodramatic story ideas. But isn't that really describing comics history in general, has any one decade not suffered from the same at certain points? I'd be lying  if I said I haven't enjoyed most of what I've read. My enthusiasm is partly due to having just got back into comics in the last 15 months or so, certainly, but Cable & X-Force have been fun reading, action packed, with plot twists often enough to keep me interested throughout. Topless Robot justifiably claimed "X-Cutioner's Song" to be one of the 11 Most Essential X-Men trades only this past July, and while I'm somewhat of a newbie, I agree it was pretty great.

As stated above, I found at least two of these still polybagged with trading cards included. I mentioned before the comics boom of the 90's and the following crash crippling the industry as speculators tried to unload the extra copies & special editions that prosperous times had afforded.  The aftermath of this glut is still visible twenty years later, brand new copies like these so plentiful they can be bought for one dollar- fifty cents less than they were sold for on the date of publication...

A couple of the cards I received, the designs for which aren't that great, though I'm glad I got Stryfe & Apocalypse...

More Later- Make It FUN!