I have to go off on a tangent right off the bat, which is unfortunate since this was such a dense week, but this is a subject near and dear to my heart:
Suckas best stop writing Cyclops so crappily.
Honestly, I don't know where Marvel's writers got the idea in the first place that Cyclops needed to become this free-wheeling badass, but it's got to stop. Scott Summers has NEVER been a boring character. OK, he was a little boring back in the earliest of the early days, but that's about it. Even in the late 90's, he was taking the bull by the horns and taking down (or merging, however you want to put it) Apocalypse nearly by himself. Hell, years before that he was flat-out taking Apocalypse down by himself.
But then Grant Morrison's "New X-Men" came along, and all of a sudden Scott wasn't complete without a bad-boy side. And he couldn't be content with his wife because she was becoming more powerful (you know, because he's never been in love with Phoenix before). Suddenly, every Marvel writer and editor felt the need to "fix" the character.
And so, we have this current incarnation of my favorite hero. A hero that has saved the world countless times and faced down Alien invasions, but suddenly he feels the need to kill every bad guy in sight. You know, because Mr. Sinister's actions now are so much worse than when Sinister cloned Jean Grey with the only intention of screwing with Scott and taking his seed. Yeah, now killing is somehow necessary, but not then.
It's all been bad enough -- but the dialog is the worst part. None of these schmucks know how to write in Cyclops' voice (probably because they have never understood what makes the character great), and in Uncanny X-Men #501 the writing of his voice absolutely ruined the issue for me. Here are two quotes from the book:
"I have a thing, Babe."
"Sorry Baby -- Go back to sleep."
Since when does Slim Summers use the phrase "Babe?!?"
I know this sounds like a little fanboy rant, and it probably is, but this is just the latest symptom of a major problem. The doesn't even mention the fact that this issue featured yet another re-tread of the X-Men's past in a desperate effort by these writers to be creative; the "Hellfire Cult," which seems to amount to a mind-controller inciting a group of San Franciscans to hunt mutants. Very Original, boys. I give this issue a MAJOR Thumbs Down.
It's OK, though, because X-Men First Class #15 was just a fun story that would have fit perfectly into the mid-1960's comic book world, with much sharper dialog. Basically, Medusa shows up, fresh out of the pages of one of her earliest confrontations with the Fantastic Four, and the team fights alongside her. It was a short and sweet one-and-done story that improved on this month's issue of "Uncanny" by 500%.
The most anticipated X-book of the week was X-Factor: Layla Miller #1, and while I expected a little bit more from it than what we got, it definitely was the best mutant book on the shelves. I'll tell you upfront, my problem with the book was simply that I've never been too nuts about Layla in general. All of that creepy "I know stuff" moments just seem like cheesy plot devices to me at most times. And, rest assured, there are plenty of "I know stuff" puns in this issue.
But, everything else was great. We saw how Layla managed life in the future (where she apparently still "knows stuff"), and we got to meet more than a few colorful characters in the future we haven't seen before -- all of which would equate to a pretty good mini-series dealing with the "Summers Rebellion" someday, hopefully soon. If you're a fan of the X-Men mythos, this is a must-read.
Lastly from Marvel, Captain America #41 was once again amazing. It should go without saying at this point. And the most incredible part was, at the end of this issue you will see the words "To be CONCLUDED." That's right, that's how close this issue takes us to the end. Of course, Ed Brubaker still holds plenty of cards close to the vest here as well. Believe it or not, we still don't know what the Skull's master plan is, or what Faustus has to gain. We do get several juicy revelations though, one dealing with Skull himself and the other with Sharon...
But if I were to say anymore about this issue, it would be giving too much away. And, frankly, if you're not reading this masterpiece at this point, you sure aren't going to start no matter how glowing a review this is. I'll just say that this may be my most anticipated read of next month.
The centerpiece of DC's week was Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1, which was marvelous in two respects: 1) Even a novice Legion reader like me should be able to get into the story if they want to. 2) It serves as what feels like a complete setup for the big battles to get going already in issue #2.
That second point may make some of you nervous. After all, critics of "Final Crisis" knock the fact that such a high percentage of the issues are just setup for down the road, so why would anyone want to read more setup in this Legion book? The answer is, the setup is so concise and so entertaining that it doesn't feel like setup. Most of the book is devoted to Superboy Prime getting acclimated to his 31st century surroundings, and Geoff Johns' dialog for the little brat really shines here. While I wasn't so nuts about how the character was handled in "Sinestro Corps War," Prime is the perfect balance of self-entitled fanboy gone bad here, and his intentions are very believable.
All in all, this first issue doesn't look at all pertinent to "Final Crisis" whatsoever, but it looks like it may end up being a BETTER series.
Justice League of America #24 was another step down for Dwayne McDuffie, who seemed to have been hitting his stride just a couple of months ago. The ENTIRE ISSUE is devoted to the team fighting Amazo. It wouldn't be so bad, either, except for the fact that McDuffie completely changed Amazo's abilities to make him darned near unbeatable. Well, he did it last month, which didn't help that last month we got so much of this fight too. A villain that seems so cheap and forced is simply not interesting to read.
That doesn't even mention the fact that the cover for this issue was 100% misleading.
Lastly, I said in the preview post last night how interested I was in Robin #177, due to the cover appearance by Red Robin. Well, I am now interested in Robin #178. The identity of Red Robin is not revealed here, but we know it's not Tim Drake and it's not Jason Todd. I also sincerely doubt it to be Dick Grayson. So who is it?
The rest of the issue I can take or leave, as the main plot revolved around Todd's plans to keep Gotham safe -- which were interesting to say the least -- but that plot seems to die in the issue. If you're following "Batman R.I.P.," though, this still looks like required reading, if only for seeing the world of Gotham post-R.I.P.