I’m a sucker for one-shots. Every week I find myself leafing through and eventually buying these one-issue wonders at my local comic shop. They’re akin to a short story in prose fiction, and those can be pretty fun if done correctly.
So I picked up this one-shot written by web-comic veteran Brian Clevinger with a simple motivation: I like Iceman and Angel. I’ve been out of the X-loop for awhile now and I consider the two to be some of the most underutilized characters in Xavier’s stable of Gifted Youngsters. We join our heroes Bobby and Warren as they begin their spring break vacation in New York City. They bicker, complain and tease each other until they’re forced to deal with an unexpected force that is threatening the city.
Goom, the Thing from Planet X, makes a very entertaining appearance as the antagonist. The Stan Lee/Jack Kirby old school monster creation serves as great problem for the duo as they attempt to keep it busy until the New York heavy hitting heroes can show up. Let me be clear when I tell you this is not a non-stop action romp, or a deep introspective look into the relationship of two of the original X-Men. This is a humor story the whole way through. Both Iceman and Angel offer up many zingers, zips and friendly jabs, and some of it is actually pretty funny.
So I must admit — I have no clue when this story is taking place. For one, Warren isn’t blue — there’s an odd conversation between the title characters about how hip metal wings would be — and he’s not the brooding, “Scott Summers Lite” Angel I know from the current Uncanny X-Force. In fact, Warren Worthington III is so much more jovial than I’ve ever seen him I almost have to assume this is taking place before his now-classic alignment with Apocalypse. If this is snippet from the olden days of X-Men lore then fine, but there are no true indicators of the story’s place in continuity — and it’s slightly bothersome.
The art by Juan Doe (I’m still trying to figure out if that is a penname) ranges from solid to magnificent. While his style looks a little like an urban version of Marvel Adventures, there’s a rugged elegance to it that could adapt to many different types of stories. Occasionally some of his figure drawings are a little blocky, but the limited action panels are well done and, for the most part, there’s not a lot of storytelling confusion. Doe has worked on primarily on Marvel cover art, but this one-shot proves that in the right setting he could excel at doing interiors, too.
I like this issue a lot. However, I’m apprehensive about being totally generous with my rating because there lacks a certain sense of purpose. I don’t expect every book I pick up to add tremendous depth to a character or kill off a sidekick, but the vague context of the story coupled with the tone left me wondering what the value was. I got a few good chuckles, and it was a solid — though anticlimactic — story, but it kind of felt like a Marvel endorsed test-run for two budding creators.
Overall, this story was an entertaining success and worth the grab if you’re a fan of Angel, Iceman or even Goom. It’s a fun issue, but that’s about it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ray Tate also reviewed the Iceman and Angel one-shot. Read his thoughts, too!