Writer: Peter Milligan
Artists: Mike Allred (p), Nick Craine (i
Publisher: Marvel Knights
Much as Iíd like to criticise the move to Marvel Knights as part of Marvelís dumbing-down and cleaning-up of the main line, and much as Iíd like to decry the introduction of The Avengers as antagonists as a blatant and cynical sales gimmick, I canít. Thereís no noticeable change in tone with the move to the more mature Knights imprint, which Iíd guess would be Managementís problem with the title. Itís still cynical and ironic, and putting the squeaky-clean Avengers into the mix works rather well, even though they turn out to be not as virtuous as they first appear. Milligan writes Captain Americaís team better than anyone since Kurt Busiek has in their own title, and although Mike Allredís portrayal of Earthís Mightiest Heroes is a little less successful, this is some of his best X-Statix work in months.
This issue is setting up a quest format for upcoming issues, and itís good to see that Milligan and Allred treat the concept with as much ridicule as respect. Nonetheless, the quest provides a good framework for the upcoming Avengers/X-Statix battles, and as long as theyíre played with the same sense of fun on all levels, this should be a successful storyline, perhaps more successful than a marketing-led story has any right to be.
One thing I like most about this comic is that the creators are having fun. The concept of the two teams racing to find pieces of Doopís brain is absurd, and while it makes fun of the quest format, itís also clear that Milligan and Allred are going to have fun with the quest. While the comic is ironic and satirical, itís never mean-spirited, and thatís why this comic is such a joy to read. Itís had a tendency in the past to tread water and produce less than exciting issues, but currently X-Statix is on a high.
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