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Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon - Giant Size X-men #3 - Comixfan.com Review

By Robin Lewis

Monday 20 June 2005, by Webmaster

Story Title: Teamwork, Enter the Avengers, We Have to Fight the X-Men and Along Came a Spider.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Writers: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee and Roy Thomas

Artists: Neal Adams, Jack Kirby and Werner Roth Inks: Chic Stone and Dan Adkins

Colorist: Richard Isanove,

Letterers: Chris Eliopoulos, S Rosen, Art Simek and Jerry Feldmann

Cover Artists: Dave Cockrum, John Cassaday and Laur Martin

Assistant Editors: Sean Ryan & Jen Grunwald

Associate Editor: Nick Lowe

Editors: Mike Marts & Jeff Youngquist

Director of Sales: David Gabriel

Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada

Publisher: Dan Buckley

Did anyone else have the impression that this was going to be a new full length Whedon story? Was it just me? Whether it was just me being optimistic and delusional, or Marvel being deliberately hazy on the details, it turns out that this is an eight-page story by Whedon and Neal Adams, followed by reprints of X-Men #9, Fantastic Four #28 and X-Men #35. The reprints are all crossovers with other teams or characters. They meet the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man, and, as is the way of things back in the Golden Age, they fight them under highly questionable circumstances. Ah, the good old days. Actually, given that Marvel are still making heroes fight each other for incredibly stupid reasons (as in the mini-series X4), maybe things haven’t changed that much.

The short story from Whedon is very nice, for what it is. It’s an eight-page Danger Room tale set just before Claremont’s incarnation of the team took flight, with the X-Men fighting amongst themselves for, yes, highly doubtful reasons. There’s a perfectly acceptable underlying message to the story (they’ll have to work at being a team), but it’s fairly insubtantial stuff. It would feel at home as the back-up story to an annual, or an issue of X-Men Unlimited. Neal Adams art is fine, if a little sketchy at times. As you can tell, there’s not a great deal to say about this story. It’s fine, but not much of a reason to shell out the bucks to buy this weighty comic. Which leaves us with the reprints. Hmmm.

Obviously Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are giants in the industry, responsible for shaping the landscape of comics as we know it. They created some of the most important characters that comics have to offer, and revolutionised storytelling in the medium. That said, the tales here aren’t so great. A great deal of Golden Age stuff has aged very badly indeed, even though one can appreciate reading comics that are the root of many things we read today. There are some unintentional laughs to be had. It’s the first time I can remember anyone calling Thor a ’square’, for a start. Rather than jump over a hole, Jean feels she has to telekinetically place a log under her foot so she doesn’t slip. The X-Men let a murderous psycho who was close to destroying a continent go without consequences, because they’re far to nice to actually cause injury to another being. Spider-Man happens by the X-Men just as they are warned about a myserious ’spider’ that will attack them, and they, of course, set about him with the beating and the zapping. Dialogue is, to say the least, of its time. There are still some fun lines here (Spider-Man is still making with the funnies), and wonderfully over-the-top captions, but there are also plenty of speeches describing exactly what the artist is already showing. "It knocked off the corner of the mill!", says Spider-Man, in a panel that shows the bad guy knocking off the corner off the mill. Those who mourn the loss of thought-balloons will love it. I know, I know. I should have more respect for the past. On the other hand, it’s the past, and maybe it should stay there. What’s that old saying? Never go back?

So, who is this comic for, exactly? Completists who don’t want to let Joss Whedon’s eight pages go uncollected? Readers who want a taste of Golden Age comics but don’t want to shell out for a Masterworks edition? Suckers with too much money? If you aren’t one of the above, I reckon you can skip it.