Comic Picks By The Glick

X-Men: X-Club

March 21, 2015

His runs on “X-Men:  Legacy” and “X-Force” aren’t writer Si Spurrier’s only excursions into the oddball fringe of the X-Men franchise.  This miniseries pre-dates both of them and it has Spurrier indulging his love of outlandish superhero sci-fi concepts to the hilt.  It involves the title group, the X-Men’s “science team,” made up of Dr. Nemesis, Kavita Rao, Madison Jefferies, and Danger as they help the main team with the setup of the world’s first commercial space elevator.  Faster than you can ask, “So what goes wrong?” the celebratory press conference is crashed by Atlanteans who turn out to be suffering from poisoning from an unstable terrigen isotope which causes them to mutate uncontrollably before exploding.  This is only the beginning of a story that features trans-dimensional Nazis and A.I.s, the superposition of multiple realities being restored by sheer force of will, human/machine love and the miracle of robotic life, and even divine inspiration sneaking its way into the realm of science.

“X-Club” isn’t as accomplished as Spurrier’s other X-works, but that mostly comes down to the fact that this was originally a five-issue miniseries.  That means there’s less room to explore a lot of the crazy stuff that he comes up with here and most of the ideas wind up being words which are shouted at the reader.  It’s not that much of a problem in my book as I’d rather a project suffer from too much ambition than too little, and it’s Dr. Nemesis doing the shouting more often than not.  Spurrier has a near-perfect command of how to use that character and not make him come off as completely insufferable, and he manages to give him and the rest of the core cast members well-defined arcs throughout the miniseries.  It’s illustrated by Paul Davidson, as he’s kind of a go-to guy when you want your art to be “superhero, but different.”  That usually winds up being “competent, but kind of unexciting” except here as he meets the writer’s crazy, reality-bending demands head-on and produces his best work I’ve seen to date.  Even if the story is too overstuffed for the writer to claim the same distinction, the overall package is definitely worth reading for fans of oddball X-projects.

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