Aug 3, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 160: Uncanny X-Men #320, January 1995

I've a confession to make: I've never, ever, been a fan of Storm. I find her character obnoxious and pompous, and needlessly, though thankfully internally, whiny. I know she's become interesting since marrying and then leaving (if that's how it happened) the Black Panther, but I honestly never saw the appeal. So when this issue opened with her as focal character, I was underwhelmed.

This issue, as with the whole "Legion Quest" crossover is prologue to the Age of Apocalypse proper, and knowing that makes the reading of this less-interesting crossover a bit arduous. From what I can glean, Legion, the powerfully psychic son of Professor X, has awoken from a coma which has somehow reintegrated the multiple selves that resided within his mind and is now on a quest to "help" his father's dream. I'm not sure I understand this, as at least one of the other selves that were within Legion's mind was actually the psyche of a whole other person that Legion killed when his powers manifested. Also, somehow, he can now travel through time. I'm usually the last one to look for some verisimilitude in a superhero comic, but if he can travel through time, and he's, if you'll pardon the phrase, completely nuts, why is he actually fighting the X-Men here? Why not just go back and stop them before they came for him? Instead he takes Storm back to a foundational event in her life, tells her she can stop it, and then stops her from stopping it before she...can...stop it.

Well, that's time travel stories for you, I guess.

The story was a bit jumbled, beginning in medias res, jumping back to explain what's going on, jumping back to the present, and then back to the past, but literally this time from the present, and then jumping, literally back to the present, and then flashing back again. I think. My suggestion to aspiring comics writers: If you're telling a story about time travel, avoid the non-linear whenever you can. Having memory flashbacks and time travel flashbacks in the same story might seem like a good idea, but it just makes things messy.

Huh. That was a pretty critical day, wasn't it? How about, before we really get into AoA, I point out that these are comics produced at a time when superhero comics were, if we're going to be honest about it, really not great. I mean, this issue features Mark Waid on dialogue, which for me is usually a sign of a comic I'm going to enjoy immensely, but even Waid dialogue couldn't rescue this issue from being confusing and a bit trite. I imagine that my critiques of the subsequent comics are not going to be much gentler, though I, as usual, really am doing my best to see the good in everything. This was a good set up issue. Tomorrow we'll see if it leads to interesting places. See you then.

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