Aug 7, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 164: X-Men #41, February 1995

And the "Legion Quest" concludes. I wish I'd been following comics when this was published, as I'm curious as to how much Professor X's death was a foregone conclusion. They certainly advertise the fact of his death a lot in the comics I've read over the last couple of days, so I get the suspicion that it was no secret. This initial story was really just a way of moving things into the "Age of Apocalypse," so it doesn't really stand by itself. If we want to look at it novelistically, which I think is a good way of considering the AoA, for all that it's played with action and pathos, these first 6 issues are prologue. X-Men: Alpha, the comic I'll be reading tomorrow, is the beginning of Chapter 1 proper. This raises something that I touch on in my initial thoughts on Mark Waid's Flash that will be up later today, the problem of how we can read, from an academic point of view, ongoing serialized comics. One can pick up and read a Shakespearean play, or a Cormac McCarthy novel, and have a finite work to critique, but how does one do that with something like the X-Men. A crossover like AoA offers a way of separating out a finite story. This prologue we've just finished links the story back to its serialized roots, a factor in these kinds of works of fiction that we can never, and should never, discount completely, but also offers a very succinct and simply told sequitur that moves us into a self-contained portion of the ongoing serial.

Not that I'm going to attempt an academic reading of the "Age of Apocalypse," but I recognize the potential this sort of crossover offers for just such a reading.

That rambled a bit. Tired morning. We'll broach chapter 1 tomorrow, and see what the Age has to offer us. See you then.

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