I’ve been away for a while, for various reasons of lazy, unmotivated or lacking the time when motivation is even found. Except for today, today is different. Today is brought to you by red hot rage. SUPREME RED hot rage.
Hooray for Wednesdays, being comic days and all. The usual, go to pick up the usual slosh of mostly okay writing or general comic-ness.., and every now and then good stuff. Then, there is AXIS #1.
That was awful. Questions upon questions of awful miserable awful awful miserable awful horrible bad awful misery of awful misery and awful miserable awfully bad miserably awful bad. Which, while that isn’t a glory bound, or dignified articulation of the English language, it still manages to describe most accurately the pool of half-assed tomfoolery and literary bullshit that is AXIS #1.
Now before we begin, I’m sure (and I hope) AXIS as a main event for Marvel Comic has a lot in store for its immediate future. This however, should be taken with a grain of salt. There could be good things present, but could is a subjective term such as lobotomization COULD be a better alternative to being Caligula’d up the rear with an iron fist filled with dirty money.
Mother of sweet literary justice, this book, book one of AXIS, Which was SUPPOSED to be a good idea, (keyword: supposed), is baaaaad. And really not just bad, but hell raising, mind boggling. I can’t really fathom how a writer whom I had experienced as not just a fantastic story teller (Uncanny X-Force), but extraordinarily capable of crafting a master piece, could be this dis-jointed and… just not good, anywhere.
The sad thing is, I don’t even care for how the pages and each panel are displayed. Its all very clunky and rigid, as if each panel was sadistically forced into a cramped space with and scolded if it were to ever have a fluidity and flow. It would then get struck with a broom of wire and needles filled tetanus. WHICH would explain why it feels so locked up.
Panels aside, the art isn’t bad? Cynical behavior aside, I don’t hate it(?) Adam Kubert is a great choice for a narrative of AXIS’s scale but coupled with (Laura Martin and Matt Milla) whom I believe is responsible for color, each panel is individually.. average.
AXIS begins already with a flaw, they tell us that necessary precursor information vital to our tales beginning, exist in other books. This is explained in the “Previously…” first two pages. Now to be fair, the first page of this, explains more distant but very relevant events. It’s the second page that sparks the problem. It details more recent events relevant to the story, which you may ask yourself, HEY: Where is the problem in that you dumbass? To which, You’re right, there shouldn’t be. But, to include a subplot about Magneto killing the Red Skull, setting in motion the Red Skull’s ascendancy into the Red Onslaught he becomes? It is truly relevant and would have been better suited for a tale told directly inside the arc of AXIS itself and not as a prelude in another book. The matter is talked about in AXIS, similar to a lazy wave between two racing vehicles upon passing but, EEEEhhhh…
Think about it, Imagine if the book opened on Red Skull’s Onslaught at war, or in the process of winning against Marvel’s fair heroes. The heroes are involved in a losing battle but chose to live to fight another day. The retreat comes at a cost and sacrifices are made to allow others to live. Later when the remaining heroes regroup, the Avengers, previously broadsided and caught off-guard by the Events of Red Skull. Altogether the turn of events lead to the world gone to hell in a hand basket. Over time the tale of Red Skull’s rise could be told through flashbacks. That’s just an idea, maybe it too wouldn’t hold substance, but something has to be better than thus far what has transpired. But that is a what-if. There’s at least one more of those before I’m done but for now.. the actual review.
The story opens with the word AXISAXISAXISAXIS… etc. repetitively bordering each of the first couple few pages, serving more as a distraction from events than anything else. Setting aside the eyesore, it’s quickly established there is a new leader, and altogether new Captain America, Sam Wilson, the former Falcon (a refreshing idea on its own). The heroes stumble across clues ultimately leading to the discovery of the Red Skull’s plots via mass world wide psychic influence. So far, cool idea (but Marvel previously established this new team idea previously, so no credit for him there. On the other hand, this is technically the first event for the new team, its just depressing this event doesn’t have much going for it).
Amongst the chaos, Red Skull specifically influences tries to inflence Scarlet Witch into joining him, and succeeds. One word comes to mind… Annoying. One, Scarlet Witch nowadays exists as a black spot on story lines. She is a poor macguffin to move the story along and establish crisis. She has virtually no character. She’s the cheap hooker of character development. The subject of her allegiance is shallow (She flips sides faster than an always on automatic two-way switch). And she’s too goddamn powerful. The inclusion of her in any story makes any conflict a head scratch. She can at any moment make something not exist and alter reality itself. So.. yeah. I think that says enough. Conflict – Scarlet Witch: FUCK IT! CONFLICT? WTF IS THAT!
Lucky for her, she’s saved my Rogue (Unfortunately at this point, I was really rooting for Red Skull’s success. But let’s hold on to an idea for just a moment. Imagine if he did succeed and warped reality? It could be a distopia where the Uncanny Avengers had to secure allies and face off against the red terror that is Red Skull (Which by the way, Red Terror? It’s a better name for the new Red Skull at this point). Even better? It could serve as an ending to Scarlet Witch. Her death, at the hands off the Avengers realizing she needed to be put down, or she could have killed herself to stop him (Skull), I don’t know. Just a few what-ifs off the top of my head. Back to business.
When she is a center point of a story (With exception some exception, ..maybe, House of M and Decimation, maybe) there instantly factors in so much wrong.
Up next, Magneto, through the coarse of his fight and Red Skull’s general villainy, (Crazy random happenstance) stumbles across locked up X-men just so happening to consist of Cyclops, Kid Apocalypse and Quentin Quire. Short story, he sets them free (hooray). Longer story, Kid Apocalypse dies by the appearance of another guy named Ahab. To which I call a heap load of unearned bull crap. He just appears out of no where, managing to sneak up on Magneto, Cyclops, an Omega level telepath (Quentin Quire) and the unclouded mind of Alex Summers. How? Because FUCK details, right in the down under.
At this point the narrative jumps to and from between the X-Men situation and Scarlet Witch/Rogue. The utmost latter of which has to convince. RoxanneDon’tPutOnTheRedLight (Scarlet Witch), not to beleive Red Skull. She is not useless, crazy, and the wrecker of shit (Whereas the right thing to do is to tell her yes, to all of the above, on account of it being at this point, mostly true). There is a touching attempt at character development here, but I’m not buying it (because Scarlet Witch). Now is not the time for introspection let’s kill space Hitler, but no. No. No that doesn’t happen. Because the only vaguely interesting thing to bloody happen thus far has been this whole event will be over in a matter of months, and that’s not even interesting enough. Anything good about AXIS is stuck to a cavalcade of shit. Genuine character development? Pass, Scarlet Switch and Rogue tried, but it came off as a whine fest. The only touching moment we get is when Kid Apocalypse is talking sense into the X-Men arguing with each other (Up til the point he swiftly dies). And on the subject of death, because we just can’t get enough, Quentin Quire happens to die too, off screen.
Bringing me to my next bit..
Da Fuck is with killing off characters important to other stories (currently happening), or with genuinely good stories of their own with actual detailed build up or weight? No lie, the Kid Apocalypse (And Quentin Quire) thing being on the verge of moral ambiguity has been the subject of most of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men. Only to continue to be a thing in Jason Latour’s run. The very action that lead it to be possible in the first place was implemented in Remender’s own run of Uncanny X-Force. Where, By the way, death was used tastefully and carried weight, (For specific example issue #9). Even later Fantomex’ death (issue # 27) was brilliant and leads to Kid Apoc’s physiological torment later on in the last arc. On the subject of The Final Execution, just, wow. An escalation of death and killing, and final smashes. Killing off characters can be done right. Especially from from him. I expect more from a writer like Remender, whom in the past has demonstrated an expert level finesse of writing craftsmanship.
My hope is he truly had a forest of good ideas up until some higher up on the editing food chain took their slash and burn policy a wee bit too seriously but at this point I’m not entirely sure. Uncanny Avengers really never had a good launch from the start. On the other hand, I’ve seen better appearances from the team in other books than inside their own comic line. To which I ask, how should that be possible from a quality story teller? Is there another Rick Remender? Where did the other one go? Was he replaced with a compliant drone? Who replaced him? Was it Illuminati? What is their ultimate goal? Are their Aliens? Is Rick Remender an Alien? Are they taking him home? Why are they taking him home? Is he defective? Does he need an update? What firmware does he run on? Is it Windows Vista? Do aliens have windows Vista?
My point is, What The FUCK. Explain! To be fair, all this COULD just be poor translation because the story board is all gone to hell, for example, Quentin Quire might not actually be dead (but he sure looks it). But we’ll see.
Axis is currently, a confusing mess in need of better explanation and stronger story telling (and story boarding). It has til at maximum, issue #3 to turn itself around (and that’s being generous). Closing statement, AXIS #1 is not worth the $4.99 price. It has nothing going for it.
I’m sorry no. It has a clever title spelling AXIS right-side up or up-side down. So there’s that.