Monday, October 20, 2014

Review # 142: "X-Men - Road to Onslaught Vol. 2"

Another volume of X-Men from the Nicieza-Harras-Lobdell (NHL) era during a time I thought they were doing pretty well. It's strange, though, how a collection this thick barely seems to move anything forward.

It has nothing to do with story direction in the two main series. Marvel, God bless'em, has been doing its darndest to collect EVERYTHING from the time period in the trades it releases. Since this is from the '90s, there's a hell of a lot of material to collect including an Annual where one of Cannonball's siblings joins a cult, an Unlimited with horrible 90's villain Bloodscream, and a forgotten gem that stirred memories of ads I had thought had left me: X-Men/ClanDestine.

That last one is pretty darn good. Written and drawn by Alan Davis, who I seem to be liking more and more, the X-Men take part in a two-issue crossover with his own mystical, very-British creation ClanDestine. While the latter group has been forgotten through time (and, frankly, what's in this story gives little reason to remember specifics,) it's a fun romp. Davis' art stands out, continuing to carry a timeless quality in an era where most is now dated.

The main series stuff - all six issues and a Sabretooth one-shot that fits in - is easy to get through, but a bit of a step back from what was in volume one. The X-Babies return (exactly what it sounds like) from the Mojoverse for two issues of time-killing interspersed with Gambit-Bishop male bonding, followed up by the amnesiac Magneto's rebirth as "Joseph," a precursor to Xorn as a "Magneto who isn't really Magneto."

The Sabretooth stories are a step up, as he tricks Boom Boom into releasing him, then gets into a fight with Psylocke, a callback allllllll the way to "Mutant Massacre" when he chased a pre-ninja Betsy through the X-Mansion. He nearly eviscerates her and tries to escape through town, being tracked by the "Original Five" in an issue that really could have used some Wolverine.

In the end, I don't feel any closer to the upcoming Onslaught story, but at least I wasn't bored along the way and my intelligence wasn't insulted too much. Good work, NHL!

Rating: 6/10

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