Friday, December 21, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] X-Men: Mutant Massacre by Chris Claremont

Title:  X-Men:  Mutant Massacre

Author:  Chris Claremont

Artists: Jackson Guice, Rick Leonardi, John Romita Jr and Sal Buscema

Genre: Superheroes / Action / Adventure

Year Published: 1986

Year Read: 2012

Series: Uncanny X-Men

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 12+ (Death and Fighting Scenes)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 


After I heard so many good reviews on this comic, I just had to read this and oh boy, I just have so much to say about this particular comic book!   I know that so many events had happened before “X-Men: Mutant Massacre” happened (as was stated by the characters in this comic), but I wanted to read this so badly that I was willing to skip the last few issues of “X-Men” just to get to this comic! “X-Men: Mutant Massacre” was a first for me in many different ways: it was the first “X-Men” comic book that I read that featured Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock, also known as Psylocke, the first time I had read about the original “X-Factor,” the first time I had read about “The New Mutants,” the first time I had read “Daredevil” and the first time I had read about the “Power Pack.” With the combined writing of Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, and Ann Nocenti and the combined artwork of John Romita Jr., Terry Shoemaker, Bret Blevins, Walter Simonson, Jackson Guice, Sal Buscema, Jon Bogdanove, Rick Leonardi, Alan Davis, and Barry Windor-Smith, “X-Men: Mutant Massacre” is definitely a story that “X-Men” fans have to check!

What is this story about?

When the Marauders, a group of mutant assassins, started killing most of the Morlock community, the X-Men, now lead by a Mohawk wearing Storm, step in to help out the Morlocks.  Meanwhile, X-Factor, a group of mutant hunters who are actually the original five X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel) in disguise, try to defeat the Marauders while Angel goes through an emotional trip that would change him forever.  Also, this comic features guest appearances from Thor, Daredevil, the New Mutants and the Power Pack who also try to help out the X-Men in defending the Morlock community!

This graphic novel contains stories from:

Uncanny X-Men (issues #210 – 214)
X-Factor (issues #9 – 11)
New Mutants (issue #46)
Thor (issues #373-374)
Powr Pack (issue #27)
Daredevil (issue #238)

What I loved about this story:

The story:  Usually, I do have problems with reading crossovers in comics because the stories almost never match up as long as you have different writers writing each story, but for a crossover, I found this story pretty impressive!  I liked the fact that all of the stories mentioned in this graphic novel actually flowed well together and it felt like we were getting one cohesive storyline instead of having several different things happening all at once and it made me really enjoy the storyline!  I really enjoyed the way that each different writer had a different take on the Marauders attacking the Morlocks as we see the attacks on the Morlocks from the X-Men, Thor, the Power Pack and Daredevil’s viewpoint.  The stories that I really enjoyed in this graphic novel were the stories written by Chris Claremont as he wrote the stories for “Uncanny X-Men” and “New Mutants.”  I loved the way that Chris Claremont made the story extremely dramatic and intense as we witness many Morlocks being killed in brutal ways and the X-Men characters dealing with the tragedy emotionally.  I really enjoyed how Chris Claremont handled Storm’s character as we see her being emotionally affected by the situation and how it affected her position as the leader of the X-Men and it was truly moving seeing Storm struggle with being the leader of the X-Men.  I also enjoyed seeing Storm as the leader of the X-Men since it was rare of me to see her in such a position.  I really enjoyed Chris Claremont’s writing in “New Mutants” as the characters were really interesting, especially Illyana Rasputin (Magik), Warlock, Danielle Moonstar (Valkyrie) and Samuel Guthrie (Cannonball) and it was great seeing a younger generation of X-Men step up the plate in this tragedy. Louise Simonson’s writing for “X-Factor” was fantastic as it was interesting seeing the original five X-Men work together again and I enjoyed seeing how the murdering of the Morlocks affected them and how the mutant community looks at them as they were disguised as the mutant hunting team “X-Factor” even though they were trying to help the mutants.  I also enjoyed Louise Simonson’s writing in “Power Pack” as it was hilarious and intense at the same time as I really enjoyed seeing the adventures of Franklin Richards and the Power Pack as it is rare that I see a comic book with small children being superheroes, which I thought was really cute!  I really like Ann Nocenti’s writing in “Daredevil” as the fight between Daredevil and Saber tooth was really intense and I enjoyed the inner monologues of Daredevil as it really defined his position in being a superhero.

The artwork: Out of all the graphic novels I had read, “X-Men: Mutant Massacre” probably had the most artists I had ever seen out of any graphic novel!  Each artist had contributed greatly to this storyline and I had enjoyed each one!  My favorite artwork in this book came from Jackson Guice’s artwork in “New Mutants,” Rick Leonardi’s artwork in “Uncanny X-Men,” John Romita Jr’s artwork in “Uncanny X-Men,” and Sal Buscema’s artwork in “Daredevil.”  (I know that there is some hate on John Romita Jr.’s artwork in current comics, but I enjoyed the scratchy artwork he created for this storyline).

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I gave this book a four star rating was because I felt that Thor’s side of the story was a bit of a distraction for me as it focused too heavily on Thor and I am not used to the “Shakespearean” dialogue that Thor usually talks in.  Also, you can tell that so much has happened before this storyline, so anyone (like myself) who just jumped in to read an X-Men comic might be wondering about how half of the events that happened to the characters happened in the first place.

This was back in the days when continuity was important in comics.

This comic also deals with the theme of death and sorrow as many characters are killed in this graphic novel and that might upset sensitive readers.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, despite the four star rating (the “X-Men” storylines alone are five stars in my book), “X-Men: Mutant Massacre” is definitely one of the darkest yet most invigorating series I had ever read and anyone who is a huge fan of the X-Men will definitely enjoy this book!

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