This week saw issue #29 of Adjectiveless X-Men, Victor Gischler’s last story with the series. Starting off as a team-up book in which the X-Men would randomly team up with a different hero every issue, the book quickly moved away from characters like Spider-Man to focus on unused detritus like Blade, Skrulls, and endless vampires. Halfway through the ‘Regenesis’ rebranding hit, at which point the core members of the team were almost solidified into being Colossus, Domino, Psylocke, Storm and Jubilee. Then Jubilee left, and this final issue arc replaces her with Pixie.
In short, the book has been extremely sloppy for the past two years, which has seen it drop from #1 in the sales charts to somewhere right near the bottom. Each arc was selected by editorial mandate, with random characters drafted in for whatever reasons. Not only that, but the storyline Gischler wanted and got to do between the mandates was also junk, some horrible stuff about vampires and Jubilee when the entire fanbase was desperately yelling JUST MAKE HER AN X-MAN AND GIVE HER THE STUPID JACKIET AND HAVE HER BE FUN OR SOMETHING FOR CHRISTSAKE
This last issue concludes the current arc, which has the X-Men teaming with the Fantastic Four, who barely do anything this arc, to stop an evil Skrull. And thank the lord that Pixie was randomly thrown onto the team for this issue, because she’s the saving grace of the book. The story is uninspired, the villain is rubbish, and the rest of the X-Men feel continually out of character in small ways. Would Storm really ask somebody “you okay?” or would she rather be more formal and say “Are you okay?” Yeah. Exactly. These are small problems, but when you take them in the context of a story which has absolutely nothing else going well, they grow to become a major annoyance.
Pixie was pretty great here though, although the crux of her plan appears to be ‘teleport a lot’. Fairly uninspired, although artist Will Conrad does some excellent work with her body language and expression throughout the issue. Conrad is a great artist, who can convey escalating panic very nicely, and hopefully will move on to better things now he’s free of this. The lettering and colouring also help make the story feel far more cinematic than it actually is.
So, X-Men #29. Fairly rubbish, but saved by the inherent quality of the X-Men characters. Everybody is pleased to see this book’s premise get junked in favour of Brian Wood’s upcoming spy story coming next month. Let’s hope it’s as good as it sounds!