I’ve been on a bit of an X-Men binge lately. I read Ultimate X-Men volumes 1-7 on the plane trips out to San Francisco and back a few weeks ago. I finished Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men 1-12 last week. I just started reading Chris Claremont’s recent Uncanny X-Men run (starting from #444). And I bought all of the Grant Morrison New X-Men trades on eBay this week.

I’ve been looking at some X-Men sites on the internet tonight, just to see where all the pieces fit, from the Morrison era to the present. Grant Morrison’s site has a list of all his X-Men work. The X-Axis has reviews of Morrison’s run, and much more. The Comics Journal has an interesting article on the “X-Men Reload” event, with a little overview of Morrison’s run, and reviews of the first few issues of Whedon’s Astonishing run and the other stuff that came out at that time. There’s a big index of Morrison-era stuff at Seqart.com. And there’s a review of the entire Morrison run at PopMatters.com.

I enjoyed the Ultimate X-Men books, even though they’re in their own little world, continuity-wise. They’ve gone in some interesting directions, different from the main Marvel universe, but still clearly exploring many of the themes that the X-Men titles frequently play with.

The Astonishing X-Men series was a lot of fun to read. Joss Whedon is great at writing a certain kind of story, basically the same kind of thing he did so well in Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. He handles dialog really well, maintaining a certain economy that still succeeds in establishing character traits and relationships. It’s a lot different from the way Claremont writes, but he’s clearly a fan of the original Claremont Uncanny stuff. John Cassaday’s art is incredible, too, though it’s not quite as inspiring as his work on Planetary.

The new Claremont stuff is fun to read, too, reminding me (of course) of his original work on the title. The Comics Journal review mentioned above really rips into Claremont for his caption-heavy writing and clunky characterizations, but I enjoy it. It’s all kind of obvious and predictable, but it’s fun, and the key characters are all likable. The baseball game at the beginning of #444 is a perfect example; a standard Claremont method of enumerating his cast for the new reader, and sketching out a few of their relationships. Alan Davis’ art on these issues is great too; I’m a big fan of his work on Excalibur from some years back, and it’s nice to see him on an X-book again.

I’m looking forward to reading through all the Morrison stuff. I’ve never been a huge fan of his, but I saw him on a few panels at Wondercon, and I got interested in tracking down some of his work. From some of the reviews I’ve seen of his New X-Men run, it sounds like it ought to be pretty interesting.

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