Tuesday, 3 December 2013

X-Men: The Curse is Broken


X-Men: The Curse is Broken

"If you say that Edward is dreamy
one...more... time..."
Writer: Victor Gischler

Artists: Al Barrionuevo, Jorge Molina and Will Conrad

Collecting: X-Men #24-29

Read as Trade Paperback

Background Info:

Two things are important to understanding this collection;

Firstly, Marvel has a thing for mixing their characters with horror clichés. Marvel Zombies was a popular take on classic Marvel characters, and werewolves have appeared in a couple of different Marvel stories. In 2011, Marvel put the X-men up against Dracula and a legion of Vampires. During the battle, Jubilee (you may remember her from the cartoons; the girl in the yellow jacket who could shoot fireworks from her hands) gets bitten and, as per cliché, becomes a vampire as well.

Secondly, this is not the X-Men roster that you’re used to. From the movies and cartoons, you’re likely only to recognise Storm, Jubilee and maybe Colossus. A “good-enough” rundown of the characters names and powers are provided in the book’s first pages, but be aware that you may not be dealing with “your” X-Men here.

Review:

To be honest, I’m a little sick of vampires. Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, they’re all the same to me. So it shouldn’t be surprising that when I read the synopsis for The Curse is Broken I was a little cynical. More vampires?! Surely, we’ve had enough of stories about vampires being on the side of the angels. I made the early decision that if Jubilee was going to get romantic with any vampires, I was putting the book down.

Thankfully, that never happened. The story actually focuses on Jubilee, who has run away from the X-Men in order to be taught how to control her vampiress tendencies. That in itself sounds like a cliché, but she’s doing it with the help of vampire reformer Raizo, who is intent on teaching vampires how to survive without being predators. That in itself isn’t a new idea; current vampire stories are full of vampires who refuse to be monsters, but what makes this fun is the fact that Razio in this universe makes sense. We have, after all, a man intent on helping mutants to not turn into supervillains, so why not a vampire who teaches vampires to retain their humanity.

In the meantime, Storm and a group of X-men are cutting their way through various vampire hideouts to try to find Jubilee. They have no idea what she is doing, but suspect the worst. It’s nice to see a X-Men team that isn’t made up of entirely “iconic” members. No Wolverine, no Cyclops, no Jean Grey, Beast, Nightcrawler and Angel. It’s nice to see other characters take the spotlight in an industry that seems obsessed with flaunting its “powerhouse” characters.

The vampire story only covers half, or maybe two-thirds of the book. The rest is taken up by a story featuring the shape-shifting aliens known as the Skrull. It’s only purpose is basically to be funny, but it does a great job at that. It’s the kind of story that sees everyone feeling a little gullible, and that’s great.

The art here is consistent. It’s nothing particularly amazing, but it functions well. The trio of artists that work on this book give us art that is dark when it needs to be, and light-hearted when it doesn’t. Somehow, the art doesn’t cease to match up despite the change of storytelling styles. My only issue with the art is the way that… someone draws Spiderman (oh yeah, Spiderman appears in this one). He looks a little too muscular for a guy who in reality is little more than a science geek.

The Curse is Broken has a decent story to tell with art that works well. It gets four and a half out of five sparkly monsters.

**** ½

+ Not Twilight.

+ Other X-People get a chance to shine

- Spiderman looks a little too muscular.

Alternate Option: X-Men: Second Coming

An awesome X-Men event that sees a huge host of X-folk take the stage.