|Sadly there weren't any Oubliette|
cosplayers for me to fold my arms at.
I don't know if I'll ever write about Young Avengers for the blog. I feel it's the sort of thing I should cover (I'm planning to broaden out in the 2000s and cover lots of general Avengers stuff - particularly the crossovers - because of interlinking - I mean how on earth can I write about Decimation without having done House of M, and how can I do Utopia without Dark Reign and Secret Invasion?), but it'll be a long way down the line if I ever do, and I doubt I'll have anything to add beyond what Hazel will say in her highly-anticipated mega-post (she was playing the role of my stupid space boyfriend on Saturday, being Noh-Varr to my Kate Bishop; the other of us is Clara, doing a highly-excellent Wiccan.)
After the con closed on the Sunday there was further pubbage and then karaoke. It went a bit wrong, as karaoke tends to. I was left with a strong conviction that the food was nice, that several songs I had previously thought were OK were problematic (this is what happens when you get several socially aware creator-types in a room together), and that I had paid my share of the bill. After the karaoke we went back to the pub, and then back to Al Ewing's hotel, where the bar was still open. I didn't get home until Monday afternoon, after having spent the night (well, the brief couple of hours before it got light again) on Kieron Gillen's sofa. That's the real reason I can't write about Young Avengers right now, of course. It's too close. Not that that's an ethical judgement, it's just that saying the things I need to say about it would feel too close to exposing myself. Maybe I'll do that down the line. For now, I'm glad I'm in 1991.
|Peter David totally signed my comic!|
I've been writing this post for an hour now, and I still haven't read the issue. It's sitting in my scanner. This is new. I've never been too nervous to read a comic before. What if it sucks? There's nothing for it. There's only so many cups of tea I can make. There's only so many games of 2048 I can play. (That bit's not true, I expect I could do that FOREVER.) I'm going to have to sit down and get cracking. You know what, I'll liveblog this, page by page.
Page 1: One big panel of Guido saying "excuse me, you got any grey poupon?" to an unspecified person. I'm not quite sure what grey poupon is. Googling tells me that it is a brand of mustard known in the United States. But what sort of brand? High-end, low-end? This is important. It's owned by Kraft, so I'm guessing not exactly gourmet.
The credits box reminds me that I don't talk about artists enough. This issue is pencilled by Larry Stroman and inked by Al Milgrom. Now that I've started to draw faces a bit I am starting to actually look at the strokes in comic art properly in a technical sense rather than just the overall aesthetic, a mental breakthrough like that week in 2004 when I suddenly started hearing individual parts in music.
Guido's face here is drawn very stylised, with a radiator grill for a mouth, his pink face and hand amid a sea of purple that represents his shirt but extends far beyond the area that is plausibly cloth. Is that the background? What's going on here. We'll see on...
But before I get to page 2 I am interrupted by a twitter notification. Charlotte, who is another of our little Young Avengers collective, is replying about my suggestion that she use a MUD client for talking to MicroMUSE. I try and log into the MUD myself, with my own client, just to check that it can work. It does. I muse (see what I did there) for a bit about the energy I was feeling when I wrote that versus the energy I have for comics now. It's similar, but I'm in a better, more driven and more capable place, now. MUDs and comics are at once almost opposite ends of the cultural spectrum, but they share commonalities. MUDs are basically the ultimate in indie games - back in the 1990s everyone was making their own MUDs, and only a few ever were commercialised. Everyone can make their own comics and even the biggest event book at Marvel or DC still has a bit of an artisan feel to it, because it's predominantly the work of a handful of people.
MUD writing was fun, but I was never able to achieve the intellectual conversation I wanted out of them, and I drifted away from them in around 2003/2004, about the time I got into Wikipedia. I am still proud of the body of work I produced for the Cryosphere, and it pains me that it is so inaccessible. And one day the worldbuilding (my spin on a mashup of 2300 AD and Warren Ellis's Ministry of Space, something that I never got around to reading until 2005) is going to emerge in a comic, probably the one about the stupid space captain. I try to persuade Charlotte to log in to the Cryosphere, but she is resistant. Fair enough, one MUD at a time.
The first panel of page 2 answers my question about Guido. He is being drawn huge and that colour fill really was supposed to be his shirt. He's with Lorna Dane and another chap, and they are having a bit of a back and forth in a style that is instantly familiar, because David is still writing those characters just like that.
Lorna is worried about the guy they are bringing in to head this new X-Factor. This would be the new incarnation of Freedom Force that #70 trailed, then, but that link is implied, so far.
Four-panel page, the most we've had so far, with only a tiny bit of dialogue on each page really, compared to say, Claremont. You can tell who says each line even without the attribution of the speech bubbles. The second and fourth panels are head-shots of Lorna Dane (Polaris) from unusual angles - one showing her chin and jaw, and the other a profile from below.
Lorna is worried about Alex Summers (Havok) being the team leader. Not because he's her ex, but because she doesn't know what she is, they've been mind-controlled and that so much, what's even is the state of affairs of their relationship?
Guido hits on Lorna in that way he does. Eew.
And the other person at the table is named as Madrox (in case you couldn't tell before from the knocking and duplicating). Jamie Madrox is the main character in the 00s David's X-Factor. Will he arrive as well-constructed as Guido has?
Something is going on with the jars. Particularly the mayo.
And now Val Cooper is in Genosha, recruiting Havok. He'd ended up rebuilding Genosha after the X-Tinction Agenda crossover. In having Cooper the linkage with the new Freedom Force is made explicit. Alex is a hard sell. Cooper probably isn't helping by denigrating something he really believes in rather than trying to
Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair) saves Havok from a falling girder. Our first action scene. Val uses it as a mind-game. Did she set it up?
Change of scene, and we're with Quicksilver. Quicksilver who has of course, deep Young Avengers connections, being the template for Speed (Tommy). He's looking for the X-Factor HQ in Washington (not New York!), and being impatient.
Alex's brother Scott Summers arrives, with Professor Charles Xavier, to persuade Alex personally. Alex is a very reluctant leader here. More recently, he is reluctantly persuaded to lead the Uncanny Avengers team, in the wake of Xavier's death and Cyclops's rebellion; they argue that he would be a good example for human/mutant relations, something that apparently will stick with him.
Back at the HQ. Pietro has arrived and is in a bit of a state. Lorna is surprised to see him not on the West Coast with the Avengers; has she not heard of his power?
But in context, it's Quicksilver in a bit of an addled state, so it manages to get away with it very slightly. His power, in case you are wondering from the page, is killing him.
Alex and Rahne on the plane to the US. Looking forward to the future and considering their team-mates.
Pietro clarifies exactly what he means. Using his power is ageing him. He is being blackmailed, of sorts (well, taunted anonymously by postcard with no specific demands, but eh.) This smells a bit.
We get the punchline on the mayo jar (not the mustard jar, oddly... I'd have made it the mustard). They've all used their powers to try and open it, and in the end Val Cooper manages it by "rap[ping] it a few times."
EXCEPT it turns out that Madrox made a fake jar with remote control lock as a practical joke. This is not the 2005 Madrox, is it? The animosity between Multiple Man and Quicksilver starts as... a series of practical jokes??? I did not see that coming.
And then someone shoots him. Who? We just don't know.
|Steve links the portals. Don't ask.|
Now, it's getting on for 3.30pm and I've been writing about this comic for several hours. I didn't really have lunch because it would have felt like procrastinating. I'm heading into town for... comics, and then to Steve's house to ninja-decorate everywhere with tiny cakes for his birthday.