Tuesday, November 06, 2007

X - Statix x - tremely x - citing

As you may have noticed I have adapted my own writing style for the last post and this one which I like to call " x - speak ". Which means every word like exciting, extremely or expectations is written x - citing, x - tremely and x - pectations.

I had this idea because I thought with a topic like the series X - Force that was later called X - Statix you just have to do something like that. All the mutant teams have names with " x - " at the beginning so it´s just a matter of time before this is used on the language. Who knows maybe I can start a trend and all my future reviews of x - titles will be written in x - speak.

Since I x - clusively talked about how I came to the X - Force / X - Statix in my last post I thought that it´s about time to focus on the series itself. I mean what you want to know is : Why the hell should I give a crap about this book ? It´s not like there are a gazillion books out there. So what kind of beast is it ?

I like to read intelligent books that have a fine blend of hip neo - classic stories and retro funloving values mixing the ugly side of stardom with the filthy shadowworld of politics while taking a look at modern world problems adding just a hint of sociopolitical satire and razor sharp wit. A clever allegory showcasing today´s problems without preaching or pointing the finger.

X - Force / X - Statix is nothing like that.

The readers gets hit in the head with the satirical aspects of the book and the series is as shallow as it gets. Like I already mentioned no cheap marketing ploy is too cheap for this series. And speaking about shallow don´t x - pect any heroes in this book - well, not by the regular definition. All the members of this team are only looking out for number one and are ready to stab each other in the back to get higher ratings. No Sir, Brutus could learn a thing or two from this merry mutants.

It´s all about the big money, endorsement deals and going to the big parties. These guys don´t want to save the world. They want to be famous, get filthy rich and if they have to save the world to do it - or fake it with a few actors to get better sponsors - then that´s what they have to do.

And I guess that´s why the book had so much fans. Because today´s shallow generation of slackers could identify 100 % with the heroes. Come on, you know it´s true. Today´s comic reading generation has a huge problem with Superman because they just can´t understand his motivation. Man, don´t you just love this word ? Motivation. Like there has to be a big reason behind anything we think, say or do. They don´t understand Superman because they can´t figure out the big question : What´s in it for him ? He can´t do it without x - pecting something in return.

Nobody asks why a fireman does what he does. I mean any fireman could have a better life and would probably get paid better working at a grocery store or a shopping mall. Why does he go and risk his life ? Is he just stupid or what ?

On the other hand today´s readers can understand the protagonists of X - Force / X - Statix. Why do they do it ? For fame, big bucks and getting the best seats in restaurants. They do it for the materialistic reward. As opposed to Superman who doesn´t x - pect anything for helping people. To me that´s a clear symptom that our society is detoriating. If you can´t understand somebody who acts out of humanistics reasons and you have to assume that he has an ulterior motive you just don´t know yet I would say that says a lot about you. If you identify more with moneygrubbing mediaobsessed vainglorious posers than with a selfless samaritarian then you got your psychoanalysis right there.

Which in my opinion was the reason that the book was advertised as featuring " the new breed of today´s heroes ". There´s an old saying that every country gets the politician it deserves. I guess the same goes for the heroes.

Maybe you noticed that all this sounds really negative. And it doesn´t sound like I´m endorsing the series at all. But that´s only because I want you to know x - actly what to x - pect going in. If my comicreading x - perience has taught me anything than it´s that most readers are disappointed with comics because it´s not like they thought they would be. Not that they are bad. They just aren´t what they supposed - what they thought they would get for their money. So what is it you can´t x - pect ?

Don´t x - pect this book to be subtle. You don´t need to read between the lines in this book. There are no hidden meanings and there is no big subtext behind it all ( which should make at least one of the geekspeak guys happy ). There also are no rolemodels in this book. In fact the protagonists will show you what not to do. Don´t do drugs, don´t attempt suicide and don´t try living in the fast lane.

There will also be no hyperrealistic superdynamic in - your - face artwork. The art by Mike Allred is an aquired taste and mostly popular in the non - comic - reading population because it reminds them of this artguy ( another cool name for a superhero or villain ) that created popart ( Roy Liechtenstein ).

I really love his art but don´t think you will get hyperrealistic art with big muscles and big splashes. Mike Allred´s more about clear panel layouts and solid storytelling. There are clearly influences of the european school of comics at work here most evident of the ligne claire from France.

Some people really don´t like the art. I know my brother didn´t read the book because he was disgusted by the art. And he didn´t even see the issues of Paul Pope or Phillip Bond.

Another thing you shouldn´t x - pect is any kind of relevance in the book. It´s more like : Hey, we´re shallow and use things like the death of the rain forrest and sexual orientations only to sell books. But we do it as " satire " so it´s okay. We are capitalists and manipulative and use cheap tricks to boosts sales but only to show you how easy YOU can be manipulated. We use all this mechanisms to educate you. It´s not bad taste if we put Princess Diana in a storyline who comes back from the dead it´s social commentary. So that´s okay.

No, I didn´t buy it either but it seems that I was one of the few.

So now that we have taken all of the above from the list what´s left ? Is there anything left at all ?

Surprisingly enough there is. You see, I went in ready to hate the book, hate the writing ( I already knew that I would have no problem with the art ) and hate this team of mutants. I even thought I wouldn´t buy it at all. The thing I wasn´t ready for was that I would start to really care about these shallow and egocentrical characters. I began to immerse myself more and more in their world and really became interested in their lives. Because despite itself this is one hell of a entertaining read. I still think the book could have been more than it turned out to be because it never really realized it´s full potential. I see the book it is and the book it could have been and it´s really sad. The only problem is that I loose sight of what the book IS.

It´s entertaining, it´s thoughtprovoking ( not thoughtful ), it´s a good read but mostly......it´s a thing for part three. I just realized that again I have written a lot but I still haven´t gotten to the actual issues. I try to keep this short and it doesn´t look like I can wrap this up in this post. So hopefully we will get to the actual heroes of the book ( or the antiheroes ) in part three. I haven´t even mentioned their names yet. Isn´t that weird ?

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