To say I've dogged Kierion Gillen since he's taken over the writing chores on Uncanny X-Men might be an understatement. He's blocked me from Twitter as a result of my critiques (that might be a bit harsh when you limit them to 160 characters or less). But to be fair, the man is writing two of Marvel's X-Men books, and they've both sucked horribly thus far. Generation Hope is Marvel's latest attempt to publish a comic about the latest generation of Mutants, and Uncanny X-Men is, of course, Marvel's flagship book in the mutant/X-Men franchise. The former has just been bad, and I can't blame anyone but Gillen for this since he's been the writer since issue #1. Uncanny X-Men, well...that's a different story for another day (expect an epiteth for the book when the final issue comes out in November...)
The X-Books as a whole have been rather bad lately, the only bright shining spot in the bunch has been X-men Legacy, written by Mike Carey. Outside of that book, the titles pretty much insist upon themselves to create drama and carry the narrative along, and some days I feel like I'm buying them more out of habit than enjoyment. However, this week's New Comics Purchase was limited to three X-Men titles, all of which I greatly enjoyed (and when that enjoyment is bolstered by pleasant surprise, well...it's just even better).
First up is Uncanny X-Men #542. This is the third part of the book's tie in to the big massive company wide "Fear Itself" crossover (that I'm virtually ignoring), and pits our merry mutants against The Juggernaut who gets his powers from one angry evil God like creature, and has in the plot of the crossover (I guess) sworn himself to another angry evil God like creature. In a way, the story almost writes itself I guess, when you look at it that way, making it hard for Gillen to screw it up by having the characters act like complete mental invalids like he has up until this point. Still, even knowing how this would turn out, the execution is damn near flawless, leaving you absolutely okay with paying $4 for a story that you pretty much knew you knew months ago.
Then there's X-Men Schism #3, the mini series that will end the long running Uncanny X-Men and hopefully the aforementioned insistence upon itself that the X-Books are suffering from. After an astounding first issue and a somewhat troubling second issue, this third installment sets the narrative back on track and begins to clearly define what will be the overall conflict of the Schism. I have to hand it to writer Jason Aaron: after reading this book, the surprise ending was telegraphed all the way back in issue #1, but I never saw it coming until it actually happened. I just hope that the wretched little children weren't victims of the mass slaughter that ended the book...
And following on Schism #3's footsteps is Generation Hope #10, also written by Kierion Gillen. This is a book that has sucked worse than any book I've read in just about forever (so much so that I've only purchased a total of 3 out of the 10 issues). This book is just BAD. Last month they tried to do an X-Men installment of "It Gets Better" and as the guy who still gets goosebumps every time I see that Google/It Gets Better commercial, I found the book laughably awful. I ONLY decided to buy this AFTER reading Schism #3 to see how bad it would be and if it would make me retroactively not like Schism #3 as much as I did...and in fact, it did the opposite. Not only is this the first GOOD issue in this title, it also makes the book that spawned it, Schism #3, a BETTER book because of it.All three of these books are winners in my mind. After coming out of an extremely decadent and indulgent spend-fest at Chicago Comic Con, I was hesitant to buy ANY new comics this week, but after picking up these three books, I'm very, very glad I did.