Last time I started off by saying that I
was going to skip quickly over the issue, because it was
halfway through a lengthy storyline. And then I went
ahead and wrote a full scale review anyway. Well, this
time I'm really going to skip over it, because it's just
pursuing the same storylines we established in previous issues
and there's not a huge amount more to say about it.
The problem with this issue, in fact, is
not Chuck Austen. Austen's writing is often hugely over
the top - poor Polaris is saddled with dialogue like "I flew
through the wailing mothers and dying children." (And
for that matter, the explanation given for her behaviour is
inconsistent with the way she acted when she first turned up
in this series.) But the basic plot ideas ramble along
their unexceptional paths.
The problem is the art. I can see
what Marvel like about Philip Tan; his odd hybrid of manga
caricature and excessive detail does often have a certain
charm to it. Take the cover, for example. That's
perfectly pleasant. In fact, I quite like it.
But the storytelling is just terrible.
There's a scene which involves Kurt being fused to -
presumably - his neighbour in the ritual circle from the
previous issue. Warren cuts him free. All of this
is kept off panel and the neighbour, despite being a key
element in the scene, is never even on panel at all. If
Tan is trying to be coy, it doesn't work.
Abyss suddenly turns up from nowhere on the
penultimate page, despite never having been seen in any of the
establishing shots earlier in the issue. Why not?
And Tan has severe problems with making
characters recognisable. Earlier in the storyline,
Austen helpfully remembered to mention Abyss in some
exposition, since he would be playing a key part in the
storyline. But god alone knows how many readers were
able to identify Abyss as the character standing on the beach.
This issue, he isn't even named at all. Abyss was last
seen back in issue #406, when he was drawn by Aaron Lopresti.
Tan's version bears no resemblance whatsoever. No doubt
that's partly because Austen's plot idiotically requires the
character to retroactively resemble Nightcrawler. But
how is the poor reader supposed to make the connection, when
the character is unrecognisable and goes unnamed for two
This is elementary stuff. But
unfortunately, that's how things are going with this book.