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Friday, 25 September 2009
Revisiting the "Phalanx Covenant", and why it rocked!
So recently I’ve been re-reading my old x-men comics in chronological order, and just last night I read the Phalanx Covenant, specifically the ‘Generation Next’ story featured in Uncanny X-Men #316 – 317 & X-Men #36-37 (I’ll be reading the concluding parts of the Phalanx in the other x-titles next). I haven’t read these in a while, but basically I thought they rocked. Here’s why:
1. This story line introduces 'Generation Next' to the Marvel U.
Basically this storyline was set up for that exact reason. A new title was being born called Generation Next by Scott Lobdell & Chris Bachalo. These characters were the next generation of mutants, and were a real sorry looking and weird bunch, but that was also their appeal. I have the first 15 or so issues of that series and from what I remember they were pretty good (they’ll be re-read soon also.) The Phalanx Covenant introduces most of the young mutants that will feature in the new title and they were; Skin, Synch, Husk, M & Blink (who didn’t actually make it to ‘Generation Next', but more on her later).
2. A change in writing style.
This was the first few issues where I could generally sense that style in which comics were written were beginning to change. Especially X-Men comics. From the late 80’s through to the early 90s there was a lot of inner monologue from each character and a lot of over explaining everything. For instance it seemed in every issue every time a mutant/ X-Man was seen on page we had to have 3-4 captions explaining their mutant powers and their back story. I can understand this is helpful for new readers, but reading virtually the same text issue after issue got a bit tiresome. In these few issues though I started to get the fell that the writer was moving away from this, dialogue was more realistic and the feel of the book was moving more towards how today’s comics read.
3. Joe Madureira on pencils.
Well, on Uncanny at least, and it really is stunning work. He had already done a couple of issues for uncanny but this is where he started hitting his peak. The forms of characters are much better than they were before this and are later in his career (Ultimates 3!). But overall I adored his work on Uncanny X-Men and Age of Apocalypse. His slight manga style mixed with traditional American superhero work look fantastic, and really influenced other artists (both good and bad). Andy Kubert a few months later noticeably adjusted his style on ‘X-Men’ to look more ‘Jo Mad’, and I think it looked awesome . Check out the images for Uncanny I have posted here for an idea of Joe's work then.
4. Foil Covers.
These issues had a card stock cover with a foil/ metallic strip down the front of them to resemble the robots of the Phalanx. I am a sucker for foil covers for some reason (and the x-titles in the 90’s had quite a few). I think its probably just a total 90’s nostalgia trip, I would never pay full wack for a new comic with a foil cover when I can have the same new issue at normal price, but for back issues that you can pick up cheap... why not?.
5. Blink’s sacrifice.
The character that just got introduced, sacrifices her life to save the rest of the next generation of mutants. It’s a great moment. We do see her again a few months later in the parallel universe of Age of Apocalypse, where she becomes one of the most popular characters in the AOA universe amongst fans.
6. Banshee becomes a Bad Ass!
Seriously, in this comic, he is really cool. I never cared for him before, but this is a great way of re-introducing the character to a new generation of readers and making fans care about him again before him becomes the new mentor and lead character in Generation X.
7. Villains do good.
Sabertooth is a major player and helps Banshee battle the Phalanx, and Emma Frost AKA The White Queen, begins her path to redemption. She ends up becoming the second mentor for Generation Next which basically sets her on the path for the character she is today.
So thanks for bearing with me on my trip down memory lane. I would say if you’re a fan of the x-titles today or just like great artwork these issues are definitely worth a look.
Those of you who have read these (X-Man75 i know you must have) hit me back and let me know what YOU thought of these issues.
Addicted to comics but also love films and music. The idea for my blog is to be the first stop for comic book fans. I will do my best to update the blog everyday with comic news and previews and links to other great comic book sites. I will also of course post my opinons about these topics and try to post my own comic book reviews every week. I would love to hear from readers of the blog (i.e. you) what you think about my articles and the content. Lastly, I am a big music lover and movie fan so these topics will occasionally be blogged about and I would love suggestions about what to listen to and what films to see and what I should be reading. Cheers