Reviewer: Kevin S. Mahoney
Story Title: The Good and the Famous Part Seven: Thor vs. Doop
Written by: Peter Milligan
Penciled by: Mike Allred
Inked by: Nick Crane
Colored by: Laura Allred
Lettered by: Blambot’s Nate Piekos
Editor: Axel Alonso
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Premature cancellation is the worst thing that can happen to any title willing to take impressive creative risks. The true fans of any book that gets the quick axe lament the waste of all that potential, especially if the characters within the book seem unlikely to reappear. The creators of such a doomed project are forced to tie everything up in a premature manner. The quality of the final installment(s) of such a book suffers accordingly. And those fans that are tardy but willing to finally experiment with the soon-to-be-no-more serial are left unimpressed by the watered down finale. It’s a nasty sort of self-sustaining creative implosion, and that’s exactly what occurs in this issue.
This just isn’t as much fun as previous issues of X-Statix. There’s less satire, pop culture, and while the final two combatants (Thor and Doop) do both resort to readable English in this issue, the dialogue still feels less snazzy than it has in the past. Add to that a weird Norse prelude that ultimately has little or no bearing on the main plot, and the final product seems diluted and flat. Even a sly and campy political aside (concerning the governance of Asgard) can’t rescue this issue from itself. Ending the book in such a suspenseless and ambivalent way only strengthens the half-hearted feel of this chapter. It’s a shame.
The art in this issue meets its usual high standard. Allred’s rendition of Thor is pure 60’s Marvel and it works. The final X-Statix/Avengers squabble is lovingly rendered; Captain America’s final fisticuffs with the Anarchist exceed all expectations. It’s a pity that the story’s setting (the outskirts of Asgard) just doesn’t compliment the retro-minimalist style of the creative team. The scenery and other background art are utterly forgettable.
It seems this book is bound to reside in the jumbled scrapheap of other great books that were culled before their time. While X-Statix joins the exclusive if unfortunate company of books like Way of the Rat, Green Lantern: Mosaic, The Creeper, and Ruse it’s tough to watch it end in the same whimpering way. The fans get the mixed blessing of one more issue, most likely full of anticlimax. Hopefully, it’ll shock and awe like the beginning and middle issues of this book. I wouldn’t really mind a high body count; it would prevent misuse of the characters by another writer. But with Milligan in line to write the actual X-Men, a crossover character or two might not hurt either.