G. Willow Wilson – Writer
Roland Boschi – Penciler
Jay Leisten – Inker
Lee Loughridge – Colorist
Review by Joey Braccino
“It’s a giant Earth fart, is what you’re saying.”
Sinkholes and superstorms! Gambit! Krakoa vomit! Fastball Specials! Wolverine!? The all-female X-Men team faces all-new challenges under the all-different creative team of Ms. Marvel’s G. Willow Wilson and Roland Boschi!
The X-Men series that once was one of the most promising new series of 2013 quickly lost any and all momentum amid crossovers, controversy, and generally disappointing storytelling. The cast has always been stupendous—Rachel Grey, Storm, Psylocke, Jubilee, Monet St. Croix versus the universe—but the stories have always been simply serviceable and, frankly, second-string to the more prominent series, Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men. Even X-Factor and the recently ended Wolverine & The X-Men felt fresher and more innovative next to the more standard superheroic fare of this adjectiveless series. Aside from the all-female team, there was very little distinguishing this book from Amazing X-Men.
So that’s all a very roundabout way of saying the up-and-coming G. Willow Wilson has her work cut out to making this book feel important enough to warrant the price tag. If issue #23 is any indication, the book may just be a lost cause, even for someone of Wilson’s promising voice.
The issue kicks off with the Burning Tree festival (a riff on Burning Man, obvs), where Gambit tries unsuccessfully to wheedle two beautiful women into a Chankra Massage. #classicGambit Suddenly, crazy weather happens and Gambit calls in the X-Men. Most of the issue centers around the X-Men literally fighting a storm and Storm’s efforts to calm the weather pattern before getting sucked into a giant sinkhole. It’s crazy. And it almost but not quite hits.
X-Men #23 falters when Wilson tries to balance her trademark humor and pop sensibilities with Storm’s narration and the team’s tactical conversations. The issue soars when Wilson is writing Jubilee’s interactions with Shogo and Krakoa; it very nearly falls apart when Storm’s thought takes over the captions. As that’s the dominant narrative perspective of the book, we never really get a good handle on everything as readers. The dialogue ranges from the genuinely hilarious to the unfortunately forced, and the whole “fighting a storm” angle (which is literally said by one of the characters) doesn’t every achieve lift-off.
The real miss here is Roland Boschi’s artwork. There were several times during my reading that I thought we had switched artists from a Mike Allred to a Clay Mann to a Valentine DeLandro. At no point could I really pin-point Boschi’s style, which in turn prevented me from properly following all of the action. The first page is the perfect example of both artwork and narration that falls short.
Sadly, skip. G. Willow Wilson is a great writer, but the story in X-Men #23 never really gets off the ground. Inconsistencies in tone and artwork make for a lackluster read, and with so much more X-Men related content on the stands, it might just be time to remove this one from the pulllist… #bummed