When they took over “Amazing X-Men” last month, Craig Kyle and Chris Yost’s debut on the title felt like a reasonable enough start to their new era. But now that we’re on chapter two of “World War Wendigo!” it already feels like a decreasing rate of return, as characterization shrinks and the plot begins to grow stale.
There’s a one-page sequence set on the Blackbird early on that touches on all of the X-Men save Wolverine, and it’s little more than a bunch of one-liners to establish the characters. This wouldn’t be a problem, per se, except that it feels like this is the only real attempt at characterization this issue. The characters aren’t distinguishable from one another save for costume and powers, and there’s really nothing about this story that makes any of the characters necessary for it to move from start to finish here.
But in general, the story moves quite slowly. There’s a lot of growling and howling, but it progresses little more than a baby step forward. Based on what we have here, I’m not sure that this needed to be a 5-part story; maybe the remaining chapters will be more action-packed, but even then, this is light on plot. It’s also not yet an X-Men story, really; the only characters who advance the plot even the small fraction forward that it does move are from Alpha Flight, essentially making the X-Men guest-stars in their own comic.
Speaking of Alpha Flight, I know that Carlos Barberi didn’t create Talisman’s really awful outfit, that it was inherited from her stint in the “Omega Flight” mini-series from a few years ago. But none the less, it’s awful. A combination of tribal cliche and attempts to show off skin — I suppose Talisman can at least cast a spell to keep her chest from entirely falling out of the massive V-cut in her outfit — if there was ever a time to either design a new outfit or to at least tweak the design a bit, this was it. Instead, I feel like Barberi actually made the amount of skin on display increase here. In general, though, the art is just average. Characters have the same faces — there’s a scene right after the X-Men have left the plane where Storm and Marvel Girl are side-by-side and their heads are identical save for hair-flips and Rachel’s tattoo — and the splash where the Wendigo attack is cluttered and hard to follow. None of the characters look distinct, and it’s a sprawl of awkward poses.
“Amazing X-Men” #9 is a disappointing second issue for Yost and Kyle, and not a great debut on the book for Barberi. Maybe things will turn around, but in a book that’s shuffling through creators left and right, this title needs some consistency in the quality.