I’m not entirely sure why Marvel decided that launching a new ongoing “X-Men” series also required a series of one-shots that tie into the initial storyline. Was it to try and make the latest “X-Men” #1 look like a bigger deal? Or is it an attempt to ride the coattails of “X-Men” for some high sales on the one-shots?
Either way, it’s hard to not perceive these “Curse of the Mutants” comics as little more than a money grab in one way or another. Having now read “Curse of the Mutants: Blade,” the one that appeared to have the most potential for actually moving the story forward and introducing a non-X-Men character into the mix, I think “money grab” is an accurate statement.
Duane Swierczynski gives it his all to try and make this as interesting as possible, but he’s hamstrung by clearly being told that no plot advancement from “X-Men” can happen here. That actually is a good call (I can’t think of a faster way to anger “X-Men” readers than to tell them that the important things happened in another comic), but it does hammer home the slightly unnecessary nature of this comic. Swierczynski is left introducing Blade and a group of additional vampire hunters, and then pitting them against the new daywalker vampires. I’m sure you can guess the end result of that fight, since Swierczynski has to bring Blade to San Francisco on his own.
It’s not a bad script given those constraints, although I think Swierczynski actually introduces too many new cannon fodder characters; it’s hard to get a feel for any of them, and when bad things start coming down, they end up as little more than random faces getting torn apart, rather than characters you’ve come to care about over the course of the issue. It’s too bad because some of the characters have potential, especially the two-man team that hasn’t talked to one another for twenty years. Still, it’s not a bad fight scene, and Swierczynski comes up with some inventive ideas throughout it.
Tim Green’s art is slightly erratic in this comic. It starts off with a wiry, thin look that uses a lot of the same poses and has some strange facial expressions, but is interesting enough in its own way. Considering this is a book with decapitations and eviscerations, though, it comes across surprisingly cartoonish in spots. By the end of the comic, a lot of the detail and fine lines have dropped out of the art, to the point that the final three pages don’t even look like they were drawn by Green. They’re rough and fat, and covered in speed lines, and a weak ending for the comic.
I’ve enjoyed the first two issues of “X-Men” well enough, but after reading this “Curse of the Mutants” one-shot, I’m ready to pass on the others unless I hear great things about them. “Curse of the Mutants: Blade” wasn’t bad, but at the end of the day it’s an unnecessary comic.