Ever since the new “X-Men” debut about two years ago, this has been a series that has struggled for an identity and purpose, aside from the occasional guest-star elsewhere in the Marvel Universe. Victor Gischler and Will Conrad wrap up their run with “X-Men” #29, and I’m still a little puzzled on what the point of the series was, aside from holding a random group of X-Men characters that no one else wanted.
This is a title that should have been more fun than it was; it’s got Storm, Pixie, Warpath and Domino, after all. But in a comic that guest-stars the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and some Skrulls, “X-Men” #29 is still sluggish. It’s not bad, thankfully, but the book feels like someone’s taken the wind out of Gischler’s sails. Half of the cast gets kept off to the side with a bunch of robotic drones (which even the characters admit were less than interesting and little more than a distraction), and Pixie is ultimately more fun when she’s interacting with other heroes instead of on her own. This is a story that does nothing out of the ordinary towards its conclusion, though.
The same’s true for Conrad’s art. It’s perfectly fine, but once again there’s nothing out of the ordinary about it. I don’t get the impression that Conrad seemed particularly inspired about drawing “X-Men,” and while it’s some nicely rendered character drawings, there’s nothing memorable happening on its pages. Moments like the robots could have at least had a little flair or visual pizazz, but instead I feel like “X-Men” is being invaded by 1980s toys from Hasbro.
Conrad’s cover at least promises some fun, but then again it’s also a scene that blatantly doesn’t happen in this comic. (For starters, half of the characters on the cover aren’t present in “X-Men” #29, which feels like some rather false advertising.) A comic that has a Skrull shuttle buzzing the Statue of Liberty should have been fun, but instead it’s a publication where it feels like the creative team was resigned to not being around next month. Hopefully Brian Wood and David Lopez can kick the title into high gear; right now, this is the “X-Men” comic that time (and the readership) forgot.