Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Super-Powered Comics: X-Men Misfits

A couple years ago, Marvel teamed up with Del Rey Manga to bring its X-Men franchise to manga. The results were the abysmal Wolverine: Prodigal Son, a dismal attempt to tell a Wolverine story without all the concepts and ideas that make him Wolverine. I don’t care how much you like Wolverine, do not read it. It is an act of utter terribleness.

On the other hand, X-Men: Misfits is a much cleaner, more focused product. The concept is simple, young student Kitty Pryde learns she is a mutant. It causes her life to become miserable in her ordinary school, until the staff of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters invites her to come to their special academy. The kicker, though, is she doesn’t realize until she arrives that she is the school’s only female student.

She quickly ends up as an object of desire for both the super cool Hellfire Club and the more stable forces of the X-Men, but she faces the terrors of pre-pressure in the process.

What makes Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman’s story work so much better than Wolverine: Prodigal Son is that they understand that they need to alter the X-men story without losing the themes of the book. Much like the animated series X-Men: Evolution, their focus on a high school setting helps fit the idea perfectly, even as we redesign the characters in a shojo-style.

That’s the Beast. And yes, I am pretty sure he is supposed to bear an uncanny resemblance to Totoro. But he is still Hank McCoy with all the personality traits of the character we know. It makes it easy for us to continue in to the story while chuckling at the redesign of the character.

It’s fun and it carries some of the silliness of true manga, but it never loses sight of its story and the X-Men. It does pull a regular manga move and ends on a cliffhanger, but the plot is just thick enough to carry the reader through. It is by no means perfect. Artist Raizu sometimes makes the art just too damn busy. But it still features just enough fun to keep things interesting.

Need more?

Storm has a mohawk again.

I rest my case. Recommended.

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