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New Excalibur #16

Posted: Monday, February 19, 2007
By: Geoff Collins



"Fallen Friend" (Part 1)

By Chris Claremont and Scot Eaton

Publisher: Marvel Comics


The Registration Act is allegory for The Patriot Act; Juggernaut getting shot with a gun then caught by Captain Britain is allegory for what this book does to Frank Tieriís run with the title. I havenít been this disappointed in a comic since I bought Bunny Town (youíd think a comic about a cute bunny getting hurt repeatedly would be funny, but it was really depressing). It follows the exact same format as issue #8: the team acts gay (as in merry and happy, not homosexual; Iíd buy even more copies if Juggernaut and Cap Brit hooked up), everyone is introduced then something bad happens.

Claremont is a legend, but the writing in this is really bad. This issue reads more like a comic from the 1990s; Nocturne acts exactly like Jubilee. All that is worth seeing is the art, which I liked a lot, but Iím not going to be able to fit more than a line about it in this review, so Iíll say itís really really good, and the plot twist towards the middle is interesting (canít yet say if itíll be good).

What upset me most was that Tieri, just after writing the best arc of this series and breaking New Excalibur away from being just another X-title, is gone. Not only is he gone, but the new creative team is apparently ignoring his entire run. Most of the other issues have had writers who stayed for an arc or less, other than Claremont, but he usually had someone elseís name attached to the writing credit with his own. Tieri was starting to build the characters, and created a lot of drama, and the team literally all hated one-another unlike most other ensemble books. Though I have criticized Tieri in previous reviews, I gave him a lot more praise, and some of the stuff I have disliked about his run could have been because of the editors.

Tieri promised that after the previous story arc, ďÖyouíll never be able to refer Cain Marko as the Huggernaut ever again,Ē but Marvel apparently is proving him wrong. All that can redeem Juggernaut in the near future would be attaching him to the Thunderbolts with Warren Ellis writing him. In this issue he is referred to as "cranky" (which is something that a mom says about her kid) and gets taken down with one gun shot from some bad-guy who isnít even given a name.

The main reason I keep buying this title is because Sage and Juggernaut are two of my favorite characters, and Nocturne uses Jubileeís old archetype of token pop-punk kid which I liked as well. Then Tieri started making me actually excited to pick up the new issue. I couldnít wait to see where they would go after that last issue.

My strong feeling is that the editors of this book are the ones to really blame for the fumbling of this title. It sometimes takes writers a while to get going, and Tieri had the longest run on this title with a whole seven issues, just two arcs. Claremont might be credited more times, but he usually is only on for an arc at a time and writes them with an artist (in this case Scot Eaton) which makes me assume heís using the Stan Lee formula for writing (tell the story to the artist, after artist draws it out fill in words). Looking at the credits, the only two names that appear throughout the series (other then the publisher and higher ups like that) are Sean Ryan as assistant editor and Nick Lowe as editor. Point blank: they have the most responsibility for making this a bad title. They could have easily undone what Tieri did without simply ignoring it. Nocturne nearly dies and is hospitalized, so the team could have bonded once again in the hospital visiting her, making for a lot of compelling scenes, earning the shift of direction in the title, and been a lot more grounded in reality than just theyíre suddenly back together; it would have taken just one issue.

If you really want to know what happens, just read the last four pages and put it back down; if you already read the first part then get a lobotomy. I would now like to apologize to Chris Claremont for criticizing his writing seeing as he is a legend and Iím not even getting paid for writing this. Either way this issue sucked, Mr. Claremont. And this is coming from a guy who writes mostly positive reviews. The major plot point was good, and I think with Claremont on board there will be more big twists like that, but the opening scene killed this issue and the dialogue was hokey. Art was great, though.



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