I don't exactly know how to categorize this one-shot in Marvel continuity proper. Frankly, I don't care. Angel's got his fluffy wings and dons his original (and best) uniform. Bobby's all crystalline, yet their camaraderie reflects their growing friendship in The Champions. Whatever. These are the versions of Iceman and Angel that you know and love, and that's why this special works so well.
Writer Brian Clevenger constructs engaging repartee between the X-Men and directs the Kirby/Lee monster to emote like a Shakespearean ham stuck in an episode of The Odd Couple. Clevenger also takes the time to answer the punchline to a running gag Angel and Iceman carry, and the writer tailors a twist derived from the schlock classic and Mystery Science Theater experiment Gorgo.
Although absurd and hilarious, Iceman and Angel would have failed miserably if Clevenger had not been paired with a like-minded artist. Juan Doe (which could be a pseudonym) excels when presenting dynamic anatomy, but his designs and motifs are unlike anything previously seen. Open and cartoony, his artwork issues liveliness and warmth but does so in a more stylized, cubical framework. His takes on Angel and Icemen are some of the most powerful I've witnessed, and let's face it -- these guys are lesser heroes.
Angel and Iceman have never been presented better, and the portrait of the Kirby/Lee monster outstrips everything. Doe sweeps in shadows and crumples its hide to induce the feeling of realistic depth in a patently unrealistic being. Kirby probably would have been proud to see his visual interpreted with such verve and reverence, and Lee no doubt will be delighted to observe his co-creation being used for unadulterated fun.
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