I Don’t Recommend It

 

x-logoHave you ever encountered a fandom paradox? It used to be relatively rare, but lately it’s starting to seem like I run into them constantly, and if things get any worse I’m going to start worrying about the very comics/fandom continuum itself.

For the uninitiated—who should be plentiful, since I made up the fandom paradox about seventy seconds ago—allow me to provide a couple of examples:

As an eleven year old, I was a Frequent Filer when it came to Marvel Comics’ subscription service. Years before Amazon, eBay, DCBS, and the Indignation of the Month Club, I would stand beside my mailbox hopping from foot to foot in giddy anticipation of the newest delivery arriving in its plain brown flimsy looks-like-a-porno-mag no-way-would-CGC-consent-to-slabbing-this-today paper wrapper for me to ravenously devour right there at the mailbox. (For some reason, I will always remember ripping off the wrapper of Transformers #17 and reading it all right there in the middle of the street.)

At the height of my preteen addiction, I subscribed to G.I. Joe, Transformers, Incredible Hulk (getting all the pricy, highly collectible Peter David/Todd McFarlane issues just like you’d want to have them, manhandled into origami by a disgruntled postal worker) all the Spider-Man books, and of course the most popular comic of the 1980s, Uncanny X-Men. I was late to the X-Men party, but like most kids at the time I became a huge fan, and theirs was one of the last subscriptions I’d fail to renew when I finally bailed on comics in high school. I was a devotee of the “Australia years,” but I would go back for many a back issue from the glory days before eventually abandoning the medium right on the cusp of the Image Era. I could have told you anything you wanted to know about The Fall of the Mutants or Inferno. I loved that book. I was an X-Pert.

Last week, a dear friend of mine who’s recently gotten into comics and is fascinated by the X-Men texted me: “I’m at the library. What X-books should I look for? I just finished Joss Whedon’s Astonishing run; maybe something that sets up the Emma Frost story…?”

I, the X-Pert, officiously pronounced, “Well… um. Definitely… I would say… you probably want New X-Men by… actually, never mind that. Grant Morrison is incredibly polarizing. Certainly not a starting point. What they’re doing now is great… except you want to know how they got there… I can unconditionally recommend anything with the name ‘Chris Claremont’ on it… except, wait, he too has been pretty controversial for the last few years, by which I suddenly realize I mean the last decade or more. Boy, time sure flies. Anyway, he was the definitive writer when I was reading it as a kid… except no one on the team when I was reading it was considered a ‘classic’ X-Man by any stretch of the imagination. Not so much Colossus or Nightcrawler, but a lot of Longshot and Jubilee. No one who wants to read X-Men should start with Dazzler; that’s just a matter of policy. Maybe you just need to read the Dark Phoenix Saga… except… that’s awfully 1981….”

The more I thought about it, the more fully it started to dawn on me: I was a lifelong X-Men fan, but when pressed to recommend an X-Men story, I couldn’t manage to do it. How could that be possible?

I would have doubted my sanity if not for the memory of an iFanboy letter column from last February. In it, Josh Flanagan, perhaps the world’s most devout and articulate Hawkeye fan—someone looking to invent world records arbitrarily for the sake of doing it might even call him the World’s Foremost Hawkeye Expert—was asked the question, “what are the best stories for Hawkeye?” which he answered, “you’re kind of shit out of luck there.”

Josh is the biggest Hawkeye booster Cupid ever bullseyed, and when asked to recommend the definitive Hawkeye stories he shouts “what's that over there?” and runs out while everyone is looking the other way, leaving only a Josh-shaped cloud of dust and a Josh-shaped hole in the wall.

Perhaps I exaggerate.

Still, that’s the fandom paradox in a nutshell: you love Character Z, but you can’t think of a Character Z story you’d recommend. Doesn’t seem like it should be possible, does it? But I remember the years before Johns came back to the Flash.

I recognize that some of this is just me being a little too precious about introducing a new reader to my favorite things. I'm trying to make everything perfect, like I'm cooking dinner for the girl I'm dating for the first time, but all those elements just don't come together for perfection all that often. I also think, however, that the mechanics of corporate comics set them up for a situation you’ll never see in any other kind of storytelling. When you’re telling a story with no ending, a story that in fact has to continue indefinitely with characters that stay the same, a story the original creator abandoned years ago and the current writer will eventually leave… well, a lot of great fiction can be produced but, man, you can also wander around in the wilderness for years and years. And while you do it, fans keep reading hoping it’ll get better, so the sales never evaporate, so the issues keep coming out, and before you know it you’ve been in the woods for eleven years and nobody ever got around to telling that definitive Character Z story.

I don’t think there can be too many grown people who have devoted as many brain cells as I have to Spider-Man. I’m at least in the upper-middle tier of Spider-fans. But confidentially, between the marriage and the clones, there may be close to a decade of stories in there you could burn for the insurance money. Whenever people kvetch about “jumping on points,” my go-to answer is always “Oh, just pick it up and go; you’ll figure it out,” but what would I do if someone said, “I took your advice. I’m going to start reading Amazing Spider-Man right out of my cousin’s longbox, starting right here at issue #388.” Well, for starters, I would shout, “Fire in the hole!” and throw myself on that longbox like it was a live grenade.

Luckily, I can also think of plenty of good Spider-books to recommend off the top of my head, and the same goes for most characters. Recent years have produced definitive runs on Captain America, Iron Man, Green Lantern, and many others. A character as unlikely as Daredevil seems to have had about five definitive runs in a row while the rest of us were noodling around with Xorn. Maybe editorial control is a lot better than it was when I was starting out, but the days of wilderness wandering seem to be coming to an end. Let’s hope the paradox is headed for the history books.

(A lot of great Thor stories have been told, right? There have to have been some. I’d better find out what they were before that movie comes out.)

 


Jim Mroczkowski is just going to mutter something about “Simonson,” excuse himself, and go back to Twitter.
 

Comments

  1. I have been plagued by this situation with Gambit for the longest time & I still can not seem to find any definitive Gambit, Rogue or Nightcrawler stories & it sucks. Any one able to help?

  2. @SpiderTitan:  It isn’t a Rogue story per se, more of a team up (and a short one at that), but I always thought the Uncanny Arc surrounding Wolverine’s almost-wedding to Mariko, where he and Rogue are the only two left standing, was the moment the character came into her own.  There was a similar dynamic between the two when they teamed up going into Genosha (just before the Australia era if I recall correctly).  But those are both fairly short.

    I’m stumped on Nightcrawler, except the early Excalibur stuff, where he started to take more of a leadership role with the team.  I really liked that and it did give the character some more depth.

    I can’t say that I’ve ever cared for Gambit, so I’ve obviously never seen anything that I like him in.

  3. @SpiderTitan    I always tough Fabian Nicieza run on Gambit was pretty good. Might want to try it if you never got to reading them

  4. The Internet in general, and Wikipedia in particular have made it easy to jump on pretty much anywhere. That being said, I still usually tell people to stay away from books beginning with X other than authored by Whedon or having "First Class" also in the title. Same goes for anything Teen Titans or Legion. It’s just too painful. Anyone who wants to read X-Men I just hand Runaways.

     Green Arrow, surpsisingly, has some definitive works, but not so for Wonder Woman, or say, Martian Manhunter.

    Fantastic Four? Waid and Hickman.

     And have you ever had to explain Batgirl to anyone who only know’s Jim Gordon’s daughter? Ouch.

  5. I never have difficulty recommending anything so long as I know what the person’s preferences are. Good stories stay good.

  6. @SpiderTitan I dug the 2 trades of Nightcrawler by Darick Robertson and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

  7. I know exactly what you’re talking about, and any X-Men fan who says they don’t is lying or delusional.

    Sometimes I think comics require personal shoppers.  Just within the last week, I have told three different friends regarding the Morrison run: "This is the name of the first volume, if it doesn’t cost you too much money, pick it up and see what you think"; "Read it and I’ll be sure to be available when you want to scream in frustration," and "Do not touch those books under any circumstances, there is absolutely no way you would like them."  There is probably even a person out there I would recommend the run to without reservation, but it’s probably not somebody I’m friends with.  

    Having said that, there are times when it is best to step back and tell your friend, "Look through this stuff and see what appeals to you, because you’re just as capable of figuring out what you do and don’t like as anybody else who has read a comic book."  

    Incidentally, while comics take this phenomenon to an extreme, they’re not the only example. At some point I lost count of the number of times somebody had said on Twitter, "I am starting the DVDs of X tv series that is popular with nerds" and been flooded with well-meaning and completely contradictory advice (ie, "It starts out slow but you’ll get to like it," "Hang in there until Joe-Bob joins the cast," "The first season is AWESOME but be prepared for it to jump the shark in the third act of episode 12 when they add that asshole Joe-Bob, assuming you are watching them in DVD order.")

    It’s well-meaning but at a certain point we need to have faith both in our friends and in the principle that people sometimes like different stuff and we can still all get along, mostly.

  8. @Thursday  The problem with "stay away from stuff that is complicated" is that there will always be people who enjoy stuff that is complicated.  I see new people get into X-Men all the time (and was one of them 4 years ago).  Not statistically significant numbers, sure, but that doesn’t mean your friend isn’t that person. 

  9. Nightcrawler – his solo series by Sacassa is brilliant.

    X-Men – Ultimate X-Men by Bendis, Vaughan & Millar is superb and continuity free.  Not for people who like lame conintuity like most X-fans.  The the Morrison run is great, at times it has plot holes on purpose.

    Captain America – Ultimates, Civil War, & New Avengers.  I would never recommend his solo book.

    Iron Man – Same as Cap, but throw in Fractions first 6 issues, that’s it.

    Thor – JMS & he truly shines in "Avengers Prime" like no other story he’s been in.

    Gambit/Rogue – Ultimate X-Men, Brian K Vaughan does excellent continuity free arcs on them, excellent work.  I saw Gambit’s solo series reviewed well on Amazon, haven’t read it.

    Fantastic Four – Lee/Kirby.  There is nothing better for that book.  More fun than most comics today.

    Spider-Man – Lee/Ditko/Romita/Kane #1-110, plus everything by Bendis, JMS, Millar, Slott.  And McFarlanes first 5 issues of the solo series, contrary to obnoxious opinion, is actually very good.

  10. I’m not worried about recommending older stuff, unless of course, the person is looking to read newer stuff & be involved in current canon so they can pick up new books.

    I do think there are characters who don’t have a good definitive collections. When you’re a D-list, X-character, you’re probably not on a high list to get your own series. On top of that, we all see characters a little different. For example, I highly disagree with @KickAss about Ultimates being a definitive Captain America and I’ve loved at least two of his solo runs.

  11. @ohcaroline Anyone willing to jump headfirst into new X-Men issues doesn’t need my help lol

     My friends are usually more curious about the medium in general rather than specific characters. Most of them are reading Fables, Y:The Last Man, American Vampire, Scott Pilgrim, etc., but when it comes to capes, most ask for superhero stories "with a real ending" as they call it lol.

  12. I just had this happen yesterday. I have just started dating a girl and somehow she got me talking about Sandman. So yesterday, I bought her the first three trades. However, when I gave them to her I got worried. First, I was worried that she might think the first trade was a little too occult and that the artwork may be too cartoony to be taken seriously. I also just this second realized I forgot the “The Dinner” story in there, which I still think is the most horrific mainstream comic issue to date.

     I’ve always felt the second trade, “The Doll House” was great for pulling people in and told her she had to at least read that one before judging the series.  However, I’m also a little worried that it’s about serial killers and building on top of the occult stuff from the first trade, it doesn’t seem too much like a good idea to be giving this to a woman you’ve just started seeing.

    So then there is the third trade, which has “Night of 1000 Cats” and the Midsummer’s Night Dream stories. How can you go wrong with those? I should tell her to read that one first… Oh wait, the first story is about Calliope who is sold from one man to another, locked in a room naked and repeatedly raped.

    Now, I’ve actually given these Sandman trades to lots of other women before and it has always worked out great, but that was when I was younger and much better looking. It was the long hair, which has been gone for a number of years now; I don’t like to talk about it.  In the end, I bit the bullet and just gave them to her. Girls love Neil, right? Why should I worry?

  13. If I wanted to recommend a good X-Men story? Easy.

    God Loves, Man Kills.

    It’s got a classic line-up and it’s self-contained. Also, if you just TELL people it was written in 1980, they’ll accept Kitty Pryde’s bell-bottoms in the Dark Phoenix Saga. 🙂 I think you actually can flat-out recommend anything with Chris Claremont’s name on it, but that’s me.

     

  14. I have heard that women are unable to resist Neil Gaiman’s good looks and British accent, particularly if they are jurors in a case involving Neil Gaiman. 

  15. @colossusofrhodeisland, Nightcrawler is great during the Claremont/Romita Jr. Uncanny X-Men run of the early 1980s. (Of special interest is Uncanny X-Men #183, which has some great Nightcrawler/Wolverine moments.) In fact, that run remains my very favorite across some 25 years of collecting. Roughly ssues 175-211 are pure gold.

  16. @Spidertitan I haven’t read it recently but I remember reading the Trial of Gambit where it was revealed that he put together the Marauders and I really enjoyed it.

    Sadly the only Nightcrawler focused story I’ve read was told by probably the worst X-men writer I’ve ever encountered, Chuck Austin,*Shudder* This was before I looked at creators at all and just bought the books. Its not good.

    For Rogue… I’ve only really seen the TV series and the movies focus on her, but it seems all versions of the tv show focus at least partially on Rogue. 

    Considering I haven’t read X-men in years, I don’t think that’s bad. 

    X-Factor though I would recommend picking up the recent Peter David trades. The first three volumes are amazing and the fourth and fifth are solid. You have to read Messiah Complex before the fifth but it is a good story and I didn’t get lost, but that may be because I know the characters. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. 

  17. Some of the best Nightcrawler stories from the 20th Century were…

    Excalibur #16

    Classic X-Men #23 & #9

  18. wow. great article. I totally feel you on this stuff being on the other side. I loved Xmen, Avengers, Spiderman and Batman in the 80s and 90s and then stopped caring about comics until about two years ago. I’ve been trying to get back in hoping to catch up on some good trades. Surely there must have been essential stories from that decade and a half i missed right? Its hard to get a good consistent recommendation.(except for Batman related). Whenever i go to the store i’m just lost in the woods, and the LCS guys can be a bit "judgmental and condescending" or try to sell you $200 worth of trades when you ask for help on older stuff. 

    The Trade programs especially with Marvel can get a bit confusing and between multiple volumes and trying to figure out which sub-title within a character to get…its can be very daunting to the point that you buy nothing. I guess my point is, they don’t make it easy for returning readers.

  19. Just to point it out, if your friend is at the library and texts about what he/she should check out, I think a fine answer would be "Whatever’s on the shelf starring those characters." The absolute worst case scenario is that your friend is out a few hours for reading the thing. No cash has been wasted. After that, you can worry about requesting specific storylines and/or worrying about a correct reading order. Order that stuff but read what you’ve got in the moment.

    Yay libraries!

  20. Jeff, I’m going to tell the person in question that you said this when I have to explain "Phoenix Warsong."

  21. Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    @jeffR, that’s exactly what I ended up doing, because Jimski’s answer was vague (with good reason) and ohcaroline’s answer was very specific, but the branch i was at ended up not having anything she mentioned.

     so i picked up phoenix:warsong. 😉

  22. JINX!  You owe me a Coke.

  23. Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    @ohcaroline that’s funny right there.

  24. Whoa! I am almost positive that Amazing Spider-Man #388 was the first issue of Spider-Man I ever read (due to that snazzy blue foil cover!)! Sure, not the best place to start, but not the worst, either. I distinctly remember that the second issue I ever read was # 381 with the Hulk, and the fact that it had actually come out 7 months earlier didn’t really affect the story. I’m not sure I ever found out what happened when that "rage virus" jumped from Doc Samson to the Hulk…

     

    Any Claremont issue of X-Men is an easy jumping on/in point because he’ll always have one of the characters tell the reader exactly what has transpired to get to where they are now.

  25. I know exactly what you mean. Martian Manhunter is one of my favourite DC characters, but has very few stories centred around him (let’s hope Brightest Day changes that).

  26. I’m just making a rule now that anybody who ever mentions "Phoenix Warsong" in any context has to buy me a Coke.  But I’ll waive the requirement, since you actually had to read the thing.

  27. Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    as a newbie, i’d like to recommend against the "just check wikipedia/marvel’s wiki/etc" suggestion.  content written by fans is quite often over-specific and vague at the same time.  writers will assume you know things that you’d have no way of knowing or will go into great detail on a side-topic that is unrelated to the answer you seek (but of course, you have no way of knowing you can skim that section until it’s too late).

    i prefer to ask over twitter since it provides me with a small, intelligent pool of resonders and challenges them to limit their responses to 140 at a time. 

  28. For good Gambit stuff, try Loeb and Sale’s Wolverine/Gambit: Victims, and I for one really like the Uncanny arc leading up to and culminating with issue 350. It’s got some great Gambit/Rogue stuff, Phalanx, Bishop and Deathbird doin’ it, Joe Madureira at his best, and it starts with issue 341, which is one of my all time favorites. (Cannonball vs. Gladiator, the winner isn’t who you think it would be!)

  29. I wouldn’t completely discount Messiah Complex as a definitive X-men story. I read it in issues then re-read it in trade and it still holds up. It’s probably the definitive x-men story for current event given it’s hope-centric story.

  30. Being serious, I’m a real fan of comics-fandom-as-oral-history so even now I only use Wikis as a last resort.  I’d much rather learn about how Chuck Austen thinks Iceman is made out of Havok’s pee (just to pull an example out of thin air) from another fan at a tweetup. 

  31. Lifetheft was the first full arc of any comic I read ever.  Heh.

  32. Back when I was getting back into comics and was feeling out the environment, I picked up Pheonix Warsong…in issue form. At this juncture, I didn’t read any of Morrison’s New X-Men, I had no idea who John Sublime or Weapon Plus was, and was utterly baffled by the whole thing at the end of the day. Though, I’m kinda glad that I did it though. It got me past the whole "I’m a new reader and am afraid to pick up the wrong thing" stigma, as I read this and was like "Hmmm…I’m a newbie who just read this, and it didn’t kill my love of comics, and the experience wasn’t bad at all!" 

     

    So thank you, Pheonix Warsong…thank you for getting me over that hump. 😛

  33. @Caroline & Kelly – Oh, I know you might not get the cream of that crop that way. After all, there may be a reason that those books are currently on the shelf. Still, some X-Men are better than no X-Men, yes?

    However, I will admit that my policy of just reading whatever’s on the shelf has lead me to be turned off to the X-Men. While the AGE OF APOCALYPSE may be a fan favorite to some, I found the complete first volume of it to be dense and unwieldy. I’ve read various other newer X-Men trades and enjoyed some but had no real sense of time or cause-and-effect in them since I didn’t know which stories came before which other stories (though, in my defense, throwing alternative timelines into your stories makes navigating those stories more difficult). I suppose this could be tacked up to a lack of research on my end and perhaps I would like them more if I tried to do a bit of the research that Kelly is trying to do right now.

    Good luck! 🙂 

  34. I was just telling Kelly, Warsong was a hump for me to get over in another way — I had read the prequels to it, I essentially understood all the references, and I still thought it was pretty bad.  So I had the "It’s not that I don’t know what is going on, it’s just that this is not good" lightbulb go off, and I stopped buying the series.  Liberating ;).

  35. @Kelly – I totally agree with you on the wikipedia thing. the information is way too specific and become hard to understand very quickly. also, just go with it 🙂

  36. Well, if anybody’s actually wondering, my list of X-Men recommendations was:

    Astonishing X-Men (the Whedon run)

    God Loves, Man Kills (the one from the 80s, not the X-Treme X-Men version)

    X-Men Proteus, The Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past

    X-Treme X-Men Mekanix (specifically for the prequel to Kitty’s story in Astonishing)

    Morrison’s New X Men starting with "E is for Extinction," continuing if it looks like something you’re going to like though really if you have any sense of self-preservation and aren’t totally loving it, stop halfway through volume 3 unless you’re WonderAli in which case you should never start at all.

    SWORD by Kieron Gillen

    X Men First Class and Wolverine First Class if you don’t care about Continuity and just want things that are awesome

    Mix and match at will.  And of course, your mileage may vary.

     

  37. You overthought the question your friend asked. A setup for the Emma story was for and Morrison’s New X-Men is the go to suggestion, especially since Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men picks up the baton from Morrison’s run.

    Also, short-changing Claremont’s 80s run because it didn’t feature "classic" X-Men is silly since Astonishing heavily featured Wolverine, Colossus and Kitty Pride. It would be great to read the stuff that created the fan love those characters.

    Good Hawkeye stuff? Read his storyline from the Busiek/Perez Avengers, then read when he lead the Thunderbolts.

    Step your game up if you can’t recommend something regardless of your opinion on the content.

  38. @ghetto  Is it overthinking to consider whether your friend is actually going to *enjoy* the thing you are suggesting for her to read?

  39. Jumping on to book used to be easier too when there weren’t 10 spin off and relauches and event storylines to consider.  I started reading X-Men around issue 230.  When I wanted more, I only need to find back issues of one book!  Easy!

  40. I don’t know why I feel the need to preach this like it’s the one true gospel, but I promise that even when there was just one X-Men title and it was being written entirely by the same dude, there were enormous, inexplicable storytelling gaps on a regular basis.  Like, half the team would allow the other half of the team to believe they were dead for what appeared to be months at a time due to failure to use a magical superheroic device called the telephone. Stuff like this happened regularly, either because the guy forgot what he was writing, because he wrote too many pages and the artists refused to draw it, or just because nobody cared very much.

    It’s like the scene in ‘Inception’ where Jack from ‘Titanic’ is explaining to Kitty Pryde that they are walking through a landscape that doesn’t make logical sense because it doesn’t need to make logical sense because it’s all made up.

    I feel very postmodern now.

  41. @ohcaroline – I feel like I have to read Morrison’s X-Men just to spite you now 🙂

  42. You would think I was using reverse psychology, wouldn’t you? 

  43. Waid’s run on the Flash was good, and that was long before Johns was on the book.

  44. @JeffR The complete first volume of AoA is AWFUL.  It collects all the stuff that was released AFTER AoA actually happened.

    Not to say that the original isn’t dense and unwieldy, but it’s much better 🙂  (and collected in the unfortunately numbered Complete AoA 2-4)

  45. When does Morrison’s run on New X-Men start. I may read that run if it’s available digitally through comixology, which I think it is. Love me some digital comics.

  46. On the Marvel app the first three issues of Morrisons run is up. E for Extinsion I think.

  47. Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    @wonderali i’m with you. i need to read this morrison thing, if only to understand and have an opinion to defend.  (also to spite @ohcaroline and her "biased" suggestions)

  48. @ohcaroline It is overthinking because the question posed wasn’t "Do you know another X-Men run/trade I would enjoy?" The friend asked for some specific stuff and the one that makes the most sense doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be an enjoyable experience for all. That person could, like me and a lot of other people out there, end up really liking Morrison’s X-Men run. Opinion on content should not block any relevant recommendation.

  49. Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    @ghettoj here’s how the actual conversation between @ohcaroline and I went down:

     me: at library. if I was looking for the dark Phoenix saga or the "saga" right before astonishing, what would I need?

     oc: Dark Phoenix Saga is a self-contained book by Chris Claremont.  The ‘just-before’ comics are ‘New X-Men’ by Grant Morrison but you might just want to read Wikipedia.  Or not read it and fill in the blanks yourself.  On the other hand, some people really like it. if you get the Dark Phoenix, you may want to look for ‘X-Men Proteus’ (which came right before) or ‘Days of Future Past’ (right after) Also, not strictly plot-related, but God Loves Man Kills is a classic X-Men story with lots of Magneto. Oh and if you want to try the Morrison books, ‘E is for Extinction’ is the first one.  Hope this isn’t too much info!

    for me personally, this was a perfect answer, which given how shortly she’s known me, is actually pretty impressive.

    *also*, as you can see, she answers my question about Morrison and recommends the "right" title 🙂

     (and it turns out jim’s answer wasn’t vague. it was just written in shorthand i didn’t quite understand)

  50. I may not know anything useful but I can sure condense a lot of information about the X-Men into text message form!

    (I’ll take what I can get, okay?) 

  51. ha i started reading spiderman with that issue. i still have it. good article. i think about this question when i think of taskmaster, other than the avengers intiative i cant think of anything before that that he was in as much and as good

  52. DAYS OF FUTURE PAST!  Nuff Said.

  53. How could I forget Days of Future Past?? I need to step up my game!

  54. It’s a pity that no one’s still caught on that Mike Carey has been writing great and highly recommendable X-Men stories for four years now.

  55. Plastic Man

  56. Just for the record, the Carey run is the first thing I recommended.  I believe the promise of Magneto in a mint green sweater that got Kelly picking these things up ;).

  57. None of Carey’s stuff has connected with me at all, I’ve tried his run out a few times but it’s just not for me.

  58. @gobo  I pretty much got into Legacy for Rogue, but the last few arcs have been really strong.  I know people complain that he uses a lot of obscure characters, but I feel like he always puts enough into the stories that I can read them without knowing the history.  The Wolverine Origins crossover was a weak spot, but otherwise I’ve enjoyed it.