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Comic: Earth X

July 7, 2008

So, I skipped Friday’s post to celebrate the Fourth of July and I told you that I would be talking about Earth X. With that in mind, you should be expecting a long, circuitous, post about this series. Honestly, I don’t feel like that but I’ll see if I can reach a length of decency. 

I’m trying something new today. I’m going to put pictures or video in to try and break up the words and make it easier to read on the screen. Feedback is appreciated.

Background: Before I delve into the length and depth that is Earth X let me introduce you to the creators or at least the main two behind it, Jim Krueger and Alex Ross. Ross and Krueger as a team have worked together on several projects. The recent series Justice featuring the Justice League of America from DC and Marvel’s Project Superpowers. I have not read the latter series but Justice is amazing just for the artwork if not the story line and I’ll actually talk about Justice later this month.
Jim Krueger has done several single issues for various series but his most notable work outside of that includes Micronauts: Karza and the first few issues of Nighthawk. He graduated from Marquette University with a degree in journalism and has been moving up ever since. He currently runs his own comic production company called 26 Soldiers. 

Alex Ross on the other hand went to the Academy of Art in Chicago. All of his comics are painted and some of his most famous work comes from Marvels and Kingdom Come which put him on the map in the comic world. For the Earth X series Ross did not so much draw every panel as create the idea with Krueger. The actual books list him as the cover artists/concept artist/ and character designer. 

The man who actually did the pencils for Earth X was John Paul Leon. Leon graduated from New York’s School of Visual Arts in 1994 and began his comic career soon after. Leon has worked on series for Superman, Batman, and the X-men. Currently he is working on a DC series called The Winter Men. 

Well, now that you know let’s move on to the actual series. 

The Comic: I’ll be referring to Earth X: The Series as the X series from now on. I currently own Earth X the graphic novel which is a combination of the 14 original issues from X. There are also four other books from the X series which include Universe X Vol. 1 and 2 and Paradise X Vol. 1 and 2. I’ll talk about those collections later but today’s focus is Earth. The X series is not canonical with anything else in the Marvel Universe. To be honest, if it is was X destroys everything you know about Marvel and turns out so far inside out that it might as well not even be called Marvel anymore. Okay, that is an exaggeration. X relates to the Marvel Universe in that it uses the histories of various heros and characters to explain their present selves in relation to X. 

I’m going to try and give a good synopsis of Earth so that you can figure out whether or not it’s worth reading. It is a very deep series with many, many plot lines that are being followed. 

Aaron Stack, Machine Man, opens the series by being tele-ported to the moon where he meets Uatu the Watcher. You might remember Uatu as the man the from moon who helped Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four defeat Galactus with the Ultimate Nullifier. For an unexplained reason 

The Watcher for an unexplained reason is blind and recruits Stack, who Uatu refers to as X-51 (his production number), to be the new Watcher. A lot of the first few issues are actually history lessons about Earth. 

You find out that a race of beings called the Celestials evolved humans for their own needs and implanted “seeds” within humanity that needed jump starts to force them to evolve. These jump starts are the reasons why super heros were created. According to Uatu without these “seeds” Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, and innumerable other super heros created by radiation poisoning would not exist, instead, they would have died from the exposure. 

While this bit is going on there is also several plot lines involved in the present world. Captain America, Reed Richards, the return of Black Bolt and his Inhuman contingent, Bruce Banner and the Hulk (they are separate entities in X but telepathically linked), and Cyclops. That’s five other plot lines outside of what Stack and Uatu are discussing. As stated before, X can get very heavy with information. 

In the present state of things, everyone on Earth is now a mutant, except Tony Stark. Mostly that stems from the fact that he locked himself away in his mansion and a control center where he controls an army called the Iron Avengers that look and act like the original Avengers (who are dead in X). Reading through the X series there are a surprising number of dead super heroes and as you go through the series a number of Marvel staples that you wouldn’t expect to die do. It’s very shocking to see some of the heroes you’ve grown up knowing and loving die especially in the way that they do it. It’s both appropriate and weird. 

Captain America and Stark start on the east coast fighting a mutant called Hydra which has begun absorbing people into it and using their strengths and powers for itself. At the same time a young boy with extensive mind control powers starts creating an army of controlled slaves to do his bidding. Captain America in the X series is a defeated individual. He has started to question his ideals and feels that he is succumbing to the darker side of humanity. There are some very psychological and later depressing moments with him that are surprising considering how he is portrayed in almost every other comic. In the world of Earth X Steve Rogers is a lost man. 

If I didn’t mention this before everyone that you recognize is older, way older. Cyclops, for example looks to be in his 50s. He wanders New York alone for awhile fighting the Hydra when it gets in his way but eventually he reforms the X-men with a misfit cast of former circus performers. 

Before I forget, like the DC Universe where everyone’s main bad guy Lex Luthor becomes President of the U.S. in X Spiderman’s rival Norman Osborne becomes President through his businesses and essentially runs the country through his corporation. 

Bruce Banner ends up on a quest to see Dr. Stephen Strange that relates back to the issue of the Celestial seed within humanity. 

Blackbolt returns to Earth to marry off his son to a woman named Luna. Black Bolt’s son was left with Captain Britain. They join up with Reed Richards who has locked himself away in Doctor Doom’s castle in Latveria where he pretends to be Doom. The Thing lives in New York with his wife and twin boys who look inexplicably exactly like him only smaller. For the purposes of the X series Namor killed Johnny Storm on the same day that Doctor Doom killed himself and Sue Storm, which is why Richards is now lost inside himself and living as Doom without actually doing anything evil. 

The overarching theme in Earth is showcased between the conversations that Stack and Uatu have on the moon. Due to Uatu’s blindness, Stack watches Earth and tells him what he sees or what information he can find. It answers many questions about various super heros from the Marvel Universe. 

The entire time the Uatu is training Stack to be the next Watcher he is also trying to break him of his human qualities. Stack had emotions, morality, and various other human characteristics programmed into him which annoy Uatu. He tries to make Stack see that there is no good or evil, and that there have always been and will always be heroes but that their lives do not matter in the course of life. Through out Stack fights these notions and wants to believe that heroes are worthwhile and that their accomplishments are important in the long run even if they are forgotten. 

It’s interesting, philosophical, political, and kind of a slap in the face at the same time. The first three are obvious but the last one, and this is opinion, I feel that it’s kind of a slap in the face because you’ve been worshipping these various characters for years, in my case about 14 or so, and the whole philosophy of this book is that these characters are worthless. It’s asking you, what’s the point, which almost makes you want to put down the comic but then again, what’s the point, right?

However, this philosophical argument is not one-sided and without giving away too much the Krueger does allow the other half of the argument a response. 

I don’t know what more I can say about the story without giving too much away about the ending, so I think that I’ll slow it down here and offer my recommendations to you.

My recommendation: I’m going to say this again, so you can’t say I never told you, this series is information heavy which mainly means that it is very dialogue heavy. Especially the first half when they’re introducing the history of Earth and the various things that are occurring in the present. If that is not your forte than I strongly recommend that you stay away from the X series. 

However, if you enjoy some heavy reading than I say pick up at least Earth, if you don’t like it I wouldn’t bother with the other four, hell, I wouldn’t get the other four anyway. Earth is great as a stand-alone but if you want more get the rest. I found the entire story line extremely interesting and the philosophy in it is fun to read. Perhaps I’m that kind of nerd but I enjoy a good philosophical discussion from time to time. Plus, the way that the Marvel standbys are treated is somewhat shocking I think. It is definitely a new turn for these various characters. Captain America and Reed Richards alone make the collection worth reading. 

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ 

Scyo.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2008 10:04 pm

    Tahnks for posting

  2. September 23, 2008 8:53 am

    nice work, dude

  3. May 19, 2009 9:38 am

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Trackbacks

  1. Comic: Universe X: Volume 1 « cOmics eXpress
  2. Paradise X Vol. 1 « cOmics eXpress

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