Last week was a bit of a bummer insofar as news about quirky comics I like. First, Jason Aaron announced the end of Wolverine and the X-Men:
The original plan was for me to write both WatXM and AMAZING X-MEN as sister titles. One dealing with the school, the other with the X-Men from that school going on adventures out in the world. But unfortunately my schedule just didn’t allow that. So I’ve been writing the post-Battle of the Atom arc of WatXM as my goodbye to that series and to the Jean Grey School.
I’ve never been a big X follower. Peter David’s X-Factor is probably the only other book in the line I’ve had any real long-term reader investment in. Wolverine and…, though, really just seemed to revel in exactly how much weird was running about in the X mythology. And, by extension, just how craze-tastic a school would be that had to survive in that kind of world. I mean, sentient grounds, an infestation of both the chibi-Nightcrawler Bamfs and microscopic Brood, an Imperial Shi’ar warrior teaching art class, a lovestruck janitor who used to be a super-villain, gambling in space. Oh, and Frankenstein turning the X-Men into circus acts.
Seriously, the eager way in which the book just seemed to embrace and celebrate the crazy was a lot of fun. I won’t miss the giant speed bumps which inevitably occurred during crossover season, but otherwise it was a very fun ride.
So, there’s one. And then, the very next day, I ran across Kieron Gillen announcing that Young Avengers is going buh-bye:
Jamie and my plan was always to do a season telling a contained story, leaving room to continue it if we felt we had something else to say. When the time came around and Marvel asked if we wanted to do more issues, Jamie and I decided we’d actually made our statement, and should leave the stage.
Young Avengers was similarly unafraid to embrace the strange. I don’t think the two books are companion pieces in any way, but I do sort of feel on one level that YA is almost a “cool kids in college” variant on the WatX experience. The latter has a bunch of kids kind of really encountering the full scope of the craze-athon for the first time. The Young Avengers, on the other hand, have been here. Or, rather, they think they have.
Instead of that seemingly-endless expanse of weird that is high school, Young Avengers lives in that middle ground, where you’re still young, and you still enjoy everything, but you’re not quite so naive as you used to be. The embrace of the insanity of youth is no longer something you’re caught up in, but something you’re choosing. Literally in a few cases, as avoiding the primary protagonist pretty much hinges on an “I don’t wanna grow up” philosophy.
Meanwhile, fight scenes take place on “you are here” style room maps, characters get trapped in panel borders, villains literally chew the scenery while heroes just as literally kick their way through the walls of reality.
I’m doing a fairly crap job of explaining it, but it’s a lot of slightly-off-center fun and I’ll miss it.
There is some good news to both announcements, at least. In both cases, the powers that be are ending the series rather than just tossing new creative teams at them. There’s an implicit statement, here, that values the creators as essential elements of the title, rather than hot-swappable add-ons to The Property.
Far too many times, books I loved died far longer, slower deaths in hands which weren’t as capable with them as the team which woo’d me in the first place. If it has to be good-bye, then, I suppose I’d much rather the clean break than the messy, extended growing apart.