Friday, June 13, 2014

Reader's Diary #1132- Chuck Austen (Writer), Salvador Larroca (artist): Uncanny X-Men, She Lies With Angels

Uncanny X-Men: She Lies with Angels was a Romeo and Juliet inspired story-arc that spanned five comics and is collected here in a single edition. Shakespeare with mutants? Why not? If zombies can invade Jane Austen's prim world, surely Shakespeare isn't sacred ground for mutants. Actually, given Shakespeare's propensity for melodrama and tragedies that end in over-the-top bloodbaths, superhero comics might be a good fit.

I'm not convinced of that with "She Lies with Angels," though. Having a non-mutant Juliet (Julia, in this case) fall in love with mutant Josh (the Romeo equivalent) was a good, if somewhat obvious, choice given the human/mutant tension long established in the X-Men universe. It would make sense that their two families would have objections. Then, having set the story in rural America, and giving the two families a long history of feuds a la the Hatfields and McCoys, was, I thought, an inspired choice.

But that's as far as my praise goes. More than anything, I found She Lies with Angels annoying. See the cover? With Wolverine on it? Wolverine is a mere bit player, yet he makes it to the cover. Show of hands who's heard of Wolverine. Now a show of hands who's heard of Julia and Josh. Wolverine is more recognizable so he takes the cover, and doesn't that make a cool poster? It's the "cool poster" idea that plagues the entire collection. It's made worse by the fact that art isn't even that great, even if Larroca seems to think you'd want it on your wall. Often the faces are misshapen and grotesque (what's up Josh's eye and mouth in this picture?) and the spray-painted by a computer look is awful.

As for the story itself? Well, I know I surmised above that Shakespeare and superheroes might be a good fit, but it didn't work here. The whole premise of the X-Men is silly enough to begin with (and I'm a fan, really, I am); I'm already walking a thin line of tolerance for suspending my belief. Likewise with Shakespeare's melodrama. The former (if you're talking about the movies, anyway) is tampered with political overtones and special effects. The latter is tampered with wit and great writing. Together? It has all the substance of a Creed video. The X-Men and Shakespeare both deserved better.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You gave it a fair chance. A shame it was rather stinky.