Review by Ian Keogh
Warzones graphic novels revisit eras from Marvel’s past to present a varied scenario, or take another look at alternate worlds created over Marvel’s rich history. The bigger picture is that they tie-in to the 2016 Secret Wars graphic novel, but aside from a few comments about the world being ruled by Doom, there’s little that causes head scratching, and the Warzones stories stand alone.
It might be considered a thankless task revisiting what’s now considered a definitive X-Men sequence from the turn of the century, so Chris Burnham and Ramon Villalobos deserve some credit for taking on a period originally defined creatively by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. However, it was a mistake to close this collection with the latter’s opening issue as it has an intrigue, imagination and wonder about it that’s entirely lacking from this reboot.
Villalobos takes his artistic style from Quitely, and homages several pages from both his work and that of other artists who collaborated with Morrison over the run. Very few other superhero artists have Quitely’s scope and talent, so it’s unfair to lambaste Villalobos for not matching that. He attempts the fine-lined style and almost achieves it in places, but elsewhere Burnham has managed an approximation, so all things considered he’d have been a greater asset drawing instead of writing.
Dennis Culver helps Burnham’s scripts from the second chapter, but he doesn’t bring anything to disguise the redundancy of the plot. It uses the characters Morrison created, but is no homage to his work, lacking any kind of basic imagination in throwing one set of X-Men against another, then involving a third bunch of mutants as filler until the fourth chapter presents the big idea. Let’s just say it’s more likely to induce a yawn of apathy among regular X-Men readers than an air punch. The writers aim for weird and trippy and end up with dull and derivative. It’s a struggle to settle on any aspect that’s original and worth mentioning. Perhaps the development of Angel and Beak’s children qualifies, but not much else.
Whereas other X-Men Warzones titles reached back to highly publicised crossovers or eras, if reasonably evaluated these were overblown works that don’t stand the test of time. There wasn’t anything to live up to. Morrison and Quitely’s work is legacy material, and E is for Extinction falls woefully short.