early-new-x-menAh, Classic X-Men, how I miss thee!  Classic X-Men #3 was my first comic starring the X-Men.  Once I realized that it was a reprint, I tracked down the regular series.  But so much had happened that Classic X-Men remained my source for the history and continuity of the title.  That, and I had a great friend in high school that was my source for all things X.  I look back at Art Adams art today and a wave of nostalgia hits me, bringing back all those happy memories of reading about the All-New, All-Different X-Men adventures.  They were certainly a source of joy in the often confusing and downright painful times of high school.  In this picture we have Storm, Colossus (in back), Wolverine (& he’s smoking! That’s a no-no in today’s Marvel regime), Cyclops, Banshee (also smoking his pipe), Thunderbird (still dead), Sunfire, and Nightcrawler.  Today, the characters have changed quite a bit.  Storm’s in particular has been through a lot, Wolverine’s character has probably suffered for his being the most popular X-Man (I don’t really enjoy reading stories about him these days.  He’s all stabbity stab and not much personality.  There was a time when he followed a path of honor, remember Marvel?), Colossus has recently lost Kitty and is going through another maudlin period (like the one he did when joined Magneto after his sister died), Cyclops is the most hardass he’s ever been (merging with Apocalypse, losing Jean, & creating X-Force to be his black ops team), Banshee and Thunderbird are dead.  Sunfire was always an ass, but then turned evil or something, had his legs cut off and his powers stolen by Rogue and then he became a Horseman of Apocolypse (WTF?), and then a Marauder (again, I say WTF?), and Nightcrawler might be a demon, priest or pirate, depending on who’s writing him.  Although it seems like he’s being phased out of the team due to Pixie becoming the team’s resident teleporter.  March 2009 solicitations read:

X-MEN: QUITTING TIME
Written by JAMES ASMUS
Penciled by TBD
Cover by BRANDON PETERSON
Since the move to San Francisco and after the events of X-Infernus, Nightcrawler realizes a hard truth—he has to quit the X-Men. Kurt has realized that the X-Men just don’t need him anymore. He hasn’t been operating at his highest levels and even the biggest strength he has—teleportation—has been made redundant by Pixie who can do it better and more efficiently. Don’t miss the departure of one of the most important characters in X-Men history.
32 PGS./One-Shot/Rated T+ …$3.99

That’s a strange tale to tell.  The X-Men don’t need Kurt anymore?  Sheesh.  Good thing his creator Dave Cockrum isn’t around to see this.  And do all the changes that have happened to this cast mean that Marvel only thinks that Storm, Colossus, Cyclops, and Wolverine are essential to the X-Men mythos of today?  After all, we have the White Queen now, who has become the female version of Wolverine with all of her appearances in every X-book and her involvement in the Ilumi-naughty in the Dark Reign event.  And we have every mutant who could make it to San Francisco on the team in rotation these days.  I am glad to see Dazzler and Karma back, but not to the exclusion of mainstays like Nightcrawler.  Pixie?  Really? As much as I’d love to be able to support a faerie-like character, I haven’t been able to get into her since Nunzio deFilippis & Christina Weir‘s departure from New Mutants.

Okay, this post is supposed to focus on Art Adams.  Let’s get back on topic.    

i-1_b_l_3Ugh!  Movie version of X-Men, how I revile thee!  Well, okay, maybe I don’t hate Hugh Jackman.  In fact, I really like him (even if he is too tall for Wolverine, but that’s a minor nitpick becuase his performance really rocked)!  And when Art draws the celluloid version of Marvel’s Mutants, I almost forget about how awful the movie versions were.  Art does a great job of making the Matrix-like costumes look cool.  Let’s do our best to try and ignore Storm’s bangs.  It’s not Art’s fault.  The source material was much worse and I’d say he made She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named look much better in this iteration than she was in the movie, as well as making She-Who-Is-Too-Old-Looking-To-Play-Jean-Grey look really cute.  And the mash-up character of Rogue/Kitty/Jubilee looks fun in this image.  However, out of the X-Men, it’s Cyclops and Wolverine who look the best in this piece, IMHO.  I think it’s because when the characters were translated to film, it was these two who best survived the crossover.  It’s interesting to see art about characters who were taken from comics to film and then drawn as comics again.  If the X-Men looked like this in the comics now, would you enjoy reading them?  Except for Storm’s bangs (for which I simply cannot express my disdain enough) I think this iteration is alright.  However, I like my X-Men multi-colored, but I have to admit that the all-black leather jumpsuits really works for X-Force.    

It’s the attention to detail that always wins me over to Art Adams’ work.  His work draws me into it until I’ve examined every line, every dimension he’s created.  I’d love to see a cartoon based on his work.  Somebody get cracking to make that happen!