Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Ken Recommends: Earth-X

When it comes down to the world of Graphic Novels and Sequential Art it can be incredibly difficult to siphon the mediocre from the gold, every once in a while a narrative comes along that sets the standard to either great visuals and an exciting story (the equivalent to a Hollywood Blockbuster), or a new timeless classics that are intelligent and thought provoking as well (Think films like Citizen Kane). With the comics industry try to out do each other in terms of action packed "Tie-in" story lines to make money (often than not this is where your Blockbusters come in), whilst these continue less frequently stand-alone series are create to give new spins on the characters readers are familiar with.

I present to you the 1999 Marvel Comics epic Earth-X, the story focuses on several main characters from the Marvel Universe, but through it all it uses an unlikely character to bring it all together. It is based around 20 years or so into the future (of the ever tine standing still nature of comics) and all of the Human species has been transformed into mutants due to a release of Terrigen Mist across the world. Within this time line the watcher known as Uatu has gone blind, unable to watch he recruits Aaron Stack (The Machine Man) to become his eyes so that he may carry on documenting the activities of the planet Earth, but why does Uatu watch? On Earth it seems like Steve Rogers, an exhausted Capatin America is struggling with trying up hold what he once represented as not only the country of America is changing but the rest of the world. With the changing of Earth where no-one needs saving a new "evil" is on the rise in the form of The Skull who will truly test the lengths that Earth's Heroes are willing to go to to preserve freedom and ultimately life itself when a hidden threat makes itself present.

The book features many future renditions of classic and beloved characters who have changed in radical ways through the events of the last 20 years from the Marvel Universe, such as The X-Men, The Hulk, Tony Stark, Norman Osborn, Peter Parker, Reed Richards and many other stable characters so that readers unfamilar with the mythology don't need to fret, as this is a stand alone story it's as good as any novel creating an exciting story that is extremly hard to put down once it's picked up, with many characters you can get attached to you'll not want to put this put down until you've read the entire epic. The artwork by John Paul Leon is superb and fits the tone of the story perfectly (and that tone is not a light one) with character designs and covers that look like film posters by comics super star Alex Ross. The writing by Jim Krueger fits very well into the voice of each indiviual characters and the story is an escalating rollarcoaster that is both fun to read and haunting to experience to give a narrative one won't forget!

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