Sunday, November 16, 2008
The X-Men have always had a soft spot in my heart. If it weren't for the X-books, I probably wouldn't be the comic reader that I am today. In fact, Uncanny X-Men #273 was the first comic book I remember reading when I was 8 years old. From that point on, I was obsessed with the X-Men and the rest of the Marvel characters as well. Even when I stopped reading comics for some time, it was Astonishing X-Men #1 that pulled me back in. (Talk to any comic reader, and more often than not, they will have a similar diaspora story for you.)
Today, the X-books are a little different, but I am still reading and enjoying them. Much to my surprise though, there was a mutant-filled limited series that I had never heard of until I found one of the issues in a quarter box years ago. That series was Morlocks. I bought issue number two a long time ago and it had been sitting gathering dust for some time since I had the hardest time trying to find the rest of the series until recently. As soon as I had the series in its entirety, I pounced on the issues and read them all in about an hour. They were so good that I couldn't put them down until I found out how it ended.
Morlocks came out during the period I mentioned before when I left comics. Actually, I am pretty lucky that I even found out about it at all. Small miniseries like Morlocks usually get lost in the shuffle and are rarely heard from again. The best evidence of this is the fact that Morlocks was written by a big name in the comics world, yet, no one has heard of the series or remembers it. You might be surprised to know that the series was written by none other than Geoff Johns. Yes, that Geoff Johns, DC Comics golden boy and current writer of Green Lantern and Justice Society of America. In Morlocks, Johns creates a powerful story steeped in X-Men lore. For those who don't know, the Morlocks were introduced in X-Men books years ago as a group of mutants who couldn't pass for human so they fled and live together in the New York City sewers. In the series, we follow a new group of underground-dwelling mutants hiding from the mutant hunting Sentinels all while trying to complete a pact they have made to each other to fulfill one wish each member has. The characters have real heart. In the course of four issues, you get to know them and wish that you could continue with them on their journey. It is too bad that only one of the characters, Litterbug, has ever made another appearance.
I wouldn't be doing the book any justice if I didn't mention the art. Shawn Martinbrough's art is new to me and I love his art style. He reminds me of Michael Avon Oeming's art on Powers but with a little more detail. I have always been a fan of that type of minimalist style and I think that Martinbrough uses it perfectly in Morlocks.
I did have two small problems while I was reading Morlocks though. The series did border on two of my pet peeves. You would not believe how excited I was to see the first page of the first issue and read the word "Chicago" right there. Having your hometown as the setting is always a special treat. It sucks when there is nothing in the book that makes it specific to the city it is set in though. Aside from the first word of the book setting it in Chicago, there was nothing that made this city setting different than anywhere. Come on people! How many New York landmarks do I have to read about all the time? Can't Chicago get some real love for a change? Geez, even Milwaukee has the Great Lakes Avengers. The Windy City needs some real representation in comics. The other thing that irked me a bit was that the lettering was not proofread at all. there were multiple times where the word bubbles were coming from the wrong people. I know it is not a big deal, but one readthrough after the letterer is done could remedy that completely.