Marvel Comics
X-Men #200
By Hervé St-Louis
September 4, 2007 - 22:15

Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Mike Carey
Penciller(s): Humbertos Ramos, Chris Bachalo, Scott Eaton
Inker(s): Carlos Cuevas, Tim Townsend, Andrew Hennessy

This issue is not an anniversary issue per say, although there are a few pin ups and more pages. It’s the first issue of the X-Men: Endangered Species’ crossover. In the main story, Rogue and her X-Men team return to her old home where she was raised by Mystique. Already suffering from the effects of a dangerous virus, she has recently absorbed the minds of eight billion people within her mind. She’s about to crack and several X-Men are called in to help. But before they can even help her, someone in their team betrays them.

I expected this story to have something spectacular, but it didn’t. It was another teen angst-filled X-Men episode where everyone seems to be horny and trying to score. Most of the plot is based on the after effects of previous issues. So each character goes into motions, playing its part, but without  cohesiveness.

Carey’s second story, the first chapter of the Endangered Species crossover is much stronger and compelling. But of course, it’s a story with a clear path where the upcoming challenges can be seen and possible complications expected. I like how it focuses on the Beast, the one character to have played with genetic fire too often but seems to have not learned his lesson yet.

I’ll say it now. I don’t like Ramos’ work. His characters look like they have no back bones and are about to melt. Obviously, he has two stock character designs. One of them is the tough male, with the neanderthal jaw, the other is the skinny Lolita with big breast and big eyes. All of them are only differentiated by their respective hair cuts. One thing is certain, he’s having fun drawing this comic book and that translates easily. His lines are smooth and not forced. There’s no angst in his drawings, although his characters have a tendency of opening their mouth way past normal limits.

As for Bachalo, he probably served as an inspiration for Ramos. His work is tighter, although it has the same spaghetti-like lack of backbones. But Ramos wins one over Bachalo. Although his taste for storytelling is in dramatic staging, it’s easier to read what he draws than Bachalo. Bachalo’s storytelling is a mess. In one scene, Cable goes from walking to crawling on the ground without any transitions. It looks odd and is not good storytelling at all.

Eaton’s work is more solid than either Ramos or Bachalo, but for many readers, will lack the excitedness of the other two artists. To get us to relate to this story, Eaton tries to focus on the Beast’s eyes to convey emotion. The problem, is that Eaton’s only trick is the sideway looking squint. It’s not enough of an expression to carry the burden and quickly becomes redundant.

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