Comic Book Review: X-Men Days of Future Past TPB

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X-Men Days of Future Past is one of the most renowned X-Men stories ever told. Its part of the critically acclaimed run by writer Chris Clermont and the final story drawn by John Byrne in collaboration with Clermont. For these reasons and because of the movie coming out in about a year, I decided to check this one out and see just what makes it so good and to get an idea as to how will it translate to the big screen. After reading it I hope to god they don’t do a straight up adaptation…

The first thing you should know about this trade is that it collects UNCANNY X-MEN (#138-143 and X-MEN ANNUAL #4. However the Days of Future Past story itself only goes from issue #142-143. The rest of the issues are just side stories that are completely irrelevant to the DOFP story and aren’t really that interesting. One story is the X-Men teaming up with Doctor Strange and going to hell (literally) to save Nightcrawler, while the other one has Nightcrawler and Wolverine teaming up with Alpha Flight to take down Wendigo.

These stories are, as I said before, completely irrelevant to DOFP and you can skip them without missing much. Now the story of DOFP begins (ironically) in the year 2013, following a mutant assassination of Senator Robert Kelly, the American government restarted the Sentinel program in order to purge all mutants and bring order to the world. Their plan back fires when the Sentinels pretty much take over the United States and rule it with an iron fist.

With the exception of Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Storm and Magneto, most of X-Men have slain leaving the few remaining survivors the only ones left to fight the Sentinels. The resistance uses Rachel Summers psychic abilities to send the mind of future Kitty into the body of past Kitty so that she can warn the X-Men of the assassination and hopefully stop it.

While this story has a great premise and a large amount of potential, I ultimately felt the story was disappointing and rather boring. What made me so interested in checking this story out (besides the movie coming up) was the apocalyptic future, I just love stories like that, especially with superheroes and boy was it underwhelming here.

The prospect of a future where Sentinels control the United States and where people are divided into categories (human, human with mutation potential and mutant) was a fascinating idea that we never really see. It’s my main problem with the future scenario, most of its told to us instead of being shown and that’s a big no, no in writing. I didn’t want to hear all these things happen through exposition or through thought bubbles, I wanted to see them and that just didn’t happen.

Another major problem I had was the actual dialogue between characters, it felt so fake and cheesy I was either rolling my eyes, cringing or just bored out my skull reading it. There is not a single damn point in this whole story where the characters feel like real people and are having a real conversation. The only character with any personality was Wolverine and even he felt out of character a lot of the time.

Also this comic book has something I call Naruto syndrome. You can easily spot the Naruto syndrome when something happens on screen or on panel, you can clearly see what’s going on and the character has a thought bubble or inner monologue where he/she explains what just happened and this fucking pisses me off to no end.

During the fight with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Colossus gets grabbed by a giant hand made out of fire, we can clearly see this and we understand what’s going on, but then Peter has a thought bubble where he says… Peter: Ugh, I am being grabbed by a giant hand made out of fire!!! Good god do I hate it when writers do this and after suffering years of it through Naruto I have no patience for it anymore.

Another big problem is the pace at which this story unfolds, its way too damn fast. Now this might have been avoided if Clermont didn’t spend half the first issue showing the X-Men screw around in the Danger Room, but everything just goes by way too fast. This needed to be at least 2 or 3 issues longer in order to be properly fleshed out.

Then we get to the art but honestly im probably the last person who should judge this category for older comics because im not a fan of how comics were drawn back in the Gold, Silver and some of the Bronze Age stuff. It’s better here than I thought it was going to be but that’s not saying much.

There are so many panels where characters just look bizarre, especially in the faces as Byrne does not know how to draw faces at all. Young Kitty and Mystique in particular just looked laughably bad in certain panels. But I will say the action is actually drawn very well, there’s a lot of stuff going in during the fights. Storms powers looked pretty good and overall the art succeeded in the action department fairly well.

Now I know im going to get a lot of crap for the score im about to give but honestly I don’t see why this story is heralded as one of the best. I mean sure it marks the first time the X-men dealt with time travel which later became a staple of theirs, but the story was cliché and rushed, the characters felt more like archetypes rather than real people and Byrnes drawings were laughably bad and distracting at times.


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