A Charming, yet Somewhat Excessive Sequel
X-Men #8 continues the search of the "lizard problem," introduced in the last issue, by Storm's detective team (which includes Wolverine, Spiderman, Gambit, and Emma Frost). It is executed in the classic style of X-Men comics, which I really appreciate--that is, the X-Men taking the fight to the enemy, instead of the other way around, and actually serving to protect humans. Within the last few years, the X-Men have been so focused on survival that we do not get many stories like this one, and for that, I am thankful. The issue itself accomplishes its goals while saying something about our society. While not wholly remarkable, this issue certainly does have its charm and moments of humor. On the other hand, I found it excessive in some cases, which will be discussed below.
What was good?
I am still really enjoying this "team" of current mutants (plus Spidey). It is nice to see Storm fully in-charge, even in the presence of Emma Frost. Additionally, I think Gischler writes Gambit very well, as his dialogue is humorous and undeniably "Remy." For a specific example that made me laugh out loud, look to the page where Gambit is talking about his "nannan" killing water moccasins with a rusty spade. What is even better is Spiderman's response: "I love how folksy he is." As far as the storyline goes, I have already mentioned that I think the "not a matter of survival" thing is effective and provides a good counterpoint to the other X-titles, especially Uncanny under Fraction.
What was bad?
I am still not a big fan of the artwork, but I will not "beat a dead horse" on this point. A bigger problem is this issue's excessiveness at some points, such as the extremely cliche "nerd" scene complete with World of Warcraft on the monitor and everything (with Marvel video game ads on the wall for an added touch). The thing that bothers me about this is how cheesy it is and how wholly ridiculous some of the dialogue is, for example, the "eat hot +10 lawful-good holy relic dagger action" bit. Not to wholly unmask my geeky self here, but even us geeks do not take things like that seriously--it is a joke to us too, so you are not really making fun of anyone.
What was ugly?
The stereotypes in this issue simply do not work well and come off even as a little insulting. Outcast kids are depicted as loner video-game nerds, pimply weirdos, braces-wearing music nerds, or as chubby kids getting their glasses smashed by bullies. Could not we have come up with something more original?
What's the verdict?
3/5. I honestly think that Gischler should have simply stuck to the lizard plan and not included the social outcast part of this arc. It does not seem super practical, and not enough explanation is given for why this villain is doing this. Barring that, I would say the good still outweighs the bad on this one due to the characters and well characterized dialogue (for the most part).