One might argue this is a series created on nostalgia alone–I was a person who believed this–but when you dig a little deeper an all out fun-fest ensues. We dive into the second volume of Marvel’s X-Men ‘92 revamp to answer the question, is it good?
X-Men ‘92 Vol. 2: Lilapalooza (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
The X-Men are working security at LILAPALOOZA – Westchester’s biggest festival! But just because they’re security, doesn’t mean they stop being TARGETS! Guest-starring: THE FLAMING LIPS, TOADIES AND LILA CHENEY!
Why does this book matter?
Collecting issues #6 to #10, this series ended shortly, but not without a bang. More than just the X-Men show up in this volume and it’s a blast. It also wraps up the age-old aspect of Cable never reconciling with his parents and even integrates the 2099 universe!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s not all nostalgia with some neat ideas thrown in too.
At first glance, I was skeptical this TPB would be entertaining given the hokey opening. The X-Men are hosting a music concert and the Flaming Lips are there! That’s right, a bonafide music cameo! The characters are still reeling from the last arc’s battles with Xavier weakened and Jubilee grounded; things go from bad to worse quite quickly as Deathshead enters the fray looking for a bounty. It’s light, but fun, and yet you’ll keep turning the pages…
Chris Sims and Chad Bowers do a really good job capturing the voices of every character as well as integrating all the crazy elements from the animated cartoon that made it so great. Bishop and Wolverine are well represented, the love affair between Gambit and Rogue is on point, and there are a ton of cameos. Cool ideas run amok too, like mutant Brood and a grand scheme Apocalypse has been hiding that actually isn’t as evil as you might think. All along the way characters pop up you’ll remember from the cartoon, but also familiar story elements pop in too. It’s as if the writing team did created the most nostalgic series possible. Joseph shows up (Magneto’s alter ego) and there’s even a nice moment between Jubilee and Wolverine.
The art is nice in this one too. It’s bright (colors by Matt Milla with Dona Sanchez-Almara) and cartoony in the right sort of way. Alti Firmansyah is the main artist with Cory Hamscher on issue #10. The style is not unlike Eric Henderson’s work on Squirrel Girl in that it captures a quirky nature of the characters. It can also be effectively comical, which I can’t say the cartoon did a lot. The closing chapter is incredibly detailed as it stuffs a ton of characters on the page too. I had no issues with the art, especially given the type of story.
As you can see there’s a lot of characters in this book.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m still hung up on the music concert that opened the book. The opening pages are slower in pace (maybe they didn’t know it was to be cancelled yet?) and seems to linger on the concert premise for too long. This changes rather quick though and it certainly closes with a ton of twists and turns in the last half.
Is It Good?
X-Men ‘92 Vol. 2: Lilapalooza is good and probably better than it deserves to be in many people’s eyes. But not mine! It celebrates the X-Men but also tells its own story in a vibrant series you’ll never want to end. The story in this volume is also well contained and doesn’t require the first volume to enjoy it (though I’m sure it would help!).