Thursday, September 01, 2005
X-MEN: PHOENIX - LEGACY OF FIRE Marvel Comics, 2003
Boob War Week continues with X-Men: Phoenix – Legacy of Fire, a book that is Boob War in its purest form.
A caveat: in order to do this comic justice, I’ve included some typical panels of art in this post. The art may not be work safe, although technically there is no nudity. Technically. Believe me, with this comic it was difficult to find panels that didn’t have crotch/ass/breast shots. So anyway, be warned! Your boss may wonder why you’re looking at pictures of half-naked cartoon ladies.
X-Men: Phoenix – Legacy of Fire was published under Marvel’s MAX imprint, and was connected to the regular X-Men universe by the thinnest of plot threads. The book references the Shadow King, the Phoenix, and there’s a character called Madelyne, but that’s about it. Were I a cynical person, I would say that they slapped the X-Men title on this book in an effort to raise sales, even though the interior content is only tangentially related to the X-Men books proper. But I’m not cynical – I like to think that the creators and editors had a pure artistic vision of an alternate reality based on the X-Men mythos where chicks run around in thongs. It’s art, man. Art.
Written and illustrated by Ryan Kinnaird with a liberal dose of computer generated effects, X-Men: Phoenix is a pseudo-manga fantasy that is such a pure expression of the Boob War principles that it has an “explicit advisory” notice on the cover.
There is no sex per se in the comic, but everything is highly sexualized. The two female protagonists, Jena and Madelyne, run around in scant outfits that leave little to the imagination, and the art is downright lascivious. Seriously, if there is even the slightest chance for a crotch/ass/breast shot, Kinnaird takes it.
See what I mean? The “camera” placement in this book isn’t accidental – there are more crotch shots in this book than in an up-skirt fetish mag.
I don’t want to get into the story too much because… you know, I don’t know if I actually even read this comic. I mean, I must have… Let’s just say that the art distracts one’s attention from the narrative, which isn’t terribly gripping.
One thing I do know about the story is that there are two hot, half-naked sisters who live in Limbo, there’s a scary skull guy named The Shadow King, that the sisters go on a quest, and that bikini waxing is clearly a priority in their lives. There – you’re now up to speed.
This comic came out during Bill Jemas’ tenure as Marvel president. I would have paid money to listen in on the editorial meeting where they discussed this book. In an oft-repeated convention here at Dave’s Long Box, allow me to speculate what the behind-the-scenes dialogue would have sounded like:
Marvel Big-Shot: “So what’s it about?”
Editor: “Umm, I’m not 100% sure. But it’s got tits. And crotch shots.”
Marvel Big-Shot: “Yeah, but what’s the story?”
Editor: “Well, there are these two chicks. Girls, really. And they don’t wear a lot of clothes. And, um, they have tits.”
Marvel Big-Shot: “That’s it?”
Editor: “They wear little thongs, too.”
Marvel Big-Shot: “I don’t know…”
Editor: “How about we change the names of the girls and call it an X-Men book?”
Marvel Big-Shot: “I LOVE it!”
One of the issues that I have with this book, and with some manga comics in general, is that the sexy female characters look so damn young. Throughout this mini-series we get flashbacks of Jena as a young girl, learning the ways of the Phoenix or something, and she’s wearing outfits that would make strippers blush. I guess I can understand the school girl fetish of Japanese comics – it’s a different culture and all that – but when that same aesthetic gets transplanted into American comics, it seems a little creepy.
Jena has a friend, a perky elf-girl named Nid, who looks like an eleven-year old girl who has had breast augmentation. Here’s a panel at the end of the book where Nid affectionately places her hands on her friend’s naked hips as they walk and talk:
“I think that legacy is over, and a new one is just beginning. Now let’s go take a bath!”
You have to give X-Men: Phoenix some credit for being so unabashedly naughty and titillating, but I question the wisdom/ethics of marketing this particular Boob War comic to X-Men fans instead of just being honest and calling it Thong Quest.