There’s always times when inspiration fails me and I can usually shake it off, by taking a time out, but last week there wasn’t chance and I wrote X-Men Prime #3, which has been derided quite badly. Which is fair, I won’t make any bones about it. It was not a good issue, it didn’t have the magic that’s normally associated with me.
The characterisations weren’t as fluid as I wanted, the situation certainly not what I would have gone from and there was no spark to the issues. Simply put, I didn’t give a damn whether the Juggernaut trashed Washington, or how I got rid of the old Alpha team, and that’s not the attitude you need to have when writing. If you don’t care, it shows and it showed. I didn’t have the feel and I didn’t have time to get the feel, because I’m working to a deadline. I make certain promises to myself as a writer and as EiC and sometime the goals don’t match. This was one of those times.
X-Men Prime was not my finest hour and I know that and it has to be better, and I had hoped that people would trust me to make it happen. I’m not better than the other writers who’ve gone before, but I’ve a passion for this. X-Men is a dream assignment, because I’m still a comic geek at heart. The modern version of the X-Men, the one currently done is something that made me stop buying the titles, and now I’ve to show how things could be better, but in the M2K sense, with the continuity we have. I’ve written for X–Men Omega, now I’m writing X-Men Prime. Perhaps I’m taking advantage of my position as EiC, but I don’t think so. Circumstances have led me here.
However, there have also been some rather harsh assessments as well, and while I was prepared for a bad review I wasn’t really ready for some of the comments. I’ve had one of those weeks where it was of a lesser concern than other matters, but I’ve looked back at what’s been said and I’m a little dismayed at the reaction.
All X-Men Prime so far has been a pile of forced plot devices and lame excuses.
…there's no tangible effort here in trying to make his ideas come off as logical and well thought.
…it's like reading a Chuck Austen ish of UXM
It just leaves me (and I'm guessing many other readers) questioning the technique used in a bad way as it comes off a little sloppy and lazy.
David is not the guy for this title
These are comments from the public message board, and given the two reviewers involved, you have to wonder if they’ve swapped personalities. There’s also been some comments offlist as well, but you get the idea. And Chuck Austen remark was below the belt, I mean that was just spiteful.
In the last month I have written ten issues for M2K. More than that of those ten, nine have been for different series and four of those are not titles associated with me. I have my name on a great many series at M2K, one issue things for sure, but there’s still a lot of occurrences of my name. Of all of them, none has received the comments this one has. The magic didn’t work this time and how many times has the writing let me down before? One time out of how many? It happens, and I know I’ve got to do better. I know it will be. I have higher standards for myself than any of the other writing staff because I’m the EiC and I lead from the front.
The issue was written to get it out of the way, sledgehammer tactics certainly, and I know it wasn’t one of my best. It’s still better than the Gambit issue at Marvel X... I still can’t believe I wrote that. There were the same kind of thoughts then as well. Ideas only work if you care, and if you don’t then that’s that.
There are trademarks to what I do, tells that let you know it’s one of my titles. Continuity, introflection, surprises. I’ve been in discussion with writers offlist to see what can be done with some characters, and there are ideas. Three, four issues in, if people are condemning me then there’s a problem. From the basis of one issue, you have no way of telling. Is X-Men Prime a bad series? No, it’s just not been done right yet. The book is cursed I tell you, but I am not going to let it get me. It’s not going to happen on my watch as writer or as EiC.
The next issue of X-Men Prime has had me doing things I’ve not done for a while – research. Working on the ideas I do have, developing what’s going to happen in my head and making sure that what I want to do fits with what we have going on at the site. I am not going to let the comments get me down, and I’m not letting them put me off either.
Or to quote Al Jolson - ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’.