Xanadu’s X-Men Squadron

Don’t worry if that title doesn’t make sense. It will.

Madame Xanadu is a classic DC Comics character who has come back in to a sort of prominence in the last few years. She’s a powerful, blind sorceress, and now she has a new limited series written by Matt Wagner (creator of Mage and Grendel) and pencilled by the creator of the manga, Fool’s Gold, Amy Reeder Hadley. Hadley is a newcomer to mainstream comics like this, but her work as seen in this 6 page preview is absolutely luscious. She has that clean, wispy style reminiscent of Fables cover artists James Jean. The story is tailored towards mature readers and with the subject matter covering tarot reading and the like, it’s obviously not going to be for everyone. But that has always been DC’s strength over Marvel – their diversity, as seen in their Vertigo line of books that are an intriguing haven to readers who prefer to steer clear of all those crazy superheroes.

It’s no surprise that Wolverine is the most popular X-Man. He’s tough, has a great costume, mysterious past and a bad attitude. The short Canadian gets his own film soon, with the spinoff currently shooting with Hugh Jackman as the hairy anti-hero. Now it’s time for him to get animated. I fondly recall the X-Men’s cartoon series in the early 90s, trying to watch as much as I could before I had to leave for school, and a surprising number of people first became aware of Marvel’s mutant team through it, before the first film adaptation in 2000. The ‘toon was surprisingly faithful to the comics, often using direct plots from the most well loved stories, it was chock full of guest stars and had a catchy theme tune. The new series, entitled Wolverine and the X-Men won’t air until next year, but those hard core fans (such as myself!) who are going to the San Diego Comic-Con next month will see the three part premiere. For now, the new trailer will have to suffice. It looks action packed and has the usual faves such as Rogue, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Iceman and even White Queen. With Professor X out of the picture, it’s up to Wolvie to lead the way. Go Wolvie!

And finally, the squadron part of the title. Writer/artist Howard Chaykin discusses the Squadron Supreme, Ultimate Nick Fury (that guy in the Iron Man film cameo!) and other stuff on Marvel’s latest podcast. It’s an interesting chat and at least now I know what Chaykin sounds like before I (hopefully) get to meet him this weekend at the Supanova convention in Perth.

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