Wednesday Comics Review: Uncanny X-Men #539 And Flashpoint: Canterbury Cricket

One is a comic book written by a Brit, set in America. One is written by an American, set in Britain. Let's see how they do.

When I first heard the title Canterbury Cricket, I envisaged, well, the Canterbury cricket team. This is not a comic about them. No cricket even takes place, although there is a football at one point. And the book basically tells the story of this strange creature who is set to appear in the Lois Lane Flashpoint mini-series. It's a backstory, and a chance to use the structury of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to do so.

And he isn't Martian Manhunter. Nor Beast Boy. He's just some young man transformed by God and Saint Swithin into this form to defend Britain against the invading Amazons, in this Flashpoint reality

Well it beats being bitten by a radioactive grasshopper, doesn't it?

And so, in this Flashpoint  he joins a team of resistance consisting of The Demon, Mrs Hyde, Godiva, and Jenny Greenteeth who have a fight, then sit down for a chat, then have another tiny fight. There's not a lot to this book, it has to be said, it's a bit in-and-out. But it does give us a redemptive tale and a wish to know more.

The Britain that Mike Carlin writers here is very much filtered through American eyes, it's gleaming spires of knowledge, it's postcard England with some kind of magical underpinning but then that suits the Canterbury Tales image relatively well, even if the cadence falls flat in comparison. Probably could have done with a little more shagging in trees too. And a little more Kafka.

A couple of decades ago, the X-Women went clothes shopping. It's been a while now, clearly they need something new. So they pop to San Francisco to pick up some duds. As you do. Or as Hope tries to anyway.

Of course, it can never be that easy. There are fights, explosion, and Wolverine gutting people. Business as usual, but with Ibraim Roberson and Jim Charalampdis giving everything colouring and shading that knocks back the black inks, reminiscent of Jay Anacleto(remember him?)

And so we meet the Crimson Commando, who I haven't seen in a comics since, well, around the time they last went shopping. And it gets nasty.

But all this quipping and fighting back and forth, as motivations criss and cross, is a set up for the final scene with Hope and Wolverine, finding exactly what it is that keeps them apart and their attitudes towwards a hypothetical future and what it means for the both of them.

And yes, they could have just said all that at the beginning of this issue. But this is Wolverine. He needs to be be burnt to a crisp before he'll ever open up. That's just his way.

These two can never be Wolverine and Kitty. Or Wolverine and Jubilee. But Wolverine and Hope may be something very different together in months to come. At least there is an understanding.

And the America portrayed by this British writer, Kieron Gillen? One of shops, weapons and hunting in forests. That sounds about right to me.

Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics of London. Check out their Klaus Janson podcast interview here.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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