Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I think all of the Marvel anime stuff is pretty hot. Part of Marvel’s popularity is due to how WELL their characters and ideas just sort of seem to ‘fit’ into genres like that. Marvel anime doesn’t feel forced or ridiculous- it feels like it could have BEEN a real anime show that someone in Japan cooked up, entirely on their own.

Of course, the trick is all to find the right parts of the comic to emphasize for whatever it is you need. Whether it’s a video game or a movie adaptation or whatever. It looks like they’ve made some right calls with X-Men. Although I admit, it wasn’t what I expected at first.

I really appreciate how much of the current X-Men series has been heavily influenced by the hand of Grant Morrison writing New X-Men. That series really set the tone for all things X-Men related these last ten years.

It breaks my heart that Chris Claremont’s return to the book, entitled X-Treme X-Men, just didn’t get the amount of acclaim that I think it really deserved. I think X-Treme has a lot of the stuff that made that comic great and is hotly under-rated.

Still, Morrison’s run put some stuff on the ‘map’ for X-Men that isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Morrison’s got a knack for granting his characters human-ness (granted, often in the most painful and sometimes seeringly accurate of ways) and I think his play by play on how easily intellectual ideas get mangled by human desire, immaturity and consumer driven pop-culture is pretty brilliant.

For me, there’s nothing more human than when that kid shows up in class wearing a T-shirt that says ‘Magneto Was Right’. It’s destructive and shortsighted, but it’s also exactly what any pent up, angry teenager would do. As far as villains go, the X-Men have never really wanted for armies to go up against. That is, the kind of villains that the X-Men fought they would just wade into, taking them on en masse.

Sentinels, Cameron Hodge’s ‘The Right’ (with their big, creepy, smiley face battle armor) and the alien Brood all come to mind. But I gotta say Morrison’s U-Men are a pretty disturbing addition. And I mean, in all honesty, the U-Men are pathetic. No match for the X-Men in a toe to toe fight.

But it’s just the IDEA that’s so disturbing. Some bunch of paramilitary clowns running around trying to graft mutant organs onto/into their body…it’s so sick. It’s also something that someone, somewhere, inevitably WOULD try to do if mutants really existed.

NOW X-Men anime puts our favorite muties toe to toe with the U-Men. But I guess this is one of those cool ‘it’s a little different’ moments. U-Men done anime style are pretty frickin’ scary!

While the U-Men in new X-Men are sort of quasi-cautionary tale of how easily people let themselves sign up with any such ideology for completely selfish and deluded reasons, strange Frankenstein like experiments and man made monsters are not outside of the realm of numerous anime shows. Imagine freaky, part man, part battle-armor-designed-to-harness-mutant-organ monstrosities taking shots at the X-Men.

Morrison’s U-Men are just a glimpse of part of a massive comedy of errors that the human race perpetrates every day. The anime U-Men are like the kind of sick, overpowering creatures you’d expect to see the heroes of your anime duke it out with. Interesting to see it from a different angle though, right?