As you all know, comics are a two person creative endeavor. With the exception of the mythical writer/artist, the pairing of a great writer with a great artist is a very delicate balance that can make or break a story. I’ve lost count of how many storylines I’ve read that had were ether helped or ruined by an artist’s decisions, or even a writer’s. Which brings me to my latest point: up until now, Uncanny X-Force has had terrible fill in artists.
Okay, perhaps “terrible” is too strong of a word. Maybe “not in the right tone of the series” is a better. After a stellar run that saw the likes of Jerome Opena, Esad Ribic, and Rafael Albuquerque, the series took, in my opinion, an artistic nosedive with the “Otherworld” storyline. I have nothing against Greg Tocchini’s art, but it’s not even close to the style I had grown accustomed to on Uncanny X-Force. His overly exaggerated style was too much of an out of left field choice for the book, and to be honest, it ruined the story for me. One can also make a case for the recent Avengers vs. X-Men event, which has had John Romita Jr. on the first six issues, followed by Olivier Copiel, who has now been followed by Adam Kubert. Yes this was planned from the beginning, but the varied styles of Romita Jr. and Copiel is pretty jarring, and will probably look strange when collected.
Even more recently is the art in the most recent re-launching of Captain Marvel. Marvel promised readers and retailers something colorful and heroic with the promo images revealed. But then one opens the book and finds…dark, gritty, and kind of murky. I’m not saying that the cover needs to math the book exactly, but I fell it should at least be somewhat similar to the inside product. Otherwise you run the risk of the reader feeling cheated by what they bought, which is never a good thing.
I’ve heard rumblings that the DC new 52 books will start having fill in issues to help artists keep on schedule with their books. Some titles have already had fill in artists of varying quality (I’m looking at you, Nightwing), while others have been announced already (namely Becky Cloonan on Batman, something I’m wicked excited to read). It’s my hope that DC does a better job than Marvel has, as it’s taken Uncanny X-Force a while now to build itself back up from the “Otherworld” storyline. Comic book readers are finicky enough; let’s not give us any more reasons to complain about how our favorite titles are handled.