Monday, May 24, 2010

X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back!

I often wonder how series like this slip through the cracks; this four-issue miniseries stars a third-tier X-character who debuted in 2004, has nothing to do with any major storylines, and tells a surreal and off-kilter story that doesn't conform to typical superhero expectations. Then again, those last two also described writer Kathryn Immonen's last Marvel miniseries, Patsy Walker: Hellcat, which I thoroughly enjoyed despite its being somewhat incomprehensible. Pixie Strikes Back definitely has that same baffling but amusing sensibility, and similarly uses reality-warping characters to tell a dreamlike story shot through with meta-humor.

I can't say that I now care enough about Pixie to follow her further adventures (unless Immonen writes them), and the series falters a little when depicting her teenage female teammates, who are dragged along with her into a funhouse version of high school conjured up by a demonic adversary. I kept having to flip back to Immonen's sarcastic little intros to tell Armor from Mercury from X-23, and Sara Pichelli's generally strong art didn't help to distinguish them. Other than that, though, Immonen does a good job of writing the older, established X-Men, giving them a sort of mysterious air to show how untouchable they might seem to the younger characters.

As for the way Immonen fills in Pixie's backstory, I haven't read enough about the character elsewhere to say if it makes sense to me. Having her mother reveal secrets about her past gives the story some weight, but I didn't feel like it needed that significance. Immonen's sense of humor and flair for the absurd, combined with Pichelli's dynamic, expressive art, is what made the book entertaining and worth reading for me, in the same as in Hellcat. Pixie no doubt will go on to participate in some giant X-Men crossover that I won't care about, but I'll definitely be looking for what Immonen does next.

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