If’n you weren’t spooked by Brokeback Mountain and are still hankerin’ for some great raucous wranglin’ Western-style, pull up a tumbleweed around the fire and open up X-Treme X-Men #4 wherein writer Greg Pak takes you on a doozy of an adventure as though it were yesteryear.
Without their alternate version of Emma Frost, these Exile-like adventurers continue huntin’ down Xaviers in a new dimension modeled after the Old West of the USA. We have Sheriff Cyclops, card shark Sabretooth and “New York Charlie” (our evil Xavier du jour) and even get a taste of 616’s Dazzler as a saloon girl. Miss Kitty will never be the same again.
The heart of the combat here is our heroes – Dazz, Howlett, Kurt and Xavier in a Bottle – killing the evil Xavier that has used his mental powers to “take over town,” imprisoning the father of a Kid Wolverine along the way. With Creed, Colossus, Cyke and others under his spell – including our alternate Wolvie – Dazz, two kids, a farmer and his wife, and Xavier in a Bottle must face down these outlaws or die!
What could’ve been done as a spoof – and let’s be honest, some of it does feel that way – is instead an exercise on how to portray our X-Men in different and entertaining ways as our X-Treme team ventures through the Multiverse. And this is one, carefully designed by Pak to use every TV Western clichÃ© there is, that is most enjoyable. And Xavier, looking just like those early Kirby drawings of the FF’s Puppet Master, makes a great villain for the piece. The only thing he is missing is the twirling mustache!
Paco Diaz does a crisp, clean job of the art here. There is no doubt who is who and what is going on. His characters display emotion although some of his actions scenes do seem a bit frozen. His big splash of Kid Colossus is awesome, however.
I like how this series is going and I hope it continues to capture the imaginations of both Pak and the readers so that we might see what other worlds our changing crew of mutants may venture into.