There are comics which are worth incredible sums of money, but so many of the most interesting, tragic, or just downright weird can be found for a simple dollar or less in a store's "dollar bin". There, comics that never gained much popularity can be found alongside those that sold so much as for a copy to be worthless. "Tales From the Dollar Bin" aims to explore these comics, be they a single issue or an entire run of a series. From the great to the miserable, some of the best treasures and worst nightmares can be found in those infamous boxes. Let's have a "tale" now...
The Forgotten (At the Time) X-Men Comic
A lot of people think of the run as being a bit too weird, unclear in its focus, and otherwise struggling in the shadow of "New X-Men", with there being folk out there who consider it some of Casey's worst work ever. Hell, even Casey admits things never really "clicked". The thing is though, I liked the run, and it finally has been fully collected instead of being in a few trades here and there--and I think it does read nicely as a cohesive whole despite its flaws. It maybe was confused, overly-quirky, and otherwise kind of a train-wreck, but I really enjoyed Casey's time on the series. I'm not going to talk about all of that though, I'm going to focus on this one debut issue that Casey did and what it had to say about the X-men, and comics in general.
Giving Them What They Want
A young mutant--only ever referred to as "Warp"--decides for his 18th birthday he is going to be like those "Mutant terrorists" the media always talks about, and go to a military base and wreak havoc. He starts destroying everything, and seemingly killing people with his ability to warp them away to some other place--apparently within his own psyche (its never made completely clear how it all works). At one point he warps Logan/Wolverine and Jean into this place of his subconscious, and when in the real world he is finally stopped, in the surreal one it looks like all is about to end for them. Therefore, they kiss...immediately acting like it never happened once they awake in the real world suddenly, what with Jean being married to Cyclops at the time.
The irony comes in that this kid wanted to be the next big mutant-monster, the next "Magneto" but instead just contributed a little bit to giving mutants a bad name, and in the process of trying to be a counter-culture revolutionary caused some of the most cliche things to occur, namely fighting, explosions, and a bit of romance.
"Underrated" is the Best Word
There is much criticism of Joe Casey's run on "Uncanny X-Men". I like it, even though many don't, and this issue with its mixture of bombast and self-hatred seething below the surface makes for the kind of comic-book I really enjoy. The creator himself may think he didn't do that great a job on this series, but I feel this issue and the others are under-appreciated. Clearly his stuff isn't as popular as Morrison's run, however, because I did find this in the dollar-bin.
This isn't a bad comic. It just came out at an inopportune time and expressed a lot of potential it was in the end not capable of living up to. "Uncanny X-Men" #394 is the kind of thing many people don't like, but I and some others out there quite enjoyed, resulting in a comic that is mostly forgotten in the shadow of its big-brother's success, but still special and unique. It is truly a good comic, and a good run, making it in the end somewhat tragic how due to being an overlooked diamond-in-the-rough it would end up being another...tale from the dollar bin!