I’ve no doubt most Marvel writers will cite this as a touchstone, but it’s with good reason: the issues of this run not only redefined the X-Men franchise, but reframed what you could do with “mutant” comics and the notion of outsiders, (i.e. non-humans), posing as humanity’s salvation. (Since we don’t seem to be too interested in saving ourselves.)
The “silent” sequences in #19 are anything but—Aja’s infographic sign-treatment of Clint’s temporary deafness SCREAMS off the page. This is the sort of screaming comics should be doing: embracing para-lifestyles and alternative modes of communication as mainstream storytelling. It sounds crazy, but why not, one day, an issue in Braille? Issues for various learning styles? Who knows? The possibilities are endless.
From what I can tell, this issue and its subsequent maxi-run created a new benchmark for comics scribes: a reimagining of a Marvel stalwart that combines high-sensibility, compassionate storytelling with all the beloved wham-bam hallmarks of classic super hero comics.
A love letter to the infinite possibilities of comics; Franklin’s “pocket universe” is a beautiful metaphor for the idea in its ultimate infancy—and a lovely frame for the end of a landmark Marvel run by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta.
I’m biased because Frank is one of my best friends, but this way-too-short run featured all the things I’ve come to love about the Barbiere brand: it’s zany, secretly smart, and unapologetic in its goofiness. Five stars for Frank, Five stars for Brent, and Ten stars for Jasper Sitwell.