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Sunday, August 24, 2008 

More derivative writing at Marvel, in Uncanny X-Men 501

It's the return of the Hellfire Club, with just a minor change in the name of the gang featured in the plot here:
The whole story is not helped by the fact that the new villain(s) – the Hellfire Cult – are a stereotypical, faceless crowd without any real sense of motivation behind them. Why are these people joining this cult? What do they really hope to gain? Who are these people? It’s easy – too easy – to just create a villainous hate group and push the right buttons to get the audience to hate them. It’s far more interesting and a lot harder to dig into the motivations behind the hate and to look at the pathways to hate… and that is what Fraction and Brubaker have failed to do here. Even the new (apparent) leader of the Hellfire Cult comes across as a stock villain with an S & M kink. Are we supposed to be shocked that Fraction and Brubaker took the original Hellfire Club characters created by Chris Claremont and took them to the next level? Nothing feels new here and certainly nothing feels innovative.
Several years ago, Joe Casey wrote a rehash of another old story in UXM, namely, the Morlocks, and that was one of the dumbest things I ever saw (I didn't even bother to read the last issue of the arc), set in London and featuring a one-note villain called Mr. Clean, whom the X-Men mired in that dismal ripoff should've been able to beat too easily, but didn't because of the contrived situations the writer was desperately resorting to. Now, again, they put out another story that just rehashes a past story, though I doubt they took them up a level. More likely that they took them down.

Marvel seems to have become so bankrupt in storytelling lately (they even seem to be rehashing Kraven's Last Hunt in Spider-Man), that all they can think of doing is ripping off their own material again and again, and not very interestingly at that.

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