Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pixies and Demons: Directors Cut

Pixies and Demons and Greg Land, oh my!

Note: If you're wondering what just happened to the title card... I was just going leave it as a simple drawing... and then I published it and realized "that looks terrible" . So I went back and fixed it. Lovely how I realized this AFTER I published this, huh? Oh well. On to the review!


Lets talk about Marvel shall we? I don’t think I’ve been giving them much love lately, which is strange, since I read about the same amount of Marvel as I do DC. And yes, I have heard about the Marvel Now stuff. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about today.

Nope, instead, I feel like looking at something I love: One-Shots.

With all the Events, Brand New Miniseries and SPECTACULAR ALL NEW SERIES OF AWESOMENESS!---

---It’s nice just to have simple short tale.

So today I’m going to look a a short little tale about one of my favourite new X-men: Pixie! 

Pixies and Demons was a short tale put on Free Comic Book Day, by Mike Carey and .... an artist that shall remain nameless *cough*. At the back of the book there is also a bonus section, with the original script for the book and a few extra covers that didn’t make it. I’m... a complete sucker for this stuff XD

Pixie is a mutant with... What?

C’mon guys! Don’t make me talk about him! I want to enjoy this book! This is one of my favourite one-shots, about one of my favourite characters! LET ME LEAVE THE NOSTALGIA GOGGLES ON!

...Sigh. Fine.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you: Greg Land.

Her hips! Her shoulders! I--Aaaargh!

Greg Land, the guy who, on a scale of bad artists, in my opinion, is in fact worse then Frank Miller and Liefeld. Sure, I’ll knock them both for sexist art, but those two actually have a STYLE. Both have unique styles (arguebly not good styles) and both have done something to influence the industry(not always in good ways). What is Greg Land recognized for?

1 recycling the same faces and poses over and over again

2 Making all of his woman look not only the same, but look like they are in constant states of arousal, porn-face and pornographic poses (and purposely changing anatomy to make them look “sexier”)

3 Traces/ uses photos that don’t belong to him. Including work belongs to other artists. Now, I’m less inclined to believe the tracing rumours for my own reasons. But wow, the rip-offs. The rip-offs! See here 'cause I’m not smart enough to figure out flash images.

4 And generally having most of his art come off as flat, static and boring.

And it really sucks because sometimes, Land is actually a competent artist.

And then he pulls stunts like this!

Apparently the x-women get aroused when they are knocked out.
Also, Pixie, hands don't work that way.

But y’know what? NO!

You will Not ruin this for me Land! The review will GO ON! I don’t care about your terrible artwork! Nope! I’m Not going to make fun of it at all!

Not. At. All...

Let’s get this Review started!

Pixies and Demons, if you couldn’t tell by my dramatic...ness, is a good example of how a well written comic can be ruined by absolutely TERRIBLE art. And that’s the true joy to this story: The writing! But to understand it I’m going to have to do a little, uh, exposition dropping.

Pixie, mutant with pixie features such as bug eyes and fairy wings and the ability to spray “Pixie Dust”, causing hallucinogenic visions to whoever breathed it in. (AKA, instead of pixie, they was bunnies, rainbows and unicorns. Not kidding.). She was very naive, cutesy and innocent to the point you thought she was breathing in her own pixie-dust every waking hour. I was introduced to her in a series called New X-men Childhood’s End. It took place after the event M-Day, and focused on the newer students of the Xavier Institue. And I recommend to EVERYBODY.

But none of the cast of Childhood's End came out of the book unscaved, Pixie being among the top 5.

During a trip to hell (don’t ask), several of the X-men were captured by the demon: Belasco. On the other side of hell, Pixie and several other students, were captured by Magik, a demon version of Illyana, Colossus’ little sister, (Just go with it). Anyway, in order to save the other x-men from Belasco, Magik made a deal (forced, actually) with Pixie to turn Pixie’s innocent soul into a Soul Sword, a weapon that could cut pure evil. Luckily, one of the other students intervened, causing only a piece of Pixie’s soul to be weaponized. But another piece was stolen by Illyana.

Pixie was now a bit stronger now, including learning a teleportation spell from Magik, and still innocent at her core, but the piece of soul ripped from her had left “a sliver of darkness” insider her soul.

Sometime after that, the institute was destroyed, and the school relocated to San Francisco. The book I’m looking today takes place between the relocation.

Phew. Good thing this is a one shot with all this backstory.

On to the book!

Anyway, the story takes place between the destruction of the Xavier Institute and the mutants moving to San Fransico. After the school was closed, Pixie moved back to her home in Wales.

The story begins the teacher asking students to come up to read their report on what they did over the summer, but constantly has to skip over students who are absent. Pixie is outside, cutting class to phone the X-men. Or try to anyway. She leaves a message that people have been disappearing in her town and she’s getting worried. The teacher interrupts her so she can give her report.

Pixie’s report is a censored version of her adventures with the X-men. No one in town knows she’s a mutant, y’know, dispute her having completely black eyes and no visible pupils.

It acts as a recap to new comers. She talks about how much fun she had in america, how there was an accident at the school and it was closed. Meanwhile,we actually see the X-men, the funerals that took place and the school in complete ruins. Oh, and and image of Pixie playing baseball in... I have no idea what that’s suppose to be. It also appears her spine has been stretched out.

Oh. And for the record:

Note to new artists: Referencing art does not mean
copying an image that doesn't belong to you.

Ya. Sigh.

Oh, what? You couldn't tell I was being sarcastic?

Later on, Pixie talks to friends and family around town, asking about the missing people. No one seems to have noticed, shoving it off as people eloping, moving around from town. Pixie even brings a list of all the missing persons to a bobby, who doesn’t seem to believe her. The bobby mentions that that Pixie’s dad died in the mines nearby, and that’s why her thoughts are probably so “dark”.

Cut to a park some time later, and we see the real culprit behind the disappearances:

PUMKIN HEAD! *dramatic music*

Wait, what?

Huh. Actually, this isn’t a crack at Land. Just a really funny coincidence.

Well, whatever they are, the two monsters are eyeing two children at the park, talking about taking them back home as food. Pixie rushes in at that moment, taking off her Jacket, revealing her wings. She grabs the children and flies away from the monsters, and tells the children to run to their parents, who... haven’t noticed the two monsters for some reason.

Wait, how did Pixie’s wings always fit under a tiny jacket? Eh, Whatever. X-men logic.

The monsters surround Pixie and we get one of my favourite scenes in the book, just because of how bad ass Pixie is here.

Say it Tegan. Say it like it's true: YOU SUCK, LAND!

With one distracted, Pixie flies off, leading the other monster away. People gawk at the scene, only noticing Pixie.

Oh, these british bumpkins! They’re so adorably stupid! *please note that Tegan’s family is British and is being completely sarcastic*

Pixie leads the monster into the closed museum. The monster says Pixie is trapped inside with him. Pixie locks the door behind them and admits that was the whole point, as she pulls out her soul dagger.

And we probably my favourite scene in the whole book.

Okay, I’ll admit. This is actually a good scene. Great pacing, and panel work, only showing us just barely what’s going on in the no doubt gruesome scene. And the writing really makes you really feel for her, especially when you know the whole story.

Pixie was more then just super perky. She was the innocent one of the New X-men. A teenager who was still a child at heart. But the creation of the soul dagger changed that. It filled her heart will literal darkness, which came out every once in a while, when darker thoughts or actions caused it too take over. But at heart, Pixie still has that innocence. She knows the difference from right and wrong, and uses her darkness to her advantage, as we’ll see later. It’s only when she’s using the soul dagger that she starts to loose control. Pixie is a great example of a character given a “darker edge”. She’s still the same person at heart, but she has a tragedy in her life she must deal with. And as we soon find out, this isn’t the first time she’s had to deal with tragedy.

Pixie now realizes the X-men probably aren’t coming. So it’s up to her to do something about the monsters. She observes them from a distance, noticing that she is the only one who can see them. They’re gathering “food” to feed... something. Something big.

Suddenly, Pixie is captured by a group of Pumkinheads, who want to bring her back for food. They laugh at her soul dagger and...



You have got to be kidding me?! After I just finished complementing that scene, I find out that the image was one of Land’s poses that he recycles?! GAH!

Grr...Moving on...They are stopped when the X-men finally arrive!

The battle commences, and once again, a pretty cool scene and...

from another comic of Lands


Not even going to touch this one.

After a short battle, the x-men explain that these are N’Garai demons, who are probably trying to resurrect their dead leader, Kierrok. To do this, they would need a very large space to enact the ritual. Pixie tells them they are hiding in the mine. Her darkness draws her to other dark things and she has a good idea where in the mine they are squatting.

As they enter, Pixie begins to have flashbacks of her father, who had died in the mines with several other miners. Emma Frost asks Pixie is she wants her to block Pixie;’s fear, but she declines, saying that there's important memories attached to it.

As they enter the elevator, we get flashbacks of Pixie’s father entering the same elevator.

Once at the bottom, the x-men are shocked to see that Kierrok is almost reborn, sitting half through a large portal in the floor. The x-men attack, aiming to destroy the portal.

Above them Pixie remembers how her father died. The mine collapsed because the boards holding it up were placed too far apart. 

Oh, and another recycled image:

*grits her teeth to stay calm*

Pixie flies right up to Kierrok and starts insulting him. Angered, Kierrok lunges at Pixie, hitting the walls of the mine instead, and brings the mine down on himself.

And in another incredibly bad ass image, Pixie flies out the way and teleports herself and all the x-men out of the mines!

The x-men are all surprised to be outside, Nightcrawler feeling especially old with Pixie’s teleportation powers being more powerful then his.

Cyclops congratulates Pixie, and mentions her absence. Pixie is confused, until Cyclops says that the school has been back open and Pixie is still on the student list.

As the others joke about Pixie’s punishment for “skipping”, Pixie is overjoyed.

The comic ends with the image from the cover: Pixie flying over the San Fransico bridge, declaring that she is an x-man. And she’s going to fly. 

And oh look. There’s the bridge Land constanly recycles.

In the background. Behind the other recycled images


Overall, a good comic. My feelings are bittersweet only due to the art and that was only when I finally knew who Greg Land is. And while Land is definitely not a well loved artist in my books, (understatement of the year) I will begrudgingly admit that it’s not too bad here. I'm sure that those that pay way more attention to Land's art will be able to find even more recycled images in here... but I have seen much worse examples of his work.


But where the story really shines is in the writing. Carey definitely understands Pixie’s character and the trials she’s had to face, while still writing her as a bubbly cutesy girl with a smart brain in her noggin’. And I enjoyed reading his script from the comic.

It’s a fun comic. With so many comics connected to complex continuity, long, drawn out events and grand adventures that overtake the entire universe... it’s nice to just read a simple one shot once in a while. There are a few parts I can get a few jokes out of, but nothing that actually bothers me.

So, what’s next?

Well...ironically, the comic I was going to review next had the exact opposite of Pixies and Demons. I was planning on reviewing X-Infernus, a mini series that came out right after Pixies and Demons
 which I originally remember as being terrible. 

my favorite cover from the series!

But after reading it again, it’s not nearly as bad as I remember. Really, the largest issue with the mini series was it suppose to bring Magik and the New Mutants back together... only to have the whole story be about Magik and Pixie. The New Mutants only show up on the second last page of the last book and go “hey, do you want to team up again?” “Sure, why not?”.

 Everything else is nitpicking, with faulty magic logic, Young Bloods disease and really not accomplishing that much.

Oh. And Scott continues to be a duouche.

This line hurts for so many reasons...

So what should I review? Well, after having to look at many many MANY images of Land’s work to research this (something I won’t be doing again for a long time. Hopefully), I feel like reviewing something happy. And I’ve got one more one-shot that is certifiably good, and 100% Land free. And from one of my favourite event comics of last year.

Seeya then!
Tegan Dumpleton aka SlugLady28



If you dare to see more of lands work, here are the sites I went to for photos and a few other “fun” sites. Ugh.

I have to go wash my eyes out with soap...

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