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Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
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Raymond Roussel
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Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom

X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back

X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back - Sara Pichelli, Kathryn Immonen Who are all these characters? Why is there an X-Men collection consisting of a bunch of tween girls making catty comments, and how did this pink-haired pixie become the star of her own miniseries?

This is what comes up of picking up graphic novels from a series I haven't been following for years. My X-Men will always be the 80s Claremont version.

So yeah, I'm aware that Emma Frost, the White Queen, is now the head of Xavier's school, and I'm vaguely aware that X-23 is some kind of Wolverine-clone in a 13-year-old girl's body, but most of these characters are completely new to me.

Apparently Pixie is half-faerie, half-mutant. She and three other teen mutant girls are trapped in some kind of hellish illusory high school nightmare, which turns out to be the machinations of a demon called Saturnine who, I guess was a minion previously in the series and is now aspiring to Big Bad status? Pixie creates "pixie dust" which causes illusions. Her friends eventually get free and try to rescue Pixie, while Pixie's mother shows up to start a fight with the adult X-Men because of her daughter being missing. Which brings everyone together for the big battle.

Apparently the point of this miniseries is that Pixie's real father is revealed. It's Mastermind, the late master of illusions who used to be a member of the Hellfire Club. Now frankly, I always thought he was kind of a grade-B villain, though I remember a few stories where he did a real number on the X-Men. Still not really Magneto-calibre, if you know what I mean. But we can't all have one of Marvel's A-listers as a villainous father, right?

So Pixie finds out who her father was, and she also learns that she has two bimbo half-sisters whose sartorial choices make the White Queen seem Amish, because apparently Dad was leaving spawn all over the place. And then Mom gives her a hug and a kiss and takes off.

She's not the only X-brat who's going to need some serious therapy.

I know, I'm judging this story with the eyes of a fan remembering the series as it was 25 years ago. I don't mind new characters I don't recognize. But I found the plot confusing, the artwork didn't help clarify much of the action, and the dialog mostly failed to be clever or funny. Pixie (and most of her friends) are just emo girls. Emma Frost is an annoying Miss Snarkypanties, and Nightcrawler and Psylocke were just kind of there.

Not really something I'd recommend picking up for an old school X-Men fan, and it doesn't do much to introduce the universe to new fans. 2.5 stars.