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X-Men: Operation Zero Tolerance Hardcover – August 15, 2012
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X-Force (1991) #67-70
X-Men (1991) #65-70
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #346
Wolverine (1988) #115-118
Cable (1993) #45-47
Bonus: Art Galleries, Cover Art Gallery, Reprinted prologue from TPB printing
Operation Zero Tolerance was originally published in 1997 and epitomizes both the brilliant deeply character driven X-Men plots of the time as well as the unwieldly sprawling cross-referential and slightly confusing crossovers that regularly played across the X-Men universe. This beautiful hardcover edition of Operation Zero Tolerance, however, is the most complete collection of the crossover available for fans (the previous trade paperback collected only #27 from Generation X, omitted X-Force #70, and left out Uncanny X-Men #346). I was pleased that the this hardcover edition went so far as to reproduce the editorial materials from the previous TPB edition.
Operation Zero Tolerance continues the Marvel trend of producing gorgeous omnibus editions of older titles. The binding is sewn and the paperstock is thick and glossy. Even if you have all of the comics collected here in magazine format, they have never looked this good.
The plot involves anti-mutant hysteria reaching a fevered pitch. With human kind firmly against mutants Bastion is given the green light for Operation Zero Tolerance, basically anti-mutant shock troops. Bastion with "Prime Sentinels" (mutant-killing robots that are disguised as humans) roll out a diabolical plan to wipe out mutant kind, and the X-Men are directly in his sights. Bastion manages to not only capture most of the X-Men, but also is able to infiltrate the X-Mansion itself. The situation is desperate for mutantkind, but three key players ruin Bastion's plans. Iceman organizes a mutant resistance cell. Cable is working to make sure the X-Men's tech and most valuable files don't get into Bastion's hands. And Jubilee, even in Bastion's custody, will collapse Bastion's house of cards.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, most Marvel 1990s crossovers are a little messy: there are many tangential threads that seem designed to very little other than pull a title into the crossover, and Operation Zero Tolerance is no exception in that respect. At times Operation Zero Tolerance can be a bit of mess, but the loose plot is a minor distraction compared to enormous amount of fun between these covers. Jubilee, for probably the first time, is tested and proves herself to be much more than the teenage/humor aspect of the X-Men.
This graphic novel collects some great Marvel action. It is collects a team that had been really battered in the Onslaught saga (see X-Men: Prelude to Onslaught X-Men: The Complete Onslaught Epic, Book 1 X-Men: The Complete Onslaught Epic, Book 2 (v. 2) X-Men: The Complete Onslaught Epic, Book 3 and X-Men: The Complete Onslaught Epic - Book 4 (v. 4) ) and after a brush with genocide gives our favorite mutants a new sense of purpose.
I think veteran X-fans will have a lot of fun with this collection.
But if you decide to buy that - enjoy, if you dare ;)
My regret lies in the quality of the story and art found in this very 90s-era crossover--it's just plain bad. Team members in this era were especially awful. Take Marrow for example--her power is to grow bones outside her skin that she can throw or stab like a knife. And then there's Maggott whose mutant power is to control two giant vomiting maggots...what was Marvel thinking?
The artwork throughout screams 1990s and is very dated and unattractive. I can enjoy comic art styles from the 60s, 70s, 80s and the 2000s, but this book is an example of an era best forgotten. You only need look at the cover to see what I mean. The coloring of the interior is faithful to the awful time in the 90s where computer coloring was first being used and you either had artists not familiar with the technology or you had hardware not capable of producing pleasant colors. There are bad color gradients aplenty in this volume.
The 1990s were a difficult time to be a comic fan. If you started reading in that decade, you might get some feelings of nostalgia reading this volume. But if you enjoy good comics, I'd skip this volume. Most of these issues are available in the 25 cent bins of your local comic shop if you're curious.