I’ve found that this series has been consistently setting the bar really low in terms of X-books. There must be more than a few readers who feel that it is rather unfortunate that the mutant messiah is also one of the most annoying characters in the Marvel Universe. She is so annoying that I actually root against her. Case in point, when Emma Frost backhanded her in this issue, I actually cheered out loud! I honestly believe that the Marvel brain trust are going to have to pull a rabbit out of the hat to save this Messiah concept.
This issue wasn’t actually as horrible as most of them have been. The problem is, the things that made this issue bearable have nothing to do with Hope and her stupid “Lights”. In fact, it had everything to do with the tension between Sebastian Shaw showing up in Utopia. Be it mind wiped and completely oblivious of his past, Shaw is still such a prominent villain in the X-verse that his mere presence is unnerving. Of course, Team Hope ruins all of the Shaw drama by fighting to have him added to their team. I believe that this is an even bigger problem than this little book itself. For some reason, all of the X-villains have basically joined the X-Men. Magneto, Danger, Juggernaut (so to speak), Kid Omega, most members of the Brotherhood, the Acolytes and many more have all joined to help with Xavier’s…I mean Summers’ dream. Who does this leave for them to fight? Personally, I think this is a mistake.
I’m not sure how much longer Hope’s team can stay on Utopia. Seems as though many of the residents there hate her and the Lights as much as I do. This issue had lots of in-fighting and tension between the Lights and residents of Utopia who don’t quite feel as though they are getting the same treatment as the Messiah.
Tim Green II’s art is adequate at best. It looks as though he takes some panels off and definitely doesn’t put enough detail into faces. Jorge Molina’s cover is quite nice though, blending a nice painterly feel with dramatic flare.
I suppose I am just a sucker for punishment, but I feel as though I have to buy this book with all the Messiah implications and whatnot. I just wish it was more relevant to the mutant cause. –CK
Cover: 7/10 Art: 5/10 Writing: 6/10 Relevance: 4/10
This is the worst New Mutants has ever been. Abnett and Lanning, who have been praised for their work on other titles, has taken this once-beloved franchise and deleted everything that made it special. First of all, this team just screams D-list. Nothing is happening here that is making any of these characters relevant nor furthering them as characters. The addition of Blink, which sounds good on paper, really doesn’t add much mainly because we have to remember that this is not the Blink of Age of Apocalypse or Exiles. Nate Grey is nothing more than a background character, and new readers might be surprised that he once had a pretty good solo title that ran for 75 issues. The other real New Mutants-Dani, Amara, Roberto, Doug, and Warlock-are mere shadows of their former selves. They are all about as 2-dimensional as you can get. They have no connection to Blink at all, and Blink has no connection to this bizarre band and alien they are fighting. If you want to lose me, put in an alien or extra-dimensional villain who has no real name or motivation, spend pages explaining how irrelevant this situation really is, and then wrap it up so neatly at the end that it does nothing to further the journey these characters are walking. All of these things are included in this issue. Not only that, but Blink doesn’t even stick around, but goes to the Westchester School! What? So basically all of this was for nothing. David Lopez’s art doesn’t help one bit. He draws Doug like an anorexic mummy, Warlock like a cartoon Rastafarian, and refuses to draw backgrounds. There is no sense of direction on this book, nothing that is drawing these characters together, and nothing worth picking this book up. Of all the iterations of these characters, I think this is the weakest it’s ever been. Take my advice, find the core of what makes these characters great, develop a status quo that moves them forward, and find a solid artist. –JJ
Cover: 3/10 Art: 2/10 Writing: 2/10 Relevance: 1/10
For the first time since the inception of this team, it seems as though somebody is going to try and hold X-Force accountable for their actions. This has been an underlying theme across the Marvel Universe ever since Civil War. Many complained that the whole idea of mistrust between regular civilians and the superhuman community had been all but dropped after Civil War. Myself, well I disagree. I think there has been this weird vibe ever since, and up until now I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. It always felt to me as though it was never brought to the forefront enough. The tension was almost like this small tickle that you sometimes didn’t notice, but every once and a while it crept up and made you feel really uncomfortable. I’ve finally come to the realization that this is perfect. Nothing in society really blows up in a matter of minutes like it does in the comic community. Usually it festers for years, before it finally comes to a head. This is the festering stage.
The Captain Britain Corps (I know, I know, both corny and an absolute rip-off) decide that Fantomex needs to be held accountable for shooting young Apocalypse in the head. To do so, Captain Britain kidnaps Fantomex and Psylocke and takes them to the Otherworld (the crossroads of reality.) To be honest, this is where the story loses me a little for a couple of reasons. First off, I’m not buying that Britain cares that Fantomex offed Apocalypse. X-Force has killed thousands of people, and now I am to believe that because Apocalypse is a kid they are going to finally going to react. I am hoping that Remender reveals a hidden agenda, that the readers aren’t privy to just yet. Secondly, I’ve never much cared for the Otherworld stories. The idea of all realities converging here is cool, but I really don’t care about alternate realities. Not to fret though, fans of Fantomex. Wolverine has caught wind of the kidnapping and is traveling to the Otherworld to rescue his friends. Things are bound to get messy!
For me, a high point for this issue has to be the art. Greg Tocchini has a beautiful style to his work and colorist, Dean White really gives the panels a painterly feel. Tocchini has a great knack for setting up tension filled compositions and his style fits the dream-like other world perfectly. Likewise, you will never hear me complain about a Leinil Francis Yu cover. I miss his interior work on Marvel books, and love his line work particularly.
The story is good, but not great. I feel as though I am missing some key pieces of information. I won’t judge just yet though, because I am sure Remender has a plan and I am just being antsy expecting to know it up front. – CK
Cover – 8/10 Art -8/10 Writing – 6/10 Relevance – 6/10
Once upon a time, when anything important happened in the X-Men universe, it happened in Uncanny X-Men. Those days are long past, and we’re now seeing that Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force has taken the top spot as the X-Men’s most relevant book. The fact that Marvel’s 2 flagship X-books, Wolverine & the X-Men and Uncanny X-Men, are drawing upon the things that have happened recently in Remender’s book shows that it’s the one to watch, while this one in particular is struggling to find it’s own voice. Gillen decides to explore one of the danglers left by the Dark Angel Saga by sending the X-Men to the town that Archangel evolved called Tabula Rasa. Immediately, the stakes are high here because Cyclops does not know that his friend Warren is behind this atrocity, and that little secret carried by Psylocke makes this issue rather fun. Magneto, who is the only one who knows about X-Force, plays an important role here as he and Psylocke stumble upon more clues that may implicate Betsy in the destruction of this American town. Psylocke and Magneto stand out as well written in this issue, however, they are the only ones. Cyclops continues to bark orders at the X-Men, which makes him feel more robotic and predictable than ever. His interaction with Storm is awkward and forcibly irrelevant. Likewise, Hope and Namor’s interactions as well as Colossus and Magik’s seem equally awkward. The dialogue adds to this, but it’s really Greg Land’s mismatching of Gillen’s intended emotion with his art. It’s like each character is over-acting. When Cyclops accuses Storm of guilt-tripping him, what should be slightly coy smile on Storm’s face turns into a huge open-mouthed grin. Magik embracing her brother upon his viewing of a beautiful scene also displays an over-acted choreography. I would love to see Gillen’s script so I could see if he’s directing Land in these panels or if Land is coming up with it on his own. Despite these glaring issues, this issue was my favorite since the reboot. I think exploring this town and seeing the ramifications of Warren’s actions are really important and I’m glad they’re being focused on here. The fact that the audience knows the mystery while the X-Men don’t is really fun. However, it’s not a perfect issue by any means, and I hope that the team can make something special out of this. –JJ
Cover: 3/10 Art: 3/10 Writing: 6/10 Relevance: 7/10
Most X-Cellent Pick of the Week:
Capekiller: I know that this book is picking up the scraps left behind by X-Force, but I thought the the representation of Tabula Rasa was interesting. Uncanny X-Men #5 is my X-pick of the week.
Jeff: It’s starting to get old, but Uncanny X-Force #20 tops the list this week.