eXaminations

We’re right into the SUPER MEGA EVENT now.  Are you excited?  YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED!

This time, we’ll be looking at:

  • Astonishing X-Men #49 in which we get more Northstar.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #2 in which the Avengers fight the X-Men.
  • New Mutants #41 in which the team gets blinked off to a festival.
  • Uncanny X-Force #24 in which the team goes after AoA Iceman.
  • Uncanny X-Men #11 in which the Avengers fight the X-Men.
  • Vs. #1 (of 6) in which the Avengers fight the X-Men.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #9 in which Wolverine prepares his school for the Avengers fighting the X-Men.
  • X-Factor #234 in which the team finds out Madrox is alive.
  • X-Men #27 in which Jubilee makes a decision.
  • X-Men Legacy #265 in which Weapon Omega has issues.

Holy crap, that’s a lot.  Anyway, the fun begins after the break and there will be SPOILERS.

Astonishing X-Men #49
On the surface, this is generic stuff that goes so well with what Astonishing X-Men has become but if you look at the ads Marvel has been running, you will see exactly where this is going.  It looks like Astonishing X-Men #51 will be seeing Northstar getting married to his boyfriend Kyle.  But we’ll focus on that when and if it happens two issues down the road.

This issue features a grab bag of villains attacking a grab bag of X-Men until the psychic figures out that there’s more to it going on.  It took me a while to realize who all the villains were – they are identified as the Marauders (though only Arclight, Prism, Blockbuster and Harpoon are present), but Chimera and the Vanisher are also present.  I am actually pleased with this revelation, because that means the Vanisher survived Second Coming (his fate was left ambiguous), though I doubt anyone else is really going to use him.  The Marauders are a different story, because they’ve been killed and revived so many times they can’t really even count as their own characters anymore, but more like stock thugs.  And Prism is drawn to look like Caliban for whatever reason.

The issue is okay, I guess.  Must have for Northstar fans?

Avengers vs. X-Men #2
So in this issue the Avengers fight the X-Men.  Despite this being the MEGA HUGE EVENT, there’s really not much to say about it since every event that happens here gets picked apart in all the tie-ins.  Both Captain America and Cyclops are being unreasonable, but of course they have to be since the title of the issue requires the two teams to be fighting.  But this is just the second issue of twelve.  There is much more to this story then the Avengers attack on Utopia.

If they manage to define just what the hell the Phoenix Force is, I’ll be happy.

New Mutants #41
That last adventure was sort of a bummer, right?  Don’t worry – Blink has come back to take the New Mutants to Madripoor for a night on the town.  It’s a down issue to let the readers catch their breath between the last story and the upcoming crossover with Tales to Astonish.  That’s right – Marvel is having a New Mutants crossover in the middle of AvX.  Brilliant planning there.

I’m confused as to why Blink isn’t a member of this cast, especially since their normal teleporter has vacated the book to hang over in Uncanny.  She went over to Team Wolverine but hasn’t shown up in any of the books over there, so here she is back where she started.  Like I said before, Blink is sort of a blank slate character since she’s not the popular Age of Apocalypse version from Exiles but she’s also being steered as far away as possible from the cold blooded killer she was in Necrosha.  So super-fun-happy-mode seems to be the way to go here.  Yay.

This issue focuses on relationships – mainly between Dani and X-Man, though Sunspot does do his moping about Magma’s lack of attention to him.  The dialogue suggests that Sunspot and Magma had been together, but I don’t recall this having happened outside of their closeness at the end of Zeb Wells’ run on the book.  And speaking of which, there is absolutely no mention of the relationship between Dani and Cannonball, and that really upsets me.  I was so happy with that match up!  Warlock also gets a little play, but it’s mainly for giggles.

A fun little issue to give the characters a chance to be human.  These are the types of stories the New Mutants do so well in.

Uncanny X-Force #24
When the Dark Angel Saga set the evil Age of Apocalypse Iceman free in the main Marvel U, I had suspected that he would be a new recurring villain or a lasting story thread.  Turns out not so much, as this issue gives the AoA Nightcrawler a chance to go kill his former teammate.  The only thing I can think about this story is opportunity lost.

The story is based upon the heartbreak of Iceman’s betrayal of the AoA X-Men, but since we really didn’t see that actually happen (he was presented as a villain when X-Force went there) there’s really nothing to attach the reader to the fight.  This Iceman is not the same one from Amazing X-Men in 1995 – sure, he might look the same but there’s really nothing similar there.  A drop of dialogue is tossed in to explain why he “lost his humanity” but it really doesn’t pull at the emotional strings it’s trying to.

So Iceman’s dead and we’re good to move on.

Vs. #1 (of 6)
Since the main series, nor the numerous tie-ins can’t contain all the story needing to be told, Vs. is here to show one-on-one fights between the Avengers and the X-Men.  The first issue has Magneto squaring off against Iron Man and Thing taking on Namor.  Let’s handle these separately.

Iron Man vs. Magneto seems almost a thumb to the nose at fans who all should have immediately asked “Why would Iron Man fight Magneto?”.  That is answered immediately with the obvious “Iron Man’s suit isn’t actually metal” and so the two have their fight.  But if you’re looking for a winner here, you are going to be disappointed because Mags gives up and lets Iron Man KO him when he realizes that there’s something bigger at stake.  What’s the point, then, you ask?

The sequence between Thing and Namor is actually one of the more disappointing fights since we’ve already seen the two fight a billion times in various Fantastic Four stories.  But since Thing got shoehorned into the Avengers and Namor got shoehorned into the X-Men, here it is again.  Thing is declared the winner even though Namor is shown flying right back into the fray in the background.  What’s the point, then, you ask?

There is no point to this book.  It’s additional fluff presented to you in the hopes that you will chuck out another $4 to get the whole scope.  And you know what?  It’s well aware of that.  The book is almost played for laughs with its “AvX FUN FACT” boxes tossed in.  If you are interested in more sequences of heroes punching each other, then this is well enough.

But I do have to say that its disappointing that in the very first issue Vs. manages to contradict the main book as Luke Cage is nowhere to be seen in the fight between Thor and Namor.  But whatever.

Uncanny X-Men
Since the main series, nor the tie-in series can’t contain all the story needing to be told, Uncanny X-Men takes an issue to show some of the AvX fighting as well as the personal thoughts of the characters running around in AvX #2.  Unlike some of the other tie-in issues (*cough*cough*avengers*cough*) this is telling a part of the story that really needs to be told – what’s going on in Hope’s head.  Despite watching her grow from infancy to teenager in Cable and seeing her in practically every X-book since Second Coming, we really don’t have a solid grasp on just what Hope is supposed to be.  And that’s been the point of her – that’s why we’re having this series.  But Hope’s not a villain and this issue is helping push that.  Sure, she went all “burn Wolverine from the inside-out”, true, but at least we know here that something’s going on.

Oh, and there’s this big ass fight between Colossus and the Red Hulk.  Pushing the “becoming Cytorrak’s pawn was a reaaaaaaaaaally bad idea” story further, Colossus gets himself into a fight against an effing Hulk and has to let go of his control of the Juggernaut to win.  The catch here is that it’s really not important who wins and who loses – the various teams are just killing for time and thus the main concern Colossus and Rulk have are the damage their underwater battle is causing.  And thus Colossus becomes the second X-Man to sit down and let the Avenger win.  Dislike.

We also get the closing of the X-Men’s PR agent (remember her?) tossing out a press release from Cyclops about the Avengers’ attack.  Personally, I don’t see the effectiveness of this strategy since the ordinary Marvel citizen is anti-mutant and pro-Captain America.  But we’ll see.

Wolverine and the X-Men #9
Since the main series, nor the tie-in series can’t contain all the story needing to be told…okay, I’ll stop.  While Uncanny had the “during the event”, Wolverine’s book takes care of letting his side of the X-Clan know where his head is.  And this is the part that’s interesting to me.  These X-Men have already turned against Cyclops.  You’d think that they’re going to be with the Avengers in this matter.  But all the promotional images suggest that’s not the case, so it will be here that we find out why.

But that’s not to say that the book doesn’t take a minute to deal with its own ongoing stories.  Particularly enjoyable is the relationship between Wolverine and Beast which has been firmly established on the belief that Cyclops is stupid.  While Wolverine and Kitty Pryde may have their names on the Headmaster door, Beast is just as important to the school as either.  And the revelation that Wolverine had – Beast had it earlier.  So the two are really bonding and it’s fun to see the two – the brains and the brawn of the X-Men – going back and forth.

We also get some Shi’ar action with Gladiator heading to Earth to protect his son.  After all, the Phoenix is very much a Shi’ar concept.  You had to know they’d be getting involved somewhere.  Oh, and there’s some throwaway dialogue about Husk’s powers acting weird, but we really haven’t cared about Husk in like 15 years.  So really we should be more concerned about why Cannonball always has a toothpick in his mouth when drawn by Chris Bachalo.

X-Factor #234
Last issue was all peaceful and quiet as Havok’s restructured X-Factor remained blissfully unaware of Madrox’s return to the living.  Well, thank god that’s over.  This issue is actually more of a confrontation between M and Layla Miller, which really doesn’t go anywhere.  Layla explains to M what she already explained to Madrox (Guido was supposed to stay dead) and the story kind of ends.  There’s a brewing villain thing coming up and it looks like there will be a Havok/Polaris and Madrox/Banshee split in the ranks.  But nothing else to see here.

X-Men #27
I honestly cannot believe I’ve stuck with this book for 27 issues.  But here we are, coming full circle from the opening story of vampire Jubilee to this, Jubilee leaving the X-Men to go join up with the Good Vampire Club.  I don’t actually think that’s the name they’re going with, but until the title this story in undoubtedly launching is announced, I’m calling it the GVC.

Jubilee’s decision to leave the X-Men for the GVC is the only worthwhile moment of this story and even then its emphasis is lost because Jubilee really hasn’t been a member of the team for years.  She was there in the early 90’s, then hung around as the Kitty Pryde of the new decade before being saddled off to Generation X.  Since that point, she hung out with Chuck Austen’s group for about three storylines then got vampired up and got one mission here before leaving.  You can see why I’m not too broken up about it.

But in fairness, I am kind of broken up about it because vampire Jubilee is the most interesting thing that’s been done with the character since she blew up the Mandarin’s villa during Acts of Vengeance (how’s THAT for a reference?).  But in an era of every single former member of the team coming and going between the six team books you have, one  member leaving doesn’t really have the pull it used to.  Hopefully we’ll see her again someday.  Probably at night.  Because she’s a vampire.

X-Men Legacy #265
This issue is not going to sit well with Weapon Omega fans.  Okay, really, if you consider yourself a Weapon Omega fan, you’ve got more pressing issues than your favorite character going into cold storage, likely never to be seen again.  I’m assuming the point of this story was to bring Mimic into the book’s cast, and to that I say fine.  Mimic is a character who’s been around longer than most of the X-characters, yet has really had nothing done with him.  If Christos Gage has an idea for ol’ Cal, well then good times.

One of my favorite things about Mike Carey’s work on X-Men Legacy was that he would dig up old story points from decades ago that made dorks like me sit up and yell “that’s awesome!”.  Christos Gage is going along those lines, but he’s reaching far deeper into the depths of X-Lore for his stuff.  The key idea of this plot harks back to a fight between the X-Men and the Super Adaptoid from (give me a second to look it up here) X-Men #29.  That’s some real Silver Age stuff there.

So out goes Weapon Omega, in comes Mimic, and unfortunately it looks like we’re still dealing with Rogue/Gambit/Magneto love triangle issues.  This girl needs to get over the boy bug.

Next Week
It’s Free Comic Book Day this Saturday, if you hadn’t figured that out.  We three Comicdom Wrecks! scribes will be visiting our HQ shop The Zone for the annual event and I will try to kick out some stuff on the site for it.  Before that hits, though, we have another new eXaminations to deal with.

  • Avengers vs. X-Men #3 with fighting and Phoenix!
  • Exiled #1 which kicks off the New Mutants/Journey Into Mystery crossover.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega #5 (of 5) wrapping up.
  • X-Factor #235 hopefully giving a little more to dig into.
  • X-Men #28 featuring Spider-Man.  Again.
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