eXaminations

(Note: WordPress has suggested that I add links to my article.  Click at your own risk.)

So while I haven’t caught up with the Catching Up features, I feel like the launching of Battle of the Atom is a good place to restart my running commentary of all things X-related as to keep this blog relevant for the current comic fan.  Hey,  we appreciate you, fair reader, even when we tend to disagree (looking at you).

So here harkens the return of the eXaminations feature!  Huzzah and whatnot!  This week we’ll be looking at:

  • X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 in which all the time craziness starts coming to a head.
  • All-New X-Men #16 in which the story keeps going with a big honking reveal.
  • X-Factor #262 in which the series gets its happy ending with the promise of more to come.
  • X-Men Legacy #16 in which Legion finally takes a look at that whole ‘Cyclops killed my dad’ thing.

ALSO!

  • Infinity is going on in the Marvel U, so we’ll take a look at that.  It’s got some X-Characters in it.

The words past the jump have the understanding that you’ve read the books covered.  Thus, any SPOILERS presented are not going to make me lose any sleep.  Just saying,

BATTLE OF THE ATOM/ALL NEW X-MEN
Back when Beast decided to bring the original X-Men forward in time to knock some sense into the current incarnations of the heroes, it seemed like a really bad idea.  This is the book in which everyone else realizes that it’s probably a bad idea, but it takes a Sentinel attack nearly killing Cyclops to do so.  The story plays that the whole ordeal was supposed to be just a new mutant pop-up, which is why the original X-Men were taken into the field, as they were not supposed to be exposed to such danger.  But seriously, this whole storyline has been a head scratcher as to why no one has mentioned how awful an idea having a potential time paradox or five just hanging around actually is.

So anyway, some future X-Men show up and we get the neat reveal of the characters we remember who are still around in the future.  There’s an old even-further mutated Beast.  There’s Kate Pryde, for those of you still yearning for those Days of Future Past.  There’s a Xavier telepath, presumably the son of Legion.  There’s the cute girl from Runaways who of course is SUPER AWESOME HUGE in the future, since that’s what adorably cute characters always do.  But then there’s this lady wearing a Xorn mask that everyone just kind of avoids for a while so you, the reader, are forced to stare at and wonder WHO IS THAT?  And the big reveal?  It’s Jean Grey – okay, sure, why not?  I’d be more excited except that since we just went through a huge game-changing X-Event, the whole thing seems like just a thing to do because it’s hot outside.

Jean Grey’s return should be a big thing.  It should be shaking the core of the X-Men mythos.  But because we’ve pulled the teenage Jean Grey up and given her the whole telepathic thing, we’ve already gotten our fix or Jean, and now we’ve got another one – so what?  Is this the real one?  Are we keeping her?  I try to have excitement for the whole thing, but it’s become so much of a mess that I can’t help but shrug and say okay let’s go with this, I guess.

My curiosity is piqued, so that’s good.  I’m on board for where this is going.

X-Factor
And that’s it for X-Factor!  So long, have a nice day!  Peter David has taken all of his players, given them their final placings and settled them for the time being.  BUT WAIT!  Surely, you don’t think that’s it, do you?  Issue #260 practically screamed of a new X-Factor coming and PAD’s final letter page would suggest that while this is the end of the Jamie Madrox X-Factor with all of its characters that have been running around, there’s a new Polaris-led government-brand X-Factor coming in the works, and I am STOKED for that.  X-Factor has been a happy little family for its entire run.  We’ve grown to like these characters and hopefully some of them will get to keep their happy endings for a while.  But there’s more story to tell, and Peter David is looking to tell it, and that has me excited.  This isn’t the end of X-Factor – not at all.

X-Men LegacySo a funny thing about watching one’s mother die: it brings back thoughts of how father died.  At least that’s how it is for Legion, so in the wake of Gabrielle Haller‘s assassination, Legion goes off after Cyclops who, as you should remember, is the reason that Professor Charles Xavier is no longer walking (or wheeling) amongst the living.  I had a rough time getting into X-Men Legacy because I was just not that interested in Legion as a character, but I have to admit that this issue is a lot of fun.  His thrashing of the Uncanny X-Men is golden, complete with getting around Magneto’s telepath-proof helmet by simply telekinetically lifting it off his head, then chastising him for not using a chin strap.  Crazy is the tone of the book, and that’s fine, but I do have to wonder where this is going.  Where do you take a solo Legion title?  I’m amazed it’s lasted to issue #16.

Infinity
Marvel’s got a new MASSIVE EVENT going on with the Avengers, running parallel with Battle of the Atom in the X-Books, which I’ve been made aware of because Cannonball and Sunspot are on Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers roster.  Now for the life of me, I can’t figure out why he decided to use the two New Mutants characters.  They’ve done practically NOTHING in the title to date, yet I still keep paying attention because I follow the New Mutants wherever they go.

So Infinity is happening.  Remember at the end of the Avengers movie when you got the glimpse of Thanos?  Well, here we go pulling him back into the main Marvel storyline.  Something’s been building for a while now with the Illuminati characters and their Infinity Gems, adding space alien invasions and Shi’ar disasters and Inhuman civilization problems and explosions and KA-BOOM!!!!   It all seems a bit much, yes?  That’s the general feel I’ve been getting about Infinity.  It’s just too damn big of a scale for any of the Marvel super heroes to be dealing with.  Everyone is just standing around watching as stuff blows up in grand displays!  So what?

Infinity is the summer blockbuster event.  All your favorite faces are there.  Big, loud things are happening.  Someone will probably die and a banner header will cover the books following it afterwards.  Other than that, it’s pretty much a space invasion which is fine if you’re into that.

Next Week!

  • Astonishing X-Men #67 wraps the series up.
  • Avengers Arena #15 probably will see some more deaths.
  • Uncanny X-Force #11 – I don’t really remember what’s going on in this book.
  • X-Men #5 continues Battle of the Atom – because nothing says “let new book lay ground” quite like a crossover.
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