Did I read the new issue of Doomsday Clock? No.
Did I read the new DC / Hanna Barbera one shots? No.
Did I read BlackMoor yet? No.
But I did read a big ol’ pile of X-men Comics
Astonishing X-men #10 – 12
Writer – Charles Soule
Artist – Aco #10 (Pencils), Ron Garney #11, Gerardo Sandoval #12
Inks – David Lorenzo #10
Color Artist – Rachelle Rosenberg #10, Matt Milla #11, Erick Arciniega #12
Letter – VC’s Clayton Cowles
These are the last three issues of the ‘A Man Called X’ story, and they complete the second half of the Charles Xavier / Shadow King story-line. It is also the end of the arc with writer Charles Soule and this line up of X-men. I have enjoyed everything about this series except for how it ended.
After the X-men defeated the Shadow King in the first half of the run Xavier had traded places with Fantomex in the Astral Plane and had returned to the real world. Then a green “sun” appeared over London that turned out to be Proteus. Proteus takes over a small town in Scotland and the X-men, still lead by Psylocke, head off with Xavier, now just calling himself X, to try and stop him.
The team is set upon by dragons and archers created by Proteus’s reality warping powers. They go toe to toe with him for awhile. Mystique seems to be close to getting the better of him by disguising herself as Moira McTaggert, Proteus’s mother, but he eventually sees through the ruse. Rogue, Gambit, and Bishop finally stop him together. Well at least I think that is the case. In one panel Bishop calls down a massive bolt of energy. In the next panel the Shadow King is escaping from X’s mind.
In the last issue all the X-men try to defeat the Shadow King, now in this plane of existence and not the Astral plane. There is a lot of back and forth but eventually Psylocke and X really do defeat him, turning him into a tiny spider that X casually flicks into a puddle. The story wraps up with a grand speech and the team moving on. Proteus is not mentioned again. The town he destroyed is not mentioned. All that happens is X convinces everyone that the Shadow King is gone and X is not the man they knew as Professor Charles Xavier, he’s different. In the final panel X is striking quite a power pose and proclaims he has a new dream.
The end of this run seemingly came out of left field. After dealing with Proteus for five issues, likely defeating him, and then fighting the Shadow King again it just did not make much sense to me and was rather unsatisfying. There was no closure to the Proteus story-line and to send in the Shadow King again for the last issue was jarring. I liked how they got to there, but the caper issue was disappointing.
X-men Blue #27 – 28
Writer – Cullen Bunn
Artist – Marcus To
Color Artist – Rain Beredo
Letter – VC’s Joe Caramagna
These issues cover the Cry Havoc story, parts 5 and 6. Issue 27 starts off with a flashback to Magneto and Polaris in their civilian duds wrapping a nice evening. Magneto asks for Polaris help with Havok. She’s obviously agreed to help because when the story cuts back to the present she and the rest of her group are being attacked by the seemingly real illusions created by Wildside. They eventually stop him and head off to stop Havok and Ms. Sinister.
Havok, the White Queen, Ms. Sinister and Bastion are still having arguments about Mothervine. Things are getting worse it seems between Emma and Ms Sinister. Polaris, Jimmy Hudson, Bloodstorm and the rest of the group are making short work of the Sentinels guarding Ms Sinister base of operations.
Suddenly the teamed is downed by a more powerful attacker, Havok. Polaris tries to talk to Havok but he’s not hearing that and sends her off to be locked up with the other prisoners. Ms. Sinister is torturing Jimmy Hudson, the source of the Mothervine mutation. After she delivers a monologue detailing how we got to this point Emma Frost has had enough. She takes control of several of Ms Sinister’s acolytes and attacks her. Ms Sinister easily stops them but it’s too late, the White Queen used their powers to free Jimmy Hudson. He attacks Ms. Sinister like a crazy animal, like a wolverine one might say. In their cell Polaris, Daken, Xorn and the others power inhibitors stop working. As Polaris blows their cells door off they are greeted by Jimmy, Emma Frost and Bloodstorm.
Finally we get the confrontation between Emma Frost, Polaris and Havok. In his mind Polaris and the White Queen try to convince Havok that he needs to let the old Havok out, the one they both remember. Emma Frost uses her mental powers to invert Alex as she describes it and bingo bango the real, good, Havok is back, fully aware of his evil counterpart. The story ends with a nice epilogue between Emma Frost and Magneto, who has been trying to undo the effects of Mothervine in the real world. She tells Magneto that she helped stop Sinister, Havok and Mothervine. Magneto says that she pitted him against other mutants and he cannot forgive that, that there is no peace between them.
I thought this was a good story that at first seemed like it was going to be about Ms. Sinister and Mothervine but it morphed nicely into a story about Polaris and the White Queen rescuing Havok from his darkside. In the upcoming issues the original young team finally returns from their adventure with Venom. This has been a good, consistent series and I’m looking forward to see what happens next.
X-men Gold #25 – 29
Writer – Marc Guggenheim
Pencillers – Paulo Siqueira, Jose Luis #25
Artist – MIchele Bandini 26, 28 Geraldo Borges 27, 29
Inker – Cam Smith, Victor Olazaba #25
Colorist – Arif Prianto 25 – 29 – , Java Tartagil 25, Juan Fernandez #25
Letter – VC’s Cory Petit
Flashback Artist – David Marquez
Flashback Colorist – Matthew Wilson 26 – 29
Issue 25 starts with Kitty Pryde, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Rachel (Prestige) all in jail. This doesn’t last long as Storm decides they are leaving prison after she’s locked up in solitary confinement and her claustrophobia gets to her. Meanwhile other X-men teams, including the New Mutants, are off in Paris trying to stop a giant, Scythian Algurus, from destroying everything in his path. Meggan and Captain Britain are there. So are Rogue, Iceman, and a bunch of others who I don’t know who they are right away. Also for some reason the Asgardian Weapon Stormbringer flies to aid Storm, transforming her into an Asgardian Goddess(?).
Together they defeat the giant sending him to limbo. The issue ends with Lydia Nance and the nanite-Sentinel from all the way back to the beginning of this series plotting to capture Colossus because he carries a gene that can kill all mutants (hint, it’s the legacy virus).
The next couple of issues, ‘Til Death do us Part 1 – 4, all start with of a flashback to when Kitty and Piotr were young and falling in love. In the present day the wedding is drawing closer but as usual the X-men have other duties. First on the list is to recapture Mesmero. That’s followed up with Piotr’s bachelor party where he is captured by the nanite Sentinel.
The next couple of issues take the team to the Savage land and finally to space as they try to rescue Colossus. With some help from Gambit, Puck, and Wendigo from Alpha Flight they succeed. These issues were good and wrap up a story that has been present through the whole series. The flashbacks at the beginning are a nice lead up to the wedding story. I really liked issue 25 and thought it was a lot of fun when Meggan and Captain Britain from Excalibur showed up to help. The series over all has been fun and enjoyable.
I’ll wrap up saying that when Blue and Gold were first kicked off the praise was that these were a return to X-men stories that felt like the popular stories from the eighties and nineties and I have to agree. While other characters creep in occasionally the stories feature characters I am very familiar with and they are written well. There has generally been some good mutant drama and plenty of action. I’m not someone who is super invested in the X-men and I don’t read into every little thing. I enjoy these comics as simply good, fun comics that are not filled with entire line crossovers or page after page of Wolverine stories.