Comics I Read: Catching Up #25 (X-Men edition)

X-Force 22-25: Overall, the “Necrosha” story was a failure for me. Besides having the unfortunate timing to raise the dead during “Blackest Night”, I didn’t feel any of the resurrected characters were used to good emotional effect. (Except for Doug Ramsey in “New Mutants” – those stories were excellent.) And maybe I’m just an old fart, but I didn’t quite follow the ending – I think they defeated Selene on the Native American spirit plane, but I’m not sure – and there are plenty of places, especially in #25, where Clayton Crain’s art is printed so dark that I can’t tell who’s doing what. That said, I do still like the idea of this series, and the fact that the secret is starting to come out in “Uncanny” should be a lot of fun. Edited to add: Paul O'Brien has a good review of the storyline here.

X-Men Legacy 230-234: The ending to the Emplate story in #230 was fine and the “Necrosha” story with Proteus in #231-233 wasn’t bad either, although I find myself struggling to remember details as I write this. The issue I loved was #234, where Rogue actually gets to fulfill the job Cyclops gave her a year ago (it feels like) and mentors some of the young mutants on the island. Throw in some complications from powers borrowed from the Cuckoos and (finally) a talk with Gambit about their relationship, and Mike Carey comes up with a story I really enjoyed. More of that, please.

Uncanny X-Men 519-523: I liked the ending to the Void story in #519 just fine, but I wonder why they even bothered to trap a piece of him in Emma just to dispose of it so quickly. The New York story in #520-521 didn’t do much for me (though it was nice to see Fantomex again, given how most of the Morrison run has been paved over), but the Magneto subplot was excellent. That leads to the return of Kitty Pryde in #522 (which would have been a nice surprise if it hadn’t been advertised for months). I was initially skeptical about this, thinking it was too soon, but finding out that Fraction got permission from Joss Whedon helped a lot and he really crafted a moving little story that I highly recommend. In #523 things entertainingly start to unravel as the team looks for Cable and Hope and the secret of X-Force is discovered. Cyclops is clearly in over his head here (“It would all be better if we just had the girl…”), and this kind of years-long planning is what Marvel does best these days so I’m looking forward to seeing it pay off.

New Mutants 8-11: As I mentioned above, I really loved Doug Ramsey’s return in #8, and the exploration of the new takes on him and Illyana in #9 by writer Zeb Wells was positively chilling. The Sauron attacks Japan story in #10 was fun (Emma: “Evil mutants attack Japan. This should disprove the old adage about any publicity being good publicity.”), especially Scott’s reaction to the revelations from #9 (“…if I shut down every time a visitor from the future screamed Armageddon I’d never get anything done.”) and his plan for why the New Mutants are still together as a team. In #11, guest writer Kieron Gillen ties up the loose end of Dani’s deal with Hela that let her defeat Ares in “Utopia”. As always, he’s got a unique spin on things – Hela’s occupying a Vegas hotel (“[it] suits me, temperamentally speaking…but its heat is oppressive.”) – and he fits it nicely into “Siege”, where it turns out there are a fair number of dead Asgardians. I’ve never heard of artist Niko Henrichon, but he also did a terrific job.

Nation X: X-Factor: It’s fun to see X-Factor interact with the rest of the X-Men for the first time in a while (“Don’t I resent you for some reason?” “Probably, but who can keep track?”), and I also liked that Madrox and Cyclops could disagree about Scott’s direction for mutantkind without having to fight about it. (“You’re much too alike to be friends.”)

X-Factor 200-203: The team has come out the other side of a long mutant-centric storyline with a new direction, and I like the more direct interaction with the rest of the Marvel Universe. The tone is the same, so you probably already know whether you like this book or not – I think most people either love it or hate it – but if you like it but were bored by the previous arc, you can come back now.

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