Saturday, May 24, 2008

Endings and beginnings

X-Factor #31

Peter David and Pablo Raimondi delivered. Mutant Town is burning inside an impenetrable barrier. This is the end. This is depressing. This feels very symbolic of how mutants are continually being marginalized and the remaining ones have lost hope after the events in Messiah CompleX. But life goes on for X-Factor, as they were - as always - attacked by a villain that have a personal vendetta against them. Arcade wanted to destroy X-factor and raze the Middle East Side or Mutant Town to the ground. The team did what they felt they needed to do – to continue to help people and save lives. It’s sad that the people they saved were ex-mutants who were trying and failing to find meaning and motivation to continue living.

Valerie Cooper and the fire fighters were outside and they were doing their best to get through the barrier as they watched people burn to death. She called SHIELD and asked for assistance from Iron Man and the Avengers but she couldn’t get through. Emma Frost’s words to Tony Stark and Carol Danvers in Civil War rang true again – Where were you when we needed you? When Genosha was burning? When the children were murdered?

X-men Divided We Stand 2/2

The first installment of this limited series followed the young kids from the Xavier Academy/New Xmen who did not know what to do with themselves now that the school is gone. This issue told stories about tying up loose ends from various X-titles.

Hank McCoy went back to the Mansion to clean up - he burned confidential medical records, grabbed personal belongings, closed down his computers and lab, and said goodbye to the place where he grew up.

We caught up with Alex Summers after the Emperor Vulcan Mini-Series - he's in prison with Lorna and the rest of the Starjammers. To further torment him, Vulcan told Alex that the Xmen were no more.

Illyana Raspuntin has a new resolve to get her soul back after the New Xmen arc where she saw that there were people who still cared for her. Forge’s story filled-in-the-blank of how Bishop was able to follow Cable to whatever timeline he was in. Bishop practically beat him up and stole his time travel tech. This left Forge with renewed determination to protect whatever is left of the mutants by protecting the "present."

Last is Nori and Moonstar deciding what to do next - I have often wondered what happened to Nori - she was the leader of the New Xmen and why was she not chosen to be in Young Xmen I don’t understand. The experience left her confused and full of self loathing for her failure to save friends and teammates. Her conversation with Moonstar ended up in a depressing note. Moonstar told her not to lose hope as there will always be a new day. Nori had the last word though, she said, that night will always come.

I glad that Marvel did this. Of course there were no “complete stories” here. If you don’t follow the various X-titles you’d be lost in three out of the five stories and would probably be bitching about how the stories were disjointed and incomplete. But maybe this is a ploy to tease people to go buy the trades of New Xmen, Emperor Vulcan, and follow the on-going Cable arc. I don’t know. I’m just glad that at least I know what happened to Alex, Illyana, and Nori and I’m looking forward to what happens next!

Birds of Prey #118

Tony Bedard has taken over writing BoP - he has written excellent stand alone issues after Gail Simone left. This is another great stand alone issue that will have repercussions in the future.

Misfit was kidnapped by the Dark Side Club - it seems that the New Gods incarnated in human forms (no explanation has been given yet) with Darkseid as a black guy call Dark Side. He ran the thunderdome-like arena where kidnapped superheroes fight. (Reminiscent of the JLU animated series arc and the JSA arc). Misfit and Black Alice were both kidnapped and of course they fought to the death! These two have been fighting for Oracle’s undivided attention since they met but the Dark Side DNA and blood tests of both of the girls came up with a surprising twist... They're related!

Nicola Scott's art is excellent as usual - my favorite was the panel where Black Alice borrowed the powers of Etrigan and when she teleported with a villain (using Misfit's powers - she always warned people that she couldn't teleport others with her) and the woman exploded to bits and pieces.

And even if Manhunter only played a bit part it was nice to see her around the DCU.

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