Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Proteus Part 1 Review


The Uncanny X-Men #125 There’s Something Awful on Muir Island
Classic X-Men #31 Spigot At The End of The Universe

I’ll start with the back up feature here. It’s one of those stories that could either fit within the pages of the main issue, or it could happen either before or after the current storyline. Charles isn’t fitting in too well on Lilandra’s homeworld and it’s making him restless. Lilandra suggests that he spends time with Chakra the Shi-ar’s plumber. It’s a little odd because Charles who always boasts about equality and treating people the same but now he’s acting like being a plumber is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. It was kind of a middle ground story, not good, not bad yet it still holds potential to be read again. The main story is pretty good but clearly some time has passed. Beast visits the mansion and is surprised to run into all of the X-Men that he thought were dead, Sean is still suffering from the damage to his throat and decides to leave the team at least until his powers return. Lilandra is dealing with issues in the Shi-ar galaxy and Charles is suffering homesickness and is basically still moping around about not being treated fairly among Lilandra’s court. All that changes when he sees how Jean saved the universe, she’s so powerful now that it actually scares him enough into feeling like he needs to return to Earth. Mastermind reveals that he is officially working for the Hellfire Club and wants to turn Jean into his Black Queen – we also see through a series of flashbacks how Mastermind has been working his way into Jean’s life over the past few months, a lot of this is explained in recent back up stories of ‘Classic.’ Magneto still recovering from his battle with the X-Men on Asteroid M and is severely missing his wife Magda. The two major things that happen are Moira discovers that there is something wrong behind the door marked ‘Mutant X,’ which will lead us into our current story. The second thing is Jean appears to be spending time in another life where she was a noble woman – the first flash lasts just long enough for Jean to succumb to an ambush. Jamie and Alex go to investigate but Lorna decides to answer the phone in case it’s Charles, Hank or the Avengers calling because she thinks that they’ll need whoever it is help taking down whoever was strong enough to scare Phoenix like that. It turns out to be the X-Men and Lorna is ambushed while talking to Scott.

The Uncanny X-Men #126 How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth…!
Classic X-Men #32 Shreds of Humanity

The X-Men arrive on Muir Island to a brief confrontation because Alex doesn’t know the X-Men are really alive. Jean is still having flashbacks of another life, only they are getting progressively worse. This time she’s with her husband (Mastermind) and for sport they are hunting a human – thankfully she snaps out of it before she actually has to kill the man. Jamie creates a large amount of dupes in order to search the island faster only one of them becomes possessed by Mutant X who is jumping from body to body draining them of their lives leaving nothing more of them than a mummified corpse when he jumps to the next body. We learn that Mutant X is in fact Moira’s son, which I guess could explain why she abruptly cut things off with Charles in the past. Given that Mutant X essentially kills everyone he possesses and he has taken one of Jamie’s dupes this is the first time Jamie actually ‘dies.’ The back up feature for this issue takes place in the middle of the battle between Logan, Kurt and Mutant X (now possessing a cop) who has decided to take the name Proteus. It focuses on Proteus’ using his reality warping ability to basically torture Logan and take advantage of how Logan relies on his healing factor so much so that he has gotten to the point where he enjoys being hurt. I really wasn’t feeling the art here, but considering it is supposed to be sort of like a dreamscape I can ignore it. This is one of the few times the weird art style actually works for the story, but I've noticed recently the quality of the art in relation to the actual story being presented is starting to decline, and that's not something that I'm loving.

The Uncanny X-Men #127 The Quality of Hatred!
Classic X-Men #33 So Good It Hurts

The back up story here takes place shortly after the X-Men split up last issue (so before the battle between Logan, Kurt, Ororo and Proteus.) Alex and Lorna are looking for Moira’s son but Alex keeps getting pulled into these visions of a darker world where both he and Lorna are getting hurt. He claims that this is because of how afraid he is of the fact that if he and Lorna ever go back to the X-Men that they will die, and then he switches to this idea that he can’t separate the feelings of how if their relationship ends it’s like death for him. Personally I think that Alex is just too close to Proteus and has succumbed to his reality altering powers than Alex having panic attacks and creating this whole dark world all on his own. It’s easier for me to just over look the fact that Alex and Proteus haven’t had any contact yet than it is to accept that Alex is doing this all on his own. This is the first time we see Joe Mactaggert – Moira’s husband and father of their son Kevin (Proteus.) I’m not sure I’ve got the time line right but it seems that Joe and Moira were together (it turns out he’s a real abusive little man,) she goes to the states and meets and falls in love with Charles. Charles gets drafted and Moira tries to get a divorce from her husband only he doesn’t go along with it and soon after Charles has left she discovers that she is pregnant. Knowing that it can’t be Charles she decides to end their engagement in the Dear John letter she wrote him and then went back to Muir Island to raise Joe’s baby. Anyway, enough exposition… Moira goes to warn Joe, it doesn’t go well and Proteus ends up possessing his father and threatens to kill Moira if the X-Men choose to follow them.

The Uncanny X-Men #128 The Action of the Tiger!
Classic X-Men #34 Double Negative

This issue ends the main storyline here. Joe is dead because Kevin possessed him. The X-Men struggle through a heated battle, which isn’t going well considering every time Proteus uses his powers he grows stronger. It doesn’t make it any easier considering that all of the X-Men that aren’t metal based (metal is the only thing that can hurt or even kill Kevin.) The X-Men work to force Kevin to use up Joe’s body faster than he normally would, one by one the X-Men use their abilities on him until the only one left is Piotr. By this point Kevin is without a body, desperate and near death he tries to take possession of Piotr only to be surprised when he transforms into Colossus. By this point Kevin is so badly damaged that one punch actually managed to kill him. This is a big thing because for the first time a villain doesn’t die as a result of his own actions but instead is essentially killed by the X-Men. Granted with a villain that can kill anyone he comes within physical contact with there are very few ways that he can be dealt with but it’s still a shock because it’s something totally different than Logan using his claws to kill some random henchman. The backup story shows a typical night at the Hellfire Club and the members of its Inner Circle. Emma and Jason engage in a game of chess on the astral plane, the two of them are so evenly matched that the only way to end the game is with both of their ‘deaths.’ I don’t really care for the server girl and Emma’s talk with her about sexism.. it wasn’t really needed – I would much rather have had them spend those pages showing us more of Emma and Jason’s duel.

Marvel Team-Up #89 Shoot Out Over Center Ring

This time Kurt and Spider-Man team up. Nothing real spectacular here, Kurt meets Amanda at the airport and the encounter Miss Locke near one of Arcade’s private jets. They stow away in the trunk of the man that was meeting Miss Locke and find out that he has hired someone to murder Spider-Man. It turns out that all of this leads back to the circus and Kurt pretends to be Spider-Man to draw out the shooter. Umm okay the issue was good, but there were too many weird things that started to add up. Kurt was taken in by the circus and was sort of raised as Amanda’s foster sister, yet none of this is revealed yet – this could just be a case of me knowing too much too soon so I can over look that. But then it gets worse when Kurt runs into the man who was running the circus he was a part of, the guy remembers Kurt but makes no mention of knowing Amanda. So it seems to me that eventually Kurt and Amanda knowing each other as children and being raised together will be a retcon the writers will deal with later on. This was a good issue, but it would have been a lot better if I didn’t know about Amanda’s future events.

The Uncanny X-Men #125 There’s Something Awful on Muir Island: A
Classic X-Men #31Spigot At The End of The Universe: C
The Uncanny X-Men #126 How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth…!: A
Classic X-Men #32 Shreds of Humanity: B
The Uncanny X-Men #127 The Quality of Hatred!: A
Classic X-Men #33 So Good It Hurts: F
The Uncanny X-Men #128 The Action of the Tiger!: A
Classic X-Men #34 Double Negative: B
Marvel Team-Up #89 Shoot Out Over Center Ring: C

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