Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Days of Future Past Part 3 Review

Days of Future Past.

Spider-Woman #37 – Who Am I?
Spider-Woman #38 – Criminal At Large

You know I’ve never read a single issue of Spider-Woman before so I don’t know what’s going on with pretty much every character involved with this story that aren’t X-Men centric. This would be a problem except for the fact that there’s a large portion of the book is devoted to flashbacks and exposition. We see what Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut have been up to ever since they contracted Arcade to kill the X-Men. We do get the first appearance of Siryn which actually works for me because it’s one more character that I’m already familiar with but I do wish that they had spent a little more time introducing her. Granted I needed the backstory for Spider-Woman but at the same time it’s odd that so much of the issue was devoted to exposing new readers to the exploits of Jessica Drew but Siryn has apparently working and training with her uncle Black Tom off of any book. Black Tom framing Spider-Woman for the treasury robbery he committed is nothing new (the villains are always trying to portray the hero as a bad guy) so there’s nothing much to talk about there. The X-Men go off to investigate what set Cerebro off (obviously it ends up being Siryn since Tom and Cain have already been established as characters) and end up working with Spider-Woman to clear her name and to take down the trio of villains. One thing I didn’t really like was a bit odd. I know that Tom’s identity is pretty much publicly known so by default relative would be exposed but was it really Tom’s best move to tell the X-Men in front of police to take care of his niece Theresa. It would be too easy to just track the activity of a ‘Theresa Cassidy’ and her locations at any given point could lead to the revelation of who is really an X-Man. But... maybe that was Tom’s plan all along? When I was done with this story I actually wanted to start reading all of Jessica Drew's exploits - so I guess that's a sign of good story telling.

The Uncanny X-Men #148 – Cry, Mutant

This issue takes place right after the recent Spider-Woman story. Sean, Illyana and Moira haven’t returned to their respective homes (yet Alex, Lorna, Bobby and Amanda have-,) Magneto makes his reappearance in the city that has suddenly appeared near the island that Scott and Lee have washed up on when their ship capsized. Sean meets Theresa for the first time (so first time Siryn appears in an X-book) and their instant bond bothers Moira because she’s afraid of ever having another child after what happened with her son Kevin. Jessica Drew arrives at the mansion (I’m assuming that she took Theresa there) and she, Kitty, Ororo and Stevie all go to a club to watch Dazzler perform. We get the first appearance of Caliban who is so desperate for a friend that he tries to kidnap Kitty, thankfully Storm, Spider-Woman and Dazzler manage to save Kitty and try to convince Caliban to join the X-Men. Scott and Lee bump heads when she tries to kiss him and the two fight and end up making up – oh well. One thing that’s interesting is that Illyana’s middle name is ‘Natalyanovna’ but later they end up changing it to: Nikolaevna.

The Uncanny X-Men #149 – And The Dead Shall Bury The Living

We get a series of flashbacks showing the X-Men’s various battles with Magneto over the years. Kitty tries to debut a new version of her costume which – is colorful to say the least. Charles is upset and yells at her for interrupting his ‘research’ and that she hasn’t earned an individualized costume that it comes when she graduates the school. I think that’s kind of odd because Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Banshee, Sunfire, Warpath and Wolverine never got the ‘school uniforms’ (they do use them later in the years as training uniforms… so I guess that counts for something) the strange thing I find about this is you can’t even argue that Kurt couldn’t wear one because of his tail hands and feet because Warren had an altered costume for his wings. Speaking of Warren – he’s still acting like a brat and won’t be an X-Man if Logan is, real convenient when Ororo is thrown down into a pit and the only ones who can save her are Kitty and Kurt. Garokk is back, he didn’t die when he and Ororo last fought, instead he was wounded and Magneto found him and he is now guarding Magneto’s old base. Kitty phases to keep Garokk from killing Ororo but it causes him to go falling over the ledge and plummeting to his death. Okay so they fixed Ororo having killed Garokk, but Kurt, Jean, Piotr, Kitty and Logan have all killed someone – it seems odd for Warren to take a stand against Logan. You can argue that Kitty was self defense, Kurt was an accident, and Piotr because he felt badly for Moira’s son dying but Jean still killed willingly and gleefully yet Warren seems to have no problem when he worked with her. Another odd thing is hearing Charles say he doesn’t know about Magneto’s origins, the history the two of them have is so intertwined that they’re almost two sides of the same character so it’s odd seeing it without the context of the retcon. Don’t get me wrong.. the issue individually is a good issue, and it’s a good starting off point for new readers – I just found it a little hard to swallow all the contextual errors that actually don’t even exist yet.

The Uncanny X-Men #150 – I, Magneto…

Okay we get some revelations with this one, we see Carol Danvers for the first time in an X-book (she’ll play a major role with certain things later on) and it was kind of odd because of the reason for her spending time with the X-Men hasn’t actually happened yet – it’s funny because there’s a blurb that basically says ‘hey this hasn’t happened yet but be sure to read it when it does’ type of thing. We learn that Ororo has indeed killed someone before when she was younger and this is something that weighs with her heavily to this day. So much so that she hesitates in slitting Magneto’s throat long enough for him to wake up and attack her. We officially learn that Magneto was a Holocaust victim after he believes that he has killed Kitty. That’s something I thought was odd too, this is a double sized issue, yet the ending is still rushed. One panel Kitty is dead and Ororo is grieving over her dead body and then the next panel Kitty is alive and well on the beach hanging out with the rest of the X-Men while they wait for their transportation to be fixed. And what makes this odd isn’t that they didn’t have room for exposition but in a double-sized issue the only room they allotted for that particular scene was a blurb that said and I quote: ‘miraculously – because she was phasing at the time – Kitty survived Magneto’s energy blast.’ Really they couldn’t have done a better job with that? Really?

Bizarre Adventures #27 Phoenix/Iceman: Winter Carnival/Nightcrawler: Show Me The Way To Go Home

This particular book gives us three full length stories each focusing on an untold tale of the X-Men. The first story starts off with Jean’s sister Sara visiting Jean’s grave and flashes back on an adventure the two of them shared shortly after Jean revealed herself as Phoenix and a mutant to Sara. We learn how Jean’s telepathic powers initially grew out of control when her childhood best friend Annie died in her arms. This then sets it up that Charles visited Jean when she became too withdrawn. We learn that Sara is afraid that her children will end up being mutants. There is a little mistake; Sara keeps talking about her son ‘Tommy’ yet Sara’s children’s names are later established as being Joey and Gailyn. Jean and Sara get abducted by Attuma – a water dweller who wants revenge on the surface world and Namor by taking mutant women from above water and  umm.. basically breed them with his people to create a super powered army. The story was good, but I really didn’t need to read it at all, it was interesting to see that Jean’s mind wipe she performed on her sister to make her forget these things happened was undone when she died – I just wish that this was something that was followed up on like how she wiped Kitty’s parents minds when Emma Frost abducted the X-Men and Kitty. The next story shows us Bobby’s during his college years. He’s spending the winter break with some of his old friends (I’m not sure where they came from considering Bobby was with the X-Men since he was around 15 and stayed with the team until after he had turned 18. But the next time we see Bobby in an X-book he’s drinking beer – now assuming that he’s not doing it illegally- so it’s possible that Bobby could have met his friends in the three year gap. Bobby gets a taste of freedom and the spotlight when he’s forced to act as Iceman after someone tries to steal one of the computers from the school. He stops the thieves and participates in the winter carnival. Later Bobby learns that one of the professors staged the robbery to cover up for a real robbery later, Bobby finds out and takes the man down. I actually liked this story, probably more than Jean’s but it just seems kind of weird. The final story shows the X-Men encountering ‘half a mutant’ it turns out to be Vanisher who has only half teleported back to this world – the other half of him is trapped in another dimension. Kurt gets mixed up in it and the two of them travel through multiple realities (one of which has both of them as women, another reality has the two of them as animals) before landing in another dimension where the two of them are regarded as ‘Gods’ simply because they are men. Ultimately they end up back on Earth and whole so this isn’t really anything big – at least I don’t think so – but there was one thing I found interesting. One of the three women who declare Kurt and Vanisher ‘gods’ seems to look an awful lot like Roma – a character who is tied very closely to Excalibur down the road and is connected to Captain Britain. For me this was by far the best story out of all three, and it’s the first time that Kurt has actually felt like the version of him that I enjoyed so much as a child (he’s still not up to that point in the main book) the one thing that I could consider it to be a downside is that this story is essentially comic relief and I don’t usually go for that in comics but it really works here. And I can’t get the image and conversation Kurt has when he tries to teleport for the first time in this new dimension. All in all these stories are good, I think the only one that could be considered even remotely strong enough to stand on it’s own would be Kurt’s story but the entire issue is really a case of the sum being much greater than it’s parts.

Spider-Woman #37 – Who Am I?: A
Spider-Woman #38 – Criminal At Large: A
The Uncanny X-Men #148 – Cry, Mutant: B
The Uncanny X-Men #149 – And The Dead Shall Bury The Living: C
The Uncanny X-Men #150 – I, Magneto…: B
Bizarre Adventures #27 Phoenix/Iceman: Winter Carnival/Nightcrawler: Show Me The Way To Go Home: A

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