Monday, December 20, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Magik Review


Dazzler #26 – Against the Wind
Dazzler #27 – Fugitive!
Dazzler #28 – Vendetta!

This is one of those plot lines that is kind of a wash. I liked it, but I didn’t; it was good, yet it was flawed. Alison continues to grow closer to her half sister Lois who continues to suffer from headaches and black outs. We finally learn why – it turns out Lois is also a mutant and when her powers manifest she accidentally murders a homeless man who tries to attack and sexually assault her in a deserted street. This causes Alison and her sister to go on the run because thanks to Stryker Anti-Mutant hysteria is at an all time high and they both fear that Lois will never get true justice simply because she might be a mutant. On the run Alison is forced to create a disguise to keep from being recognized now that she’s famous. After Lois’ powers manifest again and lead to the death of a cat they take off again and head to LA. Meanwhile Rogue hasn’t taken too well to her many recent defeats at Alison’s hands and has begun hunting her down to exact her own revenge even though Mystique and Destiny both believe she should let it go. Everything comes to a head when in LA Alison receives pictures of Lois killing the homeless man and they are blackmailed into killing someone else – it turns out to be Lois’ biological father Nick Brown. The two of them kind of reconnect and Alison seems to like him, but she can’t get past the things her mother said he did to her – not that she has much time to because Warren has been shot (he’s recovering at a nearby hospital though) and Rogue is chasing her through Nick’s home trying to kill her. Ultimately Alison defeats Rogue and this time it must have sunk in that being with the Brotherhood/Sisterhood of Evil Mutants doesn’t pay off because she officially leaves the group off panel but this is the last time she’s an actual member of the team.

The Uncanny X-Men #169 – Catacombs
The Uncanny X-Men #170 – Dancin’ in the Dark

This storyline brings us the first appearance of the Morlocks (who are named after the subhuman group of subterranean from H.G. Welles’ ‘The Time Machine.’ We’ve seen Caliban before but this is the first time we see Callisto, Masque, Plague and Sunder – there are other Morlocks but they haven’t been given names yet. There were a few things that seemed a bit off, mostly because it is a bit hard to keep track of every single action every character makes in every book – the fact that there are some things that don’t exactly fit make me concerned that it will only get worse when they add in more X-books. Right now there are only three, but for a huge chunk of time there is a period of time where there are no less than 6 X-books at any given time. Now for the odd things.. Angel is kidnapped and taken to the Morlocks’ tunnel to be married to Callisto – this is odd because in the story he is with Candy yet for like the past year’s worth of comics he’s been off in the Dazzler book where he pretty much walked out on his relationship with Candy so he can pursue a romantic relationship with Alison Blaire, on top of that there is no mention (not like Warren has the chance what with being strung up, knocked out and having large portions of his wings plucked out) of him being hounded by Rogue, Mystique and Destiny nor the fact that he was recently shot. Another thing that’s ‘off’ is the fact that Storm says she knows what Angel is going through only the way she says it makes it sound like she ran away and escaped from the man who raped her when she was twelve and that she would never kill anyone because she would become a monster like that man when the whole build up over the years has been the fact that Ororo had killed her rapist and swore that she would never take another human life. There are a few more things that are … off … Mastermind has been tormenting Mystique through nightmares where she is the animal that he and Lady Jean Grey killed when he was trying to corrupt Jean. I don’t really understand why he’s after Mystique because up to this point Jason has never crossed paths with Raven or Irene. Rogue goes missing –which places this story right after the recent Dazzler one. The change in Ororo’s behavior is interesting, I wish they’d explain it though – I’m betting it had something to do with things that happened to her during the Brood storyline. We get much more interaction between Scott and Madelyne which is nice (because by now you all should know how I feel about her character) but it seems really sudden. It would have benefited from a slower build up. The story wasn’t bad but it was far from being very good and it left me wanting a lot more than it delivered.

The New Mutants #4 – Who’s Scaring Stevie?

This story almost could fit better during the whole God Loves, Man Kills plot simply because of the subject matter but it doesn’t really fit that time line. This story revolves around the New Mutants trying to figure out who has been harassing their teacher Stevie over the phone for a period of time. It’s one of those stories that is a good read but it’s not really an issue you’d jump at the bit to read again. I don’t know why, but for some reason I’m still fonder of the New Mutants stories than the Uncanny X-Men – maybe it’s because it’s a whole new set of characters. I still have issues with the art – it isn’t bad but it’s hard to look at things for example how Sam is drawn and not laugh or think he looks like some 40 year old country singer but that’s how he’s supposed to be portrayed so I can’t find too much fault with it. I don’t really have anything bad to say about this story my only complaint was the little mistake where Dani said that they were invited to the dance when at the time that the team was invited Dani was busy being locked in the Danger Room and assaulted by the Brood Queen that had taken over Charles.

The Uncanny X-Men #171 – Rogue

Ororo offers the Morlocks a home at Xavier’s school if they ever want it and she promises to continue to look in on them as she is now their leader. We see a little of Carol struggling with her life and lack of emotional connection she has to her newly recovered memories. Logan is still off on his own, and Scott is in Alaska busy starting up his own relationship with Madelyne. Speaking of Madelyne we learn that she was the lone survivor of a fiery crash that happened on the exact same date that Phoenix died. Granted you have too look at the event not the actual year because the yearly scale is a sliding one because even assuming that all the characters were 20 in the early 80s they would all be at least 50 now. The main plot involves Rogue having difficulties dealing with Carol’s mind trapped within her own and she goes to the X-Men for help, none of the X-Men take it well but Carol takes it the hardest leaving the X-Men behind for good since Rogue has been given status as a member of the team. Kitty has officially given up her codename of Sprite and gone back to Ariel which is like okay.. whatever. Illyana programs in a new training session for the X-Men (who are in need of blowing off steam while Charles examines Rogue) and somehow manages to program in a recreation of Limbo and particular events that happened there. Kitty tries to comfort Illyana who has started to panic and draws out the Soulsword for the first time and actually scratches Kitty with it while she is phased. The big thing with this though is that seeing Limbo again has forced Illyana to remember everything she had so far blocked out.

Magik #1 – Little Girl Lost
Magik #2 – Cold Iron – Hot Blood!
Magik #3 – Soulquest
Magik #4 – Darkchild

This is one of those stories that gives you a big bang for your buck. Illyana is contemplating her life and how to figure out exactly how old she is. It is her birthday but if she had stayed on Earth she’d only be turning seven but thanks to being trapped in Limbo and time moving differently she is actually turning 15. Of course she’s still struggling with her newly resurfaced memories. We learn quite a bit with this story – not only how Ororo learned how to tap into magic but how Belasco initially planned on using her and using her soul to make a series of bloodstones with. We see how Piotr died trying to protect his sister, Kitty becoming ‘touched’ by Belasco’s magic and first becoming a cat/human hybrid before being ultimately changed and transformed into a cat. We see Ororo try to teach Illyana white magic before she runs away with Cat (Kitty) and trying to use the stepping disks to return to Earth. Cat ends up killing a totally corrupted version of Kurt and as punishment Belasco makes her his new servant. A series of spells, trials and events allow Belasco to teach Illyana black magic eventually corrupting her and pulling portions of her soul into a new series of bloodstones that he intends on using because there’s something about Illyana’s soul that will allow Belasco’s masters a way to destroy all of the Earth. Illyana slowly learns how to control her magic, eventually learning that the stepping disks are actually her own creation – which finally solves the question of if she is a mutant or not. She is, and her powers are similar to Kurt’s – this is a bit odd though because I’m not sure why she would have blocked out the fact that she has mutant abilities once she returned to Earth considering pretty much all Illyana ever said before going to Limbo was asking questions revolving around the fact that she might be a mutant, and she continued those types of questions once she returned to Earth. We finally get an explanation as to why Illyana hasn’t seen her parents – when she attempted to escape Limbo with Cat she managed to escape briefly and returned home to Russia and encountered her parents. Her mother and father ended up rejecting her (not aware of the fact that time moves differently in Limbo) thinking she is no more than an unruly teenager who is wicked and pretending to be Illyana just to torment them. It still doesn’t make sense to me as to why she hasn’t gone back to them, or why Piotr hasn’t visited them and told them what happened. Things drastically spiral out of control and Illyana ends up snapping Cat’s neck and killing her and shortly after that killing Ororo. According to a dying Ororo though these were mercy killings and didn’t end up costing her soul anything – unfortunately this causes the third (there needs to be five total) bloodstone to be created which leaves Illyana more evil black magic than white magic. Illyana tries a spell that Ororo did once only to find out that it will never work for her since she has become more corrupted than Ororo ever is – Illyana cannot create life like Ororo did, instead she focuses her magic to create the Soulsword to use as a means of preventing others from ending or perverting life. A heated battle with Belasco leads to Illyana transforming into Darkchylde for the first time only the good in her rejects the transformation and won’t allow herself to kill Belasco. She realizes that if she stays in Limbo she would be able to make it better but the ultimate price would be the destruction of her soul and would lead to the re-corruption of Limbo so Illyana decides to leave Limbo and return to Earth. In the End we see Illyana wandering around the mansion finding the New Mutants and she realizes that just maybe the ending of her innocence was only just the beginning of her life. I’ve got to say I really love this story, I could read it again now, and then when I’m finished I could go right back and re-read it. There honestly is not a single bad thing that I can say about this story, and if Illyana wasn’t in my top 5 favorite X-Men characters of all time I would still want to read the story three times. I wish that Illyana was given a real series at some point. It’s been a major gripe with me, she’s gotten a few miniseries over the years but when you see characters like Captain Brittan, Rogue, Blink and Gambit get multiple series over the years I just wish that they gave Magik one.

Dazzler #26 – Against the Wind: B
Dazzler #27 – Fugitive!L B
Dazzler #28 – Vendetta!L B
The Uncanny X-Men #169 – Catacombs: B
The Uncanny X-Men #170 – Dancin’ in the Dark: B
The New Mutants #4 – Who’s Scaring Stevie?: C
The Uncanny X-Men #171 – Rogue: B
Magik #1 – Little Girl Lost: A
Magik #2 – Cold Iron – Hot Blood!: A
Magik #3 – Soulquest: A
Magik #4 – Darkchild: A

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