Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chronological X-Men - Nova Roma Review

Nova Roma!

The New Mutants #7 – Flying Down To Rio!

I spoke about this before but I’ll touch on it again. The first few pages of this story feel like it should have fit in the last storyline instead of being included in Nova Roma, but there isn’t a way to break up the issues in the middle of a book – so in my mind the first few pages of this story take place right before the X-Men go to Japan for Logan and Mariko’s non wedding and the rest of the Nova Roma arch takes place before the Scott/Madelyne wedding. The story itself gives us the first appearances of a mercenary mutant by the name of Axe and Roberto’s mother Nina (and his butler Simon.) The main story has the New Mutants off with Roberto’s mother as they prepare to go on an expedition, but not before they first experience Carnival. Roberto’s mother gets kidnapped by Axe who is working with the Hellfire Club to stop Nina’s work all the while Sebastian Shaw is courting Roberto’s father for membership in the Inner Circle. This was a pretty good start to the story, but it felt like filler. There were a few things that I wish they had expanded on though – what’s with all these telepathic attacks that Charles is experiencing, what happened with attacks Xi’an had right before she died? Are they connected, is what Charles is feeling at all connected to the attacks that he has been experiencing in The Uncanny X-Men? It is hard to judge this though since it is the very first chapter in the story so it does need some time to build.

The New Mutants #8 – The Road to… Rome?
The New Mutants #9 – Arena!

The next chapter of this story gives us the first appearances of Amara Aquilla and her father Lucius who is a senator of Nova Roma and just so happens to be in a political battle with another senator Marcus Domitius Gallio and his wife Selene (oh yes, that Selene.) Sebastian Shaw is still courting Roberto’s father for membership in the Inner Circle and they both plan to use Nova Roma as a way to gain more wealth and power. Lucius disguised his daughter and her servants and sent them out into the jungle to protect them from becoming victims of the Black Priestess; naturally that’s when Amara runs into the New Mutants who are betrayed by Castro and the crew of the boat they are on. It turns out that Castro and his men have been given orders by Roberto’s father to keep the group from entering Nova Roma. After surviving the sabotage the New Mutants and Amara are taken into Nova Roma and the girls are forced/drugged into being slaves and Roberto and Sam are made to battle in the arena where the survivor will also become a slave. When Roberto and Sam use their mutant powers in the arena the crowd turns against them assuming that they are demons who have been sent by the Black Priestess to destroy them all, everyone is against them until Rahne transforms into a wolf and Senator Gallio announces that the girl was sent by the Gods and that her and her friends must be honored. They did touch on something here that I almost wish that they didn’t; evidentially Rahne has somewhat of a healing ability that goes along with her powers. There’s nothing wrong with this idea but there are a few mutants already who can heal or can’t be hurt out there already. It doesn’t have to be that every mutant with feral powers can rapidly self heal, but it’s even worse that they introduce this idea with Rahne and then slowly phase it out.

The New Mutants #10 – Betrayal!
The New Mutants #11 – Magma

Well we get quite a few big reveals here. We learn that Roberto’s mother Nina didn’t die in the boat crash, that she’s being held prisoner by Senator Gallio who has learned of what Castro was sent to do and wants to arrange a partnership between himself and the Inner Circle. Another big reveal comes when Dani sneaks out of the palace once everyone starts to get uncomfortable with their settings and is attacked and taken to an underground temple where she finds an unconscious Amara and another random girl. The three of them are set to be sacrificed to the Black Priestess and her cult. While Dani and Amara are fighting for their lives Sam, Roberto and Rahne are almost killed by Castro and the three of them learn that the whole thing has been set up by Gallio and that Amara’s father is really the one they should have been helping out the whole time. While the New Mutants take a stand and find their place in Nova Roma’s civil war the Black Priestess reveals herself to be none other than Selene. After that everything happens pretty quickly Selene creates a blood bond with Dani and plans on turning her into a younger version of herself, Amara’s father kills Gallio, Selene attempts to sacrifice Amara like she did the unnamed girl, only to have the process trigger Amara’s latent mutant powers – control over molten lava, and the Earth’s magma. The team finally reunites and Roberto is forced to kill Selene and bury her in the rubble of her temple. Amara’s father decides that the best place for her is with the New Mutants and at Xavier’s school so she can learn to control her powers as well as learn the ways of the world. Nina decides to stay behind to help prepare Nova Roma for what the outside world is like and to teach them a way to defend and protect their city if her husband and the Inner Circle ever decide to try to take the city.

The New Mutants #12 – Sunstroke

So now that Gallio and Selene have been defeated the New Mutants (including Amara) head off to Brazil where Roberto confronts his father and the rest of the team enjoys a much needed vacation from their recent vacation. Roberto confronting his father doesn’t go over too well, Emmanuel ends up cutting off his son and uses it as the final push he needed to join the Inner Circle. Amara doesn’t end up much better either. A mixture of culture shock as well as not being used to the different climate causes her to panic and trigger her powers and she’s so lost in her own little world that she can’t shut off her own powers. The team ends up tracking down Amara and saving herslf and Brazil from Magma’s unintentional wrath. One thing that kind of bothered me was the fact that Dani used her powers for the exact same thing only a few issues ago, in this same storyline no less. Dani has such a cool power, but to reduce it to nothing more than basically keeping her teammates from getting sweaty is a waste of her potential.

The New Mutants #13 – School Dayze

So we get the first appearance of Doug Ramsey but I’m getting ahead of myself here. The issue starts with the team finally returning to the mansion where Amara meets Charles Xavier and she joins the team. Amara is given the codename Magma – which should have been pretty obvious why. It makes sense that Amara struggles to adjust to her new surroundings and after how she had been drugged and controlled by Selene it would make sense that she wouldn’t take to well to the idea of Charles being able to enter her mind. It turns out that kitty has been using her friendship with Doug so he can help her monitor what Sebastian Shaw has been up to. After moving on from manipulating Roberto’s father he’s gone back to working with Henry Peter Gyrich on Project Widewake. Valerie Cooper has also joined the project in an attempt to track down mutants to create a governmentally sponsored mutant team. It appears that she is currently unaware of the fact that Henry plans on killing or imprisoning all mutants, and both Valerie and Henry are unaware of the fact that Sebastian Shaw is a mutant and is planning on using the project to protect the Inner Circle and target all the other mutants. The whole thing I find odd about this issue is the fact that Kitty is sort of manipulating Doug – that’s not in character for her at all, and it gets even more weird when it begins to appear that Charles has no idea that Kitty is doing this. There is a mistake when Charles says he wishes Amara had a ‘confidence’ like Kitty does Illyana – it’s obvious he meant ‘confidant.’ It was a good issue, but I don’t think it was smart to close out the arch with it. The story would have been stronger if it ended last issue. But all in all it was good.

The New Mutants #7 – Flying Down To Rio!: B
The New Mutants #8 – The Road to… Rome?: B
The New Mutants #9 – Arena!: A
The New Mutants #10 – Betrayal!: A
The New Mutants #11 – Magma: A
The New Mutants #12 – Sunstroke: B
The New Mutants #13 – School Dayze: B

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