Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chronological X-Men - Secret Wars II Part 1 Review

Secret Wars II (review part 1)

Dazzler #37 – The Girl in the Machine

Alison gets a call from an old friend of hers asking for help and Alison jumps at the chance to reconnect with her. The only problem is when she reaches Diana’s home she is told that Diana died over six months ago! We see the return of Revenge Inc which was nice but between their return, Diana’s involvement and the whole story behind Revenge Inc using Diana and giving her those operations that eventually caused her to be absorbed into this machine that apparently only she could use and then turn against them was a bit too much and it made it seem forced. This story could have easily been more than one issue, or they should have had a few things here and there that led up to it. Sure there’s the Revenge Inc thing, but we’ve never even heard of Diana Simon before this particular issue. It didn’t need to be a B or C plot in other issues, but at least one page or 2-3 panels here and there would have made this story better than it was.

Dazzler #38 – Challenge

See this right here – the few pages with O.Z. Chase and that mysterious man that we don’t see who suddenly turns to a pile of dust is exactly what I was talking about in the previous issue. There needs to be some kind of build up to the plots – it doesn’t need to have the bulk of an issue devoted to it, but it’s a perfect thing to put in to beef up stand alone stories, or filler issues. I was actually much more interested in the whole bounty hunter thing and that mysterious figure than I was about the main plot. It jumps around too much First Logan and Piotr are fighting Alison then it flashes back to Alison going to the X-Men wanting to train her new powers. There were just too many weird things. I understand Logan’s disgust at Alison wanting to train when she has no interest in being a super hero. I don’t understand why Piotr is all gaga over Alison when he’s busy ‘not loving’ Kitty. Rogue being all pro Alison is odd considering the two of them despise each other and I have no idea why Scott shows up out of the blue.

The New Mutants #29 – Meanwhile, Back at the Mansion…

Roberto and Amara are kidnapped by members of the Gladiators and it’s up to Sam and Illyana to save them. We see the return of the Gladiators from the Beauty and the Beast miniseries as well as Lila Cheney, Dazzler (obviously), Magneto and Lee Forrester. We have the first appearance of Guido Carosella AKA Strong Guy. Charles and the rest of the New Mutants are still on Muir Island so we basically only get Amara, Roberto, Sam and Illyana this time. There isn’t really much to say about this issue, Roberto and Amara stay with the Gladiators to save a bunch of runaway children; Charles contacts Magneto to let him know that the Beyonder has returned and charges Magneto to assemble a team to go up against him to save the world (Illyana and Sam join).

The Uncanny X-Men #195 – It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

We meet The Power Pack for the first time which I guess is okay – honestly I don’t feel one way or another about their appearance here. The X-Men are a little too old to be dealing with kids that young, it would have fit a bit better if this happened in The New Mutants title instead of Uncanny X-men but what can you do? The Morlocks are back: Annalee is still suffering from the murder of her children (they were killed in Uncanny X-Men #193), Leech, Callisto, Masque and Sunder we’ve seen before, I think this is the first time we’ve seen Ape or at the very least the first time Ape has had more than just a group shot in the X-Books I mean. Beautiful Dreamer, Erg and Tar Baby show up for the first time in this book. I’m not really sure where Kurt or Piotr are or why their absence means that Kitty is running point on this mission, especially over a tracker like Logan or a telepath like Rachel. It was a good issue though which is fine by me. Of course we have the build up to Secret Wars II here too because Rachel is summoned telepathically by Magneto ordering that she (how he knows about her I have no idea) and the rest of the X-Men return to the mansion immediately.

Secret Wars II #1 – Earthfall!

You know, I thought that the first Secret Wars series was packed with characters but this one takes the cake. This is just the first issue and we’ve got: The Beyonder, Molecule Man, Volcana, Wolfsbane, Warlock, Mirage, Cannonball, Magik, Captain America, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Shadowcat, Magneto, Rogue, Rachel Summers, Iron Man (James), Tony Stark, Professor X, Moria MacTaggert, David Haller (Legion) Dazzler, Lila Cheney and Doug Ramsey *who for some reason is colored with black hair that makes him look like Roberto. We get a new character ‘Thundersword’ who is a TV writer who obtains a portion of the Beyonder’s power and pretty much goes crazy. I do like the idea of a potential inside joke looking back on it. The writer is sick of having to play by everyone’s rules and just wants to write what he wants to write. It’s funny once you consider that many X-book writers expressed their dislike of having to throw away their own plots to fit in with massive title wide crossovers and events. I like the concept of The Beyonder wanting to learn and grow but I think I need to see more of it before I can really judge it.

The New Mutants #30 – The Singer & Her Song
The New Mutants #31 – Saturday Night Fight

After having the evil portion of her soul pulled out into the open and becoming the demonic Darkchilde by the Beyonder Illyana transports herself, Rachel, Sam, Kitty and Dazzler to Limbo. Kitty manages to take Illyana’s Soulsword and use it on Illyana which effectively causes Darkchilde’s essence to retreat back into Illyana’s soul. From there the group returns to LA where they find that the Beyonder, X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man and Lila Cheney have all vanished. Kitty steps up as the leader of the group and they make their way back to the Gladiators to try once again to free Roberto and Amara. The big reveal here is that the mysterious person that has been running the Gladiators is really Xi’an Coy Manh! Obviously they can’t give out all the details of her sudden resurrection or why she has changed not only in behavior but drastically in the looks department as well. What is kind of explained is why the sudden change in the Gladiators mindset; while it’s not expressly said I’m choosing to believe that is why they returned to their old ways. Ultimately Xi’an gets away and Kitty decides that the New Mutants need to go on their own and track down Karma while she, Rachel, and Alison reconnect with the X-Men.

Dazzler #37 – The Girl in the Machine: B
Dazzler #38 – Challenge: C
The New Mutants #29 – Meanwhile, Back at the Mansion…: B
The Uncanny X-Men #195 – It Was A Dark And Stormy Night: A
Secret Wars II #1 – Earthfall!: B
The New Mutants #30 – The Singer & Her Song: A
The New Mutants #31 – Saturday Night Fight: B

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