Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chronological X-Men - Secret Wars II/X-Men-Alpha Flight Part 2 Review

Secret Wars II (part 2)/X-Men & Alpha Flight

The Uncanny X-Men #196 – What Was That?!

The bulk of this issue revolves around Charles overhearing a random thought about one of his students plotting to murder someone. It’s a plot that has been used many times and I’m pretty much over it. I would say that there’s an interesting twist when it comes to the intended murder victim actually being Charles himself but I pretty much saw that coming by the second page. The three subplots that run through the story are more interesting. Andrea and Andreas von Strucker take their revenge on Ororo by shooting her and leaving her for dead in the wild – for me that was the weakest of the three subplots but it was still enjoyable. I liked Kurt going to Father Bowen to talk about his crisis of faith and Rachel giving in to her hunter/tracker ways from her future timeline could have been expanded on more but oh well. I get the feeling that this is one of those issues where the writer had no idea where they were going with the plot so they just did all of the things that came to mind.

The Uncanny X-Men #197 – To Save Arcade?!?

Another filler issue here but this one was kind of enjoyable. We make some progress in the Nimrod plot and we start to see the beginnings of the rift between Scott and Madelyne when he returns home to check on Charles who is now letting Magneto run the school. It’s not a rift per-say but considering the future events and plots that drive Madelyne’s character it’s pretty obvious that this is where the cracks start to form. The main plot about Piotr and Kitty getting taken by Arcade was fun, honestly I didn’t see the fact that the person taking ‘revenge’ on Arcade wasn’t Doctor Doom at all but really Miss Locke and that it was just their tradition of Miss Locke trying to murder Arcade for his birthday. We get the explanation that the last time the X-Men fought Doctor Doom it was really a Doom-bot but that wasn’t needed for the plot of either of these two stories. The one thing I’m not sure of is how did Arcade know about Zsaji? Does Arcade have some sort of device that can tap into the people in Murderworld’s minds and pull out their fears, or did Arcade somehow learn about what happened the first time the Beyonder surfaced?

The Uncanny X-Men #198 – Lifedeath – From The Heart Of Darkness

Ororo is left fighting for her life after being shot in the head two issues ago. I thought the first time they did Lifedeath it was over hyped and I still feel this way with the second part of it. However it is a nice conclusion to how Ororo’s storyline started when she basically wanted to die than live without her powers and now she’s on the brink of death and she’s fighting for her life because she wants to live. Retrospectively it’s a decent story but deep down I wish that Shani, the pregnant woman that Ororo helps and Mjnari, the head of Shani’s village that now must die because there’s no room for him and the baby were also figments of Ororo’s mind like the hallucinations she had of the X-Men and Forge. I think the entire time I was just assuming that they were since Ororo was having difficulty getting around but no where near enough difficulty considering she had just been shot in her head.

X-Men/Alpha Flight #1 – The Gift I
X-Men/Alpha Flight #2 – The Gift II

There’s a whole lot of characters here in this mini series and that makes me glad that each of the two issues were ‘giant-sixed.’ For the X-Men we’ve got: Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Rachel, Rogue, Wolverine, Shadowcat and Lockheed; Magik and Cypher (Doug) make a cameo which gives us two of the New Mutants; Scott and Madelyne are taking a flight with Carla Ballenger, Dr. Jeanne Chretien, Paul Domenic, Jaques Moreau, Sam Ross, Dr. Boyd Wilson and Nick Rodriguez and finally with Alpha Flight we have: Heather Hudson, Aurora/Jeanne-Marie, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird and Talisman. And none of that counts Loki, ‘Those who sit above in shadow,’ or the Snow Giants. It doesn’t really help either that basically everyone on Scott and Madelyne’s plane become different characters. The whole plot of the series is Loki trying to gain favor and is told he must do something that makes humanity better so he creates an area that elevates everyone to pretty much the status of ‘gods’ and gives them abilities based on their hearts desires. The only consequence is in order to do this all of the magic based beings are dying because Loki’s power is feeding off of them. There was one thing that really didn’t make sense to me and that was Piotr’s actions once he learned about this ‘new world’ killing off all of the magical people on Earth. I know that he’s from a very poor area of Russia and his family really had to struggle and that honestly he might not care too much about Snowbird or Shaman, but he still sides with the ‘new world’ knowing that it could very well mean the death of his sister (and other people he knows, interacts with and cares about.) The biggest reveal here is of course the fact that Madelyne is pregnant and with a boy; I do wish that we had the chance to see more of Rachel’s freak out over that. The scene at the end with Scott and Rachel is a nice touch but I really wanted just one little throw away scene with Rachel and Madelyne and Madelyne saying how much Rachel looks like she did ‘growing up.’

The Uncanny X-Men #196 – What Was That?!: C
The Uncanny X-Men #197 – To Save Arcade?!?: B
The Uncanny X-Men #198 – Lifedeath – From The Heart Of Darkness: B-
X-Men/Alpha Flight #1 – The Gift I: A
X-Men/Alpha Flight #2 – The Gift II: A

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