Current Reviews


The New X-Men #130

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2002
By: Ray Tate

"Weapon Twelve"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Igor Kordey(i), Dave McCaig & Chris Chuckry(c)
Publisher: Marvel

Igor Kordey’s artwork is the sharpest it has been for The New X-Men, but Grant Morrison’s story doesn’t belong in the title. There are intrinsic problems within the story itself, but the most obvious concern is the way in which the characters fail to fit inside the pages of Mr. Morrison’s script. This is unsurprising since “Weapon Twelve” is really an unused JLA rough draft.

Last issue Fantomex fed the reader mutant droppings about the menace being a result of “heated time.” Mr. Morrison must have realized what rubbish this was and dropped it in his later scenes. Shame he didn’t edit. This bizarre notion falls by the wayside to the more plausible “bacterial consciousness” promoted for this chapter. If you doubt these observations, ask yourself what does “heated time” have to do with “bacterial consciousness.” Nothing at all.

The “bacterial consciousness” explanation does reason why hordes zombie in the Chunnel. Unfortunately, this explanation closely resembles the theme in a Justice League America annual by DeMatteis/Giffin and Bill Willingham. Perhaps, this similarity explains why Mr. Morrison filed away the draft so it would never ripen to full JLA status.

While the Cassandra story intrinsically suited the X-Men universe, the whole idea of Weapon Twelve to accompany Weapon X seems as tacked on as Fantomex. The X-Men you see and in fact the entirety of Marvel Comics hasn’t a Batman. Mr. Morrison realized his story needed one, so he made one. Fantomex owes an extreme debt to Diabolik, the famous thief from Italian comic strips, and he in turn owes a debt to the Phantom and of course Batman.

Grant Morrison’s “Batman” pretty much solves the mystery, adapts a satisfying strategy and steals the spotlight from all the other “X-Men.” Since “Weapon Twelve” was not officially JLA Mr. Morrison took liberties he would not be able to take in his previous title. Fantomex read as Batman for instance kills Green Lantern read as Dawnstar. Mr. Morrison strips away any subtext in the attraction between Batman and Wonder Woman. Here Fantomex knows Jean Grey has the horny for him; Scott, it’s time buy a clue.

The reader can see more analogues. Syren could have been a role played originally by Black Canary whom Mr. Morrison could not use since she was permanently depowered as far as Chuck Dixon and therefore DC was concerned. Multi-Man and Professor X easily translate to the Flash and the Martian Manhunter. My own unfamiliarity with the X-Men universe prevented me from seeing Monet’s part, but after explanation from somebody who took X-Men 101 in college, it becomes obvious that she clearly was meant to be Superman. Fantomex and she even share an edgy scene questioning his methods.

Fantomex’s methods involve wholesale slaughter, and the X-Men are okay with that. Here again, the writing suggests something changed. Batman’s intent in the original was probably to use special batarangs on innocent people infected by Weapon Twelve. Superman naturally would object to this. The more pragmatic Leaguers would see Batman’s stratagem as a necessary evil. I can see the League having no problem with knocking out GL and the infected. I cannot see the X-Men accepting that Dawnstar’s murder and the murder of scores of afflicted were necessary and justified.

Fantomex’s ship cheekily named Eva after Diabolik’s girlfriend is obviously the Wonder Dome. Wonder Woman should be piloting, but to enhance the attempt at obfuscation, Mr. Morrison switches her place with that of the Batman.

Mr. Morrison may have been able to transform this obvious JLA story into a fascinating New X-Men story, but he didn’t even make an effort. He alters some dialogue. He removes a few characteristic impediments, but the story sorely misses the icons with which he used to play. No matter who was involved, the story still needed polish.

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