Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Igor Kordey
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The book opens with the X-operatives in the Chunnel discovering that the creature they're facing is able to siege control of anyone it makes physical contact with, and as such the group are busy getting driven back by the creature's ever expanding army. We then join Xavier & Jean as they arrive at the battle site with their new ally Fantomax, who explains that the creature in the Chunnel is part of the same program that subjected Wolverine to the adamantium bonding process, but this creation is a couple more stages down the line in this program's attempt to develop the ultimate fighting machine. As Jean uses her abilities to temporarily freeze the mind of this creature, which is referred to as Weapon XII, we see Fantomax enters the Chunnel to get his hands on a control device that was created to take down Weapon XII should it ever run rampant. With Xavier & Multiple Man working to keep Weapon XII occupied we see Fantomax reaches the device and effective ends the threat. We then see him admit to Jean that he's part of the same program that created Weapon XII, before he makes his escape.
There are times when I think Grant Morrison gets too caught up in his delivery of off-the-wall ideas, that he forgets, or rather hopes the reader will forget that his material is still subject to the rules of good storytelling. I mean if I had to make one continuing complaint about Grant Morrison's work it's that while he does such a fantastic job of introducing & developing a threat, his endings always seem to be the weakest element of his story. I mean using this current issue as an example, after the previous issues presented Weapon XII as an unstoppable force, we see that all it takes to beat him is the mere push of a button. I mean Grant Morrison has made his mark on the industry with his ability to think outside the box, but it seems like when he grows bored of an idea he's more than willing to engage in some very conventional means of moving on to his next idea. What makes it even more disconcerting is that this seems to be an established pattern that Grant Morrison continues to embrace, as I first began to notice this trend during his JLA run, and now it seems to be a regular part of his work on this series.
Now this isn't to say that this issue didn't have elements I enjoyed, as I'm a big fan of Multiple Man thanks to his stint in X-Factor, and as such his team-up with Xavier to keep Weapon XII busy long enough for Fantomex to reach the train car made for a good use of the character's ability. I also like the notion that Fantomex's mutant gift is his pet UFO, as it's a decidedly unique idea. The issue also does a nice job in the opening half making Weapon XII into something quite terrifying, as it's not often that one has heroes running away with their tails between their legs. There's also a nice sequence where Fantomex leaps into the midst of an army of zombified people & starts blasts away, and this sequence does have itself an unexpected finish as we see one of the X-Men that entered the tunnel is killed by Fantomex (though I wouldn't be surprised to see her alive & kicking in a future story, as she's been killed off numerous times, due to the fact that the team she's normally a part of has regularly played the role of cannon fodder). Still the issue is largely made up of little bits I enjoyed, while overall the story left me cold.
Marvel should come right out and admit that Igor Kordey is this book's regular artist, as this is his seventh guest-issue in the past twelve issues, while Frank Quitely has managed to turn in three. Now if one does consider Igor Kordey to be this book's regular artist then I must confess I'm not overly impressed by this choice, as while I'm sure his full plate of other projects has cut into the amount of time he commits to the issues he's provided, his work on this book hasn't been his best. Now his past two issues have easily been his best of the bunch, and this issue has some wonderful looking visuals, such as the two-page sequence where Fantomex cuts loose on Weapon XII's victims. There's also a great looking piece of art where Multiple Man takes on Weapon XII, and there's also a nice final page shot of a world-weary Jean. On the other hand there are also scenes in this issue where I was a bit disappointed by the heavy shadowing that Igor Kordey seems to prefer, such as the panel where Xavier advances into the chunnel with his army. The visual design of Weapon XII is also a bit disappointing, as it's not nearly a terrifying as it needed to be.
An issue that runs into the same problem that I had with several of Joe Casey's issues over on the sister title, in that the X-Men are left with little to do but stand on the sidelines and watch the action play out. I mean, while I enjoyed some elements of Fantomex, having him take center stage was a bit much. Plus, while it makes sense that the program that created this threat would have a means of bringing it under control, it made for a very anticlimactic finish. I mean is the reader actually suppose to be entertained by a demonstration of how quickly & efficiently the protagonist is able to defeat the villain. Maybe this works for Batman readers, but in my book the only entertaining battle is one where there is actually some doubt regarding the final outcome. There's also Grant Morrison's need totoss in a bunch of weird sounding ideas that serve no purpose other than to sound weird, but then again I guess this is part of Grant Morrison's appeal.
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