Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Phil Jimenez (p), Andy Lanning (i)
The book opens in the ruins of the island nation of Genosha, where we see Xavier & Jean Grey have arrived to investigate reports that the island is haunted. We then see that they are joined by Quicksilver, Sabra, Storm & the new Thunderbird, who are also interested in learning what exactly is going on, and given the mysterious activity does seem to involve the manipulation of magnetic fields, the underlying question becomes is Magneto still alive. However, when reports of a green haired woman start making the rounds, we see the group comes to the conclusion that Lorna Dane (aka. Polaris) is responsible, and given Genosha atmosphere is still highly radioactive, we see the group sets out to locate Lorna & figure out what she's up to. However when they locate Polaris, they discover that she has become a magnet for the psychic manifestations of the millions of mutants who died on this island, and this bombardment is driving Lorna insane. As Jean & Xavier work to free Polaris from this nightmarish situation, we see Thunderbird discovers something buried beneath the site that Lorna was drawn to. We then see this device was left by Magneto and it effectively allows him to broadcast his final words to the world.
I don't want to say that I had forgotten about Genosha, or what was done to the place relatively early in Grant Morrison's run, but given the place was destroyed in issue #115, and hasn't really play any role in the book since, I must confess I was a bit surprised to find that the book was finally getting around to examining the aftermath of this tragedy. However better late than never, and given this is the X-Men where a subplot has been known to linger unresolved for well over a decade, I guess Grant Morrison can be forgiven for this comparatively small gap. The issue does show us that there's not much for the X-Men to do here, as the ruins are inhospitable, devoid of life, and the only survivor of this tragedy looks to have been the White Queen. This issue also shows us that another X-character who was believed to have been on Genosha when it was attacked, apparently wasn't, as Lorna Dane (aka. Polaris) turns up in this issue alive, though by the time Grant Morrison's finished with her, she's a little worse for wear on the mental front. However, with the abundance of telepaths running around the Mansion these days, I suspect she'll be cured & join the newly returned Havok over in the pages of Chuck Austen's Uncanny X-Men.
This issue has been advertised as the "Last Magneto Story?", but the mere presence of that all telling question mark tells me that this isn't Magneto's last story, and once Grant Morrison has moved on to his next project, we'll soon be getting the hints that Magneto isn't quite as dead as we've been lead to believe. There's three simple signs that tell should tell the reader that Magneto will be back. One, there's no body which all comic fans should recognize as the first sign a villain's far from dead. Two, the only person who has stated Magneto is dead is Grant Morrison himself, though Joe Quesada does have his "we won't be resurrecting characters" rule, which does tend to lose some of its weight when Unus the Untouchable shows up in this issue very much alive. Third, the simple fact of the matter is that Magneto has been the fan favorite of X-fans from pretty much the beginning, and I can't see them leaving him on the shelf when a future writer realizes that bringing Magneto back would endear them to the ever fickle X-fans, who chew up & spit out writers as a matter of course. Then again I could be wrong, and maybe Magneto's final fate has been delivered, but I sincerely doubt this is the case.
Phil Jimenez is still in the midst of his run over on "Wonder Woman" so I was quite surprised to open this book and see his super-detailed work gracing these pages. Now I realize the story announcing his arrival likely mentioned this would be his first issue, but this bit of information simply didn't stick, and as such I was rewarded with a nice little surprise. Now of course this means that the New X-Men is now a book that can boost about having almost enough pencilers to form their own basketball team, but if nothing else Phil Jimenez has shown that he can deliver a monthly title, so if Frank Quitely can hold up his end, this book should be in pretty fair shape artistically. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the latest addition to this group is Phil Jimenez, as he's easily the most detail intensive artist this side of George Pérez, and the New X-Men is a good showcase for his art, as Grant Morrison's plots often call upon the art to convey a sense of grander that his work has little trouble delivering. From our first look at the ruins of Genosha, to the big finish as we see Polaris acting as a massive ghost magnet this issue is a wonderful looking display of art. There's also some nice work on the little elements, like Quicksilver's displays of speed, and the madness in Lorna's eyes.
I wasn't all that impressed by the issue we received last week, and I'm not completely sold on this issue, but this week's story does earn itself a recommendation thanks largely to the arrival of Phil Jimenez, who is my personal favorite of the half dozen artists who cycled through these pages since Grant Morrison's arrival. The situation in Genosha is also a fairly interesting one, and one that really should of been addressed far sooner, as Grant Morrison hasn't so much as cast a glance its way since he revealed that the White Queen was the only survivor of this massacre. Now the idea that this issue is our last look at Magneto was a bit unimpressive, as frankly the character deserves to be remembered as something more memorable than what amounts to a glorified tape recording of his last words. Still there's some nice creepy moments in this issue, such as Unus' encounter with the ghosts. It's also nice to see that Polaris survived the attack upon Genosha, and hopefully she'll find her way back into the X-Men.
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