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New X-Men #150

Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 2003
By: Shawn Hill



ďPlanet X Conclusion: Phoenix InvictusĒ

Writer: Morrison
Art: Jimenez and Lanning

Publisher: Marvel

Plot:
Yes, Beast and Emma did survive, just like Scott and Fantomex. And, amazingly, Jean and Wolverine did too, despite Solís best efforts at fiery incineration. The team reconvenes to face Erik in a devastated, riotous Manhattan, and this time theyíre playing for keeps.

Comments:
Morrison has made some interesting choices in this story, showing us not Magnetoís conquests but rather his failures to truly comprehend whatís going on or what he has wrought. While his reveal under Xornís mask isnít quite the same thing as when Morrison revealed the Chief to be a Machiavellian hypocrite to the Doom Patrol, one had to know that Morrison was planning on taking down another patriarchal icon by the end of his run. Heíd begun it with the ultimate in bad mothers after all.

I, at least, expected it to be Xavier, but perhaps that hand was already too recently played with Onslaught. Instead, Morrison has been content to show Charles as flawed, impotent, perplexed, horrified, and in need of rescue on several occasions.

Heís knocked down a lot, but can we also credit how he keeps getting up again?

Thereís definitely a feeling (is it just an old codger talking? But Iíve seen the same sentiment in many other art forms this year) of an increasingly out-of-touch old guard being replaced by an increasingly illiterate, disconnected, apathetic and violent youthful mob.

Itís a bleak way of looking at the world, but certainly not a particularly radical one these days. The radical comes from inserting such jaded sophistication into the four-color and formerly cheery and homily-filled world of superheroes.

Though I suppose thatís too simple, too, for while Basilisk, Esme, Redneck and Glob were certainly young fascists in training, we did also have the sincerity of the rebellions against Magneto from within his own ranks. Beak, Angel, their children, and Dust all tried to fight back. Even the wizened child Ernst and the bodiless brain Martha each eventually made their own statements against Magnetoís lunacy, and rightfully so. And the X-men, when they regrouped, never abandoned their stance of offering help and understanding, even at great personal cost to themselves. Yes, even fed up and decidedly grumpy Emma takes time to grieve and reflect during this battle.

That tragic tone, the real sadness running through these pages, is a wonderful echo and re-imagining of a seminal X-men event, Jeanís death at her own hands while Scott watched in #137 of the original title. The reverberations of that event echo through this entire arc, and seem intent on informing the final futuristic impending coda as well. Thatís okay with me; Iím still mourning that first of Jeanís infinite deaths myself.



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