Writer: Chuck Austen
Artists: Salvador Larroca (p), Danny Miki (i)
Plot: The Superhero biffmatch truly begins when the rest of the X-Men get back to the mansion. The New Brotherhood is in a state of disarray, with their efforts do destroy the mansion and the students being hampered by Gambit and Mindee. As soon as Havok and the rest of the team arrive, everything seems to be under control until Back Tom reveals how much stronger he is than before. Xorn decides to suck all of the Brotherhood into his head, but Juggernaut and Nocturne are forced to join them. Wolverine "takes care" of Sabertooth.
Comments: I haven't really been expecting much from Austen in this last storyline other than a great deal of action, which there is plenty of here thankfully. While initially I didn't really like Juggernaut's time at the Mansion, I had grown to like the way he mixed the place up (even the Sammy story), and it's a shame now that he's gone again (mind you, with Colossus back, they don't really need him, do they?). Also with Xorn leaving to meditate his actions it seems that Austen is trying to undo all the work he did now that this is his last story. Again, Northstar's powers are used in a fantastic fashion, and it's great to see exactly how powerful he can be, especially because he's been on the bench most of the series. Also, I noticed the issue didn't bother dealing with Gambit's new powers. Has Austen passed this onto the next writer? Or will the matter just be dropped?
With Mammomax turning on Exodus and Avalanche's short lived speech about how he is one of the most powerful super-villains in the world, it's very hard to take this latest incarnation of the Brotherhood seriously, even with what they accomplished. I'm not sure if this was Austen's intention, but they all came off a bit tame for me. Wolverine's take down of Sabertooth (which is on the cover) we don't actually see, at all. Why he chose not to clue us in as to how Wolverine actually beat him eludes me and leaves some doubts as well as to weather or not he's finally down for the count as Logan says. Juggernaut's take down of Mammomax was spectacular, but it seems silly that he would ask him where Black Tom is located when in the last issue we saw that Black Tom was almost everywhere, and the fact that Cain couldn't see him when he arrived at the mansion (especially with all the noise and sticks and stuff going everywhere), is just silly.
Don't have to say much about Larroca. He's brilliant as usual with Miki's great work on inks. It's nice to see his talents has been put to such great use with so much action going on. Nice cover, even if it is all we see of that fight.
Final Word: Like I said previously, I pick up this series because of Larroca's fantastic art. Austen's writing is clearly geared towards the action, and while it does work to some extent, it leaves no impression after you have put the book down. That all said, I have enjoyed this run probably a little more than I'm letting on. Pick it up if you are an X-Men or Larroca fan. Otherwise, wait and see what the new writers are like before you check this title out.
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