“Coming Up For Air”
Writer: Akira Yoshida
Artists: Chris Bachalo (p), Tim Townsend (i)
A few very simple things occur. The X-men try to bring in the Morlocks, who reject them. Someone is attending lovingly to a high-tech coffin. X-23 reveals all in her quest to sign up Wolverine. And some old enemies are violently dispatched.
That’s pretty much it. It’s simple as can be, a sequence of things happening that may or may not add up to something. Magneto knows he didn’t single-handedly save the world, but nobody else does, and we don’t know who did either. These Morlocks seem to include Leech, Marrow and Mirage, and are wary as always.
You’d think the principle interest would be Magneto and his family, but we see too little of them. Instead we get X-23’s origin, and it is refreshing that she’s better costumed and much more articulate than the regular version. Bachalo’s art is ornate and well-suited to giving us altered versions of familiar faces, though I don’t really know why we’re getting Ultimate Storm, a girl Xorn, or Lorna as a Morlock.
The art is making me flash back to Bachalo’s stint on New X-men, when the boys went searching for the Weapon X satellite, where we were supposed to sort of see an ersatz JLA of super-soldiers designed by AIM to take down mutants. Here we’re supposed to sort of see a world in shambles, and we come closest in Canada, where X-23 and Wolverine track two of Apocalypse’s most deadly agents, Northstar and Aurora.
Apparently living as scavengers and raiding human encampments, I suppose it’s morally ambiguous that X-23 and Wolverine merely slash them to ribbons. It’s a flat-out execution, and even more troubling is that it motivates Wolverine to rejoin Magneto so he can kill more bad guys. While it’s an intense fight scene, it’s hard getting a reading on just what any of these mutants are supposed to be doing now that Apocalypse has been defeated. Considering Magneto’s vision at Mirage’s hands, it looks like Yoshida is only planning more clumsily violent riffs on over-familiar X-men themes, rather than really answering the question.
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