Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Sean Chen (p), Sandu Florea (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
[If I havenít said this already, I apologize for calling Sandu Florea a woman in my review of the previous issue.]
The second book of the trilogy presents Mr. Sinister defeated by Rogue, Gambit, Mystique, and Dani Moonstar. Old scores are settled, a hero dies, and the survivors makes plans against the ShiíAr and the Slavers.
At this point, youíre either committed to the entire series (like me), waiting for the trade, or avoiding this book completely. Any choice is fine. Claremont continues writing in his usual style of overwrought melodrama and soapbox preaching. The debate between Kate Pryde and Alice Tremaine is a prime example of the latter. But Claremont also demonstrates the ability to provide background and context for the characters. Wolverine fights the alien warrior Shaitan, whoís permanently transformed into a copy of Storm. As they fight, narration explains how Shaitan impersonated Storm for years to lure mutants to Sinister. Storm was branded a terrorist as her powers slowly crippled her. This provides the motivation for Wolverineís savage attack. But since itís a Claremont story, itís a woman who finally defeats her.
Iíve heard in passing that men are just window dressing in Claremontís X-Men stories. Thatís especially true here. Except for Gambit, all the action and story is driven by the female characters. They take command in every situation and get the job done. Bloddy sexist, if you ask me!
Sean Chenís art is as good as ever. His characters can look flat and stiff, and sometimes mouths appear too large for their faces. But he does draw some fine figures. The work is detailed yet clear. The action is easy to follow, and the story flows nicely from page to page. Itís great to look at and easy to read.
So the epic trilogy that implies the end of the X-Men as we know them enters its final chapter. Weíve seen a lot of old characters die, some long-standing mysteries solved, and some loose ends were tied up. Thereís still a battle with the ShiíAr, Skrull, and interdimensioal slavers to fight. Not to mention the final fate of Alliyah and her Brood infection. And how will societyís feelings towards mutants change following the Chicago election for mayor?
The story hasnít been great so far, but it hasnít been bad either. Claremont and Chen have one last chance to really knock one out of the park.
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