Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Sean Chen (p), Sandu Florea (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The X-Men’s true enemy, the mind and power behind their destruction, is revealed as Cassandra Nova and the Brood. Nova has seized control of the Empress Lilandra. The Brood are attacking the Starjammers. There is more death, more mourning, and one last great war.
Not bad. Not bad at all. Claremont’s use of the Brood and Cassandra Nova feels like uniting his early work on Uncanny X-men and Grant Morrison’s New X-Men. For most of this series, it seemed like Claremont was focusing only on the issues and stories he wrote. Now, he not only acknowledges Morrison’s contribution to mutant history, he incorporates it as a vital part of the plot. Nova decimated the Shi’Ar Empire when she controlled Prof. X. Now she’s returned to rule and probably end the empire once and for all. Her appearance is the first genuine surprise I’ve seen in these three mini-series.
Chen has provided fine pencilling throughout this project. And Florea’s inks create a sense of depth and detail. But there are too many times when the art comes across as flat, when figures look too much alike. For the “last” X-Men story, one would expect an artist who’d frequently worked on X-Men comics. Byrne would probably have refused, but his style can be imitated. Dave Cockrum would have been beautiful. Joe Maduriea, Frank Quietly, or any of the Image founders would also have been better choices. (What if each series had its own artist, reflecting the change in art styles during the Uncanny X-Men?) But it’s easy to say all this in hindsight. We must focus on what we have. And what we have is art that is technically impressive, yet somehow dull.
If you’ve been avoiding The End because it was too long, or threatened to be too cumbersome, you’ll want to give this last story a look. It ties closely into the relatively recent New X-Men, all the secrets have been revealed, and the last, biggest fight of the X-Men is just beginning. This is what we’ve been waiting for.
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