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Marvel Slugfest - New X-Men #46

Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2008
By: Shawn Hill / Kevin Powers

Craig Kyle and Chris Yost
Humberto Ramos (p), Carlos Cuevas, Dave Meikis (i)
Marvel Comics
“Messiah CompleX: Chapter Twelve”

Shawn Hill: 3 Bullets
Kevin Powers: 4-1/2 Bullets




Shawn Hill 3 Bullets

Plot: There’s a lot going on this issue. On Muir Isle, Mystique and Remi have the baby, and take her to Rogue and Mr. Sinister. The Marauders try to hold off Scott’s X-Force, while back at the school, Predator X attacks sick children.

Comments: This issue is hard to follow; the plethora of characters is just too much for Ramos’ stylized renderings to sort out. When the colors tend toward all over shades of orange and red (for explosions) or blue (for electric attacks), it gets pretty hard to figure out who ’s who.

The quieter scenes are less chaotic and more effective. The Mystique and Gambit scenes have a whispered intensity, due mostly to Raven’s deliberate demeanor, and the odd weirdness of the comatose Rogue still seeming to make choices about the events surrounding her.

The Marauders' battle is harder to follower, especially when X-23 and X-Factor show up, and when the bloody gore quotient starts to climb. Wolverine guts Regan Wyngarde. Scalphunter shoots him in the head. Another character is actually relieved of his hands and intestines by X-23. Knives stick in shoulders, necks are twisted out of shape, and somebody seems to get eaten. Storm pops in from nowhere at one point, and just when you think it can’t get any more convoluted, two teleporters end up in the same scene: Nightcrawler and Pixie.

The tension stays high, and one of the tests for these sorts of stories for me is passed: do the title characters play a main role when a crossover slams into their book? Yes, the students acquit themselves well, identifying and fighting off Predator X, protecting the weak when it begins to target them, and Pixie’s impulsive decision to deliver them all to Muir Island along with the rabid creature makes a twisted kind of sense.

By the end of the issue, all the pieces and parts have come together, though we’re back to having Bishop, Cable, and Predator X fighting over a very cute little baby. It’s decent enough as a New X-Men issue, if confusing, and the writers do keep the systemic overload of characters in character. But the cover (one of Finch’s best, looking like a lost Durer etching full of young mutants) eclipses the art within completely.




Kevin Powers: 4-1/2 Bullets

“Messiah CompleX” is without a doubt one of the greatest X-Men crossovers of all time. Why is it deserving of that title? Because it’s got action, violence, drama, dark humor, hardcore badass moments, excellent utilization of the mutant idea, excellent use of each X-character, but most importantly, the mystery behind everything is what truly sets this crossover apart. It’s not a question of trying to figure out what is going on. What’s happening is clear, but the mystery behind the reasons why it’s all happening is what keeps the core story moving along. However, those motivations come to a head in this issue of New X-Men as the Marauders, Cable, X-Force, the X-Men and Bishop all come together in one spot. This crossover is boiling hot, and I can’t wait to see what comes out of it.

Like the “Sinestro Corps War,” “Messiah CompleX” has been story and character driven, supplying enough action and drama to keep readers salivating. Unlike the "Sinestro Corps War” this series has been going every week for the past 12 weeks straight and each issue has brought with it everything that comes with the X-Men. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost deliver a perfect balance of story and action that flows perfectly on the page. The motivations of Mystique and the Marauders revealed, the motivations of Bishop have been revealed and all hell breaks loose as the X-Predator finds an abundance of mutants. I’m curious as to whether or not the final issue will reveal the baby’s identity or if it will be explored in Cable’s new series. I still think there is some sort of connection to the Summers family, and I really hope the X-team expands on this. With that in mind, I can honestly say that’s my only problem with this issue: not knowing who the baby is or what she can do, although there is a small hint towards the end of this issue. Everything else is just so damned exciting.

The dynamics of the relationship between Gambit, Rogue, Mystique and Sinister is really the core subplot at the heart of this issue. The bulk of it plays out in the opening pages of the issue, but it also runs through the entire book. It’s interesting to see Gambit not so much of a betrayer of the X-Men anymore, but rather completely loyal to Rogue. The two have a storied history, and Kyle and Yost do a fantastic job hitting the right emotions to convey Gambit’s feelings for her. The same can be said about Mystique. She is Rogue’s mother and she does act as such, especially when her true motivations are revealed. Mystique is a great character, but she’s always worked the best as an antagonist to the X-Men. Here she is much more the tragic villain. She’s trying to save her daughter and you ultimately feel her pain. But what I love about the comparison between Rogue’s mother and her lover is the way that Gambit still shows his good side. Mystique proves she is still the villain, no matter her motivations, and Gambit will always be an X-Man, saving lives human and mutant, no matter the cause.

The rest of this issue is complete madness, in that crazy edge of your seat kind of way. The action is extreme. Seriously, it’s completely nuts. The X-Predator makes its way to the mansion, the X-Men and X-Force square off against the Marauders, Wolverine get shot in the head. Yes, Wolverine gets shot straight through the eye. Not only does Wolverine take one to the dome-piece, but he loses his crown as Marvel’s top badass. That title has been passed on to his daughter, X-23. She swoops in to save the day, disemboweling her victim and telling her dad that he heals too slow. I love X-23; the Kyle/Yost brainchild has elevated herself to becoming an A-lister in the Marvel Universe in the past four years. This is the second time in this crossover that she has completely ripped %$#@ up and showed up Wolverine. And of course, the penultimate chapter to a classic X-Men saga wouldn’t be complete without a classic cliffhanger: Cable surrounded by Bishop and the X-Predator.

This is one hell of an issue that packs a hard right hook followed by a Muhammad Ali jab. I’ll be honest, I’m personally not a huge fan of Humberto Ramos’ artwork, but it is what you get. He does a great job capturing the action and his personal style really doesn’t play a huge factor. The story is intense, and Ramos’ artwork really gets the job done.

I can’t wait for tomorrow. That’s all I can say. I’ve loved every issue, every page of this crossover. I really hope that the future of the X-Men can live up to the insane quality that the creative teams have brought on with “Messiah CompleX”. This is my other Pick of the Week.



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