Okay, so I’m getting into something a little different. As many of you know (all 3 of my followers) I’ve been focusing a lot on my classic X-Men readings, working my way to current titles. But I’m still in the early/mid 90’s, so by the time I finally get to the issues coming out now, they will be considered classic.
Secret Wars has now been out for about three weeks and the Battleworld spin-offs are starting to hit shelves. I’m not much for most of them, but I’m definitely keeping up with the X-Men centered issues, and felt that with so many giving their own reviews, I wanted to have some fun too. So I’ll start posting reviews of these newer issues and my initial thoughts on them. Don’t worry. I’ll still get out the classic issues (hopefully on a more regular basis than before), but I wanted to address the newer ones coming out. I’ll also be posting these about a week behind the release dates. Gives me time to pick up the comics (since my store is across the town from where I work so it’s a bit out of my way) and actually keep up with all the reviews.
Obviously, this doesn’t normally apply to my reviews, but in these cases, SPOILERS AHEAD!
Release Date: May 27, 2015
So for those of you who aren’t entirely sure of what’s going on, the entire multiverse has been changed. Every universe was destroyed except for Earth 616 (the normal MU) and Earth 1610 (the Ultimate universe). Those two destroyed each other with Doctor Doom somehow capturing the pieces and creating Battleworld, which is created with remnants of various universes.
In this particular world, Inferno didn’t go so great for the X-Men. The X-Men lost the battle for Manhattan and Limbo merged with earth. It’s a throwback to the late 80’s and early 90’s that a lot of older X-Men fans have been yearning for.
Unfortunately, I think we’re still left wanting more…because this issue was nowhere near what it could have been.
So we are thrust into year four of Inferno. Cyclops and several of the X-Men (I think we can just assume that they are all X-Men at this point – no more Excalibur, New Mutants, or X-Factor) go on a raid on the Empire States Building. It’s the anniversary of the retreat from Manhattan. Colossus seems to be leading things to rescue his sister. This is done every year on the anniversary. Colossus is knocked to the ground by N’astirh. Jean quickly throws Cyclops between them (we’ll get into the logistical problem with that later). As Cyclops tries to help up Colossus, N’astirh attacks again (seriously…this is a duh moment and Jean should be scolded for such a rookie move) and slices Cyclops’ back. Jean unleasses her TK to create a giant explosion.
Colossus breaks away through the door N’astirh was guarding. He finds Magik, in her New Mutants’ black/gold uniform, sitting on a throne, appearing to be lethargic, probably from four years of captivity, right? Colossus looks at her and drops his armored form (another dumbass move but I would kind of expect this from Colossus – he’s always been careless when it comes to his family). Suddenly, Magik attacks, transforming to her demonic, Darkchilde form!
Exactly 364 days later, Colossus wakes up next to Domino (which makes no sense…I never liked their relationship in X-Force and here it’s even more unbelievable, but oh well). His right arm is in a sling and looks pretty useless after what his sister did to him. They talk about one more day, which refers, of course, to the annual raid on the demon hordes. Colossus and Domino work to patrol the streets, taking down rogue villains such as Omega Red and Pyro. As they head into X-Headquarters, we see a room of magicians working to keep Limbo’s magik at bay (Nico from Runaways, Wiccan from Young Avengers, and Doctors Voodoo and Strange).
Colossus leads Domino up to the command center where he eagerly awaits a chance to lead another team. However, Cyclops, now confined to a wheelchair after the last disastrous outing, has other ideas. Even though the agreement was for Colossus to act as a peace keeper 364 days of the year in exchange for 1 day when he can lead a rescue mission, Cyclops feels that to attack again is pointless. He refuses to grant a pass (apparently they follow military rules nowadays). However, Nightcrawler and Kitty (I think?) convince Cyclops that he must honor his promise since Colossus honored his side. They both agree, however, that this would be the last trip. However, this time, it is volunteers only: Colossus, Domino, Nightcrawler, and Boomer (formerly Boom-Boom).
On the way to the target, Nightcrawler points out that they must walk (or run, as he makes a jest) to the Empire State Building due to the constantly changing nature of the demonic building makes teleportation impossible. Apparently this had already been mentioned to Colossus, but he had never really paid attention to the strategy meetings. He thought they were dates with Domino. Before they can discuss things further, demons attack. After the first wave is easily dispatched, another wave shows up. A much larger wave. A much, much larger wave. Seriously. The kind of wave that makes you crap in your pants. Unless you’re an X-Men. Which is why they never need to wear brown pants. Except for Wolverine. Makes you think, right?
Sorry…got way off track there.
This second wave starts to overwhelm the four X-Men. Nightcrawler manages to save Boomer from a demon, but suddenly she is disemboweled by N’astirh. Bye bye, Boomer. Nightcrawler is held in place by Magik. He might still be okay. Domino disappears into a pile of demons. As Colossus searches for a way out, two figures appear within the horde. One is holding Domino by her hair. It is Madeline Pryor, aka the Goblin Queen, and her consort, Havok, aka the Goblin Prince.
Okay so I’ve read mostly positive reviews about this issue and I can only think one thing after reading those reviews.
People are allowing nostalgia to cloud their judgment.
- It’s Inferno. I mean, seriously. If nothing else, this is attempting to take us back to a point when the X-Men comics were absolutely great. Inferno was one of the best cross-overs ever, and I do mean ever. So this story at least gets points for that. The opening scenes give us glimpses of a classic Psylocke (in her purple armor before she became a british asian assassin), Cyclops, Jean, and Best in their old X-Factor uniforms, and Boom-Boom in her classic X-Terminators outfit (anybody know what I’m talking about – if not, then click here for X-Terminators). So yes, this does have some certain appealing qualities… but it pretty much stops there.
- Havok. Seriously…I do love his appearance at the very end of this issue. It’s an interesting concept to think of where he might have ended up if the X-Men had failed.
- What If…? This reminds me of a poorly written What If…? tale, but even that intrigues me a little bit. I love these alternate takes on a classic tale. So any What If always has enough possibilities to qualify as a “PRO”.
- Nightcrawler. His action is typical of what you’d expect from it and even if the dialogue isn’t too great, and the art could be better, I love seeing him in action against the demons, teleporting everywhere in an instant. It was fun to see.
- The art. I’m not sure who the artist is, but the artwork is pretty bland. On a scale of 1 to 10? A 4 maybe. If I’m being generous.
- The action. My complaint about this started off early on. Colossus gets knocked to the ground by N’Astirh. Fine. I can accept that. But what does Jean do? SHE TOSSES CYCLOPS AT THEM TO LAND RIGHT IN THE %$^&ING MIDDLE! I mean seriously! And then what does Cyclops do? He stops to help Colossus, who is still armored, up to his feet, TURNING HIS BACK ON THE DEMON WHO WANTS TO KILL THEM ALL, First of all, Colossus, when armored, weighs probably close to a ton, and Cyclops thinks offering him a hand is going to help at all? Second…ARGHHH! This may have been the stupidest scene ever in any comic… and that includes Chuck Austen’s crap. He and Jean both deserved to be kicked off the X-Men for that.
- Colossus. For someone who is focused on one thing and one thing only, he sure makes a lot of comical expressions. Seriously. They have been at constant war for 5 years and he’s still goofing off about strategy sessions and giving the Alfred’s “Who, me?” look?
- Broo. Seriously? Why the %$^& is he even in the background in this issue? We can assume that nothing has gone the same as before. Considering that he was the result of a Brood attack on Wolverine’s school, I think it’s safe to say he wouldn’t exist in this universe, let alone be a good guy. Yes, he has no talking parts in here, but he doesn’t even need to be in the background.
There are several other aspects that I’m kind of on the fence about. Cyclops is the hard-ass leader which I appreciate, because it’s what the future needs, but hasn’t the wheelchair bit been done to death? Goblin Queen’s outfit no longer shows off any underboob, which I get is an editorial decision considering that one version of the cover was done both ways, and I understand how tacky and impractical it was, but it seemed to be as much part of her character as the demons swirling about her.
I also would have enjoyed knowing exactly what separated this universe from the one we all know. Where did it go wrong? What was the divergence, the one thing that happened to cause a separate reality? I’m not counting the lack of this as an actual “CON” because they may still reveal it.
Lastly, I would have also appreciated a bit more mention of some overall Secret Wars aspect. Maybe some mention of Doom or the Thors, but all we get is the mention of a “domain” which I assume means this particular area of Battleworld, but that’s it. So far this feels very much reminiscent of House of M, when there were a bunch of supposed “tie-ins” to the main story, but they really had nothing to do with it or made any sense in the overall scheme of things. Still, if the story were just told well, I could forgive that, but this issue is not kicking off the series with a “bang”. More of a whimper. Pick it up for the nostalgia and hope that it’ll get better…
But I’m not holding my breath.
N’Astirh: “When are you gonna get it through your iron skull? How many of your friends do I have to break before you let it go?!”
Domino: “You’re the fireproof one, Pete. Why the hell do I always have to do the chasing?”
Colossus: “You run faster.”
Cyclops: “Come close?! Would you listen to yourself?! Last year you got your answer along with that arm. I got this chair! Illyana is lost. I’m not throwing any more mutants into the fire so you can pretend you don’t already know it.”
Demon: “Shut up, pink one.”
Boomer: “Cuz I used to have this same ‘early bird and I’m the worm’ nightmare over and over. for real. I didn’t sleep a wink most of fifth grade.”
Demon: “I said shut up!”
Boomer: “I get that a lot. Never works.”