Friday, December 19, 2008

X-Men: Messiah Complex TPB

I'm going X-Men crazy again. Reading this trade, I felt 13 again. I used to LOVE the X-Men, the expansive cast, the awesome variety of villains, the sprawling history and universe. I think everyone can agree that feeling has been gone for awhile, but it came back with a vengeance in this story.

With mutants all but extinct following the Scarlet Witch's "No more mutants" proclamation, the X-Men go crazy when they find out there has been a new mutant birth in Alaska. As they race to find the baby, they run afoul of a TON of classic X-Foes. Mr. Sinister, the Marauders, Lady Deathstrike, the Purifiers, and a new villain Predator X are all out to get the baby too. Add in an X-traitor and some huge additions to the Marauders (Gambit, Sunfire, Exodus, Mystique, and the Acolytes) and this story had all the villains you can handle. The trade collects issues from Uncanny, X-Men, X-Factor, and New X-Men, and important players from each book get their moment to shine. Madrox and Layla Miller travel to the future, Logan gets to put together his new X-Force team of scrappers, and Cable puts himself through the ringer for the future of mutants. Cyclops turns into a tough guy here, but we can kind of see why, since he feels that after Professor X's betrayals, the survival of mutantkind is in his hands. Mike Carey seems to have a fantastic feel for the X-universe, his chapters stand out as some of the best in the trade. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the New X-Men chapters too, I didn't know who any of the characters were at first, but Surge and Rockslide both come through as strong characters I'd love to see more of.

This book had some fantastic fights in it too, the final confrontation with the Marauders was fantastic, with Humberto Ramos' pencils making the fight electric. Scot Eaton drew the X-Factor issues, and his grimy future of mutantkind was horrific. Chris Bachalo's art was clear, which is sometimes a problem for him. This book was well put together from top to bottom, with the X-editors doing a great job to keep the story flowing continuously across multiple titles. The pull quote on the trade says "The best X-crossover in decades." I agree.


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